ACIM I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P 4, 5. Assault can ultimately be made only on the body.
ACIM Chapter 6. I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P 4, 5
I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P 4
4 Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another, and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, anything that is destructible cannot be real. Its destruction, therefore, does not justify anger. To the extent to which you believe that it does, you are accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.
I remember a Star Trek story in which Captain Kirk and his party visit a planet where people don’t care that they die. If I remember the storyline correctly, they volunteer for death at a certain age so as not to overpopulate the planet. Captain Kirk is incensed that they are not upset about this. They don’t fear death because they don’t believe in it. They know that at death, they simply return to life.
A Seed of Doubt
As my mind heals, I believe in death less and less. This healing is not complete for me. There is still the seed of doubt, the fear that I am indeed this body or that this body has some intrinsic value, and I wouldn’t want to lose it. If someone held a gun on me and threatened to kill me with it, I doubt I would be calm. But I understand there is no reason not to be calm. Once again, the truth is slowly making its way from my head to my heart.
There have not been a lot of chances to practice my belief that there is no death, at least not in this one lifetime. One time, though, I thought I was dying, and before I passed out, this is what I felt. I realized something was very wrong, and I wondered if I was dying. I felt panic. But I decided to continue to trust the Holy Spirit, that He knew what was best for my next step toward awakening. I passed out. This all happened in seconds. So maybe I would be, finally, calm if threatened with death.
On the other hand, we practice death all the time. Life is joy and peace. Life is love. If we are experiencing something else, we are not experiencing life. So, I guess I am practicing death when I feel pain or sadness, anger or jealousy. Each time someone says or does something to me that feels like an attack, I practice death if I feel persecuted. If I see it differently, I practice life.
I Felt Attacked
Someone I know “attacked” me. He was someone who I have given the role of caring about me, and he did something that wasn’t caring. My first feeling was of betrayal. I told Jesus all about it. I told him what this person did, and I told Him how I felt about it, how sad it made me, how unsafe it was, and ultimately how angry that he should do this to me. Then I asked Jesus to help me see it differently and to heal my mind.
The Holy Spirit showed me that nothing happened to me. He showed me that I felt betrayed because of the story I told myself about this person. Even if he meant to betray me, he was only betraying his thoughts about me. My thoughts are betraying me. This is a lesson the Holy Spirit has been teaching me a lot these days, and now when He shares this with me, I get it very quickly. Nothing really happened to me. I but did this to myself.
Additionally, I see that there is really no such thing as betrayal. The whole idea of betrayal is something I made up in my mind to explain my fear of God, and to give myself a place to project that fear so I don’t have to confront it. As I allowed my mind to be healed, all the feelings of betrayal and the desire to retaliate dissolved, and I felt only compassion and understanding.
What if this person carried their antagonism to another level and started beating my body? Well, I don’t think I am healed of the belief in the illusion to the point that I would not be affected. I am learning that pain is not real, but I have not put it to that kind of test. So I am asking that the Holy Spirit heal my mind of the belief in fear. But I have not fully accepted that healing.
I do see that I would not feel pain without the belief in the body, and I would not be afraid without the belief that this body and this life are real and matter. No matter how I felt and what I felt, my purpose remained the same; I was to deny the denial of truth. I would use the situation to see where I need to heal my mind and accept the Atonement to the degree I am able. That purpose never changes.
Death is not real. Only the illusion can give us an experience of death, and an experience of something unreal, no matter how real it feels, can never be true. I can only dream of death while I dream that this illusion is life. I am now aware that everything in this illusion that does not reflect the truth is a dress rehearsal for the chapter on my dream of death. Let me remember to use those moments to accept the Atonement for my beliefs. And, of course, take my perceived self out of perceived danger.
5 I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P5
5 I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that I was persecuted as the world judges, and did not share this evaluation for myself. And because I did not share it, I did not strengthen it. I therefore offered a different interpretation of attack, and one which I want to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help me teach it.
I am like Jesus, and he is like me. Of course, we are alike as spirit. When I am identified with the ego we are not alike, as he has stopped believing in the ego. No matter that I am not the ego and that I am like Jesus, I will not feel like I am spirit and act like I am spirit until I make the decision that Jesus made. I believe it is possible to do this because Jesus did it, and because he did it, it is done. The only thing for me to do is to choose to remember. Shoot, he even gave me an instruction manual through A Course in Miracles.
