We have several Lessons now that speak to us about happiness and God's Will for us. Our choice for happiness is a choice for healing, which comes about through forgiveness because to forgive is to let go of our ego thought system. This Lesson says that happiness is a choice. "God's Will for you is perfect happiness. Why should you choose to go against His Will?" (W.100.2.1-2) What is the happiness Jesus is talking about? Clearly, it is not a matter of trying to maintain a positive way of thinking or a happy demeanor that covers over any sense of sadness or distress we may be feeling. On the contrary, it is getting in touch with the deep joy already in our right minds. It is not something we manufacturer through our own efforts. It is something we uncover through forgiveness of what stands in the way. This requires staying vigilant in watching our thoughts and bringing them to light so they can be released. These are the blocks that keep us unaware of our true happiness.
Why do we choose against His Will for us, which is our happiness? We choose against His Will because we would rather have our own will, which is to hold onto the small self we have made. We hold onto what we know of ourselves as a body and personality living in this world. We are actually holding onto an image of ourselves and the role we play in the world. This is the character we know as ourselves in this dream. We are very familiar with this character and are reluctant to give it up. Who would I be without the familiarity of my thoughts, my beliefs, my values, and my roles?
In order to keep this dream intact, we sacrifice our true happiness. We value our life drama more than perfect happiness. We value attack and revenge. We value getting what we want. We value blame, judgment, and condemnation, more than perfect happiness. We want to be right about the way we see things, rather than surrendering our judgments and admitting we are wrong. Further, strange as it may seem, we actually want to be victimized by others so we can hold them responsible for our condition.
We hold onto our judgments because we actually want others to be separate and different from us. Thus, we can blame them for our sadness and suffering, instead of taking responsibility for our choices. This is what keeps the ego going. We prefer to hold onto our grievances, our judgments, our distress, and our way of seeing. The ego has set it up so we can project the guilt in our minds onto those we see as responsible for our misery, and thus we believe we can buy our innocence at their expense. We willingly buy into the ego's plan, which is to project our own guilt in the belief that we are getting rid of it. We don't want to see it in ourselves. We prefer to see it in others, and thus we see them as the guilty ones, while we righteously proclaim we would never do what we see others doing.
When we blame others and see them as guilty, rather than getting rid of our guilt, we are actually holding onto it. We chose the ego's plan, even though it brings us pain, because we are invested in the world. We are actually attracted to the guilt because this is how we hold onto our separate, individual selves. Our biggest addiction is to the self we think we are. We believe that if we don't hold onto our specialness, our pain, our suffering, our stories, and our uniqueness, we will lose ourselves. We are therefore leery of God's plan, of His Love, and of His Will for us.
"Your joy must be complete to let His plan be understood by those to whom He sends you. They will see their function in your shining face, and hear God calling to them in your happy laugh."
(W.100.2.5-6) God does not have billions of separate plans for each of us. Often we hear that God has a plan for our lives, but it is not so. We are to become part of God's plan, which is the plan for all of us, and that is to be happy. Our part in God's plan is to reawaken the happiness already in us that God has willed for us to experience. He wants to restore to us our happiness. It is not that God actually has any wants, as He already knows us as whole and perfect and at home in Him. When we hear that God wants our happiness, it motivates us to wake up from this dream, as it is also what we want. When we bring our guilt and fear to the Holy Spirit, it is shined away by Him. He is our bridge back to our home. As long as we choose to listen to the ego, we are opposing His Will, which is actually our own true will. In the service of the ego, our will is actually imprisoned because it is bound to the ego thought system of sin, guilt, and fear.
If someone is distressed today and this upsets me, or if someone says something unkind to me today and I respond with anger, I make the situation real, rather than see it as an appeal for help and for love. Only by connecting to the deep joy and peace in myself can I respond with love and kindness. Love and kindness come through me when my attack thoughts are brought to the light. We have a choice to offer blessings instead of attack in every situation. There is a beautiful passage in Chapter 8 that speaks of this to us. "When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself." (T.8.III.4.1-7) (ACIM OE T.8.IV.19)
This Lesson means a lot to me because my husband died on the day that this Lesson came up for me. I turned to the Lesson and read: "God's Will for you is perfect happiness. Why should you choose to go against His Will?" (W.100.2.1-2) It made me realize that the grief and sadness in me were a choice I was making and that healing was available when I was ready to bring the sadness to His healing light. How would you have me look at this situation, Holy Spirit? Then I realized, suffering was a decision. "While you are sad, the light that God Himself appointed as the means to save the world is dim and lusterless, and no one laughs because all laughter can but echo yours." (W.100.3.4) I saw that my sadness came from believing I had suffered loss, I felt lost and alone, and everything about this illusion seemed real, including death. Would I choose to participate in the healing, or would I use this experience as an opportunity to see myself as victimized? I was standing on the precipice of a decision. Which way would I turn? I did not deny my grief and sadness, but in the back of my mind, I felt the freedom available to me to choose how to see it. I resolved to stay open and asked Holy Spirit to help me see how this was an opportunity to go deeper into my process of opening to Spirit.
