A Course in Miracles Lesson 186

Here is the thought of true humility, which holds no function as your own but that which has been given you (W-pI.186.1:2).

Ask yourself: when told that salvation of the world depends on you, does not a chorus of internal voices begin to clamor in various degrees of consent and disagreement? Anticipation and resistance?

And hearing those voices – and not pretending they are not there, and not playing favorites amongst them, or otherwise dismissing their effects – can we begin to give attention to what, if anything, can be encountered beyond them?

Our true self cannot be discovered in thought. We aren’t going to think our way to the Truth. This does not make thought bad or unnecessary; only superfluous to Truth. We can think our way to baking brownies or clearing trails or driving to Chicago, but we cannot think our way to Reality.

So there is a presence beyond our egoic response to A Course in Miracles, that tends to us as we sit quietly, willing to experience it.

Our self-made roles are shifting, and they seem to change from mourner to ecstatic bliss of love and loving. We can laugh or weep, and greet the day with welcome or with tears. Our very being seems to change as we experience a thousand shifts in mood, and our emotions raise us high indeed, or dash us to the ground in hopelessness (W-pI.186.8:3-5).

This self can save nothing – salvation is not contingent on it in any way. Rather, salvation is contingent on our willingness to be led beyond this tiny self, this fragile construct of thought and feeling and language.

. . . certain as the sun’s return each morning to dispel the night, your truly given function stands out clear and wholly unambiguous. There is no doubt of its validity. It comes from One Who knows no error, and His Voice is certain of Its messages (W-pI.186.11:1-3).

Our practice of this lesson, then, depends on our willingness to set aside our various mental, emotional and psychological images of the self in order to find out what remains. Because it is what remains that is the foundation of the world’s salvation. So we can ask: what stays when we release our insistence on this or that role for ourselves? Who are we when we no longer rush to define ourselves in terms of what we think the world needs?

We think that our ideas are a form of knowledge, aspects of truth, helpful pointers to a self that can eventually fit into the world and maybe even save it from itself. But this thought (regardless of the myriad forms it takes) is simply faith wasted in yet another illusion. We have to let it all go – our images of helpfulness, kindness, gentleness, willingness, love. All of it. Can we do that? Admit that we don’t know? Admit that we even our purest ideal of lovingkindness contains the rank seeds of selfishness?

It is hard. It is very hard.

And yet, to the precise degree that we can entertain it as a possibility, help is given. Help is there. It is like we are so busy drawing maps to lead us home that we fail to notice we are already are home. What is required is not effort, but gentle and sustained attention to the present, which is forever sufficient.

Thus, the question is not how do I save the world, or what do I need to do to save the world, but rather am I giving attention to the Voice for Love (W-pI.186.4:1)? Nothing more is asked of us because nothing more could be asked.

The ego’s many voices – its pretend logic, its passionate directives – will fade and disappear as we observe them without investment. What remains? What emerges from what remains?

Those are interesting questions; and it behooves us to be discovered by the answers.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • ron dowd April 28, 2015, 12:35 am

    Thanks Shaun, nicely put

  • Mike May 6, 2015, 7:59 pm

    The words I read here sing to me in a way that gives hope because I feel a melody and not just the ponderousness of “figuring out” thought. I was going to comment a few days ago also about the heaviness of “why all the spiritual advice now and throughout the ages if it seems to get in the way of what it is trying to point at?” So I enjoy your words because you witness that you do use them while no longer being trapped by them. Just before reading this, I was looking at my water fountain that is one of the few mesmerizing joys for me (like the warmth from sun bathing that just a-rests me for at least moments). I noticed big bubbles arising from under the downspout and then drifting. I “noticed” my thought of how beautiful. And know now that the thought is like when we miss life because we’re trying to record it in photo or video. But with the fountain it’s ok because that bubble and I had a glorious moment (the bubble-I!). It also popped in the midst of this which seemed to smile at me that “yes, you are in joy, and to think about it “pops” it, but the noticing of THAT thought was its own beautiful bubble. And as I continue to give joy to the fountain (like the moonlight you’ve given to – and to me by sharing it), I decided to write these words for it and you and me.

    Following your lead, and hoping to increase your sharing by so doing, Mike

    … a stunning Western Tanagier landed on the overflow rim in the middle of the last sentence!

    • Sean Reagan May 7, 2015, 2:54 pm

      western Tanagers are gorgeous . . . birds always feel like such blessings to me . . . I love this idea of “giving joy” and I agree with you whole-heartedly that allowing thought to just do its thing without worrying too much about what that things is, can be very peaceful and creative . . . thanks for sharing Mike . . . appreciate your thoughts here very much . . .

      Love,
      Sean

  • Johan Stroman May 23, 2015, 10:18 am

    This is a great reminder – thank you Sean.

    • Sean Reagan May 23, 2015, 5:09 pm

      You’re welcome, Johan. Thank you for reading & sharing.

      ~ Sean

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