31 I am not the victim of the world I see.

MT: Where am I making myself a victim? I pride myself in being supremely responsible. I always take the blame for whatever goes wrong, rather than to put it on others.

JC: And when you carry the burden of guilt for your brother, what are you doing?

MT: I am releasing them. That's my contribution to a guiltless world.

JC: That's not a guiltless world. That is only a world where you blame yourself instead of someone else.

MT: Well, I'd much rather be in control, because I can change myself but I can't change others. I think you are onto something here, but it's a confusing place in my mind.

JC: So you would rather make others into the bad guys who can't take responsibility and who cravenly let you do it? Or too incompetent to hold their side of the bargain?

MT: What you are trying to tell me, I think, is that being overly responsible is victimization cloaked in responsibility.

JC: Yes. To blame others/to blame yourself are but two sides of the same coin.

MT: No wonder my life feels joyless so much of the time. I'm carrying the world on my shoulders, and resenting everybody else for not doing their share!

31 I am not the victim of the world I see.

MT: Because I made it up, I guess. I was just playing, JC!
JC: The Son of God chose, for a while, to play the game of sickness, sin, and death.
MT: Guess any time I get angry I'm really playing the victim game.
JC: Which means you are playing the guilt game. Anger is merely the attempt to make your brother guilty.
MT: Looking back on it, I was really good at the guilt game. I didn't usually use anger--I preferred suffering. If I suffered long and obviously enough, someone would take pity on me.
JC: This is a new day. Today you can choose again. No need to play these childish games any longer. Today you can gaze upon the world with eyes of peace. Today you can look in the mirror and see the magnificence that you are.

31 I am not the victim of the world I see.

Attractive as victimhood may seem, it takes me nowhere because it is nothing. I make up my world, instant by fleeting instant. If I made it up, I can unmake it. I can rewrite my past. I can see people differently--even those who seemingly oppress me. Especially those who seemingly oppress me! They are my golden key to Liberation. I am not the victim of the world I see.

32 I have invented the world I see.

MT: They are equally illusory, the inner world and the outer world. I walk the world hallucinating my story, the people in it, the places where the story develops. What would you tell me about my seeming world, JC?
JC: I know you have lost peace over the phone call you invented from the person you invented.
MT: OK, OK, this is making the language pretty convoluted. Yes, I did lose peace. You are either in Heaven not, and right now I'm not.
JC: Loss of peace comes from unforgiveness. You know that already.
MT: So I need to forgive my brother for what he didn't do to me. I am hallucinating a stalker--that's the worst scenario. My ego is expert at worst scenarios.
JC: And the best scenario is . . . ?
MT: That this is a chance to see men differently. He seems to think he was sent to guide me to the Light, to show me the Way--as long as it is HIS way, as long as I do what he says in the way that he decides. JC, I don't like to offend anyone, least of all someone who came to me through my teaching, but this event is hitting on an old vulnerability dating back to my teens. Mother taught me to protect men's feelings, never to say "no" lest their fragile psyches crumble. How do I say no to someone who claims to want the best for me, who brings me CDs and books and reprints--yet is curiously deaf and blind to who I am? Someone who only sees his invented picture of me?
JC: By seeing the Christ in him, you will see strength, not a fragile psyche. By seeing the Christ in yourself, you are released from any bonds of duty, guilt and obligation. Thus is the world renewed. You and your brother then walk on holy ground.


33 There is another way of looking at the world.

MT: This is another of those lessons, JC, where I got impatient the first time around. When is he going to get to the "real" Course? Why is he dillydallying with ways of seeing the world? Enough already! Now I see how fundamental this idea is to everything that follows. If I don't question the way I see the world and the way I think about it, the Course remains an empty, cerebral exercise. Nothing more.

JC: Yes, it is possible to know that what I'm telling you is true, and still not get it at the life level. Not get it where it really matters--what you do and how you think.

MT: But I know, now, when I'm buying into the illusion, that there is another way of looking at this.

JC: Major step forward. There was a time when you didn't know it.

MT: Those were the dark ages. But, it's odd, in some ways I was happier. There was an innocence to my life.

JC: You viewed the world through your husband's eyes, and that was enough.

MT: I've tried to view the world through my boyfriend's eyes, and it's definitely not enough. What does he know!

JC: Now you need to connect directly with God, because a human being cannot do it for you.

MT: We put so much faith in politicians and pundits and gurus, but everybody is equally deluded, all or most of the time. When all else fails, we place our hopes in the second coming of Christ, but you are already here! Before your arrival, we could blame someone else and lead an unconscious life, but now we need to be responsible for everything we think and do.

JC: That's the good news, isn't it. There is no hope, and there is hope. Like the title on your bookshelf: The situation is hopeless, but not serious.

