Here we are at Lesson 300 and quickly nearing the end of the year. We continue to focus on meditation and contemplation of the meaning of the Lessons. With meditation, we go deep within to the still quiet place where we open up with confidence to His presence. It is a place where our inner Teacher dwells. It is here that we connect with our inner knowing. We attempt to maintain this devotion throughout the day, applying the Lesson to the decisions we make and to any temptation to become disturbed that we experience. We stay vigilant in watching the mind throughout the day.
This is a time of deep communion with our Father, where we experience the certainty of His Truth and His Promise. We want to remember the Lesson throughout the day as we stop our activities, breathe in holy air, release all thoughts of death and sorrow and remember the truth of who we are. We do this through willingness and devotion. There is nothing to seek. We already are what we are seeking. When we are truly willing to be shown what the truth is, it is revealed. It is not about resisting what we don't want, but choosing what serves our highest good. Only love exists. Everything else is not the truth.
This is the last Lesson in the Section called, "What is the Real World." (W.PII.Q8) What a way to end this Section with the reminder that the world we think we live in is an illusion, which lasts but an instant. What this means is that this world has no reality. Jesus tells us that this is so and, increasingly, quantum physicists are proving the same thing. Their research confirms that what we see has no substance.
What we seek today is the holy world, (W.300.2.1) which is the real world. The ego tells us that life is brief and quickly over, ending in death, where "joys are gone before they are possessed, or even grasped." (W.300.1.1) That is mostly how we experience our lives here, isn't it? Nothing lasts, and life goes by so very quickly. It is precisely how the ego misinterprets the world of time, telling us there is no hope of eternal joy, and at the end, it is all over and death comes to claim us.
This is the opposite of what Jesus teaches, which is that nothing has happened to change our reality. The world endures only for an instant because the thought that produced it can change in an instant. The world is a projection of a wrong-minded thought that we can be separate from God and His Love. In reality, the separation never happened at all. Of course, for us, it seems to have happened and this world and our bodily identity seem to be real and solid, but as Jesus tells us, it is just a shabby substitute for our real Identity and does not exist at all.
However, it seems we still want to prove the reality of this dream. We have made a substitute reality and want it to be true. It is how we try to hold onto time and to the false image of ourselves. Jesus tells us that this world has no substance and, indeed, is nothing more than a "passing cloud upon a sky eternally serene." (W.300.1.2) It is brief and temporary and does not, and has not, changed who we are. It means that the thoughts we hold that seem to make everything here real and serious, including death, are only thoughts that can be changed in an instant; and then everything is seen differently.
The experience of this world is only a dream, during which we seem to have lost our way. We will reclaim our eternal reality when we are ready to do so. It is God's promise to us that we will find our way back to Him. We need have no doubt about this because we have never left Him. The time that we have, in this experience of space-time, is to be used for the purpose of remembering the truth. We have not been dropped here in this matrix with no rules on how to leave. A loving God would not have left us here to figure it all out by ourselves. Jesus reminds us that we have "learned exactly what to do to be restored to Heaven and our true Identity." (W.300.2.3) All we need to do is recognize how we are blocking the love that is always available to us. Looking at our thoughts with the Holy Spirit means we look at them without judgment, and thus, they are forgiven.
I woke up this morning and I started to rehearse my day. I had thoughts about what I would wear, what I had to accomplish, how I would respond to a difficult situation in front of me, and so on. As these thoughts came up, I looked at the content of what I was believing. I felt the stress of what appeared to be too many things to accomplish today. The content of all these thoughts was fear based on beliefs that were not true. I was feeding myself a diet of fear thoughts before the day even started. Jesus invites us to bring these fear thoughts to the light of the Holy Spirit within the right mind. The only thing that matters is that I am willing to heal what does not serve me---fear.
If I want peace above all else, I will have it, but it won't come by resisting the thoughts in the mind. If I say I don't want the thoughts I am thinking, I am attracting them because what I resist will persist. Instead, as we investigate them through a process of radical inquiry, we will come to see more clearly what we are holding in the unconscious mind. When we give our beliefs over with complete trust and willingness, healing happens without any investment by us. Instead of feeding thoughts of fear, peace reigns. We have done nothing. The Holy Spirit is the Healer and He has done all the heavy lifting. We have made room for His function. Our part is just the willingness to investigate and let go of thoughts that don't serve us.
Each Lesson in this Course is a step in undoing our false perceptions. We may not have done the Lessons exactly as proposed, but we have made progress even with our small efforts, our wavering commitment, and our little willingness. Yes, we have sometimes become discouraged with the persistence of the ego. We have had doubt thoughts galore. We may even have more conflict than before we started the Course because now we are aware of two thought systems in the mind, but we will never turn back once we have taken these steps in healing. The end is certain. The script is written. Our purpose is clear and all the seemingly persistent ego patterns endure for only an instant no matter how intractable they seem to be.
