This lesson extends the theme we covered in Lesson 163, “There is no death. The Son of God is free.” Here, too, Jesus talks about death and contrasts it with life, and in so doing reinforces the teaching on the contrast between mind and body. Note, too, the use of the word mind. In ACIM, mind is almost always capitalized when it refers to the Minds of God and Christ, and not capitalized when it refers to the split mind of the separated Son. This lesson, however, is an exception to that rule: mind is lowercase throughout, at times Jesus referring to mind as spirit, and other times as split. It is impossible to capitalize it because of the structure of the discussion, as we will see. Thus, mind is kept lowercase in the same way spirit is, which is capitalized only when it refers to the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, spirit – the essence of our identity as Christ – is lowercase.
Whatever in this world appears to be alive or not alive is equally illusory, which is why ACIM is non-dualistic. Light and dark, spirit and matter, life and death do not co-exist. There is but one reality, one truth, one life.
In 2:4-7, where Jesus says:
“It is the one idea (death( which underlies all feelings that are not supremely happy. It is the alarm to which you give response of any kind that is not perfect joy. All sorrow, loss, anxiety and suffering and pain, even a little sigh of weariness, a slight discomfort or the merest frown, acknowledge death. And thus deny you live”, Ken writes:
Anything in this world is an illusion, and shares the ego belief in one or the other: in order for me to exist, God must be destroyed. What reflects our individual experience is this idea that has never left its source. Thus Jesus says later in the workbook: “the world was made as an attack on God” (W-pII.3.2:1). This expresses the all-or-nothing thinking we saw earlier when he told us that “a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn across intense fury” (W-pI.21.2:5), or that “two (illusions) are as meaningless as one or as a thousand” (T-23.I.3:8).
Death is a thought – Jesus uses idea and thought interchangeably – as are sickness, pain, worldly happiness, and specialness. They come from the thought of separation, which is why Jesus is unequivocal throughout ACIM that the problem is not in the world or body, but in the mind that believed what the ego taught was true. It is the thought that says I prefer to be right rather than happy.
The problem is never outside, but in the mind’s decision maker choosing the wrong teacher.
We are well acquainted with this teaching, and Jesus lets us know that ideas leave not their source is crucial to understanding the thought system of his course. Indeed, you cannot understand a miracle or forgiveness, nor apply them, without the principle that the idea of a world, body, or external problem, has never left its source, which is in the mind. Cause and effect, source and idea, are unified and remain one and the same. The difference is that idea-effects seems to be outside mind-cause. Jesus is however, quite explicit that death does not happen to the body, nor is caused by anything external. It is merely an idea in the mind. The core of that thought, once again, is that God must die so I can live.
You can heal because ideas leave not their source: If you change your mind’s belief in separation, you undo the sickness. Remember that sickness does not consist of physical or psychological symptoms, but lies in the mind’s mistaken choice. Change the decision and sickness is gone; effect no longer exists once its cause is removed.
Looking at 4:2, Ken writes:
In other words, I am happy one minute because my special partners are nice to me, and unhappy the next because they are not; happy one minute because I get what I want, and unhappy the next because I do not. Our emotions go up and down like a roller coaster, and because we are quick to blame the source of our discomfort, anxiety, and pain on something outside, they are not due to a decision we make. In fact, our world is built on the need to identity the external causes of our upset. That is why Jesus says in Lesson 5: “I am never upset for the reason I think.” To attribute our emotional state to “causes you cannot control, you did not make, and you can never change: is the heart of the ego’s ace of innocence: I was so happy until this person said this to me, or I saw today’s stock market closing; my misery is not my doing – something external impinged on me and changed my peaceful state of mind.
Yet, all our problems stem from the illusory belief that ideas do leave their source. Thus the reason I am upset is that I chose the ego over the Holy Spirit, thereby making real the tiny, mad idea, as well as sin, guilt, fear, and death. That sinful decision is the true cause of my distress, the source I project to see the sin in another. This allows me to deny that my fear comes from the mind, but comes instead from this terrible person with power to withhold love and inflict pain. Thus has sin, rooted in my mind’s mistaken choice, left its source to be perceived now in someone else, leaving me the innocent victim as the suffering effect of that person’s sin.
