[acimlessons_list] LESSON 347 - DECEMBER 13
sue at circleofa.org
Mon Dec 13 06:04:57 EST 2010
LESSON 347 - DECEMBER 13
"Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from 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.
Practice suggestion: Today the ideas for the day go from two lines to three
lines, which means they have tripled in length since just seven lessons ago.
I confess that I find it harder to repeat these longer ideas throughout the
day. If you're the same, here are some suggestions that might make it
* Write the idea down on a notecard and pull the card out
for practice periods.
* Find a part of the idea that speaks the most to you, and focus on
repeating that part.
* Spend time in the morning memorizing the idea so fully that it
rolls off your tongue the rest of the day.
* Reword the idea in a way that captures the gist of it but is
and speaks to you personally.
On that last point, don't be afraid to reword the idea, as long as you stay
reasonably faithful to the meaning. The Course reminds us of this more than
once, saying, "You need not use these exact words" (W-pI.65.6:5) and "It is
not the particular words you use that matter" (W-pI.rI.In.6:4).
>From the sublime heights of yesterday's lesson ("I would forget all things
except Your Love"), we return to the level of our split mind, in which we
attack ourselves, keeping away the miracle with judgment and attack. The
previous lesson was miracle-mindedness; here we see why we do not always
experience that state of mind: We actively keep it away from ourselves with
judgment and attack. The process of the Course involves learning complete
honesty with ourselves. We learn to recognize and admit the duplicity of our
Father, I want what goes against my will, and do not
want what is my will to have. (1:1)
"My will" is my right-mindedness, forgetting everything except God's Love.
And yet we seem to want something else, and to actively resist having the
Love of God flooding our minds.
I love the next couple of lines:
Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick. (1:2-3)
I love those lines because of their stark simplicity, and because of the
contrast they offer to the frothy denial of our inner darkness that is
prevalent in so many circles. The Course does not pull any punches. It does
not whitewash our problems. There are times when no other assessment fits:
Our minds are sick! It is sick to want what goes against my true will, and
to actively resist my own well-being. Self-destruction is always
pathological. When we look honestly at the fact that we are literally
pushing away our own peace of mind, by active choices we make, it ought to
be repugnant. When we see what we have been doing, our saner self will say,
"This is sick!"
And so we ask the Father to "straighten my mind." That always reminds me of
a science fiction book by Zenna Henderson that I read as a young man, called
The People: No Different Flesh.** In it there were certain persons who
could telepathically enter into another person's mind and "sort" their
thoughts, soothing their inner turmoil and pain. The idea appealed to me so
much that I used to pray, "Sort me, Father," when I felt my thoughts in
chaos and confusion. And it seemed to work! I was pleasantly surprised to
see this similar phrase here, validating my early experience. "Straighten my
We enable the straightening of our minds by giving all our judgment to the
Holy Spirit and asking Him to judge for us (1:5). He sees what we see, "and
yet He knows the truth" (1:6). He is looking at the same evidence I am
looking at, but He knows the pain is not real; the evidence means something
entirely different to Him. To me, the evidence of my eyes seems to prove
that separation, pain, loss, and death are real. When I bring all this to
Him and ask Him to straighten my mind, He will show me that what I see does
not mean what I think it means; He will use what I thought proved my guilt
to reveal my innocence.
He gives the miracles my dreams would hide from my
Listen today. Be very still, and hear the gentle Voice
for God assuring you that He has judged you as the Son
He loves. (2:1-2)
WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
Part 7: W-pII.13.4:1
The miracle is taken first on faith, because to ask for
it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of
what it cannot see and does not understand.
Faith. Yes, A Course in Miracles asks for faith, at least at the beginning.
"The miracle is taken <first> on faith." This is a fairly traditional
meaning for the word "faith." The American Heritage Dictionary defines faith
as "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." And
that is what is being asked of us. We are being asked to receive the miracle
(the change of perception, the vision of our brother's innocence) without
any "proof or material evidence." We are being asked to look on devastation
(such as sickness, or the harm done by someone's unloving actions) and to
believe that what we see is false-without "material evidence."
This is not an easy thing to do, to believe in something we cannot see. And
yet, if our false perception has blinded us to reality, and we are now
perceiving the projections of our own minds in place of truth, then
obviously the truth is now something we do not see. And since what our mind
chooses to see is what we see, the mind <must> change before we can perceive
truly. We have to choose to change our mind <before we see the evidence>,
because, in order for the miracle to manifest, our minds must first be "made
ready to conceive of what [they] cannot see and [do] not understand." In
other words, we must make a choice on faith; we must decide that we desire
to see something we cannot now see and something we do not understand.
This reminds me very much of those very early lessons in the Workbook,
Lessons 27 and 28: "Above all else I want to see" and "Above all else I want
to see things differently." That choice has to be made before we can see
anything. We must <want> to see in order to see. That is the faith being
talked about here. It is a choice, a decision we must make. We must <want>
to see our brother innocent. We must <want> only love. We must be willing to
see things differently. Only then will we see miracles.
** This is the title of one of the two original collections of stories
about the People. All of Henderson's wonderful stories have been recently
republished in a single volume, titled Ingathering: The Complete People
Stories of Zenna Henderson (Framingham, Mass.: Nesfa Press, 1995).
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