Pain Is Not Real
I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
1. Pain is a wrong perspective. ²When it is experienced in any form, it is a proof of self-deception. ³It is not a fact at all. ⁴There is no form it takes that will not disappear if seen aright. ⁵For pain proclaims God cruel. ⁶How could it be real in any form? ⁷It witnesses to God the Father’s hatred of His Son, the sinfulness He sees in him, and His insane desire for revenge and death.
Jesus starts off by telling us straight up that pain is not real but is just a wrong perception. If we choose to see with the Holy Spirit rather than with the ego, all pain in whatever form it takes disappears. I thought about the forms that pain takes. If my child is hurt, I hurt so that is mental pain. If my back hurts that is physical pain. If someone hurts my feelings, that is emotional pain.
2. Can such projections be attested to? ²Can they be anything but wholly false? ³Pain is but witness to the Son’s mistakes in what he thinks he is. ⁴It is a dream of fierce retaliation for a crime that could not be committed; for attack on what is wholly unassailable. ⁵It is a nightmare of abandonment by an Eternal Love, which could not leave the Son whom It created out of love.
3. Pain is a sign illusions reign in place of truth. ²It demonstrates God is denied, confused with fear, perceived as mad, and seen as traitor to Himself. ³If God is real, there is no pain. ⁴If pain is real, there is no God. ⁵For vengeance is not part of love. ⁶And fear, denying love and using pain to prove that God is dead, has shown that death is victor over life. ⁷The body is the Son of God, corruptible in death, as mortal as the Father he has slain.
Pain is but witness to the Son’s mistakes in what he thinks he is. If we want to be pain-free this is the way. We must know who we are. This is, of course, the reason we are here, to awaken to the truth of our being. Pain demonstrates that God is cruel and out to punish us for our sins. It demonstrates that we are abandoned by God. It proves that illusions reign in place of truth.
That is what the world represents, a place where we can go to let illusions be the truth. Then Jesus makes an uncompromising statement. He says that ³If God is real, there is no pain. ⁴If pain is real, there is no God. Pain is our way of abandoning God, of annihilating Him. No wonder we have so much hidden guilt and so much fear of God. We think we have destroyed Him and He has risen from His ashes to take revenge. It is absurd, as Jesus tells us in the next paragraph.
4. Peace to such foolishness! ²The time has come to laugh at such insane ideas. ³There is no need to think of them as savage crimes, or secret sins with weighty consequence. ⁴Who but a madman could conceive of them as cause of anything? ⁵Their witness, pain, is mad as they, and no more to be feared than the insane illusions which it shields, and tries to demonstrate must still be true.
The irony in today’s lesson for me is that I have spent nearly two weeks in back pain. I know it isn’t serious, just painful so I tried to wait it out, but I finally gave up on that and visited the doctor. But I don’t waste situations like that. I use them to remind myself of the truth. Pain didn’t just happen and I am not a victim of it. I also remember that I am not guilty that I did this to myself. It is all part of believing in the insane and is just confusion about who I am.
5. It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. ²Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. ³There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. ⁴No one but yourself affects you. ⁵There is nothing in the world that has the power to make you ill or sad, or weak or frail. ⁶But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see by merely recognizing what you are. ⁷As you perceive the harmlessness in them, they will accept your holy will as theirs. ⁸And what was seen as fearful now becomes a source of innocence and holiness.
Now here is the good news/bad news. ~smile~ The good news is that nothing can hurt me, nothing can cause me pain except my own desire for it. It is my thoughts alone that can cause me pain. That is good news because I am here to become enlightened as to what I am in truth and so I am undoing the thinking that is the cause of suffering.
The ego, however, looks at this as bad news and resists it. From the ego perspective, pain is a small price to pay to save me from God and to keep our little play going. It does not want me to know that I but do this to myself as Jesus keeps telling me. It wants me to believe in my victimhood so that I keep the battle going, holding onto my grievances and attacking in defense of this body image I think of as me.
