When Jesus says,
"God's healing Voice protects all things today,"
(W.275) he is talking about the fact that we are forever safe and our eternal gifts---gifts like peace of mind and joy---can’t be lost, no matter what we do and where we go. The gifts have always been ours and are guaranteed in our creation. What God's healing Voice does is call to us to awaken to the truth of who we are. His Voice reminds us that the separation never happened and we will
"seek and hear and learn and understand"
(W.275.1.2) when we turn to Him, Who speaks to us all through the day. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is our Guide and Teacher within us. When we listen to the ego, we are choosing not to hear this Voice.
The Voice for God reminds us of
"an ancient lesson, no more true today than any other day."
(W.275.1.1) This ancient lesson, taught over and over in the Course, is that we have never separated from God and are still as we were created---One with Him. This is the Atonement Principle. We have not and cannot change who we are as we were created. Yet we can and do experience a self that seems to be a separate body and personality with a separate will and separate thoughts, but it is not the truth. It is the illusion---a dream of an existence seemingly happening in this moment. The truth is that we are still at home in Heaven and still One with God, never having changed ourselves in truth.
In this Lesson, we are invited to join with Jesus in hearing the Voice for God.
"Join me in hearing. For the Voice for God tells us of things we cannot understand alone, nor learn apart. It is in this that all things are protected. And in this the healing of the Voice for God is found."
(W.275.1.3-6) Jesus is saying that only when we join with him, as a symbol of the truth in the right mind, can we hear the Voice of truth speaking to us. His message to us is that we are safe, we are love, we are invulnerable, we are innocent, and we are complete. This is where our protection lies. Apart from Him, we tune into the obsessive thoughts of the ego, with its constant chatter of what to do, where to go, what plans to make for our pleasure, what to worry about, and how to see our brothers, their faults, or their specialness. When we identify with this voice, we stay in a constant state of fear and anxiety. We never feel certain about anything because the ego does not know anything. Nothing is right with ego. As the song says, "I can't get no satisfaction."
The good news is that we can make another choice. The ability to make a new decision is in the mind. The mind can choose what it gives attention to. The ego wants all our attention on it, but when we choose to withdraw our interest in its stories, its perspective, its beliefs, and its thoughts, it has no power to disrupt our peace. This requires that we notice what we are thinking and to bring all of these untrue thoughts to the Truth. We look at our thoughts from a place behind the mind of the thinker, which is the observer, and we see their unreality. When we look from this place, we look without judgment. We can laugh at the foolishness of these thoughts. Our mind is the cause and thus the source of everything we experience. Nothing outside of the mind is the cause of how we feel. By the power of our decision, we choose the thought system of separation or Oneness, and we make this choice in every moment.
We need to join with Jesus because he tells us that we cannot understand anything alone. To be alone is to be with our own interpretations, which always involve the ego. When we engage with the ego, we are excluding our brother from the One Self we are. Jesus tells us again and again that when we make exceptions by determining who is worthy of our love and who isn't, we will stay in the prison of our own making. We are called to join with him and see our brother as Jesus sees him. Forgiveness sees that what your brother did has not happened. He is forever innocent. In joining with Jesus as the symbol of the love that we are, we see that we are all the same. As we come to experience our same Self, we increasingly know that we are loved and protected.
I watched a lovely movie last night called,
The Man Who Knew Infinity.
It is a story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy. I love how movies offer us an opportunity to watch our minds on the movie screen, just as we are called to do when we watch our projections on the screen of this world. What this movie illustrated to me is how we invest in differences. In the movie, we see judgments based on status, culture, beliefs, values, and self-concepts, all of which are eventually healed as respect and honor replace the judgments until there is a deep connection and with it a recognition of sameness. Sameness is a reflection of Oneness, which cannot be known in this world. Sameness is the closest we can come when we realize our brother is our Self.
Once we have heard the call to come home and once we have decided that there is a better way to find happiness than with the ego, we have started on the road to peace. We take this road step by step. With each situation where we choose peace, we have taken another step toward wholeness. We have tried to find all kinds of answers in form---in the false belief that we can make life work for us. When we choose to give up on trying to find our own answers for happiness in this world and recognize we don't know and are wrong about everything we think will work, we start on the road to true peace. This is the invitation to the Holy Spirit to show us the way. As long as we believe anything in this world will work for us, we are distracted from our spiritual goals and look for our happiness in the world where it can never be found. Our motivation is still divided, but tolerance for pain is not without limit, and sooner or later, we get more serious and more willing to listen to the deeper Call within.
We turn more consistently to the Holy Spirit for guidance when we recognize that our way has never brought the peace and joy we are looking for by listening to the ego. As we release our thoughts of aloneness, our victim stories, our sadness, and our frustrations and simply come with
"wholly empty hands"
(W.189.7.5) to this place of respite, we demonstrate a willingness to be taught---a recognition that we have been wrong about everything. We have been wrong about who we think we are, who we think our brother is, and what the problem really is. This is a deeply humbling place of surrender where we open ourselves to guidance and where every question is answered.
