[acimlessons_list] LESSON 354 - DECEMBER 20
sue at circleofa.org
Mon Dec 20 05:15:17 EST 2010
LESSON 354 - DECEMBER 20
"We stand together, Christ and I, in peace
And certainty of purpose. And in Him
Is His Creator, as He is in 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: I have found it helpful to make this lesson more
"In this situation, we stand together, Christ and I..."
I have also found it helpful to reword it:
"I take my stand with Christ today, united with Him in purpose.
And God is in both of us."
This lesson expresses the awareness of my identity with Christ. The Creator
is in Christ and also in me; God is in me as He is in Christ. Identical. "I
have no self except the Christ in me" (1:2). This awareness of identity is
where the Course is leading us. All our study of the Text, our practice of
the Workbook, and our application of forgiveness in all our relationships is
bringing us to this final awareness: "I have no self except the Christ in
me." "And what am I except the Christ in me?" (1:7).
As we arrive at these final lessons, we may feel as though somewhere along
the line the Course has passed us by. Somewhere we missed the boat, or more
likely, got off the boat and stayed behind. I know that I have often felt
that way; I also know that, if I continue to practice what the Course has
taught me, that will not always be true. One day the realization that I have
no self except the Christ in me will resonate in my mind without any
resistance or doubt.
I believe deeply that these words I've just quoted are true, yet I am aware
there is a part of my mind that, as yet, does not believe them. My
experience has not caught up to my understanding. My mind still believes
that I am not identical to the Christ, and so my experience follows my
belief, and I experience myself, or at the very least parts of myself, that
seem to be other than this perfect Self, Who is wholly like His Father.
Does this mean the Course has failed, or that I have failed the Course? No,
I don't think so. In the epilogue, which follows Lesson 365, Jesus speaks of
how the Holy Spirit will be our "Guide through every difficulty and all pain
that you may think is real" (W-Ep.4:1). So he expects that everyone, having
finished the Workbook, will still experience difficulties, and, sometimes,
still mistakenly think that pain is real. He says there, "Whatever troubles
you, be certain that He has the answer, and will gladly give it to you, if
you simply turn to Him and ask it of Him" (W-Ep.1:5). Even after all this,
we will still experience troubles. "This course is a beginning, not an end"
(W-Ep.1:1). The Text and Workbook are meant not to bring us to the end of
our journey, but to train us in the proper way to travel, to develop proper
habits of spiritual practice. They introduce us to our Teacher and instill
the habit of listening to Him. That is all, and that is enough.
And yet these latter lessons put words in our mouths and have us speak as if
we have already arrived. Think of them as foretastes of what your mind will
be like when you have finished your journey. Immerse your mind in them and
let them soak in, transforming you as they do. Whatever you may feel like
today, whatever you may think about yourself, these words are still the
Who we are is beyond the reach of time and free of every law but God's
(1:1). We have no purpose but Christ's purpose (1:3). We are one with God,
just as Jesus was and is (1:5). And all our learning is designed to help us
unlearn everything that tells us anything different.
WHAT AM I?
Part 4: W-pII.14.2:4-5
The truth of what we are is not for words to speak of nor
Words can only take us so far. They can bring us to the door of Heaven, but
cannot bring us in. All the words of the Course itself, as wondrous as they
are, can do no more than that. That is not a deficiency in the Course, nor a
deficiency in words as such. Words are merely symbols. They can do no more
than symbols can do, and that is quite a lot, and all that is necessary. The
truth of what we are will, itself, do the rest.
That truth, and the complete knowing of it, is beyond the reach of words,
and therefore, beyond our reach within this world, which is a world of
symbols and not of realities. Still, there is no reason for despair at that.
What we are cannot be here, any more than a "real," physical person can
exist within a dream, any more than a three-dimensional figure could enter a
two-dimensional world. (Another example: An actual cube, with three
dimensions, cannot exist on a sheet of paper; the best that can be done is a
perspective drawing that <suggests> three dimensions.)
Yet we can realize our function here, and words can
speak of this and teach it, too, if we exemplify the
words in us. (2:5)
Even though we cannot fully <know> the truth of what we are, here in this
world, we can express it; we can, as it were, create a perspective drawing
that suggests that truth. How? By fulfilling the function God has given us,
the function which the Course has repeatedly stated in various ways:
forgiveness; to be happy; extension; to fulfill the Will of God; giving of
ourselves; filling our part in God's plan; adding to God's treasure by
creating our own; giving and receiving healing; using the Atonement. This is
something words <can> speak of, and words can also <teach> forgiveness, if
(at the same time) "we exemplify the words in us." If the words we speak run
through our very beings like watermarks through a banknote, the words can
convey what forgiveness is. If our lives are examples of what we are talking
about, our words have power. In other words, if we fulfill our function of
forgiveness, we can teach forgiveness. And that is our "perspective drawing"
of the truth of our being. That is the reflection, in this world, of the
Love that we are.
Consider the Course as an example of the very thing it is telling us here.
Why are its words so powerful? I think that the reason is that they are
spoken by one who exemplifies the words he speaks. Even in the way Jesus
(the author) speaks to us, and deals with our flaws, our stubbornness and
thick-headedness, our doubts and our vacillation, we can sense the reality
behind the words he is giving us. Never once does he seem to become
impatient with us. Never once does he belittle us or verbally snort in
disgust at our stupidity. When he speaks of forgiveness, there is a spirit
of forgiveness that runs through the very words themselves and conveys
itself to us. When he tells us to look on everyone as our equal, we get the
sense that <he> is looking on <us> as his equal. When he says we can see
everyone without seeing any sin, we can tell that this is how <he> sees
That is where he is leading us, each and every one of us. It is what the
Manual for Teachers, in the section on the characteristics of God's
teachers, calls <honesty>.
Honesty does not apply only to what you say. The term
actually means consistency. There is nothing you say that
contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any
other thought; no act belies your word; and no word lacks
agreement with another. (M-4.II.1:4-6)
Only in fulfilling our function, only in making ourselves into an
incarnation of the Course, can we come to realize and recognize its message
for ourselves. Only in giving it to others, in word and in deed, can we come
to receive it fully for ourselves.
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