Jesus answers this ego thinking with this. ⁶But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see by merely recognizing what you are. ⁷As you perceive the harmlessness in them, they will accept your holy will as theirs. If that statement doesn’t affect you in a profound way, you may need to go back and read it again. Throughout the Course, Jesus gives us clues as to who we really are. When I hear them, I feel the truth vibrate through me.
6. My holy brother, think of this awhile: The world you see does nothing. ²It has no effects at all. ³It merely represents your thoughts. ⁴And it will change entirely as you elect to change your mind, and choose the joy of God as what you really want. ⁵Your Self is radiant in this holy joy, unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable, forever and forever. ⁶And would you deny a little corner of your mind its own inheritance, and keep it as a hospital for pain; a sickly place where living things must come at last to die?
Jesus tells us in the Course that everything we see with our eyes is just images that represent what we want to believe. Our thoughts cause the world, not the other way around. He tells us plainly that when our thoughts change the world changes, too. As we accept who we are, we experience the world differently. I know that this is my present experience.
He tells us that ⁵Your Self is radiant in this holy joy, unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable, forever and forever. And then encourages us not to keep a little corner of our mind as a hospital for pain where all living things come to die. It’s good news that it is only happening in a little corner of the mind and that we can stop making it happen.
7. The world may seem to cause you pain. ²And yet the world, as causeless, has no power to cause. ³As an effect, it cannot make effects. ⁴As an illusion, it is what you wish. ⁵Your idle wishes represent its pains. ⁶Your strange desires bring it evil dreams. ⁷Your thoughts of death envelop it in fear, while in your kind forgiveness does it live.
8. Pain is the thought of evil taking form, and working havoc in your holy mind. ²Pain is the ransom you have gladly paid not to be free. ³In pain is God denied the Son He loves. ⁴In pain does fear appear to triumph over love, and time replace eternity and Heaven. ⁵And the world becomes a cruel and a bitter place, where sorrow rules and little joys give way before the onslaught of the savage pain that waits to end all joy in misery.
These two paragraphs describe what is happening in our minds as we continue to deny our true Identity. He starts by saying that The world may seem to cause you pain. ²And yet the world, as causeless, has no power to cause. Think about the world as a large screen on which movies are played. If you don’t like what is happening in the movie, you don’t blame the screen nor do you run up to the screen and try to change what you see there.
This is the way I see the world, just a screen, an effect of our desire to experience unreality. I cannot change what is on the screen, but as the projector of all I see, I can effect real change. I change my mind and the story changes. This is why Jesus goes to so much trouble to reinforce how awful the stories really are so that we will realize we don’t want to watch them anymore. Until that happens, nothing changes.
9. Lay down your arms, and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven’s peace holds all things still at last. ²Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear. ³Let no attack enter with you. ⁴Lay down the cruel sword of judgment that you hold against your throat, and put aside the withering assaults with which you seek to hide your holiness.
10. Here will you understand there is no pain. ²Here does the joy of God belong to you. ³This is the day when it is given you to realize the lesson that contains all of salvation’s power. ⁴It is this: Pain is illusion; joy, reality. ⁵Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening. ⁶Pain is deception; joy alone is truth.
11. And so again we make the only choice that ever can be made; we choose between illusions and the truth, or pain and joy, or hell and Heaven. ²Let our gratitude unto our Teacher fill our hearts, as we are free to choose our joy instead of pain, our holiness in place of sin, the peace of God instead of conflict, and the light of Heaven for the darkness of the world.
Again, Jesus is telling us that we can make another choice right here right now. My personal experience is that I have made many different decisions over a period of time, and that is ok. I extended my suffering in doing so, but I was always doing the best I could and I am still doing that now. I have reached a level that has brought me a lot of peace and happiness and I no longer believe I am this body and that judgment and attack are ever justified.
I keep cleaning up the mind and enjoying the benefits of doing so. I look forward to the day that I let go of the idea of a separate me and do so completely. That is why I am here and why you are here as well. We are here to let go of the belief in separation once and for all. What will it bring us? What is the outcome of a healed mind? All pain and suffering will end, we will know joy and unending peace; we will know our holiness.