12. The Serpent's Teeth
The serpent is referred to in the Word in the present tense. It doesn't say the serpent "deceived" the world, it says the serpent "deceives" the world. The serpent, or snake, is that part of us that believes in the external world; that the external world causes our anger, the external situation causes our frustration, and that the problems are in the external world. The snake tries to convince us that those appearances are true. The snake has two big front fangs, and they are called love of self and love of the world. That's what I call them, and underneath these fangs he also has two other teeth, which he uses to hold his victim down, and they are called blame and criticism. If you'll notice, that relates to neighbors.
The Lord said we should love our neighbor as our self, but that's hard to do if we are blaming and criticizing him or her constantly. We need to yank the bottom teeth out of the serpent. All you have to do is give up all blame and criticism.
They tell people who do montras and meditation, to do this: as soon as you find you aren't meditating, meditate. Or to stop internal dialogue: every time you are having one inside yourself, just stop it. Pretty soon you find you have it again. Just stop it again. You don't get upset. You don't get anxious. You just stop. Then you'll find you have it again because you forgot about it, and as soon as you realize that, you stop it again.
As soon as you realize you are doing internal criticizing or blaming someone, you stop it. If you don't realize you're doing it, of course you can't stop it. If you realize you have done it, don't feel bad about that! But when you realize you are doing it, internally stop thought. Stop that dialogue - the one gabbing on in your head - dead in its tracks for as long as you remember to stop it. As soon as you forget, well, then you can't stop it, can you? As soon as you realize you forgot - you stop it again. It is simple and you are curbing internal blame and criticism.
I saw a play last night. You could say good things about the play; you could say bad things about the play. You could say good things about the costumes; you could say bad things. You could say good things about the lights; you could say bad things. I went to a church supper. I sat down with some people. The comment was the meat was tough. Well, that was true. The meat was tough. There's lots of other things they could have said. That is a speck in the eye that shuts out the entire universe! One little speck that shuts out the entire universe. It's criticism. If you can see the amount of effort people go to to do good things in this world and all they get is criticism, it will amaze you. These are not people committing crimes. These are not people raping, killing or plundering. They are taking their time to put on a church supper and what do they get? "The meat's tough." If you observe criticism you will find there is a speck of dust that is blocking out the entire universe of the Lord's love coming through to you from other people. So, observe your criticism and you'll see when He talks about removing the plank from your eye why He wants it out of there. Then you'll see clearly.
You might read in the paper that someone was grabbed off the street, taken into a back alley, tied up, handcuffed, and when they were totally helpless, they were abused and assaulted in various ways. Perhaps they were tortured and that might disgust you. Imagine getting someone in a helpless state and then doing that sort of thing to them! That is repulsive.
Well, the Work says that when you drag someone out of the external world into your head, and you start to beat them in arguments that they could never win in person or you're telling them off like you'd never tell them off, or you talk about them or abuse them, make yourself better and them worse, in a you-win-they-lose situation inside your head, that's what you are doing. You're taking someone into an alley of your mind where they are totally helpless, and then you abuse them, assault them and take advantage and do whatever you want with them. Of course in the internal world, you're really doing that! But the serpent tells us since it's not happening in the external world, we don't need to worry about it. We think it's okay. We think at least we are not the kind of person that would talk behind someone's back, or that would really assault anybody. And as long as the serpent has our attention out here, we believe that is true. The belief in the illusion that the external world is where it's at, believing the serpent, is the beginning of man's fall.
So blame and criticism are these two teeth. When you find yourself making internal negative pictures or having an internal dialogue blaming and criticizing people, you can be sure that the serpent, love of self and love of the world, has pinned somebody against your bottom teeth of blame and criticism. You have someone held there without good cause, so watch it!
Give up all blame and criticism of the neighbor for one week. When you experience criticizing, just drop it. See what impact this task has on your relation to the person you were criticizing. You may catch yourself right in the middle of saying something critical about someone. Don't worry about appearing silly - just drop it.