Now we are being introduced to the idea of the Last Judgment. An important aspect of the discussion is that it undoes the association we have made of the Last Judgment with death. On the contrary, the Last Judgment is the recognition that there is only life. Nothing is accomplished or achieved through death.
"When the Will of the Sonship and the Father are one, their perfect accord is Heaven."
(T.3.II.4.6) (ACIM OE T.2.II.21) There is no condemnation in the Last Judgment, and thus, there is nothing fearful about it. Yet Jesus says,
"The Last Judgment is one of the most threatening ideas in your thinking."
(T.2.VIII.2.1) (ACIM OE T.2.VI.106) He also says,
"It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you think that punishment is deserved."
(T.2.VIII.3.3) (ACIM OE T.2.VI.108)
The Last Judgment signifies the end of false perception. It is the final proclamation that has always been:
"This is God’s Final Judgment: ‘You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure.’"
(W.PII.Q10.What is the Last Judgment?5.1) We have been misguided in who we think we are. The separation was the decision not to know ourselves as we are. With the Last Judgment comes the recognition that we have never changed ourselves. The concepts we hold of ourselves and others are all false. When we come to this realization through the process of undoing all we have held to be true, we come to see that
"what is false is false, and what is true has never changed."
This is the end of perception and the final realization that it is impossible to have ever changed ourselves from the magnificence of our creation. Here is the end of learning. It is our return to the beginning.
"All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize yourself, your brother or God. To recognize means to 'know again,' implying that you knew before."
(T.3.III.2.1-2) (ACIM OE T.3.V.31) This is the end of conflict. We no longer vacillate
"between free and imprisoned will."
(T.2.VIII.3.8) (ACIM OE T.2.VI.109) We are now guided only by the Voice of the Holy Spirit. All our former, inner conflict has dissipated. This is what is meant by accepting the Atonement for ourselves, for this is the Correction that ends the separation.
In the sorting out of what is false and what is true, Jesus says,
"It simply means that everyone will finally come to understand what is worthy and what is not."
(T.2.VIII.3.6) (ACIM OE T.2.VI.109) It is a process of letting go of all our false perceptions, recognizing that we have been wrong about everything. What we have called "life" has actually been a dream. As Jesus says,
"No one who lives in fear is really alive."
(T.2.VIII.5.4) (ACIM OE T.2.VI.111)
Life is eternal and not defined by the body. While we appear to be in the body and the world, it gives us a seeming experience of time.
"When everything you retain is lovable, there is no reason for fear to remain with you. This is your part in the Atonement."
(T.2.VIII.5.10‑11) (ACIM OE T.2.VI.111) Then, we can look on everything with love because love is in the mind, extending to all.
When the mind is healed, the world has no cause.
"Without a cause, and now without a function in Christ's sight, it merely slips away to nothingness."
(W.PII.Q10.2.3) That is because the world is a reflection of the guilt in the mind. When guilt is gone, there is no more need for the world to be a classroom for the undoing of guilt.
Lesson 311 says,
"I judge all things as I would have them be."
In other words, I project my state of mind onto everything I see, making everything over in my image. What I am seeing is a hallucination. It is a projection of what is in my mind.
"There are no strange images in the Mind of God, and what is not in His Mind cannot be in yours, because you are of one mind and that mind belongs to Him."
(T.10.IV.6.2) (ACIM OE T.9.X.90) Yet in our minds, there are many strange images. Jesus tells us,
"It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing."
As thoughts show up in our minds, we start to run a movie. It may be a movie of disaster based on fear thoughts that we hold, a fantasy movie based on hopes and wishes, a happy movie or sad movie based on our mood at the time, or any variety of themes. I notice that I may be watching a program on TV and before I know it, I am watching my own inner movie based on some random thoughts. My mind is the cause of everything I see. It is all internal.
Lesson 304 reminds us, all we see is our state of mind reflected outward. It is the way we keep truth away from us because all we do is make of everything what we would have it be. As I think of a disturbance in my experience today, I am reminded to turn away from the idea that something or someone is the cause of this disturbance. I am the only source of my experience. Jesus urges us to
"Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made."
(T.31.II.8.2) (ACIM OE T.31.II.22)
Whenever we like or dislike what is happening, have opinions about anything, have differing views with someone, or judge a situation as good or bad, we assume that we know what it is for. To know what is good or bad about anything, we would have to be aware of an inconceivably wide range of things, past, present, and yet to come. Clearly, this is an impossibility. We would also have to be certain that there is no distortion in our perception---also an impossibility. How many times have we experienced how wrong we have been about our judgments? How many times have we changed our minds when new information was provided or when time passes and we saw things differently? How can we trust that we know anything of what is good or bad or right or wrong?
As a parent, I felt I could protect my child from all kinds of unforeseen events. When I could not, and the situation seemed not to be in my control, I would worry about his well-being. I learned that my worry and my anxiety could never protect him. If anything, my fear thoughts were teaching him that the world is a place of extreme danger and that he is vulnerable. In trying to maintain undue diligence for the safety of our children, we project our own extreme sense of vulnerability onto them. The guilt and fear we hold in our minds make for poor parenting.
