One of the things the review periods do is offer a summation of the themes inherent in a block of lessons, one that might have escaped obvious notice in earlier readings. Seeing this is not to say that it’s the right interpretation for all students but that it’s the right one for you right now. That’s really the challenge in writing the way I do. I am necessarily having – and teaching – an experience of A Course in Miracles that may differ profoundly – even unhelpfully – from your own.
Yet the effort remains important, if only because it teaches me, by deepening my own understanding of what I am doing here and what I am working with. The Course has changed significantly in the years that I’ve studied it, in an odd way becoming more complex and challenging while at the same time simplifying itself.
This review lesson suggests two related ideas to me. The first is that I am responsible for what I see, or perceive. The second is that I am responsible for choosing to see differently. The power of decision continually resides in my mind and it cannot be diminished nor destroyed. It is always mine to exercise as I see fit.
In the early stages of the Course, we tend to see “mine” or “me” as this egoic/narrative self. That’s okay. In fact, more and more, I think it’s important to see that way, and to fully appreciate the effects of seeing that way. Not to intellectualize it so much as to experience it, which can only strengthen our resolve to make a different decision.
My world is one of conflict. The car needs to be repaired and I don’t have money. I love my teaching but it doesn’t pay enough. My kids are incredible and a blessing but parenting leaves so little time for prayer and meditation. My neighbor is a good human being but a real nag about property lines. People who ride snowmobiles mess with my winter dog walk. My stomach can’t handle coffee the way it once did and that’s a drag because I love coffee. And so forth and so on.
Keep in mind that I don’t really dwell on these problems in the traditional sense. I’m not by nature a complainer. But they’re there. Buried deep, bearing little impact maybe but . . . there. And if they are there a little, then they are there in full. There are no degrees, no middle ground between the ego’s world and the one we see when we see with the Holy Spirit.
We have to be really honest about this, letting all this up into the light. I wrote a bit yesterday about “no private thoughts,” but my thinking was mostly an attempt to see the phrase in metaphysical terms. That’s okay, sure, but there is another, more practical, way to see it and that’s that we need to hide nothing from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So if you’re holding onto a little grudge against your Great Aunt who gave you five bucks while giving your brother six some forty-two years ago . . . and you know that it’s silly and mature spiritual people don’t harbor microscopic bitternesses like that . . . you still have to raise it to the light. All of the separation is contained in that little problem, just as it is contained in the seeming greater issues like death and violent crime.
There’s no way around this! And that is very frustrating and confounds the ego but to the Holy Spirit it is the solution in a nutshell. If we can accept this need to purify, to become as little children allowing a loving parent to bless and forgive us – of every error we ever embraced or fell for – then real peace is going to follow. Why is it going to follow? Because it is already there, obscured by our frantic imaginings and false logical thinking. Choose a different belief system – exercise your power of choice – and the game is over. What was always True is still True. The Reality created by God is still there, unaffected by our insane thinking.
So we have to come to this process with some degree of willingness. We have to come to it ready to be scared but willing to go beyond the fear. We are doing this to ourselves and we can make another choice! The five lessons we review today make that clear.