I want to thank you for your many letters. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to this group that you would share with us your wonderful experiences. So tonight, I will take one and then tell you two or three of my own to add to the interpretation of it.
As you know if you come here often, we are here for one purpose: to fulfill God’s word, which word is scripture. We simply fulfill scripture. Oh, we can accomplish everything we want to, really, in this world, but the purpose in life is to fulfill the word of God. As we are told, “My word shall not return unto me void. It must accomplish that which I purposed and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11). Well, we are that word and so we fulfill the entire book.
Now a lady wrote this letter, which she gave me on Friday night. She said, “Recently I’ve been having great difficulty in bringing back to memory my dreams, but this one was the most difficult thing I have ever encountered. I knew that I had to surface, and it seemed like an endless depth of utter darkness through which I came, having had the experience… I am holding onto the memory image of what I had experienced, because I felt I must bring it back and tell it to you. I knew that if I would let it go, let the memory of it go, I would quickly surface and find myself in my body lying on the bed. But I said, no, I must hold onto the memory of what has just happened. And so holding onto the memory, I seemed to be like a diver who simply plunged too, too deep, and I thought I could never make the surface. Through this utter darkness I am coming and I wondered if I would ever make it.”
This is the experience. She said, “I stood before Jerusalem’s gates, these enormous wooden gates, and naturally the high, high walls. I was thrilled beyond measure as I stood there before Jerusalem’s gates, and my thrill turned to chagrin when I realized that they were closed. Then suddenly I found myself on a very high hill clothed in a body of light. The light radiated from me in all directions. It seemed that the light was life-giving. I animated things, I gave life to things. It just simply radiated from me. It illuminated a part of a certain far distant structure of earth, and then in the distance I saw the whole earth and its curvature, as though I stood in space in some spaceship. The whole thing was curved, the whole earth. I’m looking on it and I’m radiant light giving life to objects. And I knew that I could rearrange all the things that I saw if I so desired, but I also knew that everything was ordered and as it should be. Then I said, now I must get back and tell this to Neville…and then the struggle began. I thought I would never make it. When I came back, there must have been a certain reluctance on my part to return; on the other hand, I am glad I did it because now I feel that I do not wish to depart this life until I have experienced the descent of the dove. But I knew I need not have returned…and yet everything was ordered, but everything.” And here she stood at the gates of Jerusalem.
Now, in a book called Looking at Modern Painting there is a chapter on Max Beckmann, who is a modern artist who does symbolic art. In this he said, “I awoke and yet continued dreaming, and I saw William Blake, that noble emanation of English genius. He looked like some super-terrestrial patriarch and he waved friendly greetings. And then he said to me, ‘Do not let yourself be intimidated by the horror of the world. Everything is ordered and correct and must fulfill its destiny in order to attain perfection. Seek this path and you will attain from your own ego a deeper perception of the eternal beauty of creation. You will attain an ever increasing release from that which now sees to you sad or terrible.’” Then he finally awoke now from this state and here was William Blake telling him of the order, of the perfection of everything, and he has to experience it. It was in keeping with her experience. Everything seemed ordered and as it should be, although she knew that if she desired she could rearrange the order. But why… when everything is ordered and perfect and as it should be only for man to experience it?
Now let me give you an experience of mine that happened when I was in my twenties. This night I found myself in the presence of two. Above me, the most heavenly, beautiful woman that man could ever conceive. Everything that man could ever conceive in that of woman here was the personification of it. And below me, everything that was horrible, a hairy, monstrous thing that would resemble if I would take any animal on earth it would be an ape or a gorilla or a combination of the two. The hair was brown…it was completely covered in hair as a gorilla. I looked at this heavenly creature, and then I heard this guttural voice coming from this beast and the animal said “Mother.” Well, I lost my temper and I pummeled it…that it would dare to call this beautiful creature its parent. But it gloated on violence, and as I beat it, it seemed to grow. It thrived on violence. I kept on pummeling it and it kept on growing in strength as I did to it such violent acts.
