Lesson 188 Year 2020

Lesson 188

The peace of God is shining in me now.

Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.

This light can not be lost. Why wait to find it in the future, or believe it has been lost already, or was never there? It can so easily be looked upon that arguments which prove it is not there become ridiculous. Who can deny the presence of what he beholds in him? It is not difficult to look within, for there all vision starts. There is no sight, be it of dreams or from a truer Source, that is not but the shadow of the seen through inward vision. There perception starts, and there it ends. It has no source but this.

The peace of God is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing, and leaves a blessing with it that remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts, and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give, and you who have received.

The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well. From you salvation radiates with gifts beyond all measure, given and returned. To you, the giver of the gift, does God Himself give thanks. And in His blessing does the light in you shine brighter, adding to the gifts you have to offer to the world.

The peace of God can never be contained. Who recognizes it within himself must give it. And the means for giving it are in his understanding. He forgives because he recognized the truth in him. The peace of God is shining in you now, and in all living things. In quietness is it acknowledged universally. For what your inward vision looks upon is your perception of the universe.

Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world, and let your thoughts fly to the peace within. They know the way. For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself.

These thoughts you think with Him. They recognize their home. And they point surely to their Source, Where God the Father and the Son are One. God’s peace is shining on them, but they must remain with you as well, for they were born within your mind, as yours was born in God’s. They lead you back to peace, from where they came but to remind you how you must return.

They heed your Father’s Voice when you refuse to listen. And they urge you gently to accept His Word for what you are, instead of fantasies and shadows. They remind you that you are the co-creator of all things that live. For as the peace of God is shining in you, it must shine on them.

We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home. We have betrayed them, ordering that they depart from us. But now we call them back, and wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes. We restore to them the holiness of their inheritance.

Thus are our minds restored with them, and we acknowledge that the peace of God still shines in us, and from us to all living things that share our life. We will forgive them all, absolving all the world from what we thought it did to us. For it is we who make the world as we would have it. Now we choose that it be innocent, devoid of sin and open to salvation. And we lay our saving blessing on it, as we say:

The peace of God is shining in me now.
Let all things shine upon me in that peace,
And let me bless them with the light in me.

INITIAL INSIGHT: The peace of God is a light in my mind that I brought with me to this world from my Source. Because it is in my mind, I cannot be without it, and so that I don’t see it, means that I have closed my eyes to it. I am beginning to open them now.

“There is no sight, be it of dreams or from a truer Source, that is not but the shadow of the seen through inward vision. There perception starts, and there it ends. It has no source but this.”

We are told that the way to see (Vision) is to go within. This is the reason that it is important and necessary to spend time in meditation. Jesus encourages us in this as through the daily lessons, he brings us along slowly increasing the amount of time we spend meditating on the lesson. In one lesson, he says go inward and find God. Every time I think about that it takes my breath away. Where is God? In me. Of course, the peace of God is shining in me now.

“The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well.”

This reminds me that what I give is given back to me. As it said to us in Lesson 187, “The truth maintains that giving will increase what you possess.” I give peace to the world and the world returns it to me. I always receive more than I give. And what is given from the heart extends without my direction or effort and it is eternal.

The peace of God that is shining in me now is synonymous with Enlightenment. When I accept it and allow it, I will know that I am enlightened. This is why Jesus can say that it removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. What I see is that Regina’s instructions to be enlightened now make perfect sense. She said being enlightened now has nothing to do with pretending you are awake. It is actually the only honest thing we do here. Our mind is enlightened and everything that seems to deny this is a lie.

“To you, the giver of the gift, does God Himself give thanks. And in His blessing does the light in you shine brighter, adding to the gifts you have to offer to the world.”

It is evidently necessary that we give what we have and the way we do this is to be enlightened now in all we say, think, and do. Be kind, be loving, be honest, be invulnerable to insult, be attentive to only those thoughts that are true, or reflect the truth. Do this and your life will reflect the enlightened mind and will brighten the light in other minds.

For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself.

These thoughts you think with Him. 

When I take my attention away from worldly thoughts, the thoughts in my mind are not accompanied by words. That makes sense because words are part of the illusion, symbols representing the thought. I can try to put words to the experience, but the best attempt is a poor job. The closest I can come is to say that I am finally at peace and that hardly describes it but will have to do.

“They heed your Father’s Voice when you refuse to listen. And they urge you gently to accept His Word for what you are, instead of fantasies and shadows. They remind you that you are the co-creator of all things that live.”

Jesus tells us is that these thoughts will lead us back to God. I can speak of this with more confidence than when I am talking about meditation. I hear this Voice when it seems to come as thoughts with words and just as clearly when there are no words. I recognize it as it guides me to say or do the thing that helps. I recognize it as the urge to move toward light instead of darkness.

I can no longer believe the thoughts that say I am guilty and lost. I can’t believe the thoughts that say I made a terrible mistake and there is no way to come back from it. I still hear those ideas in my mind, and maybe for a moment I will feel a sense of contraction, but the other Voice calls me back to reality. I feel an affinity for that Voice now and always move toward it.

“We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray.” 

I practice this disciplining of my thoughts all the time now. I understand that it is my choice where I place my attention. When I notice that my thoughts have strayed, I just shift my attention to what is actually happening. And if I need a word or a thought to help me, the Voice gives it to me and soon my mind has fallen in line with God again. It is taking some practice to master this, but it is easier than I would have thought.

DAILY APPLICATIONWe take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God.

Often in the mornings when I first wake up, I am aware of the chatter in the mind. It is especially active at that time and I didn’t think much of it. When I noticed it, I would reign it in but I didn’t think of it past that. This morning, the Holy Spirit asked me to look at it with him and this is what I did.

