Right Teaching And Learning

(December 26, 1965)
We have spoken of many different human symptoms, and at this level there IS almost endless variation. But there is only one cause for all of them. The authority problem IS “the root of all evil”. Money is but one of its many reflections, and is a reasonably representative example of the kind of thinking which stems from it. The idea of buying and selling implies precisely the kind of exchange that the Souls cannot understand at all, because their own Supply is always abundant, and all their demands are fully met.

Every symptom which the ego has made involves a contradiction in terms. This is because the mind is split between the ego and the Soul, so that WHATEVER the ego makes is incomplete and contradictory. Consider what a “speechless professor” means as a concept. It literally means a “nonprofessing professor,” or a “nonspeaking speaker”.

Untenable positions such as this are the result of the authority problem, which, because it accepts the one inconceivable thought as its premise, can only produce ideas which are inconceivable. B. may claim (and has certainly done so in the past) that the PROFESSORSHIP was thrust upon him. This is not true. He wanted it very much, and also worked hard to get it. He would not have had to work so hard either, if he had not misunderstood it.

The term “profess” is used quite frequently in the Bible, but in a somewhat different context. To profess is to identify with an idea and offer the idea to others to be THEIR own. The idea does NOT lessen; it becomes STRONGER.

The teacher clarifies his own ideas and strengthens them BY teaching them.

Teacher and pupil, therapist and patient, are all alike in the learning process. They are in the SAME order of learning, and unless they SHARE their lessons they will lack conviction. If a salesman must believe in the product he sells, how much more must a teacher believe in the ideas which he professes. But he needs another condition; he must also believe in the students to whom he offers his ideas.

B. could not be afraid to teach unless he still believes that interaction means loss, and that learning means separation. He stands guard over his own ideas, because he wants to protect this thought-system as it is, and learning MEANS change. Change is always fearful to the separated, because they cannot conceive of it as a change toward HEALING the separation. They ALWAYS perceive it as a change for further separation, because separation WAS their first experience of change.

Bill, your whole fear of teaching is nothing but an example of your own intense separation anxiety, which you have handled with the usual series of mixed defenses in the combined pattern of attack on truth and defense of error, which characterizes ALL ego-thinking.

You insist that if you allow no change to enter into your EGO, your SOUL will find peace. This profound confusion is possible only if one maintains that the SAME thought- system can stand on two foundations. NOTHING can reach the Soul from the ego, and nothing FROM the Soul can strengthen the ego, or reduce the conflict within it. The ego IS a contradiction. Man’s self and God’s Self ARE in opposition. They are opposed in creation, in will, and in outcome. They are fundamentally irreconcilable because the Soul cannot perceive, and the ego cannot know. They are therefore NOT IN COMMUNICATION, and can never BE in communication.

Nevertheless the ego can learn, because its maker can be misguided, but CANNOT make the totally lifeless out of the life-given. The Soul need not be taught, but the ego MUST. The ultimate reason why learning or teaching is perceived as frightening is because true learning DOES lead to the relinquishment (NOT destruction) of the ego to the light of the Soul. This is the change the ego MUST fear, because it does not share my charity.

My lesson was like yours, and because I learned it I can teach it. I never attack your egos (in spite of H’s strange beliefs to the contrary), but I DO try to teach them how their thought-systems have arisen. When I remind you of your TRUE Creation, your egos cannot BUT respond with fear.

Bill, teaching and learning are your greatest strengths now, because you MUST change your mind and help others change theirs. It is pointless to refuse to tolerate change or changing because you believe that you can demonstrate by doing so that the Separation never occurred. The dreamer who doubts the reality of his dream while he is still dreaming it is not really healing the level-split.

You HAVE dreamed of a separated ego, and you HAVE believed in a world which rested upon it. This is very real to you. You cannot undo this by doing nothing and not changing.

If you are willing to renounce the role of guardians of your thought-systems and open them to me, I will correct them very gently, and lead you home. Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own thinking that they will one day no longer need him. This is the one real goal of the parent, teacher, and therapist. This goal will not be achieved by those who believe that they will LOOSE their child or pupil or patient if they succeed.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to convince the ego of this, because it goes against all of its own laws. But remember that laws are set up to protect the continuity of the system in which the law-maker believes. It is natural enough for the ego to try to protect itself, once YOU have made it. But it is NOT natural for YOU to want to obey its laws unless YOU believe in them.

The ego cannot make this choice because of the nature of its origin. But YOU can, because of the nature of YOURS. Egos can clash in any situation, but Souls cannot clash at all. If you perceive a teacher as merely a “larger ego,” you WILL be afraid, because to ENLARGE an ego IS to increase separation anxiety. Do not engage in this foolishness, Bill. I will teach with you and live with you, if you will think with me.

But my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher. This is the OPPOSITE of the ego-oriented teacher’s goal. He is concerned with the effect of HIS ego on OTHER egos, and he therefore interprets their interaction as a means of ego preservation. This is no less true if he is afraid to teach than if he is frankly out to dominate through teaching. The form of the symptom is only a reflection of his particular way of handling the separation anxiety.

ALL separation anxiety is a symptom of a continuing will to remain separated. This cannot be repeated too often because you have NOT learned it. Bill, you are afraid to teach ONLY because you are afraid of the impression your image of yourself will make ON OTHER IMAGES. You believe that their APPROVAL of your image will exalt it, but also that your separation anxiety will be increased. You also believe that their DISAPPROVAL of it will lessen the separation anxiety, but at the cost of depression.

