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LESSON 338 DEC 4 THURSDAY
Daily Quote
What is the Ego?
Daily Lesson 338
Sarah's Reflections
MANUAL #4, 11-17
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Course in Miracles Society (CIMS) is an international group of Course students and teachers organized to discover, authenticate and propagate the Divine Teachings of A Course in Miracles.

 

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ACIM Original Ed  
MANUAL FOR TEACHERS  
4. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS
OF GOD'S TEACHERS    

 

Defenselessness

 

God's teachers have learned how to be simple. They have no dreams that need defense against the truth. They do not try to make themselves. Their joy comes from their understanding Who created them. And does what God created need defense? No one can become an advanced teacher of God until he fully understands that defenses are but the foolish guardians of mad illusions. The more grotesque the dream, the fiercer and more powerful its defenses seem to be. Yet when the teacher of God finally agrees to look past them, he finds nothing was there. Slowly at first, he lets himself be undeceived. But he learns faster as his trust increases. It is not danger that comes when defenses are laid down. It is safety. It is peace. It is joy. And it is God.    

WHAT IS THE EGO?
What is the Ego  
<AUDIO><VIDEO> 
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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*

What is 'Iambic Pentameter'? 

   The ego is idolatry; the sign

   of limited and separated self,

   born in a body, doomed to suffer and

   to end its life in death. It is the will

   that sees the Will of God as enemy,

   and takes a form in which It is denied.

   The ego is the "proof" that strength is weak

   and love is fearful, life is really death,

   and what opposes God alone is true.

 

   The ego is insane. In fear it stands

   beyond the Everywhere, apart from All,

   in separation from the Infinite.

   In its insanity, it thinks it has

   become a victor over God Himself,

   and in its terrible autonomy

   it "sees" the Will of God has been destroyed.

   It dreams of punishment, and trembles at

   the figures in its dreams, its "enemies"

   who seek to murder it before it can

   ensure its safety by attacking them.

 

   The Son of God is egoless. What can

   he know of madness and the death of God,

   when he abides in Him? What can he know

   of sorrow and of suffering, when he

   lives in eternal joy? What can he know

   of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt,

   of hatred and attack, when all there is

   surrounding him is everlasting peace,

   forever conflict-free and undisturbed,

   in deepest silence and tranquility?

 

   To know Reality is not to know

   the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts,

   its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes,

   its plans for its salvation, and the cost

   belief in it entails. In suffering,

   the price for faith in it is so immense

   that crucifixion of the Son of God

   is offered daily at its darkened shrine,

   and blood must flow before the altar where

   its sickly followers prepare to die.

 

   Yet will one lily of forgiveness change

   the darkness into light; the altar to

   illusions to the shrine of Life Itself.

   And peace will be restored forever to

   the holy minds which God created as

   His Son, His dwelling-place, His joy, His love,
   completely His, completely one with Him.

  

   ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM    


DAILY LESSON

ACIM Lessons  

L e s s o n  338
I am affected only by my thoughts.

 

<AUDIO><VIDEO>

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   It needs but this to let salvation come

   to all the world. For in this single thought

   is everyone released at last from fear.

   Now he has learned that no-one frightens him,

   and nothing can endanger him. He has

   no enemies, and he is safe from all

   external things. His thoughts can frighten him,

   but since these thoughts belong to him alone

   he has the power to change them, and exchange

   each fear thought for a happy thought of love.

   He crucified himself. Yet God has planned

   that His beloved Son will be redeemed.

 

    Your plan is sure, my Father, - only Yours.

    All other plans will fail. And I will have

    thoughts that will frighten me until I learn

    that You have given me the only Thought

    Which leads me to salvation. Mine alone

    will fail and lead me nowhere. But the Thought

    You gave me promises to lead me home

    because it holds Your promise to Your Son.

                                 
    ~ Original Hand-script of ACIM          

            

ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 

ACIM Edmonton, CA

Lesson 338
I am affected only by my thoughts.
 
Sarah's Commentary:

I am reflecting today about all of the things in my life that I think affect me. It is immensely empowering to realize that none of them have any real effect on me at all. It is only my thoughts about what is happening around me that affect me. Yet though my thoughts can frighten me, I have the power to "exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love." (W.338.1.5) My mood is established entirely by me, according to the nature of my thoughts. While this is the truth for all of us, clearly it is not yet our experience, but it is certainly a powerful goal.
 
