Lesson Index

61 I am the light of the world.

MT: Been a while, JC.

JC: I noticed. How have you been? Not that I haven't been around you. . .

MT: Been well. But I don't like the reviews. Don't know what to say.

JC: But that's exactly what should happen. If you knew what to say, you
wouldn't need me!

MT: Oh. So I am the light of the world. Don't feel like it this morning. Ate
a lot of pizza last night and it messed up my sleep. I would like to do this
post so I can go take a shower and go work out at the Studio.

JC: Anxious to "start" the day, aren't you? As if this wasn't the most
important thing you will do all day.

MT: Really?

JC: You are the light of the world. When you remember this, everything
changes in your day. You become a blessing to others and yourself. You carry
out your true function in this aching world.

MT: I feel like a pretty dim bulb this morning, and a flickering one at that.
Not at all functional, except perhaps as a nightlight.

JC: That's OK. That's where you are at right now. A shower will do wonders.
Encountering others will do wonders. Just remember: you are the light of the
world. The world depends on you for its light. That's a noble purpose, and
the only one you need.

MT: If you say so. . .

61 I am the light of the world.

This is one of those lessons that once sent me into a fit of rage. The book flew across the room and hit the opposite wall with a thud. What do you mean, I am the light of the world? How dare you say that? And yet, the !#$%^! book had no author whom I could blame. The only thing to do was to vent my fury at the paper on which the words were printed. Crazy behavior, of course. Even in my state, I could see the utter, complete irrationality of blaming the words for my surge of adrenalin.

Now I sail happily in calmer waters. Of course I am the light of the world! Who else is there? Saddam Hussein? He's dead anyway. Osama bin Laden? President Obama, bless his heart?

So we're being told: each one of us is the Christ. This is the Second Coming, folks. Do not deny it, and please do not seek to kill the Christ, but rather welcome Him who is one with us.

62 Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

MT: I woke up thinking about this business of my function--how, over decades, I've tried to teach/lead groups/work in an agency setting/lead workshops/see clients in a private setting--and how all or most of it ended in frustration and humiliation. It's quite a history, from age 13 when I set out to lead the youth group in my Baptist church. I can see now how that initial effort was premature. I was a child, and some of those people were seven, eight, ten years my seniors. I couldn't possibly tell them anything from my experience. . .

JC: Your function is important. You are important. There is every reason to rejoice in your function.

MT: OK, the word "rejoice" is helpful here. It is like a drink of clear water in the bitterness of my mouth. Still, JC, how come I've gotten slapped back so many times? I think this is a central issue in my life, and it refuses to go away. I've tried to give up the struggle--if the !#%^&! world doesn't want what I have to give, I won't even try. But no matter how many times I wander over to Starbucks for a leisurely cup of coffee, trying to enjoy my simple life, fact is, I want to give of my best, and drinking coffee isn't my best.

JC: You tried to "fix" the world at age 13, by mouthing half-baked interpretations of the Bible you heard from others. That couldn't possibly have worked. You had to make the learning your own first. You had to question it, discuss it, argue with the elders, with the Bible, with God. But you were very compliant, not to mention that questioning wasn't welcome then. You were brave for trying to teach, but it wasn't good enough to pass on to others knowledge that wasn't yours to begin with. They knew it, and deep down you knew it too.

MT: And the sorry experience of teaching Adult Ed?

JC: You set out to discuss a book you didn't like, and which you hadn't even read through!

MT (sheepishly): I was looking for an in with Adult Ed, and that was one book they wanted.

JC: But was it one YOU wanted to teach, more than anything else? I think not! You replayed that age 13 script. Talk about useless journeys! John had a message for you yesterday: make learning your own. Forgive yourself for what you don't know, and reach for that deep understanding and creativity that is your birthright. That is what I mean by accepting Atonement, and it happens to be your gift to the world as well.

62 Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

So much for success, achievement, goals, endless lists of Things to Do! There is a function that underlies all other functions I sought to impose on myself. With forgiveness, some fall away, others become easy and natural. Without forgiveness, well, that's quite another story. It's like pulling teeth, because I fight myself (and employers, teachers, colleagues) all along the way.

