Off we go with Ken.
“In the current lesson, the focus is on the ego’s plan of dealing with the multitudinous variety of problems that arise from guilt’s projection, each of which demands plans or defenses – to protect us from dangers perceived outside us. Having us believe the problem is not within our minds but in the world of bodies, the ego calls for a plan – i.e., defenses – to solve the problem. This strategy is Lesson 135’s focus. BTW, this lesson is the longest in the workbook – well over four pages – and an extremely important one as well.”
“The purpose of defenses is to protect us from fear, yet building a defense reinforces our sense of vulnerability that, along with the perception of danger, justifies our need for defense. Without fear, there is no need for protection, and so having defenses means we are afraid. Thus we see that though the purpose of a defense is to protect us from fear, it only reinforces it.”
“Jesus is not saying we should feel guilty because of our bodily identification. He knows very well that all who read and study his teachings think they are bodies. His kind message is: “Let me help you look at what it is you think you are. You do not have to change it, nor let it go. You do not have to fear you are going to disappear into nothingness. Simply step back with me and look at this strange identity, and let me help you recognize the mind it came from and why, and finally, what we can do to truly protect it.”
“Incidentally, do not limit passages about the body to the physical, since our psychological body is included as well. We know how weak and easily assaulted we feel if someone gives us what we take to be a dirty look, or our devastation if someone whose opinion we value does not smile or give the approval we want.”
“Remember that all Jesus asks is that you step back with him and look at your actions. If you do it with him, the process of changing your identity will be gradual, gentle and truly healing. Therefore, seek not to change your behavior, but choose to change the teacher with whom you look at your behavior, and that of others (T-21.in.1:7). I cannot tell you how many Course students have gone off course because of misunderstanding lessons like this. Denial of one’s belief in separation and guilt is not helpful, for one can never change the belief without first acknowledging its presence.”
This is important, “pay attention, please”, Ken writes:
“The focus of our attention is the body, which will inevitably fail us. It may not seem to when we are young, but as we grow into middle age, we begin to deteriorate until our death. The focus, though, should not be on a strong and healthy body, but on a forgiving mind. When we look with gentleness at the mind’s sin, guilt and hate, letting Jesus’ love become our identity, peace permeates our experience here regardless of the body. In other words, attention sifts from bodily concerns to the mind, where we learn to distinguish between its two thought systems.”
With respect to 11:1-2, Ken writes:
“Asking Jesus for specific help is not sinful, but it does limit his answer, as he cautioned Helen in this message shortly before she began to scribe The Song of Prayer. We repeat its central point here, which underscores what was to come in what is now the pamphlet:
Any specific question involves a large number of assumptions which inevitably limits the answer. A specific question is actually a decision about the kind of answer that is acceptable. The purpose of words is to limit, and by limiting, to make a vast area of experience more manageable. But that means manageable by you. For many aspects of living in this world that is necessary. But not for asking. God does not use words, and does not answer in words. He can only “speak” to the Christ in you, Who translates His Answer into whatever language you can understand and accept…Answers are not up to you. Any limit you place on them interferes with hearing. God’s Voice is silent and speaks in silence. That means that you do not phrase the question and you do not restrict the answer…The only real request is for God’s Answer. This needs the humility of trust, not the arrogance of false certainty. (Absence from Felicity, pp. 445-46. 450).
Our energies and efforts are much better placed in asking for help to forgive, for that and that alone will remove the barriers to our hearing the Voice of Love, Whose wisdom gentle guides us in our words and actions. Guilt is the problem, forgiveness is the answer. We need never be more specific than that.”
I love what Ken writes in response to paragraph 15, please read below!:
“Indeed, everything I do, think, feel, or plan is based on the past. Yet if I act with Jesus, I am no longer separate from him, and therefore not separate from the Love of God. Without separation, there can be no thoughts system of hate and no temporal world. Therefore, with Jesus as my teacher, my future planning is not atoning for past sins, thereby trying to forestall an inevitable catastrophe I know is my inevitable punishment. Rather, my planning comes from love, and I need do nothing other than follow its gentle guidance.”
OK, I will wrap up with this:
“As long as we identify as specific individuals, our minds will translate the abstract teachings of ACIM – not to mention the abstract Love of God – into something specific. Consequently, we will think that Jesus is talking about a specific plan for me. Indeed there is a specific plan for me: my ego’s life of special relationships, in which everyone is perceived as the victimizing sinner, while I, and those with whom I identity, remain the innocent victim. With Jesus’ help, I look at the ego’s plan differently. In other words, the Holy Spirit’s plan is the one I made up – the curriculum of my special relationships – looked at through His forgiving vision. Looked at without judgment, my relationships are healed. This ancient plan of the Atonement is thus our special function of forgiveness.” (Reference to 20:2).
All I have to do is observe what’s going on within my own mind. I can watch how quickly I will deny any negative feelings. Bury them, suppress them, not wanting to explore how unloving they are.
Ken’s thoughts on this lesson numbered 17 pages, a bit daunting to work through, but I just learn so much and like Jesus, he repeatedly refers to the underlying principles that permeate ACIM. If we just focus on asking for help in forgiving others and ourselves, well, that’s pretty simple as opposed to listening to the complexity of the ego’s voice with which it seeks to confuse and bewilder.
And, sure, I do listen to it.
I do make plans because I am afraid, but it is getting clearer to me that making plans is a normal part of life on this planet, however, I can ask Jesus to guide me by asking Him to help me to forgive the past which always determines what plans I will make if I am not forgiving it. If I do, He will be there for me as I ask Him for help in assuring everyone’s highest good is served who might play a part in my future.
I remember, too, this is a process and there’s no rush.
I understand that the need for me to stay busy, always be productive are defenses. A huge epiphany for me as I now realize I am attempting to preserve and protect my individuality. No wonder I go around in circles and, often, am exhausted by the time I pour myself into bed.
Nope, don’t want to do that anymore.
Have a lovely day!