Jesus tells us, "As you can hear two voices, so you can see in two ways. One way shows you an image, or an idol that you may worship out of fear, but will never love. The other shows you only truth, which you will love because you will understand it. Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. That is how God Himself created you; in understanding, in appreciation and in love. The ego is totally unable to understand this, because it does not understand what it makes, does not appreciate it and does not love it." (T.7.V.9.1-6)(ACIM OE T.7.VI.50)
We have two ways of seeing any situation. One way is to see through the ego's interpretation, which is to see each brother as an image or idol from whom we try to extract love. This way of seeing will always bring fear that they will leave us, betray us or hurt us. We see through our own image that is full of fear to the image of others. We try to get their image, or idol, to love us, but it can't happen, as it is just our wrong mind using them to meet our perceived needs. When they won't agree to our contract with them, we feel angry and betrayed. On the other hand, when we look with the eyes of the Holy Spirit on our brother, we stop trying to take from him to get our needs met. When this is the case, we are able see our brother as a reflection of the innocence in our own mind. We see the sameness we share as One Self. We can only see in this way when the blocks to love we hold in our own mind (guilt, fear, judgments, grievances) are removed by bringing them forward to be forgiven. This requires taking responsibility for them by looking at them, without defensiveness, and being willing to release them to the Holy Spirit. When we are listening to the ego as our teacher, we want to take from others, but in looking with the Holy Spirit, we give with no expectations of outcome.
Later in this chapter he says "Your mind is dividing its allegiance between two kingdoms, and you are totally committed to neither." (T.7.VI.9.1)(ACIM OE T.7.VII.63) "Perceived problems in identification at any level are not problems of fact. They are problems of understanding, since their presence implies a belief that what you are is up to you to decide. The ego believes this totally, being fully committed to it. It is not true. The ego therefore is totally committed to untruth, perceiving in total contradiction to the Holy Spirit and to the knowledge of God." (T.7.VI.9.4-8)(ACIM OE T.7.VII.64)
Here, we are reminded that our mind has a divided allegiance. We have the one side, the right mind, which is the part of the mind where truth resides. This is where we remember our eternal being and oneness, and the part we can't change, no matter how we feel about ourselves. In other words, we are still as God created us. The other side, the wrong mind, is where the kingdom of the ego rules. It describes who we think we are and the part we have given belief. In other words, it is the self that seems to be living in a body and in the world. With that, we value our individuality, uniqueness and specialness. We believe this is where we have control over our lives and our decisions. We believe we have made what we are and our lives are all up to us. This belief we hold totally obscures God and our reality. It obscures who we truly are as divine beings. Instead, we believe that what is real is the body, the world, the concepts of ourselves, and our problems. While we believe in this reality and the experience of ourselves as bodies, we cannot know who we are as the Self. Our wholeness, limitless power, and the truth of who we are, are still in the mind, but they are hidden from our awareness.
While the truth is, we are only One Self, our experience is of two selves in conflict. We say we want peace, joy, happiness, yet there seems to be this part of us that resists or actively sabotages what we say we want. We want peace, we want joy, we want love, we want truth, and we want God, but we also want the things of this world. We try to spiritualize the illusion by trying to bring the truth to illusion, by trying to have a better dream here. We try to make ourselves spiritual. In other words, we put on the cloak of spirituality, but it will never work. We say we want light, yet we hold onto the darkness. We hold onto our way of seeing things, our grievances, judgments and specialness. Only by releasing the dark thoughts, the self-concepts, the grievances, and the belief that things of this world (idols) can ever satisfy us, can we open to the truth of who we really are. The idols are things, circumstances, situations, special relationships, and objects we deem important and use to try to complete ourselves. We follow the ego's mantra to keep seeking for our happiness outside ourselves, but happiness and peace will always elude us. We will never find what we are seeking for in the world. The only completion is to know who we are as the Christ Self. Everything else leaves us always feeling limited and lacking. In other words, no matter what we seek for in this world, we can never be satisfied.
Our typical response to this inner conflict is to try to reconcile what we see as the different parts of ourselves, but this will never work. "You have sought many such solutions, and none of them has worked. The opposites you see in you will never be compatible. But one exists." (W.96.1.3-5) We will continue to experience the conflict until we are ready to release the false identity we have accepted as our reality.
We have become so preoccupied with the body that we have lost sight of spirit. We will never find any safety, comfort, happiness, or wholeness in guilt and fear, yet that is what we try to do. We try to carve out some kind of sense of safety and security in the world of form, whether it is in special relationships, money, status, material goods, job, or any number of things. Our lives are invested in "an endless list of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before, and failing as the next one surely will." (W.96.2.2) We are constantly trying to solve the problem of the anxiety and emptiness we feel, but we can never solve it in our own way. The problem is not in the body or in the world, but in our decision for separation, and only there lies the solution.