Then I realized that this was my creation and so is this beautiful creature. They’re my emanations. Here is the embodiment of every evil that I’ve ever done, all the violence of mine; and here is the personification of every noble, lovely, kind deed that I have ever done. And now they both confront me. I turn from the noble being to this monstrous creature. There was no one present with whom I could make some contract, and so I swore by myself—in fulfillment of scripture, the 22nd chapter of Genesis—I took my vow to myself that if it took me to eternity I would redeem this monster (verse 16). And as I resolved to redeem the monster, regardless of the length of time it would take me, before my eyes it melted, dissolved, as though some heat had been placed to it. It got smaller and smaller and left not one little spot that it had ever existed. But as it dissolved, all the misused energy that went into the shaping of that monster returned to me, and I’ve never felt so powerful. I felt like infinite might as this misused energy was returned to me. It was not lost; it was simply held there in this horrible shape to confront me at a moment in time as I travel the path. So this night, I came upon this on the threshold of my motion into this new state. I was in my twenties. And as it dissolved and the energy came to me, this radiant creature glowed and glowed, almost like the sun in radiance. Then I woke. Here was this creature and here was this monstrous thing.
Now let us take from scripture these two. We are told in the Book of Mark, the 8th chapter, when the blind man’s eye was opened he was asked “What do you see, if anything?” and he replied, “I see men as trees, walking” (verse 24). I see men as trees walking. Now in the 4th chapter of the Book of Daniel, the king has a vision and as he lay on his bed, here came the vision of the night. A watcher came down from heaven, a holy one, and gave the command “Hew the tree down” (verse 14). It’s the tree of life as we are told in previous verses of the same chapter. For this tree fed all the world. It housed the birds of the air, it sheltered the animals, and gave food to all flesh. Here comes the command now to “hew down the tree, cut off its branches, strip the leaves, scatter its fruit, but leave the stump of the root in tact in the earth. And let him”—now it changes the pronoun—“let him be watered with the dew of heaven; let him now make his abode with the beasts of the fi eld; let him now be taken so that the mind of a man is taken from him and the mind of a beast be given to him; and let seven times pass over him until he learns that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (verses 10-17). So in the creation of both this wonderful being and this monstrous being, I wore the heart and the mind of a beast, as we all do, couched in these garments of flesh. We all do…this is an animal body.
But here, it was a tree that was felled, and yet it becomes man. It was the tree of life. This lady, in her experience, she experienced the tree of life—it radiated and gave life to every object that it touched. But she stood at the gates of Jerusalem and they were locked and she couldn’t get in, because you can’t go through those doors. There’s only one way into that citadel, only one way into Zion, only one way into the city of God, called Jerusalem, and it’s up the water shaft as told us in the 5th chapter of 2nd Samuel (verses 6-10). And David captured the city of Zion by moving up the water shaft, and he built from the outer inward and yet upward at the same time. Well, the only way I could ever build from the out in and move up at the same time is to build in a spiral. I enter the city of God by a spiral act, right up [points to head], for this is the city of God and this is Zion. I move up my spine, that’s how I go up.
Man is the fallen tree. Have you ever seen pictures in drugstores or in medical books of man with his skin off and the entire nervous system and his circulating system exposed…all the veins, all the arteries, all the nerves revealed? The skin is removed but the man remains. Isn’t that an inverted tree rooted in the brain? Well now, this tree has to turn up. It does not turn up until you go up the water shaft. Then man, who is now down in generation where all of his power is towards generation in this world— sex in the extreme sense—then he is lifted up. When he is lifted which is called the resurrection he enters the world or regeneration, where he creates just as this lady who wrote the letter created. You create not on a divided image; you animate forms with the power that comes out of you. You are life itself, life within you, not going down into generation but moving up into regeneration; for man in the resurrection is above the organization of sex (Luke 20:35). He creates without a divided image and all of his energies are fl owing up.
So when men do violence to themselves to bring it about, it’s stupid. There are men who will take the vow of celibacy and there are women who take the vow of celibacy. There are men…you go back into the early church, Origen, possibly the most influential early father of the Christian faith, who lived in the 2nd Century. Possibly next to Augustine he is the most influential. He castrated himself in the hope that he could produce it. You can’t produce it, not by any physical violence to yourself. Not a thing you can do until you are turned around. And it’s done by that violent act where you are split in two from top to bottom. When that body of yours is split in two and you see that golden liquid light that went into generation, and you fuse with it, as you behold it, up you go…as David entered the city of God. And there you are. No one can come through that gate for the entrance in is up the water shaft. So she saw it perfectly when she saw herself locked on the outside before the wooden gates. But that is only a foreshadowing of that which is in store for her. For she saw it and she saw the power that is hers, she saw what really is her future. But she will enter up the water shaft.
