For many years now, I have started over doing the Lessons in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles on New Year’s Day, Lesson 1, Nothing I see means anything. And now, today, January 20, Lesson 20th, I am determined to see.
These early Lessons make it abundantly clear that I am walking around in a dream of my own making. The dream is woven by thoughts that have no source in Reality; they are not my Real Thoughts. These Lessons are helping to remind me, again and again, to reverse my way of thinking because I think that the object comes first, and then I think about it. In fact, the thought that makes the object comes first.
It is always the thought that comes first, despite of the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. W-p1.17.1:3
When I truly ask for help to reverse my thinking, something else occurs beyond my making, and I begin to see with vision, looking through my dream, seeing with the eyes of Christ, seeing the reflections of my True Self. And this brings me to Lesson 29, God is in everything I see, because when I see with vision, I am seeing His sure Reflection.
Even though I diligently practice in this manner, I still often find it confusing. While I am in the world, in the body, what do I do, especially as I am coming to realize that there is no world, that I am not a body, that I am free, being God’s Son? How do I conduct myself in the world, in the dream?
So, all kinds of questions arise while I walk through this world that is not so. To what extent do I take care of my body, since I am not a body. If I have a sore throat, should I go to the doctor? Perhaps, I do not need to work to make money for rent and clothes and things?
To learn to reverse my thinking, is it OK to read anything other than the Course? I mean, what about books by Eckart Tolle and Murdo MacDonald-Bayne and Adyashanti and Mary Baker Eddy and Michael Brown and Joel Goldsmith?
Is it all right to do Yoga and breathing exercises and chant and TM?
Is it all right to read novels and magazines and newspapers and watch television and go to movies?
Dear Reader, you are probably beginning to realize that I have been raising questions that seem legitimate, but, really, they are taking me deeper into the dream by maintaining the duality. Whether I choose this or that, I am dragging myself into choosing among illusions, demonstrating that I am in an illusory state of mind myself.
Fortunately, I have found a way out of this apparent dilemma. The way out for me is to stay conscious, to stay aware of the fact that being is the key, not doing, not choosing this or that, but becoming aware of my True Being.
When I face these apparent dualities, I ask for help by remembering certain key phrases. For example, here is a life-saving sentence for me from Brother Laurence.
It is not what you do, it is the state of mind in which you do it.
This simple phrase helps me face false dualities. When I slip into a state of mind of the peace of God, I am free; in this state of mind, I am free of the thoughts pouring through my mind that are posing these dualities in the first place, having no source in Reality. And experiencing this freedom, I am receptive to hear the Voice of God speaking to me, God's Voice speaks to me all through the day. Lesson 49
By slipping into this state of mind, I am free to do as I am directed, and this answers the question I posed earlier, how am I to be in the world, knowing I am not of the world. This is one way that Jesus expresses it in His Urtext, The Original Unexpurgated Manuscript AS It Emanated from The Mind And Heart of Jesus Christ Of Nazareth.
Having been restored to your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. You now share MY inability to tolerate the lack of love in yourself and in everyone else, and MUST join the GREAT CRUSADE to correct it. The slogan for this Crusade is “Listen, Learn, and DO. This means: Listen to MY Voice, Learn to undo the error, and DO something to correct it. Urtext, p. 6.
This is the value of slipping into that state of mind of the peace of God: receptivity. Now my little "I" does not have to choose. My True Self is receptive to the Voice for God, answering these questions.
What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?
This is another way Jesus expresses it in His Course.
So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines, our chants and bits of magic in whatever form they take. We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, which will cure all ills as one, restoring saneness to the Son of God. No voice but this can cure. Today we hear a single Voice which speaks to us of truth, where all illusions end, and peace returns to the eternal, quiet home of God.
And in His Urtext, He expresses it this way.
Plan ahead is good advice in this world, where you should and must control and direct where you have accepted responsibility. But the Universal Plan is in more appropriate hands. You will know all you need to know. Make NO attempts to plan ahead in this respect. Urtext, p. 1
(Have a good day.) Since only eternity is real, why not use the illusion of time constructively. You might remember that “underneath are the Everlasting Arms.” Urtext, p. 5
Because my feet are on the ground and my hands are in heaven, I can bring down the glories of Heaven to my brothers on earth. Urtext, p. 21
As I quote Jesus, what comes to mind is this: It is obvious that Jesus, walking in the world, receptive only to the Voice for God, would be confronted by the Pharisees, attempting to entangle Him, demanding to know what to do, for example, when asked to pay taxes to Caesar. Here is a passage from Matthew 22.
Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
And this is what I learn from Jesus: Emptying my mind of worldly thoughts, I ask to be directed how to conduct myself in the world, trusting the Voice from out of this world.
Recently, I have been enthralled by reading a book entitled The Holy Spirit's Interpretation of the New Testament, scribed over a one-year period by Regina Dawn Akers. I quote now from the Introduction because it demonstrates the value of stepping back and listening.
