This day is God's. It is my gift to Him.
In the Lesson yesterday, the focus was that the world of false perception was made as an attack on God. The world is a result of our choice for separation and with it our choice for individuality and differences. Now Jesus shows us that what we have made can be used as a classroom for undoing the ego thought system. He tells us,
"As sight was made to lead away from truth, it can be redirected."
(W.PII.Q3.4.1) Just like anything we have made—the world, the body, and our special relationships---all can be used by the Holy Spirit for healing when given over to Him. While the ego tries to ensure that we see the world as real, the Holy Spirit redirects our way of seeing it and gives it a new purpose, which is to help us wake up from this dream.
"Sounds become the call of God, and all perception can be given a new purpose by One Whom God appointed Savior to the world."
(W.PII.Q3.4.2) Now we are called to see the world as the Holy Spirit beholds it, which is beyond the forms of this world and their seeming reality and toward the content of love. Ultimately, we learn that we have been wrong about everything that we think we know and think we understand about ourselves, others, and the world.
The purpose we have given the world is to meet our needs: we use others to support our specialness, we win at their expense, and we project guilt onto them. With our desire for healing, we now choose a new purpose, where we no longer want to see others guilty, we no longer want the power struggles and conflicts, and we use our special relationships for healing and holiness. We increasingly choose to see that the peace and joy that comes from joining has more appeal than maintaining our focus exclusively on what we think we want. There is now a willingness to see that we have been wrong and are willing to be taught.
Jesus pleads with us to,
"Hear His Voice alone in all that speaks to you. And let Him give you peace and certainty, which you have thrown away, but Heaven has preserved for you in Him."
(W.PII.Q3.4.4-5) While we believe that we have thrown away our peace and joy, Jesus assures us that this has not happened and, indeed, cannot happen. It has been preserved for us. We have not changed ourselves and cannot change ourselves from our holy creation; however, we have lost awareness of who we really are. The peace and certainty are still in us, covered over by our mistaken perceptions. Our eyes may still see misbehaving bodies, and our ears may still hear sounds of war, but our purpose now is to see with Christ's vision beyond what our senses report and the interpretation our brain gives them. We bring to question what we see and hear. We become the observers of the characters in the dream, seeing them from outside of the dream where we look at everyone without judgment. Each time we do, we bring back more light to our minds and to the world, and with it comes the realization that no one is separate from us. We all share the same One Self.
"Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception."
(W.PII.Q3.5.1) Our interests are not separate from anyone else's. We save the world by our willingness to release the meaning we have given it. Thus,
"what was made to die can be restored to everlasting life,"
(W.PII.Q3.5.5) meaning we awaken to the reality that life cannot end. While the body was made to die, what we are cannot die. We are changing our minds from thoughts of death to thoughts of life. Our reality as infinite, eternal beings has always been. As Jesus said in the Bible, "Before Abraham was, I am." The world of bodies and of death has no reality.
"This day is God's. It is my gift to Him,"
(W.242) is a lesson in humility. When we lead our lives alone, we are actually leading them with the ego. We are believing we know what is best for us. We claim our free will, not recognizing that we are a prisoner to the ego and the script. To recognize that
"there is One Who knows all that is best for me"
(W.242.1.3) is to acknowledge that I do not know anything. The information on which I base my decisions is very limited. This means that I am always uncertain. Yet with the Holy Spirit, everything is known and lived in the flow of total trust and certainty.
I know I have turned to the wrong teacher whenever I feel anxious, stressed, worried, unhappy, and focused on my plans and goals for happiness, and thus I am never certain what to do. I know I am mistaken when I feel less than peaceful. I know that when I choose to rely on my own resources, trying to figure out how to resolve the problems of my life as I perceive them, I have turned to the wrong teacher. It is a relief to remember that I just need to step back and turn to the Guide within, Who does know where my peace resides. My issue is forgetting to ask and going off on my own, thinking I know what I need. We think we need to maintain control over all of the many decisions in our lives. We get upset if our preferences for how things should be done do not pan out. Yet, if we release our attachments to preferences and remember that the script is already written, then what is there to manage? All that is left is to ask for help to see the situation differently.
When we were at the funeral for Don's dad, our friend, Linda, was to sing at the gravesite, but she wasn
t there when the interment was about to take place. At first, I was feeling quite attached to having her there and very disappointed that she had not turned up as planned. I spent a moment going within to look at what I was feeling. I noticed my disappointment and watched it and reminded myself, "This need not be." I could choose simply to accept things as they are. Just as the minister was about to start the proceedings, we heard the sound of her beautiful voice coming from the distance, as she was moving toward where we were standing. The hymn we had chosen for her to sing was, "It is Well with My Soul." And yes, those words reverberated with my soul and I knew then---it is truly well with my soul. This is always the case whenever we let go of our expectations of how things should be. Letting go of our attachments does not necessarily mean everything will show up in this way, but it does release us from the upsets that we experience as a result of our attachments. For me, this was a situation that reinforced the value of acceptance.
