Lesson 138 2021

Lesson 138

Heaven is the decision I must make.

1. In this world Heaven is a choice, because here we believe there are alternatives to choose between. ²We think that all things have an opposite, and what we want we choose. ³If Heaven exists there must be hell as well, for contradiction is the way we make what we perceive, and what we think is real.

2. Creation knows no opposite. ²But here is opposition part of being “real.” ³It is this strange perception of the truth that makes the choice of Heaven seem to be the same as the relinquishment of hell. ⁴It is not really thus. ⁵Yet what is true in God’s creation cannot enter here until it is reflected in some form the world can understand. ⁶Truth cannot come where it could only be perceived with fear. ⁷For this would be the error truth can be brought to illusions. ⁸Opposition makes the truth unwelcome, and it cannot come.

Our perception of the world is one that does not support reality, but it is so consistent in its beliefs that it seems to us as if it is truth. It seems as if there are choices to be made including a choice for Heaven or a choice for hell. But creation doesn’t know any opposite and so what we experience here cannot be real. We don’t really have a choice because we are always choosing between what exists and what does not exist. Can non-existence really be a choice? We are always only choosing to believe in what doesn’t exist or in what does exist.

3. Choice is the obvious escape from what appears as opposites. ²Decision lets one of conflicting goals become the aim of effort and expenditure of time. ³Without decision, time is but a waste and effort dissipated. ⁴It is spent for nothing in return, and time goes by without results. ⁵There is no sense of gain, for nothing is accomplished; nothing learned.

The message here is pretty clear. Stop wasting time and it will stop wasting you. We are eternal and that means we are never going to die. Do we want to spend eternity observing life after life, with all its inevitable suffering and death? This will never stop until we decide to choose Heaven over hell. In the end, we will choose Heaven because as Jesus tells us, there is a limit to how much pain we can endure. Why not make that choice now? Why not start reviewing the corrected version of this story by choosing the Holy Spirit as your Guide and Interpreter rather than the ego.

4. You need to be reminded that you think a thousand choices are confronting you, when there is really only one to make. ²And even this but seems to be a choice. ³Do not confuse yourself with all the doubts that myriad decisions would induce. ⁴You make but one. ⁵And when that one is made, you will perceive it was no choice at all. ⁶For truth is true, and nothing else is true. ⁷There is no opposite to choose instead. ⁸There is no contradiction to the truth.

This morning I had ended a call I was on because my area was under a tornado warning. I needed a room without windows where I could sit it out if I heard the tornado coming my way. I had a couple of choices but decided on the closet. The danger seems to have passed for now, but there is a good possibility that I might have this same scenario again today.

The choice I had was to experience this in fear or in trust. I used to be afraid when things like this happened. Now I just do what is necessary and I get on with things. Every situation that I find myself in, no matter what needs to be done in the world, is always only a choice between love and fear.

5. Choosing depends on learning. ²And the truth cannot be learned, but only recognized. ³In recognition its acceptance lies, and as it is accepted it is known. ⁴But knowledge is beyond the goals we seek to teach within the framework of this course. ⁵Ours are teaching goals, to be attained through learning how to reach them, what they are, and what they offer you. ⁶Decisions are the outcome of your learning, for they rest on what you have accepted as the truth of what you are, and what your needs must be.

In order to learn to make good decisions, decisions that bring happiness and peace, we have to become aware of our goals and how to reach them. As Jesus says, decisions are the outcome of our learning, and most importantly, I think, they rest on what I think I am. I keep moving toward this fundamental truth; I am as God created me, I am His Son eternally. The more certain I become of this, the more apparent it is to me that I have only one choice in every case and that is to choose love and fear is not love.

6. In this insanely complicated world, Heaven appears to take the form of choice, rather than merely being what it is. ²Of all the choices you have tried to make this is the simplest, most definitive and prototype of all the rest, the one which settles all decisions. ³If you could decide the rest, this one remains unsolved. ⁴But when you solve this one, the others are resolved with it, for all decisions but conceal this one by taking different forms. ⁵Here is the final and the only choice in which is truth accepted or denied.