What surprised me is that I had not done this before. I suppose I had fallen into the habit of being much too tolerant of my mind wandering, at least at this one time of the day. What I saw when I looked with the Holy Spirit were attack thoughts. As I would try to grab hold of one it would slip away. So, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me them clearly.

The one he wanted me to look at came into focus. Someone dear to me has been in trouble and was looking to me to bail him out and not for the first time. I followed that thought, giving it words and realized I was uncomfortable with the ask. As I let the thought become words, I also realized that I was blaming him for my discomfort, as if he was holding a gun on me as he made the demands.

So, I released that thought since I know that my feelings are never caused by anyone or anything else. I accepted responsibility for how I felt. I then let myself feel what was beneath the desire to project. The feelings were of being attacked by his ask and fear of rejection if I said no. There was also fear I would make the wrong choice. I saw I didn’t trust my ability to discern what was best to do.

Once I had looked at all the feelings and the thoughts that sourced those feelings, I asked the Holy Spirit to heal my mind and show me another way to see this. I happily stepped back from dealing with this with the ego and waited for direction from the Holy Spirit. Immediately, I saw the next error. There was nothing for me to do because nothing was happening. All my previous distress was over something that might happen in the future. This brought me back to living in the present moment rather than planning for an unknown future with the ego as my guide.

INSIGHTS FROM HOLY SPIRIT: Holy Spirit, I am so grateful for your help with this. Please continue to show me the buried beliefs in my mind. I am ready to face them now. I trust You with the timing because You know me better than I do.

REGINA’S TIPS

Yesterday we practiced “Be enlightened now.” Today we notice enlightenment is what we are.

Today’s workbook lesson is very clear. It says, “Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. … The light can not be lost. Why wait to find it in the future, or believe it has been lost already, or was never there? … look within, for there all vision starts.”

And then the lesson gives us very clear instructions for what we are to do:

“Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has the power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world, and let your thoughts fly to the peace within. They know the way. For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself.”

Here, the Course makes clear why we practice awareness-watching-awareness meditation. “It alone has the power to give the gift of sight to you.”

Why is this practice so important?

Truth is ever-present. We’ve spent several days noticing that awareness-life-presence is ever-present. However, any human who chooses to be honest can also see that even though awareness-life-presence is ever-present, it can be ignored and forgotten (and typically is) when we focus on the outside world and our thoughts about the outside world.

The more focus we put on the outside world and our thoughts about the outside world, the more we are unaware of ever-present awareness-life-presence.

What can we do to reverse that?

Focus in reverse. Spend time each day ignoring the world and our thoughts about the world, and place attention directly with awareness-life-presence.

If you look at this simple teaching without resistance, it makes perfect sense.

Today’s lesson tells us that perception’s source is awareness-life-presence. That’s true. Without awareness-life-presence, you could not perceive the sound of a bird’s song or the sound of waves rolling onto the beach, the sight of a beautiful sunset or the sight of a herd of deer moving through the pines, etc. Therefore, you can always take short breaks from thought throughout the day to notice that you are awareness-life-presence. However, concentrated time noticing this fact while ignoring everything else is most helpful. I recommend both concentrated time in awareness-watching-awareness meditation and short glimpses throughout the day.

Today’s lesson makes two points that I would like to highlight:

First, while pointing to the practice of awareness-watching-awareness, it mentions that this practice reminds us we are the “co-creator of all things that live.” Usually, when people refer to us as co-creators, they are talking about our thoughts. For example, our hate thoughts help co-create the images of hate in the world, etc. However, today’s lesson refers to a more fundamental nature of creation. It points out that all things are awareness-life-presence, as we are. Our fundamental nature is the fundamental nature of all things. In this way, nothing is separate from us and everything is an extension of what we are.

Secondly, today’s lesson says, “Who recognizes it within himself must give it. And the means for giving it are in his understanding. He forgives because he recognized the truth in him.” In other words, one who recognizes that he is awareness-life-presence lives ‘be enlightened now’ instead of living from attachment to his thoughts.

Today we will continue our basic practices while remembering, “The peace of God is shining in me now.” We will practice awareness-watching-awareness meditation. We will pause and glimpse awareness-life-presence throughout the day, and we will ‘be enlightened now’ including practicing self-inquiry as needed.

MY THOUGHTS

Sometimes, the first thing I have to do with Regina’s tips is to interpret the meaning of certain terms she uses. Awareness-life-presence, for instance, means to me that I am awareness and I am aware. At one time that was hard for me to understand. I thought of myself in terms of a body. Even when I thought of being out of a body, as in being spirit, I thought of spirit as having form.

Now I think in terms of being a Thought in the mind of God, of being an Idea in the Mind of God, and that has no form and makes more sense to me. Awareness is just another way to say this. I am Awareness itself. And, I am aware. I am sometimes aware of Awareness as opposed to aware of the world. This is what Regina calls awareness watching awareness (AWA) meditation.

In the second part of this, Regina refers to life. This is another way of seeing ourselves, as life. Life is everywhere, in us and around us. I am life, the grass is life, the birds are life. This perspective makes it easy to see how we are all one. If I am life and the grass is life, there is no difference and no gap between us. If I am life and this body ceases to exist, life does not cease and so I haven’t ceased to exist. I am part of life and life is everywhere.

Presence is the third part. I’m not sure how Regina defines this. I think of Presence as my Self. I would probably use the word Christ Consciousness. So, awareness-life-presence is my true Self. So, with this in mind, I understand that (my) true essence is always present but I can ignore it and pretend to be human with all that incurs. I do that when I focus on the outside world, so naturally, if I want to change this, I shift my focus to the inner world through meditation, primarily, though it can also be experienced to a lesser degree as we move through our daily activities.

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