What is the Self? The Self is our holiness as an extension of God, which is the only truth of what we are. When we experience this Self through the holy instant, our purpose in the world changes, and our lives take on a new meaning. "This Self alone knows love. This Self alone is perfectly consistent in Its thoughts; knows Its Creator, understands Itself, is perfect in Its knowledge and Its love, and never changes from Its constant state of union with Its Father and Itself." (W.RV.4.4-5) This is not the way we know ourselves now, as personalities with beliefs and concepts always in a state of change. This Self is in a state of perfect peace, bliss, happiness, and joy. This Self is our protection. It is our soft resting place. It is where we go for respite, connecting with the truth of what we are where all is well.
We have everything and are everything because we were given it all in our creation. "You are the work of God, and His work is wholly loveable and wholly loving." (T.1.III.2.3) (ACIM OE T.1.I.34) If we do not experience the quiet rest and the deep peace and happiness available to us, it is only because we deny it. It is always there in us. If that is the case, why do we deny it? We deny it because we are invested in our own story, in our specialness, in our own opinions, and in our own thoughts. We want to be the ones in control of our decisions, and thus we fear to surrender what is familiar to us. Yet we are promised the beautiful state of mind of the Christ Self that is available to be experienced when we release our dark thoughts and put them on the altar to be healed. It requires trust and open-mindedness, as described in the Manual for Teachers. It is to live fully in this moment. To do so means we must become completely disinterested in our personal goals. It is to recognize our dependency on God. It is to rest in God. When we believe we are our own source, we become imprisoned by our own thoughts.
Today, we are called to let go of our planning, our thinking, and our trying to control everything, including how to achieve enlightenment. Be willing to be shown what you are. The Holy Spirit has all the answers for us. We are not the healers of our own minds. Today, we stand together in the recognition that the truth of what we are is the only thing we truly want. "To think like God is to share His certainty of what you are, and to create like Him is to share the perfect Love He shares with you." (T.7.I.6.1) (ACIM OE T.7.II.6) This is, ultimately, practical when we use everything coming up in our day to support a shift in the mind. We give everything over to the Holy Spirit without putting any limit or parameter on what can or cannot be achieved. Let everything that is not of the Spirit simply be washed away, moment by moment. "Let our doubts be quiet and our holy minds be still, and speak to us." (W.RV.2.2)
Nothing is ever forced on us in this process. Time is used for our healing if we choose to use it in that way. We go as quickly as our fear will allow us. "The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted to release you from fear." (T.5.VI.9.4) (ACIM OE T.5.VIII.78) We are the commanders who make the decisions as to how much fear we are ready to release. We are not being hurled into Heaven. Jesus is our guide, and when we turn to him, he assures us of his trust in us.
Jesus reminds us, "Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it." (T.2.VI.2.10) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.74) Jesus has taken this same road that we are taking back to God, and "He will remain with you to lead you from the hell you made to God." (Clarification of Terms.5.5.4) We cannot know the plan. Our part is to listen within and to follow the guidance. The guidance is not a choice among illusions but a decision to overlook them all. It is to recognize that the Holy Spirit always hears the prayer of the heart. To receive the prayer of the heart is not necessarily joyful to the ego, but it is always joyful to the Spirit.
Jesus tells us he is the Christ, but so are we. He came to know his magnitude, as we have come to know ours. It is who we really are---the same Self as the Christ Jesus. Our false self is released more and more as we accept our magnitude and listen only to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Every fearful thought and every doubting thought must be given over to the Holy Spirit to be reinterpreted.
There is only one Self; although, when we tune into the ego thoughts, we identify with the body and the world as our reality. Our focus on this little ego self is like focusing all our attention on a small TV screen and thinking it is all of reality, when the truth of who we are is the whole of the field. As David Hawkins says, "If the witnessed data are neither desired, resisted, nor given value as 'mine,' they begin to subside and eventually fall away." There is nothing we need do but only allow. Our awareness of the truth of what we are will all come about as a result of focus and willingness, rather than effort.
