ACIM Daily Lesson 196. It can be but myself I crucify.
It can be but myself I crucify.
ACIM Lesson 196
It can be but myself I crucify.
1. When this is firmly understood and kept in full awareness, you will not attempt to harm yourself, nor make your body slave to vengeance. ²You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself. ³You will be free of the insane belief that to attack a brother saves yourself. ⁴And you will understand his safety is your own, and in his healing you are healed.
Over and over in many ways, Jesus helps us remember that we are one and that what we do to another, we do to ourselves. Once I figured that out, I stopped believing I could save myself by attacking another. At first, it was the obvious attacks like saying something sharp in response to a perceived attack, or even just the thought of what I wished I had said. But over time, I began to recognize the more subtle attacks.
This morning, out of the blue, I started thinking about someone I don’t like. I seldom think of her because our paths no longer cross. But this morning, there she was, in my mind. I often say that I don’t hold grievances because I let them go as soon as I see them, yet this grievance has been hiding in my mind for a long time.
I was able to ignore it because I don’t generally have a reason to think of her. However, lately, I have been asking the Holy Spirit to show me what needs to be healed in my mind. So, this morning, He showed me her. I wondered why I even have this grievance, and the thought that she didn’t like me answered that question. I don’t like her because she doesn’t like me. How ridiculous. We haven’t seen each other in years. I doubt I even come into her mind.
I am crucifying myself so that I can keep her on the cross. It’s such crazy behavior that I can hardly believe that I did that, and I certainly am not going to continue to do so. I turned this grievance over to the Holy Spirit to be healed once and for all. And I don’t want her to be guilty because if she is guilty, so am I. I can’t go Home without her, so I want to know her as one with me. I can’t do that if I separate us through this petty grievance. And I know I am not done until I feel love for her, so that is my decision.
I Can Learn to Deny the Ego’s Meaning
2. Perhaps at first you will not understand how mercy, limitless and with all things held in its sure protection, can be found in the idea we practice for today. ²It may, in fact, appear to be a sign that punishment can never be escaped because the ego, under what it sees as threat, is quick to cite the truth to save its lies. ³Yet must it fail to understand the truth it uses thus. ⁴But you can learn to see these foolish applications, and deny the meaning they appear to have.
The ego uses what we are learning to convince us that we are doomed. Have you ever started off excited about a lesson and then by the end of the day you realized you forgot all about it in the busyness of life? I know I have. The ego says this means I am a hopeless case and will never get this. But I didn’t give up. I went back to it and tried again and again until even I could see that the Course was working for me and I was changing.
I Teach My Mind
3. Thus do you also teach your mind that you are not an ego. ²For the ways in which the ego would distort the truth will not deceive you longer. ³You will not believe you are a body to be crucified. ⁴And you will see within today’s idea the light of resurrection, looking past all thoughts of crucifixion and of death, to thoughts of liberation and of life.
4. Today’s idea is one step we take in leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom. ²Let us take this step today, that we may quickly go the way salvation shows us, taking every step in its appointed sequence, as the mind relinquishes its burdens one by one. ³It is not time we need for this. ⁴It is but willingness. ⁵For what would seem to need a thousand years can easily be done in just one instant by the grace of God.
The Undoing of the Ego a Little at a Time
The undoing of the ego unfolds differently for different people. It has worked for me because I moved slowly, changing a bit at a time. That was perfect for me and the only way that could have worked for me. But that is not the only there is to do it. Others move more quickly through their steps. And Jesus says that through the grace of God, much can be undone in an instant. It is best not to think we know what our awakening should look like. I recommend just doing the best you can each step of the way and let the end be a surprise.
This Is Hell
5. The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross. ²Perhaps it seemed to be salvation. ³Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real. ⁴And what is that but hell? ⁵Who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and blot him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?
There is no way we can attack and be happy. Do I think the Republicans are the antichrist? Or maybe I think it is the Democrats who are destroying my way of life. I am attacking my brothers even if I only think this rather than acting on it or saying anything. In my attack on them, I crucify myself. And, oh, how we justify our political attacks! But there is no justification for attack that will keep us off the cross we erected for our brothers. It is absolutely necessary that this be understood. Attack of any kind for any reason will keep the ego in place. As Jesus tells us in T-11.IV.5: 6 You cannot enter God’s Presence if you attack His Son. That is an uncompromising statement.
6. Such is the form of madness you believe, if you accept the fearful thought you can attack another and be free yourself. ²Until this form is changed, there is no hope. ³Until you see that this, at least, must be entirely impossible, how could there be escape? ⁴The fear of God is real to anyone who thinks this thought is true. ⁵And he will not perceive its foolishness, or even see that it is there, so that it would be possible to question it.
This, at least, I can say I no longer believe. Now I know that when I attack anyone, I attack myself. I am nailing myself to the cross. I never doubt this and so I never hold a grievance. Well, I never hold a grievance once I become aware of it. When I hide a grievance from myself, I know that eventually, I will notice it because I want to. After all, I am no longer completely insane. I might have thought that someone else was guilty, but I quickly release that thought. There is never a justification for seeing my brother as guilty. That was not always true, of course.