Now, we are told in Revelation, “And I beheld this new Jerusalem, the city of God, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev.21:2). Well, “Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name” (Is. 54:5). You are the Maker, and you create this beautiful creature out of every noble act that you’ve ever done. She is my emanation, yet my wife ’til the sleep of death is past (Blake). And here is the monstrous thing that is unseen all through one’s life until that moment in time when he reaches the threshold and he has to make the decision, will you redeem this energy or not? So he confronts and she confronts you. This is infinite good and that’s permanent; and this is evil, the embodiment of every unlovely, violent thing one has ever done. And may I tell you, everyone has one, everyone, because he feeds only on violence, and whispers into your ear morning and night to violate everything that you would think lovely. We think we are hiding it. It is fattening itself and growing stronger and stronger on it, on every violation of our conscience. For we know, every one of us knows, and not one can just simply say, well, I didn’t know. He thinks no one sees me—the 37th chapter of the Book of Ezekiel—and so they went into their chambers and they said, no one sees me, God doesn’t see me, there is no God to see me (Ezek. 8:12). But I am the God I think that does not see me and I am seeing it and I am doing it. It’s not another God; there is no other God. So God is housed within you. And in this plunge that he took when the tree was felled, he put upon himself the garment of an animal, with the mind of an animal, the heart of an animal, and here he wears it.
Now let me share with you this experience of the tree, the walking tree. Man thinks he’s going to find it on the outside. Well, Blake in his wonderful vision said, and this is from the Songs of Experience…as a friend of mine asked me the other night, this is from the Songs of Experience, the Human Abstract. It’s the last verse: “The gods of the earth and sea sought through Nature to find this tree, but their search was all I vain, there grows one in the human brain.” Now this night I would say fifteen, sixteen years ago, I saw this wonderful forest and I saw these men walking like stags. They were men but such majesty—antlers, beautiful antlers that would go out of sight, and yet a man carried it. Then I saw a man, he was the third in the Labor government of England, a very controversial figure. He’s gone now…in fact the three of them are gone: Atlee is gone, Bevin is gone and he is gone. He was a Welshman and he tried to completely change the whole structure of the economy of England. He disliked heartily the aristocracy; he disliked anything that was to him noble, anything that had wealth. He tried to nationalize all the industries. Well, they really broke England. I wouldn’t say nearly broke them, they broke them. Put steel, coal, all these things into the national setup.
Well, I saw him, and he took a tree from the outside and he put it on his head; and he knew from some tradition that with such power you could take off. Well, he got on a hill…wasn’t too high, the height of this…and he jumped and fell fl at on his face. He got up again, put the thing back on, went back up the hill, jumped again, fl at on his face. He tried to put it on from without, just as the whole vast world is trying to do, by shelling billions into this and billions into that and not changing man. Like someone coming to your home with tar on this hands, filled with tar, and he offers to help you clean the house. I, with unclean hands, would make things clean. That’s exactly what the whole thing is about. Unless I change the structure of the thinking of a man I can’t change his world. I can give him from now to the ends of time everything that I have, and when I stop giving to him he’s going to criticize me for stopping, and will not be grateful for anything I gave in the interval. He’ll be completely forgetful of anything I gave him. He will simply stop his so-called gratitude which was nothing more than thought the day I stop the giving…as happens to nations. You stop today…we’ve just cut our gifts to the outer world thirty-seven percent. You watch the howl in the world press. If you couldn’t keep it up, why did you start it? That’s what they’re going to tell us. And we think we’re going to change the outer world by giving from the outside…and you can’t do it.
