Index of Lessons

151  All things are echoes of the Voice for God.

MT: It's a gorgeous day, JC. Easy to see the greenery and hear the birds as an echo of the Voice for God. Less easy when we're hit with ugliness and devastation.

JC: Ugliness and devastation are ways that you see things apart from God.

MT: I want to see and hear with God. Well, I must say that this expression, "echoes of the Voice for God," has a transcendent quality about it. I can listen for that music of the spheres above the raucuous noises of the world. A distant echo that one barely hears--it awakens a faint memory of what we left behind when we came. Perhaps I need to learn to listen.

JC: The Voice for God is always there, no matter where you are, because it is within you.

MT: So I can be a voice for God too . . .

151 All things are echoes of the Voice for God.

My granddaughter, sitting on my lap as I write, is an echo of the Voice for God. The lab Sadie, sitting at my feet lest I forget to walk her, is an echo of the Voice for God. The birds that sing their morning song are echoes of the Voice for God. How could I not be an echo of the Voice for God? It is so because I say so. It is so because God says so.

151 All things are echoes of the Voice for God.

MT: I really don't want to post, JC. I would rather go to bed. It's late.
JC: As long as you know what you are doing: you are avoiding a change of mind. Fatigue is only lack of interest.
MT: I feel sad now. I have had such great times and experiences with this work, why am I removing myself?
JC: You know what happens when you give of yourself to others. You know how interest arises and stays with you.
MT: There's that feeling that nobody wants what I have to give.
JC: What you are seeing out there, that is what is inside.
MT: Yes, I know, in theory. I think this is true: that I am the one who holds back. Mostly I just want to be left alone. I avoid human contact. Not always, but right now the feeling is: leave me alone, don't bother.
JC: Has God left you, do you think?
MT: That is an impossibility. I can pretend that I have left God, but God can never leave me.
JC: You are an echo of the Voice for God. Let this thought stay with you tonight.

152  The power of decision is my own.

MT: Today I decide with God. Yes, but . . . JC, I need help in following guidance. There are so many areas of my life where I keep things the same. You have told me, time and again, to call one person or another, and I seem to dig my heels in like a balky mule, and play computer games instead, or eat, or take a nap. Making contact is especially difficult for me. Or I make it difficult. Some people love contact, I do not. Some people seem to need to talk in order to think, I need to think ten times before I talk.

JC: You are not sure which is the Voice for God, and which is the voice of the ego.

MT: You got it. I am tired of fighting myself. At times, contact has been very painful, most recently with E, who lashed out at me for a totally innocent remark. I felt I couldn't open my mouth without setting him off. But I think the pain goes way back to my childhood. I was beaten back, over and over, when I tried to make friends with my sister and her circle, whose main entertainment was to trick me into panting after her so she could reject me. The world became a hostile place where shutting down was the best strategy. My brittle pride was established then: "if you don't like me, I won't even try. I am enough in myself. Let me show you how I can have fun all by myself. You come begging for my company, I'm never going to offer it."  Sheesh, I just dove into this part of my personality, and now it's very real. And I don't want homilies from the Course, please.

JC: Do you see how you cling to a few negative examples? Do you see how you ignore those who profoundly love you? This is where the power of decision comes in. You can choose to see a hostile world, and you will create hell all around you. Choose to see the many large and small ways in which love is offered, and brush away the rest. You will be "right" either way, because you are making up the world as you go, moment by moment. By the way, forgiveness work with your sister might be in order . . .

152 The power of decision is my own.

MT: I accept that I decide on what to feel. I have decided to be angry at times, and found out it did me no good. I have turned around a bad moment by just deciding otherwise, and surprised myself and others with my change in mood. But sickness? It does seem to be something that happens to me, totally unbidden and unwelcome.
JC: Yet it is all the same. When you decide for God, you have decided against illness and death. The energies of your body respond immediately, because you have stepped out of time.
MT: Guess I am afraid of this "trick" not working. Or perhaps afraid that it might work! Feels a bit creepy that the cells of my body might rearrange.
JC: Only because you still see it as a trick, not as a window into Truth. The ego offers ingenious non-solutions to your non-problems. That is the real shabby trick.
MT: So in order to get well, I need to completely suspend disbelief. I'm not there yet. It would require becoming someone else, yet there are all these people around me who keep me in the ego that I was.
JC: You don't "become someone else." You claim for yourself that which you truly are, the radiant, glorious Son of God. This is the decision you must make.

