A Course in Miracles Lesson 233

I give my life to God to guide today.

The efficacy of this lesson hinges on the understanding that we are giving all our thoughts and all our actions to God. We are keeping nothing for ourselves; we are holding nothing back from the totality of our giving.

Today we have one Guide to lead us on. And as we walk together, we will give this day to Him with no reserve at all. This is His day (W-233.2:1-3).

Most of us rebel here, overtly or otherwise. We’ll give some of our thoughts and some of our actions to God, but we’re going to keep some of them for ourselves. Maybe a little shame, just to keep the familiar cycle going. Maybe a little hating on the neighbor who, let’s face it, kind of deserves it for using a gas-powered leaf blower at seven a.m.. Maybe we’ll indulge this or that addiction because, hey, we deserve it.

But when we insist on holding back even a thread of our own privilege, we are back in as deep as we can go. Ego only needs a thread to keep going. And ego’s “keep going” is our suffering and the world’s. “The Atonement is a total commitment” (T-2.II.7:1).

So this lesson owns a kind of dual function. First, we actively practice surrending our will – in mind and body – so that we can remember that in truth we share God’s Will, which is the only Will there is.

And second, realizing how hard that it is, and how secretly we don’t really want to surrender, we can ask why. We can look at resistance, identify its function, and ask if it truly serves our goal of remembering our shared innocence.

Resistance, says the Course, is the ego’s “last defense” (P-2.I.2:3).

“Resistance” is its way of looking at things; its interpretation of progress and growth. These interpretations will be wrong of necessity, because they are delusional. The changes the ego seeks to make are not really changes (P-2.I.2:4-9).

Our experience of resistance is really a symbol of our unwillingness to open our hearts and minds to the radical creativity of Love. We don’t want to be transformed into agents of atonement. We want to be happier, but on terms WE choose. We think being happy means getting what we want. And that, says the Course, is the whole problem.

Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know (T-14.IV.5:1-2).

When I resist giving my thoughts and activity to God, then I have chosen to continue pretending that I am the author of the universe and that all life must conform to my desires. But this is the fantasy of a child who has forgotten her mother and father. And while it may be understandable in the child, it is not understandable in us. We only have to look at the world to see what happens when we refuse to grow up and accept our rightful inheritance.

Salvation is not a form of rescue but of empowerment to think as God thinks and to create as God creates.

Your Self does not need salvation, but your mind needs to learn what salvation is. You are not saved from anything, but you are saved FOR glory. Glory is your inheritance, given you by your Creator that you might extend it (T-11.IV.1:3-5).

So I am grateful for those minutes that pass happily because I have given my thoughts and my activity to God. But I am also grateful for the insights into this internal resistance to giving my life to God. Little by little I am learning that there is nothing I want to keep, and that it is only by giving everything away that I can remember – with you – the “joy of living with our God” (T-14.IV.5:6).

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A Course in Miracles Lesson 232

Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.

The prayer in this lesson is a means of remembering God’s presence in the very context made to exclude and deny that memory. It is, in essence, a practice of remembrance and thanksgiving, that gently undoes the illusion that such a practice is even necessary.

The remembrance aspect comes first. It reflects our willingness to give our mind to God. It is the active intention of welcoming God into our mind, that His creativity and lovingkindness might permeate our thoughts.

God is kin to a light that shines on us throughout the day, reaching even unto our sleep (W-pII.232.1:1, 1:5). What does this mean?

In order to hear – and to be pleased by, touched by – the birds singing in trees and bushes outside, what must be in place? What must first be?

In order to help a brother or sister with a work project or a difficult memory or a celebration, what must be in place? What must first be?

In order to feel hunger, break bread, give thanks, serve and be served, what must be in place? What must first be?

As we ask those questions and accept the answers – they are so obvious as to frequently be missed or misinterpreted – it can be helpful to remember the analogy: God as Light. God as the light in which birds can be seen and heard and appreciated, God as the light in which the other appears and their cry for Love heard, God as the light in which the right response is known and extended, God as the light in which the meal has both form and function, the one bringing forth the other.

God is what is when we do not insist on adding anything – our own ideas, our own effort, our own projects. You can shut your eyes, hide under a roof, go underground or under the sea, but the sun is still there and by its presence and function your body and all bodies live.

When we see this clearly – when we even begin to see it clearly – we become grateful. We become grateful in a natural way. It’s not performative; it’s not obligated. Giving thanks becomes as easy as drawing the next breath. We become happy and our happiness is infectious.

