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121 Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

MT: I'm dealing with Return issues after the Costa Rica experience, JC. As I look around, the old separation that I carry around is there for me to see. Back there, it was extraordinarily rewarding to engage with others in therapy, to banter around, to try to gently coax a client out of their fear, to simply share a trip to town. But now I look around me and all I see is strangers, closed-off ghosts. They don't seem to need me. My focus narrows down to maintaining the body, keeping it up to snuff. I want to see my town, my circle, myself differently here. I want to bring the lightness and joy that I experienced home with me. I want to fill this odd vacuum that I now see and I know is not real. I want to forget my body and remember my Self.
JC: Know that God Is, and nothing else is.
MT: Not meaning to be snide, but I don't see how that helps me right now. I'm dealing with very human issues here.
JC: There is no God-versus-man. That is the root of separation, is it not?
MT: Yes, what I am seeing now is a bunch of separate bodies watching their separate TVs in their separate living rooms. And I, too, eat my separate breakfast and then go about my separate day. This is what I am making up, and I don't like it.
JC: You made a faulty choice way back. This is your chance to make a better one.
MT: When I was a child, I decided this was a world that didn't need me in it.
JC: Or a world that YOU didn't need and had no use for. But let me ask you, what use are others to you here, today, in your street and neighborhood?
MT: You are suggesting that I reach out. That I use my brother as mirror. That's a risk. To do that I have to be vulnerable, I have to soften my heart.
JC: Well . . . ?!

 

121 Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

"Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin."
"Each unforgiving mind presents you with an opportunity to teach your own how to forgive itself."

MT: I'm having a hard time concentrating, JC. Have a headache and my eyes are blurry today.
JC: Come as you are. The headache does not impede your connection with God. Neither does double vision. They are obstacles only if you assign them this role.
MT: I keep looking at the sentence, "Forgiveness is acquired." A surprising point you make. This is where learning comes in with the Course.
JC: Yes, and forgiveness would not be necessary had you not made up a world of sin.
MT: So when I have that knee-jerk reaction of dislike for someone, that's an opportunity to teach my own mind how to forgive itself.
JC: Exactly. That is what I mean when I say, "Give me your blessing, Holy Son of God." Because everyone who comes your way is a blessing, especially those whom you initially dislike.
MT: I remember what strong reactions I used to have to people. I assumed that it was their fault I didn't like them. I never questioned my reactions.
JC: Each and every one of them is your teacher and your key to happiness.

121 Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

I want to be happy.
God wants happiness for me. In this, God and I both agree.
Now here's the rub: I can't continue to see myself as helpless victim of a cruel world, and be happy too.
So my thinking is what needs to change, not the other guy.
In order to change my thinking, I need help, because my thoughts just go round and round, between vengeance and attack.
Help will come from a Source outside of my imaginings. To receive this help, I must trust and I must pray: I am willing to see this differently, will someone out there please help me?
And this is the miracle!


122 Forgiveness offers everything I want.

MT: I feel sick with worry today, JC--no peace here. My daughter-in-law, dear Nina, was hospitalized last night with pneumonia and kidney failure. I will be driving up today to help, but I know that I can be of real help only if I stay connected with God and our higher Self. I want to ask for her to get well, but I know that real healing does not happen in the realm of form. So I am asking to see this differently. I ask for your perspective, rather than mine.
JC: Who needs to be forgiven, and for what?
MT: I need to forgive myself for the times, so long ago, that I forgot who I was and how important I was to my children. There were moments of clarity even back then, but there was a lot of despair and wanting to check out of a world that I saw as unfriendly. I wonder if she is doing just that.
JC: You don't know what she is doing. You only know what you think you are seeing: a mother at risk, three young children potentially motherless. You are engaging in fearful thoughts, right now. Remember that this could be exactly what is needed for that family.
MT: Gifts may come in strange packages, you're saying.
JC: I am telling you that this may be the only way her Self knows to invite God in.
MT: "Invited or not invited, God will be there." Thank you, JC, brother, Friend.

 

122 Forgiveness offers everything I want.

Doesn't get any clearer than that! I am the ruler of my (forgiven) universe. What a tangled web we weave, when we pretend we are weak, helpless, victims, and mortal! Here is God's promise. Thank you, Father, for the gift of life today. Thank you for our beautiful planet and all things that dwell on it.

 


123  I thank my Father for His gifts to me.
 
We are so quick to look at where we fall short. This is a day to look at where we fall long.
 
What has God given me? Most recently, the privilege to post my daily blog here! This writing brings to light, one by one, the dark corners of my ego system. He gave me the undoing that's been going on for a quarter century. The bedraggled gray bird that landed in my outstretched hands in my dream of so long ago, in premonition of this Course, has grown into an eagle, noble and powerful.

