"Let all things be exactly as they are"
(W.268) seems like a lesson in a kind of acceptance of everything as it is. What if someone attacks us or attacks others? Are we required to accept this? Should we accept that nothing can be changed? Actually, this Lesson is not about acceptance of the forms of this world. We may see an event or situation as not kind or helpful, but we don't have to be upset about it, because it is not the truth. If you attack me, it is not right and I don't need to accept the attack, but I don't need to become distressed and disturbed by it, because it is not anything real. In other words, I can overlook the error. Who you are as the Son of God, divine and perfect, is what is real, not the person I see in front of me in the attacking body. Letting things be exactly as they are is to accept the truth and to accept that only truth is true. It is to see the truth about our brother as one with us, rather than what our body's eyes show us about him. The ego has tried to make illusion true and reality illusion.
Kirsten Buxton, in her book, I Married a Mystic, writes about differentiating between what is true and what is not. We believe in orders of difficulty, with some things in our lives being more complex and difficult than others. Yet Jesus says, "What the body's eyes behold is only conflict. Look not to them for peace and understanding." (M.8.1.6-7) There is only one answer to illusions, and it is to recognize only love is real. In her book, Kirsten described how the Holy Spirit asked her to put everything into opposing categories, true or false, real or unreal. She continues with this message from the Holy Spirit. "The body's eyes may report differences in shape, size, and actions, and these are put in the false or unreal category. The experience of the present moment-seeing the Christ, feeling the connection of love between you and your brother-is put in the true or real category." She used this message all day: walking outside, looking at trees and seeing them as big and tall and causing her happiness, she put them all in the category of false. The only thing she put in the category of true was being in the moment.
When someone attacks us or there are difficult situations in our lives, we probably will experience upset. When this is the case, we need not feel guilty and chastise ourselves for not being good spiritual students. On the contrary, it is another opportunity to look at our own unconscious guilt, now being brought to awareness through this situation, so it can be healed. This is what everything showing up in our lives is for. This is why the world is a perfect classroom for our healing. Behind all form is unity. When we don't impose our own wishes on this unified field, there is no more suffering. We distort the unity behind all form when our wish is for others to suffer for what they have seemingly done to us. This is how we distort the unity behind all form. The unity of God's love does not recognize anything but innocence.
When the "tiny mad idea" crept into the mind of the Son of God, there was a thought that there was something better than Oneness. We wanted to be God, and thus the world of form was made. God did not create these earthly forms. The forms come about because, in our choice for the ego thought system, the unity of reality became distorted. A part of our Christ mind had to fall asleep in order to experience this dream. Now time and space entered into this construct, and the world of form became a place where we could play out our desires and hide from God. We took the role of God ourselves, where we could choose whatever we thought would bring us happiness. We believe we actually succeeded in breaking away from Him and hiding in this dream. Of course, we don't think of it as a dream. Our sleeping mind has fooled itself into believing this is our reality. That is how we judge against God, by trying to prove Him wrong, which is to be His critic. Every time we criticize our brother for his wrongdoings, we are judging against God, Who affirms the perfection of our brothers and ourselves.
We believe what we see with our eyes, and what we attend to with our ears is the truth. Jesus says this is blasphemous to God (W.268.2.1) because we are making a judgment against the truth. This is how we have attempted to interfere with His creation and ". . . distort it into sickly forms." (W.268.1.2) As we look on bodies, we see sickly forms and not the truth of who anyone is, including ourselves. Oneness now seems to be shattered into billions of fragments, with some we like and some we dislike. We are now being called to give up our judgments and accept the truth about our brothers so we can know it for ourselves. This means whenever we judge our brother, we look at those judgments, based on our unconscious guilt, and we put them on the inner altar. Another way to see this is to look with Jesus, who looks without judgment. The ego does not allow us to look. Instead, we defend our perspectives. Ken Wapnick says the principle of defense is not to look because to look is undoing. "The miracle looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.1.3) "Forgiveness looks on sinlessness and judges not." (W.352.1.1) When we give everything over to the Holy Spirit, He will reinterpret it all for us and remind us who we are and who our brothers are.
Of course, we could never be successful in shattering reality. If we really could change what God created as eternal, we truly would be lost, and sin and the sickly forms of this world would indeed be real. While we feel guilt over what we believe we have done to reality, Jesus assures us over and over that we have done nothing. We cannot change what God created, but we will not know this until we awaken from the dream. Through the teaching of this Course, Jesus is helping us to awaken to who we are. When we are willing to withdraw our wishes from the world, and ". . . thus to let it be as You created it", (W.268.1.3) we will be able to recognize and know our Self as we are and as we have always been in creation. Until then, we have drawn a veil over reality because of our wish to see something other than unity. We are simply refusing to accept what is.
When we know the truth about the Self as only Love, as we were created, without all of the constructs and images of separate bodies, seeming to be in competition with each other then, "What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?" (W.268.1.6) In other words, what can assail truth? What can hurt love? What can damage the eternal? What can interfere with Oneness? If we are created in love and remain in love forever, what can frighten us when we let all things be exactly as they are? All of our fear comes from our belief that we have changed creation and have separated from God's Love. There is no fear in Oneness. Fear comes from the denial of our Oneness. We deny Oneness every time we choose to see a brother guilty, every time we attack anyone, or even when we are sad, angry, worried, or distressed. We are, in effect, using these situations to prove that we are right in our perceptions and God is wrong. This is the time to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. "Holy Spirit, help me to forgive myself for using (this brother, this event, or this situation) as a way to keep myself separate from Your Love."