The song of our rejoicing is the call to all the world that freedom is returned, that time is almost over, and God’s Son has but an instant more to wait until his Father is remembered, dreams are done, eternity has shined away the world, and only Heaven now exists at all (W-pII.2.5:2).

We give thanks because we realize that God is in our mind throughout the day, and that this is so because we share God’s Will, all of which – in time, in space, in bodies – eventually grounds out in there is only God.

The memory of God is shimmering across the wide horizons of our minds. A moment more, and it will rise again. A moment more, and we who are God’s Sons are safely home, where He would have us be (W-pII.In.9:5-7).

This is the promise to which our practice is devoted. Today, let us give the whole of our attention to it, so that together we might remember the Cause for Joy, and in that remembrance be restored to our home in Creation.

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A Course in Miracles Lesson 231

Father, I will but to remember You.

We are seekers who do not know what we seek. Therefore, we are wanderers who are lost in the world, without focus or direction. We are haunted by a longing for holiness and for wholeness. We perceive ourselves as incomplete and thus seek for what we imagine will complete us.

But our perception is flawed, and the flaw extends into everything we think and do, which means everything we look for and everything we find cannot be that which is actually missing. We never question the premise. We never ask, what is really missing? What do I really need?

We never ask: am I mistaken when I think that something is missing?

That is the condition in which A Course in Miracles finds us, or we find it, and begin the slow process of giving attention not to the external search for answers but to the interior question. We ask: what is really missing? What do I really need? Is it possible these are not the best questions?

All of which sugar out as: what am I in truth?

The answer is: a Child of God whose only function is to remember their Creator, which is also the remembrance of Creation Itself.

Yet is Your Love the only thing I see, or ever sought. For there is nothing else that I could ever really want to find. Let me remember You. What else could I desire but the truth about mysef (W-pII.231.1:3-6)?

It’s helpful to see the connection explicitly drawn in that prayer: to seek God’s Love – and to remember God-as-Love – is know the truth about what we are. When we remember what we are in truth, then our seeking ends because what we are in truth is not missing anything. How could it? It is God’s Creation, and God does not create partially or in error.

Therefore, what is missing is simply the knowledge that nothing is missing because of what we are. Moreover, it is our shared will to remember this together, because there is only God’s Will. We do not need to add anything to the present moment. We do not need to substitute ideas about reality or love or self-and-other for reality, love and relationship. Everything is given, perfectly and wholly. All we need to do is give attention to it.

When we understand that there is only Holy Relationship – and it is with God and excludes nothing – then specialness naturally ends and we are restored together to Heaven, which is the condition of Creation when it no longer fosters thoughts of separation and division. Therefore, our one need is remember our Creator, in Whose Mind we live and create accordingly.

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A Course in Miracles Lesson 230

Now will I seek and find the peace of God.

What is true does not change. But do we know what that is? We know the meaning of the words, yes. “What is true does not change.” We can say the words, argue about them, and even modify them. But are we actually in touch with what does not change?

Do we know what is true?

A Course in Miracles teaches us that the peace of God lies in understanding the simple fact that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists (T-in.2:2-3). What does not change cannot be threatened; it is immune to harm. It wasn’t born and it does not die. It’s beyond time and beyond the body.

Do you know what it is? Could you name it? Could you share it? Could you taste or touch or hear it?

The course says that what cannot change is our own self (W-pII.230.1:3). Our real self was created in peace and it remains in peace, which does not change (W-pII.230.1:1-2). God does not make mistakes and what He creates is forever true. But we have to want to know it. We have to want to know more than we want to forget. Our goal in a sense is the end of our own wilfull ignorance.

We have to want – we have be willing to work to go – beyond whatever passing comfort these ideas (and ideas like them) appear to offer us. We don’t want to be merely consoled; we don’t want a temporary respite. We want to know the truth of our identity. What I am does not change. It is true forever. Show it to me, Jesus!

The peace in which Your Son was born into Your Mind is shining there unchanged. I am as You created me (W-pII.230.2:3-4).

This self cannot be a body, right? Bodies change over time – their appearance changes, their abilities change, and eventually they lay down and die. Ideas change, too. They can be modified or discarded. They can be forgotten as easily as they can be cherished and shared.

Keep going. The world changes. Season to season, landscape to landscape, epoch to epoch. The Universe changes. Once it was hot quark soup and now it’s a vast expanding space full of stars and planets, and black holes and dark matter.

