Index of Lessons

101 God's will for me is perfect happiness.

MT: There is a book on my shelf, Happiness Is a Choice. When I am unhappy, I am defying God, I am trying to replace God. Therefore, misery must not exist, because I cannot possibly replace God. What a preposterous idea, that I could possibly replace God!

JC: From this tiny, mad idea, come all the woes that befall the world.

MT: Without misery, there is no story. What happens to all of literature, music, visual arts, when we all are possessed by joy?

JC: For the second time in history, man will have discovered fire. New venues for his creativity will be found.

MT: Man has longed for Paradise ever since the Fall, but Paradise brushes his face, too close to see. JC, there is a scary thought in my head (there I go, generating fear): I live in society. There are group processes such as the perceived need for war, that once rolling acquire a life of their own. There was an inevitability about all the woes of last century, once the first shot was fired by Gavrilo Princip. Good people, like my family, were quite helpless in the mob mentality.

JC: I had a sense of urgency when dictating to Helen. She was not totally ready, but the need to see the world differently becomes increasingly dire as man develops ever more sophisticated weapons. A mob mentality is a threat only as long as individuals do not think for themselves. This Course teaches you to think for yourself. That is its power.

MT: That's so true. Having studied this long, I know I could never belong to a cult. You installed a magnificent BS detector in my head.

JC: Choose happiness today. In releasing the dark thoughts that cloud your mind, you access the power of love. You can then offer a hand to lead others out of darkness.


101 God's will for me is perfect happiness.

MT: So much for the God of my childhood, the God of vengeance, of fire and brimstone. But what brutally strong words you use:

"Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just." You go on to say: "Who would seek out such savage punishment? Who would not flee salvation, and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice which offers it to him? Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering?"

Thanks, JC, for stating so clearly the error in my thinking and for not making me wrong for thinking it. Because that's exactly how I used to think. Here are the terrors of my childhood laid out for all to see.

JC: That was then, this is now. A new era dawns for mankind. Suffering is not bad or evil. It is merely unnecessary.

MT: Yes. Today I escape from madness. Today I accept that God's only will for me is total, perfect, all-encompassing happiness.

101 God's Will for me is perfect happiness.

Why would I seek anything else? Unless I choose to believe in that old judging, condemning old man in the sky.

>You still believe [salvation] asks for suffering as penance for your "sins." This is not so.

Out of the old God comes the "need" for suffering. It goes like this: If I want happiness, I must be miserable first. There's a price for everything, you know. No pain, no gain.

>The sinful warrant only death and pain . . . it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God.

The last judgment, when God examines the books and counts out the change.

>If sin is real . . . its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.

So what do we want to believe? Which thought system do we want to adopt? The parable of the Prodigal Son speaks to these two views. The Father sets up a banquet for the lost son who just walked in the door. But the son who stayed home just doesn't get it. His is the old worldview, in which love must be earned by good works. He's earned love, he thinks, but guess what? Everybody deserves love. Everybody deserves a banquet, not because of what he does, but because of who he is.

102 I share God's will for happiness for me.

MT: Yes, I do want to be happy. I choose to be happy. I have recently found happiness in the smallest things. It's a mental attitude, but it also has a physical component, a certain energy in the body. I can make myself unhappy by, say, eating a supersized McDonald's meal and then sitting in the recliner the rest of the evening, the only thing you can do after a 1,200-calorie meal. My body needs basic care, and the emotional component of getting run down with food temptations and inactivity is difficult to overcome once it gets underway. Perhaps it's just guilt that comes into play. . . but I don't think so. There's a mystery here, JC. I've long thought of the Course as being directed to the mind only, but it wouldn't seem so. Any comments?

JC: How nice that you ask. The mental and the physical become integrated as you learn to treat your body with love, as you would a pet. It responds to tenderness.

MT: One becomes conscious, and then it's difficult to act irresponsibly. I am discovering a hub for all the spokes of my life. Tell me, what needs to happen with this diet thing? With taking off 10 pounds? Am I just making the body real, and then trying to change it? Shoot, I'm afraid you'll say yes. . .

JC: You ask the question, then you fear your own answer!

MT: Yes, I am only human, or should I say, I'm only divine? My own answer is a stern: Of course, you are making the fat real, and then trying to dispose of it! Big mistake! You can't even do the Course right!