In the introduction to this Review, we read that our name is Hallowed and our glory undefiled. This is a switch from the traditional Lord's Prayer, where God's Name is Hallowed. Here, Jesus is speaking of the honor bestowed on us as equal to him and the One Christ Self. "The children of God are holy and the miracle honors their holiness, which can be hidden but never lost." (T.1.I.31.3) (ACIM OE T.1.I.42)
Jesus offers to share our pain and be available to help us, as he understands what we are going through. He has been this way himself and is able to see what we see and is aware of our illusions. He is the symbol of truth and awakening in our right minds and tells us he is holding our hand as we go through the clouds. He assures us that his presence is no idle thought. As I connect with him in my mind, I find his presence is both helpful and comforting to me. If it is not helpful for you, use another symbol in which you find great comfort.
The Holy Spirit sees our bitter need, even though in actuality, we have no needs. Our needs are what we imagine them to be. They are based on a concept of ourselves as lacking. When we feel lacking, we look for whatever will fill those lacks. When we come to accept that we are whole and complete, we know that we can never lack anything. The world of pain and loss is only an illusion, but to us, it is real and our issues seem serious in the illusion. Outside the dream, when we look with Jesus from above this battleground, we look at it all and see that, indeed, nothing here is serious. It is all a dream that we are dreaming with no real consequences.
In Mathew 6 in the Bible, Jesus tells us that we need not worry about anything: "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
It is by extending love to our brothers that we come to know the love and holiness in us. We reach out to our brothers, as Jesus is reaching out to us. "You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God's channels wrongly." (T.4.VI.6.3) (ACIM OE T.4.VII.89) The Course is not a personal path of salvation. It is one where we heal the world by constantly extending to our brothers. In that process, any thoughts of anger, judgment, or grievance of any kind, are brought to the light, so all of the blocks to love are healed. Watching our thoughts is important, as we take this healing path to God. We must be as vigilant against the ego as we are vigilant for the Holy Spirit.
We are called to bring the messages of love and forgiveness to those who show up in our dream. These are all our special relationships, which are there specifically for the purpose of healing the mind. Our bodies can now serve a divine purpose, so what was made to limit and separate, can now be used for joining and extending love. We are not asked to proselytize the message but to be the message.
In this Lesson, Jesus reminds us of the Lesson of the Holy Spirit: "To Have, Give All to All." (T.6.V.A) (ACIM OE T.6.V.a.) We are to be the light in the world, not by our own efforts but by extending the light in us. Our part is to surrender to this light by being willing to look at our projections. The world is a motion picture of all our beliefs. Thus, it is a perfect reflection of our inward condition and always helpful for our healing.
We will know the truth that "God is but Love, and therefore so am I" (W.RV.4.3) when our minds no longer deny the Thought of God and when we know we are entrusted with His gifts. The only reason the world seems real to us is because we have denied the truth that lies beyond the illusion. In fact, Jesus tells us that we see truth as illusion and illusion as truth. In other words, the world and bodies seem more real and solid than the reality of His Truth. It is only our thoughts, and nothing but our thoughts, that obscure the truth of what we are. We would know perfect happiness that our Father wills for us if we did not obscure the truth with thoughts of misery and death.
Now we are asked to claim the gifts given us by God. God is fair and does not ask that we be certain we want them. He understands that it is only through our experience that we will see His gifts are the only thing we want. Until then, He knows we walk this middle road. God did not make the world, it is not His Will, and so it is not real. When we think the world is real, we are believing in two creators. "Impossible indeed; but every mind that looks upon the world and judges it as certain, solid, trustworthy and true believes in two creators; or in one, himself alone. But never in one God." (W.166.2.4-5)
This world seems to be the only home we know, yet it is a home of fear. We are attached to this world, and we fear God because we believe that we will be punished for the sin of destroying Him in order to make a separate self, with a separate will. Because we have forgotten who we are as the Christ Self, we walk as if we were homeless, feeling like tragic figures, and all the time fearing Christ's touch. Now, we have felt His touch. We still experience the world, but we have heard and responded to the Call. It is a Call to remember who we are. Increasingly, we see that the only safety is in accepting the gifts of God, recognizing our true Will and our Christ Self, and witnessing to the happiness in us for those who choose to follow. "For God entrusts the giving of His gifts to all who have received them. He has shared His joy with you. And now you go to share it with the world." (W.166.15.6-8)