It can be but myself I crucify.
When this is firmly understood and kept in full awareness, you will not attempt to harm yourself, nor make your body slave to vengeance. You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself. You will be free of the insane belief that to attack a brother saves yourself. And you will understand his safety is your own, and in his healing you are healed.
Perhaps at first you will not understand how mercy, limitless and with all things held in its sure protection, can be found in the idea we practice for today. It may, in fact, appear to be a sign that punishment can never be escaped because the ego, under what it sees as threat, is quick to cite the truth to save its lies. Yet must it fail to understand the truth it uses thus. But you can learn to see these foolish applications, and deny the meaning they appear to have.
Thus do you also teach your mind that you are not an ego. For the ways in which the ego would distort the truth will not deceive you longer. You will not believe you are a body to be crucified. And you will see within today’s idea the light of resurrection, looking past all thoughts of crucifixion and of death, to thoughts of liberation and of life.
Today’s idea is one step we take in leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom. Let us take this step today, that we may quickly go the way salvation shows us, taking every step in its appointed sequence, as the mind relinquishes its burdens one by one. It is not time we need for this. It is but willingness. For what would seem to need a thousand years can easily be done in just one instant by the grace of God.
The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross. Perhaps it seemed to be salvation. Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real. And what is that but hell? Who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and blot him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?
Such is the form of madness you believe, if you accept the fearful thought you can attack another and be free yourself. Until this form is changed, there is no hope. Until you see that this, at least, must be entirely impossible, how could there be escape? The fear of God is real to anyone who thinks this thought is true. And he will not perceive its foolishness, or even see that it is there, so that it would be possible to question it.
To question it at all, its form must first be changed at least as much as will permit fear of retaliation to abate, and the responsibility returned to some extent to you. From there you can at least consider if you want to go along this painful path. Until this shift has been accomplished, you can not perceive that it is but your thoughts that bring you fear, and your deliverance depends on you.
Our next steps will be easy, if you take this one today. From there we go ahead quite rapidly. For once you understand it is impossible that you be hurt except by your own thoughts, the fear of God must disappear. You cannot then believe that fear is caused without. And God, Whom you had thought to banish, can be welcomed back within the holy mind He never left.
Salvation’s song can certainly be heard in the idea we practice for today. If it can but be you you crucify, you did not hurt the world, and need not fear its vengeance and pursuit. Nor need you hide in terror from the deadly fear of God projection hides behind. The thing you dread the most is your salvation. You are strong, and it is strength you want. And you are free, and glad of freedom. You have sought to be both weak and bound, because you feared your strength and freedom. Yet salvation lies in them.
There is an instant in which terror seems to grip your mind so wholly that escape appears quite hopeless. When you realize, once and for all, that it is you you fear, the mind perceives itself as split. And this had been concealed while you believed attack could be directed outward, and returned from outside to within. It seemed to be an enemy outside you had to fear. And thus a god outside yourself became your mortal enemy; the source of fear.
Now, for an instant, is a murderer perceived within you, eager for your death, intent on plotting punishment for you until the time when it can kill at last. Yet in this instant is the time as well in which salvation comes. For fear of God has disappeared. And you can call on Him to save you from illusions by His Love, calling Him Father and yourself His Son. Pray that the instant may be soon,–today. Step back from fear, and make advance to love.
There is no Thought of God that does not go with you to help you reach that instant, and to go beyond it quickly, surely and forever. When the fear of God is gone, there are no obstacles that still remain between you and the holy peace of God. How kind and merciful is the idea we practice! Give it welcome, as you should, for it is your release. It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.
INITIAL INSIGHT: Thus do you also teach your mind that you are not an ego. For the ways in which the ego would distort the truth will not deceive you longer.
Jesus wants us to know that no one or nothing hurts us; we hurt ourselves, but we can learn not to do this. This entails first learning to recognize the ego thoughts in our minds. They may not always be apparent and even when they are, sometimes they seem to be justified. But the Course teaches us to recognize the ego and it teaches us that there is no justification for it, however it might seem there is.
The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross. Perhaps it seemed to be salvation. Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real.