JC: You can lose weight without losing peace. You can just say so: I am losing 10 pounds. I am releasing 10 pounds of fat from my dear body that's been carrying this burden around far too long. And it is done, in Heaven as on Earth. You rule your universe.

MT: I can be happy AND lose weight! I've hit the jackpot! I don't have to be miserable in order to be happy later, when I'm thinner!

JC: Share God's will for happiness for you, and do it today, without conditions.


102 I share God's will for happiness for me.

Who wouldn't want happiness? I do. Trouble was, I thought God wanted me to be miserable! What a new reference point this is for my whole life: God, too, wants me to be happy. Happy as a kitten with her littermates. Happy as a dolphin frolicking in the wake of a boat. Happy as a mockingbird singing in the dawn. That is what God wants for me!

102 I share God's Will for happiness for me.

How could I not? Unless I believe in an avenging God. This is so fundamental: our concept of God. From the idea of God flows everything else we believe. Either God is Love, or is he vengeance. What makes sense? Religion's mantra is that God is love but we are wretched sinners. Would a loving God have created wretched sinners so He could send them to the eternal fires of hell? What would be the point of that?

Today I pledge to share God's will for me: perfect happiness.

103 God, being Love, is also happiness.

MT: So much for the misery we've been carrying around! Millennia of misery, when we could have been happy all this time.

JC: You got it. Millennia of misery--good words. I'll use them myself sometime.

MT: I feel a lot happier these days. Somewhere along the line, with these daily postings, I've let go of a mind trap. I don't even know what the trap was.

JC: Welcome home. It matters not how you got here.

MT: Except for showing others the way.

JC: When you need that information, you will remember it.

MT: Thank you, JC. You are such the good friend, you bring tears to my eyes. Like Hobbes the tiger, Calvin's companion. That's startling--I loved that cartoon strip. In some obscure way a cartoon presaged my relationship with you.

JC: That's the universe as a hologram. There is no "you" or "I." We are one. In each is the whole contained.


103 God, being love, is also happiness.

Yeah! Right on, JC! I well remember the knot in my throat when, with tremulous voices, people said, "God is love" and then went on to describe the hell reserved for those who don't behave. What loving God would condemn any of His creations to unspeakable torture? What loving God would even notice what we do in this fleeting dream of ours?

103 God, being Love, is also happiness.

>Happiness is an attribute of love.

Unless we still confuse love with infatuation.

>Love has no limits, being everywhere. And therefore joy is everywhere as well.

If these two sentences seem to be making leaps of logic, that is only because we see love as one thing, joy as another, God as a third, with spaces in between.

>Yet can the mind deny that this is so, believing there are gaps in love where sin can enter, bringing pain instead of joy.

We need another word for love. Why not the Greek "agape"? It would make it more difficult to swear "I agape you", or, "No, I don't agape you anymore."

>This strange belief would limit happiness by redefining love as limited, and introducing opposition in what has no limit and no opposite.

Love moves the visible world and the world we cannot see. Love is God's energy at work. Let me today fall--no, rise-- in love with everyone I meet.

104 I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

MT: I begin the day with the Thought of God: peace and joy belong to me. They are my natural inheritance. They are also not finite quantities--they are contagious, like a cold, the gift that keeps on giving. When I am not at peace, I am leaving my Father's House to wander the world barefoot, like a prodigal son. Sometimes it seems I need to experience the world of the ego once more, just to reaffirm that I do not want it. I am like the addict who tries out the substance once again, because he forgot the pain.

JC: You said it. No need to try your drug of choice any longer.

MT: I need to pack today--going away for the weekend. Packing and planning used to be stressful times, until I learned to just do what was in front of my nose, put in the suitcase whatever came to mind in the moment, and somehow that got the job done and took away all stress. Call it guidance, I guess.

JC: It is also learning new ways of conducting your life. Learning to "choose again." So today, do not walk alone like a prodigal son. My voice goes with you.

MT: Thank you. Peace and joy are my companions today and always.


104 I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

Organized religion has me kneel before God (or the priest, more likely) and confess my sins. Perhaps temporary relief can be had in confession, but then the unwanted "reality" asserts itself again, if not today, then tomorrow for sure: I am a worthless sinner, waiting to roast in eternal fires of Hell but for the obscure and capricious grace of a blind, deaf and angry God.