153  In my defenselessness my safety lies.

MT: JC, I summon you to my side. The house is quiet, Scott sleeps (I woke up defending myself against his imaginary threats), the clock ticks. Outside, birds begin to welcome the dawn. Who am I? I think I am an old woman with a pot belly. I don't feel radiant right now. I am identifying with an aging body that right at the moment feels tight, slumped and achy. I have forgotten who I am.

JC: So refocus now. You cannot be this body.

MT: Why not? That's all I see right now.

JC: You are Spirit.

MT: I have vaguely experienced being not-this-body, but I guess I need a stronger experience of that. Please provide.

JC: What happened right now? Scared?

MT: I got distracted by the sudden decision: I want you to help me experience being not of the body, but I suddenly dove into the old fear: I'm afraid to ask, because if I do, this time the whole thing will turn out to be a scam, a fake, the Course did not get written, God does not exist, JC is just a figment of my imagination, and tomorrow I die, to be gone forever. Annihilated. I will have completed the fate I deserved all along. That's the full run of ego thinking, the thinking you and I have worked so hard to dispel. Here it is in its full regalia.

JC: When you attempt to take a stand with your power, you bring in the old despair: that you are weak and undeserving.

MT: Not only that. I ensure that I will have to keep on trying, because the old despair doesn't serve anymore. I feel like a hamster on a treadmill, going nowhere, its effort clearly futile, yet compelled to keep trying.

JC: Silence will get you where running won't.

MT: Meditation. You are right. I am shutting myself off from God by my machine-like thinking process.

JC: You asked for a clear experience of being Spirit. Open yourself to it now.

153 In my defenselessness my safety lies.

To walk the world undefended, because there is nothing I would defend--what peace is in this! What a world it shows me--a world of brotherhood and kindness, with reverence for animals, the plant world, and each other. History vanishes, because there are no wars to rehash and relive, no enemies to guard against. I want this world for myself. I pledge to walk the world in this way, not because I should, but because there is nothing to defend. I am the Holy Son of God. I am as God created me.

154  I am among the ministers of God.

MT: Good morning, JC.

JC: Good morning, Monica. May the awareness of God's presence grow with every word you write.

MT: With this lesson, you are expanding my function. Besides forgiveness, ministry. Teaching.

JC: That's the next step in your return to God. When you teach, you learn.

MT: They used to say, back where I grew up: "If you know, you do. If you don't know, you teach"--but I guess that was just a dig at the pompous windbags who pass for teachers in Brazil.

JC: Watch out for the unforgiving thought. Would you accuse yourself of purposely sending a confusing message?

MT: Rarely. Wait. Back in school, I wrote confusing essays when I wasn't up on the subject, in hopes that the instructor wouldn't have time or patience to sort out my blather. It worked sometimes ; )

JC: It came from fear of being seen as the slacker you feared you were, didn't it.

MT: Yes. But school is a game much of the time. I played the game well.

JC: If you saw the subject as of interest to you, would you have faked it?

MT: No, that would be dishonest and a betrayal of my own goals.

JC: I am curious--what is your goal with this writing?

MT: To clear my own head on a daily basis. To reconnect with you and with God. This is my blog, and I feel a bit sheepish to be using this board as a blog, but what the heck, my experience is probably useful to someone, somewhere, some of the time.

JC: You begin to see the universality of experience.

MT: Yes. . . the old isolation, the feeling that I had to hide who I was in order to belong, that's largely a thing of the past.

JC: The best teachers use their own experience. Every word has a richness to it: "I benefit from this myself. I am teaching me, teaching others is a bonus and it may or may not happen." What others learn is up to them. Not every seed sprouts.

MT: God keep me from false humility, and save me from the windbag phenomenon: trying to be what I am not.

154 I am among the ministers of God.

This is my purpose and my life: to spread the word, whether by example or in writing or verbally, that sin is not real, that the Sonship has now been shown the way home.

154 I am among the ministers of God.

MT: Don't know what to say, JC. Am I really among the ministers of God?
JC: You and all who choose this path.
MT: I get discouraged sometimes. A lot of times.
JC: That is when you forget who you are, when you decide to be angry and resentful.
MT: I want more of the miracle. I want more of those moments when I love everyone. I love to feel cheerful and friendly, especially when it happens spontaneously.

154  (2006)  I am among the ministers of God.

