How willing are you to leave The Dialogues as a topic in order to enter the dialogue? How willing are you to leave behind the wisdom of the Course to discover and offer your own wisdom? ~ A Course of Love
Received by Mari Perron in 2002
There is no structure and there can be no template for dialogue. Imagine going into conversations with two different people at two different times with a design on the type of dialogue you might have. Precision and perfection are only possible for structures, not for beings, for systems and not for liberty. The system of liberty is thus an imperfect system, but it is also near to perfect for this very reason. Liberty can be systemized but exists as an idea that all voices must be heard, that ideas themselves have an existence that cannot be denied through disagreement.
In dialogue you can experience freedom from structure and freedom from ideals of perfection and precision. Dialogue is an imprecise art and an unpremeditated act. It is an experience of what is happening in the moment which is all experience is in truth. What is experienced in dialogue is the self and the other in one action, action in unison or in union. What is experienced in true dialogue is movement, being, and expression.
The unimpeded flow of dialogue is like an unimpeded current of water. Action without impediment, unimpeded action, is unrestricted movement at one with being and expression. Unimpeded movement is at one with being and expression at all times and in all ways because restriction is the work of the ego, and is restriction of the true self.
Acceptance busts the dams of restriction and releases the flow. The mountain nor the valleys of level ground cause or restrict the flow. The mountain and the valleys too are within you, existing as two levels of experience of what is happening in the moment. The one voice and the many are also within you existing as two levels of experience of what is happening in the same moment. Because the two levels of experience exist in the same moment, they co-exist, or in other words, they exist as one…and yet they are distinct. As long as neither are restricted, this is union with or communion. Two distinct levels of experience in union. When the distinct levels fall away there is no experience of union, only union, but the action is the same. One is not better or more desirable than the other, they are only different.
Union never negates the self but full union negates the experience of self. When the experience of the self no longer exists in a particular action the laws of what you call reality bend and the impossible becomes possible: Jesus speaks, miracles happen, healing occurs, a new reality exists, a reality in which there is no object of experience, no observer and no observed, no one in action and no one acted upon, no giver and receiver, no intermediary, just union.
What is desired now, however, is the experience of union. The experience of union is the experience of two distinct levels of experience. These two distinct levels of experience can be integrated into one level of experience, a level of experience that can bend the laws of what you call reality in the same action as full union so that the only difference is the ability to experience the experience as a distinct self in union. This integration of the two levels of experience is what has been called the elevation of the Self of form and the sustainability of Christ-consciousness in form.
There is no form without the experience of form. Without the experience of form there is only union.
The mountain-top dialogue allowed you to participate in two levels of experience at once. Not only the simultaneous experience of the mountain-top and the valleys of level ground, but the simultaneous reality of on-going dialogue and the experience of living. Now what you are called to practice is the integration of these two levels.
There may be multiple levels but they are always levels of two, levels representing duality, the duality that exists naturally for the self of form because form is the experience of form, the duality of an experience and an experiencer. The experience of experience is life. It is not meant to be escaped nor can it be. This is why union has been described as time outside of time. It is not an escape but a portal of access. Full access is necessary for momentary release of the experiencer. Without at least some momentary release the true nature of the self who is experiencing life remains unknown.
This release from the self of form has been the goal of enlightenment. It is, however, only the beginning. It is the beginning because it is love. It is not a self experiencing love but the self being love and knowing that love is its self. The desire to stop here and retreat from life has been the response of many and they have anchored the reality of love in themselves and the world. As you know, this has not made the world a place of peace nor a celebration of life but it has kept the world a world in which love exists as reality in form. This has been crucial.
However, the longing to experience life in all its fullness has never been stronger. This is a longing not to remain or be constantly striving to retain release from the experiencer, but to fully embody the experience through unity. This is a longing to be the experience. This is a longing to be the experience rather than to cease to experience. This is a longing to experience the true self in or through the experience rather than as the experiencer of the experience. This is a longing to be. A longing to be fully alive and fully in life. A longing to experience no loss but only gain.
To experience full union and the loss of the experience of the self as self is, when prolonged, an experience of the loss of the self as form. Some still desire this loss and see it not as a loss but as a gain and are fulfilled by it. Many more have remained quite convinced that this loss of the sense of self is the ultimate achievement and denied the sense of loss of the personal self that existed in truth. Others have chosen the peace of monastic life as a substitute for full involvement in life, seeing abstinence from experience as one way of retaining the peace and love of union. True desire for such choices can, once again, result in fulfillment as the chosen diminution of experiences are not restrictive but true to the nature of the personal self. Thus the personal self is not being denied but being allowed to experience its own true nature.
