Reflecting God’s Love, grace is its aspect in the dream and like its sister, forgiveness, does not oppose its source. In other words, grace is love’s natural state once the separation seemed to occur and the Son’s memory that allows him to choose his Father instead of the ego.
We cannot experience God’s Love within the dream until we prepare ourselves for it, which we do by recognizing – gladly and gratefully – that we were wrong. We realize our only goal is the dream’s undoing, not solidifying our experience within it. We no longer wish to make our dream lives happier or more peaceful, but rather to use our experiences as vehicles for awakening from the dream.
Jesus informs us this is a world of hate and fear, not joy and peace. Yet it is a “seeming” world because it is not real. However, you need to be careful not to skip steps. Therefore, do not deny your feelings or what your eyes see, but do ask for help in interpreting them differently. Such reinterpretation is the essence of forgiveness, which removes the projected guilt that spawns the hate and fear, which in turn belies the love in our minds. The Holy Spirit holds this love – grace – until we are ready to choose it, and when we are willing to see our brothers sinless we are ready to receive His grace.
Again, you cannot claim grace until you prepare for it. It is the answer to the ego, for in the state of grace the world of hate and fear disappears as God’s Love is reflected in the real world. Yet it is not grace for which you ask, but for help in attaining its holy state by looking differently at your relationships and the world.
Thus an open mind begins by saying: “I do not understand anything, nor do I know who I am. But thank God there is Someone within me who does know, Whose Love will teach me to remember my Identity and forget the bitter illusion I made of myself and the world.”
Open-mindedness is the final characteristic of God’s advanced teachers, and is related to lack of judgment, the prototypical judgment being we were right and God’s Voice wrong.
There is no separated consciousness in Heaven, such that the Son, distinct from the Father, experiences himself in relationship to God, any more than God, distinct from His Son, experiences Himself in relationship to His creation. God and Christ are not two distinct beings in Heaven. They are One. Jesus uses these dualistic words to symbolize the non-dualistic reality of God’s Love.
We need but learn to forgive, and the love forgiveness reflects will “show up” of itself. Then we shall know.
When we realize that giving and receiving are the same, and we have accepted the everything God has given, we experience His grace.
Where Jesus says, “We do not hasten it, in that what you will offer was concealed from Him who teaches what forgiveness means,” Ken writes the following:
We do not hasten that time, insofar as we know that we shall one day offer our Teacher of forgiveness what we had concealed from Him – the acceptance of the Atonement. Our special self that seeks to withhold from the Holy Spirit the spots of darkness that keep us from the truth still fears that final step, reflecting the need to retain our individuality and defenses, which will be discussed in the next lesson. Jesus asks us to be patient with ourselves, for he is not coercing us to do what we still fear. Jesus does not push us to accept what we fear. That is how we know he is Jesus.
You may remember that Jesus spoke of the script being already written – the ego’s and the Holy Spirit’s correction – and therefore we simply review mentally what has already occurred; replaying old video tapes. When we accept the acceptance-of-the-Atonement tape is our choice. That is what Jesus refers to here: the decision maker outside time and space that elects to choose its identification – the ego or the Holy Spirit, both of whose thought systems, again, are complete and completed. Such an understanding allows us to keep a right-minded perspective as we go through our daily classrooms of special relationships. Knowing the script is over helps us not to take events quite as seriously as we once did.
What never happened has not happened. Thus are our guilt and fear unfounded, requiring no defense. Recognition of this happy fact is the core of forgiveness.
Thus, whatever time the mind has set is irrelevant, for our choosing to remember oneness must be illusory, as we never left it. These ideas should be a great solace, since they tells us that despite the pained discomfort of our lives, they remain part of a dream. Jesus does not demand we accept this now, telling us only that we will feel better if we do – but there is no hurry. Indeed, anytime we experience Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or even God pressuring us, we know for certain this is our ego. Passages like this (9:2) make it clear that the time it takes to choose the truth is unimportant. Therefore, why would They make a big deal about what is irrelevant? The urgency we might feel comes from our pain and discomfort – the ego’s need to make the illusion real.
Looking at 11:5, Ken writes:
This becomes an important theme in the rest of this lesson, as it has been throughout the workbook and ACIM itself. When our minds are healed in the holy instant, we become a beacon of light that shines in the mind of the Sonship, reminding the other seeming fragments they can choose as we did. These are the uncertain hearts that sing discordant notes and beat distant rhythms that are not in harmony with God.
Looking at 13:1-2, Ken writes:
This idea is explained in more detail in Lesson 184. Our function – even within our experience in a temporal, spatial world – is to go to the quiet place in our minds where Jesus is. Filled with his peace, we shift our attention to the world, now seem from a new perspective. Light radiates from this right-minded holy instant, and even though some may not embrace it, they cannot fail to respond to what is perceiving as something new and different in us.
Looking at 14:1-2, Ken writes:
You should therefore be grateful to be in the world, because you will have learned you are not in the separated world of specialness and bodies. You will thus no longer hate being here, because your body will serve a different purpose – reminding your bothers and sisters they made a mistake, and can return home by simply changing their minds. This in turn reinforces the same change in yourself, based on an attitudinal shift of identifying less with your bodily self and more with the Thought of God’s Love you truly are. This shift does not happen overnight, but your experience in the world begins to change. Rather than feeling imprisoned in the body, you see the world as a classroom in which you become a reflection and extension of your Teach, at the same time learning from Him. This is the focus of the application of ACIM in general, and these lessons specifically.
Looking at “And revelation stands not far behind”, 14:3, Ken writes:
This reflects the aforementioned formula in ACIM. You see the face of Christ in your brother and remember God. As we learn to see another’s true face of innocence, we see it in ourselves. Thus the ego’s thought system is undone, allowing God to take the last step as we remember His Love. That is the meaning of “revelation stands not far behind”.
Giving and receiving are the same, and we ask but for what is already present in us. Therefore, we ask for help to accept the means enabling us to accept that truth that is here. The means of attaining such acceptance is forgiveness, the purpose of this and every lesson Jesus would have us learn and teach.
We are almost through our 20 lessons in this section, WOW!
So much food for thought, practice and application, yes?
I loved what Ken wrote about urgency.
And then he added it is our own pain and discomfort that make a sense of urgency, I must forgive, I must forgive, I must forgive so I can be peaceful, whatever.
I found it very helpful.
Slow and easy.
Being in no hurry, calming down, feeling the peace, just breathing deeply, slowing my mind from its insanity and litany of things to do.
Believing in my own self-importance and desperately clinging to my identity.
Jesus or the Holy Spirit understand all this mess. Being miserable, yet afraid to trust, be happy, at peace, full of joy because what will happen to my identity?
Will God get me since that’s how the world and bodies were formed, all this projection onto others and ourselves?
I don’t need to understand any of it, I can just trust that as I work through the lessons with all of you and muster that little willingness, I will, at some point, accept the Atonement for myself.
Worrying about it just denotes more ego garbage.
Have a lovely day!