MT: So?!!! I thought I was a minister way back, age 13, and look where it got me.

JC: Where did you think it got you?

MT: I made a fool of myself. Instead of earning my father's approval, I received harsh criticism at every step--in front of the people I ministered to, yet. I didn't know which way to turn. There was no pleasing him, ever.

JC: Knowing what you know now, were I your father, how would I have treated you?

MT: Well, you are different. You extend love without obligation or expectation. Nothing but perfection would have pleased Dad, while you are tolerant of every aspect of who I am (or fancy myself being).

JC: You are right. I love your anger and your kindness, I love your tears and your joy. What do you know about being critical and judgmental?

MT: Sigh. I did plenty of that, especially with my kids. Where Dad went, I still sometimes go.

JC: You are not the victim of the world you see . . .

155  I will step back and let Him lead the way.

MT: What pure poetry, and what an image! You walk ahead of me. I can relax, certain that you know the way. I remember well the profound despair in my being when I tried to do everything alone and comfortless. When things didn't work out perfectly I swallowed my tears along with the blame. I was a child doing the work of two grownups. No way I could ever measure up.

JC: I will never leave you. Count on the comfort of my presence. I smooth the path for you. I bend away the brambles and ward off the cougar and the rattlesnake. Songbirds add music to our step.

MT: I am free today. A loving God will never assign me a task for which I am not fully prepared. This is the Holy Grail, the cup of God's nectar. I partake from it today. The Son of God is Home at last.

155 I will step back and let Him lead the way.

MT: Right now I don't even know what to ask. In this situation with E, I think I know the way, but it could be the way of my ego.
JC: If you think you know, then you don't know, you are with an idea. What are you seeing in your brother, your son?
MT: His vast need to control. I wish he would leave the kids be. He doesn't need to "mold" them into anything. He is not the sculptor of Life--God is.
JC: Here is a chance to forgive your own need to control. Are you seeing yourself in charge of "molding" E into an enlightened father? Do you see that you are not the sculptor of your son's life?
MT: Good point! But then, I need help with the difference between ministry and meddling. I don't want to be the meddler offering cheap shabby advice. Yet I have accused myself (and been accused) of colossal indifference, of washing my hands when I could have stepped in with authority.
JC: You do not walk alone. Ministry taps into higher intelligence. It steps back to let Him lead the way. Ministry offers what it knows, and moves on.

155 I will step back and let Him lead the way.

I will not attempt to run my own life. I open myself to the intelligence of the universe. I will "let go and let God." Herein lies the peace of God.

156   I walk with God in perfect holiness.

MT: This is Sunday, JC. Sundays used to be church days for me, morning and evening. I got so sick of church, I can't begin to tell you.

JC: This is God's church: anywhere that a past hate has been transmuted into a present love. This is your religion now. The Voice for God is your minister.

MT: Tell me, why this Voice for God business? Why not Voice "of" God? A tiny preposition can yield so much meaning. . .

JC: I want to make it very clear that the voice is not God. You know that the ego sneaks in very cleverly. Your parents knew from their own experience: not everything that comes to you in mysterious ways is of God. I aim to give you tools to discriminate between the two.

MT: There are a lot of stray energies floating about, no?

JC: Yes. Energy can be used in myriad ways. Your belief and intent are key. Misguided egos make up misguided experience.

MT: So I need to ask first. . . to dedicate to God my openness and my seeking.

JC: And to call company to your side. Your connection with me is a superb filter. Others may use Archangel Michael or the Virgin Mary. The form does not matter.

MT: Thank you. I think I've come to the end of this exchange for today.

JC: Walk with God in perfect holiness as you move through the day. Your church goes with you. Make this your holy day, when you see your brother as your Self.

156 I walk with God in perfect holiness.

God is the Source, and the Source is God. I walk with the Source and the Source walks me. God Is, I Am.

157  Into His Presence would I enter now.

MT: Once again, JC, the words convey a profound reverence. This is the Holy of Holies. Way better than being knighted by the Queen of England. I guess the ego tries to imitate God in all sorts of ways, but it always falls short.

JC: As it must. The rituals of the ego are pathetic attempts to evoke the glory of God.

MT: And we pay such rapt homage to them. When Queen Elizabeth visited Yosemite Park back in the 90's, two rangers forgot their way around the place they knew so well. They worked themselves into a frenzy about a dumpy little woman clutching a leather purse, and lost their lives in a head-on crash. As their respective spirits headed into that white light, they must have mused: what was the fuss all about?

