A Course in Miracles is about application – it is meant to be lived. In these bodies, in this world, we learn that we are not bodies and there is no world. The paradox is not something we solve intellectually. It is more like an optical illusion that we suddenly “get.”
In this review, the course prepares us for application by retroactively applying a theme to the previous twenty lessons: “My mind holds only what I think with God” (r-IV.In.2:2).
Most of us read that and think it means that our minds are going to be cleansed or purified. We think that the egoic self is going to be purged of its bad qualities while holding onto its good ones. In other words, we’re going to have our cake and eat it, too.
But, in fact, this statement about our mind is a statement about what our mind is in truth: and it is not the mind which holds the ego’s lies – both the ones that please us and the ones that displease us. It is another level, one that from our separated perspective, we cannot see. We can barely imagine it.
Guilt stops us from realizing the mind we share with God, and from bringing its creative powers into application. Therefore, we need forgiveness – we need the correction of the underlying error (which is our belief in separation) to be undone for us.
The way that our errors are corrected is that we look at them without flinching. We realize that all illusions are “defenses that protect your unforgiving thoughts from being seen and recognized” (r-IV.In.3:2). The whole purpose of illusions is to “hold correction off through self-deception made to take its place” (r-IV.In.3:3).
Salvation begins with our willingness to see this as true. We don’t have to believe it! We simply have to recognize how our way has not worked and so – Bill Thetford-like – we declare there must be another and – Helen Schucman-like – agree to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in finding it.
Your self-deception cannot take the place of truth. No more than can a child who throws a stick int othe ocean cange the coming and going of the tides, the warming of the water by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night (r-IV.In.4:2-3).
What is true is true: it cannot be made false by wishful thinking. No more can what is false be made true. Our minds hold only what we think with God – are we not curious to find out just what this means?
This review period is designed somewhat differently than those that went before. Before we were reviewing ideas, looking at them in slightly different lights, reinforcing core ACIM concepts. Now we are creating a space in which actual communion with God is possible, each day bringing “the message of His Love to you, returning messages of yours to Him” (r-IV.In.4:2-3).
This communion is more important than being “right” about a given lesson. It is communion that assures us we are on the correct path, that we are not being led astray by the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus remains an elder brother carefully attending our awakening. Our day arranges itself around our devotion to the course and to the awakening it promises. Do we welcome this?
In this review period, sparse as it may appear at first glance, we take real steps into the world as forgiven children of a loving God whose only desire is that all Creation know His Peace and Joy. These are not idle promises! They are not just words.
God offers thanks to you who practice thus the keeping of His Word. And as you give your mid to the ideas for the day again before you sleep, His gratitude surrounds you in the peace wherein He wills you be forever, and learning now to claim against as your inheritance (r-IV.In.10:1-2).
For the next ten days, let us make it so together. Our minds hold only what we think with God – can happiness and peace not be our truth? Can it not become our gift to the world?
“Our minds hold only what we think with God – are we not curious to find out just what this means?”
“Before we were reviewing ideas… Now we are creating a space in which actual communion with God is possible,”
“This communion is more important than being “right” about a given lesson.”
“Course in Miracles is about application – it is meant to be lived… not something we solve intellectually. It is more like an optical illusion that we suddenly “get.”
“It is another level, one that from our separated perspective, we cannot see. We can barely imagine it.”
“My mind holds only what I think with God.” I was trying hard to LOGICALLY figure out what this [‘incoherent’ (to me), poetic] header-sentence means, because it repeats for ten days. But I’m starting to suspect — from what you wrote –that its ‘incoherence’ is the point: it’s trying to move us to something beyond, and the form it is written in is vital to that goal. (does this imply that much of the Course is written this way to achieve this same goal?)
You seem to be suggesting this (see the quotes of yours above).
But maybe you ‘prosaically’ ‘get’ what this header sentence means. (i.e. it seems straightforward to you) If you do, I would like to know. (for instance, you can start by re-sentencing it for me prosaically)
In the meantime, in lieu of ‘getting it’ prosaically or poetically, I will use this repeating ‘incoherent’ (to me) header as a launching pad to the unknown (the land of ‘there must be another way’)
Thank you, Lenny.
I haven’t thought a lot about how the language of ACIM might be deliberately obscure or abstract as a means of shaking our minds from the habitual emphasis on the specific. That’s an interesting thesis.
My mind holds only what I think with God. Therefore, when I think as God would not – angrily, jealously, violently – I am not actually thinking. That is not actually my mind.
My mind holds only what I think with God. Therefore, when I think as God thinks – gently, clearly, calmly, kindly – I am actually thinking. That is actually my mind.
There is a difference between those kinds of thoughts and thinking. It’s not just that one kind feels better but that they bring forth different experiences of the world and those experiences create a deeper peace and a more sustainable happiness.
That said, I don’t think it’s an error to explore the land of “there must be another way.” The other way is basically just love, which you already know and already practice. You are a LOT clearer about this then you sometimes pretend. But I certainly am grateful for the chance to rethink for myself what I’m trying to say here.
Thanks again Lenny – I appreciate how your mind works. I’m guessing you’re not living in my part of the world, and I don’t really travel, but if a window ever opens for a cup of coffee, it’s my treat.
Thanks, Sean! If I am ever around there… Everyone who lives in a desert (LA) wonders what New England in the Fall is like. (‘Stopping by New England Woods on a Fall Day’) Which reminds me of what I just realized this morning:
While meditating on this (the 10x repeating Lesson header) earlier this morning, I felt the difference between a trickle of water (from an ephemeral source) that gets cut-off/wasted in the desert sand and a living river (from a steady source) that constantly flows and creates lush landscapes. The key for me is ‘with’ [God] in the header. So I would translate it: “My only real thoughts are those I think with God.”
It happened for only a few seconds (that’s all I needed!), but the difference between the two (self effort versus ‘with’ God) reminded me/gave me a felt feeling of what real love (the only love there is, see today’s lesson) is.
I think I just found ‘another way’; or — to be more accurate — I will forget it less and less.
Sounds good Lenny! I’m glad you’re in a flow. Thanks again for being here!