If you feel you are being attacked by anyone today, remind yourself that you don't need to accept the attack as real. "Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do." (T.17.III. 1.5) (ACIM OE T.17.IV.14) To let things be exactly as they are is to see the truth of who our brothers are, as the One Son of God. We remind ourselves that to overcome illusions is to accept the world of form as not really there at all. We do not simply acquiesce to things not right because that is not real peace. It is only a kind of resignation. Real peace comes from seeing that sickly forms have no impact. They are not real. There is nothing about them we need to accept. Yet if we are to see beyond them to the truth, we must first acknowledge how we are misperceiving what we see and bring our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit so He can reinterpret them for us.
"How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality."
(T.22.V.1.1-3)(ACIM OE T.22.VI.45) "Reality opposes nothing. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none." (T.22.V.1.6-7) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45) "You are the strong one in this seeming conflict. And you need no defense." (T.22.V.1.10-11) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45)
As we watch our minds, we can see there are many ways we want things to be different. We all have hopes and wishes of how things should be, and in this, we are listening to the ego. We follow what the ego's dictates, which is, "I want it thus!" Yet when we experience difficulties in our lives, how can we not want things to be different? How can those who are sick and suffering not want things to be different than they are? Are we really being asked to accept all this? "
All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen."
(T-27.VII.2.2-5) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.63) In other words, all problems can be used to lead us back to the mind, which takes us to the only problem to be addressed---the belief in separation.
Jesus teaches none of these heavy clouds of complication in our lives are real. All the problems and all the suffering we see around is not real. It is all about sickly forms that reflect our unhealed minds and show us projections of our own unconscious guilt. It is not helpful to deny what we see. If our misperceptions, based on our unconscious guilt, are to be healed, they need to be brought to light. In other words, we need to acknowledge what we are misperceiving and bring them to the Holy Spirit. He cannot heal what we don't give Him.
He reminds us, "Only reality is free of pain", (W.268.2.2) and "Only reality is free of loss." (W.268.2.3) If anything seems to be bringing pain into our lives, Jesus calls it blasphemy. In other words, we are experiencing something that is truly not real. None of it came from God, since it is of our own making through our refusal to accept the holiness of what God created. It is not helpful to use his teachings as a way to bring on more guilt. He is simply bringing to our awareness that there is another option. There is another way of looking at the world, which is what the Holy Spirit can show us. "If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours." (T.10.V.12.5-6) (ACIM OE T.9.XI.104)
While we still believe in the reality of the world and of our bodies, we are not asked to ignore our safety and well-being. This Course does not ask us to change our behavior, but only to change our minds. The behavior will follow. The Course is all about the healing of our guilt and to recognize what we thought we knew about everything is, in fact, wrong. When we see the world as a classroom, where we take small daily steps in forgiveness, everything serves our awakening. It is not about doing anything to try to change ourselves. Our part is only to accept the perfection of everything showing up in our lives and to bring to the Holy Spirit our misperceptions of how we see the events of our lives. Now, we willingly bring our misperceptions to be healed. To do more is to try to add the ego to the truth. The ego will never undo itself. "Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two." (T.18.IV.1.6) (ACIM OE T.18.V.32) In other words, we do not forgive ourselves or try to change ourselves. Our part is only to bring awareness to our misperceptions and the Holy Spirit will do His part.
Today, we let events, situations, and people be exactly as they are and not as they appear. Specifically, we accept the truth about them behind their behaviors, and we remind ourselves of the truth of the Divine behind form. We seek peace today by accepting the truth, which is formless, perfect and holy. It is a reality free of all pain, free of loss, and wholly safe. Affirm this truth today in every situation and event and in regard to everyone you meet or think about.
Do not attend to the voices of the world that tell us that all of this is real. "Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues." (W.268.2.1) We are hearing so much today about the epidemic of disease, about the reality of war, about murders and assassinations, poverty, the environment, politics, and on and on. While it is something to address in the relative world, in the absolute truth of God's reality, none of it is real. We are being asked not to attend to the fear and judgments these events entail. When fear arises in you today, ask for help in releasing it so you can know the peace behind these blasphemous sights and lying tongues. Rather than resign ourselves to accepting the things of this world as they are, let us today commit, instead, to accepting the truth of the Divine behind form. This is a different kind of acceptance.
I was recently at a bankruptcy hearing for someone with whom I had invested money. All the money I had invested was lost, squandered, and misappropriated, for which this person spent two years in jail. There were about 200 people at the hearing and a lot of anger was expressed toward this person. He was sitting at the front of the room, flanked by the bankruptcy officials. It reminded me of Jesus on the cross with the crowd calling for his crucifixion, flanked by the two thieves. All in all, it was a magnificent opportunity to look at my own thoughts, with twinges of the experience of loss, and yet an even stronger desire to see the innocence in my brother, all the time, asking for help to do so. At the end of the hearing, there was a big space between the stage and the audience, and the question in my mind was whether to approach or simply to leave the room. I had moments of anger and judgment but saw how vulnerable he was, sitting there, and I felt deep compassion. Jesus reminded me I could see him as innocent and thus receive this gift for myself. I then felt nudged to approach him and open-heartedly embraced this brother. As a result, I left with a gift of lilies, instead of the gift of thorns---a beautiful gift to myself. Did this release all of my anger and feelings of betrayal that I felt about this loss? No. But I recognize forgiveness is a process, and when thoughts like this creep back into my mind, I choose not to show interest in them. They are indeed meaningless.
In each moment, we are asked, "Which will we choose?" The choice we make brings to us whatever it is we give. When I give attack, I receive attack. Let all things be exactly as they are. We are given many opportunities in this classroom to release our brothers and thus ourselves. Which will we choose? What we give, we receive. This is the law of God. It is not about spiritualizing the experience. Rage, judgments, disappointments, and frustrations must be seen for what they are, in the process of forgiveness. We are called to look at them all. "The miracle looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.1.3)
Love and blessings, Sarah