Interesting, I am finding myself even more self-reflective and even more willing to be willing to extend the Love of God in my thoughts, words and deeds.
Before I get to today’s lesson, I want to share I have been thinking about the second characteristic of a Teacher of God, honesty, as described in the Manual for Teachers.
“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. Such are the truly honest. At no level are they in conflict with themselves. Therefore it is impossible for them to be in conflict with anyone or anything.” Trust is the first characteristic Jesus addresses.
It is honesty to which I aspire to demonstrate throughout my life in all forms. Consistency of thought, word and deed, bearing no malice or harmfulness toward anyone, including myself.
After Bill left for our office, I spent about 30 minutes reading Ken Wapnick’s perspective on this lesson. A few key points he makes are:
“This is the first time in the lessons that Jesus discusses sacrifice, another of the key themes in the text, for it is at the heart of the ego’s thought system. The ego – the thought of individuality – begins with the idea that it is God or my “self”. If God is to exist, I cannot exist as a separate being because there is no separation, individuality, or differentiation in Heaven. Therefore, if I am to exist as an individual – the foundation of everyone’s thought system – God can no longer exist, at least as He truly is. That is the origin of the thought of sacrifice: someone must lose if another is to win.”
He continues with:
“Hence I no longer presume that my happiness depends on beating you up, putting you down, cannibalizing, or stealing from you. I can learn to generalize this lesson, recognizing that you are part of me; not my individual physical or psychological self, but the part of me who is the Son of God. If I seek to exclude you by seeing you as separate from me – an enemy or object of my special love – I am saying the Son of God is fragmented. In truth he cannot be, so by attacking you I am really attacking my own Identity. However, if I begin with the premise that my mind is part of Gods’ and I am holy (Lesson 35), I shall see that you must share in that holiness, if indeed holiness is true. This step marks the end of sacrifice – the principle of one or the other.”
“When you identify with holiness, you ask nothing of anyone because you are everything and have everything. You are everything, because having and being are the same. Vigilance is essential to the process of your learning so that you become aware that you are making a demand of someone. If you are making demands and believe in the reality of the attack, that tells you that you do not believe you are whole. You are unhappy, therefore, not because you did not receive what you believe you should have gotten from someone, but solely because you have chosen the wrong teacher.”
No more quoting.
However, Ken refers to joining Jesus in the Holy Instant by lifting ourselves above the battleground. We then see the “world” differently, understanding that what we must be saved from, truly, are our thoughts/perceptions/opinions and interpretation of the world.
At the end of his sharing, he strongly encourages us to try not to do these lessons in a robotic/mechanical/ritualistic manner. If lessons are used as affirmations, if you will, to push the ego down, darkness will not be dispelled. His advice is to practice the lesson while realizing what Jesus is saying. We are still keeping others separate from ourselves, thereby reinforcing the attachment to guilt, sin, fear and sacrifice in our minds. We ask Jesus for help, we ask Him to join us in our practicing.
All right, well, my dedication to accepting the Atonement, “inch by inch”, as Mom used to say, is more intense, it’s more palpable, more visceral.
I do not want separate interests, special relationships, sacrifice, suffering, all those “S” words that connote sin in my life so I will look, I will no longer be afraid of the darkness because the light of the Holy Spirit/Jesus will enable me to transcend this insanity into every possible derivation of HOLINESS!