There simply is no happiness possible in insanity. We have put our minds to serving the happiness of the body's seeming existence, instead of waking up to the truth of our reality. We work very hard to try to make our experience here as good, comfortable, pleasurable, safe from harm, beautiful and indestructible as we can. Thus, the mind is focused on what does not serve our own best interests. "Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself." (W.96.4.4) It [the mind] has lost sight of spirit, for its true function is to serve spirit and only when we put our mind to this function will we be happy and know peace. Our wrong-minded thought system of sin, guilt and fear holds others responsible for our lack of fulfillment. Even if we seem to hold ourselves responsible by blaming ourselves for our inadequacies, we still hold someone else responsible for those inadequacies, so blaming ourselves or others is still the same thing.
When we identify ourselves with the body and personality, the mind is completely in the service of this existence. We see ourselves as "helpless, limited and weak." (W.96.5.2) We feel alone and separated, a victim of the world. The body becomes a "frail support," (W.96.5.3) where we try to hide. So much of our attention in this world goes into care and maintenance of these bodies, and we live in fear of anything untoward happening to them. They are indeed very frail and they continually deteriorate. This is because we have "denied its [our] Source of strength." (W.96.5.2) We see ourselves like this when we believe we have separated from the love we are. Only by undertaking our function of forgiveness, where we no longer project our guilt onto others and hold them responsible for our condition, can we reclaim the power in us.
When we focus on the physical, the mind is "gone from your self-concept, for it has no place in which it could be really part of you." (W.96.3.6) In other words, when we join with spirit, we can't be a body. When we recognize ourselves as One Self united, with our Creator, the body is not our reality. (W.96.3.7) We simply are not these frail beings at the mercy of a cruel world. When we identify ourselves as bodies, we have actually left the mind, which is where truth resides. The Holy Spirit calls us to return to the truth of who we really are. The Holy Spirit is in our right minds.
In each moment and in each decision, as we choose a grievance or a miracle, we are choosing the separation or our reality. It depends on which teacher we turn to---the ego or the Holy Spirit. This is a question of whether we choose to defend our specialness and individuality, or we choose forgiveness and thus the truth. In each decision we make, we choose Heaven or hell, truth or illusion, body or spirit.
For healing to occur, we must bring all our worries, depression, feelings of victimhood, attack thoughts, expectations of outcomes, fantasies, and wishes, to light. Then we must be willing to let them go. To waste our time listening to the ego and going where it takes us leads us nowhere. It is like trying to resolve things in our nighttime dreams. What is the point? I spent the whole night in my dream last night packing to go on a journey and being concerned about taking everything I needed. However, in spite of my dedication and commitment to this task, it was to no avail, which only became apparent to me when I awoke.
Fortunately for us, the Holy Spirit has been placed in our right minds as a bridge to help us with this awakening. He entered our minds the instant the decision for the wrong mind (separation) was made. He calls us constantly to give up our futile attempts at finding happiness in the physical world and urges us to open our minds to the truth. This is the Divine Help that brings our minds back to our true function to serve the spirit, connect with the love we are and bring this reflection to the world as an extension of God's Being. "Your mind will bless all things." (W.96.10.4) That is the case when we reclaim the truth of who we are through our function of forgiveness. This is how we rejoin with the source of our strength.
Our self-deceptions can't change the truth about us, no matter how lost we are in this dream. They can't change what we are as spirit. We always remain as God created us, and can never be separated from our Creator. While we have deceived ourselves about who we are and believe in the reality of the body, the truth of our reality as the Christ Self has never changed. Isn't that a reassuring thought? Nothing we have done has changed our reality. Nothing we believe about ourselves is true. Now we are releasing the untrue and reconnecting to the spirit, leaving aside all the distractions of the world as we enter into His Presence. We are reminded, "The ego's whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled." (T.7.IX 3.4-5)(ACIM OE T.7.X.93)
The Self we seek is not something outside us, but it is who we are. "Perhaps your mind remains uncertain yet a little while. Be not dismayed by this." (W.96.11.2-3) We may not be ready yet for the experience of awakening, but we should not feel discouraged because of this lack of readiness. It will be ours when we are ready. Every time we do the practice, we "offer Him another treasure to be kept for us." (W.96.11.5) Therefore, nothing is ever lost. As we do this practice, we just keep filling our storehouse with treasures. From this storehouse, we draw these treasures, which are then extended as blessings and miracles. We need to be patient with ourselves in this process. We can relax, knowing that time is being used for its intended purpose. We do the work by applying these Lessons in our daily lives. As we do this, the Self rejoices, even if the joy has not yet penetrated the conscious mind.
I share these thoughts with you, knowing I am talking to myself, reminding myself of the truth as I write. I join together with you in gratitude and willingness to awaken from this dream, and thus recognize that salvation comes from my One Self, which I share with you. Through that One Self, we bring salvation to the world. As we receive, we give. "Think, then, how much is given unto you to give this day, that it be given you!" (W.96.12.3)