33 There is another way of looking at the world.

Unless I question how I see the world, I will never know a better way. Now I have a choice. I can see the world with the eyes of the ego, or I can be shown what God created. Definitely a no-brainer!

34 I could see peace instead of this.

MT: Here I am, JC. Another morning on this plane. One out of an ever-dwindling supply.

JC: You could see peace instead of this. Look at the scarcity you are injecting into an abstraction: time.

MT: You caught me there. So this is an unpeaceful thought, and it had totally eluded scrutiny. What a trip. I could see peace instead of finite time that condemns me to death.

JC: If every thought of yours was one of peace, you would be transformed. The world would no longer exist. Your mind would be one with God's.

MT: The feeling of finiteness--is it all bad? Seeing the end approach gives me a kick in the rear. As Don Juan said, death is the advisor that sits on your left shoulder.

JC: How about walking together with my hand around your shoulders instead? Looking ahead with love instead of being shoved ahead by the fear nipping at your heels?

MT: Kicks in the rear are more familiar. That's been my motivator ever since I can remember.

JC: But that's your personal brand of separation: the thought that you are lazy and only punishment will propel you. You could see peace instead of this.

MT: The world I came into, my parents' world, was one where you are born bad and need to be made good. At heart you are a criminal who needs to be hammered into a saint. The body is basically defective and in need of medicine. The soul is a black stain to be washed by sacrifice. And how you fix your defects? Where's the repair shop? You go to church to be repaired. You listen to the preacher, of course. You contribute and listen and pray and give testimony. I can feel the bitterness in my mouth right now. I was deeply depressed by age 12. I wanted to die. Living was too much work.

JC: Today, you can see peace instead of this. The Kingdom is here. Why wait?

34 I could see peace instead of this.

Dear God, as this new day dawns and Nature renews itself with the return of the sun, I summon You into my heart. Let me be the instrument of Thy love today. Let me be the island of peace in the sea of turmoil. It is so because I say so, and my will united with Yours becomes the Will of God.

34 I could see peace instead of this.

What an antidote to any ego attack! I can always choose again. Notice that this is not about new rules and obligations. I am free to see evil and attack if I so wish. This is about being happy. Do I want to be right or happy? Let's hope I have been wrong!

35 My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.

MT: I accept that, JC. My mind is part of God's. But holy? C'mon, get real!

JC: I do not use words lightly. You are very holy.

MT: Full of holes, maybe!

JC: So you want to argue with God and define yourself as a miserable, rotten sinner for whom nothing but death is good enough. Isn't that pretty arrogant?

MT: How do I know this is really the word of God? Maybe it's all a plot by the establishment, to get me to behave!

JC: So let me see. You are using your (holy) mind to run yourself down, because you think that any better opinion of you is wrong and a form of manipulation.

MT: I think it's true, that's all. I see the holes in me all the time.

JC: And that is the thought that makes you happy and complete. How can I argue with that.

MT: Well, no, that thought doesn't make me happy, but I think it is true. I pride myself in being a rigorous truth-seeker.

JC: You would rather say "I am full of holes" before someone else says it about you. That somehow makes you noble and beyond reproach. Now that's pretty slimy.

MT: JC, I give up. I'm just being sassy today. I sound like my sister who's been miserable all her life. I don't want to be like her. Even though it isn't perfect, my life works a whole lot better than hers.

JC: But maybe this gets you a step closer to the truth: that you create your own reality. Your sister makes up what she calls reality, such as it is. Peace to your mind. Let all your thoughts be still.

MT: Let all my thoughts be still today.

35 My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.

MT: Here I am, JC. Show me what I need to learn from these words.
JC: The acceptance of your holiness is the first step to the goal: to be one with God.
MT: And the others with whom I make contact today?
JC: You can be a beacon showing them their true nature.
MT: I don't feel very holy right now. I feel stress around my eyes and forehead. I am seeing problems in others.
JC: You are seeing problems in others, and that blinds you to their holiness and your own.
MT: I let a new vision come to me today, now. I breathe in Your Silence. My heart beats in the peace of God. Today I help the Son remember the God whom he loves.

36 My holiness envelops everything I see.

MT: You say my (real) sight is related to God's holiness, not to my ego, and therefore not to my body. I guess the reason I haven't "seen" --not really--is that I define vision as something you do with your eyes. Could you comment, please?

JC: Vision is internal. It is a feeling. And you have vision, except that you don't let yourself recognize it.

MT: How so?

JC: You have capabilities now that were not possible thirty years ago. You are that much older, and you believe in the inevitability of decline with age, but that's something that got better, like good red wine! What do you make of that?

MT: You are referring to my ability to remember colors and color schemes, aren't you?

JC: Yes, but it's even more than that. You connect with your body in a very internal way. You connect with animals and children and plants in a feeling way. That's vision.

MT: I'm making esoteric what is really simple, then.