The Father installed a magnificent BS detector, as well, a skepticism of false saviors and a critical eye for pervasive lies. What a long, strange trip from a confused childhood in catholic Brazil with a Baptist fundamentalist father and a mother immersed in mystical books! My Father gave me the role of keeper of family history, the privilege of learning from my ancestors.  

Yes, this journey has been strange and wonderful, and if it were over today, I would have nothing to say but: Thank you, Father, for your gifts to me. You complete me in a way I could never have dreamed possible.

 

123 I thank my Father for his gifts to me.

MT: Oh no, not this lesson! I really don't feel a grain of gratitude today. Chintzy Scott turned off the pilot to the fireplace! He wants to save his way to riches by scraping off every penny. Meanwhile, I have no heat, it's 61 degrees in here, he is out for the day and he stashed away the instructions to light the pilot. Also, my body is stiff from a 3-hour drive and the Pilates class yesterday. You need to set me straight, JC.
JC: I am always here for you.
MT: So set me straight!
JC: This path of complaints is your choice. If I took your choice away from you, then, in my opinion, you would have reason to complain.
MT: Deep down I must like to complain, blame and bitch, because I'm having a hard time with gratitude today.
JC: It is easy to be grateful for a banquet. Gratitude for a scrap of moldy bread is more of a challenge.
MT: It's all in what I choose to look at, then.
JC: It goes far, far deeper than the forms around you. What are the gifts of God to us?
MT: God gives us life to be lived, and that's enough for me.
JC: Now that you are feeling better, will you get out the electric heater?
MT: Nah, I'll take a hot shower and be on my way. Thanks, Friend!


124  Let me remember I am one with God.
 
One with God . . . as I try these words on for size, I remember standing on the pier in Santa Barbara, watching the waves: so this is what the Course is trying to say. We're the waves in the ocean of God. We can pride ourselves on being bigger than other waves, foamier, stronger, faster than anybody else, sporting a nobler crest, gold medalists in the Wave Olympics. We can think for a moment that there is no ocean, all there is is waves! We can even think that the ocean is just a wave like us, equally foolish and proud and vengeful and petty, equally full of itself.

But sooner or later we must fall back where we came from and be again one. We never were not one. It was an impossibility, and it never happened. We lost sight of this fact, and everything we did here became so important, so essential, so urgent, when fact is: I am one with God, and to God I shall return.

 

124 Let me remember I am one with God.

Like a fish denying the existence of water, I thought to make up a separate self, apart from my very being. How wrong I was, and how utterly impossible the task!

Today, let me forgive my foolishness. It was no sin; merely a detour that led nowhere. Today, let me remember I am one with God.


125 In quiet I receive God's Word today.

MT: I need comfort today, JC. Death is all too real to me right now. The feeling is of dread, like there's evil loose on the land, what I felt on 9/11. The feeling is of unjust, untimely death, and what for? Why would Nina, of all people, go right now? Why not me? I saw low-cholesterol margarine in the fridge, I guess she was trying to stay healthy the best she knew how, and what for? Why not enjoy butter and margaritas and laughter and dance?
JC: Those are questions you ask about yourself, are they not?
MT: Yes. I am tired of my efforts to preserve health. If I were to go tomorrow, what would I do today? Would I eat chocolate and order full-lead at Starbucks? But all that is overrated . . . it doesn't satisfy.
JC: What satisfies?
MT: The only thing that satisfies is connection with God and my fellow man. True forgiveness satisfies, nothing else will do. The feeling of almost touching God's hand, that satisfies. Evolving spiritually, that satisfies. Yes. The nectar of God is what I need.
JC: Which brings you right back to the lesson, if I may point out.

 

125 In quiet I receive God's word today.

I got very angry yesterday, JC. I got angry enough to smash something, although I restrained myself. This morning I woke up with a surprising touch of the old anxiety and those worries that sniff around for an excuse to exist. Guess the anger wasn't good for me. I need redirection. I need your hand in mine.
JC: And so it shall pass. My hand never leaves yours.
MT: Thanks. In reading the lesson, I realize I'm angry at God too.
JC: Well, know that if you are angry at a brother, you are angry at God. There is no difference.
MT: I am tired to being a "good girl." I am tired of accommodating, giving up in order to get along.
JC: Love is not about giving up. Love asks nothing and gives all. Love sees that there is nothing to give up.
MT: I needed to hear that. The world of "stuff" became very real to me yesterday.
JC: Know that God loves you. Know that the flowers give of their perfume to you. Know that the grasses bend in the wind to greet you along the path. You are beautiful, a radiant creation of God. Nothing can change that.

