A Course in Miracles Workbook Daily Lesson 328, Year 2022

ACIM Daily Lesson 328. I choose the second place to gain the first. 1. What seems to be the second place is first, for all things we perceive are upside down until we listen to the Voice for God.

A Course in Miracles Workbook Daily Lesson 328 I choose the second place to gain the first.
1. What seems to be the second place is first, for all things we perceive are upside down until we listen to the Voice for God.

I choose the second place to gain the first.

Lesson 328

I choose the second place to gain the first.

1. What seems to be the second place is first, for all things we perceive are upside down until we listen to the Voice for God. ²It seems that we will gain autonomy but by our striving to be separate, and that our independence from the rest of God’s creation is the way in which salvation is obtained. ³Yet all we find is sickness, suffering and loss and death. ⁴This is not what our Father wills for us, nor is there any second to His Will. ⁵To join with His is but to find our own. ⁶And since our will is His, it is to Him that we must go to recognize our will.

2. There is no will but Yours. ²And I am glad that nothing I imagine contradicts what You would have me be. ³It is Your Will that I be wholly safe, eternally at peace. ⁴And happily I share that Will which You, my Father, gave as part of me.

This lesson is about our choice to see ourselves as separate from each other and from God. We chose this experience, thinking it would gain us autonomy and that autonomy was something of value. It appeared to us that in separation, we would become first, that is, our own creator. However, our strategy backfired on us. It seems to us that God was Whole, and now that we have abandoned Him, He is no longer Whole. Thus, in choosing to be separate, it appeared to us that we had undone God.

All of this is occurring only in our mind since, of course, we cannot overcome God.

What we discovered is that we gained only what is not God. That is, we gained suffering, sickness, and death. Perhaps, as I have, you now realize that this experiment is not working according to plan and that we have not gained but lost. Not to worry, though, as “Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.” (ACIM, T-3.VII.5:7)

And yet, the question remains, how is it that choosing the second gains us the first? The answer to that is simple. As we step back and recognize our Creator is first, we accept our place in Him. In doing so, we become first, too, since there is only One. Haha, there is no second place!

What a joke we played on ourselves. Just as our journey from God never actually occurred except in our imagination, our journey back to Him is the same. ⁶The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. ⁷It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. (ACIM, T-8.VI.9:6-7) Nevertheless, it is one we must make.

Thankfully, we are not alone on this journey home.

³The Holy Spirit takes you gently by the hand, and retraces with you your mad journey outside yourself, leading you gently back to the truth and safety within. ⁴He brings all your insane projections and the wild substitutions that you have placed outside you to the truth. ⁵Thus He reverses the course of insanity and restores you to reason. (ACIM, T-18.I.8:3-5) Our part is to become aware of our projections and to ask the Holy Spirit to undo them for us and then to accept His healing. The journey home is merely an awakening to what always was and always will be, and it is joyful.

It took me a few minutes to understand what Jesus meant when he said that I choose the second place to gain the first. Then it became obvious to me. We have chosen to have a separate will and to give it first place in our mind. Jesus says that we think it is our salvation, but it is not. In fact, it is the cause of all suffering.

How do we undo this situation? We choose to put God’s Will first and then happily discover that God’s Will is our will after all, and there is no second place at all. There is only God, and we are that, but if we keep holding onto the idea of a different will, we will not know who we really are. So, it makes perfect sense to go to God to be reminded that God’s Will and my will are the same. We have forgotten that but can remember if we put our separate will second.

Regina’s Tips

Today, I’d like to share with you from the perspective of an awakened Carmelite Nun, Bernadette Roberts:

In contrast to the divine, the human condition is so terrible and devastating that even the worst of descriptions could never do it justice. I am not referring here to sin, evil, or suffering, but rather to bare human existence itself—and the whole natural world included. What we usually think is so beautiful in this world is actually monstrous and unbearable to look at, but only in contrast to the divine. …

Those who believe man can have both heaven and this world at the same time are very much mistaken; such a notion is a total underestimation of God’s utter transcendence, … Compared to the divine estate, there is no beauty or happiness in this world; thus man cannot afford to have a glimpse or taste of the final estate and still expect to find this world acceptable. The ultimate estate is not of this world; it is not even compatible with it… For this reason, it is good that man does not see the reality of the divine beyond consciousness, for if he did, he could not endure this world. What man does not know, he does not miss, and what he does not know is how utterly transcendent the divine really is.

My Thoughts

I have sometimes thought that Jesus was being overly dramatic in his descriptions of the world, really just going overboard in an effort to get us to let go of our attachment to the world. But according to Bernadette Roberts, who is speaking from her experience, it seems he is just being honest about what the world is compared to what Heaven is.