There is no way we can attack and be happy. Do you think the Republicans are the antichrist? Or maybe you think it is the Democrats who are destroying your way of life. Even if you only think this rather than acting on it or saying anything, you are attacking your brothers. In your attack of them, you crucify yourself. And, oh, how we justify our political attacks! But there is no justification for attack that will keep us off the cross we erected for our brothers. It is absolutely necessary that this be understood. Attack of any kind for any reason will keep the ego in place. As Jesus tells us in T-11.IV.5: 6 You cannot enter God’s Presence if you attack His Son. That is an uncompromising statement.
For once you understand it is impossible that you be hurt except by your own thoughts, the fear of God must disappear.
Boom! The understanding that thoughts are the source of my life as I experience it is what brought me to this place in it. Once I understood that I but do this to myself and the cause are the thoughts in my mind, I stopped looking outward for the cause or the solution. No one or nothing has done anything to me, it is my thoughts alone that affect me. I began to look within. I learned to watch my thoughts without judgment because to judge is to attack and I, too, am God’s Son so I must not attack myself either if I want to enter the presence of God.
I watch my thoughts like they are clouds in the sky. I figure out what belief the cloud represents. I use my life to discover the effects of these beliefs and thus I am able to recognize ego in my life. Then I can decide based on these observations if I want to keep believing the thought or if I would like to relinquish it to the Holy Spirit. This one thing has done more to change my life and to bring me closer to God than anything else I have ever done. It only took some small amount of understanding and acceptance and the willingness to practice.
And if we believe that the problem is outside us, we believe that fear is outside us; fear of lack, of sickness, of loss, of broken relationships, of death. This will lead directly to fearing God who we see as outside us with all the other fears. Accepting responsibility (not guilt) for our suffering and looking within for the solutions will bring us to God because within is where we find Him. And God, Whom you had thought to banish, can be welcomed back within the holy mind He never left.
You have sought to be both weak and bound, because you feared your strength and freedom. Yet salvation lies in them.
At first, this seems just weird. Why would I ever be afraid of my strength and my freedom? I think what happens is that we begin to take responsibility for our lives as they appear to us and we become afraid of ourselves. An idea like this: If this is what I have done with the power and strength and freedom I have, what other destructive thing will I do? And how do I use this strength and freedom to get out of this? It seems to much, too hard, too confusing. It is so much easier to continue to see someone else at fault and to continue to trade one illusion for another in the hopes something will work.
But accepting the responsibility for how our lives unfold for us is how salvation comes and we don’t have to be concerned about all the confusion and doubt. We are not alone in this transformation. Fear of God is gone and so now we can call on Him for help. This is what we do each time we look at a thought with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to heal our minds or to help us see it differently. We are calling on Him to save us from our illusions and as we step back from fear, we advance to love. All the Thoughts of God go with us and help us; we cannot fail. As Jesus tells us: It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.
DAILY APPLICATION: Here is an example from an earlier time in my life.
One day, I read something a sister wrote and felt several forms of discomfort. I wished she would stop writing and just go away. I felt uncomfortable when I read her words and then projected my discomfort onto her making it her fault. Though I did not say this to her, it was in my mind and anything in my mind is real for me. In my mind, I attacked her with the idea that she was responsible for my discomfort.
I spent a few hours justifying my attack. It seemed to be so obviously true that she was wrong. And maybe she was wrong, but how does that affect me unless I choose to be affected? Clearly, I was hurting myself but my mind was cloudy about that. It seemed to me at that time that she was the reason I felt like that, which is just another way of saying she is guilty of what she is doing to me.
My thoughts went something like this. Her writing is upsetting me, therefore, she is responsible for my upset. The way for me to return to peace is for her to go away. This is the way the ego thought system works. My salvation seems to be that she is wrong and it is her fault. But the more I thought like this the worse I felt. Once again, the ego lies. There is no salvation to be found in its thought system, no hope for peace through attack.
“The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross.”
With this realization, I was able to begin the process that brings true salvation. In this case, I sought support and words of wisdom to help me break the ego cycle of thinking. Then I began to withdraw my projections and to accept full responsibility for my own feelings and thoughts. Her words are just words, it is my thoughts about those words which cause me pain. (Or as Cate pointed out to me, all that stuff coming out of her mouth? That’s just sound.) My pain is fully self-caused as I interpret the sound. It is the acceptance of this realization that finally releases me from the bondage of my own mistaken beliefs.
