I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(190) I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
Pain is my own idea. It is not a Thought of God, but one I
thought apart from Him and from His Will. His Will is joy,
and only joy for His beloved Son. And that I choose, instead of what I made.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
It seems to me that all thoughts are choices we make. No, I don’t choose to have a specific thought, but I choose to have ego thoughts simply as the inevitable effect of choosing separation. I cannot do anything about that other than to choose to remember who I am. I can, however, choose the thoughts I want to believe and choose the thoughts on which I place my attention. It has taken a lot of practice and awareness but I have learned to do this consistently.
Can I be done with thought of pain altogether, even here? I think so. I cannot make this assurance based on my own personal experience thus far, but some people do this so it must be possible. Inevitably, we will reach a point of being pain-free because of Who We are, but maybe not anytime soon. My experience, though, has proven to me that much of the pain I have experienced in the past few years has been either released or greatly lessened simply by changing my thinking. I am talking about both physical and emotional pain. My goal, however, is to let go of the idea that pain just happens and that it has nothing to do with me.
From Past Entries
The Joy of Taking Responsibility
I was able to see this in my mind before I even began my lesson this morning. I was sitting at the computer thinking how much I have enjoyed my vacation and while I have enjoyed being back home, I felt uneasy about a new study I have begun and the time it was going to take. Immediately I brought that thought to the Holy Spirit within and was gently reminded that I was not unhappy to be doing this study and was not happy because I had a vacation.
It is very easy to fall back into the habit of thinking that the world influences my feelings. I am grateful for the reminder that only my thoughts influence me because I don’t live in the world, but rather the world lives in me. Total responsibility is the beginning of the path out of pain and into joy. It feels heavy only when I am reluctant to accept it. Once I remember that responsibility is my way out, I am eager to accept it and to get on with it.
I have been doing this for a long time and am very happy with the changes that I have allowed in my mind. I am more vigilant today than I ever have been because I have practiced vigilance every day. At first, it felt like a burden, but success is a wonderful motivator and now I am simply grateful to do it.
It is hard for me to believe that such a simple thing as noticing the thoughts unlike what God would think and then being willing to have them changed is all that I need to do. But apparently, this is true. My life used to be a painful experience with brief moments of happiness. I had learned to exist on distraction and to call it happiness. This is no fit state for the Son of God.
As I do this work, I find that I experience success and feel so good I can hardly believe it. This is my motivation to continue when it seems difficult. Occasionally, I will be back in the muck of ego thinking and be in pain. This was always hard for me to accept. I felt like there was something wrong with me, and that if every time I was lifted up, I simply fell back down that I would never get any place. Something that helped me accept this was hearing Regina Dawn Akers talk about the path as hills and valleys. She said that this is a necessary part of the journey.
When we do the work, we wind up on the mountaintop, but that doesn’t mean we are through. We then have to go back down to do more work, to allow more stuff to surface and be healed. This was really a helpful analogy for me. I also see that while I still have the valley and hilltop experience, the valleys are not so deep and I never go all the way down anymore.
I went back and looked at some of the encouraging thoughts I received from my Higher Self, and realized this is what I was being told. I was worried because it seemed that I had fallen and actually I had simply surrendered to the process and was doing exactly what I was supposed to.
Holy Spirit, more and more I am beginning to realize that once I put my foot on the path home, everything in my life became exactly perfect for that purpose. I suppose it always was, but before my path was not purposeful and so I failed to recognize the perfection. I am grateful for it all.
Here is an example from my journal in 2011 about dealing with physical pain.
My challenge right now seems to be physical pain. Lots of pain this week in my legs. I know that pain is not real no matter how much of it I seem to be experiencing. Lesson 190 says, “If God is real there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God.” So what is this sensation I am experiencing in my body? Well, my body is not real either. I continue to remind myself of the truth all day. I remember that pain is the ego’s way of proving its existence. I refuse to believe its proof.
I have been doing this practice since lesson 190 and yesterday I became discouraged and wondered if I was misunderstanding it. And yet, how could I? This is perfectly clear. Pain is my own idea. So I asked the Holy Spirit to help me see this differently. I asked Him, “How would you have me see this apparent pain?” I also talked to Him about my practice and my doubts. I asked Him how He would have me see that. Then I let go of my doubts and continued my practice.
I was weary by that night but determined to not give up. Then I heard a very clear thought in my mind that did not come from me. It said, “Take a pill.” Of course, this is not a battle of wills. I did the practice and used the pain to help me wake up. There was no reason to suffer and not God’s Will that I suffer. So I took some ibuprofen and went to sleep.