Regina asks us to write about our spiritual aspiration to see if it is adequate to motivate us to fully awaken. So, I am doing that now. My spiritual aspiration for a long time has been the peace of God. The peace of God cannot be disturbed no matter what is happening, and this is what I wanted. I suppose what I wanted, really, was to stop suffering, and choosing the peace of God seemed the way to accomplish this.

Once I shifted to the first location of awakening, my aspiration became minimal. I just want to strengthen the stage where I was so that I didn’t slip back into my ego. In some ways, this shift is subtle because I had already slipped into peace and was happy most of the time. I can fail to notice the change. For instance, last week, I didn’t feel good. My body aches all over, and I have a bad headache. But what I also notice is that under the physical distress is a feeling of well-being. I know that I am fine. Really, this is no small thing.

What I am also aware of is that the mind wants to make a big story out of this.

I feel so bad. I have a fever and I ache all over. Maybe I should call someone and tell them all about it. Maybe something more serious went wrong. But the overall feeling of fundamental well-being keeps that thought from going anywhere. It is just an old thought habit, and I don’t have a lot of interest in it.

What I have read about it is true. Sometimes, probably most of the time, the sense of well-being is in the background, but sometimes it is in the foreground, and that feels really good. This feeling is motivating. I want it more often, and so I wonder how to get that. I guess I could say that my current spiritual aspiration is to increase and strengthen my location and move firmly into the next. And I want the feeling of okayness to be permanent and strong. I want the purification process to be complete. Most of all, I want the Narrative Self to fade away. I am already feeling less of that self, but it is not permanent. The self comes and goes. I want it gone.

In 2015, I had made enough progress that I was willing to look closer.

I was willing to expose the thoughts I had once hidden from myself, and that is what I was writing about in the following entry.

Last night I asked God to help me know his Will in a certain situation. Reading this lesson, it occurs to me that I was, at the same time, asking to know my own true will because they are the same. I lose nothing as I surrender to God’s Will; I only gain my own will, which I have lost sight of in the experience of separation. I suppose I could have as easily said, “God, what is our will in this?” But I ask God what is His Will because I am not entirely clear on what I am, and still want my separate made-up will sometimes.

For the umpteenth time, Jesus is asking us to listen to the Voice for God. We need to listen to that Voice because we are still too confused to know consistently what we are. Yesterday I was listening to a Cate Grieves video about defenselessness, and I thought how sublime it would be to live a defenseless life. So I really focused on that idea all through the day.

It is amazingly hard for me to do this! I thought it would be easy, but as the day went on and the Holy Spirit showed me all the ways I still defend myself, I saw that I really needed this practice. It is astounding to me the many ways in which I defend myself. Because I was watching for this, I saw myself trying to call attention to my value in the company. I saw it as if I was sitting outside myself watching it.

That desire to be recognized and valued is a defense.

After I saw myself do this, I felt guilty and embarrassed at my neediness. That was a defense as well. I had further tarnished my image by exposing a weakness and felt a need to recover my loss. And that was just one of many examples of defensiveness.

I was at Sam’s Club getting a tire fixed and was taking advantage of the wait to get my daily walk. The problem was it was so crowded that I could only walk slowly as I dodged other shoppers. I felt frustrated at the crowds, and, oh my, did I ever feel defensive! I had some very unspiritual thoughts, but I did take advantage of them to ask for healing.

What I gained from yesterday’s exercise was the realization of how important it is to understand and accept that in my defenselessness, my safety lies. Constantly defending myself from other people, from imagined dangers, and from my own insane thinking was not making me feel safe. It was only making the problem worse. The more things I saw to defend against, the more distressed I became. As the day wore on and I saw how often I defended myself and how hard it was to stop, I began to doubt myself, and that is the most distressing of all.

Fortunately, I know that the Voice for God is available to me.

And I know that I can turn to It to remove this desire to defend. I think that it does not happen right away because I still believe I need defense in some cases. Maybe not from my fellow shoppers, maybe not from the tire department at Sam’s, but I seem to believe I need to defend sometimes. I still believe I must defend myself at work, for instance.

Probably, what is really happening is that I think I need to defend myself against God. I need to defend my right to be different than I was created and to defend against having usurped His power. I think I need to defend the right to a separate will. At least that is the secret fear and the secret need for defense that the Course is bringing out of hiding so it can be looked at and healed.

I think that all these other defenses are just images of that one idea being projected outward. That is why it is possible to become defenseless; there are not many situations to heal, only the one idea that I am being attacked by my Creator. When that idea is undone, all of the attack and defend ideas will be undone with it.

To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 328 click here.

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