[acimlessons_list] Lesson 167 - June 16
sue at circleofa.org
Wed Jun 15 05:52:46 EDT 2011
Lesson 167 - June 16
"THERE IS ONE LIFE, AND THAT I SHARE WITH GOD."
Purpose: To accept that the life God gave us has no opposite, cannot change,
cannot die, and cannot even sleep. To strive to keep our mind as He created
it, to let Him be Lord of our thoughts today. This is a companion lesson to
163, "There is no death. The Son of God is free."
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
Remember that during the longer practice periods, at this point in the
Workbook, you are supposed to do what you feel guided to do and what has
worked for you up until this point.
My suggestion for today is to try to get in touch with "mind awake" (8:1).
This lesson teaches that our experience of death is not thrust upon us from
the outside, but is solely the result of our "idea of death" (2:3). Under
the sway of this idea, it says, our mind seems to fall asleep in Heaven and
dream of a life separate from God, a life in this world. And yet, says this
lesson, the mind "merely <seems> to go to sleep" (9:2; italics mine). In
fact, the mind "cannot change what is its waking state" (6:2). Thus, the
appearance of your mind as a volatile, changing field, with thoughts of fear
and hope constantly sweeping across it, is an illusion. Your mind is really
eternally awake, and as such is completely changeless and unlimited. That is
the reality of your mind. Try, then, in your meditation, to get in touch
with this reality. Try to leave behind the illusion of your mind as a
restless sea, and experience its reality as a boundless and steady light.
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if
circumstances do not permit).
Repeat the idea and then spend a moment resting in the wakefulness that is
the reality of your mind. Then thank God for His gifts in the last hour. And
ask Him how you can express the truth that there is no death in the hour to
Response to temptation: (Suggestion) whenever you feel tempted to
acknowledge death in any form--as sorrow, anxiety, weariness, discomfort.
Repeat the idea immediately. Realize that your negative emotion is a denial
of life, and use the idea to remind yourself that life is the only reality.
There is a repetition here, or perhaps a statement that I anticipated when,
in writing about Lesson 163, I said, "Belief in death is just another form
of the 'tiny, mad idea' at which 'the Son of God remembered not [i.e.
forgot] to laugh.'" This lesson says that death "is but an idea, irrelevant
to what is seen as physical" (3:2). Later it says, "Death is the thought
that you are separate from your Creator" (4:1). That is the essence of the
idea of death: separation from Life.
This is why we can say, "There is no death." It is simply impossible. God is
Life, and what He creates must be living. To cease living would be to
separate from God, to become His opposite. Since God has no opposite, there
is no death.
There is no death because what God created shares His Life. There is no
death because an opposite to God does not exist. There is no death because
the Father and the Son are one. (1:5-7)
"Ideas leave not their source" (3:6). That idea is central to the Course.
Ideas exist only in the mind that thinks them. Ideas do not exude out from
mind, take on an independent existence, become self-sustaining, and become
capable of opposition to the mind that created them. They simply don't do
I am an idea in God's Mind. I am the thought of "me." I cannot depart from
God's Mind, live independently of Him, dependent only on myself, capable of
a will that opposes God's. I simply cannot do it. I can only imagine I am
[Death] is the fixed belief ideas can leave their source, and take on
qualities the source does not contain, becoming different from their own
origin, apart from it in kind as well as distance, time and form. (4:3)
I cannot do that; I cannot leave my Source and take on qualities not
contained in that Source. Therefore, I cannot die.
We need to see that, as Lesson 163 (paragraph 1) said, death takes many
forms. The "attraction of death" spoken of in the "Obstacles to Peace"
section (T-19.IV) reflects all those forms. This lesson lists a few more:
Yet we have learned that the idea of death takes many forms. It is the one
idea which underlies all feelings that are not supremely happy. It is the
alarm to which you give response of any kind that is not perfect joy. All
sorrow, loss, anxiety and suffering and pain, even a little sigh of
weariness, a slight discomfort or the merest frown, acknowledge death. And
thus deny you live. (2:3-7)
What is death? Any feeling that is not supremely happy. Any response to
anything in our life that is not perfect joy. Can we see how anything less
than supreme happiness and perfect joy is a denial of life and an
affirmation of death? To be less than perfectly joyful is to assert there is
something other than God, other than Life, other than Love; something
"other" that dilutes the radiant Being of God.
I am not advocating becoming a bliss idiot, walking around in total denial
of the pain and suffering of our lives and of those around us, frantically
asserting, "Everything is perfect. None of this is real. It's all illusion,
ignore it. Only God exists."