Regina learned that scribing is a process of letting go. As she read the New Testament, she found that her mind was filled with thoughts about what she read. Sometimes she felt she understood what she read. Sometimes she seemed to judge what she read. But Regina learned that as she held to her own thoughts regarding what she read, she could not hear the Holy Spirit’s thoughts. Regina learned to empty her mind by letting go of any thoughts she had about her reading. She found that when she came to the point of complete emptiness within her mind, desiring only the words of the Holy Spirit, a Voice would come streaming into her mind. At this point, Regina would begin scribbling into a spiral notebook as fast as she could, focusing on capturing the words that she heard. (The Holy Spirit's Interpretation of the New Testament, O Books, John Hunt Publishing, 2007,)p. 7
Here is an example of what came streaming into her mind. This is the Holy Spirit's interpretation of Matthew 22.
The journey to the wedding banquet seems to be time in the world. On this journey, the distraction of the world may be great.There will be times that you have forgotten you are on the journey, because the distraction of the world is great. Let this not distress you.Your joy will come when you have completed the journey, for then you will know where the journey led. But until then, do not feel guilty for journeying, my child. For this seems to be something you must do.
This is the meaning of the analogy of the wedding banquet:
Marriage is the symbol of joining, and the kingdom of Heaven is joining. It is all right to journey in the world, as long as you remember that you are not of the world.
On your journey, remember Me and keep Me close to your heart. But do not deny the journey you are on. It leads to Me and the disappearance of the journey. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” means, do what you seem to need to do while you are in the world.
When you have forgotten you are on the journey, there will seem to be many things that need your attention. I am in those things too, whether you see Me or not, so do them in peace.
It is not what you do, it is the state of mind in which you do it.
When you remember you are on the journey, many things of the world will seem to fall away. Let them go, but do not worry about the things in the world that seem to need your attention. Just as I have always been with you, I am there in those things too. As you learn to see Me in all things, the journey will seem easier, but it is not until you arrive at the wedding banquet that the journey will fall away. So live within your journey in peace and with Me. Be happy, and rest your mind. I am walking beside you, pleased, as we journey to the wedding banquet together.
Do not be confused by what you see in the world, for Heaven is nothing like the world at all. In the world, there are differences; there are conflicts; there is suffering, and there is death. But none of these things exist in Heaven. Think of the world as a dream, for it seems real while you are here. But think of Heaven as awakening. Upon reaching Heaven, you will realize that the world, and all you thought there, was never true and so it mattered not.
I tell you, the truth is always true, and there is no truth in the world. Do not let your worldly concerns distract you long. Lay them aside that you may continue your journey and awaken to that which calls you.
And so the greatest commandment shall lead you on your journey: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. Let your love for God be your guiding light in all you do and all you think. Never forget your love for God, and give all things to Him. In this way, you will move steadily along your journey.
And the second commandment is like it, for the second commandment guides you within the distraction of the world. Love your neighbor as your Self, because he is. There is no greater truth than this. Your Father, of course, is right. You are joined and at the wedding banquet, but the dream of the world keeps you from knowing this is true. Awaken from the dream by accepting the truth. The journey to acceptance is the journey to Heaven. Accept the truth, and you are there.
Finally, here is the Holy Spirit's interpretation of Matthew 23:1-4, summing up how to be in but not of the world.
Listen.The truth is calling you, and the truth is not of this world. I have already told you that you are free to give what is Caesar’s to Caesar. This means, you are free to live in the world and do as you need to do while you live in the world. Do not feel guilty for paying taxes, obeying laws, raising children or for doing any of the things that the world requires, but do not get lost in those things either. The world is but a distraction, and it distracts you from Heaven. So you must live in the world, but not be of the world. You do this by doing all things for Me...by giving all things the purpose of Heaven. In this way, all things can be used to lead you to Me. And I will show you how to use them. So live in your world, but be not distracted by it.
The root meaning of the word, distract, is tract, Latin, meaning "to be drawn", and dis, "apart"; I do not want to be drawn into duality, apart from God.
I am going to end with some practical ways of expressing being in but not of the world.
I have always appreciated this sentence from the Course:
. . .if your brothers ask you for something “outrageous,” do it because it does not matter. T-12.111.4:1
The key to understanding this sentence is to realize that the two "its" have different references. The first "it" means to find a peaceful state in your mind so that you are not drawn into the duality, and the second "it" refers to whatever your brother is asking in his dream. In a peaceful state, I am drawn out of the duality and receptive to the Voice for God, and then I will know what to do, where to go, what to say, and to whom, and I am saved.
Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the “what” and the “how” of salvation, and this is the only answer. T-12.5:1-3
A long time ago at a New Age Workshop, the presenter wrote this phrase on the board, and it puzzled me until I saw its meaning after I learned to reverse my thinking through the Course.
It makes a difference,
and it doesn’t matter.
And now I see that the "it" refers to what seems to be happening in the dream;
It seems to make a difference in space and time,
but it does not matter in eternity.
God knows nothing of my choices in duality, and I am free.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
I am the stillness of God's creation.
Finally, my friend, Diane, taught me something she learned through doing Improv, or improvisational, skits over the years. When you are on stage making it up, and someone in the skit asks you to do something, you never say, "Yes, but . . ." because that will kill the skit by stopping the flow. The key to Improve is always to say, "Yes, and . . ." then the whole thing flows, just as my life does when I am in the world saying "Yes and . . ." trusting that I will be directed from out of this world, thereby rendering unto God.