ACIM Daily Lesson 323 I gladly make the “sacrifice” of fear.
I gladly make the “sacrifice” of fear.
I gladly make the “sacrifice” of fear.
1. Here is the only “sacrifice” You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy. ²Such is the “sacrifice” You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only “cost” of restoration of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.
2. And as we pay the debt we owe to truth,—a debt that merely is the letting go of self-deceptions and of images we worshipped falsely—truth returns to us in wholeness and in joy. ²We are deceived no longer. ³Love has now returned to our awareness. ⁴And we are at peace again, for fear has gone and only love remains.
Again today, we are being asked to give up fear in all its forms. Accepting who we really are will rid us of all suffering. We will no longer be anxious or have pain. When we remember who we are, we will return to our natural state of wholeness, peace, and love. Because we misunderstand our own best interests, Jesus has to reinforce the truth. He must emphasize that knowing who we are will not cost us anything that we want. Above all, he wants us to know that it is safe to return to our natural state.
What do we have to do to live in joy?
We only need to let go of the ego ideas we have believed for so long. I began with the belief that I am a victim and could be unfairly treated. I know now that this could never be true. So if it seems that I am being victimized, I turn inward and heal what I find there. Next, I became serious about giving up guilt. I also gave up the idea that pain is a necessary part of life, though I am still letting go of some of the beliefs that cause pain.
One belief that is gone is the belief that there is some value in holding grievances. If I notice the slightest desire to attack someone, I laugh it away. I cannot hold a grievance in my mind because that would destroy my peace and bind me to the world. The very idea of attack is contrary to my goal. I cannot return to God without my brothers, so why would I attack them? Therefore, I want for them what I want for myself, that they know their innocence. Why, then, would I teach them they are guilty?
Guilt is just an idea; let it go.
The greatest benefit of letting go of guilt is that without guilt, there is no belief in the need for punishment. Releasing the belief that my guilty past would always haunt me, and accepting forgiveness instead, changed everything. For one thing, my close relationships became more loving. I became happier and more peaceful, and it impacted my desire to forgive. Once forgiven, it becomes natural to extend forgiveness. Most importantly, without guilt, what is there to fear from God?
I notice that I am not completely done with guilt yet. Sometimes I will feel guilt, such as I did last night. I was eating some fudge when I noticed that old feeling of contraction. It is like I try to get smaller so my guilt is not seen, I suppose, by God. However, guilt thoughts no longer have the same impact on me. I am quick to dismiss them. So, having noticed that feeling, I addressed it. I decided that if I was going to eat fudge, I was going to enjoy the heck out of it. Guilt is just an idea, and I decided to choose happiness instead.
Fear has been real to me in the past.
It is as if it were a living thing that could hurt me, destroy me. But fear is not real. It is just a feeling, and it cannot hurt me. What I learned to do with fear is to let it flow over and through me and then leave. I can allow it to come and go over and over if need be. It is just a feeling.
What I am, not the persona of Myron, but Awareness, a Thought in the Mind of God that is open to anything, including the feeling of fear. As I identify with this true Self that I am, I am not disturbed by fear. I let it come, and I let it go. The degree to which I identify as self that is the degree to which I will be afraid of fearful thoughts and try desperately to avoid anything that triggers them and try equally desperately to rid myself of them.
The self is small and vulnerable, closed off. The Self is vast, immeasurable, limitless, and completely open. It allows everything but is unaffected by anything. It remains as it was created no matter what moves through it. I am that, the Self. I don’t yet feel like Self, but that is what I am. It is so funny that Jesus must make such an effort to convince us that it is ok to give up fear and pain and suffering, to convince us that it is not a sacrifice to do so.
Click Here for a meditation I use to help me fully accept my Self.
Our special theme says, “Creation is the sum of all God’s Thoughts, … There was no time when all that it created was not there. Nor will there be a time when anything that it created suffers any loss. Forever and forever are God’s Thoughts exactly as they were and as they are, unchanged through time and after time is done.”
Regina talks about the different levels of awakening. We awaken from the idea of the wrong-minded, selfish, personal sense of self that people typically call ego. Then from the more general cultural conditioning and human identity. And even from the increasing levels of spontaneous, purified mind before we are fully awake. She does her usual good job of making this very clear. If you want to read the entire tip, click here.
Let’s take a moment to look at the contrast between unreality and reality (creation).
We will use the example of a bulls-eye target. The entire target, from the white circles all the way to the yellow bulls-eye, represents the sense of self. Reality does not exist anywhere on this target. Reality is in the absence of the target.
Let’s assume the yellow and red portions of the bulls-eye are the wrong-minded, selfish, personal sense of self that people typically call ego. The blue portion is more general cultural conditioning and human identity. The black and white portions of the target are increasing levels of spontaneous, purified mind.
When the sense of self is fully intact, it blocks reality (God’s Thoughts) entirely. However, when Grace responds to our spiritual commitment by shooting at the target and blowing away a portion of the sense of self, one begins to have direct experiences of reality through the hole in the target.
She ends with this.
If you look carefully at the example of the target, you can see several possibilities:
- The process of awakening may feel very different for different people.
- Since different people experience awakening differently, it will be described in different ways.
- Since non-total awakening can be a drastically different experience than one’s previous experience, based on the size of the hole, one may think total awakening has occurred when it has not.
- Awakening is not complete until all levels of the sense of self are destroyed, including even the highest or most pure levels.
- Absolute truth can only be known as it is, which is without any sense of self, when the entire sense of self is obliterated.
