A Course in Miracles Lesson 196

It can be but myself I crucify.

This is a more acute phrasing of the standard ACIM teaching that the secret to salvation is that we are doing this – causing suffering by accepting the ego’s interpretation of self and world – to our selves. The great lie of projection is that we avoid the effects of that which is projected. But the willingness to dissociate at all begins and ends with the self in pain.

The alternative – the other way to which Bill Thetford so helpfully referred, effectively inaugurating A Course in Miracles – relies on letting go of the insane (and thus unhelpful) idea that “to attack a brother saves yourself” (W-pI.196.1:3).

When we decide to challenge the effectiveness of projection – when we make a practice of refusing to indulge its false promise of escapism – then we let go of the ego’s lies, and the truth naturally arises to take the place of distortion and confusion. The truth needs no interpretation. The acceptance of truth – and the quiet, sustainable peace and joy that are its natural effects – are the work of an instant when we consent to get out of the way.

It is not time we need for this. It is but willingness. For what would seem to need a thousand years can easily be done in just one instant by the grace of God (W-pI.196.4:3-5).

What, then, is crucifixion? We are not literally talking about being nailed to a cross, strangling to death in the hot sun outside Jerusalem. Or Boston or Berlin.

The Course is not being literal here, but symbolic. Crucifixion in this context refers to the mistaken idea that salvation lies in holding another responsible for what we are doing. It is our own thoughts that cause the appearance and experience of the outer world. It is not our brothers and sisters – no matter how it might appear in the ego’s rendition of reality.

When we do not accept responsibility, but instead project it – and thus percieve a world in which others are responsible for suffering, whether it’s our parents, our religious terrorists, or climate change – we are effectively crucifying ourselves. We are depriving ourselves of our own capacity for salvation, which lies in choosing to accept the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world.

The ego blames others, and pretends that in doing so we are exonerated. But the Holy Spirit teaches us that there is no cause for blame anywhere in the system, thus freeing us to examine our thought system without fear, discarding what does not work, and keeping what does.

In this way, we are able to penetrate the ego’s empty logic and ask if the God of Love could allow a world in which suffering and sacrifice are the norm to exist? What but fear and hate could make such a world? And when we can say, no, that’s not how God thinks and it’s not how God creates, then we can begin to see that it’s our projection that make up that world.

The problem is not that we blame others, in the end. The problem is that we do not see that we blame others. We deny our culpability, which is to be crucified.

Why do we do this?

Beneath the blame and denial lies the simple fact that we fear God. That is what we don’t want to look at, and that is why we have to work our way through the layers – letting go of assigning cause to the exterior, accepting responsibility for what we are doing, and then gazing directly at our fear of God.

If it can be but you you crucify, you did not hurt the world, and need not fear its vengeance and pursuit. No need you hide in terror from the deadly fear of God projection hides behind . . . You have sought to be both weak and strong, because you feared your strength and freedom. Yet salvation lies in them (W-pI.196.9:2-3, 7-8).

When we cannot see that we are the one we fear, then our mind splits, and we dwell forever in the horror and chaos of separation. We think it is the other we have to defend against, and God – because He has allowed this grim situation to occur, indeed, has enabled it in creation – becomes an object of fear as well.

There is – there is always – another way.

All we have to do is accept that the appearance of the external horror show is our own doing, and that it can be undone in an instant, simply by asking the Voice for God to think for us, to interpret for us, and to guide the rhythm of our living accordingly.

This is not easy! Yet the lesson assures us that we are not going to work it out alone.

There is no Thought of God that does not go with you to help you reach that instant, and to go beyond it quickly, surely and forever. When the fear of God is gone, there are no obstacles that still remain between you and the holy peace of God (W-pI.196.12:1-2).

That is a sweet promise! And it can inform our practice today, allowing us to tap deep reservoirs of willingness as we confront the external world not as the cause of our suffering, but as a outside picture of an interior condition for which we are responsible.

Just as suffering arises in us, so to does our salvation (W-pI.196.12:6). And that is a comforting thought, if we are ready to be comforted.

←Lesson 195
Lesson 197→

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.