ACIM Daily Lesson 210. I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
ACIM Lesson 210
I am not a body. I am free
For I am still as God created me.
1. (190) I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
²Pain is my own idea. ³It is not a Thought of God, but one I thought apart from Him and from His Will. ⁴His Will is joy, and only joy for His beloved Son. ⁵And that I choose, instead of what I made.
⁶I am not a body. ⁷I am free.
⁸For I am still as God created me.
There is physical pain, and then there is emotional pain. Neither is natural to us. Both are caused by our thoughts. When we make decisions with our ego rather than with the Holy Spirit, we set ourselves up for suffering. If we have a strong practice of noticing our thoughts, we will learn to reject those that are not true and to keep only those that reflect the Thoughts of God.
From Rules for Decision
In the Rules for Decision in Chapter 30 of the Text, Jesus tells us that we make decisions continuously. Here is what he says about this.
⁷You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. ⁸For they are made with idols or with God. ⁹And you ask help of anti-Christ or Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do. (ACIM, T-30.I.14:7-9)
³You always ask advice before you can decide on anything. (ACIM, T-30.I.15:3)
⁴Nothing can be caused without some form of union, be it with a dream of judgment or the Voice for God. (ACIM, T-30.I.16:4)
From studying and practicing the Rules for Decision, I have learned to make my decisions in union with the Holy Spirit. I have learned that He is the better advisor and that His interpretations are true. My trust in Him is unreserved. Both the ego and the Holy Spirit advice according to what they think would bring me happiness, but only the Holy Spirit knows what it is I need to be happy.
Proof the Ego Doesn’t Know Joy
I have plenty of history to examine to help me determine that the ego doesn’t know what will bring me joy. In making my decisions with the split mind, I went through periods of excessive drinking, casual drug experimentation, sex, and three marriages. I have sought happiness through the body, through business success, through more money, then less money, in surrounding myself with people, and when that didn’t bring me happiness, I tried solitude. There were hobbies and jobs, parenthood, and looking for love with no understanding of love. I have had a life full of seeking, and if I learned anything, it is that the ego has no idea how to achieve joy.
Surrendering to the Holy Spirit is what finally brought peace and joy into my life. I discovered that through consistent practice, I have instructed my mind to always turn to the Holy Spirit for advice. If I temporarily fall into old habits and depend on the split mind, the effect convinces me to quickly change my mind. I have come to value peace and happiness over any temporary pleasure I might feel when following the ego. The Holy Spirit has not always guided me to what I thought I wanted, but always to what brought me joy in the long run. It is joy that God means for me to have.
We Choose Our Experience
It is always up to us what choices we make, and these choices will determine for us and all of the Sonship whether we will remain in this hell we made or wake up from it. We are in charge.
³Having chosen to go that way, you place yourself in charge of the journey, where you and only you must remain. (ACIM, T-6.V-A.6:3)
⁴You have a Guide to how to develop them (abilities), but you have no commander except yourself. ⁵This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom, with both a Guide to find it and a means to keep it. (ACIM, T-6.IV.9:4-5)
³Today’s idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are. (ACIM, W-70.2:3)
It behooves us to learn to make all our decisions with the Holy Spirit so that they will bring us Home rather than take us down more dead-end roads.
How I Make a World of Pain and How I Undo It
This is from my journal of 2015.
I have used Lesson 190 to work on the idea of pain very often, to the point that I have completely released a number of long-term physical and emotional problems. Recently, I have had some pain in my body, and the Holy Spirit asked me to look at the source of the pain.
Here is an example of how this worked for me yesterday. I had an achy feeling and pain in my legs and feet. This feeling has shown up a lot lately. The ego-mind was thinking about what was causing it. It considered what I was doing lately that might have triggered the pain and what physical illness could have these symptoms.
