A Course in Miracles Lesson 227

This is my holy instant of release.

The will that we share with God is creative, loving and merciful. Most of us like those adjectives and will happily adopt them as our own. But absent the experience of knowing God’s Will as our own, they degene. rate into magic. They become mantras we use to distract ourselves from the real work of giving up dreams born of separation.

God’s Will extends only Love. But this love is impersonal and neutral. Like sunlight it does not distinguish between the objects it rests upon. As Jesus said so long ago, God causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike. Distinctions and evaluation are separative, not unitive.

We do not have to magically – or supernaturally – undo judgment. We can’t do that. All we can do is see the way that our will is presently not aligned with God, and then become willing to learn a new way of seeing. “Seeing” here is a term of art that is closer to psychology than physiology.

It is tempting always to ask what does God’s Will create? But that is a confusion arising from our sense of being separate from Creation. We think that creation means writing a poem or baking a pie or having a child. Those things are fine – do then or don’t. They are just examples of the physical reproducing itself.

God’s will “creates” by extending itself, and what is created is a sense of peace and happiness. But, again, not the peace and happiness of “I got what I wanted and/or needed.” It is a peace and happiness that transcends the body’s narrow definition of contentedness.

We don’t want to rush ourselves into pretending that we know God’s Will is ours. We want to gently question our conclusions, and keep our mind clear and ready. Forgiveness waits (W-pII.1.4:3). Forgiveness is ready to receive. And when it does receive, what it receives surpasses understanding and extends itself naturally, without effort.

Imagine a prism. When sunlight passes through it, beautiful rainbows appear. The prism doesn’t decide to do this or consent to do it. It doesn’t work for some light but not other light. Its function is what it is, and it cannot refuse that function.

We are like prisms unto the light of God. As that light reaches us, and extends through us, it becomes beautiful and radiant – not because WE want it that way, but because what it is and what we are harmonize in this particular way. Love is extended naturally, without qualification or condition, and we become happy accordingly.

God’s Will is merciful in the specifically ACIM sense of not perceiving “sin” at all. It corrects errors without dwelling on them. It does not accept the judgment that renders some things – some people, places, objects or ideas – as better than or worse than others.

True mercy is intent only on knowing the other as God knows them, which means we have to set aside our internal standards of evaluation – the body’s craving for survival, the conditioned mind’s service unto that goal. Who are your brothers and sisters really? How do you know?

All of this is hard to do because it is unfamiliar. The body – and the mind conditioned to believe it is the body – are like a river used to flowing a certain way. It takes practice and devotion to reroute it. But this lesson is clear that our practice and devotion do not necessitate time. It may take time to awaken; but also, this instant may itself be our instant of “holy release.”

Therefore, we come to the present with gratitude and humility. Our intention is to set aside fantasies of our spiritual growth, our inner peace, and our happiness. They have brought us nothing but grief and pain, and we would accept – and offer – a new gift.

Today, in our time with God, let us lay down our many defenses against love – all the projections, all the distractions, all the worries – and simply wait in joyful hope to remember together the home we never left, and the Creator whose Will to create we share.

←Lesson 226
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A Course in Miracles Lesson 226

My home awaits me. I will hasten there.

A Course in Miracles invites us to reconsider the purpose of the world. What is the reason it exists? What is it for?

If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me. But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me (W-pII.226.1:3-4).

The suggestion is that we investigate the world’s value. Do we care whether the snow will make it harder to drive to work? Are we resentful because have cancer or a migraine? Do we care more about our kids than kids in a warzone on the other side of the globe?

For most of us, if we are honest, we have to say yes. We perceive differences, and we evaluate those differences based on what they either take from or give to us, and we judge them good or bad accordingly.

The question isn’t whether living this way is natural or right or wrong. It’s whether it makes us happy or unhappy. And, again, if we are honest, most of us are not happy in a natural, sustainable and enduring way.

Most of us, when we are happy, it’s because we believe we are gaining something. But in order for us to get anything in the world, somebody else has to go without. Can we truly be happy if our brothers and sisters suffer on our account?

A Course in Miracles is not a spiritual path that fixes this problem. It’s not about learning some philosophical trick to retranslate experience or using the intellect to rearrange the facts of experience, making them add up to anything other than zero.

It’s about letting go of the world as a site of loss or gain altogether. Not even death counts as loss against our power to choose salvation.

If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely. It is not death which makes this possible, but it is a change of mind about the purpose of the world (W-pII.226.1:1-2).

This “change of mind” is a decision to no longer seek to replace the truth with illusions (W-pII.226.1:5). We are willing to have a world of competition, of winners and losers, of fear of loss and dread of suffering be gently washed away a love that is not of the world.

Father . . . Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to longer in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine? (W-pII.226.2:1-3).

The Truth is, and is revealed when we stop insisting that we know what it is. We are not here because we are spiritual experts and giants in Christ. We are here because we are confused and have thus invested wrongly. This lesson is yet another reminder – and thus another opportunity – to choose again another way.