To let go, to accept, and to trust are the ways we learn the foolishness of living our lives alone. (W.241.1.2) When we turn to our inner Guide, we recognize that the support of the Holy Spirit is always there. He is not only our Guide, but our Companion. He walks with us. We are never alone. Yet to experience this truth, we need to admit that we do not know and that we do not understand. To surrender our understanding and turn within where truth abides is to release our reliance on the ego. There are just too many variables for us to ever be certain, so let us make space for guidance from the One who does know all the variables we cannot know. We make space through forgiveness of all that is false.
When I look at my life, it does not always look like things are working out the way I would like. I now accept more and more that the way I would like it to be does not mean it is the way that will lead to God. The goal is to awaken. It is not to have a prettier dream. I have to remind myself daily that I do not know my own best interests. What I think serves me can actually set me back, while what I think is good can keep me invested in the dream. As Jesus tells us,
"Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success."
(T.18.V.1.6) (ACIM OE T.18.VI.41)
In Chapter 24, we are told to
"Forget not that the healing of God's Son is all the world is for."
(T.24.VI.4.1) (ACIM OE T.24.VII.52) The situations that offer us the most healing may take place in ways that we do not welcome, but what does the ego know of true healing? To awaken from this dream is to release investment in the ego. The ego is invested in keeping us from choosing the right mind. Indeed, when we make progress in releasing our mistaken thoughts, tremendous resistance can arise. I know that we have all experienced it from time to time in many different ways. We seem to take two steps back with every step forward. Resistance is there because we still cling to our individuality and our specialness, and when we do make progress, the ego can become very suspicious. Then, when things seem to get more difficult for us on this path, we may question whether it is right for us.
Whenever something we think we want fails to happen, we need not be distraught. It can all be used for our greater good. We have not been abandoned. He knows our deepest needs. It is only the interpretation or meaning I give to the situation that gives rise to my emotional experience. My interpretation is what I need to be willing to release for His judgment to prevail. In the Manual for Teachers, Section 10, we learn,
"It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it."
(M.10.2.1-5) (ACIM OE M.10.2)
Don't we all feel the burden of deciding by ourselves? Wouldn't it be easier if we learned to trust the Guide, Who offers us His certainty? He is not something outside of us. It is our own Voice. Jesus tells us,
"When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer."
(T.14.IV.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.13.IX.92) Don't we all wish for that---just to be in the flow where everything works?
Let us give this day to God. Let us remember to enter the quietness of our minds and ask for His help with everything. Let us determine to take our hands off the levers of control that we think we have, which is only an illusion anyway! We may protest that we aren't hearing guidance from the Holy Spirit, but we need to ask, and to listen, and to pay attention to the inner nudges. We must leave room for His Answer by stepping back from the problem and continuing to ask in every situation. Then, we trust that the answer will come when we are willing to receive it. When we express gratitude for every answer we receive, we feel blessed.
In the midst of some difficult communication where the ego is holding sway, we may literally have to leave the room and take a few moments away from the storm in order to return our minds to sanity. Take the time you need in order to remind yourself that you do not know your own best interests, and ask Him to lead the way for you. You can then reenter the situation that seemed to be the cause of the distress, recognizing that there is no cause outside of your own mind. Bringing our minds to peace is where the resolution lies to every difficult situation.
Jesus continually encourages us to remember that our investment in healing is on behalf of our own happiness. Many of the things we ask for from God delay our homecoming. They are things that we think we need for our happiness. Isn't that what we usually pray for? Isn't that what the secret of the "Secret" is all about? We believe that we know what we want for our happiness, but the "me" that thinks it knows is always the ego, and the ego is not for our best interests. The things that I think I want may instead weigh me down and keep me attached to the world. If we insist on hanging onto our personal goals and staying in charge of our decisions, we will find that turning our minds over to the Holy Spirit and surrendering to His guidance will indeed be threatening. His priority is not about our stuff, our status, or our special relationships. He knows just as a good parent knows that what a child thinks he wants will not deliver the joy and happiness the child believes is contained in the thing he demands. Jesus reminds us often---we are like that child.
Let us give this day to God as our gift to Him. Let us be determined to protect the day from our own whims and wishes by asking for Him to be our Guide today. When we are tempted to set our own goals for the day, let us take a moment and step back and be willing to release our desires and wishes and ask instead, "What would you have me do?" "Where would you have me go?" And then, we listen. Our experience of a day of peace and joy comes from God and not from what seems to be happening to us. Come to this day with a wholly open mind. It is not for us to define what is in our own best interests. We truly do not know.
Love and blessings, Sarah