Experiencing one’s own true nature is bringing the miracle of creation to form. Restricting one’s own true nature blocks the miracle of creation. A tree is here to be a tree. If there were a mechanism whereby it could restrict its nature and not be a tree then it would be something else. But there is no such mechanism as there is no such mechanism in you. You cannot be something else by restricting your nature. You can act like you are something else. This acting like you are something else is the ego. If the tree could act like it was something else it would still be a tree, and still be, even, a particular kind of tree, a tree unlike any other, a tree vulnerable to the conditions of its environment and given nature, because it is meant to be, because this is what it is, what it was created as, the ground where it stands its given growing ground. This is just what is and cannot be different.
To know the love that is what you are as what you are without the interference of the self of form is to know the perfection of your particular form, of your particular vulnerabilities, of the conditions and environment of the life you were given, of the ground of your being, and to cease to wish that any of it was different. When you cease to wish that any of it was different, you quit restricting the miracle of creation that is who you are.
This is quite a different lack of restriction than is the lack of restriction of the animal who acts on the instinct of nature alone. The lack of restriction of many human beings that results in heinous acts upon fellow human beings is a matter of unrestrained instinct not unlike that of the animal. The animal follows natural instincts for survival of its natural form. The human who does not know love follows unnatural instincts for survival of its ego. The human ego is thus in need of restrictions, the very restrictions that perpetuate the ego.
The human spirit that knows love is not in need of restriction. The human spirit that knows love is rather in need of being unrestrained.
It has been the very act of restriction, imposed from both within and without, that caused the birth of the ego, the fake or imitation self. The imposition of restriction led to the equally false imposition of acquisition. Restriction was experienced as a lack. Acquisition as a gain. From the most innocent of children to the kindest of adults, the restriction of action or behavior, the restriction of feelings, the restriction of the truth of what is experienced…is the most common of actions. Restriction leads to denial so that soon there is no awareness even of the restriction. Denial deadens awareness through the erection of boundaries. The self of form becomes a boundary that keeps all experience, all feelings, and all action that is judged as needing to be restricted at bay. Judgment becomes the guiding principle for all that the self of form is allowed to experience, feel or act upon. Movement, being and expression cease.
These actions of restriction, denial, boundary erection, and judgment are so manifested without because they are so held within, following the principle of as within, so without. They permeate the experience of life so that it is experienced as a life of restriction, denial, boundaries and judgment.
True dialogue begins to dilute this permeation just as if a full sponge were wrung out. True dialogue is interaction without restriction, denial, boundary erection or judgment. Thus the imposition of any restrictions, any attitude of non-acceptance, any boundaries left intact or any judgments raised, create impediments to the free flow of movement, being, and expression.
How little have we seen roles as boundaries, agendas as restrictions, goals as non-acceptance of what is, disagreement as judgment. How does one function without time-limitations, scheduling, facilitators and participants? How does one assure that each voice is heard? That equal value is given to each comment? How do people gather together with no structure? What would keep such a gathering from disintegrating into a free-for-all? A celebration? A laugh fest. A crying jag?
How hard are you still willing to work to remain restricted and to restrict others? How hard are you still willing to work to keep boundaries up and accomplish something rather than getting to know yourself and each other? How determined are you to discuss certain topics rather than to let ideas flow? How unwilling are you to allow the irrelevant? How afraid are you of your inability to listen to the personal without judgment? How afraid are you of being asked for advice or an opinion? How strongly do you fear the discomfort that might ensue from being real? Just how unspiritual do you think it would be to admit to fears or discomfort? Just how awful do you think it would be to grow frustrated or angry or to disagree?
How willing are you to leave The Dialogues as a topic in order to enter the dialogue? How willing are you to leave behind the wisdom of the Course to discover and offer your own wisdom? How willing are you to accept the wisdom of the one voice in the many and the many in the one?
How willing are you to listen? How willing are you to receive? How willing are you to offer your gifts? How willing are you to accept the gifts of others? How willing are you to accept differences?
How willing are you to allow yourself to be fully who you are in the present moment in the company of those with whom you gather?
