A Course in Miracles Lesson 81

I am the light of the world.

Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

The review periods are often the most challenging aspects of the workbook. For me, there is a marked tendency to treat them as down time, a chance to catch my breath and buckle down for the more difficult work of actually doing lessons. There is some arrogance in this, of course, because of the underlying presumption that I’ve already “got it” and so don’t need any review or practice. And when arrogance rears its head, it’s a sure sign that resistance is running the show.

Given that A Course in Miracles aims at such a fundamental and total change, it is impossible that some level of review and practice not be necessary. Over time, I’ve learned that the lessons shift and evolve – or, rather, that I become more open-minded and willing, and so am able to see more of what was always there. It’s good to double back. It’s good to give ourselves permission to be less than perfect students, and so open the possibility of a deepening practice.

Regard these practice periods as dedications to the way, the truth and the life. Refuse to be sidetracked into detours, illusions and thoughts of death. You are dedicated to salvation. Be determined each day not to leave your function unfulfilled (W-pI.RII-In.5:1-4).

Those words – a sort of inspiring cheer from Jesus, encouraging us to take the review periods seriously – are perfect for the two lessons (79 and 80) under review for the day. You are the light of the world! And as such, forgiveness – right seeing, or seeing with Jesus and the Holy Spirit – is your only function.

At the level of the body, these lessons are easily confused. Sean is the not the light of the world! But what Sean is in truth is the light of the world. And I share that with you, as you share it with me. Forgiveness allows us to perceive in ourselves – and thus in our brothers and sisters – our essential Oneness with God. When we see that, all we have to offer is the clarifying light of understanding and grace.

It’s not that we’re wrong to walk around in these bodies in this world and think, “I am the light.” It’s possible to do that and do some good. But it is to say that the more we can shake our investment in these physical selves, these narrative selves with both a past and a future, the closer we come to the real joy and peace of the Course.

It is also helpful sometimes – in the interest of undoing the self – to make ourselves available to the grace and light of our brothers and sisters. Sometimes we have to be open to that – whether it’s a simple smile or a warm hug or a big gift that really transforms our day-to-day existence. These two lessons remind us that we – you and I – are in this together. We are not going to Heaven singly. And so we not only reach out – we also accept the extensions of others.

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