I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P 5
5 I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that I was persecuted as the world judges, and did not share this evaluation for myself. And because I did not share it, I did not strengthen it. I therefore offered a different interpretation of attack, and one which I want to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help me teach it.
I am like Jesus and he is like me. Of course, we are alike as spirit. When I am identified with ego we are not alike, as he has stopped believing in the ego. No matter that I am not the ego and that I am like Jesus, I will not feel like I am spirit and act like I am spirit until I make the decision that Jesus made. I believe it is possible to do this because Jesus did it, and because he did it, it is done and the only thing for me to do is to choose to remember. Shoot, he even gave me an instruction manual through A Course in Miracles.
Right now in the Course, Jesus is helping us to understand what he wanted us to learn from his crucifixion, and it is very different from what I learned on my own. What I took away from the crucifixion story is that God wants me to suffer on his behalf and I have good reason to fear Him. No matter how blameless my life, in the end I will wind up on the cross. I also learned that no matter how much I suffer at the hands of another I must be forgiving. Martyrdom is the goal.
What I have learned from the Course is a much different interpretation of the crucifixion. Jesus meant it to be such an extreme example that I could not miss the meaning. He must have sighed in frustration at my obtuseness. Or maybe not, maybe he expected to have to come back with further explanations.
His intention was to show that no matter what someone does to the body, nothing has been done. Since nothing has been done, there is no reason to feel persecuted. There was no victim in his story, and if even in the most extreme of circumstances there was no victim, then there must be a better way to perceive the circumstances of my life.
I am finally learning this lesson. I still feel persecuted sometimes, but I always know this is not true, and I ask that my mind be healed. There is never a circumstance, so far, which leaves me thinking that this time I really am a victim, no matter how I feel. When I have that feeling of being victimized, feeling sad about it and afraid, wanting to blame someone, I recognize it for what it is, the ego mind interpreting circumstances according to its beliefs. That in no way makes it true.
When I was married I really thought I was a victim to my husband. I thought his behavior caused me to be unhappy. I knew the Course said that I was never a victim of the world I see, but I made my circumstances special. I just couldn’t see how he wasn’t at fault. All the evidence pointed to his guilt.
However, as I continued my study of the Course, allowing my mind to be healed, my faith in Jesus overcame my desire to be a victim and to have someone to blame. I kept bringing all my proof to the Holy Spirit and asking Him to correct my thinking. It took awhile for me to become willing to accept the Atonement in this case, but eventually I did so. Now I can’t see him as guilty. If he isn’t guilty, I am not a victim.
By letting go of my victim stories one at a time as I was ready, I slowly began to realize that I can’t be victimized. Only a body with a story can be victimized, and I am spirit. I am beyond stories. I can tell stories, and I can believe my stories, but eventually, I must let the stories go and be what I am, the teller of stories not the victim of the stories.
Because I am more aware now, my victim stories are generally more subtle and I recognize them as I notice anxiety in myself. My kids and I have busy lives and don’t always see and talk to each other every day, but we have patterns and when a pattern is broken I notice. My youngest daughter had not called me lately and when I texted her she answered but didn’t seem engaged in the conversation.
I didn’t pay much attention at first, but the ego questioned this behavior and worried at it with thoughts like, she must be mad at me and I wonder what I did to make her not call. The ego brought up all my past transgressions and feelings of unworthiness. I felt sad and defeated. I noticed all these thoughts and all these feelings and I knew they were not true but I also felt them. That’s very strange, but it’s the way it happens now as I waver in my certainty and return to listening to the ego voice instead of only listening to the Voice for God.
This was not the focus of my attention, but it was like a gnat flying around my head that I tried to ignore, telling myself it wasn’t true. Once in a while I would think about her and the doubts and fears would come up, but then I would get back to my business as usual. Ignoring the ego mind as it drums up a case for its beliefs is not a good idea. It doesn’t go away and the story just gets bigger in the mind. I had reached the point that I was sure she was angry about something and it was just so unfair. I had worked up a good case of being unfairly treated, persecuted by my own daughter and condemned to being unloved.
The ridiculousness of the situation finally snapped me out of my foolishness and I stopped ignoring the situation. I sat down with Spirit and told him everything I was thinking. I told him what was happening and my ego interpretation of it. I asked that He heal my mind about this, and that He guide me to the right action.
Yesterday, without the burden of feeling like a victim, I was able to act out of love and not fear. I thought how much I missed going out to eat with my daughter and that we hadn’t done it in a long time. I texted her an invitation which she enthusiastically answered. It was like I was never her victim… because I wasn’t. Once again, I had but done it to myself.
This story might have had an altogether different ending if I had fallen for the ego interpretation of things and not questioned my beliefs. What if I went to her with my fearful beliefs and insisted she own up to her unfair persecution of me. Even if I had gently hinted at her guilt and her need to make amends, I would have been teaching her that we can be persecuted and this is not what I want to teach, because this is not what I want to learn. I am grateful that, while I can still be distracted by the ego, I cannot long be fooled by it. I look forward to the day when I only laugh at the ego.