ACIM Daily Lesson 322 I can give up but what was never real. 1. I sacrifice illusions; nothing more.
I can give up but what was never real.
I can give up but what was never real.
1. I sacrifice illusions; nothing more. ²And as illusions go I find the gifts illusions tried to hide, awaiting me in shining welcome, and in readiness to give God’s ancient messages to me. ³His memory abides in every gift that I receive of Him. ⁴And every dream serves only to conceal the Self which is God’s only Son, the likeness of Himself, the Holy One Who still abides in Him forever, as He still abides in me.
2. Father, to You all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable. ²And so I cannot sacrifice except in dreams. ³As You created me, I can give up nothing You gave me. ⁴What You did not give has no reality. ⁵What loss can I anticipate except the loss of fear, and the return of love into my mind?
I imagine that almost everyone begins A Course in Miracles with the idea that sacrifice is going to be required. I certainly did. My hope was that perhaps the sacrifice would not be too great. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it required that I sacrifice everything I thought I knew. And then imagine my relief when I realized that what I thought I knew was worthless and so not really a sacrifice at all.
We sacrifice only illusions, and illusions are hardly worth anything. What we get in return is what the illusions hid from us. Under all those illusions is something so incredible that I hardly know how to talk about it. We discover our Self, God’s only Son. When we think of ourselves as these bodies, it is almost impossible to take in what Jesus tells us here.
What does it even mean that we discover our Self?
Jesus says that we are the likeness of God, and we are the Holy One Who still abides in God and that He abides in us. Imagine this as true for you! Can you do it? It is incredible to imagine that we gave up knowing our Self in order to have this experience. More extraordinary is that we could think of giving up the little imaginary self as a loss. Let’s look at what we would lose in order to be what we are.
To give up illusions, I would have to give up this limiting and frail body that is destined to die in a few years. Could that really be a loss? Without the body, I would never suffer, never be in pain, and never feel separate and alone. Only bodies compete and so cannot truly love other bodies. Only bodies are driven to hatred and rage. Without a body, there is only oneness, love, peace, and freedom.
So, why do we cling to the body?
The only reason I can think of is that we have come to identify as a body. This means that we think we are our bodies and to sacrifice a body is to sacrifice life. Yet, how could this be? Bodies inevitably die, and death is not life. We are not even living, really, just dreaming of living.
Perhaps it is that we can’t remember what it is like to not have a personal self. To us who are so attached to this personal self, it feels like annihilation to think of giving it up. But in reality, what we gain is a wonderful sense of connection, unlike anything we feel here. Loneliness is a word without meaning to our Self. And our Self is perfect, without flaws, something we certainly cannot say about our self. When we let go of this false identity, we will know Ourselves as eternal Spirit. We will suffer nothing and will live in bliss. It’s not a bad deal, do you think?
The sentences and phrases to contemplate are:
- Creation is the sum of all God’s Thoughts in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit.
- Only love creates, and only like itself.
- To come to know, experience, and live in Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss is definitely worth the time spent practicing.
- You’ll discover you are not a body living in a world. You are eternal awareness, perfect love-joy.
- Absolutely perfect Love-Bliss for all eternity.
- Living in and knowing your true Self, eternally.
- Choose the Direct Experience of infinite-eternal-existence-being-life, here and now in this lifetime, by making it the first priority in your life and by centering your entire life on your spiritual practice.
Regina points out that the first two statements from our lesson refer to the First Principle of God only. What I understand is that this means they are true when we reach that lofty state. Right now, they are true, but only as potential. Jesus says much the same thing in the Course when he explains that we are like him but that we are not like him now.
We have all that he has, but he does not have all this ego stuff, and that matters. It is the ego stuff that obstructs what is within us but remains unseen until the mind is purified and perception is corrected. Even further on our path, we will leave perception behind altogether. That is when we will reach the First Principle of God. Or, as the Course expresses it, this is when God takes the last step and lifts us into Him.
I think this is important to remember because otherwise, we start thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with us that we don’t experience all that the Course promises. As long as we are in the world of time and space, we are limited in what we can experience. But in the world of time and space is where we throw off those shackles.