JC: Vision is perfectly natural. It is your God-given right. Now let your holiness envelop everything you see, and walk with God today.

36 My holiness envelops everything I see.

MT: Yesterday's experience, driving down the 101, was that a wonderful surrounding enveloped me. "It" inhaled the car forward with no effort. I thought, if this is vision, keep it coming!
JC: You are making vision something outside yourself. But, for however long, yesterday you ceased to exist as a separate self, so of course the car was inhaled forward with no effort on your part. There was no "you" to make the effort.
MT: I understand. The feeling is what I want, though. Understanding only jams the works.
JC: Thank you. You made it that time.

36 My holiness envelops everything I see.

MT: I am feeling very contrary. I don't want any holiness today.
JC: What would you like, instead?
MT: Guess I want to be angry!
JC: So be angry today. I never said not to be angry. I said to contemplate what anger brings you, that's all.
MT: It brings me nothing, I know. Or misery. Ah well, perhaps that's not such a good idea, to be angry. I don't even have anything to be angry about. It's just a general feeling of separation that I have.
JC: Without experiencing fully the pain of separation you may never know what it is like to be one with God and your brother.
MT: So the pain of separation may be useful, after all?
JC: I would like to spare you pain, beloved. But within the terms that you have set, pain may happen. It is not necessary, but it may happen.
MT: I'm not so sure anymore that I want to be angry. Let me practice being holy instead!
JC: It will envelop everything you see, and its beauty will bring you tears of joy.

37 My holiness blesses the world.

No longer shall I underestimate the importance of what I say and do. I am the Way and the Light (and so are you, and you, and you!). Today I bring light to darkness, forgiveness to sin, peace to strife, love to despair and suffering and poverty.

This sentence jumped out at me: "Those who see themselves as whole make no demands." In other words, when I make a demand (as taught by assertion training), I am seeing myself as lacking. A demand is an affirmation of lack!
If I get what I am demanding, I have "won" and my brother has "lost." In this way I perpetuate the illusion that maintains the world I see.
Let me today bless the world with eyes of peace. I am sufficient. I have all I need. My holiness blesses the world.

37 My holiness blesses the world.

>This idea contains the first glimmerings of your true function in the world, or why you are here. Your purpose is to see the world through your own holiness. Thus are you and the world blessed together.
No more will I wander the world looking for my purpose. It is here. It is now.
>No one loses; nothing is taken away from anyone; everyone gains through your holy vision.
By accepting this purpose, I give up the idea of personal gain. I work for all of us.
>It signifies the end of sacrifice because it offers everyone his full due. And he is entitled to everything because it is his birthright as a Son of God.
We offer everyone their birthright, their inheritance as Sons of God.

>There is no other way in which the idea of sacrifice can be removed from the world's thinking. Any other way of seeing will inevitably demand payment of someone or something.
When I demand payment, I affirm that loss is possible. By demanding payment, I am saying that there are losers and gainers.
>As a result, the perceiver will lose. Nor will he have any idea why he is losing.
Why will the perceiver lose? Because he has made separation real.
>Yet is his wholeness restored to his awareness through your vision. Your holiness blesses him by asking nothing of him. Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.
No demands! I offer only love, because love is what I am.

>Your holiness is the salvation of the world. It lets you teach the world that it is one with you, not by preaching to it, not by telling it anything, but merely by your quiet recognition that in your holiness are all things blessed along with you.
I need do nothing! The only task of the miracle worker is to accept Atonement for himself. What have I got to lose?

38 There is nothing my holiness cannot do.

JC: This IS a course in miracles, after all!
MT: Aw, JC, it's also a course in finding out who I really am, discovering my will, healing my relationships, becoming a Voice for God. But I feel a twinge of guilt that I can't walk on water yet. I can't even heal my body. So much for being a good student.
JC: Eliminate the word "cannot" from your vocabulary! That would be a start. The miracle happens when you do not admit the opposite into your thinking.
MT: Do you have some easy miracles for me to practice on?
JC: They are all easy. A miracle happens the moment you step out of your endless cataloguing, efforting, ranking, separating, sorting and selecting. The stepping-out is really the miracle, what happens as a result only a natural, unavoidable consequence.
MT: I keep thinking of the sweet, whimsical miracle of the coconut in Tahiti. In that moment, I discovered the miracle, and what a sparkling experience it was! I miss it so.
JC: The real miracle was the decision you made: that you would not waste your vacation time figuring out how to procure coconut milk, that wishing for it was good enough. You gave up on the struggle. Your wish was delivered to God's mailbox. In that brief moment, you gave up on littleness, and the gods rushed in to do your bidding.
MT: They did it because they might as well, I guess.
JC: Yes. The miracle happens because it may as well.