"You are indeed essential to God's plan. Just as your light increases every light that shines in Heaven, so your joy on earth calls to all minds to let their sorrows go, and take their place beside you in God's plan. God's messengers are joyous, and their joy heals sorrow and despair. They are the proof that God wills perfect happiness for all who will accept their Father's gifts as theirs."
The synchronicity of this Lesson given to me at this time seemed as though the Holy Spirit were speaking very specifically and directly to me and to my situation. I did not have to understand why this had happened. I only needed to surrender my pain, although this was not something forced on me. I could take my time and feel whatever feelings were coming up. It was not about denying what I was experiencing. I was simply recognizing that, with willingness, there was a way out of this pain. I realized that understanding could only come with peace. "Your joy must be complete to let His plan be understood by those to whom He sends you." (W.100.2.5) Did I want to understand why this was happening to me, or did I want peace? That was the question that came to me. I learned I did not need to understand. Time was still here for me to continue to do the healing. I was not the victim of this situation. Clearly, I set it up this way, as it was in my script for this lifetime. Who am I to argue with it, since I apparently wrote this script?
"God asks you to be happy, so the world can see how much He loves His Son, and wills no sorrow rises to abate his joy; no fear besets him to disturb his peace. You are God's messenger today. You bring His happiness to all you look upon; His peace to everyone who looks on you and sees His message in your happy face."
The healing continues, and the joining in purpose brings deeper levels of peace and joy and wonderful holy encounters that are such a blessing. This does not mean there are not many challenges, but they all bring more opportunities for undoing the ego thought system. As we heal, we show the world a genuine shining face and a happy laugh to which others will be attracted. This is not an outward focus of a happy face but a reflection of the quiet inward joy of our Being, which comes about with the undoing of the ego through forgiveness. I now see all the distress and sadness of these kinds of events in our lives is not to be denied, but neither is it to be indulged. We can take as long as we need for the healing process to unfold.
We may think we will lose something if we don't respond to the issues in our lives with anger and attack. We may think we will get taken advantage of. We may think there is something we can get from the situation, or we will need to sacrifice something we value. "You have indeed been wrong in your belief that sacrifice is asked. You but receive according to God's plan, and never lose or sacrifice or die." (W.100.7.6-7) If anyone does anything that appears cruel, our upset makes that behavior seem real. When we come to a place in our journey where we can see in it an appeal for help, it is our own call for healing. When we do our part to bring the light of our Being to that person, we receive the same light. This is only possible when we commit fully to our own healing.
Today, be the messenger for everyone you meet or even think about. "It is your Self Who calls to you today." (W.100.10.6) The Answer is in our own minds. We just need to work with Jesus to remove the blocks that are keeping us from knowing the joy already present in us. He says, "For this you came." (W.100.8.3) There is no other reason to be here except for our healing.
Today, we are asked to let any sadness go so we can participate fully in His plan. We are the ones to bring joy to the world by getting in touch with it in ourselves. "Today we will attempt to understand joy is our function here." (W.100.6.1) Our sadness deprives the world of joy along with ourselves. God will be known through us today when His message is seen in our happy faces. We are not here to deny our sadness. That would be a mistake. We are here to look at our sadness with the Holy Spirit so we can willingly release it. There is no spiritual bypass that is helpful if we are to fully embrace whatever feelings come up. Investigate the beliefs you hold that have brought about these feelings of sadness, grief, despair, or anything else at the forefront of your mind today. Look at what you must be thinking in order to feel sad, investigate those beliefs, and recognize them as just thoughts, which are not the truth about you.
"My part is essential to God's plan for salvation."
(W.100) What is that part? It is to be happy. "Look deep within you, undismayed by all the little thoughts and foolish goals you pass as you ascend to meet the Christ in you." (W.100.8.5) Be confident knowing "He will be there." (W.100.10.1) Remind yourself, "You are essential to His plan. You are His messenger today. And you must find what He would have you give," (W.100.10.2-4) which is joy.
If you find yourself not willing, just watch the experience from above the battleground and recognize that it is not up to you to change your feelings nor is it helpful to indulge them. Simply see them for what they are without judging them. They have no reality. Looking at your thoughts and feelings without judgment helps you to see that you need do nothing but look. He will do the rest.
Love and blessings, Sarah