"Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws, and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours."
(W.329.1.1) It seems we have accomplished the impossible, left our Source, separated from Love, and came into this world of illusion. We believe we have made a will separate from God’s and more powerful than His. This is the source of our guilt. We believe that we have gained our independent separate self at His expense. We believe that we have forever shattered our innocence and have made ourselves into what we believe that we are, a body living in a world of our own making where we can successfully hide from God. What happens to the guilt in our minds as a result of what we think we have done? We project it onto others, seeing them as the evil-doers, thus buying our false innocence at their expense. We think that in this way we get rid of the guilt in our minds, yet all we do is reinforce it.
The question is, what do you want to believe about yourself? If you believe you are guilty then you will justify your attack on your brother. His value is there for you to dispel some of the guilt in your own mind. We justify these attacks based on our perception that he has wronged us.
"This is in accord with perception's fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law but this."
(T.25.III.1.3-4) (ACIM OE T.25.IV.23)
We believe that we have a will that can defy God's Will, but this Lesson affirms that a separate will is an absolute impossibility no matter how it appears. It is just as impossible to make this world real as it is to make our nighttime dreams reality or to make a movie real by believing we are one of the characters on the screen. To us, what is going on in the world is important and real, and so we give it a lot of credence. The truth is, when we wake up, we can laugh at the silliness of our investment in this dream and the beliefs that accompany it.
"Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I, and this will never change."
It is reassuring to know that nothing we do can change the truth of what we are, where we are, and who we are. What we are is unchangeable. We can't separate from Love, no matter how much we get lost in the dream. It is impossible to destroy our Oneness with God. We can only be unaware of this Oneness.
"You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects."
(T.28.II.6.5) (ACIM OE T.28.III.21) The cause of the dream we think we are living is the projection of the thoughts in our own minds, not unlike our nighttime dreams that emanate from our minds.
In our creation, we made a vow to be forever one with our Father and extend love as He does.
"And this I chose in my creation, where my will became forever one with Yours. That choice was made for all eternity. It cannot change, and be in opposition to itself."
(W.329.1.5-7) Yes, time can intrude on eternity and seems to have done so, but it is simply a construct in our minds. We read, in "
The Secret Vows," "In his creation did his Father say, 'You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.' His Son remembers not that he replied 'I will,' though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified."
(T.28.VI.4-8) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.59) The truth is that we made a promise to God to be as perfect as Him and to never be apart, and that promise is still in effect because we are still the perfect creation of God.
Thus, as the Lesson says,
"I have already chosen what You Will,"
(W.329) and yet we remember not that we replied, "I will." We also made a secret agreement with our brother's secret wish to be apart from us, as we would be apart from him. (T.28.VI.5.2) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58)
"Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, 'there is no gap between my mind and yours' has kept God's promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death."
(T.28.VI.5.3-4) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) With this declaration, our vow to keep the separation going with our brothers has no effect. Now we are ready to remember what has already been chosen in our creation. We do it by choosing to do God's Will in accepting
"our union with each other and our Source."
(W.329.2.1). We do so each time we join with a brother, each time we offer forgiveness, and each time we follow guidance and surrender our will and our way.
Isn't it reassuring to be told that no matter what we perceive in this dream, we are constantly and eternally
"safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so."
(W.329.1.9) While we may believe in the turmoil of this world, in sickness, in guilt, in problems, and in reality, nothing real is happening. It is just a dream from which we are awakening, only to find ourselves safe at home in His loving arms. This is not an event in the future, but one we can experience in any moment when we choose forgiveness instead of attack. Thus unhappiness, sickness, fantasies, ambitions, stress, addictions, and concerns are only in our imagination, serious as they seem to be in the illusion.
"This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light."
(T.25.III.7.8-9) (ACIM OE T.25.IV.29)
We can rise above this battleground and be the witness of this play that is acted out on the stage of our lives. From the place of the witness, we see that we are the dreamer of this dream and not the figure in the dream. We don't need to get caught up in the drama, but we need to step back from it. Of course, without mind training, we do get caught up in the dream and start listening to what the ego has to say about it. We are now learning to ignore the voice of the ego. We can't undo the ego thought system without help from outside the dream, and that is why we need the Holy Spirit Who is always available in our right mind. We just need to turn to Him.
Peace and joy are not dependent on anything happening in our lives. Why not choose happiness now? Why make it dependent on anything? If I am happy based on how things should be, then I put off the happiness available to me in each moment. The ego sees happiness as something in the future. "I will be happy when . . . " Or, "I could be happy if . . . " This is simply the wrong-minded game of the ego to keep us from happiness
. The ego puts happiness outside ourselves and is not threatened as long as we keep seeking for it and never find it. Thus, it stays in control.
We can rest in God, knowing that the truth in us is inviolate. Why not just give up the conflict with everyone in our lives in recognition of our sameness, our one Will, and our one Source? As long as we are still playing out the ego drama as if it were real, we keep God at bay. To know God is to join with our brothers and forgive them for what they have not done. Through forgiveness, our interpretations of what we deem as "good" and "bad" are released. Now, all we see are neutral events with no basis in reality. We give these neutral facts meaning based on our interpretations. When we have difficulties or power struggles with anyone, we are called to look at the shadow within where we attack and condemn ourselves. This shadow is projected onto our brothers. We prefer to see the guilt in them rather than in ourselves. When we take responsibility for our own self-attacks, we can heal the shadow that is in the unconscious mind. We can be grateful to our brothers who trigger us and reflect for us where healing is needed in our own mind. It does not mean we need to engage with the people that trigger us, only that we must recognize they perfectly mirror something we need to see within our own mind, where healing can now become available to us.
How much do we want this? How willing are we to choose His Will instead of our own? How stubbornly are we determined to have it our way? How determined are we to continue to hurt ourselves in the belief that somewhere, somehow, and through our own resources we can find happiness in this world if we try hard enough; but it will never work. Our happiness is in accepting our true will, which is One with God. We will continue to suffer until we release our stubborn insistence on how things should be or should not be. We are called to surrender to His Will and give up control over our own lives.
We need not act on everything we feel. We do not need to press the send button when we are tempted to write a retaliatory email. We can step back from the desire to attack and defend and reflect on what is His Will for us in this moment. In every difficult situation, we can ask for help to see the situation through His eyes. He constantly reminds us of the innocence of our brother as well as our own.
"There is no question but one you should ever ask of yourself;---'Do I want to know my Father's Will for me?'"
(T.8.VI.8.1) (ACIM OE T.8.VI.49)
"Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again."
I look at this Lesson as an opportunity to become aware of how I invest in my thoughts, how I hold onto grievances, how I obsess about problems in my life, how much I see myself as the victim of events, how I see myself as unfairly treated, how willing I am to attack my brothers, and how much I am invested in my wishes and desires for what I think will make me happy. If we really are sincere in our desire to wake up to what we are, then we must do the work involved in the forgiveness process. Our part is to bring our self-attacking thoughts, and the beliefs we hold, to awareness and then leave the rest to the Holy Spirit, Who makes the shift for us. When all the blocks to love are healed through desire, readiness, and willingness, we no longer see any separation from a brother. We are One Self.
Love and blessings, Sarah