This lesson and the one to follow discuss grace differently from other discussions in ACIM. In the first chapter of the text, for example, Jesus talks about spirit being in a state of grace (T-1.III.5:4), the equivalent of the Love of God. Here, and more so in the next lesson, he talks about grace as an aspect of this Love within the illusion. It is not Heaven, but the closest we can come to it on earth. We therefore see another example of the Course’s inconsistent use of words – the form – though the teaching – the content – remains the same.
We need only remember that God loves us, which means undoing the ego’s thought system of sin, guilt and fear – the foundation of its world – the end product of which is the belief God is angry and no longer loves us. The truth of the Atonement, however, is that His Love has never changed, and so everything the ego has taught is false. Therefore, its thought system need not be fought against; merely looked at with a gentle smile. In the certainty of the Holy Spirit’s happy truth, the ego’s hate dissolves into its own nothingness.
Thus, when we are despairing, lonely, sad, or hopeless, it is not the result of the world outside; but of the belief we separated from the Love of God.
The traditional understanding of grace is that God dispenses it when and where He chooses. Thus it is not constant – the good receive His grace and the bad do not. Jesus would have us understand instead that God’s grace is fully present in everyone, all the time. Since we have chosen against it, we must choose its abundant fullness instead of the ego’s scarcity and deprivation. Undoing the ego’s perceptions of separation and lack through forgiveness allows the memory of our inherent sameness and oneness to dawn upon our minds. Where is despair when Love’s truth has returned, and where are dreams of hate when we remember the Love we believed we left, but which never left us?
Our job is to take the little steps God asks us to take to Him (W-pI.193.13:7). These are the daily opportunities of forgiveness, in which we are mindful of when we choose against Jesus’ love and for the indulgence of our specialness.
When you have forgiven totally, the world is gone because it existed only within the unforgiven mind that believed in separation. When our minds are healed, the Sonship is healed as well, for its mind is one. Thus the world disappears. It may not appear that way, for within the dream figures may still choose to remain asleep. Yet in the healed mind everything is gone. The world, first transformed into the real world – “the world in love” – gently falls away “as hearts rise up and claim the light as theirs.” The dream of crucifixion is done, the cross has disappeared and resurrection greets the world in joy.
God is the One of Whom Jesus speaks, and through the Holy Spirit He has given us forgiveness, the undoing of the ego’s dream of death. It is accomplished once we joyfully and gratefully say we were mistaken, and Jesus alone was right.
Where Jesus says, “And He descends to meet us, as we come to Him”, Ken writes:
Once again, Jesus employs metaphors and symbols. “We come to Him” through forgiveness, and as we get closer we begin to experience God’s Love until our individual identity fades and we disappear forever into His Heart. In reality, only we have “come” since only we had “left”. God simply is, and does nothing.
Frankly, it’s rather nice to have a short lesson to which to attend today.
Three pages in Ken’s book as opposed to three times that many for the longer lessons, but, gratefully, I read through them because, of course, the metaphysics of ACIM are repeated or referenced over and over again as my insane mind needs this constant refresher. Otherwise, it is so easy to fall back, and willingly, into the clutches of the ego.
I am thinking a lot lately about what I want to see. Do I want to see conflict because if I do, that’s what I will see? Do I want to see the Christ in all, if so, yes, that is what I will see? I am starting to realize that what matters, what is important is my decision to choose vision instead of judgment.
I have to catch myself going into judgment a million times a day or so it feels as though I choose judgmental thoughts all day long and just didn’t realize it.
Whether it’s about the weather, the political arena, Gracie’s or my health, something I read on a post from anyone or anywhere, yes, I can easily fall into the rabbit hole of separation.
Don’t want to do that anymore.
It is a process.
Just need to remember that.
I didn’t go from kindergarten to college graduation in one step. It took years to do so.
Studying ACIM means dropping judgment. I am reminded of the reference Jesus makes in the Course to never judge our progress as what we accessed as success may have been steps backwards and vice-versa, something like that.
Seems I need to be vigilant about my judgments of others and, also, myself, but I must be cognizant of the fact that I simply cannot evaluate how I am doing with ACIM in any form. Nor can I evaluate how anyone else is doing, Course student or not.
Ah, that feels good.
I am going to work on that…knowing that grace is always present.
Have a lovely day!