ACIM Daily Lesson 133 I will not value what is valueless.
I will not value what is valueless.
ACIM Lesson 133
I will not value what is valueless.
1. Sometimes in teaching there is benefit, particularly after you have gone through what seems theoretical and far from what the student has already learned, to bring him back to practical concerns. ²This we will do today. ³We will not speak of lofty, world-encompassing ideas, but dwell instead on benefits to you.
2. You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. ²When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness. ³This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have. ⁴It does not try to substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains. ⁵There are no satisfactions in the world.
I Didn’t Want to Be True
When I first began to sort the valuable from the valueless, I had a hard time with it because I didn’t really want to see that the world had nothing to offer me. I wanted to keep some things that I treasured. I wanted to be a certain size and have nice things. AndI wanted to be admired and respected. I wanted to have more money. Honestly, I can’t remember all the things I thought would make me happy.
After all, he just said that I ask for too little and that the course doesn’t want to take what little I have. What I didn’t want to notice is the part where he also says that I spend too much time on bodily concerns and things to buy. And where he says that there is no satisfaction in the world. I just didn’t want that to be true.
I Have Only Two Choices
3. Today we list the real criteria by which to test all things you think you want. ²Unless they meet these sound requirements, they are not worth desiring at all, for they can but replace what offers more. ³The laws that govern choice you cannot make, no more than you can make alternatives from which to choose. ⁴The choosing you can do; indeed, you must. ⁵But it is wise to learn the laws you set in motion when you choose, and what alternatives you choose between.
4. We have already stressed there are but two, however many there appear to be. ²The range is set, and this we cannot change. ³It would be most ungenerous to you to let alternatives be limitless, and thus delay your final choice until you had considered all of them in time; and not been brought so clearly to the place where there is but one choice that must be made.
I Must Choose Between Ego and Holy Spirit
We must make choices, that is why we are here. Jesus is helping us to understand the process so that we will make choices that take us out of the endless stories. Referencing Rules for Decision again we read this.
You 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)
When we make choices, Jesus isn’t talking about deciding which item in your closet to keep or what diet will work best. He is talking about choosing between ego or Holy Spirit. That is the range of choices we have. Do we want to keep the world going as we make endless useless choices that never bring us to God? Or do we want to make the one choice that will bring us happiness and peace of mind? Do we want to make the one choice that will wake us up?
There Is No Compromise
5. Another kindly and related law is that there is no compromise in what your choice must bring. ²It cannot give you just a little, for there is no in between. ³Each choice you make brings everything to you or nothing. ⁴Therefore, if you learn the tests by which you can distinguish everything from nothing, you will make the better choice.
Choosing another form of nothing is going to bring us more nothing. If I value the world even a little, I will have nothing. If I value the truth only, I will have everything. There is no way to keep one foot in the world and know my Self and my Creator. And only this will satisfy me. Anything less leaves me with this void that I cannot fill no matter how much I own or how entertaining the distractions of the world.
Will It Last Forever
6. First, if you choose a thing that will not last forever, what you chose is valueless. ²A temporary value is without all value. ³Time can never take away a value that is real. ⁴What fades and dies was never there, and makes no offering to him who chooses it. ⁵He is deceived by nothing in a form he thinks he likes.
What is there in the world that lasts forever? What can end or be lost already comes with a cost. Have you ever worried about someone you love, feared for their life or their health? I have and the moment the thought of loss enters my mind, I have lost my peace of mind. Houses, no matter how lovely or expensive, sometimes burn down. Sometimes a change of fortune causes their loss. And sometimes the satisfaction of ownership fades and loses its attraction. The most beautiful people, the wealthiest, the most highly regarded, all die in the end. There is nothing in the world that lasts and so there is nothing in the world worth having. I will not be deceived by nothing in a form I like.
I Will Not Take From Another
7. Next, if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left. ²This is because, when you deny his right to everything, you have denied your own. ³You therefore will not recognize the things you really have, denying they are there. ⁴Who seeks to take away has been deceived by the illusion loss can offer gain. ⁵Yet loss must offer loss, and nothing more.
If I take what belongs to another, I have taught myself that loss is possible and so I will have taught myself to fear. When I worked in sales, the idea was to gain customers by enticing them to buy from me and not someone else. There was the adrenalin rush when I stole my competitor’s customer that for a while, I thought was pleasure.
It never lasted, of course, and when the adrenalin faded, I felt let down. Then the fear would set in because if I could steal, I could be stolen from and suffer the consequences. The world is made up of this kind of gain that turns to loss. It is discouraging and stressful. No one wins.
Only the gifts of God bring true joy and they do so because they are shared by all. God gives all to all and so there is nothing to covet and nothing to take. Instead, we share in our mutual happiness and so the happiness is increased.
What Is the Value of My Choice?