Rather, I am encouraging the exact opposite. I am suggesting that we need to
start noticing just how much the idea of death influences us. We need to
notice those little sighs of weariness, those twinges of anxiety, and
recognize that the idea of death underlies them all, the idea that
separation from God is real, that something other than God exists, opposing
and nullifying His radiance. We need to notice how we believe we are that
"something other," or at least part of it. Notice, and say to God, "I'm
believing in death again. I'm feeling separated from You. And I know,
therefore, this feeling doesn't mean anything, because there is one life,
and I share it with You."
It is only when you recognize that you are responsible for those death
thoughts that you can truly understand they have no reality except in your
own mind. To affirm they have no reality without first taking responsibility
for them is unhealthy denial. It leaves them without a source, and they must
have a source. So your mind supplies an imagined source in God or somewhere
outside yourself, and you are back to the separation thought again, because
there is nothing outside God nor outside you. By screaming, "It's all
illusion!" without truly knowing that you are the illusionist, you make the
idea of death into something real, something to be fought against and
To recognize death thoughts as illusion does not require that you do
violence to your mind. Seeing beyond illusion is the most natural thing in
the world when it happens naturally, as the result of taking responsibility
for the illusion. To see the world as illusion does not require concerted
and sustained effort. It is not something you can try to do. If you are
trying, you're doing it backwards.
The same principle operates when people say, "I'm trying to see the Christ
in him." You can't try to see Christ in a person; you either do or you
don't. When your eyes are open and nothing is in the way you don't have to
try to see! You just see.
Spiritual vision is the same. Christ is there, in every person, and you are
quite capable of seeing Him there. The problem is, you've erected many
barriers, many screens, that block your sight. You're seeing the reflection
of your own ideas instead of seeing who the person really is, which is
The way to spiritual sight, the way to see Christ in a brother, therefore,
is to become aware of all the screens you are throwing up, all the illusions
you are projecting from your own mind, blocking true vision. Paradoxically,
you don't see Christ in a brother by looking at him, squinting and trying to
pretend he is a loving being; you see Christ in him by looking at your own
mind, your own thoughts, which are the barrier to vision.
Perhaps you are afraid of the person in some way. He appears to you as a
threat of some sort, perhaps prone to attack you physically, or to take your
money. Instead of trying to see through that picture of him as a bad person,
a threat to yourself, look at that picture itself and ask where it came
from. With the Holy Spirit's help, you will see that it originated entirely
in your own mind. It is the sum of your own judgments solidified into an
opinion. It is how you have taught yourself to see your brother. And that is
You know, or you should, that you are not capable of judgment. You cannot
possibly have all the evidence. So you can turn to the Holy Spirit and say,
"I recognize that my opinion of my brother is my own creation. It is based
on the idea of death, of something separate from and other than God. As
such, I know it is only a bad dream. It has no meaning. My brother is not
what I think he is, and I am not a bad person for having this thought; I'm
just making a mistake. I am willing to let go of it, and since I am its only
source, I can let go of it."
You may go on feeling afraid. The key difference is not whether or not the
fear disappears, as it sometimes will. The key difference is that, if the
fear (or whatever feeling or judgment it may be) is present, you are aware
that you are making it up and it isn't real. This opens the way for a
different vision to dawn on you. If what you have been seeing is illusion,
there must be something else, some other way of seeing, that is real.
The vision of Christ, which is what the Course calls this different way of
seeing, may not burst on your sight after one application of this mental
process. It probably won't. We've got lots and lots of barriers to that
vision, and you may have recognized only one of many things preventing you
from seeing Christ in your brother. That's okay. You've understood that this
particular barrier is an illusion, and affirmed there is another way of
seeing your brother. That's all you have to do. You don't have to try to
find the other way! When you are ready, when the barriers are recognized as
something you make up, the vision will just be there.
It will "just be there" because it is already there. The Christ in you
already recognizes Himself in your brother. The process is similar to tuning
out static in a radio with electronic filters. There is a signal you want to
hear, but too much noise and static prevents its being heard. You identify
the static, isolate it, electronically "instruct" your equipment to ignore
it, and eventually, the clear signal comes through.
What you are doing in the process the Course recommends--looking at the ego
and its thoughts of death, identifying them, and deciding to ignore them
because they come from an undependable source--is tuning out the static.
Keep doing that, and the clear signal of Christ's vision will come through.
It is there, in you, right now. You just can't "hear" it for all the noise
the ego is making.
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