III. Atonement and Miracles, P 6
6 You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.
I used to wonder about the Golden Rule. Back in the day (before the Course) I would think about treating others like I treated myself and knew that could not be what Jesus had in mind. I had very low self-esteem and was depressed more than not. This led to a lot of self-destructive behavior. I didn’t think that Jesus meant for me to treat others the way I treated myself or the way I thought I should be treated.
Strangely enough, it never occurred to me that I should question how I felt about myself. My behavior toward myself seemed appropriate to me because of how badly I felt about myself. I behaved badly because I didn’t think much of myself and then I used the bad behavior to prove that I wasn’t worth much. This circular thinking is very typical of the ego but at the time I didn’t know anything about that.
I did recognize that my behavior toward others was often inappropriate in that it was not kind and loving. I just didn’t know what to do about it. I tried to be a good person but often failed in my eyes to meet that goal. This just provided me with further proof that I was a bad person. At that time I didn’t know that I would perceive others in the same way I perceived myself and that I would behave according to my perceptions.
Perhaps it was my innate desire to do better with the people in my life that opened my mind just a little so that some light could get in. When I was ready, A Course in Miracles showed up in my life and I embraced it. Looking back on it I see that this full and immediate acceptance of the Course was a miracle. I didn’t think of the desire to be a better person as a prayer, but of course, it was. That prayer was answered through A Course in Miracles.
My prayer was to be a better person, to treat others better, to be happier, to behave better, and eventually, all of these prayers were answered. I learned that these ideals were not the ultimate goal, but were the effects of reaching that goal. As I embraced my holiness I saw that all else was given to me. Considering the state of my mind when I started, the very idea that I could see myself as holy, the miracle of it all, is absolutely amazing.
The Golden Rule says that whatever I wish others would do to me, that is what I should do to them. If my mind is centered on ego I will think very little of myself and will think I deserve very little from others. What I think is what I experience so I will be as badly treated as I think I deserve. Being badly treated, I will both defend through an attack and so treat others badly, and will at the same time have my original premise reinforced.
If I am badly treated I believe I must deserve that treatment. When it becomes overwhelming I project it outward onto others. I see them as the cause of my misery completely forgetting that the whole cycle began with me. Now that we are back to me, let’s look at the way to break the cycle. As we go back to the central idea from yesterday we find our answer.
Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.
I am in a state of grace forever. I am very holy. Just as from a perspective of unworthiness I saw proof of unworthiness everywhere I looked, from this new perspective of holiness, I look out at the world and see holiness. The miracle is not that everyone suddenly became holy, but that I suddenly recognized my own holiness and so was able to recognize the holiness of everyone else. Could it have always been that simple? Apparently so.
The ego is constantly waging a war against my holiness, trying to convince me otherwise and pull me back to the dark side, but I am not interested, or at least I am not convinced. I do respond to the seeming proof of my guilt from time to time, but I don’t believe it anymore so it can’t hold my attention for long.
The more certain I am of my holiness, the more certain I am of yours. Would I ever consider treating your holy self badly? Would I consider treating my holy self badly? Absolutely not! So if my behavior is not appropriate to our state of holiness, then I must have slipped back into the ego briefly and am temporarily confused about our identities, so don’t take it personally. It is obviously not about you, but about me. You haven’t changed. You are holy now and forever. I just forgot, for the moment, who I was. ~smile~