[acimlessons_list] LESSON 344 - DECEMBER 10
sue at circleofa.org
Thu Dec 9 05:59:28 EST 2010
LESSON 344 - DECEMBER 10
"Today I learn the law of love; that what
I give my brother is my gift to me."
See complete instructions in separate document.
A short summary:
* 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.
What if we realized that only what we give away to others will be left to us
in the end? What if we recognized that everything we try to hold onto for
ourselves alone will be lost? How would that change the way we live?
The lesson is referring to our gifts of love and forgiveness more than to
anything physical, although the physical often symbolizes that love. "Yet he
whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth"
(1:6). The Course teaches us that everything is an idea, and ideas, when
given away, only increase; we lose nothing in the giving. On the other hand,
when we try to save our affection for ourselves alone, we wind up
empty-handed: "And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I
found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be" (1:3). Only
what is shared is real because only oneness is reality, and separateness is
illusory. We can't have something for ourselves alone because we are not
How do we arise and return to God (1:9)? Through forgiving our brothers
(1:6-8). Each one we welcome "fills my store with Heaven's treasures, which
alone are real" (1:7). There was a short poem I learned back in my
fundamentalist Christian days that seems applicable here:
Only one life, 'twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only the love is real; only the love is eternal.
How near we are to one another, as we go to God.
How near is He to us. How close the ending of the
dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God. (2:1-3)
I don't think that as yet we have any idea how inextricably we are all
linked to one another, or how near we really are to one another. Each time
you choose to listen to God's Voice instead of your ego, in however little a
way, you help me on my way to God. Each time I open my eyes to Christ's
vision, you see a little better. You and I and all of us are really one. "I
am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts," says Lesson 19.
If, through my willingness to see another as whole today, I help her or him
on the way to God by reminding them of who they really are, I have literally
helped myself equally, because our minds are joined. How many opportunities
await each of us today! How eager I should be to spread forgiveness over all
WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
Part 4: W-pII.13.2:3-5
A miracle inverts perception which was upside down
before, and thus it ends the strange distortions
that were manifest. (2:3)
So the perceptions we have learned from the ego are upside down; a miracle
inverts those perceptions and makes them right-side up again. Perhaps this
is a reference to the way that physical sight works. In physical sight, the
image projected by the lens of our eyes upon the retina is actually upside
down. The mind literally learns to see the upside down image as right-side
up. In an experiment in which people were given glasses to wear that
inverted the image, so that it was right-side up on the retina, the mind saw
everything as upside down. After a number of days, however, the mind
adjusted and saw everything again as the right way. When the glasses were
removed, people now saw things as being upside down!
The perception that what I give, I lose, for instance, is entirely upside
down; true perception shows me that what I give I keep. We perceive what is
false, but our minds have learned to interpret it as truth. We see illusions
and think them real; we believe that reality is the illusion. We fear love,
and love fear. We think guilt is good, and innocence is guilty. A miracle
inverts all this; it corrects our perception, inverting our understanding.
The change in perception is what ends the distortion in what is being
manifested (that is, showing up in form).
"Now is perception open to the truth" (2:4). When the miracle inverts my
perception, and ends the distortion, I am again capable of perceiving the
truth (or its accurate reflection). Until perception is corrected, truth
"Now is forgiveness seen as justified" (2:5). This is perhaps the most
dramatic reversal of all. One of the most radical ideas in the Course is
that forgiveness is <justified>. If we think of forgiveness at all from the
ego perspective, we think of it as someone's being let off the hook for no
reason, "out of the goodness of our hearts." The Course says that there is
every reason to forgive. It is fully justified (see T-30.VI.2:1). What is
unjustifiable is judgment, condemnation, and anger (see T-30.VI.1:1). This
is simply not something that can be learned or arrived at through logic
(although it is entirely logical). When we see our condemnation of someone
as just, that is just how we see it. Trying to reason ourselves into seeing
it differently doesn't work. Nor can we "should" ourselves into it. If we
try to force ourselves to "forgive" while still seeing guilt, we feel as
though we are being untrue to ourselves.
When you give your perception to the Holy Spirit and ask to see as He sees,
He gives you His perception. It simply springs into the mind. Suddenly you
literally no longer see any reason to condemn, and every reason to give
love. Your anger, perfectly justified a moment ago, now seems unthinkable.
It is like the shift that occurs in looking at a Magic Eye illustration
(where a 3-D picture is hidden in a two-dimensional one) or a figure-ground
optical illusion (such as the one that can be seen either as a wine goblet
or as two faces looking at one another). You are seeing it one way; suddenly
you are seeing it another way. And when you see it one way you cannot see
the other way. Just so is the miracle. It inverts your perception. You were
seeing one way; now you see the other. You can't "make" it happen, but when
it happens, you know it.
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