Events come and go in our lives. Sometimes we are plagued by problems, people, and events that are difficult and extremely aggravating for us. Thus it seems that our ego gets hijacked by an unexpected conversation, an email, or a phone call, that triggers a defensive emotional outrage. It is moments such as this that show up in our lives, where we seem to lose our emotional center. We turn to anger, which is the ego's idea of 'self protection.' It is a defense that we think keeps us from being dominated or controlled. But whether we react outwardly or have inward conflict, it is the same. Our lesson is to come to the place where we know that "no one frightens him [us], and nothing can endanger him [us]. He has [We have] no enemies, and he is [we are] safe from all external things." (W.338.1.3-4) No matter what the situation is or how I might react to it, this is still the truth to be learned. Nothing outside of my mind is the cause of my grief.
 
I can choose not to give these events any power. They only affect me if I have a story around them. Any pain that these events seem to create for me is an opportunity to do some self-inquiry about what purpose is being served by what I am telling myself about any situation. What payoff am I getting from my story? Keeping the story serves the ego. It seems to be getting us something that we want, whether it is love, attention, sympathy, revenge, power, independence, control, cleverness, domination, etc. It is all about the payoff. Why would we want these kinds of payoffs? They might be a way that we use to deal with fear, win in a power struggle, attempt to prove something, serve as an excuse to hold onto someone, to be right rather than happy, or as a sacrifice to compensate for failure. But ultimately they are all strategies to keep us from the love that we are and to keep us invested in the illusion. The dream becomes all important as does our part in it. We are making it real. Bringing our awareness to what the payoff is for us can assist in uncovering the choices that we are making that actually conspire against our happiness and ultimately against remembering who we really are.

The lack of peace that we are feeling point to the thoughts that we are stubbornly holding onto. If we allow ourselves to connect deeply to the pain rather than avoiding, justifying, spiritualizing, or denying it, then we can surrender it by looking at it with Jesus. When we look with him, we are looking without judgment because he shines his love on our illusions and shows us their unreality. All of our strategies are lies that we are telling ourselves in an attempt to keep the thoughts that make up the story and create our world view and our concepts about ourselves. When we stop investing in our beliefs that the way we see things is the way that they are, we can start to question our thoughts, our beliefs, and our values. When we experience the holy instant, the events of our lives that we previously defined as problems and aggravations may still be there, but the suffering we experienced as a result of these events is no longer there. In order to experience emotions around any situation, we have to want to play with the emotions. We have to want to hold onto our story about the situation. If there is suffering for you, you can be assured that you are holding onto your story and the thoughts reflected in it. It is a choice to let them be given over to the light of truth. That is what forgiveness is. That is where we connect to true power, but it take willingness and courage.

To realize that nothing outside of ourselves can threaten us is our release from the suffering, but that realization is not an intellectual one. It is one that requires willingness to face our own self-betrayal. When we do the forgiveness work, space is opened up for the truth that is in our right minds to come through so that we can experience the connection with the love that we are. As Jesus says, "Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things." (W.338.1.3-4)
 
What wonderful freedom there is in that thought! We have spent so much of our lives protecting ourselves from perceived harm. Why is that? Well, we have learned from an early age that it is dangerous to be open and vulnerable, so we put up all kinds of defenses. We have been deceived and betrayed by our experiences in the world, starting with our parents who turned out not to be perfect. Thus we started to feel unsafe and became afraid to receive. But the mind wants innocence and therefore dodges the pain and numbs it, avoids it, or offers elaborate justifications for it. When our seeming vulnerability has been abused, fear arises and we try to protect ourselves and shut down our capacity to receive. We become hypervigilant in collecting data to keep us safe, yet we have a profound yearning for innocence. Now we are being reminded that our only safety is in letting go of our defenses. We are being reminded that the way we have defined ourselves, as a body and personal self that needs protection, is not who we are. We are safe and always have been.

As this lesson says, our thoughts can indeed frighten us "but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love." (W.338.1.5) We only crucify ourselves, but now we see that we have the power to change our thoughts. Our problems are never external, so they can't be solved with anything external. To find peace from pain and suffering that we experience, we must see that nothing that comes to us from outside is the cause of our suffering. It all comes from our own thoughts. It all comes from the separation, where the decision was made to leave God and make our own way. From this thought came a sense of abandonment, which is triggered when someone leaves us, and we feel crushed, or we leave before we can be abandoned to protect ourselves from potential pain. All that is happening is that we are seeing ourselves as victims of outside events. When we can see that we have not been abandoned by God but chose to do the abandoning, and when we take responsibility for that, then we can bring our sadness, loneliness, and sense of loss to the Holy Spirit. We see that it was of our own choosing and now we can choose again. Now all relationships are valuable for what we can learn from them about our own fears. We are no longer victims of abandonment. Relationships now become a valuable classroom for looking at our thoughts.
 