This morning as I did this lesson I felt renewed and grateful for the opportunity to allow this belief in the mind to be healed. I remembered that my only job is to notice with a desire to allow healing. Holy Spirit, I open my Heart and wait for the gift of Your Truth. I remember that the mind is split and that it is the ego that believes in pain and suffering, but I also remember that only what God created can be real and that it cannot be overcome by the ego.
How I Make a World of Pain and How I Undo It
This is from my journal of 2015.
I have used Lesson 190 to work on the idea of pain very often, to the point that I have completely released a number of long-term physical and emotional problems. Recently, I have had some pain in my body and the Holy Spirit asked me to look at the source of the pain.
Here is an example of how this worked for me yesterday. I had an achy feeling in my body, pain in my legs and feet. This feeling has shown up a lot lately. The ego-mind was thinking about what was causing it. It considered what I was doing lately that might have triggered the pain, and what physical illness could have these symptoms.
I reminded myself that the mind uses these kinds of things (symptoms that occur with certain diseases) to make the problem seem reasonable and so continue the illusion of being the victim. But the problem is always in the mind, not the world. So I started using Lesson 190 again, reminding myself that pain is not real, that if pain is real, God is not. The Holy Spirit sent me thoughts. For instance, I noticed the question in my mind, “Who am I?” I know this was to remind me that I am the maker of my world. I could feel the Holy Spirit guiding me to look more deeply. I thought about Lesson 325.
All things I think I see reflect ideas.
This is salvation’s keynote: What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own. From insane wishes comes an insane world.
I asked the Holy Spirit to help me see the belief that sourced the thought from which I made this image of Myron in pain. I then let go of the filters that I use to defend myself from the truth and just let myself feel what was really going on with me. I felt tears begin and I was discouraged and sad. I felt rage rush through me. I thought about how hot it is and how tired I am. I had spent the day working in the heat and I resented it.
So this is the image I had made. “I am a victim of my job and I am trapped and can’t get out. I am so miserable and tired my body aches. It is unfair and I feel so unloved and alone. I feel helpless before these circumstances.” Up until now I have projected this image, decided it was real, valued it and defended it through not acknowledging where it came from and thus keeping it.
Then I backed up further to see what is the belief that sourced these thoughts that I then used to make the image of Myron the victim. Of course, there is the belief that I am a victim of the world I see, and so I have projected my unhappiness onto the world I made. There is the belief that I am unfairly treated and this is a projection onto my job, my boss, and so on. Before either of these beliefs is the belief that I am unloved and unworthy of better, and this comes from the belief that I am guilty of separating from God. This is, of course, the ultimate projection; God is doing this to me in retribution for my betrayal of Him.
I did a good job of looking at this with the Holy Spirit. I allowed myself to feel it fully, and I allowed my mind to see what I had made, how I made it, and why I made it. Now it was time to correct this, to accept the Atonement for it. Here is what Lesson 325 says about undoing it.
“From judgment comes a world condemned. And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on, and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.”
With a gentle laugh, I forgave myself for my choices, and I forgave the image I made. I asked the Holy Spirit to remove from my mind the belief I could ever be a victim or that I want to be one. I asked Him to remove from my mind the belief that God does not love me and that He abandoned me here in this hellish place in my mind to suffer and then die. I asked the Holy Spirit to keep reminding me that I am my Father’s child and that He loves me and I love Him. I also asked the Holy Spirit to keep reminding me of who I am when I start to think the world is doing something to me.
Our Father, Your ideas reflect the truth, and mine apart from Yours but make up dreams. Let me behold what only Yours reflect, for Yours and Yours alone establish truth.
Emotional pain is the result of a decision in the mind. If I decide that something is unacceptable, I will suffer from that choice.
Freedom from suffering comes from the Loving All Method, because when we practice the Loving All Method we are choosing joy with all experiences. Love everything. If you can’t genuinely love it, emotionally accept it. If you can’t accept it, emotionally allow it. These choices lead to freedom from suffering.
The ego loves its dramas and its solutions. It makes up the stories, tells me what they mean, and then offers me solutions for the meanings it chose. The ego’s solutions never point to love because it doesn’t know what love is. It never points to the truth of what I am because it doesn’t know what I am. The ego thinks we are one in the same. But I am not this body. I am as God created me. Thank you, God!