I thank God that I can enjoy life, certain of the outcome.

63 The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

MT: After yesterday's ego attack, here I am again. It comes, it goes.

JC: Glad you feel more at peace today.

MT: This business of "bringing peace to every mind" --I see those around me possibly getting a morsel of peace because of my words and actions and thoughts. But EVERY one?

JC: I have said that miracles save thousands of years and reach countless souls whose existence you don't even consciously know. You become a channel for the light of the world. You become the Holy Spirit.

MT: Wow.

JC: Wow is right. The possibility is incomprehensible to the ego, which thinks of pitiful little separate minds going about their little separate ways.

MT: That's quite an opportunity, and it happens at such an elementary level: that of forgiving thoughts and thoughts of love.

JC: They are the same, you know.

MT: So when enough of us think with God, we will bring on the Atonement.

JC: It only takes one, really, but yes, at some point the Thought of God will explode within the world mind.

MT: I can't wait.

JC: It waits on you!

MT: Are we finished for today?

JC: Yes we are (but we are never finished). Go with God, and go get breakfast.

63 The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

I can be a beam of God's light again! No longer do I need to be this clumsy, low-wattage, intermittent and failing flashlight, forever attempting to bring my own pathetic light into the darkness. What I brought on my own was no better than darkness itself. It supported darkness while purporting to bring light. No more of these failing games. Today I am a channel of God's light to every mind I meet.

64 Let me not forget my function.

MT: Again, my immediate reaction: what's this function business? Why do you use the word, and not role, metier, job (well, I can see you wouldn't use "job"), mission, task, assignment . . .

JC: I think you answered your own question already. None of these really fits, they are all charged with ego, and most put you in a one-down position that you then have to overcome. Function is the most neutral word I could find in English.

MT: It is somewhat machine-like, IMHO.

JC: In this purely semantic discussion, have you by any chance forgotten your function?

MT: You are telling me this is not the place for semantics. Am I irritating by any chance?

JC: Not to me, but you could irritate a brother who does not have the same facility with language. You would do best to flow with circumstances and adapt your communication to the setting. Don't use words that are likely to be misunderstood, even if you yourself know them well. This is a way you forget your function of being a savior to yourself and others.

MT: My son used to irritate me when he went on and on with lofty metaphysical concepts, until one day I figured he didn't understand them either! Only then was I able to laugh--of course he doesn't know what he's talking about. He's just trying to get a rise out of me. In that moment I gave up searching for his meaning. I forgave him and myself.

JC: As you begin your day, remember your function. Your function, one and only, is to practice forgiveness. Any interaction is suitable, even (and especially) your thoughts about yourself, whether they are flattering or belittling. In this way, you erase the past with all its conditioned responses. You begin anew.

MT: What a promise. Thank you.

65 My only function is the one God gave me.

MT: Good morning, JC. Good to see you this morning.

JC: Good morning, dear Monica. Welcome to our chats.

MT: It is good to sit here. The house is quiet, the cat is fed, I drank my glass of water, the fire is quickly warming up the room, and here I am talking to you. Nice.

JC: What do you think about your function? Your picture of what you should be doing in the world has been a major source of made-up anguish for you.

MT: I've always seen myself as the savior of the world. Family stuff, you know, Granddad and all. I was appointed by my father to save the family reputation. Now you're telling me my only function is forgiveness. After all these years, I still think there must be something big and important for me to do, but you're getting me down to basics, aren't you?

JC: Yes, I am. The basics ground you in your Self. The images you inherited from your family can only stress you out, and they must go. They are not helping you. They move you away from the present moment and from peace.

MT: You are also telling me to meditate, as a daily routine, at a set time. I have given up on meditation, sorry to say. I used to love it, ten years ago. It was my special time of peace. Now it gives me stress just to think about it. I suspect that, as I approach God, the fear becomes stronger and I have an avoidance reaction. What do you say to this? I am afraid even to ask the question! Maybe you won't answer this time, or I won't hear what you have to say.

JC: You need not fear to ask me anything. There are no issues that won't benefit from communication. Even if you are closed to hearing on this particular subject, the worst that can happen is you won't hear!