"For Your Voice will tell me what to do and where to go; to whom to speak and what to say to him, what thoughts to think, what words to give the world."
(W.275.2.3) Then our actions emanate from our right minds where we are guided by the One Voice that knows what is loving in every situation we encounter. When we get out of the way and the voice of the ego fades into the background, guidance becomes natural. We simply follow the prompts and are always where we need to be and who we need to be with.
"Who assumes a power that he does not possess is deceiving himself. Yet to accept the power given him by God is but to acknowledge his Creator and accept His gifts. And His gifts have no limit. To ask the Holy Spirit to decide for you is simply to accept your true inheritance. Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him? No, indeed! That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course is most concerned. If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it. Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit's help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night. And your confidence will be well founded indeed."
(Manual for Teachers. 29.5.1-10)
What is there ever to be anxious about? What is there to fear? What is there to plan? What is there to worry about? Who would we want to crucify? If we feel attacked, it is only because we hold mistaken perceptions about ourselves that we are vulnerable and can be hurt. We are wrong about the way we see everything that seems to happen to us. Every one of us is in this world for only one purpose, which is to wake up from this dream of separation. We share one goal, which is to know ourselves as the innocent Son of God we are. This world is the classroom where we can learn this about ourselves and teach it through our demonstration. When we perceive our attack thoughts or attacks seemingly coming at us, we need not get defensive and counterattack. Instead, we can choose to bring our fear thoughts for healing, knowing our perception about any situation is always wrong. There is never anything to be afraid of. I am safe and protected always, and as I come to know this, I can bring safety to everyone I meet in every holy encounter. It is not the idea of Sarah bringing this message, but the light that can now shine through this body and personality. My part is to be willing to do the healing of all my misperceptions.
Ken Wapnick says that we must not minimize the ego by choosing not to pay any attention to it or by affirming and visualizing our way past it. The Course is about teaching us to look at the ego with great honesty and courage. This is a course about mind watching. Salvation is the acceptance of the fact
"that you are doing this unto yourself."
(T.27.VIII.10.1) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.86) What we are doing to ourselves is not recognizing our attraction to guilt and death, and that this attraction to our separate identity can only be maintained through judgment and attack. The trick, however, is not to fight the ego for that only gives it more power. It is to keep practicing forgiveness by remembering to look with the Holy Spirit, Who
"looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false."
(W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle.1.3)
We don't know the answers, and we don't need to figure anything out because, on our own, we can't. We just need to get out of the way and allow the Answer to come through us. Protection and guidance come through the Voice for truth. You may say that you don't hear this Voice, but you do. You get prompts and inspired thoughts when you stop planning, controlling, and figuring things out for yourself. In the stillness is the Answer. It comes in many forms: a thought, a sense of knowing, a prompt to be somewhere, a notion, a voice, or a sign. We will sense some kind of inner prodding and it emanates in the right mind where the truth abides. The Holy Spirit is in us and is our link to God. He is in our right minds where the truth can be accessed when the ego no longer holds our attention or our interest. To simply turn away from the ego with the thought, "I don't care what you (ego) have to say," opens the way for truth to come in.
Notice also who and what shows up in your life as a perfect answer for a situation confronting you. It may not look like a perfect answer, but you can't be the judge of that. We simply don't know.
"The Holy Spirit is invisible, but you can see the results of His Presence, and through them you will learn that He is there."
(T.12.VII.3.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.63) Initially, we will find Him in the specifics of our lives where the Holy Spirit supports what we think are our needs, even though they may be foolish. He offers us help with these needs as long as they don't delay us in time. If a parking spot shows up, when we feel in desperate need of one and ask Him for it, this may be a demonstration for us of His presence. Yet further along this path, when the loving thoughts are our only Guide and the only Voice we listen to, we will experience a more constant state of peace and joy and the specifics will no longer matter. In other words, when the much longed for perfect parking spot does not show up, our peace will not be shattered.
Today, the choice is ours to hear the voice of the ego or to hear the Holy Spirit's Voice. Clearly, we go back and forth in this process, but it is valuable to remember that any fear, anxiety, concern, frustration, or issue of any kind is as a result of listening to the ego. We can change our minds and find refuge in the truth always present in the sane right mind where the Holy Spirit dwells.
I was recently driving through a busy intersection and saw a homeless man with a sign asking for help. A woman in the curb lane opened her window and gave the man some money, which is not particularly unusual. What was different was the beauty and radiance of her smile as she looked him in the eye and said something, which I could not hear, but what still sits in my memory was the beauty of her radiant smile. She was, for me, another demonstration of the love of the Holy Spirit, shining through her.
Love and blessings, Sarah