ACIM Chapter 6. V. C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom, P 3, 4. This is a major step toward fundamental change.
ACIM Chapter 6. V. C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom, P 3, 4
C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom, P 3
3 This is a major step toward fundamental change. Yet it still has an aspect of thought reversal, since it implies that there is something you must be vigilant against. It has advanced far from the first lesson, which is merely the beginning of the thought reversal, and also from the second, which is essentially the identification of what is more desirable. This step, which follows from the second as the second follows from the first, emphasizes the dichotomy between the desirable and the undesirable. It therefore makes the ultimate choice inevitable.
Jesus has told us that he teaches through contrast, and nowhere is this more apparent to me than when he teaches me that I want peace. I was so confused that for years, I did not even know that peace was what I wanted. I didn’t value peace. Instead, I was always focused on winning, which is the opposite of peace because to win, I needed to defeat someone or something. Being in opposition guarantees separation stays in place, and this cannot bring me peace because it goes against my nature.
This is an example of how it might have appeared to me in the past.
My daughter seemed to be upset with me about something. I didn’t know what it could be, and maybe I was just being egocentric as I saw her upset and assumed it was directed toward me. But she would not even meet my eyes when we visited, and so I thought she was angry with me about something I said or did.
My first thought would have been that I was being unfairly treated because I did nothing to deserve this. I would want her to stop acting like I did something wrong. I would think I needed her to love me and not be angry with me. If none of this happened, I would become depressed about the situation because I could not make her love me or not be angry with me.
Then I would be angry with her. I would try to manipulate her with guilt. Or I might try the silent treatment. I would try to gather allies who would agree that she was being unfair and a bad daughter. It would never have occurred to me to seek peace, and if it did, I would have placed the burden of my peace on her.
Now, I have one desire.
I want the peace of God. More than I want anything else, I want the peace of God. I want to have peace, and so I teach peace to have it. The situation is the same. I see signs my daughter is upset with me. I ask if there is anything she wants to talk about, and she rejects that offer. So, I watch my thoughts and feelings.
Her rejection feels personal, and so I feel rejected. But I cannot be rejected, so I must be listening to the ego version of the story. I hand this over to the Holy Spirit to heal for me because I want the peace of God. I want my daughter to be healed, too, but I realize that I cannot do this for her. This makes me feel helpless. I ask that my mind be healed of the belief I could be helpless, and I am reminded that my daughter cannot be helpless either.
I will teach what I want to learn.
My daughter is having her story. That is all that is happening here. The ultimate ending of all stories is God. Nothing to worry about here. I am at peace. I want only peace. The story cannot bring me peace nor rob me of peace. It can only be the story. As I choose peace regardless of the direction the story takes, I am teaching peace. Perhaps it is a lesson my daughter is ready for. Because it is a lesson that I am ready for, I learn it.
The ego offers me another opportunity to choose war, another chance to win this “argument,” but I am not interested. It tries to scare me with stories of loss. I am not interested. If I become attracted to any of its enticements, I will ask for correction and return to peace. I will do this as often as I need to. This is how my life is different now that I realize that peace is all I want. The contrast between my life now that peace is my goal and the life I lived when I thought winning was my goal is so stark that I cannot miss the lesson.
C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom, P 4
4 While the first step seems to increase conflict and the second may still entail conflict to some extent, this step calls for consistent vigilance against it. I have already told you that you can be as vigilant against the ego as for it. This lesson teaches not only that you can be, but that you must be. It does not concern itself with order of difficulty, but with clear-cut priority for vigilance. This lesson is unequivocal in that it teaches there must be no exceptions, although it does not deny that the temptation to make exceptions will occur. Here, then, your consistency is called on despite chaos. Yet chaos and consistency cannot coexist for long, since they are mutually exclusive. As long as you must be vigilant against anything, however, you are not recognizing this mutual exclusiveness, and still believe that you can choose either one. By teaching what to choose, the Holy Spirit will ultimately teach you that you need not choose at all. This will finally liberate your mind from choice, and direct it towards creation within the Kingdom.
Jesus is stressing the need for vigilance.
I must be vigilant for God rather than the ego. We have already established that we can be vigilant. We have been vigilant for the ego, and so we know it is possible. Now, we are learning that we want to choose God instead. We learn this by choosing the Holy Spirit, Who chooses God for us.
For a while, the mind will be chaotic as it vacillates between ego and God, choosing one and then choosing the other, but this cannot last. Consistency of choice will quiet the mind. I choose God over and over, and soon, the mind begins to calm down because there is no desire for ego, and so there is not the chaos of conflict in the mind.
Thinking of making a choice for God or ego repeatedly just makes me tired. I am ready to give up choice altogether. There was a time when that idea just seemed wrong. The ego rebelled and brought up every objection it could think of. Now, it just feels peaceful and right. Jesus tells us why we are drawn to this idea even as the ego mind fights against it. Choice took the place of creation in our Mind, and in giving up choice, we truly return to our Self as Creators beside God.
Could, then, the relinquishment of choice be a sacrifice? In time, choice is our only remaining freedom, but as we allow the mind to be healed, we leave behind time to discover we exist in eternity. In eternity, we are at peace, and choice is not even a memory. For now, though, I begin to remember who I am through choosing consistently for God.