[acimlessons_list] Lesson 265 - September 22
sue at circleofa.org
Sun Sep 21 10:02:01 EDT 2008
LESSON 265 - SEPTEMBER 22
"CREATION'S GENTLENESS IS ALL I SEE."
See complete Part II practice instructions in separate document. A short
* Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
* Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
* Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind
* Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in
* Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea often within each hour.
* Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
* Read the "What Is" section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.
This lesson so clearly states how the world comes to be, apparently,
I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw
them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived was I to
think that what I feared was in the world, instead of in my mind alone.
I feel guilt over some aspect of myself. I project that guilt outward; I lay
my sins on the world and then see them looking back at me. "Projection makes
perception" (T-21.In.1:1). There is more than one place where the Course
says quite clearly that we never see anyone's sins but our own (for
instance, T-31.III.1:5). The world I see is the outward reflection of an
inward condition (see T-21.In.1:5). <The Song of Prayer> says:
It is impossible to forgive another, for it is only your own sins you see in
him. You want to see them there, and not in you. That is why the forgiveness
of another is an illusion....Only in someone else can you forgive yourself,
for you have called him guilty of your sins, and in him must your innocence
now be found. Who but the sinful need to be forgiven? And do not ever think
you can see sin in anyone except yourself. (S-2.I.4:2-4, 6-8)
"Do not ever think you can see sin in anyone except yourself." Wow! What a
powerful statement. "It is only your own sins you see in him." A lot of
people, including myself, have some trouble with this concept. I really
think our egos fight this, and use every possible way of refusing to accept
A common reaction to statements like this in the Course is, "No way! I never
beat my wife. I never murdered or raped or betrayed the way he did." Where I
think we go off the track is in looking at particular actions and saying,
"They do that. I don't," and thinking we've proved that the sin we see isn't
The action is not the sin. The guilt is. The principle is much broader than
specific actions. The principle of attack is this: "It is the judgment of
one mind by another as unworthy of love and deserving of punishment"
(T-13.In.1:2). The person's action that we are judging isn't relevant; we
are seeing another person as "unworthy of love and deserving of punishment"
because we see ourselves that way first. We feel our own unworthiness,
dislike the feeling, and project it onto others. We find particular actions
to associate the unworthiness with that we don't perceive as being in
ourselves (although sometimes they are in us, just suppressed or buried);
that's exactly how we try to get rid of the guilt!
Projection and dissociation go on within our own psyche as well as
externally. When I condemn myself for, say, overeating, and think I feel
guilty because I overate, I am doing the same thing as when I condemn a
brother for lying or whatever. I am putting the guilt outside of myself in
one case; in the other case, I am putting the guilt onto a shadow part of
myself which I then disown. "I don't know why I do that; I know better."
When I feel guilty, I am actually disowning a part of my own mind. There is
some part of me that feels a need to overeat, or to be angry at my mother,
or to sabotage my career, or to abuse my body with some drug. I do these
things because I am guilty and think I need punishment. The original guilt
comes not from any of these petty things, but from my deep belief that I
have really succeeded in separating myself from God. I have actually
succeeded at making myself other than a creation of God. I am my own
creator. And since God is good, I must be evil. Deep down we think the evil
is in us, that we are the evil. We can't stand that idea, and so we push
away some part of our mind and our behavior and lay the guilt at its feet.
It is exactly the same mechanism at work when I see sin in a brother. But
from the ego's perspective seeing guilt in <someone else> is much more
attractive and does a better job of concealing the guilt it wants us to
keep; it puts the guilt completely away from myself. In reality, my brother
is a part of my mind just as much as the shadow self is a part of my mind.
The whole world is in my mind; my mind is all there is.
How deceived was I to think that what I feared was in the world, instead of
in my mind alone. (1:3)
He [one who identifies with the ego] always perceives this world as outside
himself, for this is crucial to his adjustment. He does not realize that he
makes this world, for there is no world outside of him. (T-12.III.6:6-7)
Take off the covers and look at what you are afraid of. (T-12.II.5:2)
We need to look at what we are afraid of until we realize that all of it is
in our own mind. When at last we recognize the truth of that, we will be in
a place where we can do something about it. Until then, we are helpless
We see sin in others because we think we have a need to see sin in others,
to avoid seeing it in ourselves. We believe in the principle that some
people are unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. Deep down we know
that we are one of the condemned, but the ego tells us that if we can see
the guilt out there in others, see them as worse than ourselves, we may
escape judgment. So we project the guilt.
What this Workbook lesson is saying is that if we lift the blot of our own
guilt off the world, we will see its "celestial gentleness" (1:4). If I can
remember that my thoughts and God's thoughts are the same, I will see no sin
in the world, because I am not seeing it in myself.
The world around us, therefore, offers us countless opportunities to forgive
ourselves. "Only in someone else can you forgive yourself, for you have
called him guilty of your sins, and in him must your innocence now be found"
(S-2.I.4:6). When someone appears in our life as a sinner, we have a chance
to forgive ourselves in him. We have a chance to let go, a bit more deeply,
of the fixed perception that what this person did makes him guilty of sin.
We have a chance to look past his harmful actions to see the underlying
innocence. We lay aside our conditioned judgment and allow the Holy Spirit
to show us something different.
It seems as if we are working with forgiving another person. In reality we
are always forgiving ourselves. When we find the innocence in that other
person, suddenly we know our own innocence more deeply. When we see what
they did as a call for love, we can more easily see our own misbehavior as
likewise a call for love. We discover a common innocence, a radical
innocence. It is absolute innocence, totally unchanged since the instant God
WHAT IS THE BODY?
PART 5: W-PII.5.3:1-3
The body is a dream. (3:1)
This whole melodrama of attacking and being attacked, victor and prey,
murderer and victim, is a dream, with the body playing the chief role. Think
about the implications of my body as a dream. In a dream, everything seems
completely real. I've had some really gross and terrifying dreams about my
body. Once I dreamed that all my teeth were disintegrating and falling out.
But when I woke up, nothing of the kind was happening. It was all in my mind
while I slept.
By calling the body "a dream," the Course is saying that what happens to our
bodies here is really not happening at all; it is happening only within our
minds. It is saying that the body itself is not happening; it is not a real
thing. We are not really here, as we think we are; we are dreaming about
being here. My son, who is working in computers in the field of virtual
reality, was once hooked up to a robot by computer, seeing through its eyes
and touching things with its hand.
He had the very weird sensation of experiencing himself on one side of the
computer lab while his body was on the other side; he even looked across the
lab and "saw" his own body, wearing the VR helmet. Our mind experiences
itself as being "here," on earth, in a body; but it is not here. <Here> is
not here. All of it is within the mind.
Dreams can picture happiness, and then very suddenly revert to fear; we've
all experienced that in dreams, most likely. And we've experienced it in our
"lives" here in the body. Dreams are born of fear (3:2), and the body, being
a dream, is born of fear also. Love does not create dreams, it "creates in
truth" (3:3). And love did not create the body:
The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it
lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him
from illusions. (T-18.VI.4:7-8)
The body was made by fear, and the dreams that result will <always> end in
The body was made by fear for fear, yet "love can use it lovingly." When we
give our bodies to the Holy Spirit for His use, we change the dream. For now
the body has a different purpose, motivated by love.
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