All through the years of study and practice of the Course, some things have remained consistent. I watch my thoughts carefully because I know all things begin as a thought. I release the ones that are not in alignment with my goals and allow the Holy Spirit to heal my mind. This is the thing that has not changed. But there have been a few ideas that have caused significant shifts in my life. One of the most important is the moment I realized that if I had only one goal it would make all decisions simple. I chose as my goal, the peace of God. This is actually another way to say that I chose Heaven.

Once that choice was made, I had a way of deciding in each circumstance what I wanted to come of the situation. No matter what seems to be happening, and how complicated the answer appears to be, I ask myself one question. Is this going to bring me the peace of God? If not, then I am not interested. It is irrelevant to me if the answer is no. This one decision alone, to always seek the peace of God, simplified everything. It also shifted my mind into a different way of thinking that prepared me for awakening.

7. So we begin today considering the choice that time was made to help us make. ²Such is its holy purpose, now transformed from the intent you gave it; that it be a means for demonstrating hell is real, hope changes to despair, and life itself must in the end be overcome by death. ³In death alone are opposites resolved, for ending opposition is to die. ⁴And thus salvation must be seen as death, for life is seen as conflict. ⁵To resolve the conflict is to end your life as well.

8. These mad beliefs can gain unconscious hold of great intensity, and grip the mind with terror and anxiety so strong that it will not relinquish its ideas about its own protection. ²It must be saved from salvation, threatened to be safe, and magically armored against truth. ³And these decisions are made unaware, to keep them safely undisturbed; apart from question and from reason and from doubt.

This is how it is for all of us until we begin to realize there is another way. We can learn to make the choice for Heaven as we practice with each situation. The only thing that holds us back is the belief we can make exceptions. If we believe we can love everyone except Donald Trump, or Joe Biden, then we have decided against Heaven. If we choose love in every situation except for the one where we have to forgive a grave injustice, we have made a decision for hell. If we surrender all of our life to God except for our children or for our weight or for the grievance we hold against someone we know, all the rest we surrendered will not give us Heaven.

9. Heaven is chosen consciously. ²The choice cannot be made until alternatives are accurately seen and understood. ³All that is veiled in shadows must be raised to understanding, to be judged again, this time with Heaven’s help. ⁴And all mistakes in judgment that the mind had made before are open to correction, as the truth dismisses them as causeless. ⁵Now are they without effects. ⁶They cannot be concealed, because their nothingness is recognized.

10. The conscious choice of Heaven is as sure as is the ending of the fear of hell, when it is raised from its protective shield of unawareness, and is brought to light. ²Who can decide between the clearly seen and the unrecognized? ³Yet who can fail to make a choice between alternatives when only one is seen as valuable; the other as a wholly worthless thing, a but imagined source of guilt and pain? ⁴Who hesitates to make a choice like this? ⁵And shall we hesitate to choose today?

In chapter 30 Jesus tells us that we make decisions continuously, not often, continuously. What changes for us in making these decisions is that we allow ourselves to become fully aware of what we are doing. When we choose out of fear, we are deliberately choosing to remain in hell unaware of our true Self. I no longer ever tell myself that something just happened and thereby making a victim of myself. I accept that through a wrong belief I am holding onto, I just made a choice for hell.

Through my practice, I have seen that choosing hell has no upside. So now I have two pieces of vital information. I know that I am the one choosing hell, and I have come to recognize it for what it is and so no longer value it. Now making a choice for Heaven is simple.

11. We make the choice for Heaven as we wake, and spend five minutes making sure that we have made the one decision that is sane. ²We recognize we make a conscious choice between what has existence and what has nothing but an appearance of the truth. ³Its pseudo-being, brought to what is real, is flimsy and transparent in the light. ⁴It holds no terror now, for what was made enormous, vengeful, pitiless with hate, demands obscurity for fear to be invested there. ⁵Now it is recognized as but a foolish, trivial mistake.

12. Before we close our eyes in sleep tonight, we reaffirm the choice that we have made each hour in between. ²And now we give the last five minutes of our waking day to the decision with which we awoke. ³As every hour passed, we have declared our choice again, in a brief quiet time devoted to maintaining sanity. ⁴And finally, we close the day with this, acknowledging we chose but what we want:

⁵Heaven is the decision I must make. ⁶I make it now, and will not change my mind, because it is the only thing I want.

(ACIM, W-138.1:1–12:6)