Can you find a single thing that does not change? Will you consider the possibility that if you do find it – if you can perceive it, name it, discuss it – then it is not eternal but just another idea or object? Just another data point in another data point’s range of perception and cognition. It takes humility and courage to see this. It takes willingness.

Seeking the thing that never changes – and realizing the futility of the search from the perspective of our shared human existence – is hard. It throws us into the awareness that our resources – our physical energy, our intelligence, our conditioning, our culture, our tools and textbooks, literally everything that we call the world and the self – are inadequate. Neti neti unto everything, including “neti neti.” There are reasons most of us don’t take the inquiry this far. It is not a comfortable space.

For some of us, the “answer” to “what thing doesn’t change” is “awareness itself” or “consciousness.” Which, fine. I understand the way in which that feels like it’s the answer. Certainly it represents the far reaches of our perceptual and cognitive capacities. There is a pleasing sense of finality to it.

Another default is to find the one who is aware of thought – we call this one the witness, the watcher, the observer. Reaching the “I Am” can be a significant step in this particular version of the journey. But in and of itself, it is not the answer. It’s just another way station. Indeed, Nisargadatta said “I am” was the first ignorance, the first illusion, and the first deception.

What are we supposed to then?

The lesson tells us to seek peace – the peace that comes from knowing in a felt and realized way that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists. What was true remains true. What is true will always be true. It invites us to accept ourself as God accepts us; to know our self in Creation as Creation.

This is the penultimate lesson in the Workbook’s focused section about forgiveness. And it does not mention “forgiveness” once! It merely invites us to enter confidently into relationship with God. That natural fruit of that relationship is peace – but not because of anything we do or don’t do. Because of what God does, which is to say, what God wills.

When we reach a juncture where we can accept God’s Will in place of ours, then we can let go of judgment, which is the foundation of all our activity. It’s not that things stop getting done. It’s that our relationship to what happens changes because we are no longer in charge. It is – to borrow and slightly adapt a trusted metaphor – the difference between driving the bus, with all the stress and demands that go along with that, and just riding the bus, gazing out the window at the passing landscape, happily chatting with fellow travelers.

We have an idea that we have to be active and responsible. We have to be in charge or know who’s in charge. We have to have a plan, others need to buy into our plan. And the Course is saying, no. You don’t have to do any of that.

Not doing is harder than it sounds. We turn it into a doing, right? We evaluate how effectively or not effectively we are doing nothing. And then we are back in the same old pattern of resistance and distraction and delay.

But this is a lesson about confidence. This is a lesson about realizing that confidence placed in ourselves is not the answer, while confidence placed in God is. It is a new way of being in the world, because it releases us from the illusory idea that we are in charge or responsible for salvation. Deep inside us is a tiny spark of knowledge that speaks for the peace of God that is inherent.

What is true needs no defense; it simply is. Today we ask that our awareness of it be rekindled. We give attention to our inner doubt and uncertainty and, when we notice it, we accept it. If we didn’t doubt, we wouldn’t need A Course in Miracles and other spiritual paths. But even our doubt is accommodated by God because it, too, comes and goes. It, too, is enfolded in forgiveness, and thereby brought to peace.

Let it be done and realize it was always thus.

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A Course in Miracles Lesson 229

Love, which created me, is what I am.

Here is the answer to all our questions about what we are and what is our function. Love, which created us, is what we are (W-pII.229.h).

But for many of us – certainly I am one – the answer is like a bright light that obscures its own simplicity. We all know that Love is what we are. Most of us were saying that, or something like it, long before we even encountered A Course in Miracles.

Why is it so hard to accept? Why do we place so many obstacles to its acceptance?

And are those even the right questions to ask?

I want to suggest that the real gem in this lesson is just behind the main idea and it’s this: “Now need I seek no more” (W-pII.229.1:2).

There are two important aspects to this idea, which are equally challenging to our acceptance of the primary idea the lesson offers.

The first is that our spiritual journey is over. We don’t have to wander the earth looking for good books and websites, gurus and teachers, retreats and churches. All that was a distraction. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t the answer.

It is very hard to accept that all our so-called spiritual work – reading and re-reading Tara Singh, studying and applying the lessons, finding good therapists, meditation and yoga, all of it – was just froth at the tip of the wave. No more and no less.