And now I learn that forgiveness was mine all along! There was never anything to forgive! All Heaven asks of me is that I offer my brother the gift that God gave me: the recognition that we, together, seek for what belongs to us in truth. I cannot say, "Heaven is mine, but you are excluded because of the atrocious deeds you performed, the color of your skin, or the holy book you happen to hold as truth." God welcomes me today. I welcome my brother today. Together we enter the Kingdom.

104 I seek but what belongs to me in truth.
And joy and peace are my inheritance.

>Today's idea continues with the thought that joy and peace are not but idle dreams.

How do we come to the Course? We see joy and peace as separate states, mostly unattainable, although we try. We even try with alcohol and crack, Wellbutrin and Oxycontin. But no matter what we do, joy and peace seem out of reach, fleeting at best.

Yet we're hearing something else now. At first this seems like a Polyanna idea: "joy and peace are my right, because of who I am." Sure, I say. Whatever. It is only after prolonged contact with the idea, and many small miracles, that I come to accept this: "Joy and peace are my right, not because of anything I have done or not done, but because of who I am."

It only remains to remove all barriers to love. This is a course in taking away so we can receive. It is a course in keeping the bowl empty that God may fill it at last.

105 God's peace and joy are mine.

MT: In the "old days” of BC, Before Course, I would think: how do I know peace and joy are mine? Oh, by going off in solitude so I could hold on to them. Everybody knows that people spoil joy and rob me of peace, right?

JC: And you learned otherwise. You learned that there is no selfish happiness. Your husband used those words. He could see how you were making yourself miserable, you could not.

MT: And yet, he was the master at making his life, and mine, miserable. We can see it so plainly in others, and still not know it in our lives.

JC: So now you are part of the Great Undoing. Nothing actually happens. The carpet of time rolls back, and there's eternity.

MT: Those words give me the shivers. The Great Undoing--nothing happens--the carpet of time.

JC: Because you remember, for a fleeting moment, where you came from.

MT: I came from Eternity, and to Eternity I shall return. What could disturb me now, when I remember my Source?

JC: God's peace and joy are yours, now and forever.


105 God's peace and joy are mine.

MT:  I give what I want to receive. I offer forgiveness that I may be forgiven. JC, I've become aware of a gap in how I relate to others. I think a guardedness about me turns people off, but I really don't want friends. I am quite comfortable alone. I think this has to do with today's lesson.

JC: You could have more friends, but you don't want more friends.

MT: I really don't. I am quite happy pecking at the keyboard, cleaning a closet, or watching a movie. There are people who want company everywhere they go, people who don't know what they are thinking unless they bounce it off someone else, but I am not one of them. I need company in homeopathic doses. I would like to be doing more counseling . . . there's still pain stashed away regarding counseling. I did so much in the way of training, licenses, workshops, and it's gone to nothing. I feel defeated, professionally. I could have been helpful and successful and busy, but I sabotaged myself at every turn. I thought of myself as a powerhouse, but I turned out to be just a few wet logs on a sooty fire.

JC: What is your heart's desire? What would you like from me?

MT: I want clarity. I want to see myself as others see me. I turn people away, I know, but I know it only by inference. I want the Truth.

105 God's peace and joy are mine.

MT: What does this mean for me, today? God's peace and joy are mine. Are these just words? Do you really mean what you say?
JC: Let me ask you a question. Could it be that God excludes you from His kingdom? Do you believe that God holds some as special and others not?
MT: No, I don't believe that God favors one over another. I don't think that God "sees" sin in any form.
JC: Yet you are not sure that His peace and joy are yours. You are not sure that you are entitled to miracles.
MT: It's not that I'm not sure, it's just that I forgot. I got wrapped up in ego thinking and forgot desire, forgot my goals, forgot my dedication.
JC: So, yes, you forgot. Are you willing to come back now?
MT: Oh yes, I hear the steady OM of the universe calling me. It represents peace and freedom. Let me claim today what is mine in truth: God's peace and joy.

