Lesson 182 is a companion to the previous lesson, as both share the theme of the holy instant. The contexts, though, are quite different. We could subtitle Lesson 181, “I will be still an instant and forgive,” because its focus is on letting go of grievances. In Lesson 182, the context is broader, with Jesus speaking of awakening from the dream and returning home. Incidentally, we find still another example of Jesus’ liberal use of words – the holy instant is seen in Lesson 181 as a steppingstone on the journey, while in Lesson 182, it marks the journey’s end.
This lovely lesion is in two parts, the first centering on the world not being our home, and the more poetic second focusing on the Christ within Who leads us home.
Despair is the unhappy consequence of being reduced, as we will see, to making the best of what is already the miserable situation of life in the body.
In response to 2:1, “No one but knows whereof we speak”, Ken writes:
This is an important line because many students of ACIM would say they do not know of what Jesus speaks, claiming they are happy and everything is wonderful here. Yet Jesus tells us: “Somewhere inside, you know what I am saying is true. Do not pretend otherwise, because if you continue to pretend you are happy here, or there is even hope of happiness here, I can never lead you home because you will think you are home. You would even try to drag me to your home believing I can make it better for you. Yet my desire is to lead you from this world to where you came from.” After discussing the five laws of chaos (T-23.II), Jesus makes the same assertion – you may pretend these laws are alien to you, but they are your own.
In response to 2:2, Ken writes:
This refers to anyone indulging in special relationships. Recall that the terms special relationship and specialness never appear in the workbook, though they are Jesus’ constant point of reference in discussing the ego’s dynamics of guilt and hate. We try to hide the pain of our guilt in games of specialness in which we pretend there is someone and something outside us that can bring us love and happiness and even salvation.
In 2:3, Ken speaks to blissninnies by writing:
To the blissninny the world is perfect and Jesus loves us so much he sent this course so we could be happy here with him. This group is among the most difficult for Jesus to help, because they do not believe they need it. Remember, the help we truly need lies in realizing this world is a dream and learning why we made it up. This enables us to forgive ourselves for having done so, helping us to awaken and return to the Source we never truly left.
In addition to the general population that would believe this, many students of ACIM would say Jesus does not truly mean these words, for example, he does not mean God did not create the world, but that God did not create pain, cancer or airplane crashes. However, Jesus is making it clear in this lesson that he means exactly what he says. This world is not our home at all. To pretend it is, or to try to improve it but reinforces the ego’s strategy of keeping us mindlessly focused on the illusory and external world.
In 2:5, Ken speaks to denial by writing:
Denial is always predicated on first making something real, and then pretending it is not there. This is dissociation, the ego dynamic of splitting off what it finds unacceptable, and then forgetting it. Once again, ACIM’s words are clear, and our need to twist around their meaning comes from the fear of their truth, which would tell us we are not the person we think.
While we think we seek for happiness and peace, we look in the wrong place – outside our minds – rather than in the only place where peace can be found: the decision maker’s power to choose it.
In response to 3:3-5, Ken writes:
The “thousand homes” represent the different forms taken by specialness – a relationship, substance, or object – which we believe would make us comfortable and secure. Yet the real home we seek was not made by us, and can never be found in the body’s home of death.
We romanticize the past so we can prove how badly people treat us in the present, which justifies our rage. Most people thought, if they were honest, would remember that things were not all that wonderful in their childhoods.
Ken writes in response to 3:6-4:1-2:
This ends the first part of the lesson, and the second half centers on the Christ within. Since Child is capitalized, Christ is clearly meant, and seeing Him this way represents the beginnings of our spiritual journey. Needless to say, Christ is not a child – He does not grow old or change, and certainly is not a body.
When we shift from a special to a holy relationship, it is as if we were beginning again as a child. (This is what Jesus, according to Ken, was stating when providing this lesson to Helen.)