I reminded myself that the mind uses these kinds of things (symptoms that occur with certain diseases) to make the problem seem reasonable, and so continue the illusion of being the victim. But the problem is always in the mind, not the world. So I started using Lesson 190 again, reminding myself that pain is not real, that if pain is real, God is not. The Holy Spirit sent me thoughts. For instance, I noticed the question in my mind, “Who am I?” I know this was to remind me that I am the maker of my world. I could feel the Holy Spirit guiding me to look more deeply. I thought about Lesson 325.
All things I think I see reflect ideas.
This is salvation’s keynote: What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own. From insane wishes comes an insane world.
Asking for Help to Recognize the Point of Choice
I asked the Holy Spirit to help me see the belief that sourced the thought from which I made this image of Myron in pain. Then I let go of the filters I use to defend myself from the truth and just let myself feel what was going on with me. I felt tears begin and I was discouraged and sad. I felt rage rush through me. Add to that how hot it is and how tired I am. had spent the day working in the heat, and I resented it.
So this is the image I had made. “I am a victim of my job and trapped and can’t get out. I am so miserable and tired that my body aches. It is unfair, and I feel so unloved and alone. I feel helpless before these circumstances.” Up until now, I have projected this image, decided it was real, valued it, and defended it by not acknowledging where it came from and thus keeping it.
The Thought Will Show Us the Belief
Then I backed up further to see what is the belief that sourced these thoughts that I then used to make the image of Myron the victim. Of course, there is the belief that I am a victim of the world I see, and so I have projected my unhappiness onto the world I made. There is the belief that I am unfairly treated, which is a projection onto my job, my boss, and so on. Before either of these beliefs is the belief that I am unloved and unworthy of better, and this comes from the belief that I am guilty of separating from God. This is the ultimate projection; God is doing this to me in retribution for my betrayal of Him.
I did a good job of looking at this with the Holy Spirit. I allowed myself to feel it fully and my mind to see what I had made, how I made it, and why I made it. Now it was time to correct this, to accept the Atonement for it. Here is what Lesson 325 says about undoing it.
“From judgment comes a world condemned. And from forgiving thoughts, a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on and help his brothers walk ahead with him and find the way to Heaven and to God.”
With a gentle laugh, I forgave myself for my choices, and I forgave the image I made. I asked the Holy Spirit to remove from my mind the belief I could ever be a victim or that I want to be one. I asked Him to remove from my mind the belief that God does not love me and that He abandoned me here in this hellish place in my mind to suffer and then die. Amd I asked the Holy Spirit to keep reminding me that I am my Father’s child and that He loves me and I love Him. I also asked the Holy Spirit to keep reminding me of who I am when I start to think the world is doing something to me.
Another entry from the past.
Our Father, Your ideas reflect the truth, and mine apart from Yours but make up dreams. ²Let me behold what only Yours reflect, for Yours and Yours alone establish truth. (ACIM, W-325.2:1-2)
I have experienced instant relief from physical pain as I remembered and accepted the truth of this statement. Interestingly enough, I notice that I often still choose to simply reach for a pill rather than give thought to the truth. When I catch myself doing this, I question my beliefs. Am I so determined to keep my painful kingdom in place? I am reminded that this is a form of death and that it is an example of my attraction to death. Please heal my mind, God.
Dealing with Anxiety
I am getting better at this. I am learning to notice these thoughts and to choose true healing. One day, I was having a hard day. Two people I love were in a bad place, one, in particular, was suffering. I became focused on the story and so began to suffer with him. I remember thinking that if I had a Xanax, I would take it and would stifle these fear thoughts.
Instead, I began doing the correction given us in the Rules for Decision. I saw that this emotional pain is no different from physical pain. The correction is no different. I am glad that I had only two options, I could continue suffering or ask for healing. Pills are sometimes a temporary help, but they only disguise the pain. They do not heal, so the problem returns in one way or another. Please heal my mind, God.
The ego loves its dramas and its solutions. It makes up the stories, tells me what they mean, and then offers me solutions for the meanings it chose. The ego’s solutions never point to love because it doesn’t know what love is. It never points to the truth of what I am because it doesn’t know what I am. The ego thinks we are one and the same. But I am not this body. I am as God created me. Thank you, God!
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 210 click here.
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