And finally, I reach the inevitable conclusion (and thank you God for that!).
“You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself. You will be free of the insane belief that to attack a brother saves yourself. And you will understand his safety is your own, and in his healing, you are healed.”
It is rare for me to fall into this ego trap these days. When it happens, it is generally a random thought that comes and goes. But Jesus says that there is no more self-contradictory concept than that of “idle thoughts.” What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. He says that all thinking produces form at some level. So, I can hardly afford to ignore those random thoughts.
When I notice a judgmental thought, I gently let it go and give my blessing instead. I am teaching myself, with the Holy Spirit’s help, that I do not choose to attack anyone, not my brother, and not myself. What is happening is that where there used to be attack in my mind, there is now love. I did nothing to cause this love, I simply released all that was blocking it from my awareness. This is so much better.
INSIGHTS FROM HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit is always helping me and guiding me because this is my desire. Sometimes it feels big to me because of the present level of confusion in my mind. Other times it seems small because the problem isn’t bothering me so much or because I failed to notice how destructive it was. This morning, it was the second experience.
I was getting ready to prepare the lesson for the day. I had a sudden realization that I was kind of dreading this. It was not dread in a big way and there was no possibility that I wouldn’t do this, but I was definitely not looking forward to this. Probably it is because of a sense of hurry that sometimes occurs in the morning as I wonder how to get every necessary thing done and a fear I will forget something important, and so I fail to accept the full joy of preparing the lesson.
And I realized that I was doing this to myself when I had the next thought: I could enjoy this. I could enjoy reading what I wrote before and comparing it to what I know now. I could enjoy exploring with the Holy Spirit a new way to see this. This could be fun! Why rob myself of that fun by not appreciating the moment I am in at this time. And the miracle occurred and I began this writing with joy and happy anticipation in my heart and time was made for me to truly enjoy the process.
GRATITUDE: Thank you, God. Thank you for creating me in Your image and protecting that image from ever being undone. Thank you for loving me. Thank you. Thank you.
“It can be but myself I crucify. When this is firmly understood and kept in full awareness, you will not attempt to harm yourself, nor make your body slave to vengeance. You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself.”
It may be helpful to read this first paragraph (above) from today’s lesson slowly several times.
There is a crazy idea in the mind that our salvation lies in attacking someone (or something) outside of our self. Today’s lesson calls this idea a “form of madness you believe.”
The best way to see this is true is to pay attention. Pay attention when you attack someone (or something), regardless of whether you attack physically, verbally or with your thoughts. Pay attention for the feeling or idea that you can gain something through attack. Maybe you think you can get your way, and that will make you feel safe or happy. Maybe there is a feeling that you rise up as you put others down. Maybe you feel you are protecting someone or some important value. Regardless of what it is that you think you may gain, notice that you believe your salvation lies in attack.
Next, notice that you actually crucify yourself whenever you attack. Pay close attention to how you feel when you attack. Is that joy? Peace? Love? Or are your emotions more negative? You probably feel anger, jealousy, lack, annoyance, resentment or some other type of upset. At best you may feel righteous indignation. Aren’t those feelings types of suffering? Aren’t you actually creating your own suffering through attack?
Attack is not salvation. Attack is a form of self-sabotage. To see this clearly is the first step in letting go of attack forever.
Today’s lesson says, “Today’s idea is one step we take in leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom.” When you see how you keep yourself in bondage through attack, you also see how sensible this statement is.
The lesson also says, “It is not time we need for this. It is but willingness.”
Time has nothing to do with giving up attack. Willingness is everything. Without willingness, we can go a very long time with no change in our attack habits. With great willingness, we can give up attack instantaneously. We can become willing to give up attack when we see that we do not gain through attack; we increase our own pain.
If you have an attack habit, it is helpful to pause every hour and look back on the last hour to see if there were any recent attacks. If there were attacks in the last hour, inquire into them. What did you think you’d gain through attack? What did you actually receive, happiness or prolonged agitation?
At the very least, review the day at the end of each day, and inquire into the attacks you find in your review.
By bringing right-awareness to your attack habit, the willingness to let go of the habit will increase. As willingness increases, you will begin to find ways (feel intuitive guidance) to let go before you attack.
Regina brings more clarity to this lesson with her examples.