Introduction to Lessons 181-200
Our next few lessons make a special point of firming up your willingness to make your weak commitment strong; your scattered goals blend into one intent. You are not asked for total dedication all the time as yet. But you are asked to practice now in order to attain the sense of peace such unified commitment will bestow, if only intermittently. It is experiencing this that makes it sure that you will give your total willingness to following the way the course sets forth.
Our lessons now are geared specifically to widening horizons, and direct approaches to the special blocks that keep your vision narrow, and too limited to let you see the value of our goal. We are attempting now to lift these blocks, however briefly. Words alone can not convey the sense of liberation which their lifting brings. But the experience of freedom and of peace that comes as you give up your tight control of what you see speaks for itself. Your motivation will be so intensified that words become of little consequence. You will be sure of what you want, and what is valueless.
And so we start our journey beyond words by concentrating first on what impedes your progress still. Experience of what exists beyond defensiveness remains beyond achievement while it is denied. It may be there, but you cannot accept its presence. So we now attempt to go past all defenses for a little while each day. No more than this is asked because no more than this is needed. It will be enough to guarantee the rest will come.
INITIAL INSIGHT: My commitment is nearly total. Nothing else matters to me very much. I still do all the things I have always done, but they are just things I do while I watch my mind for the hidden beliefs that still need to be undone. But this was not always the case. My commitment began weak and strengthened as my mind cleared and I saw how wonderful it is to live with certainty more than with doubt and fear.
Something I have noticed which strengthens my confidence is that while I still hear the voice of the ego, and still attend it at times, I very quickly recognize what is happening and choose differently. At one time I was happy when I could let go of a grievance in only a few days, and now I am willing to let go quickly, usually in minutes if not right away.
I found it encouraging to read the Holy Spirit’s words in NTI Matthew about letting go of thoughts. He said:
Let me tell you that it may not be that easy. For the belief that spawns the thoughts is like a deep root with you, and where you cut off its leaves, more will rise up to take their place. Be prepared to let go of many leaves, but know they will come back until the day you rid yourself of their root.
The belief in separateness and differences is the root you must let go.
So even though I let go of thoughts others will come to take their place because I still believe in separation. This is good to realize because the ego insists that because I still hear these wrong-minded thoughts I am guilty and will never learn. The ego is wrong about that. And this is what Jesus is asking us to do now. He wants us to look with the Holy Spirit at those beliefs, the ones that block our peace and let them be stripped away. In this way, we will get to the root.
Another section in Matthew that is helping me to accept where I am and to be encouraged is this:
The choice you make will seem to be made many times with complete sincerity and truth of heart. And then you will seem to slip and forget the choice you made. Do not let this distress you. Simply make the choice again.
And so there you go. The only moment that matters is this one. So what if I forgot and went back to ego thinking a moment ago. That is nothing to be concerned about. This moment is the one in which I get to choose again.
DAILY APPLICATION: By this time in the lessons, a lot of work toward sorting out the valuable from the valueless and making a decision to discard what is not valuable has been done. But there is more work to be done on this front. Every time I think there is nothing I would not release, I come across another idea that needs my attention. The difference now is that I am certain I want to find these beliefs and look at them with the Holy Spirit. I am certain that I will release them. And, I never waste time feeling guilty about them anymore.
This happened to me the other day at a group meeting in which forgiveness was the topic of discussion. Someone talked about a relationship that had been completely healed and the situation in the relationship triggered something in me. I had this thought, How could she forgive that?” My next thought was, “Holy cow, where did that come from???” I was, frankly, shocked. I had no idea that thought was in my mind. I honestly cannot remember the last time I had any hesitation to forgive. Finding that thought is like mining for gold and hitting the motherlode.
I have been working on this idea with the Holy Spirit. I have asked to see the source of the issue, looking for the root cause. Again, using the metaphor of mining for gold, I see myself as a prospector with a sieve like in old westerns. I’m bent over the river of my thoughts shaking my sieve, letting most of the mind chatter flow through but catching a few of the more relevant thoughts. Then I pick through them until I put together a picture of the problem with its different elements.
Once that is done, I ask the Holy Spirit for clarity and for direction in how to see this situation differently. Talking to a friend this morning, I am sharing my process with her and she says something that is very helpful and another piece of the puzzle falls into place. I notice a fear thought hiding in my mind, the fear that complete forgiveness will leave me vulnerable. There, finally is the last piece falling into place. Now, my work is done and I am ready to release the belief as I see it. I release it and my Holy Self takes it from there leaving me with a profound sense of peace.
INSIGHTS FROM HOLY SPIRIT: Here is something else that is happening. I was feeling uneasy yesterday and there was no reason that I could think of for this to be happening, but I was willing to see it. I was given a single thought. It wasn’t in words but my mind translated it to mean that in a particular area I lacked faith. It happened quickly and then was gone.
But I really do want to heal completely and so a little later, the idea came into my mind again, more fully formed and this time, I looked with Jesus. I talked about it with him for a little while and then I let it go not feeling like it was complete, but not feeling anything that really helped. Still, I trusted something would shift. This morning, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw the reason I wasn’t being faithful was that I was looking at the illusion for proof. I had to smile because that is such a common error and I fell for it.
I also realized how I am being reassured and comforted and answered in many little ways. I am being shown that everything is fine and not to worry. I have been feeling fuzzy headed lately and I just realized it is because I am trying to hear both voices at the same time and this is why I am not feeling the clarity that I am used to. Holy Spirit, please heal my mind of this nonsense. I will to hear only Your Voice.
GRATITUDE: I am not alone and I am safe. I am grateful.
The introduction to lessons 181 – 200 setup our goals for the next 20 days.
- Widen the horizons of our vision
- Take direct approaches to uncover the blocks that keep our vision narrow
- Lift those blocks, however briefly, in order to experience the sense of liberation that comes when the blocks are removed
- Intensify our motivation for freedom
It is good to pause before beginning lesson 181 to ask ourselves if we will accept these goals as our goals. We are not asked to add these goals to the list of goals that we have already set for ourselves. We are asked to change our minds about our goals. Are we willing to see the goals we had previously set for ourselves as unimportant, and adopt these goals as our only goals now?
Clearly, I have accepted these goals as my own. I still do the things I need to do in this place of time and space. But none of that is a goal I have. My only goal is to wake up from all belief in this illusion. Everything that helps with this has my highest priority. Temporary confusion does not change that.