Edited transcript of Workshop presented by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick
WATCHING WITH ANGELS
Part 1 of 2
This Workshop, “Watching with Angels,” is based on workbook Lesson 303, which was taken down by Helen at Christmas time, and has a Christmas theme. It begins with the line, “Watch with me angels, watch with me today.” Let me start just by reading the lesson titled “The holy Christ is born in me today.”
Watch with me, angels, watch with me today. Let all God’s holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven’s Son is born. Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear. Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home. And let Him hear the sounds He understands, and see but sights that show His Father’s Love. Let Him no longer be a stranger here, for He is born again in me today (W-pII.303.1).
The second part as most of you know is like a prayer that we say to God.
Your Son is welcome, Father. He has come to save me from the evil self I made. He is the Self that You have given me. He is but what I really am in truth. He is the Son You love above all things. He is my Self as You created me. It is not Christ that can be crucified. Safe in Your Arms let me receive Your Son. (W-pII.303.2).
The theme I want to discuss is the idea of being quiet and being still. If you remember what is said in the first paragraph, “Let all God’s holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven’s Son is born.” Now that still can be taken both as quiet, as well as the adverb “and be still with me while Heaven’s Son is born. Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear.” The way that Christ is reborn in us, the way that we learn to forgive, the way that we learn to have our sights see only what Christ sees is to be quiet and to be still. And as we all know, this is always very, very difficult—almost always very, very difficult. The Course speaks about the ego’s “raucous shrieks” (W-pI.49.4:3).
There is a passage in one of the sections on specialness in Chapter 24 that speaks about how the sounds of specialness drowned out the still, small Voice of the Holy Spirit (T-21.V.1:6; T-24.II.4). And so often when people think that they are hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit, or the voice of Jesus, or the voice of any entity or soul they think is “on the other side,” very often that hearing can be contaminated by the voice of their ego. It is very difficult to be quiet. It is very difficult to still all the sounds that we make. And the problem, of course, is that all these sounds, the earthly sounds which reflect the ego’s wrong-minded sounds, all these come from our mind’s decision to be a self, a split self, a separated self.
All the times that we get upset, all the times we become anxious, we become distraught, we become angry, we become resentful, we hold on to grievances, we feel depressed, we feel despairing, we feel despondent, we feel sick, we feel hopeless—all of these, regardless of the seeming cause, all of these are but the ego’s attempt to preserve itself. Or to say it another way, they are all about the decision-making mind’s attempt to justify its decision to be an ego. So when we are told to be quiet and to let all earthly sounds be still, what Jesus is really saying is that when you are tempted to listen to the ego’s voice that tells you the world is the cause of not only your existence certainly, but also the cause of everything you are feeling or thinking, the cause of your behavior, the determiner of what you do, then you should look at this.
And as you are tempted to listen, say to yourself, “but this cannot be true.” And it cannot be true, as we are told over and over again in the Course, subtly and sometimes not very subtly, if there is no world out there. Then what could there be that is going to affect me? It could only be what I project onto the world (forgetting that I projected it) and then believe is going to have an affect on me and impinge on me.
Most of you have heard me say many, many times that you should not believe anyone who tells you or believes that two and two equals four because they are coming from the world’s point of view. They are coming from the world’s laws in which two and two most definitely equals four, where people tell us what is external is the cause of our distress, or the awful things that happened in the past are affecting us now. They are all coming from the belief that the world of time and space is real, which means that the thought system that made the world of time and space is also real, and they are wrong. Linear time is part of the ego’s illusion, as the workbook tells us, it is a magic trick. Time is a vast illusion, a magic trick in which figures come and go by magic (W-pI.158.4:1). If there is no time, then how could the past affect me? How could I be concerned about the future?
And if there is no time, there is no thought of separation. And if there is no thought of separation, then there is no body. And if there is no body, what is it that is reacting? What is it that I feel is making me react? So it is always important that we not deny the earthly sounds and that we not deny what the world tells us, but we listen to it as I say, “with a grain of salt.” We listen to it with a sweet smile that is tucked away that understands—even though we are tempted to believe it—understands that what we are thinking and what we are feeling and what we are experiencing is not the truth.
We all know when the slightest thing upsets us, whether it is a news story, whether it is something within our personal world, whether it is something within our own bodies or bodies of our loved ones, our immediate thought goes to what did this? Or who did this, or why did they do it, or this is why I am upset. And it is just not true. Once again, if there is no world out there, how could what is not out there have an effect on me? It’s only my own thought system that has an effect on me. So when Jesus tells us “Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear,” that is what he is talking about. What I am accustomed to is what the world has told me. And, of course, the world has told me what I have told it to tell me, and I conveniently forget that I told it. And when I speak about the “I,” I am not speaking about this person who is standing in front of you, I am talking about the mind. This is the only thing the Course is ever talking about…the mind.
So you have all heard me say also many times, the only two workbook lessons you need to focus on are Lessons 5 and 34, “I am never upset for the reason I think,” and “I could see peace instead of this.” It simplifies everything. I am not saying you should not do the workbook, but when you are all done doing the workbook like a good little boy and a good little girl, then focus on 5 and 34, every single moment of every day when you are tempted to be upset. “I am never upset for the reason I think.” The earthly sounds that we are asked to quiet and to still, the earthly sounds are the sounds that tell us something out there is impinging on me. And when we let that happen, when we feel that way it is always because, again, our mind made a decision to preserve its identity. That is what it is.
So how could the Holy Christ be born again in me today? What I am saying is what I want to be born again in me today is myself, my ego self, my separated self, which then becomes very quickly my guilty self, my angry self, my victimized self, my happy self. But it all comes down to my mind’s decision to preserve this ego identity and rather than accept responsibility for that decision, I say the reason my identity is the way it is is because.....and we all have a long, long list of because’s that begin at birth, that begin while our mother is carrying us in her womb. It begins with our past lives. It begins wherever you want to begin it with, but it is always something out there that is doing this to me. So when we are asked again to let earthly sounds be quiet, the earthly sounds are the sounds that tell us the dream is dreaming us instead of our being the dreamer of the dream that is dreaming us.
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