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Well, Caesar is daily life. Caesar is the separate self operating in the world with other people. What we need to give to Caesar is the best education we can find, the most responsible behavior we can have. That if we’re architects, we design well, they’re engineers, we build things that can endure, and if we’re physicians that we keep learning our craft, keep helping the technology advance. Like the technology that’s repaired my back. It’s so far ahead of the kind of technology that was available when I was a young doctor 40 years ago. So giving unto Caesar is not somehow profane or unimportant. It is important, it’s really important.
But what does it mean to give unto God what is God’s? And there, I think we’re coming to something that’s really fascinating to contemplate. I think what we give to God is ourselves. That when I recognize, for example, that a controlling part of my ego dynamic is present, and having seen it and knowing what it does and knowing the tightness it creates in me and knowing the rigidity it creates in my relationships, I see it.
And what lets me see it is this incredible mystery of consciousness. This aware part of me that is separate from identification with my ego. But it couldn’t come into existence if I didn’t have a sense of separate self, which is constantly living in the world of Caesar. But this aware self that sees a dynamic that makes me smaller or makes me controlling or makes me resist life or say no to life, that blocks me from being able to say yes to life. And I let that go.
It’s like I let it be digested, like a cloud that forms from nowhere and takes a shape, and if you watch it, eventually it will disappear and go to no place. This dynamic in me of control, or this dynamic in me of criticism, or this dynamic in me of resistance or rebellion or pleasing, in any of us, these dynamics, as we see them, we give them away. And in that way, we give away who we are not back to the source from where we come.
We digest ourselves. We digest ourselves through awareness. We have to digest the idea that my religion separates me from another religion. That’s just a belief. We need to digest the idea that because we live in one part of the planet, we are separate from people who live in another part of the planet. Think of this planet, floating in space. And now with our best telescopes, we know there’s nothing like it, nothing like it whatsoever, for millions of light years in any direction. And we’re hunting and hunting for planets, and we’re wondering, will life– can life exist on these planets as we discover them? And if life could exist, could consciousness come in and grow?
And here we are on this planet, so completely in conflict over me. The sense of separate self. And yet that separate itself doesn’t– can’t exist or can’t be seen without a deeper consciousness, which we sometimes talk about as God. So let’s give back to that deeper consciousness the smaller parts of ourselves, and rest into– digest ourselves. Surrender ourselves. See who we become.
What is it that’s here when I’m not identified with my doer or my perfectionist. When I’m not separating myself because I live in this country, and I name myself through my nationality, or I have been brought up in this religion and identify myself with this religion. See, God doesn’t give us religion. He gives us an opportunity to give away identification with religion.
To give to Caesar what is Caesar’s would be to stand up in a religion, in a belief system, in a political ideology, and fight to maintain my identity through that. That’s the worst of giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. But when you realize that the consciousness of your religion transcends your religion, that the consciousness of your politics transcends your politics, that the consciousness of your location transcends your location, and your give up identification with those things, you give back to the mystery, to the limitless consciousness, to God, these little pieces of yourself which are not real. Not the true self. That’s how we give back to God what is God’s.
Richard talks about the complementary path: On the one hand excellence in our self-expression in daily life and on the other the gradual release of self-identification so that we become vehicles for the transmission of love.