A Very Different Lesson
Right now, in the Course, Jesus is helping us understand what he wanted us to learn from his crucifixion, which is very different from what I learned on my own. What I took away from the crucifixion story is that God wants me to suffer on his behalf, and I have good reason to fear Him. No matter how blameless my life is, in the end, I will wind up on the cross. I also learned that no matter how much I suffer at the hands of another, I must be forgiving. Martyrdom is the goal.
What I have learned from the Course is a much different interpretation of the crucifixion. Jesus meant it to be such an extreme example that I could not miss the meaning. He must have sighed in frustration at my obtuseness. Or maybe not. Maybe he expected to have to come back with further explanations.
His intention was to show that no matter what someone does to the body, nothing has been done. Since nothing has been done, there is no reason to feel persecuted. There was no victim in his story, and if, even in the most extreme of circumstances, there was no victim, then there must be a better way to perceive the circumstances of my life.
Learning My Lesson
I am finally learning this lesson. I still feel persecuted sometimes, but I always know this is not true, and I ask that my mind be healed. There is never a circumstance, so far, that leaves me thinking that this time, I really am a victim, no matter how I feel. When I have that feeling of being victimized, feeling sad about it and afraid, wanting to blame someone, I recognize it for what it is. The ego mind is interpreting circumstances according to its beliefs. That in no way makes it true.
When I was married, I really thought I was a victim to my husband. I thought his behavior caused me to be unhappy. I knew the Course said I was never a victim of the world I see, but I made my circumstances special. And I just couldn’t see how he wasn’t at fault. All the evidence pointed to his guilt.
However, as I continued my study of the Course, allowing my mind to be healed, my faith in Jesus overcame my desire to be a victim and to have someone to blame. I kept bringing all my proof to the Holy Spirit and asking Him to correct my thinking. It took a while for me to become willing to accept the Atonement in this case, but eventually, I did so. Now, I can’t see him as guilty. If he isn’t guilty, I am not a victim.
I Can’t Be Victimized
By letting go of my victim stories one at a time as I was ready, I slowly began to realize that I couldn’t be victimized. Only a body with a story can be victimized, and I am spirit. I am beyond stories. I can tell stories, and I can believe my stories. But eventually, I must let the stories go and be what I am, the teller of stories, not the victim of the stories.
Because I am more aware now, my victim stories are generally more subtle, and I recognize them as I notice anxiety in myself. My kids and I have busy lives and don’t always see and talk to each other daily. But we have patterns, and when a pattern is broken, I notice. My youngest daughter had not called me lately, and when I texted her, she answered but didn’t seem engaged in the conversation.
I didn’t pay much attention at first, but my ego questioned this behavior and worried at it with thoughts like she must be mad at me, and I wondered what I did to make her not call. The ego brought up all my past transgressions and feelings of unworthiness. I felt sad and defeated. I noticed all these thoughts and all these feelings, and I knew they were not true, but I also felt them. That’s very strange, but it’s how it happens now as I waver in my certainty and return to listening to the ego voice instead of only listening to the Voice for God.
Can’t Ignore It
This was not the focus of my attention, but it was like a gnat flying around my head that I tried to ignore, telling myself it wasn’t true. Once in a while, I would think about her, and the doubts and fears would come up, but then I would get back to business as usual. Ignoring the ego mind as it drums up a case for its beliefs is not a good idea. It doesn’t go away, and the story just gets bigger in the mind. I had reached the point that I was sure she was angry about something, and it was just so unfair.
I had worked up a good case of being unfairly treated, persecuted by my own daughter, and condemned to being unloved. The ridiculousness of the situation finally snapped me out of my foolishness, and I stopped ignoring the situation. I sat down with Spirit and told him everything I was thinking. I told him what was happening and my ego interpretation of it. Then I asked that He heal my mind about this and guide me to the right action.
Yesterday, without the burden of feeling like a victim, I could act out of love and not fear. I thought how much I missed going out to eat with my daughter and that we hadn’t done it in a long time. I texted her an invitation, which she enthusiastically answered. It was like I was never her victim… because I wasn’t. Once again, I had but done it to myself.
A Different Ending
This story might have had an altogether different ending if I had fallen for the ego interpretation of things and not questioned my beliefs. What if I went to her with my fearful beliefs and insisted she own up to her unfair persecution of me? Even if I had gently hinted at her guilt and her need to make amends, I would have taught her that we can be persecuted. This is not what I want to teach because this is not what I want to learn. I am grateful that, while I can still be distracted by the ego, I cannot long be fooled by it. I look forward to the day when I only laugh at the ego.
To read an excellent teaching by Regina Dawn Akers on how she let go of a belief, CLICK HERE.