This is one lollapalooza of a lesson; it behooves us to read it thoughtfully and practice, practice, practice!
“This is among the most important lessons in the workbook, not only for what it says about sickness, but for its more general comments on how we defend against the truth. To review briefly, the ego’s plan affirms that sin and guilt are real, a strategy to have us fear the mind so we will leave it, projecting our sinful, guilty selves so they are perceived in someone else. Thus we see sin and guilt in another’s body – attack – or in our own – sickness. However whether or not the guilt and pain are seen in your body or mind, I forget their source in my mind, thus fulfilling the ego’s goal of keeping us mindless, and therefore unable to choose the truth.
Thus, while Jesus speaks specifically about sickness, especially in the second part of the lesson, he could just as easily say that judgment is a defense against the truth, as are anger, depression, anxiety, and specialness in any form. The CONTENT (my emphasis) of anything we feel is a problem here – requiring our attention and planning is the same. The FORMS (my emphasis) may differ, but seeing problems in the world directs our attention away from the mind – the ego’s purpose for everything. IN this way we never remember that the true problem is within. This is why it is so tempting to see Jesus and the Holy Spirit doing things for us in the world. Their doing so means there are real problems here, demonstrating the reality of the world and making it easier to forget that the mind is the only source of problems and their solution.”
Below please find some of Ken’s nuggets of wisdom and encouragement:
“It is not that sickness has chosen us, or has come unbidden. We have chosen it.”
“We are told in the manual that “all of them (forms of sickness) have the same purpose and therefore are not really different: (M-5.III.3:2). Their purpose is to protect us from the sin and guilt in our minds.”
“Progress in ACIM can be measured by how quickly we shrink the gap between the effect – our misery and pain – and its original cause – telling God His Love was not enough. We push “Jesus away to preserve our specialness, but blaming another for it.”
“Our thinking is : “I am not the one who chose to be sick; something or someone made me this way.” It does not matter if we are talking about a viral disease, or another’s negative thoughts. The plan calls for me to believe I am the effect and something else is the cause. Not realizing I set this up – I am secretly glad to be upset and sick, even if it means my death – means I am off the hook. Remember this chilling line: “Behold me, brother, at your hand I die” (T-27.1.4-6).”
“Guilt is a decision – not an ontological reality – to preserve my individual existence.”
“When we do not remember our mistaken choice for individuality, it because we are protecting it. In other words, forgetting is an active decision. It is not caused be stress or growing old, but by the mind’s decision, saying, “I want to retain my separate existence, but do not want to be responsible for its concomitant pain.” Thus I forget my decision and blame another.”
“We are not guilty over what we have done or failed to do, anymore than we are angry over what another did or failed to do. These feelings but represent the mind’s choice for the attacking ego.”
“When we choose Jesus as our teacher, choosing the correction instead of the problem, the ego becomes afraid and viciously strikes back.” (Please see T-9.VII.4:4-5,7 for how the ego plays out when we’re intent on changing our minds.)
“We do not have to wait for some future time to have truth be our reality. It comes at the very moment we welcome it by our being aware of how much we do not want it, and how we erect the defense of specialness to keep it away. Such is the honesty Jesus asks us to demonstrate.”
Ken offers us some cautionary counsel, here goes:
“Let us say you find yourself increasingly feeling Jesus’ presence and believing in what his course teaches. You practice it with greater frequency, as you recognize that judgment no longer makes you happy, nor does doing things on your own. However, asking Jesus for help brings you peace, as does the happy fact of being wrong. Since there is a little voice whispering not so sweetly in your ear that if you continue to identify with Jesus and his teachings you will be annihilated, losing your individuality and specialness, and soon there will be nothing left of you. Hearing that threatening message, we become afraid and push Jesus away to return to our allies of guilt, fear, attack, and sickness, believing we are safe again.”
“Defenses seems to be something that just happen to us. Thus is the source of our distress suddenly seen outside us – the ego’s secret magic want having waved again. What is perceived to be external can include people, circumstances, the weather, or our own bodies. The form is immaterial – all the ego cares about is placing our attention on an external cause for our upset, reflecting another successful defense against the truth.”
I will close with his thoughts on paragraph 17:
“Therefore, ACIM is not about healing the body, which can never be healed because it was never sick. Standing with Jesus within the holy instant, we perceive the body correctly – pain or discomfort, the upsets in our lives, are classrooms reflecting back to us the mind’s decision to be an ego. Thus we learn it was our minds that decided to be sick and unhappy. Before, all we knew was that our bodies hurt, or were lonely, sad, or ecstatic. Everything was focused on them. Now asking Jesus for help means looking through his eyes instead of our own, realizing the body is only the means by which we are reminded we have a mind that chose guilt instead of love, individuality instead of oneness, the ego instead of the Holy Spirit. That, again, is the meaning of : “Now is the body healed.”
One of the central meanings of forgiveness is the lifting of the projections I placed upon you. There is nothing to forgive, because you have only done what I wanted you to do, for I wanted my sin to rest on you. Thus it is not our relationship that is healed, but the mind. Likewise, in true healing my projections of sin are lifted from your body, where I put them. As a relationship is “healed” when I choose Jesus instead of the ego, so my body is “healed” when I make the right choice. Healing then, like forgiveness, is simply withdrawing the projections form another’s body or our won. The body, once again, becomes an instrument reminding us of the source of real pain and joy: the mind.”
I have carefully and thoughtfully read the 13 pages of thoughts Ken shares in this lesson. Very powerful stuff, if you will.
Last night as I was attempting to wind down after dinner, I got through about 10 of the 13 pages or so. I found myself getting highly agitated, to be honest, highly tense as I seemed to realize how I am singularly responsible for what I see. I thought about the section in the text on the responsibility for sight. You know, “I am responsible for what I see…”, etc., on page 448 in the text. It finally registered why I have to be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom, etc.
I better understood why practicing ACIM is a process and can either be characterized by fear or terror as we get that we are relinquishing our attachment to individuality and duality or patience, self-kindness and gentleness. There is just no rush.
In my desire to be rid of all pain, emotional and/or physical, I became highly fearful last night, overwhelmed, feeling I would never be able to truly understand the metaphysics behind the Course, much less apply them!
Just one Holy Instant at a time.
That’s all He asks.
If I try to do more, well then, ego has reemerged once again, its sole purpose for its survival.
Have a lovely day!