Well, it came to me yesterday that perfectionism is not my area of misery, it is wanting to be heard, yep, that’s it. I was making a large escarole salad and I felt pretty open to guidance about what might be an area that has plagued me throughout many seeming lifetimes. I get what Jesus says about reincarnation in the Manual so I am not taking a stand on this topic, just referring back to what I wrote that Ken wrote in his book. To be very clear.
OK, to move on.
Here are a few excerpts from Ken’s book I found helpful”
“This is difficult (taking a stand on but one side today (1:2-3), because our choice for truth instead of illusion is a choice against our self. We therefore need a bridge to ease our fear. This bridge is our function of forgiveness – our part in God’s plan for salvation.”
“Our “mighty purpose”, (2:2-3), is to forgive, and “everything we need…to reach the goal” is the classroom of hate we made – the ancient script of specialness – which is still present to us as a classroom of forgiveness, with a new teacher. The presence of Jesus in our minds guarantees that when we choose, we will learn the lessons his classroom offers. Please note that Jesus does not send us lessons, nor is he the author of our script. He is its correction, without whom forgiving our specialness is impossible, This is not something we do on our own.”
“Yet we cannot realize our sins were mistakes until we first recognize we have called them sins, established by our guilt. Only by understanding that guilt follows the use of everyone and everything as a substitute for the Love of God will we be motivated to ask for help in seeing our sin as merely the end product of a mistaken thought, which we can change with Jesus’ help.” (2:4-6).
“The truth, however, is that as one Son, we are saved and damned together. Therefore, what I see in you can only be what I see in myself. If I seek to crucify you to escape my guilt, I am crucified as well. On the other hand, if I see you as absolved from sin because you are not responsible for my loss of peace, I am absolving myself as well.” (4)
Where Jesus speaks to taking five minutes per hour, fifth paragraph (5):
Ken writes, “We then protest: “What about me? What about my personal needs and self? Don’t I count for anything?” And Jesus gently shakes his head and says, “No, you do not, because your individuality is an illusion.” He does not demand we give it up, however, but he does ask us to look at the fact that the reason we cherish our individual identity so much is so we will not even given him five minutes an hour. This is not meant to be guilt inducing, to be sure, but a simple acknowledgment of our fear of love and truth, holding on to specialness instead. Learning about this fear is useful information as we seek to fulfill our special function.”
Last, but certainly not least, Ken’s take on (6:2-5):
“Students may believe these are Jesus’ words, yet there is a part of them that does not believe him. Therefore, allow yourself to experience Jesus telling you this, and listen as you say – it is important that you let yourself hear your words – “I do not believe you. I am not willing to let go of my specialness – my grievances, my addictions, my self – because there is a part of me that does not believe I will be better off taking your hand and accepting what you say.”
“Though students say these words to Jesus, they are unusually unaware of having said them, let alone having such thoughts. However if you hear yourself say these words, and understand the fear that caused them, there will be no guilt, which thrives on being hidden. Guilt prevents awareness through repression, and then protects itself through projection, which is when you inflict suffering on another or yourself. As you read these words – for example: “You can exchange a little of your time for peace of mind and certainty of purpose, with the promise of complete success” – hear your little voice say to Jesus: “Is that right! I do not trust your promise that I will be happy without my specialness.” This thought of resistance is the source of all pain.”
Ah, again Jesus is urging us to be honest with ourselves and Him. Honesty is the second characteristic of a Teacher of God as outlined in the Manual and follows His perspective on trust.
As you know too, He encourages us not to be ritualistic or robotic in our approach to practicing and applying the Course. I am working to NOT just recite the day’s lesson when I remember to do so, I am working to NOT beat myself up when I do forget, I am working to remember Lesson 95 when He asked us to not use our not practicing as a detour or descent into “hell”, if you will, by assuming we’ve failed to do the Course “right”. I am working to “deny the denial of truth” by relaxing, resting and forgiving.
Ken writes in numerous places that the “perfect” Course student is he or she who doesn’t do the Course perfectly because they know they will forget and are open to forgiving themselves when they do. They don’t take it so seriously that it becomes a tool of the ego thereby representing yet again, a sense of sin precipitating guilt.
Have a lovely day!