Sun is finally emerging after several weeks of rain overall. I know the weather should not be among my many “idols”, if you will, but I must admit I can be and often am…rather adversely affected by the months-long saga of brutally cold and windy days throughout the winter and a very wet and damp spring, if one could even call it that.
OK, enough of my whining for now!
Off to the races, that is, to share some of Ken’s thoughts. Here we go!
“This is another important lesson, which contrasts – as did the previous one – the reality of Heaven (truth and God’s Love) with the illusory nature of everything in this world. Thus, only what is of God what would lead us back to Him has value, while everything that roots us still further in this world is valueless. The lesson also provides the foundation for the discussion in the manual of the stages in the development of trust, particularly, the first three, which treat the difference between what is valuable and what is valueless (M-4.I-A).”
With respect to 2:2, Ken writes (very helpful, BTW):
“It is tempting when you read a passage like this to be overwhelmed with guilt because of the things you like to buy when you shop, like to do to your body to feel better – avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure – or liking approbation from others. Guilt is not Jesus point, however. Keep in mind that this is a course in content, not form; in cause (the mind), not effect (the body) (T-21.VII.7:8). Rather than feel guilty because of our special relationships – with people, substances, objects, or food – we should realize what we give up when we choose our specialness. Thus Jesus does not want us to judge ourselves or anyone else, but to step back with him and see that when we choose the concerns of the body – physical or psychological – we do so because we are afraid and fear is not a sin. Moreover pursuit of specialness will bring us sorrow, not happiness, which means it is silly to pursue it. The more aware we can be that our search for happiness outside the mind will not give us what we want, the more motivated we will be to let these special attachments go.”
“Jesus will present two laws, followed by the four criteria. “…the first law – which chooses only between the ego and the Holy Spirit”, in response to 4:1-2 where Jesus states, “the range is set, and this we cannot change.” In response to 5:1, where Jesus writes, “Another kindly and related law is that there is no compromise in what your choice must bring”, Ken writes, “The ego’s version of this second law of one of one or the other is kill or be killed. The Holy Spirit tells us, however that only what He teaches is true.”
Then Ken tackles the four criteria, here we go!
The first criterion:
“This returns us to Lesson 132: The world does not share the timelessness of Heaven, and so cannot be real. If you therefore choose something that will not last forever, it must be valueless since it cannot be of the eternal God. The ego has convinced us to seek outside ourselves for pleasure and peace, rather than for the Love of God present in our minds.”
The second criterion:
Responding to 7:1, Ken writes, “This is a corollary to our now familiar fourth law of chaos: “you have what you have taken” (T-23.II.9:3). If I want something I lack, I can get it only by taking it from you, which means you are now without it. This cannot, then, be a true gift – love’s reflection – which expresses the right of everyone to have everything. Under the laws of specialness, however, my acquiring the desired treasure means it is only my right, one more shadowy fragment of the ego’s nothingness. Thus it is not a gift shared by all, making it valueless for it is not based on God’s total Love.”
“The things I truly have are God’s gifts to me, reflected in my dream of forgiveness, peace, and healing. None of these is possible, however, unless shared by everyone, is Ken’s interpretation of 7:3.
“If I believe in loss and scarcity, this thought, born of the idea I exist by stealing from God, means Heaven’s loss has become my gain.” Ken was referring to 7:4-5 as well as a reference from T-1.V.3:1-3, 5-8. (My comment, say what?)
The third criterion:
In response to 8:1-4, Ken writes:
“The ego’s underlying purpose is to preserve my individuality, the motivation for having chosen the ego in the first place. Seeking things in this world proves I exist. Further, my needs demonstrate there is indeed a separated I, and I am attracted to the principle that in order for this self to continue, someone has to be held responsible for my separated state. If I lack something and you have it, it is because you took it from me. This establishes you as the sinner and me as the innocent victim. My state of lack is the proof you took what I need, thereby depriving me of it. Thus I come into the world valuing what will prove my sinlessness, attracted to another’s guilt and living to fulfill the purpose of maintaining my innocence at someone else’s expense.”
The fourth criterion:
In response to 11:2-3, Ken writes:
“Guilt is the ultimate criterion for distinguishing what is valuable from what is not. Its presence proves you have chosen the valueless, for if you value anything in this world as a source of happiness, peace, or love, you will feel guilty. Jesus needs us to realize how guilty we truly are, and that guilt is the source of all misery. We overlay our guilt with levels of obscurity to deny its presence in our minds, thereby protecting our secret sin. Thus, whenever we seek something here as a source of joy, we re-enact the original moment when we sinfully chose the ego’s individuality over God’s Love: saying, in effect: “God’s Love is not enough. I want my specialness instead, and rather than being part of God’s creation, I want to be the First Cause who sits upon creations’ throne as creator.”
“In other words, we all, as one Son, turned our backs of God and chose the ego. That instant of insanity is recalled whenever we see for specialness. The message here, one more time, is not that we should feel guilty when we seek the valueless, but that we should recognize what we are doing. If we do not understand that our misery comes from sleeping guilt, we will not be motivated to change our minds.”
Finally, Ken writes:
“We are asked to practice self-honesty, laying aside the self-deception that we want to return home, for we continually value what is valueless: individuality, specialness, and judgment. Watch yourself as you go through the day, seeing how the ego tries to establish your wisdom in knowing what is best, and how it seeks to prove you cannot trust anyone, for people are always failing you. Since nothing works out right, your judgments about others and the world are justified.”
“To repeat, watch as you seek for what is valueless as opposed to what is valuable, the honest willingness of which Jesus speaks. Practicing this honesty means asking him to be your guide throughout the day. You will know you have chosen against him when you become angry, guilty, depressed, and judgmental. You will know you have chosen for him when you have let these ego thoughts go.”
I am finding this lesson, once again, very thought-provoking.
I enjoyed inputting the four criteria as they are now more clear in my own mind.
Because Ken speaks to every paragraph and, often, one or two sentences at a time, I chose not to share his innumerable references to the section entitled, “The Two Pictures” in the text.
Just think about it.
We are all tantalized by the ego’s picture frame that is “very elaborate, all set with jewels, and deeply carved and polished”, with the “picture” itself meaning nothing, a lot of nothing, whereas the Holy Spirit’s frame is lackluster or plain, certainly not beset with jewels, but ah, the picture represents the gifts of God. In “The Two Pictures”, Chapter 17, Section IV., page 357 in the blue book, the two pictures or alternatives we have are compared. Jesus writes about the picture that the Holy Spirit offers with this: “The holy instant is a miniature of eternity. It is a picture of timelessness, set in a frame of time.” Also, “Look at the pictures. Both of them. One is a tiny picture, hard to see at all beneath the heavy shadows of its enormous and disproportionate enclosure. The other is lightly framed and hung in light, lovely to look upon for what it is.” This is what we’re doing in this lesson we’re practicing today.
If you have the time and inclination, this section is worth reading! Very beneficial in better understanding the Workbook in general and Lesson 133 in specific.
Have a lovely day!