Our ego doesn’t want to admit that! We want our journey to have been meaningful, full of direction and clarity, and always productive. And the Course is saying, that’s not so.

It’s not so because what we were seeking was always already given to us. It was what we are – right here, right now. Therefore, not only is there nothing to seek, it was seeking that obscured the truth.

This is an extension of the ACIM premise that the secret to salvation is that we are doing this to our own self (T-27.VIII.10:1).

This is the other aspect of this idea that can be challenging to us. Love is what we are but we clearly don’t know it, and all our instinct and all our conditioning teaches us to go find it. Study, learn, read, meditate, sit at the feet of the guru, sit in the front of the classroom et cetera.

And none of that will do. That’s just the same old useless dream – empty and meaningless – reasserting itself. It’s mechanical; it just runs of its own accord, and carries us with it.

What is the other way? Look at the lesson carefully, especially these sentences:

Love has prevailed. So still It waited for my coming home, that will turn away no longer from the holy face of Christ (W-pII.229.1:3-4).

Love does the work and the work it does is . . . wait. It doesn’t call to us, it doesn’t get all active in our lives. It just . . . waits. Are we finished with our silly seeking? Our pointless speculation about spirit and God?

Remember what the introduction to this sequence of lessons said about forgiveness. It is “still and quietly does nothing” (W-pII.1.4:1).

It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not (W-pII.1.4:2-3).

When we release judgment – which, yes, has to be learned and re-learned, applied and re-applied – then what see reveals the “holy face of Christ” (W-pII.229.1:4). This is not a thing we do but a thing we know when we stop insisting that our way – our ideas, our rituals, our plans – are equal in any way to God’s. Everything we look upon and reflect upon “attests the truth of the Identity I sought to lose” (W-pII.229.1:5).

Our seeking was a form of refusing to realize what was always true. Seeking was a form of hiding, avoiding and obscuring. Can we – for a few minutes today – not seek? Can we simply look, wait and judge not?

Can we – for a moment even – be the Love that in Creation we have always been? What else in the end becomes us?

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A Course in Miracles Lesson 228

God has condemned me not. No more do I.

Essential to our understanding and practice of A Course in Miracles is the idea that we have not left our Source. In the context of separation, this is an idea. It seems like a concept that needs to be explored, understood, supported by evidence, argued over, brought into application, assessed and re-assessed . . .

Which, okay. We can do that. In some ways, we have to do that. But in another way – and this lesson is an example of that other way – we don’t need to do anything at all other than give it our full attention and see what happens.

My holiness remains a part of me, as I am part of You. And my mistakes about myself are dreams. I let them go today (W-pII.228.2:3-5).

The “dreams” are nightmares, really. They are dreams of actually separating from our source, wandering the world alone and vulnerable, eking out a living at the expense and welfare of others, and eventually dying.

All we are really being asked to let go of is the illusion that we can suffer because we are bodies. Is there, perhaps, another way?

And the answer is, yes, because the answer is always yes, and because A Course in Miracles exists because two people agreed to work together to find a way out of the nightmare of separation.

Can God be mistaken? If you hem and haw, bring your attention to your dearest love – your son or daughter, niece or nephew, cousin or aunt, dog or cat or horse. Are you mistaken about your love for them?

If you can be so certain of your love, how much more certain can God be of His?

It’s important to see the latent arrogance in our convction that we are not worthy of God’s Love – that we don’t deserve it because of what we have decided we are.

Shall I deny His knowledge and believe in what His knowledge makes impossible? Shall I accept as true what He proclaims as false? (W-pII.1:2-3)

We set ourselves up as little gods – we refuse our Creator – and then wonder why everything goes sideways. We don’t need to re-assert our worth here. We need to become humble about it. We need to become grateful.

Father, I was mistaken in myself, because I failed to realize the Source from which I came . . . And I stand ready to receive Your Word alone for what I really am (W-pII.228.2:1, 6).

We have not left our Source. The idea that we are bodies in a world is an illusion predicated on a grandiose error you have to consciously avoid looking at in order not to laugh it away. Separation takes an unbelievable amount of effort!

So in quiet and stillness then, we open our minds to revelation. We invite God to speak in us the truth about us, so that we will remember together our shared inheritance as fully loved and fully loving.

We are yet deceived about our true nature, but the blocks and defenses are far less effective than they once were. There are chinks in the armor. Let us today become defenseless again, in order that we might hear all of Creation sing its hymn of praise to us.

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