39 My holiness is my salvation.

MT: So, JC, you are presenting me with a pair of opposites: guilt and holiness. Y'know, I used to cringe at the word "holiness." For a while, I replaced it with "wholeness," but then I thought, who am I kidding, the Course is too smart for me to be changing words here and there. The words are chosen for a reason. So here is my prayer this morning: help me see the connection. These are two states we're talking about, two opposite states.
JC: You are either holy or guilty, yes. Which do you want?
MT: Guilt has been my companion forever. My son remarked that I looked guilty even when I hadn't done anything. Ken Wapnick talks about the jar of guilt that's passed around in a relationship. I held the jar of guilt in my marriage. If it rained on the picnic, it must be my fault, let me see . . . could I have stopped the rain, or was I terminally incompetent?
JC: Guilt is your knee-jerk response. What about holiness?
MT: I associated holiness with hypocrisy, eyes raised in prayer to a deaf God while planning the next scam. Guilt to me was a constant except for brief seconds when someone else was declared culpable. Holiness was not for me. I would rather look evil than holy/hypocritical. Yes, that's it--the choice I saw was between guilt and deliberate evil--that's how capable, intelligent men run airplanes into buildings! They momentarily escape the intolerable burden of guilt by being deliberately evil instead! It makes a certain crooked sense: If I am evil, I can't be guilty.
JC: So much for the insanity of the ego. Are you ready to see holiness instead?
MT: I need a new image to replace those pathetic eyes raised to a blind, dumb and deaf God.
JC: Today, hold hands with the dancing God. Invite God to the ball!

39  My holiness is my salvation.

MT: I do not know what to say. Please show me.
JC: Guilt is hell. Do you believe you can make another guilty, while escaping yourself?
MT: Well, it almost seems the opposite with me. I always accept guilt first, feel crushed by it, then remind myself that someone else might be guilty by some remote chance.
JC: Are you willing to let your specialness go, once and forever?
MT: My supposed guilt makes me special? Is that what you mean?
JC: It does seemingly make you special. And, I might add, making another guilty does the same. You have been quick to "generously" take on the burden of sin, but that is merely a way of preserving your ego world.
MT: So . . . the only answer is, nobody is guilty. We are all holy.
JC: And whole, and one as God created you.

40 I am blessed as a Son of God.

MT: I don't feel very blessed today. I woke up in my usual pickle of guilt over having wasted another day. Help!

JC: I am here for you. Let me put my arm around your shoulders.

MT: Thanks. Retirement was supposed to be a time of peace and fun and doing exactly what you like. Instead, I found a dozen different things to occupy my time, and I fight just about every one of them.

JC: Hmmmm.

MT: Hmmmmm to you too.

JC: So who makes the decisions?

MT: I do, and they are no good. If I choose X, I cannot do A, B, C, or D!

JC: Yes, with every choice there is a giving up of a dozen others, at least in the ego's world.

MT: This is an ego conflict, then. My problem is not that I don't know what to do, it is that I don't know what not to do. So I sleep a lot, play computer games, and shuffle around morosely.

JC: In the Kingdom, there are no conflicts. There is only joy.

MT: I really hate this. There is only joy. That's all you say. How do I get out of this pickle?

JC: What you are doing right now is a start. The conflict is not real, is it? You made it up as a way of torturing yourself. Deep down, you know it is not essential that you do anything. You are confused over unessential choices.

MT: So what IS essential?

JC: You don't know. Accept it that you do not have enough information to discriminate.

MT: Perhaps I need to meditate again. . . get in touch with the Source. But then, I think I need to do a lot of things! Is this just another task I'm assigning to myself?

JC: Why don't you ask, in meditation? Your only real need is to open up to God. Your connection to the ego's world gets less and less, but you don't have your direct line to God firmly in place. It is a fearful spot, to be without guidance. Getting back to the lesson, you are blessed as a Son of God. Stop holding on to the bars you made into a prison.

MT: Arrrrgh. And I'm committed to posting this, too, for all the world to see! My plight is public! So much for being Ms. Know-It-All!

40 I am blessed as a Son of God.

MT: It's one of those lessons that go in one ear and out the other, JC. Five minutes from now I won't remember the words.
JC: Yes, I know this is so at the moment.
MT: You mean, it can change?
JC: Reread YOUR words. "Go in one ear and out the other." "I won't remember the words."
MT: The law of attraction at work! This is what I say, this is what happens.
JC: You are splitting the mind by attracting what you do not want.
MT: Yet I believe in stating what is real for me in the moment, no matter how illusory it turns out to be. I could write GOD IS and let it go at that, but then there would be no posting to any of these boards I faithfully follow. How can I be at peace with God and still do anything? I really mean the question. I'm stumped.
JC: You go from illusion to Truth, over and over. That is your process. Let it be what it is, and God will show up of His own accord. The Lessons are now only reminders of a state of mind that you will increasingly call your own.

Index of Lessons