Let us rest in the hope that the way home will be shown to us today, and if not today then tomorrow or the day after. There is no need to postpone the end of suffering. Let us consent to be taught how to remember Christ together, and in the remembrance gather all our brothers and sisters, so that together we might be restored to the Love of God.

←Lesson 225
Lesson 227→

A Course in Miracles Lesson 225

God is my Father, and His Son loves Him.

Lessons 224 and 225 are a kind of dyad, the one bringing forth the other, in a cycle of endless creation. God loves me, and I love God. And, because “giving and receiving are one,” there is in truth only one love (W-pII.225.1:1).

In the action of love – in loving – the form of the giver and the receiver are undone. It is rest that we seek, and the rest is given when we realize that we ARE what we seek. This long spiritual journey – this dark night of the soul, this lonesome valley, this Via Dolosa – was all an illusion.

We who are one with God can neither leave God nor return to God. These lessons – indeed, the whole structure and content of A Course in Miracles – are merely “steps which end a journey that was not begun” (W-pII.225.2:5).

In practice (which for a little while longer is our method and our mode), this means giving attention to our desire to know God. We want to reach the well of Love; we want to see the Face of the Lord and live; we want to come unto the Source of all being.

Where does that want live? How does it appear? What does it ask of me? How do I know?

I don’t want to do anything with these inquiries! I don’t want to say, well, I am going to shout from the rooftop my love for God. Or I am going to wear sackcloth as evidence of my love.

I am not going to become invested in the so-called answers to those inquiries.

Rather, I am going to open my mind and heart to the desire itself, and I am going to see what happens. I am going to become still and quiet, giving myself to the experience which has no name and cannot be contained in language.

The words and the activity will come later. We aren’t giving anything up; we aren’t giving anything away. We are simply offering ourselves to the love that is inherent, that is given, that is in us but not of us.

When we know it, it is a source of rest and joy. It is a source of peace. There is no doubt in it, and no uncertainty. It does not leave us and we cannot leave it, because it is us.

And if we do not remember that Love today, we remind ourselves it is not a crime against God or nature to be confused. This isn’t a race to be won. We are not here to persuade a judge to take our side. If in this breath I do not remember that God’s Name and mine are one, then in the next breath I will.

And if not in that breath, then the next.

Our confidence arises not out of our own supposed strength and devotion, but out of our relationship with Jesus, who has heard our cry for help and pledged to never abandon us (W-pII.225.2:4).

We are in this together, and our companions are mighty. For this alone, we can be grateful. Our gratitude allows us to perceive, however dimly, the “kindly light, inviolate, beloved” (W-pII.225.1:2) that IS our shared identity in Christ, who is the Father, who is Love Itself, in which even the idea of journeying ends.

←Lesson 224
Lesson 226→

A Course in Miracles Lesson 224

God is my Father, and He loves His Son.

Prayer is a form of dialogue. We bring ourselves to a state of openness and willingness that we want to share. We hide nothing; we are as rigorously honest as we know how to be. We are not perfect at prayer, but we have faith we can be perfected in prayer.

We make the prayer and then – as befits any dialogue – we make a space in which the other is allowed to speak. We do not rush them. We do not dictate the content of their response. We wait. In faith and hope we wait. The space we make to listen is as important as anything we say.

In part, this faith and hope are together a form of gratitude. If we are really in dialogue with God, then can we not simply be grateful for the very fact of God’s presence? The One is here! If we are not in touch with gratitude, can we get in touch with it? The one to whom we pray is neither foreign nor distant.

It is like how sometimes when I talk with Chrisoula or the kids, I am just so glad that they are there. They can talk or not talk, go deep or not deep at all. It is the relationship upon which the dialogue rests that matters. It is that for which I am most grateful.

Prayer is like that. Prayer in A Course in Miracles is like that.

Lesson 224 emphasizes the space of waiting. We are tired and the world in which we find ourselves is weary, too; we want to see how – we want to live now – as God would have us live and see. Yet if we knew what that meant, we would not need the prayer.

Therefore, in the quiet space that follows our supplication, our work is to be present. We don’t know what God intends to reveal and we want to be careful that we don’t pretend that we do know. If we are serious about salvation, then we have to recognize – in a whole-hearted and open-minded way – that we are not in charge of salvation.

God is the Actor and the Author. That’s what this lesson makes clear. And I am adding, thank Christ He is. Let us be grateful He is. We know what happens when we are in charge, or when we forget who is in charge. We know enough about chaos and confusion to let it go. Let’s not stunt like we’re experts on peace and joy. Let us become humble.

In humility, we are available to the one who is an expert on peace and joy because peace and joy are aspects of the one’s very being. Let us accept our heritage as children of a loving God, a merciful God, and a just God, and let us create as God creates.

