Today’s lesson of A Course in Miracles picks up on yesterday’s in what should seem like a predictable way. No sooner are we comfortable with the outlines of a concept – we’re not victims of the world that we see – then that concept is expanded, nudged in a new direction. Often the differences are nuanced (I think that’s the case today), but they are significant.
For me, practicing Lesson 32 tends to naturally incorporate 31. I am not the victim of the world I see because I invented the world I see. It continues, as I mentioned yesterday, the focus on revising our understanding of cause and effect. Essentially, we are reversing it. In the world’s understanding, external causes create emotional effects. We are well or not well based on what’s happening outside of us – and we have no control of those external events. A Course in Miracles (and it is not alone in this, by the way) states that we look inside, see the kind of world we want to see – one that supports our commitment to separation, guilt and fear – and then project it outward.
At the heart of these lessons is the question of control. Who has it? How is it used? For most of us, the power of exercising control belongs to the ego which is very selective in what it allows into awareness. Its selectivity is predicated on judgment – this is good, this is bad. Everything is evaluated in terms of whether it endorses and perpetuates the ego. For the ego, there is no other standard. Why should there be?
This is one reason that course frequently suggests that we ask what things are for. The ego’s judgment decides the function of everything based on whether it will keep the ego alive and active – but our ultimate goal is to undo the ego and be free of its limitations. So we have to shift our focus. Even when we think we know what something is for, it’s helpful to ask again – perhaps to ask Jesus to look at it with us. Is there another way to see our job? Our children? Our routines?
Who is served? Why are they being served?
Of course, this series of lessons is not really proactive in the sense of telling us how to reverse the ego. In fact, you’ll notice as you do the lessons that they are not focused on activity so much as thoughts. This is because the course aims only to change our minds about our minds. That’s it. If we can see the ego, and if we can accept that we do not share its agenda, then we will naturally withdraw from it our support. What happens after that is in God’s hands.
This is what the course means when it tells us that we are already saved, that the journey is already over. We aren’t creating new selves. We are simply allowing our true selves – which are hidden but by no means ruined or gone – to shine through the sludge of the ego. And the sludge of the ego disappears as soon as we decide we don’t want or need it anymore.
We are not our egos. Perhaps that is the ultimate lesson of this current exploration of cause and effect.