I would not be able to devote myself to teaching if I believed either of these ideas, and YOU will not be a devoted teacher yourself as long as you maintain them. I am constantly being perceived as a teacher either to be exalted or rejected, but I do not accept either perception for myself.

Your own worth is NOT established by your teaching. Your worth was established by God. As long as you dispute this, EVERYTHING you do will be fearful, and particularly any situation which lends itself easily to the superior-inferior fallacy. Teachers must be patient, and repeat their lessons until they are learned. I am willing to do so, because I have no right to set your learning limits for you.

Once again,—NOTHING you do, or think, or will, or make is necessary to establish your worth. This point IS NOT DEBATABLE except in delusions. Your ego is NEVER at stake because God did not create it. Your Soul is never at stake because He DID. Any confusion on this point IS a delusion, and no form of devotion is possible as long as this delusion lasts.

Bill, if you will to be a devoted teacher rather than an egocentric one, you will not be afraid. The teaching situation IS fearful if it is misused as an ego involvement. If you become afraid, it is BECAUSE you are using it this way. But the devoted teacher perceives the situation AS IT IS, and NOT as HE wills it. He does not see it as dangerous because HE is not exploiting it.

The ego tries to exploit ALL situations into forms of praise for itself in order to overcome its doubts. It will be doubtful forever, or better, as long as you believe in it. You who made it CANNOT trust it, because you KNOW it is not real. The ONLY sane solution is not to try to change reality, which is indeed a fearful attempt, but to see it as it is. YOU are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego, but within easy reach of your Soul.

Bill, again I tell you that when you are afraid, be still and KNOW that God is real and YOU are His beloved son in whom he is well pleased. Do not let your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are. God is NOT the author of fear. YOU are. You have willed, therefore, to create unlike Him, and you have made fear for yourselves.

You are not at peace, because you are not fulfilling your function. God gave you a very lofty responsibility which you are not meeting. You KNOW this, and you are afraid. But your egos have chosen to be afraid INSTEAD of meeting it. When you awaken you will not be able to understand this, because it is literally incredible.

DO NOT BELIEVE THE INCREDIBLE NOW. Any attempt to increase its believableness is merely to postpone the inevitable. The word “inevitable” is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the Soul. God IS inevitable and you CANNOT avoid Him anymore that He can avoid YOU.

The ego is afraid of the Soul’s joy, because once you have experienced this, you will withdraw all protection from your ego and become totally without investment in fear. Your investment is great now, because fear is a witness to the Separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness to it.

Leave it behind. Do not listen to it, and do not preserve it. Listen only to God, who is as incapable of deception as are the Souls he created. As teachers and therapists, release yourselves and release others. Do not present a false and unworthy picture of yourselves TO others, or accept such a picture OF them yourselves.

The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. ITS weakness IS your strength. Only God could make a home that was worthy of His Creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession.

His Home will stand forever, and is ready for you when you choose to enter. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating the perishable as your ego is making the eternal.

Of your egos you can do nothing to save yourselves or others. But of your Souls you can do everything for the salvation of both. Humility is a lesson for the ego, not for the Soul. The Soul is beyond humility, because it recognizes its radiance, and gladly sheds its light everywhere.

The meek shall inherit the earth because their egos are humble, and this gives them better perception. The Kingdom of Heaven is the right of the Soul, whose beauty and dignity are beyond doubt, beyond perception, and stand forever as the mark of the love of God for His Creations, who are wholly worthy of Him and ONLY of Him. Nothing else is sufficiently worthy to be a gift for a creation of God Himself.

I will substitute for your ego if you will, but NEVER for your Soul. A father can safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself responsible, but this involves no confusion about the child’s origin. The brother can protect the child’s body and his ego, which are very closely associated, but he does not confuse HIMSELF with the father because he does this, although the child may.

The reason why I can be entrusted with YOUR body and YOUR egos is simply because this enables YOU not to be concerned with them, and ME to teach you their unimportance. I could not understand their importance to YOU if I had not once been tempted to believe them myself. Let us undertake to learn this lesson together, so we can also be free of them together.

I need devoted teachers as much as I need devoted priestesses. They both heal the mind, and that is always my own aim. The Soul is far beyond the need of your protection OR mine.

The Biblical quotation should read “In this world you need NOT have tribulation BECAUSE I have overcome the world.” THAT is why you should “be of good cheer.”

B’s course was very carefully chosen, because “abnormal psychology” IS ego psychology. This is precisely the kind of content which should never be taught FROM the ego whose abnormality should be lessened by teaching, not increased. You, Bill, are particularly well suited to perceive this difference, and can therefore teach this course as it should be taught. Most teachers have an unfortunate tendency to teach the COURSE abnormally, and many of the students are apt to suffer considerable perceptual distortion because of their own authority problem.

Your teaching assignment (and I assure you it IS an assignment) will be to present perceptual distortions without either engaging in them yourself, or encouraging your students to do so. This interpretation of your role and theirs is too charitable to induce fear. If you adhere to this role, you will both engender and experience hope, and you will inspire rather than dispirit the future teachers and therapists I am entrusting to you.

I promise to attend myself, and you should at least credit with me with some dependability in keeping my own promises. I never make them lightly, because I know the need my brothers have for trust.