Attack Is the Belief in the Fear of God
Almost all of my life, I felt like my salvation depended on someone besides me being guilty. It never occurred to me what I was doing or why, and certainly, it didn’t occur to me that I was only hurting myself. Jesus says that this attack merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real. I can see that. It is like I was pointing my finger at the guilty party so that God would know it was them, not me, that was guilty. Though I would not have thought this out, I clearly was afraid of God’s condemnation. And was perfectly willing to throw my brother under the bus if it protected me from God.
My Thoughts Are the Cause
7. To question it at all, its form must first be changed at least as much as will permit fear of retaliation to abate, and the responsibility returned to some extent to you. ²From there you can at least consider if you want to go along this painful path. ³Until this shift has been accomplished, you can not perceive that it is but your thoughts that bring you fear, and your deliverance depends on you.
Now when I am upset by anyone else or by circumstances, even if I point the finger, I change my mind quickly. I withdraw my projections and bring them back into my mind. There I look with the Holy Spirit at my thoughts so that I can be corrected. At first, this was difficult and sometimes scary. The ego has us convinced that looking at our minds is a bad idea and that what we find there will surely condemn us.
But after I practiced forgiveness a while, I realized that rather than condemning me, it freed me. I really did come to understand that the only thing that hurt me was my own thoughts. Once I saw that my mind was a safe place and that looking at my thoughts brought me relief, I stopped being afraid of God. I saw the fear of God as just another attempt of the ego mind to defend itself against God’s Love.
The Fear of God Will Disappear
8. Our next steps will be easy, if you take this one today. ²From there we go ahead quite rapidly. ³For once you understand it is impossible that you be hurt except by your own thoughts, the fear of God must disappear. ⁴You cannot then believe that fear is caused without. ⁵And God, Whom you had thought to banish, can be welcomed back within the holy mind He never left.
Boom! The understanding that thoughts are the source of my life as I experience it is what brought me to this place in it. Once I understood that I but do this to myself, I also understood the cause are the thoughts in my mind. So, naturally, I stopped looking outward for the cause or the solution. No one or nothing has done anything to me, it is my thoughts alone that affect me. I began to look within. I learned to watch my thoughts without judgment because to judge is to attack. Also, being God’s Son, I saw that I must not attack myself either if I want to enter the presence of God.
I Watch My Thoughts
I watch my thoughts like they are clouds in the sky. I figure out what belief the cloud represents. And I use my life to discover the effects of these beliefs, and thus, I am able to recognize ego in my life. Then I can decide based on these observations if I want to keep believing the thought. Or perhaps I would like to relinquish it to the Holy Spirit. This one thing has changed my life more and brought me closer to God than anything else I have ever done. It only took a small amount of understanding, acceptance, and willingness to practice.
And if we believe that the problem is outside us, we believe that fear is outside us; fear of lack, of sickness, of loss, of broken relationships, of death. This will lead directly to fearing God, who we see as outside us with all the other fears. Accepting responsibility (not guilt) for our suffering and looking within for the solutions will bring us to God because we find Him within. And God, Whom you had thought to banish, can be welcomed back within the holy mind He never left.
9. Salvation’s song can certainly be heard in the idea we practice for today. ²If it can but be you you crucify, you did not hurt the world, and need not fear its vengeance and pursuit. ³Nor need you hide in terror from the deadly fear of God projection hides behind. ⁴The thing you dread the most is your salvation. ⁵You are strong, and it is strength you want. ⁶And you are free, and glad of freedom. ⁷You have sought to be both weak and bound, because you feared your strength and freedom. ⁸Yet salvation lies in them.
At first, this seems just weird. Why would I ever be afraid of my strength and my freedom? I think what happens is that we begin to take responsibility for our lives as they appear to us and we become afraid of ourselves. An idea like this: If this is what I have done with the power and strength and freedom I have, what other destructive thing will I do? And how do I use this strength and freedom to get out of this? It seems too much, too hard, too confusing. It is so much easier to continue to see someone else at fault. Then, continue to trade one illusion for another in the hopes that something will work.
The Real Solution
However, that is not a real solution. Accepting the responsibility for how our lives unfold for us is how salvation comes. By doing that, we don’t have to be concerned about all the confusion and doubt. We are not alone in this transformation. Fear of God is gone, so now we can call on Him for help. This is what we do each time we look at a thought with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to heal our minds or to help us see it differently. We are calling on Him to save us from our illusions, and as we step back from fear, we advance to love. All the Thoughts of God go with us and help us; we cannot fail. As Jesus tells us: It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.