When Regina talks about fear, she relates it to this awakening process and how the higher levels might seem fearful.
She says, in part: If we want to experience higher levels of awakening, we must be willing to give up listening to fear. If we listen to fear, we will jump out of the way when Grace comes with its gun. We need to learn to hold steady, be still and do nothing even as fear shouts and screams, so Grace can take aim and fire.
Please contemplate this tip today. Give yourself some time to be with it instead of rushing on to other things. The ego would love for you to forget this teaching. Be determined to absorb it deeply instead.
I am glad that I have been practicing the idea of surrender for a long time. I have also been renewing a loving relationship with God, and so the fear of God is falling away. As I move through the different levels of awakening this will help me look at any fear I have and recognize it as something I am not interested in. Perhaps my current practices will prepare me for the idea of allowing Grace to blow away the entire sense of self. Perhaps I will be willing to hold steady and do nothing, even as fear shouts and screams so that Grace can take aim and fire.
As you can see if you read the rest of this journal, every year, my mind has healed more deeply. I have gone from not believing this was possible to witnessing the certainty of it. I no longer question or doubt that all I want is the peace of God. I no longer look at surrender to Holiness as a sacrifice.
I have a few remaining ideas in my mind that are causing me distress, but I know what to do with them, and I am doing it. I have a fear thought that is incredibly stubborn. I know that I cannot get rid of it, but I can be willing to release it, and the Holy Spirit will remove it for me as I become fully willing.
It seems I must release it a layer at a time, and so that is what I am doing. Whatever it takes, this fearful belief is on its way out. Once the mind experiences significant peace, there is little tolerance for chaos, and the ego is pure chaos. As I have let go of these self-deceptions, the self has been falling away. This is what I really want, to be free of the ego-self so that my true self can be all I know.
Sometimes I read what I wrote in the past and find the answer I am looking for now. That always makes me smile. The answer was in my mind all the time, I just lost track of it as I got lost in my story. This has happened to me lately. I have been worried about my friend, and I got so involved with the story of my friend that I forgot who he is in reality. I forgot who I am in reality. My character was afraid in the story, and I forgot that I am not the story and thought I was afraid.
Yesterday was a turning point. I saw how caught up I was and how I had lost track of my purpose. Something shifted in me. I started doing the things I need to do when this happens. I started listening to the Course while I drive. I did the Rules for Decision when I noticed the ego thinking. I went to sleep with A Course in Miracles playing on my iPod. I asked the Holy Spirit to work with me in my sleep.
These are the things I do to help me break the cycle of ego thinking. I want to use the story of my friend and me to help us wake up and not live frightened and sad. Just a few hours ago, I felt like I was a victim of my friend’s behavior and a victim of circumstances, and even to my own inability to change my mind. Now I realize that this is ridiculous. I want to be happy and peaceful. I want to “sacrifice” fear, and I am doing it.
For some reason, I woke up this morning feeling sad and uneasy. I sat at the computer not really into the whole morning ritual, but I began it anyway. I read this in the Manual for Teachers:
“The Holy Spirit is described as the remaining Communication Link between God and His separated Sons. In order to fulfill this special function the Holy Spirit has assumed a dual function. He knows because He is part of God; He perceives because He was sent to save humanity. He is the great correction principle; the bringer of true perception, the inherent power of the vision of Christ. He is the light in which the forgiven world is perceived; in which the face of Christ alone is seen. He never forgets the Creator or His creation. He never forgets the Son of God. He never forgets you. And He brings the Love of your Father to you in an eternal shining that will never be obliterated because God has put it there.”
When I read the sentence that says He never forgets me and that He brings the Love of my Father to me, I cried.
It was a kind of grief that I felt for something lost and never to be found again. This was the ego part of my mind, and it loves this kind of dramatic response. I have been very happy and very aware of the love that is mine all the time, so I didn’t want to give that up just to have this little drama. I asked, very sincerely, that the Holy Spirit remember God for me and remove this darkness from my mind.
In the middle of the prayer, I felt a resistance. The part of my mind that believes the ego exists wanted a good cry and argued for it, but I offered that to the Holy Spirit as well. I wanted to return to love more than I wanted anything else. I let go of the whole story, and miraculously, my mind was lightened with no further effort on my part. The dark thoughts and feelings were simply gone. This is the way it works. I do nothing but desire healing and accept it. The Holy Spirit then heals me.
One thing I have learned is that most of the time, I don’t want to change my mind, I just want to be free of the unpleasant feelings that come with fear. I’m learning to change my mind about that. For instance, when I took the ride up the mountain and faced my fear of heights, I was in sheer terror. I wanted to ask the Holy Spirit to just get me safely off the mountain and to make this feeling go away. But I didn’t. Instead, I asked that He heal my mind. This is definitely a step forward, and I am grateful.
I have learned that it is better to go through the fear than to try to avoid it, stuff it, or change the circumstances that triggered the fear. If I go through the fear with the Holy Spirit, I get to see that fear can’t hurt me, and it loses some of its sting. Another thing I learned is that I hold onto fear because part of my mind believes that fear protects me.
When I was on that mountain, I noticed that as much as I didn’t want to be afraid anymore, I also was afraid to give up the fear. My fear said that if I was no longer afraid, I would go back up the mountain. The fear seemed to be protecting me from having to face the mountain again. This is very circular thinking, but that is what fear was telling me. I am learning not to believe the fear.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 323 click here.
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