I saw this vision so perfectly. He was the one most instrumental in changing the economy of England, because he hated the aristocracy, he hated the wealthy; he hated anything that he thought superior to himself scholastically. He hated Churchill, because when they got into Commons— they both were able speakers—but Churchill was a master of the English tongue. Churchill could take the three of them and twist them around a finger. Here was Atlee, he was Prime Minister who got the vote when Churchill at the end of the war lost it to Atlee. And that lovely statement he said to Atlee that “Atlee was a very, very modest man and has much to be modest about.” Well, I mean, how are you going to argue with men like that? So when this man got up before Churchill, he made a monkey out of him, and he hated him all the more for using his talent of words to make him feel even smaller than he felt inwardly. And he’s going to change the entire structure of England on the outside. He hated the power of this land. Although we put them back on their feet, he hated us just because we were the power.
Well, I told you I saw it in vision. He put the thing on his head, a huge big tree, got on the hill, and jumped, fell flat, flat on his face. Didn’t believe that, so got back again, because someone must have told him this power will lift you up and you can go to the highest mountain. But it didn’t come from within. So “The gods of the earth and sea sought through Nature to find this tree, but their search was all in vain, there grows one in the human brain.” It doesn’t begin to turn up until the body is split, and then you are turned around, and the energies that went into generation are now turned into regeneration. And you leave everyone alone. You don’t tell them to emasculate themselves or to sign the vows of celibacy that means nothing! You could be a celibate from now to the ends of time and dream of sex all day long, and actually have nothing more than a cesspool for a mind. Every lovely girl and every lovely boy who go toward the altar for marriage, they condemn them and say the off spring is sin. Of all the nonsense in the world! Then you ask them concerning their own father and mother, “So you are now simply the off spring of a sinful act? In other words, you are the embodiment of sin.” Of course they’ll go into hysterics if you tell them that.
So I tell you, you can’t bottle it up. It’s an energy that is natural as it’s turned down. And when you least expect it, that body of yours is going to be split and then the energy will turn up. May I tell you, there is no loss. On this level you think it is a terrible loss if such a day would ever come. There are men…well, in the 1st World War someone brought out the idea of monkey glands. The men who led the Allies in battle, like Clemenceau and Lloyd George and all these old men, who were then pushing eighty or so, and they were subjecting themselves to transplants of monkey glands. No wonder we lost millions of men while these old monkeys played their part. So they sent the men into battle…so what, it’s the other fellow who will die. Th at story they tell of our general…and here he is, this wonderful general who led our armies, and two sergeants are at the door, and they overhear the conversation, because like all people they think servants and underlings have no ears. At a lovely dinner party they treat the servants as though they are complete morons that can’t hear, and they will discuss anything. The most intimate things in the presence of servants, because they can’t hear or see or in any way know what is going on. Well, the generals are discussing the taking of a certain hill, and our general said to the others, “It’s going to cost me 10.000 men to take that hill, but I’ll take it!” And one sergeant said to the other, “The general is a generous son of bitch, isn’t he!”
It’s going to cost him 10,000 men to take it but he’ll take it. And so when he finally dies at the age of eighty-odd, we give him the most wonderful sendoff, this marvelous funeral…and there he is with all the palaver. One day he has to face the monster. Everyone must face the monster that they have created; and everyone will see the ideal, because no one is void of such lovely thoughts, no one. When you loved your mother, before you could even reason, all of that went into this ideal. When you gave not because you had to but when you gave because you wanted to, all of that went into this ideal.
I have a friend of mine and when she died, Kathleen Norris wrote her husband and she said, “You know I have known Clarissa since we were girls in San Francisco and I have never known a more giving person.” Now Clarissa did not have money—she had modest means—but this is what she meant. She said, “She never wrote me a letter but what she enclosed a recipe, a poem, a clipping from a paper, a handkerchief, something she enclosed. ‘I found this recipe and I tried it out and it’s delightful…I want to share it with you.’” And so she would send the recipe, she would send a poem, she would send anything she saw in the papers or a magazine to Kathleen Norris, and she said, “There was the true giver of this world. Don’t wait for Christmas to give and hope that they’ll give you as generous a gift as you gave. That’s what most people are going to do this Christmas. But you give all through the year.
A friend of mine died suddenly Saturday…my oldest friend in California. Met him the first day I arrived…minus my friend, Ursala, for I knew her in New York. But outside of Ursala…I met him the first day I got off the train in San Francisco. He was only fifty-three. Now there was a giver! He had so little and all day long he was giving, giving, giving to everyone. I couldn’t request anything, I was embarrassed, I wouldn’t voice anything in his presence. He made a mental note and it came not on an occasion like birthdays or Christmas or things of that sort but anytime. Bring it to the door and he said, “A care package.” Always some little joke. Well, he was up all week, he was home for dinner the week before, talked to him the night before…a massive heart attack and Mort is gone on Saturday.