JC: In your life right now, where are you misplacing reverence? What do you put on a pedestal and make into an idol?

MT: I like my new Honda. . . I got really worked up when I backed it into the van and cracked the bumper. For a few hours, I forgot that God Is. I forgot God Is again when I was quoted $600 to fix the damage. You'd think Honda would spare us those silly shiny bumpers. . .

JC: And if the damage was 50 cents, how upset would you have been?

MT: Hardly. Why do you ask?

JC: Six hundred dollars is a symbol, a piece of paper. Why do you assign greater reality to paper than to a metal disk? Do you see how arbitrary are your judgments? You decide what to be upset over, and just how much to be upset. You are seeing what is not there.

MT: A very early lesson, if I remember well. JC, you never cease to amaze me.

JC: Remember true reverence today: God Is. God is all there is.

MT: So let me now enter into God's presence that I never left. Let me claim today my birthright. I am the prodigal son, and the Father rejoices in my return.

157 Into his Presence would I enter now.

This is about reverence. Reverence for all living things. Reverence for that which I do not know and cannot claim to imagine or understand. Reverence for the mystery of life and creation. Reverence for this body I inhabit only a while longer, reverence for the Mind of God which I am and will forever be.

158  Today I learn to give as I receive.

MT: To give and to receive, again. I think I know this, and I practice it most of the time. I used to look out for the interests of others before my own, although BC (Before Course) I think it involved guilt. Guilt on my part, and it was an attempt to show my selflessness.

JC: An attempt to bind them to you with guilt, yes. Totally futile, I might say. Guilt separates.

MT: People resent the feeling of obligation, you mean. I know I resent it when others do it to me. So what is the difference from true giving?

JC: When you give truly you know, in your heart, that you want what you are offering. The gift is hollow when you leave yourself out of the equation. To show the door to the Kingdom to others, while leaving yourself out, is a particularly noxious form of specialness. It is unworthy of a Son of God.

MT: I think that was what bugged me about church, especially my father's Baptist congregation. They prayed with tremulous voices and eyes raised up to the ceiling, thinking that if they looked holy they must be holy.

JC: Hypocrisy needs forgiving too. You are condemning your father's congregation for a common ego stance. What do you know about putting on the appearance of holiness?

MT: Well, that's what I started out with--my looking after the interests of others before my own. I need help forgiving the congregation that was played such a large role in my growing up. I was jealous and angry that Dad put them ahead of us, his flesh and blood. It broke my heart when he spanked us in front of a whining parishioner--what was he trying to do, earn his place in Heaven, show God how holy he had become? But you did that with your mother--you rejected her because now everybody was family, or something like that. I forget the Bible quote.

JC: Your Dad misused that Bible text to attack you and curry favor with God. Yes, everybody becomes family when you think with God, but family becomes family too! You yourself become family.

MT: That's funny. I become family to myself. There is no separation.

JC: We are one, not many. We are one in the eyes of God. When you see with the eyes of God, there is no separation.

158 Today I learn to give as I receive.

Today I offer forgiveness, that forgiveness be given me.
Today I offer love, and love I shall receive.
Today I offer trust, that trust be my inheritance.
Today I offer patience, that patience walk with me.
Today I offer generosity, that I open my eyes to the generosity around me.

What do I want in my life? That I offer, and as I offer it I receive a thousandfold.

158  (2006) Today I learn to give as I receive.

JC: You cannot give without receiving. The question is, what do you want for yourself? That which you want you should give to others. Do you want anger, aloofness, guilt, preoccupation? Or do you want peace that passes all understanding? Give what you want to get.

MT: Good point. I want cheerfulness, humor, a playful attitude toward life. I want to release my body from the memory of old personality patterns.

JC: Where the body is concerned, I have sent you several messages that you should be teaching a physical discipline.

MT: Well, I can't teach a gyro class right at the moment, but I can offer attitude. Today, help me give cheer, play, and humor to those I meet.

159  I give the miracles I have received.

MT: Greetings, JC, Holy Son of God along with me.

JC: Greetings to you too, but I have been here all along. Even in the dead of night, angels watch over you.

MT: That is one expression Mother used frequently, and for which I am grateful. I have led a charmed life, thanks in no small part to my mother's belief in my angel companions.

JC: You received miracles, early on.