MT: So pray tell me, do I really need to meditate, if it feels like the wrong thing to do and I avoid it?

JC: It feels like the wrong thing to do, but you think you should do it anyway, you think you should force yourself. Discipline is necessary, is what you are thinking. What happened to love? Accepting Atonement for yourself?

MT: But JC, there is that useless self-love I inherited from Mother: here, poor dear, eat a pastry or two or ten or twenty, you were so good today! Then there is the stern discipline that came from Father: oh good, you shone the kettle, it should be like this all the time, it's a pastor's house. He never said thank you! I have two people fighting each other inside me, the sloppy one full of craziness she called love, and the stern lawgiver. Mother's brand of love stops me on my tracks, Father's rules are bitter medicine. Neither is a guide I can use.

JC: So you see, both your parents need to be forgiven, do they not? We're back to your function! Clearly, this needs to happen before anything else. It is a priority.

MT: Will you help me do that? I want to see my parents differently, not for their sakes, but for mine.

JC: Your will is God's. No call will be left unanswered!

66 My happiness and my function are one.

MT: You are really reaching here, aren't you? I see my happiness as being contingent on many things, such as the absence of a tsunami or earthquake or the permanence of my retirement funding. I've let go of a lot of attachments in this journey, I must say. I no longer look at shopping or owning material goods as a source of happiness. Thanks for that! My mother-in-law spends all this time coveting more things, and then she's ecstatic that she got the perfect gadget, but soon I see it out in the trash. She doesn't see the circularity of her behavior. It used to bother me, but I've let go of that too. Criticizing doesn't help.

JC: Your happiness and your function -- forgiveness -- are one and the same.

MT: You sure? Could I be happy if, say, one of my children got AIDS?

JC: You would reach out and help them in any way you could. Remember all those years that you crammed so much into your life, with nary a thought? You went from one activity to the other without questioning. You know those were the happiest years of your life.

MT: But. . . now you are telling me that all I need is forgiveness.

JC: Could you surrender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit now, in the same way that you surrendered to circumstances back then?

MT: Not sure. . . I seem to be doing a lot of questioning. I am struggling with God, I think. I'm afraid of God.

JC: Ultimately, the search for happiness is like the search for the unicorn, a mythical beast that recedes in direct proportion to your approach. I only use the word because it is one that makes sense to you in the ego state. Happiness is just a concept. Your function, on the other hand, is something you can actually DO, therefore it is quite attainable. Theories are great, but we are concerned with the practical here.

MT: So here is my recipe for happiness: to focus on forgiveness and stop worrying.

JC: You got it. Remember that God gives only happiness. That He gave you your function of forgiveness, and that forgiveness equals happiness.

MT: It is so simple. . . let me remember that today. My happiness and my function are one, and God gave me one to help me attain the other.

67 Love created me like Itself.

MT: Good morning, JC.

JC: Good morning to you too, dear Monica. What will it be today?

MT: Love created me like Itself, is what you have for me today. Easy to say, a bit more difficult to live.

JC: Only within your old concept of God, the concept I'm trying to replace. As Voltaire said, God created man in His image, and man more than returned the compliment. Question a God who is hard to reach, who watches over you for the tiniest slip like a traffic cop.

MT: By dint of studying this magnificent Course, I've come to think of God as the boundless energy of the sun, giving endlessly of its substance. We just need to avail ourselves of it.

JC: A good place to begin. If God is like the sun, shining on good and evil alike, can you do the same?

MT: New thought alarm! To be as God, I must shine love on good and bad alike. Good and bad cease to exist for me, and only Love remains, hovering on the face of the Earth, as it was in the beginning, as it shall be again.

67 Love created me like itself.

Today's idea is a complete and accurate statement of what you are. This is why you are the light of the world. This is why God appointed you as the world's savior. This is why the Son of God looks to you for his salvation. He is saved by what you are.

I came from love, and to love I shall return when this journey through the ego world is over. This is my certainty.

68 Love holds no grievances.

MT: Woke up with my mind running at full speed, JC. Verbal diarrhea, is what it was--all sorts of anxiety provoking thoughts going through my mind. I call it anxiety busily searching to justify itself, like an ant foraging for a morsel to take back to the nest.