Well now, there was a giver. What ideal new Jerusalem he so far has built. He hasn’t confronted the other. But he will make that decision, everyone will make it, because you are the God who created it. And what man has made he can unmake. Anything that is made can be unmade. God is not made so that it cannot be unmade. God in man cannot be unmade, because he isn’t made. But he’s the maker. He makes his new Jerusalem, his emanation yet his wife ’til the sleep of death is past; but he also makes this hell by his mistaken use of energies. It’s all energy, all power. And so, one day he confronts the two. He turns to this on his left and he stops heating it and pledges himself, no one else, just himself, “I’ll redeem it if it takes eternity.” But it doesn’t take eternity. Right before his eyes, the whole thing before his eyes dissolves. It doesn’t take more than a matter of moments. The whole thing simply gets smaller and smaller and right before his eyes the whole thing dissolves. And all the energy that it embodied returns to him and he’s infinitely stronger now. That same energy is back now to use wisely, lovingly.
So any time you use your Imagination lovingly on behalf of another into the glorious ideal, the new Jerusalem you are building. And one day she will descend, prepared as a bride, she’s a bride. You’re building her out of your noble thoughts. That’s why I said to live so that your mind can store a past worthy of recall, for the mind whose contents vanish suffers loss, though he himself cannot be lost, but only through fire will he simply awaken. So, live so that all noble thoughts…you can always recall them with joy. But one day, in the twinkle of an eye, you’re going to confront this monster. He’s ever present, may I tell you, some act of violence that he may eat. He can’t eat otherwise, he can’t feed on anything but violence, can’t feed on anything but hate, anything but horror. He is the embodiment of all that and he can’t feed on anything but. So every violent act fattens him, strengthens him, and every noble act beautifies her. And that’s your life.
So, the lady who wrote that perfectly marvelous experience, may I tell you, thank you more than you’ll ever know for sharing it with me. You saw the perfect vision; you saw the beautiful imagery of Jerusalem. But the city is a bride, an emanation of beauty that returns, and you become one, and you are infinitely greater as a result of that union. So you emanate both. You dissolve this and the energy returns to you; and you wed this, not as two but as one. You leave all and cleave to her and you become one being; and so you’re enhanced in beauty, enhanced in love, enhanced in wisdom, enhanced in power by reason of the journey through here. Even though you did in your mistaken judgment create something…but it wasn’t lost, you dissolved it and it came back as energy. Then you unite with this ideal and you’re one.
So do no violence to these bodies of yours in the hope of entering Jerusalem. See, she went beyond it. She’s locked out, she couldn’t get in, and then she finally finds herself on a hill, clothed in a body of light. The light is radiating and the light is life. She’s animating and giving life to every object; and she knows she can change the order of a thing she sees, but also knows in the depth of her soul it is perfectly ordered and should be as it is. Now, how to get back and tell this to Neville? So she comes back to tell it to me and struggles through the darkness…limitless depths of utter darkness as she comes to the surface, struggling. Now, she said, “I have been out of my body many times before and seen my body sitting on the chair from which I have departed, but it was no problem in getting back, I was instantly back. But I knew in returning here to the surface if I could only let go the memory of the experience, I’ll go back instantly. But I said no, I must take it back and tell it to Neville. So the struggle to bring back the memory of the experience took me this seeming forever to come through the darkness to tell you.”
It’s a perfect vision, the imagery is perfect: the walls of Jerusalem. As Blake said, “I give you the end of a golden string, only wind it into ball; it will lead you in at heaven’s gate, built in Jerusalem’s wall.” That’s not the gate. The gate is up the shaft that takes you into the citadel where the king dwells. When you go in, you are he. Then all the blind and the lame that kept you out before are destroyed. They’re not blind people or lame people, but these so-called weak forces were so powerful when you didn’t find the way in and they kept you out while you struggled to find you couldn’t go through the door.
