Lesson 1: Cooperation
- Becoming Aware of God Through Cooperation
- Know Your Role – Be a Team Player
- When Clashes Arise
- Gods In The Making
Becoming Aware of God Through Cooperation
We will be better husbands, better wives, better neighbors, and better friends. The little world in which we live will be happier for our being a part of it. (ASFG)
In our daily walk of life let us take stock of our thoughts and acts, for cooperation is the offering of self to be a channel of activity, of thought. (ASFG)
As we enter into meditation, let us visualize the force of harmony and love in action. (ASFG)
God is within each of us. How we treat others is how we treat God. All the great spiritual traditions are in agreement on this point.
Experiencing true cooperation – that is, the feeling of cooperation as a state of being – is the experience of knowing God. There comes a sense of inner peace in the knowledge that we have done our best to manifest a spirit of cooperation in our actions with others.
You will find yourself to be a better husband or wife, parent or child; a better friend or neighbor, a better work associate and citizen. In short, you will have made the world a better place.
As you reflect on this experience of unity, you will gradually become more aware of the interconnection of all of life and the oneness that is God. Thus begins the journey – starting wherever you are – with the people that are nearest to you – and the activities that make up your daily life. The search for God begins there – in cooperation.
Application: Where do you choose to meet God in cooperation with others? Identify one or more current relationships where you feel you can easily achieve the ideal form of cooperation described in this lesson. For this particular exercise, do not attempt to resolve any long-term or deeply-troubled relationships. That will come later. For now, just focus on what you feel you can achieve. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Practice mindfulness (a form of meditation) as you interact with others. Use your daily mediation period to focus on cooperation. You will probably find room to grow, even in these optimal relationships.
Resources: Thy Will Be Done (Reply)
Know Your Role – Be a Team Player
To some are given to be teachers, to some are given to be healers, to some are given to be interpreters. Let each, then, do THEIR job and their part WELL, IN the manner as is given TO them, knowing – in the forces as manifest through them – they become, then, a light in THEIR own respective action and field of endeavor…. First let each prepare themselves and receive that as will be given unto each in THEIR RESPECTIVE sphere of development, of desire, of ability. The first LESSON – as has been given – learn what it means to cooperate in ONE mind, in GOD'S way … (262-1)
In the very first reading for the Norfolk Study Group, the individuals were told that learning to cooperate involves recognizing the role that each person can best fill to achieve the purpose of the group.
Some were best suited to be teachers – others healers … and so forth. That initial reading insisted that each person do THEIR job and play THEIR PART in THEIR field of endeavor. As the process sorted itself out, individuals became involved in specialties, while also still remaining part of the original Study Group.
Sometimes cooperation breaks down when individuals try to do things for which they are not well suited. For example, there may be a desire to be a leader based on the yearning for power or prestige, rather than any particular talent for leadership. Cayce’s readings frequently quoted Jesus in such cases: “The servant is the greatest of all” and "Thy will be done."
The lessons that follow will provide some tools for helping you to recognize your own unique talents and potential. For now, just be open to the opportunities that present themselves in your daily life – at home in family situations, at work, among coworkers and peers, or wherever you may be.
Application: Wherever you find yourself, look to be a team player that is willing to serve in whatever capacity or role for which you are best suited in making your unique contribution to the process.
When Clashes Arise
In each experience of the individuals gathered here, they – the individuals – have contacted various other individuals in experiences in life, some for weal, some for woe, as has been designated to each in those experiences where either development or retardment has been the portion of that individual experience. As these individuals, then, have contacted others, these have that karma, that experience to be worked out together for some definite purpose other than that of self-indulgence, self-gratification, or self- exaltation. (281-1)
(Q) Please explain why the healing group  has been unable to make its work clear to the study group? 
(A) Differences of opinions in the activities of individuals, or personality and individuality clashing over material points when the spiritual and mental should be the basis for all considerations….
(Q) Is it best that the healing group give up their readings that there may be more harmony in the study group?
(A) This depends upon the purpose of the healing group. Are they to be ruled or governed by individuals' ideas, or are they to be used in His service as HE would direct? (281-11)
From a spiritual perspective, cooperation is defined as losing sight of self and becoming a channel through which blessings may flow to others. But this does not mean that we allow ourselves to become a doormat for others just to avoid conflict. Even amongst the most sincere and well-intentioned people, honest differences of opinion, and personality conflicts, will occur. These are merely opportunities for spiritual awakening.
Actually the story of the Norfolk Study Group #1 provides an excellent case study in how to deal with clashes that can arise amongst individuals who are attempting to work together for a greater good. In the first reading given for the Glad Helpers healing group (a subgroup within the first ASFG study group), Cayce mentioned that the some of the individuals had shared reincarnational experiences – some for weal, some for woe … and that there was karma to be worked out together for some definite purpose, rather than for self-indulgence, self-gratification, or self-exaltation. These patterns surfaced less than a year later when members of the Glad Helpers healing group experienced a lack of cooperation with the main Study Group.
The clash of personalities reached the point where members of the healing group asked if they should give up receiving their own readings from Cayce to create more harmony with members of the general Study Group. The response from the entranced Cayce was itself a question: Are they to be ruled or governed by individual ideas or by their commitment to service? In other words, what was the purpose of the healing group? In essence, the readings advised that the healing group should not just lie down and be subservient to create harmony, but rather allow themselves to be led by their spiritual attunement.
This is where prayer and meditation really come into play in learning cooperation. By seeking guidance from the divine within ourselves, by sincerely pursuing solutions to problems that arise with others, by emptying ourselves of selfish motives, we do arrive at a cooperative state of consciousness that is open and receptive to the best outcome in a given situation. This is the meaning of "Thy will be done."
Regardless of the exact nature or source of the interpersonal problems that can arise in any human endeavor, the solution is essentially the same. True cooperation always involves the same pattern of setting aside selfish interests and seeking the will of God so as to “lose self in love and service to others”.
In this instance, the individuals in these groups worked out their differences and learned to cooperate. Both the Norfolk Study group #1 and the Glad Helpers prayer group laid a foundation for service that continues to this day.
Application: Identify at least one situation in your life in which you have (or have had) a clash with others. How does cooperation as defined in this lesson apply in your situation? How can you apply this understanding as you move forward? Be sure to do the first exercise in this lesson first, so that you can practice cooperation in a friendly environment and gain confidence in the process before tackling this more challenging level of cooperation.
Gods in the Making
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalm 82:6)
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (John 10:34)
Hence each entity then, in its entrance, is to fulfill that which has been given, "As ye do it unto the least of thy brethren, ye do it unto thy Maker." … For we all – and ye are as others – are gods in the making; not THE God, but gods in the making! For He would have thee be one with Him. (877-21)
Within each person there is a spark of the divine. While the Bible attests that we are as gods, Cayce’s readings qualify this startling assertion somewhat by noting that we are “gods in the making.” Not THE GOD – but gods in the making.
Thus when we look into the face of another individual, we are looking at god. The way we treat others is the way we treat god. Cooperation takes on another dimension when put into this divine context.
Application: When you interact with another person, awaken to the awareness of the divinity within that person. Become aware that you are looking at a God in the making – a work in progress, to be sure. Then let that consciousness reflect back upon yourself in the awareness of your own formative divinity as a child of God.