1 – Chosen Words
“Gradually, he learns how to let his words be chosen for him by ceasing to decide for himself what he will say. . . .Judge not the words that come to you, but offer them in confidence. (M54)”
2 – Holy Spirit
This passage explains that the Holy Spirit, if we listen with a keen ear, will indicate to us what to say. This is not necessarily in a “voice,” but internally we have an indication of what to say. We can misinterpret, especially if we are confused or mentally unstable, but if we are of sound mind, very soon we will be able to distinguish what is the Holy Spirit and what is not.
3 – Many Ways
There are many ways that the Holy Spirit reaches us: words spoken by a brother or sister that seem especially pertinent to our situation and cue us to words or behavior; a “feeling” that we should (or should not) say or do a certain thing; dreams; in rare cases, visions or hallucinations. Sometimes words may come into our minds that seem a bit beyond us; we did not actually choose to “think” those things. That is likely to be the Holy Spirit’s communication.
4 – Diligence
If we are diligent in following, the guidance will continue. If we resist, the guidance will seem to cease until we are more willing. The Holy Spirit does not force Himself upon anyone. We receive best when we are in a relaxed manner and mood. Tension may break the connection, because it makes us unsure of ourselves. If we persist, the time will come shortly that we can be certain of the Holy Spirit’s communication. But because God deals with all of us differently, depending upon what we are ready to accept, there can be no firm guidelines that fit everyone.
5 – A Special Case
“This process is merely a special case of the lesson in the workbook that says, ‘I will step back and let Him lead the way.’ The teacher of God accepts the words which are offered him, and gives as he receives. He does not control the direction of his speaking. He listens and hears and speaks. (M54)
6 – Intuition
This section of the Manual offers a way of understanding our intuition that is hard to follow when we are stressed or in a bad mood. Our overwrought nature will make us doubt whether or not we actually hear anything at all, certainly anything at all that is relevant or accurate.
7 – Overwrought
When we are overwrought, the best thing to do is go within, to quiet one’s self. The little self, the personal self, is what needs quieting, for the Christ Self is always calm. We won’t know where to turn when we are in the throes of a deepening mood. We will wonder if anything that we perceive is accurate. And getting quiet will put us back into flow. Flow is when the day just moves along peacefully and gently; we are busy, but not too busy; we are calm and at peace in the midst of chaos, even.
8 – Hear Internally
If we hear internally words that we believe are those of the Holy Spirit, this passage indicates that we ought to offer those words to whomever we are with. These words may make us uncomfortable, but they will not hurt. If they seem to be hurtful words, then we are misperceiving, the Holy Spirit is not talking, but the ego is.
9 – Discernment
Listen to the Holy Spirit, but discern whether or not our inclination to talk is divinely inspired, or otherwise. Don’t speak if uncertain. Wait until we are sure.
10 – Hindrance
“A major hindrance in this aspect of his learning is the teacher of God’s fear about the validity of what he hears. And what he hears may indeed be quite startling. (M54)”
11 – Uncomfortable
This aspect of “hearing” means that we may find ourselves confronted with divinely inspired words that go against the grain. It may make us feel uncomfortable or ill at ease. We may doubt whether or not God is really with us. I would say that we must refrain from speaking if we have doubts. We will know the change when we switch out of egoic mood and into the flow that only the Holy Spirit can inspire.
12 – Easier Later On
This discernment becomes easier as we walk further along our pathway toward Awakening. The Society of Friends (Quakers) talk often about “discernment,” and this aspect of their faith is what I want to hold out to you now. We do not willy-nilly offer up anything that occurs to us to say. That would be very detrimental to our hearer. We calmly and peacefully wait until we are sure that the words that we hear internally are meant to be said. The Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts when we are confused. We do not have to doubt that God will get through to us.
13 – Irrelevance
“It may also seem to be quite irrelevant to the presented problem as he perceives it, and may, in fact, confront the teacher with a situation that appears to be very embarrassing to him. All these are judgments that have no value. They are his own, coming from a shabby self-perception which he would leave behind. (M54)”
14 – Embarrassment
This is the embarrassment passage that so many find puzzling and contraindicated. We do not want to be embarrassed. But let us consider the words of Jesus here, the fact that he is pointing out that we actually have a “shabby self-perception” which he would remove from us.
15 – Speak Out
Don’t hesitate to speak out, even though we think that we will appear foolish. Make sure that it is divine guidance, and when you are sure, offer those words that come to you. You will find a quick acceptance on the part of your hearers. You will quickly be assured that the Holy Spirit is directing your speaking.
16 – Judge Not
“Judge not the words that come to you, but offer them in confidence. They are far wiser than your own. (M54)”
17 – Judging Rightly
So even here we don’t “judge,” for to judge is to be mistaken. Only the Holy Spirit judges rightly.
18 – God’s Word
“God’s teachers have God’s Word behind their symbols. And He Himself gives to the words they use the power of His Spirit, raising them from meaningless symbols to the Call of Heaven itself. (M54)”
19 – Listening
We will find a following among those who listen to us, if we listen aright. We will find that our words will take on new meaning, even to ourselves. We will grow strong in confidence, certain of the Holy Spirit’s entries into our lives.
20 – Authority
And our words will have an authority that our personal, little self has never known. We will speak with a candidness and a certainty that known no bounds.
God will be pleased with us. Take care that the ego does not attach itself to this new found confidence, and all will be well.
May I always hear the words correctly that you wish me to say. May I not doubt, and may I not make mistakes in speaking what You will. May I not be confused in my thinking.
Your guidance is sure. When I doubt, perhaps I am still relying on the ego. May I not rely on the ego today.