II. Miracles As True Perception, P 1
1 I have stated that the basic concepts referred to in this course are not matters of degree. Certain fundamental concepts cannot be understood in terms of opposites. It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness or everything and nothing as joint possibilities. They are all true or all false. It is essential that you realize your thinking will be erratic until a firm commitment to one or the other is made. A firm commitment to darkness or nothingness, however, is impossible. No one has ever lived who has not experienced some light and some thing. No one, therefore, is able to deny truth totally, even if he thinks he can.
It was when I really understood that my commitment had to be total that the most recent shifts in my understanding occurred. Even though Jesus tells us this early in the Course, I just could not seem to grasp the idea for a long time. I am so used to the idea of “choices” that I could not understand a lack of degree, or the idea of no opposites.
Maybe the first time I began to accept that there could be no opposite or degree was when I read Lesson 152, The power of decision is my own. It says in part:
1 No one can suffer loss unless it be his own decision. No one suffers pain except his choice elects this state for him. No one can grieve nor fear nor think him sick unless these are the outcomes that he wants. And no one dies without his own consent. Nothing occurs but represents your wish, and nothing is omitted that you choose. Here is your world, complete in all details. Here is its whole reality for you. And it is only here salvation is.
2 You may believe that this position is extreme, and too inclusive to be true. Yet can truth have exceptions? If you have the gift of everything, can loss be real? Can pain be part of peace, or grief of joy? Can fear and sickness enter in a mind where love and perfect holiness abide? Truth must be all-inclusive, if it be the truth at all. Accept no opposites and no exceptions, for to do so is to contradict the truth entirely.
3 Salvation is the recognition that the truth is true, and nothing else is true.
I was a long way from fully accepting this as true when I read it, but something in me responded to this Lesson. Some part of me recognized the truth of it and knew how important these words were. Of course, the ego responded by reminding me that if this is true, then I am one guilty woman. It completely ignored that it was saying that I can only be what God created and everything else must be false. All the ego mind heard was that I had made a mess of things and had no one but myself to blame. Even so, I recognized that this lesson was my way Home.
At first, I spent some time insisting there must be exceptions to it. After all, there were so many things that have been part of my life that have nothing to do with me and my actions, and so many things I could not possibly be responsible for. I did finally come around to understanding that this Lesson was absolutely true, but to do that, I had to first accept that it is true always and in every case no matter what it looks like. I had to learn to disregard appearances and know that Jesus would not say this unless it was true.
From this place of rock steady faith, I was led to understandings so that I was finally able to see how it can be that I am responsible for all things in my awareness, and how knowing this can help me let go of the things that are not true. I learned to accept no opposites and no exceptions. When I became confused and could not understand how it is I was responsible, I learned not to say this can’t be true, but instead I would say, “How could this be true?” This represents a simple change in attitude, but the change that made the difference.
I am now firmly committed to certain principles. This certainty makes it easier to allow my mind to be healed. Yes, sometimes my first thought is that someone is guilty, and preferably someone else, but I don’t believe it and that thought is quickly followed by the conviction that I have but done this to myself and that it is meaningless. I gladly accept the Atonement in this situation and open my heart to Love asking that all I have done be undone.