That creation begins when we open ourselves in humility to the grace that is present in every moment – the grace of stillness, quiet and availability. When we live this way, the world and the self upon which that world depends, falls away. We need it less and less.

Our model here is Helen Schucman who, when Bill Thetford said there has to be a better way than all this conflict and strife, responded, I will help you find it. She was available; she heard her brother in distress and she responded. I am here. I will help.

Let us give ourselves to God today in that same spirit. I am here. What would have me do? I don’t know the answer, but I am ready to hear it. And, critically, I am grateful for the prayerful dialogue in which that answer is given.

←Lesson 223
Lesson 225→

A Course in Miracles Lesson 223

God is my life. I have no life but His.

The Name of God is an experience, not a word, and the experience is what you and I are in truth. There is nothing else to learn, and nothing else to get.

And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you (Exodus 3:7–8, 13–14).

Or this from another spiritual tradition.

Hold on to the “I am” to the exclusion of everything else. The “I am” in movement creates the world; the “I am” at peace becomes the Absolute (Nisargadatta).

A Course in Miracles teaches us in this way:

I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed in a body. Now I know my life is God’s, I have no other home, and I do not exist apart from Him (W-pII.223.1:1-2).

Hence the cosmic import of our prayer this morning, when we say with gratitude and joy “Our Name is Yours, and we acknowledge that we are Your Sons and Daughters” (W-pII.223.2:7).

When we sit in stillness today – when we open our mind to remembering its Source – let us refuse any addition to “I am.” That we are is given; what we are is a question with many answers.

Set that question aside and instead rest in the simple fact of “I am.” Let the name “Sean” or “Anthony” or “Sophia” go. Let your profession go; let your family nomenclature (father, mother, aunt, cousin) go. Be present only to what is already present: this. This this.

Most critically, when you judge yourself for not understanding or failing to see or not getting it the way Tara Singh or Ramana Maharshi or Thomas Merton got it, smile.

I mean this in the most literal sense: when in your meditation and prayer you feel desolate and unworthy, a spiritual derelict, bring a smile to your lips.

The smile – regardless of whether it reaches your heart and mind – will be a light reminding you that your oneness with God, with the Absolute, the Source of all Creation is given regardless of whether you perceive it. What is true is true; it is not true only when we are aware of it.

Are you conscious of every breath you take? Do you have to remind yourself moment by moment to breathe? No. And yet breath happens, and by it you live.

It is that way – it is that way and then some – with God.

Thus, let us remember God’s Name as our own, not as a word to distinguish this from that, or one from another, but rather as an experience in which distinction and separation end, and what remains is whole, and holy, and beyond the reach of question altogether.

←Lesson 222
Lesson 224→

A Course in Miracles Lesson 222

God is with me. I live and move in Him.

Often, our study and practice of A Course in Miracles leads us to states of metaphysical analysis that, profound and helpful as they can be, can also block the direct experience of happiness and inner peace to which that study and practice is given.

What is God? What is reality? What am I in truth? It is not that these are unworthy or unimportant questions. They are fun and interesting and can help point the way to the end of guilt and fear. Asking and answering them is a form of healing.

But also, we can use them as a means of avoiding healing. We can become invested in being right with respect to the answers, which corresponds to being invested in others being wrong. We can use the asking-and-answering to separate rather than join, to divide rather than unify.

We can slip all too easily into what Tara Singh called the lovelessness of I get it and you don’t.

Lesson 222 is one of many antidotes to that slippage. The suggestion is that God is All-in-all, transcending the artificial divide between our so-called physical lives and spiritual lives.

Thus, God is both the Spirit which directs our actions (W-pII.222.1:3) AND the food and water we consume in order to live (W-pII.222.1:2). He holds us in love (W-pII.222.1:4) AND is the air we breath (W-pII.222.1:2). God is both Source and Sustenance, neatly bridging the illusory frames we use to divide and abide in the Whole.

So our prayer today – the conceptual language we use to pass beyond concepts altogether – is an invitation to release our insistence on the big questions in order to remember what it means to rest in peace with the Source of All Life.

Yes, that is technically a “big” deal. But if we remember that “big” – and it’s opposite, “tiny” – are our words and our concepts, then we can let them go and ask God to remind us of the divine language which rests in a single name, “I Am.”

“I Am” is not a name so much as an experience. It is felt and known in the same way you “know” to draw the next breath, and in the same way you “feel” the effects of that breath. It is so subtle that you often miss it, and yet so powerful and life-giving that without it, “you” are not.

Therefore, we set aside our own ideas and concepts in order to rest with God in Creation, allowing our rest to be given to us in the form of remembering what is already given. We are inviting God to gently open in our hearts and minds the awareness of what cannot be doubted, only accepted with gratitude and joy.

And when we rise from this rest and return to the world, we will know the truth – our hearts will sing – “How still is he who knows the truth what He speaks today” (W-pII.222.1:5)!

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Lesson 223→