These are serious questions and negative responses to them are not meant to be denied. The mountain-top dialogue may begin but may not be completed without discovering within yourself and another the ability to be clear pools or spacious selves without boundaries. This is a monumental task that cannot be approached through hard work or effort and as such will begin breaking your attachment to hard work and effort. You must practice this way of ease in order to discover the ease that will flow from the breaking of your attachment to hard work and effort. Your attachment to purpose and goals is the same attachment, an attachment to striving, a denial of your accomplishment.
The time of learning has ended! The learning of the Course returns you to your Christ-self, but this return will not be realized while the old patterns remain. A radical rejection of the old patterns is now necessary. Confidence in the self of form will not arise from the old patterns but the new. Certainty will not arise from the ways of old but from the new ways, ways exemplified by true dialogue, by true and equal exchange of what is in the present moment.
Your internal dialogue will change as you discover the place of safety and acceptance within yourself, the place of joining or union with. No longer will you treat yourself to an internal dialogue you would not unleash on another living being. When you quit restricting yourself, you will be naturally kind and loving to yourself, you will feel free and expansive. When you quit denying how you feel, relief and gratitude will fill you. When you quit erecting boundaries you will quit feeling separate. When you quit judging, you will be as at peace with your feelings of sadness and anger as you are with your feelings of joy and harmony.
No one is asked to be boundary-less in a fearful environment but fearfulness will diminish as your internal dialogue adjusts to the new experience. Yet you are asked to discover a fearless environment—an environment in which you feel able to lay aside your fear of being yourself. This may be easy for some, difficult for others. It may be able to take place within a group, it may not. Now is not the time to deny feelings of discomfort raised by the questions listed above, to feel rejected or to fear rejecting others because you feel them. The first step in the process is honesty. The honesty of accepting how you feel is often a greater revelation to yourself than to others.
This is not a time to enter into hard work to overcome fears or discomfort but to discover a place of safety where they do not exist. The discovery will be joyous.
Once an initial place (where two or more willing to be clear pools are gathered together) of safety is found practice begins, and this too will be joyous. But it is practice. Fear will still arise, but you will be able to reveal your fear. Discomfort will still arise but you will be able to reveal your discomfort. You will willingly be vulnerable and in your vulnerability will the restrictions, denial, boundaries and judgments of the past be washed away. You will realize how you are used to holding back and you will begin, slowly at first, not to hold yourself back. You may begin as fearful of revealing your own truth and wisdom as you are of revealing your fears and hurts. But soon you will be unable to hold back. When this occurs, the universal and the personal meld into a creative bursting forth.
This is the work of dialogue. It is the movement and expression of being. It is to be moved and affected, to allow your heart to feel, to open, to cry out, to sing. It is to be inspired and allow your own wisdom and ideas to flow freely, be given voice, be shared. It is to listen as a receptacle, receiving what is poured forth from others without judgment. It is to receive the actual energy of another, to feel the connection, to allow the pouring forth into one pool, and to allow the pool to move you in unforeseen directions.
None of which can happen with a plan. None of which can happen if approached with predetermined ideas.
The entering into is entering into the mystery, entering the unknown rather than known, where through the entering into knowing occurs.
It is a giving up of the idea of a knowing you acquire and exploit. You are no longer learning in order to get somewhere or become something you are not. You have entered a process of revelation of what is that will eventually spoil you forever from approaching life in the way you once did. You will see that the approach of hard work and being good leading to the acquisition of status and rewards was always false and that it was the approach rather than the desired results that was false.
You will see that what is perfect is perfect only in its imperfection. You will realize how often you are upset, anxious, frustrated, angry, or saddened by the nature of the imperfection of perfection. In other words, you will realize that your predetermination of how things “should” be has been the greatest restriction on your apprehension of what is, and your greatest source of disappointment. You will also realize how often you are naturally joyous, compassionate, kind and wise when you are present with what is rather than wishing things were other than as they are. You will realize your deep affection and even longing for the imperfection of perfection…that it is exactly another’s imperfection that you love, precisely their imperfections that make them perfect! And you will discover that the same is true of you.
When you are love being, you will no longer feel a need to be constantly acting loving. Love has no need to “act.” Doing and being will become one. Thus all of your actions will be love being love, and those actions will be appropriate to the situation. You will be free to respond with sternness when sternness is needed, free to be funny or serious, to respond with your intellect in one situation, your heart in another, and be confident in your responses because they will flow from love being. You will gain simple confidence in being yourself.