What does Ken have to say about today’s lesson? Here goes!
In response to 1:4, he writes:
“In the opening paragraph of “The Happy Dream,” Jesus says in effect we have no idea what is going on with us:
“…for you cannot distinguish
between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances
you have judged as failures, and some of your
deepest retreats you have evaluated as success”… (T.18.V.1:5-6).
In other words, we cannot understand, appreciate, or evaluate our progress on the spiritual path. Since we are overwhelmed by the force of the ego, we think there is no way we could ever get beyond it, and so we think that the little we have already done is not much at all. Jesus is telling us here that we have done much more than we realize. We may not have ascended to the top of the ladder, but by dint of our commitment to him and earnestness to succeed in learning his lessons, we have gained a great deal.
The fact that I am practicing – however half-heartedly my efforts may sometimes be, however filled with specialness – means there is a part of me that wants to learn these lessons and stay with them. That is what we need look at in ourselves, rather than judge our failures and resistance. Thus we will feel grateful for our teacher, his lessons, and ourselves for having chosen to learn from them.
In response to paragraph four (4), Jesus’ reference to “as we go to do what is appointed us to do,” Ken writes:
“What is appointed us to do” is forgive, which means I first become aware of how much I do not want to let go of my judgments and specialness, how much I do not want to smile on everyone I see. Indeed, I want only to smile at those from whom I want something; a desire that is selective, specific and special. My first step in learning to forgive, therefore, is being aware of how much I do not want to, how much I do not want to change my perceptions. It is only when I become aware of my withholding a smile or gentle word from you, that I can see I am withholding it from myself. Thus, I am not only not interested in being with you, but also not being with Jesus, and I certainly am not interested in returning to God. We need to see the causal connection between the effect, how we are toward others – separate, insensitive, and special – and the cause, not wanting to return home and remember God’s Son. We look at that wish without judgment, thereby forgiving ourselve3s – our function on earth. How could one not feel gratitude for such a function, for only through forgiveness can our hearts be lifted above despair to share the vision of the Son of God: the Self that God created one with Him.”
Finally, about where Jesus states in the sixth (6) paragraph that God “gives them back a thousand and a hundred thousand more than they were given”, Ken writes:
“These numbers are obviously symbolic, but their magnitude expresses the magnitude of healing that occurs when we choose to release our guilt and look at our judgments without judgment, accepting the gratitude of God even as we extend it to Him.”
I love where Ken just recommends we be honest with ourselves. I am into specialness, a lot of the time I am aware of it, however, there are too many times I am not.
I get that on an intellectual basis, I realize specialness keeps me stuck, mired in misery, sadness, depression, anger, etc.
But, as we all know, we’re more afraid of redemption, I am more afraid of redemption.
Without my identity, who or what would I be? I think I fear being a total doormat. Funny, though, because I have always felt as though I set myself up to be one, to be taken for granted, unappreciated, etc., and I am afraid of being one if I relinquish my identity? How circularly insane is this?
We stick with the “devil” we know rather than explore the “angel” we can be, I can be.
We stick to discomfort and dis-ease because it’s comfortable, it’s the known and the unknown is terrifying to us.
We cannot control it.
Ah, but if I can commit to the Holy Instant and make it a point to just deeply breathe and get still, remembering that there is no time, it’s an illusion, and I can, for just a few seconds, enter into my natural state of timelessness. I can, also, just be thankful that, minimally, I am on the right ladder to the “home I never left.”
Have a lovely day!