With guilt, we project our fears onto those we try to protect, but instead, we teach them this world is an unsafe place. In saying this, I am not speaking of the ordinary cautions and supportive behaviors we exhibit toward our children in creating safety for them. I am speaking of the kind of overbearing concerns that come from a mind (mine) that imagines all kinds of negative possibilities. It is my fear projected out. Yes, we must teach our children, but teaching is more effective when taught from a place of peace and accompanied by trust. It is teaching by demonstration and by choosing this for ourselves. The only healing to be undertaken is of my own mind.
Whatever was to happen to my son happened for reasons helpful for his soul’s purpose here, and I certainly don't know what that is. We are urged not to take anyone's classroom away from them. We don’t have the perspective to be able to judge what is in anyone's best interests, including our own. I could not prevent him from experiencing whatever was in his script. None of us are victims of the world we perceive. Therefore, my judgments were of no value. What our judgments do is create a burden on our minds, which keep us from the truth of what we are. Of course, that is precisely the ego's agenda.
When I look back at my own life, things seemed to happen that at the time felt hurtful and I judged them to be bad. Now in retrospect, I can see why they were there for me and why I chose them at the level of the mind for my soul's purpose. They took me deeper into my mind and brought a yearning to understand my purpose here. They took me on this journey where the deep Call of my heart has been answered. Would I change anything? No. All the things I thought should be different at the time I now see were perfect for my journey of spiritual awakening.
Eyes of an Angel
, reminded me of the perfection of the people who show up in our lives for our learning. Paul Elder, the author, is a Canadian, previously mayor of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and a businessman who, through several near-death and out-of-body experiences, developed an understanding of why we have incarnated with the people who are in our lives. It was another example of a perspective gained through the experiences of others. Even in dire examples of abuse and neglect, as described by Jeannette Walls in her book,
The Glass Castle
, we can see the lesson God would have us learn. His lesson is always that God's Son is innocent and everything is unfolding perfectly for this truth of ourselves to be finally accepted. We cannot judge because we cannot see the totality. We cannot see the beginning from the end. We cannot change the past. It is already done. What we can do is look at our state of mind as the outward picture of our inward condition.
Our judgments hurt us. When we see that this is the case, we become motivated to give them up. When we judge anyone or think we know how to correct them, we are putting ourselves above them and making ourselves special. We make them guilty or wrong in the belief that we can look innocent by comparison and at their expense. This hurts us because in our condemnation of them, while we think we have elevated ourselves, in fact, we have condemned ourselves because whatever we give, we receive. Now we feel even more guilty, and with guilt, comes the belief that we deserve punishment. This is how
"It separates what is being used against it, and sets it off as if it were a thing apart"
(W.311.1.2) because it takes a small part of totality and sees it as truth. In other words, we make our brother separate from us, believe he is different than ourselves, and think what we are seeing in him is the truth. Until we let go of our judgments, we can't know the truth that we are all the same, and thus, we can't know ourselves when we see ourselves different from our brothers.
Today, we are called to ask for help.
"He will relieve us of the agony of all the judgments we have made against ourselves, and re-establish peace of mind by giving us God's Judgment of His Son."
(W.311.1.6) His judgment of us all is that we are the Christ Self, pure and innocent. The agony of judgment is how we keep ourselves prisoner to this world, in a state of guilt, and in fear of punishment.
"Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy; feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt’s attraction."
(T.24.IV.1.1-6) (ACIM OE T.24.V.34) In our desire for specialness and to triumph over others, we see them as dangerous combatants that we must conquer. The reason is that we have projected our sins onto them and now our own self-hatred is seen in others and we fear them. The world is now a battleground.
We can only know ourselves when we see with vision that excludes all judgment. With vision, we see no past in anyone.
"And thus it serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look on only what the present holds. It cannot judge because it does not know. And recognizing this, it merely asks, 'What is the meaning of what I behold?' Then is the answer given. And the door held open for the face of Christ to shine upon the one who asks, in innocence, to see beyond the veil of old ideas and ancient concepts held so long and dear against the vision of the Christ in you."
(T.31.VII.13.3-7) (ACIM OE T.31.VII.80)
We must be vigilant and choose against the temptation to judge because it creates a burden and an agony for us and keeps us mired in guilt. There is no peace with judgment. Today, instead of concluding that we know, let us ask for the meaning of what we behold from Someone Who does know and let Him look on everything for us. This means that we must surrender our knowing mind so the Holy Spirit can reveal to us the innocence and the love in everything. Only then can we know peace.
Apply this Lesson specifically to someone in your life you hold judgments against. Look at how you see yourself elevated in light of your judgments and how you make yourself feel better as a result. That is the reason for the judgments in the first place---to make ourselves better by comparison. This is where we need the courage and honesty to look at the darkness of the ego thought system, but then to recognize that it has no effect and is not the truth. We willingly release these judgmental thoughts to the Holy Spirit. Judgment is a weapon we use against ourselves. Ask to be relieved of this weapon and ask for help to see your brother as he truly is so you can know your Self as One with him.
Love and blessings, Sarah