106 Let me be still and listen to the truth.

MT: My ego kicked up again yesterday, JC. It said, "Look at the patterns of your life. This self-sabotage dates back to age 13. When will you finally deal with it?"
JC: The chatter, the veiled accusations, the urgency: I say, know that they are not Truth.
MT: I could have looked at my many successes, but I chose to look at my failures.
JC: Looking at so-called successes helps only temporarily. What you must give up are your judgments of yourself based on past experience. Be still and listed to the truth: you are a magnificent creation of God. The past is over. It can touch you not. Today you can be with me in Paradise.

106 Let me be still and listen to the truth.

MT: Is one ever still? The mind keeps generating meaningless thought after meaningless thought. It's endless. The way I know to "stop the world" (Don Juan's expression) is through body movement--jogging, yoga, movement meditation.
JC: You do what works, you don't do what doesn't work.
MT: That's not very helpful, JC.
JC: What would help, right now?
MT: Clarity. Your clarity, because mine doesn't cut it. How do I get to stillness?
JC: God gave you will. Will can be misused, or it can serve your highest good.
MT: So I just will stillness, and it will be there.
JC: Mind chatter may still be there, but you know it is not real, and you pay no attention to it.
MT: The Eye that looks on chatter, and laughs . . .

107 Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

MT: What is this business about truth, JC?
JC: Only truth is true. Nothing else is true.
MT: Oh. The best minds of our society, at the moment, are engaged in presenting the false as true. It is offensive to be lied to, doubly offensive to be expected to believe in the lies.
JC: You lament what you cannot change, a favorite occupation of the ego. While doing so, your mind feels busy and important, but it is in truth doing absolutely nothing.
MT: The mind is waiting, isn't it. For what, I cannot guess.
JC: It waits for nothing, because there is nothing at the end of the road. This road leads nowhere. Wake up!
MT: I so badly want to see, Friend. Help me see.
JC: This longing, that is a teaspoon of Truth. Be true to yourself. Reach out to your brothers in fearlessness and love today.
MT: Today I give myself the gift of a still mind, that I may recognize Truth.

107 Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

>Try to remember when there was a time,-–perhaps a minute, maybe even less–-when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.

I remember my mother's quiet breath, next to mine. The sound was like that of gentle ocean waves breaking on the shore. The feeling was eternal, limitless, infinite.

>And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. . . . When truth has come it does not stay a while, to disappear or change to something else. It does not shift and alter in its form, nor come and go and go and come again. It stays exactly as it always was, to be depended on in every need, and trusted with a perfect trust in all the seeming difficulties and the doubts that the appearances the world presents engender. They will merely blow away, when truth corrects the errors in your mind.

Truth, then, has that quality of the eternal, the vast spaces of the ocean stretching as far as the eye can see and beyond, "the gift of perfect constancy."

>Truth does not come and go nor shift nor change, in this appearance now and then in that, evading capture and escaping grasp.

Truth lies beyond the world of beginnings and endings, of decisions and indecisions, the world of anxious figuring things out with my limited resources. Truth ". . . stands in open light, in obvious accessibility."

How could I want anything else for myself? How could I not offer it to everyone I meet?

108 To give and to receive are one in truth.

MT: Thanks for your company this weekend, JC. You were right there, I know. It was perfect.

JC: Glad to be there. I enjoyed Pinnacles through your eyes and ears, nose and skin.

MT: To give and to receive are one, because the Sonship is one--we are all Spirit. I think I've got this one by heart. I wonder, where in my life haven't I got it?

JC: All over the place! You have the concept, but it remains for you to live it.

MT: Ouch. Today, please show me. When I give, I give to myself. I'll be watching for chances to really get it.


108 To give and to receive are one in truth.

MT: There's that word again, JC--Truth. They are one IN truth?
JC: Giving and receiving are but an aspect of the Thought of God, a state of mind so unified that darkness cannot be perceived.
MT: There's something I don't get here. I can see that there is no giving or receiving, that they are both part of an exchange of love, and love is limitless by definition. Well, guess I did get it!
JC: "I will receive what I am giving now." This is the guidance of the Holy Spirit: what are you giving in this moment? Because that you will receive. This is not an idle thought. This is a law.
MT: Right now, you say? I am offering to the disembodied minds out there--my Internet groups--my struggle to understand.
JC: What is the offer? The struggle, or the clarity?
MT: Well, it's really my clarity. It's the love of God that eventually flows out of the words I peck. Don't remember ever being disappointed, either. I have received what I've given, with generous dividends.
JC: This is the yardstick with which to measure your smallest action, your tiniest thought: are you giving what you would receive? Because you will, with mathematical precision.
MT: That's the Law of Attraction that people are talking about, isn't it? It goes far deeper than a parking space or a slick new car.
JC: It reaches all the way to the Thought that underlies them all, the Thought of God.