MT: Yes. I forget to be grateful, and I lose my sense of Self in finding fault with me. The miracle I have yet to receive is complete self-acceptance. But this statement is in itself a form of non-acceptance.

JC: Let all things be exactly as they are, and they will change of their own accord. The need for words comes to an end. You are home with the Father, and all is well.

MT: A bit of a paradox here. Human nature is to strive for change.

JC: Acceptance says, you are perfect underneath it all. You shall be with me today in Paradise.

MT: Imagine if we said that to the men--and increasingly, women--who crowd the prisons in this country. You are perfect as God created you. You are perfect just as I am. We are all Sons of God. The energy that makes your heart beat moves mine too.

JC: The world needs to hear these words. They are a balm to the wounds inflicted by the ego. You are part of the great plan. Do not waste one more second in attempts to achieve enlightenment--you are enlightened. Do not give a thought to fixing imperfections--you are as God created you. Look, instead, to broadcast the message: everybody is created perfect. Everyone who walks the Earth is a miracle.

159 I give the miracles I have received.

MT: So this is the next step--to offer, to give. Thus I really own what I have been given. This is true of anything. You learn it ten times better when you set out to teach it. Now, what miracle can I offer E?
JC: You offer the miracle of forgiveness.
MT: I feel anxious about the path he is taking. It makes no sense to me. It seems ill-considered. He no longer has a wife to serve as ballast. Why did she have to die?
JC: Yes, why . . . but you lament what you cannot change.
MT: My question is, what can I do to help?
JC: You can see your son as healed and whole, right now. You can see your grandchildren as radiant beings of light.
MT: It's easier with them than with him. I forget and I seek to change him, to show the error of his ways. Anxiety propels me, the old irritation I felt with his father, the brilliant moron I married.
JC: This is not about E, then, is it? This is an ancient piece of unforgiveness kindly dug up for you to see.
MT: I didn't see it until now. Yes, I am reliving a relationship I left nearly three decades ago. Thanks for opening my eyes. Today I offer miracles to those I meet, that miracles walk with me.

160  I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.

MT: Again, one of my favorite lessons, JC. Instead of a lame phrase like "I no longer have fear," you put together such a vivid metaphor. We banish fear, sweep it out in righteous indignation because it's an invader, a cockroach, a burglar. Yes, fear is more than a cockroach. It is a burglar that commands my time, resources, money. It robs me of the most valuable possession: my oneness with God.

JC:  We all have a favorite lesson, I think. This is a favorite for you because it brings remedy to an old hurt. You stored away your strength and your light when you descended into fear.

MT: I felt like the chased cockroach. My sister, again. . . she thought she would be bigger if she made me smaller. She got illusory strength out of my illusory weakness. My weakness was a dream too, but as long as I blamed her I couldn't see that. She felt like a burglar to me, but she didn't steal anything I didn't give away.

JC: One correction: your strength is not yours to give away! You can pretend it's not there, that's all. Strength and light belong. They are family. They live with you in your home.

MT: My companions forever. They abide with me in the mighty fortress that is my God. Thank you for the reminder.

160 I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.

MT: If I identify with fear, I am a stranger to myself. Perhaps that's what people mean with "I need to find myself." So how might I be identifying with fear?
JC: Do you really know yourself?
MT: Well, better now than a quarter century ago! I used to feel like a fake. I thought if I pretended hard enough, that self would eventually be me. Having given that up, now I've got the feeling that I am just going "gently into that good night," that I could do so much more. But I don't want to do it by pretending, that sticks in my craw.
JC: What would Love tell you now?
MT: It would say, "Breathe the air of your Father's house."
JC: And the air of our Father's house is not heavy and dank, is it?
MT: No, it is light and frothy and crisp. It is like the 23rd Psalm. It fills my body with bubbles. It is the air that angels breathe. How great it is, to breathe with angels!

160 I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.

One of my all-time favorite lessons! Another is "I am forever an effect of God." Yet another: "Into His Presence would I enter now."

It must follow that something ties these three together. Of course. I am at home where I belong, and I have that good feeling of safety. I stay "home" by accepting that I am effect, not cause, of God, by letting go of my futile attempts to replace God, attempts that got me in trouble in the first place. And then there's the reverence of that last statement. I enter into God's Presence and I know who I am, I know where I stand in the hierarchy, I belong at last. I wandered the world looking for home, and here is Home at last. There is nothing to fear.


Index of Lessons