Paragraph five (5) is beautiful, please reread it if you have time or are so guided, in response to it, Ken writes:
This is the holy instant, Jesus telling us we are not being asked to leap from hell into Heaven. We take small steps, which is why Christ appears to us as a Child and we can realize forgiveness is a process. Jesus explains that since we are that Child, a part of us is miserably unhappy and suffocating to death. This is the part to which he appeals. The purpose of ACIM, therefore, is to have us become so uncomfortable with the disparity between our self and Self, Whose memory is in our minds, that we will be motivated to say there must be another way of perceiving the world. Prompting us to choose Jesus as our teacher, therefore, is the growing disquiet of how we experience our lives. Without such discomfort there would be no motivation to change, because we would not believe we need a teacher. Jesus’ purpose is not to have us suffer, but to become aware that we are already suffering. Thus will we be motivated at last to seek the way home, with the teacher who knows the way.
Constant work and vigilance is needed is we are going to undo the ego’s thought system. We find this same idea expressed in the third lesson of the Holy Spirit – “Be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom – that we be watchful for our egos, thus “protecting” what we are.
As you read through this wonderful lesson, be aware that the Child is not an external being. The Child is you. Thus, as Jesus says: “He will go home, and you along with Him.” It must be that way because you and the Child are one. This is not an alien entity in your mind calling to you – however divine He might be. We are all that divine Being, yet we also made Him an alien, causing ourselves to be aliens as well. In other words, we call to the one Self for help – not an individual self or consciousness – as He calls to us.
You do not have to seek for strength outside yourself; nor be defensive in the face of what you perceive to be people’s attacks. The very presence of the Child – the truth of your Self – ensures that illusions have no power over you.
Where Jesus states, “His patience has no limits”, Ken writes:
The eighth characteristic of God’s teachers, patience is born of the idea that linear time is an illusion (M-4.VIII). No one, therefore, rushes us to return home. All that impels our decision to return is awareness of our discomfort here.
Jesus again returns to the contrast between the valueless and valuable, and our need to recognize the difference. Discomfort, pain and anxiety come when we have made valuable the valueless, including our individual self. The good news, however, is that another choice is available in our minds, patiently awaiting our corrected decision.
As we saw in the Introduction to the fifth review, our purpose is to move beyond the words – the form – to the content of love. The holy instant brings us there.
In response to 10:1 where Jesus writes that Christ is reborn as but a little Child each time a wanderer would leave his home, Ken writes:
Each time we choose against our relationship with Jesus and wander into the ego’s world, we embark on a journey. We first journeyed down the ladder into hell, and now begin the journey home. This is the meaning of Christ’s rebirth as a little Child.
In 11:1 where Jesus references a shield, a spear and a sword, Ken writes:
Even though this is poetic language, Jesus is unequivocally teaching us there is no world here, for everything is an illusion, “without existence.” As with Don Quixote, we but tilt at windmills, fighting against non-existent enemies, believing an army is poised to attack us. Yet it is all made up, and so the shield we are asked to lay aside – the ego’s plan of defenses – and the spear and sword – our specific need to attack in self-defense -are needless and profit us nothing.
Once we have released our toys of hate, the way to love is open. Jesus pleads with us to think of this little Child as we go through our day, not as an alien being but as the Self we yearn to join, unite with, and to be. Yet, it remains a Self that frightens us. Joining with Jesus and our brothers in the holy instants of forgiveness brings the journey’s end ever closer, with peace our increasingly happy companion as fear is gently replaced by love.
Whew, that took a while!
Today, I will keep my comments short and sweet.
I will no longer value what is valueless, I have been thinking about this lesson, 133, I believe, since I got up at 5:20 this AM.
Will what I covet last forever? Am I trying to take something away from another believing I will gain and he/she will lose? See paragraph 7 in that lesson.
What purpose does my idol serve? “What attracts your mind to it?” My mind in my case.
And finally, if I feel any guilt about this idol whether it’s a purchase on the internet or a special relationship, I have “allowed the ego’s goals to come between the real alternatives.”
In this same lesson, Jesus states:
“Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as our own.” (13:1).
This is the same as the lesson we’re practicing today, to realize we are the Christ, we can choose to no longer allow ourselves to “collect some needless burdens” or believe we see some difficult decisions facing” us. (14:2, just a few excerpts I found helpful).
I can move beyond everything I value to understand by recognizing its valuelessness, I find the Christ in me and experience peace.
Have a lovely day!