8. Your next consideration is the one on which the others rest. ²Why is the choice you make of value to you? ³What attracts your mind to it? ⁴What purpose does it serve? ⁵Here it is easiest of all to be deceived. ⁶For what the ego wants it fails to recognize. ⁷It does not even tell the truth as it perceives it, for it needs to keep the halo which it uses to protect its goals from tarnish and from rust, that you may see how “innocent” it is.
Eventually, I learned to do my job differently, but for most of the time I worked in sales, I told myself that I was just doing my job. Behind that reason, there were others that I hid from myself. In retrospect, I see that I was acting out of fear. I was afraid of not having enough money and of being fired. Besides, I enjoyed the sense of winning over others as I was very competitive in those days. I didn’t like admitting to that because I was a student of the Course and on that level, it seemed wrong. I was trying to keep one foot in the world and the other in reality and it didn’t work.
My Errors Are Not Sins
9. Yet is its camouflage a thin veneer, which could deceive but those who are content to be deceived. ²Its goals are obvious to anyone who cares to look for them. ³Here is deception doubled, for the one who is deceived will not perceive that he has merely failed to gain. ⁴He will believe that he has served the ego’s hidden goals.
10. Yet though he tries to keep its halo clear within his vision, still must he perceive its tarnished edges and its rusted core. ²His ineffectual mistakes appear as sins to him, because he looks upon the tarnish as his own; the rust a sign of deep unworthiness within himself. ³He who would still preserve the ego’s goals and serve them as his own makes no mistakes, according to the dictates of his guide. ⁴This guidance teaches it is error to believe that sins are but mistakes, for who would suffer for his sins if this were so?
The Ego Hides Its Motives
Beneath my apparent successes and the pleasure it brought me to win, there was the fear that I was bad. I was deliberately taking pleasure in hurting others and this felt like a sin. The ego never sees mistakes only sins and sin demands punishment. It was like living with an ax poised over my head, just waiting for it to fall. Because I felt like a thief, I kept expecting to lose customers and to be fired for that loss. It was pretty unlikely I would be fired considering I worked for my brother but the ego doesn’t make sense, it just makes fear. I did not think all this out at the time because the ego also hides its motives and projects its blame.
If I Feel Any Guilt…
11. And so we come to the criterion for choice that is the hardest to believe, because its obviousness is overlaid with many levels of obscurity. ²If you feel any guilt about your choice, you have allowed the ego’s goals to come between the real alternatives. ³And thus you do not realize there are but two, and the alternative you think you chose seems fearful, and too dangerous to be the nothingness it actually is.
Eventually, it was the sense of guilt that I carried even more than it was the fear that turned me around. I had begun to realize that guilt is a sign that I have chosen poorly and needed to see things differently. I learned to be a different kind of salesperson and I no longer took pleasure in stealing customers. Instead, I decided that if a customer belonged to me then he would choose me. I eventually began to want only what was best for my customer and if it was a different company, I was happy for him. My job was a very valuable classroom for me, it turns out.
What Is the Gain to Me?
12. All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of being sought at all, entirely desirable or not worth the slightest effort to obtain. ²Choosing is easy just because of this. ³Complexity is nothing but a screen of smoke, which hides the very simple fact that no decision can be difficult. ⁴What is the gain to you in learning this? ⁵It is far more than merely letting you make choices easily and without pain.
I did not reach this level of understanding and acceptance while I was still working. But that job gave me many opportunities to move toward it. In spite of losing my cut-throat attitude that had served the ego so well, I seldom lost customers and gained new ones. New customers came my way and many of them became my friends. I had moments when I felt the old desire to win and moments of fear. But I had looked behind the curtain and seen that the ego was nothing. I became certain that it offered nothing and that certainty continued to grow. Now I know how to choose.
I Come with Empty Hands and an Open Mind
13. Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own. ²We will attempt to reach this state today, with self-deception laid aside, and with an honest willingness to value but the truly valuable and the real. ³Our two extended practice periods of fifteen minutes each begin with this:
⁴I will not value what is valueless, and only what has value do I seek, for only that do I desire to find.
I Only Want God
14. And then receive what waits for everyone who reaches, unencumbered, to the gate of Heaven, which swings open as he comes. ²Should you begin to let yourself collect some needless burdens, or believe you see some difficult decisions facing you, be quick to answer with this simple thought:
³I will not value what is valueless, for what is valuable belongs to me.
The only thing I want now is God. There are things to be done in the world and I do them, but they are not important to me. Failing at them or succeeding are both the same to me. I enjoy my home and I like my car. I love my family and I love my fellow students of the Course. But enjoying things and people is not the same as thinking I could not be happy without them. It is chasing that feeling of neediness that is the hallmark of choosing the ego over God. When I notice that happening, I sit in silence until the Holy Spirit corrects my thinking and I am at peace again.
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