[acimlessons_list] Lesson 196 - July 15
suelegal at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 05:00:11 EDT 2007
LESSON 196 - JULY 15
IT CAN BE BUT MYSELF I CRUCIFY
PURPOSE: To realize the truth of today's idea and thereby take an important
step forward, so that you may go ahead from here quickly, taking each future
step as it comes to you.
MORNING/EVENING QUIET TIME: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
As usual with these final lessons of Part I, we are given no specific
instructions. We are simply told to take a major step forward in our
awakening by practicing today's idea. To do this, we must see the idea not
as a statement that we are doomed to continually crucify ourselves, but as a
statement of liberation, which contains <the light of resurrection> (3:4)
and <salvation's song> (9:1). Our belief in the opposite of today's
idea-that we can crucify others yet remain free ourselves-has unconsciously
convinced us that God is our <deadly enemy> (5:5), Who has been using the
world's injustices to punish us for our unkindness.
Today's idea is the antidote for that. We must devote our practicing,
therefore, to doing our utmost to realize the truth of this idea. This may
involve applying it to specific examples in our life, or perhaps letting
related thoughts come (see Lesson 42), or some other practice. The idea
contains the most wonderful news, that we never actually crucify others, and
therefore that God is not out to punish us. Instead, there is a murderer
within us, who tricks us into attacking others so that it can crucify us
from within. We must strive today to realize this. We must pray to enter
into an instant of profound inner discovery, in which we look upon the
murderer within, and realize that IT, not God, is the source of all our
pain. Only then can we truly, deeply view God as our Friend, and call on Him
to save us from the murderer within.
HOURLY REMEMBRANCE: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if
circumstances do not permit).
Search your mind for the happenings of the previous hour in which you felt
crucified by the world, or in which you felt tempted to crucify others. In
response to each one, repeat the idea.
This is a restatement of one of the fundamental lessons of the Course, the
first step of forgiveness in another form: taking the problem back from
outside ourselves, withdrawing the projection, and seeing that <I am doing
this to myself.>
The ego likes to misuse this idea to punish us, or to make us think we
inevitably punish ourselves. The ego makes us think we are inherently
self-destructive. The truth is, we do self-destructive things but we have a
choice in the matter. We don't have to do that, and at the core it is not
our will to do so. We are not devils; we are the holy Son of God.
The block to awareness this lesson addresses is our belief that we have
injured or <crucified> the world. It is the belief that we have made
ourselves into monsters who cannot be trusted, ready to lash out without
provocation to hurt and to kill.
The Course calls the acceptance of today's idea-that any way in which we
crucify another is actually crucifying ourselves-<one step we take in
leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom> (4:1). It urges us
to take <every step in its appointed sequence> (4:2), that is, not to skip
steps. Today's idea is a step that is differentiating self from the body and
Thus do you also teach your mind that you are not an ego.
You will not believe you are a body to be crucified. (3:1, 3)
Because we believe we made ourselves into egos, we think we are guilty.
Because we believe in guilt, we made the body to suffer punishment.
Recognizing that we are the ones inflicting punishment upon ourselves is the
first step in freeing ourselves from the whole mess. To recognize that we
are the ones inflicting punishment we have to step back from the ego and
body, and become aware of a greater part of ourselves. We thus realize that
the Self is something other than ego or body, something greater than both.
This something greater also includes my brothers and sisters. We are all
part of that Self. The <others> I thought I injured are really parts of my
If I believe that I can <attack another and be free> myself (6:1), I am
really reacting, says the lesson, from a hidden fear of God; from the belief
that God is other, an enemy who waits to destroy me. My relationship to
those around me always reflects the unconscious belief I have about my
relationship to God, to the ultimate Unity and Whole. <The fear of God is
real to anyone who thinks this thought [that I can attack another and be
free myself] is true> (6:4). If I can attack another and still be free, so
can God. Therefore, God is to be feared.
Paragraph 7 seems crucial to me. It is saying that the thought I can attack
others and still be free has to be CHANGED IN FORM before I can even
question the idea, at least to the point where I stop being afraid of
retaliation and start to become responsible, start to realize that <it is
but your thoughts that bring you fear, and your deliverance depends on you>
(7:3). If I begin to realize that I am not attacking others, but attacking
myself, I can stop being afraid of retaliation from these <others> I thought
I was attacking. Before this thought changes, I am afraid of others; after
it changes, I realize my fear is coming from my own thoughts. If that is
true, I have the potential for changing those thoughts.
It seems to me from the lesson that the turning point, the point at which
the fear begins to abate, is found in 9:2: <If it can but be you you
crucify, you did not hurt the world, and need not fear its vengeance and
pursuit.> Freedom from fear of vengeance from the world is the start of
freedom from fear of God, when <God.can be welcomed back within the holy
mind He never left> (8:5).
I feared my own strength and freedom because I thought I was dangerous! I
thought I was a threat to the world; I thought that I had injured it. No
wonder I don't want to be strong and free. If I were, I might destroy the
universe. I thought I might attack and damage things to the point where the
universe would turn in anger and wipe me from the face of the earth. In fact
I have secretly believed, all along, that this describes things exactly as
they are, and that is why I have been afraid, both of the world and of God.
The Course seems to be saying here that our unconscious fear of ourselves,
hidden by our projection of cause to outside factors, has to become
conscious, at least for a brief, terrifying moment. <When you realize, once
and for all, that it is you you fear, the mind perceives itself as split>
(10:2). <Now, for an instant, is a murderer perceived within you, eager for
your death, intent on plotting punishment for you until the time when it can
kill at last> (11:1).
This seems like a terrible moment; why would we deliberately seek it? <Yet
in this instant is the time as well in which salvation comes> (11:2). Now,
seeing the enemy within instead of outside our mind, we no longer have
reason to fear God. Recognition of our own terrible responsibility makes us
realize that it has not been God punishing us; it has been ourselves. We
stop projecting our own dreams of vengeance onto God. <And you can call on
Him to save you from illusions by His Love, calling Him Father and yourself
His Son> (11:4).
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