125 In quiet I receive God's Word today.

Father, I pray that my mind be silent today. I want this pearl of great price: the silent mind. Silent that I may greet others without judgment. Silent that I may receive the beauty around me. Silent that I may offer love to those I meet. A silent mind, bigger than the whole universe--what a gift of God, mine for the asking.


126 All that I give is given to myself.

MT: This morning, or maybe in twilight sleep, you gave me this thought: when the "I" is no longer real, the whole world is the "I". I am you and you and you. It's one of those ideas that you don't get until you get it. There has to be a readiness in place to welcome the idea. It's an energy-body felt sense rather than a thought. It even seems out of place, JC, to talk with "you" because you is I, I is you. Perhaps the pain and turmoil of the last few days led me to this point. Whatever. I am thankful and delighted.
JC: And there is a tiny fear that you will lose it again. Which you will, but only temporarily.
MT: I will probably float in and out of the Real World for the rest of my life in this body, but yes: all that I give is given to myself.

 

126 All that I give is given to myself.

MT: It all comes down to what I want, doesn't it?
JC: Who are you, and what do you want? Most do not answer these two very basic questions in a whole lifetime.
MT: I am the Son of God. I want . . . well, JC, right now I'm stuck in wanting total, radiant health in my body, but I know that's not very spiritually correct.
JC: Nothing wrong in wanting health for your body. The body was made to serve well. The belief in sin and punishment--that sickens the body.
MT: If I want radiant health, the belief in sin and punishment must go, then.
JC: And this freedom you offer others, that it may be your own. You know whom you recently made into a sinner. You know the person you raged against.
MT: I thought my rage was quite justified. Most people would agree with me.
JC: Yet you want out of this collective agreement that makes up sickness and poverty and war and environmental degradation. Don't agree with "most people." You know Truth now. It remains for you to act on it.

126 All that I give is given to myself.

MT: I'm looking at the affirmation, JC, and it doesn't even register. I feel sick and uncomfortable. My shoulder hurts, my head is congested. I want to say something meaningful . . .
JC: Be willing to say something meaningless!
MT: Because that's surrender, isn't it. God, the Giver of meaning, takes over.
JC: Yes, God takes over: the ultimate surrender.
MT: I feel like going back to bed.
JC: And what's to keep you?
MT: My self-imposed obligation to post every morning.
JC: Obligations, shmobligations. Your life consists of obligations that you fight like a modern-day Don Quixote on the road to nowhere.
MT: Well, that said it!
JC: And now, as you open up to Love, what do you want to say?
MT: I feel a bit better. All that I give is given to myself, including this post!


127 There is no love but God's.

MT: Concentration is difficult here with the grandchildren, JC. I'm always "on," and the two labs add to the confusion.

JC: And your fears and concern for the grandkids create more stress still. I know. You forget that you raised four children yourself, and that they were never seriously injured. They never had to visit the ER, for that matter.

MT: In some ways, it is more difficult to raise kids now than it was forty years ago. You have to take the task more seriously. They won't even let a mother out of the hospital without a child restraint being installed in the car. What do poor people do?

JC: The population keeps increasing, so they must find a way to get around all the barriers imposed by society. How about there being no love but God's? How are you with that?

MT: I think I've got the idea. No love but God's. I may think there are different kinds of love: love for animals (mixed in with sorrow for how we treat them), love for my grandchildren (more, somehow, than love for other people's offspring), the "falling in love" that our literature makes so much noise about, love of art, music, literature, learning. We misuse the word. We fragment the concept into a thousand pieces.

JC: And the fragmentation has absolutely no effect, being part of the illusion. There is only one love. The sun gives its warmth to saint and sinner, young and old, to those who suffer and those who rejoice. All these different loves you talk about, they are really leaves of a tree, extensions of the One Love, that richness of feeling that comes from knowing that you and God are One. 

 

127 There is no love but God's.

MT: What about my grandchildren? I must say, if two children were drowning and one of them was mine, this one I would dive in to save first!
JC: Do not search for where you are lacking. Do not make yourself guilty for specialness. All expressions of love are of God. Your family is a laboratory, so to speak, where you learn about love, how to give it, how to receive it. From there it will extend to the whole of Creation.
MT: I get it--that was just my ego stealing the delight I take in my grandkids. But what about this: "Today we practice making free your mind of all the laws you think you must obey; of all the limits under which you live, and all the changes that you think are part of human destiny." How does this relate to this lesson? I don't see the connection.
JC: Love expands, laws contract. Laws are of man, love is of God. Man's laws were made to hide love. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"--the savagery of this law should be obvious. It denies redemption, obscures the Light. It punishes under the pretension of redeeming. It makes more of the behavior it would deter.
MT: So what does love mean? Please remind me.
JC: Beyond the sun and stars, beyond what the senses can feel, the eye can see and the mind imagine, there is love. It fills your body with life, it bathes every cell in its golden radiance. This is God. This you offer to your brother, so that you may receive it for yourself.