109 I rest in God.

MT: Here's my weather report, JC. I feel quiet this morning. I woke up to the constant thinking that seemingly dominates my mind, but it was more removed in that it didn't bother me. I am also more aware of dreams these days. I am aware that my foot hurts from all the hiking, and I think up strategies to help it heal. Some work, most do not. The house is quiet, cat stretched out on my lap so I have to write sideways on the laptop--can't do this very long! hopefully the cat will get too warm and jump off soon. Do I rest in God? I think not, not right this minute. Does it matter?

JC: The weather here in Spirit-land is non existent. All that is, is the music of the spheres. I chose to offer you access to this realm.

MT: Amazing. You just did it. There is a world beyond the world my ideas make up.

JC: You are either with God, or you are with an idea. I offer options, but the choice is yours.

MT: I rest in God. I breathe in the air of my Father's garden. Silence arrives with cat feet. Freedom is so close, I can taste it, and wings of angels brush ever so softly against my cheek, as I linger here awhile before I go on.

JC: You do not go alone. Go with God today and always.


109 I rest in God.

"Into His presence would I enter now." Today I surrender the "need" to work, improve, move forward, do (it helps that I have a cold) (did God send this cold to help me rest?). Let this be the seventh day of Creation, when, like God's, my mind is still. Today, in silence and awe, I enter into His presence.

109 I rest in God.

MT: I'm not focused here, JC. Don't feel very rested.
JC: Yet there is a part of you that is completely still and untouched by the agitation of the world around you.
MT: I rest in God. That would be wonderful. That is wonderful. Thank you for the reminder!

110 I am as God created me.

MT: Pretty central thought, I guess. You repeat it dozens of times in the upcoming lessons. You really want to drum it in.

JC: Drum it in?! I want to etch it in stone, carve it in rock, write it with a flaming torch against the night sky. You are as God created you. Anything else is illusion, and does not exist.

MT: How quickly I forget, and slip into thinking that only makes me miserable.

JC: This is the antidote, the thought that cancels out the others. If you but fully remembered this, you would be saved in an instant, and the world along with you.

MT: Speaking of the world being saved with me--how's that supposed to happen? It only takes one, you said. One who completely accepts the truth of these words.

JC: The inevitable conclusion comes from another basic thought: you are one with your brothers, and they with you. What happens within you affects everybody else, all around the globe. I knew this truth when I walked the Earth, and I tried to bring about Atonement in one bold stroke.

MT: Like a crystal of ice dropped into a beaker of supercooled water, instantly turning it to solid ice.

JC: Nice image. I didn't completely succeed, but the world is much closer to readiness now. That is why I enlisted Helen and Bill's help, and why I am enlisting your help today. You are as God created you. Remember this truth today, and remind others of their natural inheritance. Your thoughts and actions cannot <not> have an effect. It is up to you to choose the effect you want to have.


110 I am as God created me.

I had a moment of clarity, as I sat down to meditate a few minutes ago--why not be totally here, right now, this moment? And then it passed, and now it's just a memory. I don't even quite know what happened. I long to see. Above all I want to see--but I guess there is a catch. The catch is, I want to see as long as I can maintain my separate self, the seer who sees a world outside the self. You are telling me, that doesn't work.
JC: For a moment, there was only the decision to see. And then the decision for separation rushed in once more.
MT: So what do I do? I feel helpless.
JC: Who put the helplessness there? Did God create you helpless, so He could practice charity on you?
MT: Aw, JC, you're being sarcastic.
JC: Yes, I am. This is a time for strength and light. This is the time to own yourself as a being of light.
MT: To have no name, no country, only life to be lived. To be as God created me, because I can be nothing else. Thank you, Friend.


Index of Lessons