A Course in Miracles Lesson 216

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

And now we reach a central pillar in the new thought system we are invited to adopt. The secret to salvation – the secret which, once revealed, will end our suffering forever, as well as the suffering of the world – is that we are doing all of this to our own self (T-27.VIII.10:1). We are the author of fear; We are the architect of guilt. Not our neighbor, not parents, not the devil, and not fate.

We are. We are doing this to our own self.

But there is – thank Christ there is – another way.

All that I do I do unto myself. If I attack, I suffer. But if I forgive, salvation will be given me (W-pII.216.1:2-4).

To forgive is to do the opposite of attack; it is to become defenseless. This might sound nice – and a lot of us (I am certainly one) are happy to talk like we’ve figured it all out – but in truth it is very hard. Not for nothing is this a course in miracles.

Becoming defenseless is hard for at least two reasons. The first is, when we are feeling defensive, the last thing we want to do – and the last thing it feels like we can do – is just surrender all our claims to anger and judgment. It sounds nice, yes. It’s what our therapist suggests, yes. But in the deep places that logic doesn’t easily reach, no. We want to defend; we are meant to defend. And if that means attack, well, I didn’t make the system.

The second reason it’s hard – almost more intense that the first reason – is that we typically don’t recognize when we’ve gone into attack-and-defend mode until well after the fact. What good is hammering your sword into a plowshare after you’ve used it to harm another?

When we really go into our nature – when we really look at ourselves – what we see is so contrary to love and forgiveness that it can seem beyond hopeless to ever change it.

That is when we begin to reach the levels of desperation and intensity that fruitfully bring us to the Holy Spirit and, through that relationship, lead us back to our true self in Creation. In a sense, to truly go beyond crucifixion, we have to realize first our fantasy of being the one on the cross, our secret desire to be the one nailing another to the cross and, perhaps most frequently, the one who just casually observes at a distance.

ALL of those figures enable crucifixion! And we are called to go beyond them all, to a new way of being in the world that is premised on a Love so radical the world hides it beyond horrow shows like crucifixion, nuclear war and famine.

Let us give careful attention then to our inclination to accept crucifixion in every form it takes – self-suffering, other-suffering, and world-suffering – as inevitable and natural. Let us challenge ourselves to rise beyond suffering and death and discover what it means to be free of the body and thus to remember our inherent oneness with each other and our Creator.

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