The first entry is a good message from the Holy Spirit. The second entry is a compelling account of my encounter with my mother after her death. Its value lies in what I learned about love and guilt.
Holy Spirit Message
I no longer completely believe I am the body/personality, but evidently, I do not completely believe I am not the body/personality either. It seems to be very hard to let go of this identity, no matter how insane it is to keep it. How can I see giving up the illusion of a self for my own glorious Self as a sacrifice? It is inconceivable that I cling to the ego belief system when I know that there is something else, and yet I do it. Holy Spirit, could you please speak to me about this?
Holy Spirit: Child of God, it does indeed seem hard to give up the self you made. It seems hard because you do not completely desire it. As long as you do not completely desire it, it will be seen as a sacrifice, and you will resist.
Me: I can see that, Holy Spirit. When I am dieting, as long as my strongest intention is to lose weight, I have no problem resisting sugar. However, when my intention wavers, suddenly, passing up the cake feels like a sacrifice, and I don’t want to do it. I will eventually eat the cake, and there is this little shadow of something I had never identified before. Now I see that it is triumph. “Hah! I did not sacrifice my desire. I got the cake.” If I resent sacrifice so much that I feel this over a piece of cake, I wonder how much I fight the idea of sacrificing what I see as my identity.
Holy Spirit: There is, indeed, much resistance to this thought.
This is the reason it is important that you allow yourself to learn that the ego is not your true identity and that you really want to regain your true status as Son of God. Do not be discouraged if this seems to take a lot of time. In fact, do not judge the process at all, and you will see that it is not as slow as you thought, nor nearly as hard.
You are committed, you are determined, and you have learned to be vigilant and willing. You are beginning to not only release those ego thoughts that bind you to the idea of the world, but you are becoming willing to claim your heritage as God’s Son. The impatience you feel is the ego trying to join you in your awakening. Look at the impatience without fear, and do so with the willingness to see it is nothing. It will fall away without your belief in it to support its existence.
Occasionally you think that the ego has great power and that you give this power up when you give up the ego. This is not true. The ego has no power, and you give up nothing when you give up the ego. All power is of God, and when you accept His gifts, that power flows through you unabated because you desire that it do so. To experience the power of God, you only need to accept it, that is, surrender your desire to own it and, instead, allow it to simply flow through you. The ego is your desire to be the maker of the power, and this is nonsense. All That Is comes from God and is God.
Me: I feel a sense of awe when I think of God, but I also feel afraid.
I don’t think I should feel afraid of my Creator, and that is why I often call Him Father, which feels friendlier and safer. I think that one reason I resist giving up my ego identity is that I am afraid to be naked before my God. It is like the ego is my cover or my protection.
Holy Spirit: Yes, there is fear of facing God. You asked an innocent question, and in your power as His Son, you experienced the answer to that question. The answer was the ego as you see it, and in your imagination, you began to think it was real, and you had really done this thing, and that it was a sin against God. Thus you experience fear of God and further imagine He seeks to punish you. You think you have wrested power from God and made it your own and that in taking yourself from God, you have grievously injured Him. Do you see the insanity of such a belief?
And yet, you believe this, and that belief holds you in hell. Child of God, holy and beloved child of God, you have not sinned, and it is inconceivable that Your Father could be threatened by your imaginative play. Let go of the fear that you have sinned, for indeed, you are innocent as you were created. What God creates cannot be changed or undone. What God creates innocent is forever innocent. And what God creates, He loves. What God creates is an extension of Himself. What you made blinds you to the only true thing in the Universe. Would it be a sacrifice to release what you made to be what God made?
What is happening now is that I am cleaning up what is left of my belief in ego. I am being shown where I still hold onto the separate-self identity and to the ego beliefs that are not true. There seem to be a lot of beliefs in my mind that need to be undone, but I know there really is only one, so I am not discouraged by them, surprised sometimes, but not discouraged.