So the tree spoken of is man. Man is the tree. I have seen them walking. I told it to a friend of mine in San Francisco…she was present. She came to see me at the Palace Hotel and while waiting for me in the lobby, she said as I came through the door…if you know the Palace, it’s a very…maybe three or four stories, the entrance the ceiling, very tall and perfectly beautiful, especially when you go into the restaurant, that wonderful Palm Court. She was waiting for me there. Now she said, “Neville, I can’t explain it, because here you’re only fi ve foot, eleven inches and even as tall as the ceiling is, and it’s three stories tall, it couldn’t contain what I saw when you came through that door. I thought I was seeing a stag with antlers reaching up to the sky. They were like antlers.” Now she didn’t describe them in her vision as antlers. She described them in her vision, in her letter to me, as radiations from every part of her body, making everything alive. But my friend the artist saw this and drew me a picture of it, keeping the same suit as I wore then and then this something coming out, just like a stag in complete bloom with his antlers but going beyond the ceiling. Now she said, “How could you come through that revolving door and still wear these antlers? Yet that’s what I saw.” It’s not of this world.
So when I told that story, not her story, but told my experience with this vision of mine of that third in importance in the Labor party in England, one lady said, “Of course, Neville, I think you’re going all out now. I mean, this is getting too far. You’re turning my daily bread into the substance of fairy.” So I don’t think she ever came back. She didn’t want me to discuss such things because it disturbed her. If I could give her some little tiny technique concerning tomorrow and how to treat the one she disliked in the office. Well, you can do that too. I do that, I don’t omit that, but that’s not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to fulfill the word of God: “My word shall not return unto me void; it must accomplish that which I purpose and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11). And so, I’ve sent you the word; that is, you sent yourself, because the Father is in you, and he is playing the part. But he did cut himself down and laving just the trunk, just the roots. And let now the dew of heaven water him, put bands of iron around him, and then he will grow and reach the skies, reach the heavens. And the birds will come—this time it is a better stronger tree—and they will nest in the tree, and the fruit will be for all nations, all flesh, and shade everything that lives. That’s what we are told in Daniel. And you are the tree; you are the tree of life.
Now, these things were given to me the other night, on Friday night… so fast. I had about five or six of them, and I was trying to say something to two friends, who are not here tonight, they’re off to meet their daughter flying in from New York, and I’m not quite sure which lady it was. If you’re here tonight, hold up your hand…the one who gave me this experience. Thank you very much! Because it all came this way and I didn’t know…I had so many when I got home. But may I tell you, my dear, it’s a perfectly heavenly experience and true just as you described it. You went beyond that interval, that dark, dark interval between that marvelous world of life and this where the tree is felled. You brought it back in the most perfect manner. So I want to thank you.
So the tree…don’t look for any tree on the outside. The tree of life is not in some little garden on the outside; you are the garden of God. You are the one when the eye is open, you’ll see men and those who are awake just like trees walking. But you will see what I saw. You’ll see men who are not awake, who know nothing of scripture (not interested), who think they can put it on from without and rule the world. So let them try. They come to that inevitable—the only certainty in the world—death, and they’ll find themselves re-clothed, as here, in a section of time just like this best suited for the work yet to be done on them. They’ll keep on building and building, feeding both the good and the evil until that day that they confront him, and they’ll make the decision to resolve and dissolve this monster. I’m telling you the thrill that goes through you, because the minute you seriously mean it—no one is here to hear your pledge, it’s all done within yourself—if it takes me eternity, I will redeem you. At that very moment it becomes nothing, right before your eye. But all the energy is returning to you, and you become stronger and stronger as it comes back to you. That’s the energy you simply misuse in the building of that monster, that dweller on the threshold who is not far away. He’s always present whispering violence, always ready to get you into trouble, because he thrives on your trouble. The other always thrives on every good fortune of a noble, lovely character.
Now let us go into the Silence.
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Now are there any questions, please? None? All right. May I tell you, on Friday I have some marvelous stories to tell you, which came today. This perfectly marvelous working of the law and its operation, that when you go into the deep and you are still governed by it. It’s not when you are here and in control of the direction of attention, but when you are there. And usually when man is there, he is the servant of his vision and not the master. But here, it is so much a part of him that he is the master of the vision even there. So we will share that with you on Friday. Thank you. Goodnight.