JC: You can choose peace.

MT: I thought of Earl and how he yelled at us that one time. I guess that is a grievance, although it was his fault. He had no right to holler at us, after we'd driven three hours to come visit.

JC: That is a grievance.

MT: I call it hurt. I have spent too much of my life making excuses for other people.

JC: Call it by its right name: a grievance that even wakes you up at three in the morning! It is a grievance shouting above the din. Your Self knew this lesson was coming up.

MT: So. . . let me try. "I would see you, Earl, as my friend, that I may remember you are part of me and come to know myself." There is a softening of the heart with these words. Grievances are selective perception, aren't they. He's been such a good friend, but the grievance is a choice to remember the one time he wasn't.

JC: Forgiving Earl brings a priceless gift: forgiveness for the time you yelled at Ray, and that wasn't so long ago! Reaching further back in time, forgiveness for the many times that, in the stresses of raising children, you yelled at them. You forgot what a gift they were to you, and you yelled at them. You would prefer that they remember what a good mother you were most of the time, rather than the few occasions you lost your temper, would you not?

MT: There's such reciprocity in all this. I see Earl's ugly anger, and then there's my ugly anger that Ray sees and remembers, that I see and remember--and feel guilty about. I prefer that we all forget. I choose to let go of my grievances today.


69 My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

MT: That is a beautiful image you gave us, JC--the clouds. I have walked or driven through fog and come into the light, into the sunshine, into another world.

JC: I am suggesting you do this in your spiritual journey as well.

MT: I'm afraid, I guess.

JC: I don't think so. I believe you merely think you do not deserve it, and in thinking so, you make it so. You hold the Kingdom as the gift for others. You put yourself outside the banquet room, looking in the window with an empty belly. It does not have to be so. The Kingdom has no walls. It is open to everyone. But you have to walk in, I won't drag you.

MT: That's the other reality. Either I believe what I learned at my mother's knee, or I have faith that what you're saying is the truth. You know what you are asking, don't you? You are asking that I give up everything that held my life together up to this point. Problem is, my life works pretty well. It's not bad enough! I made a reasonable bargain with the ego: I go in just so far, and in exchange you let in a little light that removes most sources of anguish.

JC: It could be so much more, but it waits on you. Take this last step. I will hold your hand and walk with you.

69 My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

As long as I focus on what "the world done to me," I am a prisoner of that same world. Today, let me focus on the Light of God in me, and forget all else. Today, let me come empty-handed unto my God.

70 My salvation comes from me.

MT: Powerful statement, JC. I have looked for salvation in pills, in a fat portfolio, in exercise to keep the body in shape. I think I'm afraid of death. Rather, I'm afraid of decay and limitation, afraid of the terror I felt (look at that--I'm afraid of fear!) when I lost a tooth. It was hell staring me in the face--that's odd, because I grew up in a society where people lost teeth all the time. So I look to a healthy, whole body for my salvation. I look to my daily baby aspirin to prevent a heart attack. I look to money as safety. This is a confession! I'm quite attached to these things, even as I know what you're talking about. I see but I don't see.

JC: Know that God is within and all around, and all is well. Fear is part of identifying with the body. The body was made in fear, and in fear it dies. It does not have to be so, but so it is as long as you hold on to beliefs that you would be well advised to discard.

MT: I am not the fear, you are saying, just as I am not the body.

JC. Yes, I am saying to you, don't take yourself so personally. The situation is hopeless, but not serious, says the book on your shelf. Even the fear--let the fear be somewhere in your vicinity, it's all right, nothing to be overly concerned about or struggle with. Fear is not you, this course is not you, your portfolio is not you.

MT: So what am I, then? I am the Holy Son of God. The Father looks on me, and is well pleased.

70 My salvation comes from me.

Don't look to anyone else. No priest, doctor, politician, guru can save you, not even the love of your life. You have the power of choice. You can be miserable, or you can be with God in Paradise, today, now. This is it. There is nothing else.

I can never be unhappy enough to bring happiness to another. I can never be sick enough to make another healthy. I can never be poor enough to make another rich. This is the end of guilt. My salvation comes from me.


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