Perceiving the Split in the Mind
10. There is an instant in which terror seems to grip your mind so wholly that escape appears quite hopeless. ²When you realize, once and for all, that it is you you fear, the mind perceives itself as split. ³And this had been concealed while you believed attack could be directed outward, and returned from outside to within. ⁴It seemed to be an enemy outside you had to fear. ⁵And thus a god outside yourself became your mortal enemy; the source of fear.
Even though I used to completely believe that I was weak and helpless and that I was a victim and unfairly treated and had to defend myself at all costs, it is now hard to remember exactly what that felt like. My understanding is so different now that I don’t understand why it was so hard to let that belief go. Now I always turn all upsets around to see what it is in my mind that needs healing so I can go back to happiness and peace of mind. I don’t even consider doing otherwise.
Politics as a Classroom
I think the political climate over the last few years was my last big classroom for this idea. I was as polarized in my beliefs as was the rest of the nation. Like many, I was certain I was in the right, and the other side was wrong. I was certain that salvation depended on my side ‘winning.’ But I also knew that I was wrong, that my salvation depended did not on winning. What was necessary was to see the situation from the point of view that it was a lesson for me to learn.
I worked vigilantly at doing so, and now I am free of this painful need to defend myself and attack those who think differently. When I would find myself caught in the ego web of deceit, I would step back from the story, and ask the Holy Spirit what I was supposed to learn from this. I would look for the lesson, and in finding the lesson, I found my way to a major shift from guilt to innocence. That shift has never again wavered. There is not a brother in the political arena that I would crucify because to do so would be to crucify myself.
Pray that the Instant May Be Soon
11. Now, for an instant, is a murderer perceived within you, eager for your death, intent on plotting punishment for you until the time when it can kill at last. ²Yet in this instant is the time as well in which salvation comes. ³For fear of God has disappeared. ⁴And you can call on Him to save you from illusions by His Love, calling Him Father and yourself His Son. ⁵Pray that the instant may be soon,—today. ⁶Step back from fear, and make advance to love.
12. There is no Thought of God that does not go with you to help you reach that instant, and to go beyond it quickly, surely and forever. ²When the fear of God is gone, there are no obstacles that still remain between you and the holy peace of God. ³How kind and merciful is the idea we practice! ⁴Give it welcome, as you should, for it is your release. ⁵It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. ⁶Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.
I Must Remain Vigilant
I know that I must remain vigilant for the ego desire to judge and condemn and for the ego belief that God is my enemy. I continue to pay close attention to my feelings and my thoughts. I watch for the belief that I need to defend myself and the belief that something outside my mind has attacked me. If I see any of these thoughts in my mind, I am quick to look with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to show me another way to see. I will not keep those thoughts because I am not giving up my peace of mind again. ⁵It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. ⁶Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.My choice. I will choose wisely.
“It can be but myself I crucify. When this is firmly understood and kept in full awareness, you will not attempt to harm yourself, nor make your body slave to vengeance. You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself.”
It may be helpful to read this first paragraph (above) from today’s lesson slowly several times.
There is a crazy idea in the mind that our salvation lies in attacking someone (or something) outside of our self. Today’s lesson calls this idea a “form of madness you believe.”
The best way to see this is true is to pay attention. Pay attention when you attack someone (or something), regardless of whether you attack physically, verbally or with your thoughts. Pay attention for the feeling or idea that you can gain something through attack. Maybe you think you can get your way, and that will make you feel safe or happy. Maybe there is a feeling that you rise up as you put others down. Maybe you feel you are protecting someone or some important value. Regardless of what it is that you think you may gain, notice that you believe your salvation lies in attack.
You Crucify Yourself
Next, notice that you actually crucify yourself whenever you attack. Pay close attention to how you feel when you attack. Is that joy? Peace? Love? Or are your emotions more negative? You probably feel anger, jealousy, lack, annoyance, resentment or some other type of upset. At best you may feel righteous indignation. Aren’t those feelings types of suffering? Aren’t you actually creating your own suffering through attack?
Attack is not salvation. Attack is a form of self-sabotage. To see this clearly is the first step in letting go of attack forever.
Today’s lesson says, “Today’s idea is one step we take in leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom.” When you see how you keep yourself in bondage through attack, you also see how sensible this statement is.
It Is Not Time We Need
The lesson also says, “It is not time we need for this. It is but willingness.”
Time has nothing to do with giving up attack. Willingness is everything. Without willingness, we can go a very long time with no change in our attack habits. With great willingness, we can give up attack instantaneously. We can become willing to give up attack when we see that we do not gain through attack; we increase our own pain.
If you have an attack habit, it is helpful to pause every hour and look back on the last hour to see if there were any recent attacks. If there were attacks in the last hour, inquire into them. What did you think you’d gain through attack? What did you actually receive, happiness or prolonged agitation?
At the very least, review the day at the end of each day, and inquire into the attacks you find in your review.
By bringing right-awareness to your attack habit, the willingness to let go of the habit will increase. As willingness increases, you will begin to find ways (feel intuitive guidance) to let go before you attack.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 196 click here.
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