The ego’s thought system therefore rests on the principle ideas do leave their source – the Son of God has left his Father and become an independent self – as the Holy Spirit’s rests on ideas leave not their source – we are an idea in the Mind of God and have never left Him. The ego’s thought system of guilt and attack evolved from its thought of separation, just as the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness evolved from His thought of Atonement, the reflected thought of our oneness that never left its Source.
Within the dream the mind makes a body and convinces itself the body is real, as we indeed do each night when we dream. Yet dreams remain dreams, whether our bodies are asleep or awake, and their illusory content cannot establish reality. Thus the mind cannot abide within a body that does not exist. If anything, it is the body that abides within the mind because the thought of separation can never leave itself. The body embodies that thought, not perceived in form, but since ideas leave not their source, there can be no body outside the mind.
If death were the opposite of life, it would be real. Again, ACIM in not a dualistic system. The opposite of life is life; the opposite of love is love. This is the basis for knowing that nothing in the physical universe is real.
In 9:3, “It dreams of time; an interval in which what seems to happen never has occurred, the changes wrought are substanceless, and all events are nowhere”, Ken writes:
That is why seeking to explain the ego and its world is fruitless, for we but try to explain what does not exist. Since the separation never happened, the sleeping mind merely dreams of a world, yet cannot make it real.
It is helpful to recall passages like this when you are caught up in the self-importance of specialness, or the magnitude of problems, concerns, and anxieties wherein it is tempting to think that if a certain outcome does not occur, something terrible will happen. When you are so sure you are right, and know what is best for you or anyone else, re-read this passage and it will put your life back in proper perspective.
If the reality of God’s Son is One, our true nature, when you are tempted throughout the day to see someone as separate, you are doing everything Jesus asks you not to do in this lesson. You have made death and the ego thought system real, saying ideas can leave their source. However, the truth remains: We are one Son, one idea in the Mind of one God, our one Source. Thus when you see someone as different from you – expressions of special hate or love – you see God’s Son as fragmented: ideas have left their source. Therefore, to apply this lesson throughout the day, you need identity the subtle ways in which you try to deny its truth, making the thought system of death real. Asking Jesus’ help ensures that the memory of this truth will one day be restored to you, as you at last waken to the “mind…that knows its Source, its Self, its Holiness.”
Spent a long time cleaning our hall bathroom upstairs, the one I use, Bill uses the one off the master bedroom. Who cares? Anyhow, ha, ha, I put it off for so long that it becomes such drudgery. It’s not a large bathroom, but it works. And as I use cleaning products to clean the tub/shower, tile around them, etc., I become asphyxiated…overpowered by the chemicals that get rid of “stuff”. I vowed to research lesser toxic remedies, while at the same time I have in the past and they don’t seem to be quite as effective.
Be that as it may, I realized that I procrastinate a lot throughout my life, sure, I attend to must-dos, our doggie, our meals, etc., our business work, what I do for the ministry, but when it comes to tasks I access as time-consuming, requiring decisions or aspects with which I don’t at all resonate, I put them off.
Take, for example, our basement. OMG, it’s not a disaster, but I have so many plastic containers loaded with books, CDS, purses, shoes, you name it, I’ve got it.
I put that off. A few years ago, I had just gotten some momentum and then Lindsay, our niece, got married, lived in a small apartment at the time, and stored all her shower and wedding gifts down there.
What progress I made, well, once again, empty space was filled with her things.
The guiltier I feel about not tackling it or having amassed so many needless “things”, the longer I put it off and make a mountain of it.
Yep, that’s what I do.
And it’s no longer what I want to do to sabotage my well-being and peace of mind.
If I don’t label or define this seemingly daunting task, well, it just might flow if I am willing to ask for help to release my attachment to it as part of my identity and script, really, or dream.
Just an example of what we all do…in some form…to hurt ourselves.
Have a Happy Father’s Day, you Dads out there, and have a lovely day, everyone!