127 There is no love but God's.


There are not many loves, here today, turned into ugly anger and hate tomorrow. There is only Love, the infinite, endless, complete Love that comes from God, the Love that God IS. Need we look further? Need we search for love, when that is who we are in truth?


128 The world I see holds nothing that I want.

MT: OK, JC, you are on! I've let go of desire, and that's exactly my problem. I remember well, decades ago, my preparations for a week at the beach, for example, and the cruel disappointment when Father found out, at the last moment, that all hotels were full. I now want nothing, not even a tropical beach, so why get up in the morning? Perhaps you need to dictate another book that puts desire back in.
JC: What can I say? Your eyes have not seen the glory of the Father. The early lessons are meant to induce experience, but when you first did them you were not ready. Your fear was too great.
MT: Yes and no. I can go back to events and experiences, some of them overwhelming, but unfortunately very brief. They are not enough to sustain me.
JC: You haven't let go of desire. You now desire profound experience, do you not? You find yourself in limbo, and you want out. That is desire, as much as longing for the ocean in the heat of summer.
MT: Oh. You are right. That is what I want now, so that I shall search for.
JC: If you can give up the self that searches, you will have experience, not tomorrow but right now.


129  Beyond this world there is a world I want.
 
MT: I try to pay close attention to your words, JC. It's "beyond this world," not "in place of" or "in addition to." I look past all appearances to find God. I momentarily ignore this world I made in favor of God's creation. You use the metaphor of walking through a fog to the sun beyond. This must be important.
 
JC: It is. It is important that you do not give the world you made undue importance. It has no importance, because it does not exist.
 
MT: We can get so worked over small events and things, frustrations and trinkets. A woman I know watched with horror as her 10,000 diamond wedding ring slipped off her finger and fell in the garbage disposer along with the dinner leftovers she was grinding. If she had learned today's lesson, she would know she was losing nothing.
 
JC: Peace of mind resides in today's thought. Learn it well. It will allow you to fully enjoy whatever you do, what you have, what you make, because you will not be attached to it.
 
MT: I look past all appearances to see the world I want. 

 


129 Beyond this world there is a world I want.


MT: But really? I still want this one I'm in, sort of.
JC: One thing is important to know: this is not the only world there is. You practice sacred detachment. You raise yourself above the battleground.
MT: So I know there is an option! I have a choice.
JC: Every instant of every hour you are choosing between God's world and the world you made.
MT: I forget . . . I forget, and my world becomes real again. But I'm so grateful, JC--I now have a choice, where I couldn't see one before. How marvelous that we now have a choice. We are no longer tossed about like dead leaves in the stream. You've taught us to swim.


130 It is impossible to see two worlds.

MT: This statement is so all-or-nothing: I'm impressed how you use ego ideas to bring about change. It's masterful, JC.
JC: If you learn nothing else from this work, do learn to use what you have at hand.
MT: To be pragmatic. I know I am much more pragmatic now than I was BC (Before Course).
JC: So which world do you want to see now?
MT: I am immersed in grief and sadness, and I want to feel that. It's a gift to me, JC, to be able to feel.
JC: Treat yourself with kindness, too, true kindness. This is an invitation to see yourself differently. I will help take care of your body, if you give your mind over to me.
MT: Most of the time, I have no idea what my mind is doing. Guess it's avoiding God. It's far easier to take care of my body.
JC: We need a mind-scrubbing here, don't we?
MT: I think I have scrubbed my mind over the years, but it's still like a pesky fly.
JC: The ego is your pesky fly. Your mind is serene and unchanging, as God created it.
MT: This I will get today: it is impossible to see two worlds. I will seek and find God's world today.

 

130 It is impossible to see two worlds.

MT: Yes, JC, I understand how this is. The world perception makes up is internally consistent. It can be argued logically and given the appearance of truth and reality. With this course you lead us, step by step, to the basic premise on which this internal consistency rests, and you show us why the basic premise cannot possibly be the truth. The world we think we see then crumbles, and in its place is the experience of God. Our made-up world is like an upended pyramid resting on a single point, the "tiny mad idea" that we can be separate from God. Question this idea, and the rest of our world collapses.

The possibilities are staggering, JC. There goes everything that seemingly held me up and allowed me to function. No wonder I have been so fearful, my mind walking circles around the Great Fire like a coyote slinking in the darkness at the edge of camp.

JC: Let us use a less fearful image. When you leap, you learn that you can fly. Only when you trust enough to leap do you learn to fly.

MT: I'll make it even easier on myself. I will jump from rock to rock across the creek of the ego, God waiting on the far bank. I'm good at that, you know.


 

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