Oh yes, we can and do delay. We can and do procrastinate. We can resist for a time, but we will return and be grateful for the progress we have made. The process is clearly laid out for us. There are many wonderful spiritual books, but in my experience, there are none that have laid this path out as clearly as this Course. Truth has only one Source and comes through many books and teachers, but this is the Course that has specifically come to us, so we need to look no further
Seek you no further. You will not find peace except the peace of God. Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt. Seek you no further. There is nothing else for you to find except the peace of God, unless you seek for misery and pain.
We are reminded in Lesson 284 that at first we will just repeat the ideas, then accept them as partly true with many reservations before we consider them seriously more and more; until finally, we get to a point of complete acceptance. It is a process. The only question is, do we have the willingness to do the practice. Nothing happens without some effort on our part. Our monkey minds, with their persistent, obsessive thoughts, resist the discipline and attempt to impose themselves on us. Distractions still attract us, like shiny baubles that get our attention, but none of them will last. No matter how many we pursue, they all "are gone before they are possessed, or even grasped." (W.300.1.1)
We increasingly recognize that the things of this world do not bring us any lasting value, so they increasingly drop away without any effort on our part. It reminds me of when my son was young and wanted to spend his money on flimsy toys that I assured him would not last. After three or four such purchases, he quickly learned the truth of my warnings; but he first needed to experience this for himself. Everything in the world that we want is exactly like that. We eventually come to our own experience of disillusionment with all the things we think we want and all that we thought would bring us happiness.
We are asked to apply the Lesson to whatever comes up in our day, whether it is a resentment, grievance, attachment, addiction, worry, or temptation of any kind to become upset. We can say, "Only an instant does this world [my grievances, attachments, pleasures, etc.] endure." (W.300) In the scheme of things, our frustrations here are minuscule if the world of time is only an instant.
Some of us lament that life is short. Haven't you heard people say this often or haven't you said it to yourself? I know I have. It is sometimes used as a statement to justify the "pleasures" in life. My son had a placard when he was a teenager that said, "He who has the most toys when he dies, wins." But what do we win? The good thing about the shortness of life, according to this Lesson, is that "this is also the idea that lets no false perception keep us in its hold." (W.300.1.2) Instead, with this practice, "We would go beyond that tiny instant to eternity." (W.300.2.5)
Chapter 26 V, "The Little Hindrance," (ACIM OE CH 26 VI) provides us with an excellent overview of the metaphysics of the instant of time referenced here. According to this section, time began when we made the choice to separate from God and Heaven. It was, in fact, a choice to die rather than to live. Jesus tells us, "The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first." (T.26.V.3.5) (ACIM OE T.26.VI.32) All time was contained in that tiny tick. In that same instant, God gave us the Holy Spirit as the Correction for this mistake. When the first error was made, it fragmented itself into millions and billions of variations. To us, it seems like events are strung out in succession, yet we are told that they are simultaneous. It is not that one thing occurs after another, but a continuous and ongoing repetition of the same error (separation) over and over again.
I find it absolutely fascinating to see how this works in my life. In every moment and in every situation, I have the opportunity to choose Heaven (extend love and forgiveness) or hell (attack, worry, blame, plan, hate, fear, get distressed, feel pain, or feel pleasure). While there is only this single moment, for us it seems that there are many moments; but in each situation, no matter how much distress it causes us, the Holy Spirit adapts His One Correction to every version of this single error. No matter the situation, we are assured that there is a way out that heals all pain. In fact, since there is no time, our story is already done. We are simply reviewing something already complete. I find that amusing and helpful. It makes me laugh sometimes when I am discussing or arguing some perspective in politics or the environment to think that this is all over. Does it matter what I think? Thinking is just another way to try to gain. Every problem comes from our desire to gain at our brother's loss. That is something to reflect on!
The "moral" of this whole thing is that every issue we hang onto is how we hold onto the whole of time, how we hold onto suffering, and how we hold onto this tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made. Yet every time we forgive, we release ourselves from this seemingly endless and wearisome journey of suffering.
This world is a projection of our thoughts and a witness to what is in our minds. Whatever pops up, whatever ego patterns show up, and whatever grievances are there, they are all reflected perfectly in the events showing up in our lives. With forgiveness, we experience more light, but also, we become more aware of the darkness in the wrong mind. Welcome it. It need not be hard. Don't run away from it. All that is happening is that the miracle is lighting up the darkness of the unconscious mind. Bring your awareness to that darkness so that it can be put on the inner altar for healing. Remember that we have to go through fear to love.
"And we give thanks today the world endures but for an instant. We would go beyond that tiny instant to eternity." (W.300.2.4-5)