"Your plan is sure, my Father,---only Yours. All other plans will fail. And I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere. But the Thought You gave me promises to lead me home, because it holds Your promise to Your Son." (W.338.2.1-5) The plan our Father assures us of is the plan of Atonement. By accepting the healing for ourselves that is being offered through forgiveness, we are remembering who we are. We have been given a way to return home, and this plan is the undoing of all of our misthoughts by returning the problem back to the mind, which is the only place it can be undone. This is very hopeful because now it is up to us. Nothing outside of us has any power. It is our dream, so we can do something about it in alliance with the power of the Holy Spirit in our right minds.
 
"I am never upset for the reason I think," (W.PI.5) which reminds us that while we think events outside of our own minds are the cause of our upsets, the cause is always in our own thoughts. And as Jesus reminds us, "I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I would experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.  (T.21.II.2.3-4) (ACIM OE T.21.III.15)

"It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident.
" (T.21.II.3.1-3)
(ACIM OE T.21.III.17)

In the Workbook, Lesson 190, "It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No one but yourself affects you. There is nothing in the world that has the power to make you ill or sad or weak or frail. But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see by merely recognizing what you are."
(W.190.5.1-6)
 

Love and blessings, Sarah 

huemmert@shaw.ca

4. What Are the Characteristics of God's
    Teachers?                  

* Honesty

11 All other traits of God's teachers rest on trust. Once that has been achieved, the others cannot fail to follow. Only the trusting can afford honesty, for only they can see its value. Honesty does not apply only to what you say. The term actually means consistency. There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought; no act belies your word; and no word lacks agreement with another. Such are the truly honest. At no level are they in conflict with themselves. Therefore it is impossible for them to be in conflict with anyone or anything.

 

12 The peace of mind which the advanced teachers of God experience is largely due to their perfect honesty. It is only the wish to deceive that makes for war. No one at one with himself can even conceive of conflict. Conflict is the inevitable result of self-deception, and self-deception is dishonesty. There is no challenge to a teacher of God. Challenge implies doubt, and the trust on which God's teachers rest secure makes doubt impossible. Therefore they can only succeed. In this, as in all things, they are honest. They can only succeed because they never do their will alone. They choose for all mankind, for all the world and all things in it, for the unchanging and unchangeable beyond appearances, and for the Son of God and his Creator. How could they not succeed? They choose in perfect honesty, sure of their choice themselves.

* Tolerance

13 God's teachers do not judge. To judge is to be dishonest, for to judge is to assume a position you do not have. Judgment without self-deception is impossible. Judgment implies that you have been deceived in your brothers. How then could you not have been deceived in yourself? Judgment implies a lack of trust, and trust remains the bed-rock of the teacher of God's whole thought system. Let this be lost, and all his learning goes. Without judgment are all things equally acceptable, for who could judge otherwise? Without judgment are all men brothers, for who is there who stands apart? Judgment destroys honesty and shatters trust. No teacher of God can judge and hope to learn.

* Gentleness

14 Harm is impossible for God's teachers. They can neither harm nor be harmed. Harm is the outcome of judgment. It is the dishonest act that follows a dishonest thought. It is a verdict of guilt upon a brother and therefore on one's self. It is the end of peace and the denial of learning. It demonstrates the absence of God's curriculum and its replacement by insanity. No teacher of God but must learn-and fairly early in his training-that harmfulness completely obliterates his function from his awareness. It will make him confused, fearful, angry, and suspicious. It will make the Holy Spirit's lessons impossible to learn. Nor can God's Teacher be heard at all except by those who realize that harm can actually achieve nothing. No gain can come of it.

 

15 Therefore God's teachers are wholly gentle. They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. To those who would do harm, it is impossible. To those to whom harm has no meaning, it is merely natural. What choice but this has meaning to the sane? Who chooses hell when he perceives a way to Heaven? And who would choose the weakness that must come from harm in place of the unfailing, all-encompassing, and limitless strength of gentleness? The might of God's teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God's Son nor his Creator. Thus did they join their thoughts with Him Who is their Source. And so their will, which always was His own, is free to be itself.

* Joy

16 Joy is the inevitable result of gentleness. Gentleness means that fear is now impossible, and what could come to interfere with joy? The open hands of gentleness are always filled. The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God's teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way because God's Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation!

* Defenselessness

17 God's teachers have learned how to be simple. They have no dreams that need defense against the truth. They do not try to make themselves. Their joy comes from their understanding Who created them. And does what God created need defense? No one can become an advanced teacher of God until he fully understands that defenses are but the foolish guardians of mad illusions. The more grotesque the dream, the fiercer and more powerful its defenses seem to be. Yet when the teacher of God finally agrees to look past them, he finds nothing was there. Slowly at first, he lets himself be undeceived. But he learns faster as his trust increases. It is not danger that comes when defenses are laid down. It is safety. It is peace. It is joy. And it is God.


 

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