III. The Holy Encounter, P 2
2 To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment, because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours. You share them as God shares them, because this is the natural outcome of their being.
The only way I will ever be perfectly happy and perfectly peaceful is if I unite my will with God’s Will. The way I accomplish this is to notice what I want instead of God’s Will and then ask the Holy Spirit to heal my mind, that is to accept the Atonement for that error in thinking. This is the Holy Spirit’s job, and only what I learn from Him will release my will.
When the Atonement has been accomplished there will be no experience except joy and peace. The only thing that blocks this is the wish for some other experience. What experience could I want that is more important to me than uninterrupted peace and perfect joy? The perplexity that I feel when I think about that occurs because I am confused about what makes me happy.
I think if I were thinner and never had to worry about how what I eat affects my body, then I would be happy. So I think the experience I need is to be thinner and how could that keep me from experiencing joy? Being thinner won’t keep me from peace and joy, but the belief that I need this experience to be happy is the problem. Deciding I know how to order my thoughts about this is the problem. Fully surrendering the perceived need and my solution is the answer.
I think I need the experience of being loved and respected by my children. Being loved and respected is not the problem. Believing that this is an experience I must have to be happy is the problem. I look constantly for signs that I have what I need, and when they express their love and respect, I am worried I will do something to change their minds. If I don’t see proof of love and respect, I feel sad and unworthy, or resentful and angry.
Just using these two simple and common examples, I see that the belief I need certain things in the world to happen, and that I can somehow accomplish these things on my own, are the very things that are blocking my joy and happiness. These beliefs represent my willfulness, my belief that I want the experience of a personal will rather than that I share the Will of God.
Asking that the Holy Spirit correct my perception about these desired experiences is the solution, because in doing so I am choosing to abandon the idea that I have a personal will and that it is important to me. I don’t know what I need or how to get it. The Holy Spirit does know and will teach me if I ask, and if I let go of the belief I already know the answer.
I am going to attach an entry from Chapter 5 to this because it relates to what I am learning here.
V. The Ego’s Use of Guilt, P 7
7 Irrational thought is disordered thought. God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this. They also show that you believe you can think apart from God, and want to. Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception, and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts, and must therefore obey their dictates. This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognizing that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours. The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing. You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. If you accept the remedy for disordered thought, a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain?
I often say that I accept 100% responsibility for the world I see. By that I mean that no one or nothing else is the reason the world appears to me as it does. I am not sick because of germs and I am not broke because I don’t make enough money. It is my thoughts alone that bring the appearance of lack and sickness into the world.
Here Jesus is talking about responsibility of a different order. Now that I accept responsibility for the world I made, I must accept that I cannot undo it on my own. That is not my responsibility. I accept that I am not a victim of the world, that my thoughts made what I see, then I decide I don’t want this anymore and I ask for the Atonement for it.
That is the way it is intended for me to act on my error. Notice the error and ask for and accept the Atonement, that and nothing more. What sometimes happens is that I fall back into the old ego habit of trying to correct my error through re-ordering my thoughts. I try to think of different ways to see it.
For instance, if I think that I am angry with a co-worker, and then I realize that my anger is causing me to be unhappy, the solution would be to ask for the Atonement for the angry thoughts. I would ask Holy Spirit to correct my perceptions. The error would be to try to correct my own perception by trying to think different thoughts about the coworker, or to try to force the thoughts out of my mind, or to think of excuses for the coworker, reasons he is such a jerk.
All of the solutions that involve correcting my own perception will just lead me deeper into guilt because I am using the ego mind to find the solution. The ego mind wants to be the thinker of the thoughts, but my thought was created by God. Listening to and believing in the thoughts I think with ego are guilt inducing because they seem to be in opposition to God.
The Atonement on the other hand, is a true solution. When I ask for and then accept the Atonement in any situation, the mind is ordered because it is returned to its original state, which was created by God, therefore there is no guilt. Without guilt, I am at peace and I am happy. Peace and happiness is how I know I am listening to the Voice for God. Feelings of guilt and unhappiness are how I know I am listening to and believing the ego.