Mostly these beliefs are being revealed in little everyday ways. I quickly and automatically defend myself to my boss and realize that I still see others as greater or lesser than me, and so separation is still in my mind a reality. I see that I still feel the need to be seen a certain way, and so am quick to defend my image. And in that little moment of defense, I still believe I can be attacked, and because I believe in attack, I must defend myself, and the ego cycle of attack and defense is perpetuated. The answer to these false beliefs is in my mind, and so is the solution. I bring them together so that the light can dissipate these dark thoughts.
Sometimes the healing is a bit more dramatic.
I had such a moment the other day. My mother and my sister-in-law, who have both passed, had been coming into my mind a lot lately, and I was wondering why. I had the thought to contact a fellow minister who has the ability to speak to and hear those who have passed, an ability I have never developed. I asked her if she ever acts as a medium and if she would be willing to do so for me. This is someone I know very well and completely trust.
She responded the same day, and she facilitated communication between my mom and me and my sister-in-law as well. Both conversations were important for different reasons. The one I want to talk about, though, is the one with my mom. She was very happy and peaceful and extremely joyful. This was lovely to see because her last years were spent in a nursing home with little joy. She had Alzheimer’s, and when I would look into her eyes, I saw someone lost and afraid. This image has haunted me.
I also spent a year after her death dealing with periods of grief that was more about letting go of guilt about my many perceived failures as a daughter. I did pretty well with that, but there have been times when the guilt would pierce me suddenly and cruelly. Very painful. One of the things I asked my mom was this; did she know how much I loved her because it was my greatest fear that I failed to let her know this when she was alive. She said that she has always known how much I love her. What a relief that was!
She talked about the many journeys we have shared and about our closeness, and our love for each other.
She talked about being together again, and mostly what came through was her happiness. In life, or rather in this story of a life that we have going here, she was not a very happy person a lot of the time. Her classroom was one with many harsh lessons. The person I talked to through my friend was my mom, without her story. I absolutely recognized her, and even now, as I write, the love I have for her, a love separate from our story here, wells up and fills me with joy.
So what was it I learned from this encounter, and why was it so important to me? I knew, but only as a concept since I had no memory of it that the stories of who we are here are not true stories. I am not the personality that is Myron, and when I leave this particular classroom, I will leave that behind. All the dramas and the attacks and the guilt-ridden experiences are not real either. I learned that only love survives death. I am forgiven for my story of failure toward my mom because it is not real and never was.
Here is another thing I learned from this encounter with her.
It is that love crosses all boundaries but that I can block it. My mom told me that she is experiencing love as she has never known and that she is sending me that love. I did not doubt that, but I haven’t felt it at this level and wondered why. The next morning as I sat down to write, I felt that love so intensely that all I could do was sit there and experience it. I cried in joy.
After the encounter with mom, all the guilt I had been carrying around dissolved. It was obvious to me that it was a useless burden with no purpose, and so I let it go. What also became obvious to me yesterday was that without the guilt blocking the love, I could fully experience it. So Jesus is right again; guilt is a block to our experience of love. What a waste of time it has been to hold onto all that guilt.
Yesterday I had a sudden memory of an incident with mom that in the past has triggered remorse. I felt that for just an instant, and then I remembered that mom is happy and that she loves me and I love her, and nothing that happened in this story of us as mother and daughter affected our loving relationship at all. She knows that I have always loved her. The guilt and remorse were gone in an instant. Knowing how mom feels now makes it impossible to believe the guilt anymore. I realized that I will never feel guilty about anything that happened with my mom. It all seems meaningless now.
Here is what has also occurred.
All the guilt I have in my life has become less real, less substantial, like it is made of something there but without substance. Maybe like a cloud, as Jesus has described it, or a thin veil. When I noticed a guilty thought coming into my mind yesterday, I found it hard to hold onto it. I questioned its validity, even its existence.
If guilt did not travel across the boundary of life in a body and life outside the body, then how real could it be? If mom only knows love on that side, then perhaps I can know only love on this side. I think that is my goal now, to let go of the guilt so that all I feel is love. I have said that was my goal in the past, but now I know it. And now it feels very possible.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 322 click here.
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