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241 This holy instant is salvation come.

MT: So what are these words telling me? That salvation is here and now. That it resides in the holy instant.
JC: It is also telling you that it takes vigilance and dedication not to let yourself be distracted. Where have you been looking for salvation--and not finding it?
MT: Ah, JC, good friend--I look for salvation in having people be different than what they are. I look for salvation in releasing the tensions I carry in my body. I've given up a lot of magic solutions, but these two are tenacious. I get really confused, too. Seems like I've lost the clarity of two months ago.
JC: To expect others to be different than they are is to postpone salvation to an unknown future date. It renders you powerless by making salvation contingent on the actions of another. Remember, salvation is a decision you make in the present moment. You could be bathed in the light of love this minute.



242 This day is God's. It is my gift to Him.


MT: I woke up in the old anxiety, JC. Must have had a bad dream! It is hard to accept my life as it is. My brother is easier to accept than myself. I thought I was destined for greatness, and here I am: just a schmuck like everybody else. I know that a life can burst into something new and daring and famous. How come mine doesn't do that, after all this work I've put in?
JC: You've put in all this work to be new, daring, and famous? I thought you were walking the spiritual path! Moreover, you know that, right along with schmuck-nature, there is glorious God-nature in everyone you meet, including yourself.
MT: Well, my God-nature has got its feet stuck in a bucket of cement, and it's unable to come up for air.
JC: This is where surrender comes in. You've battled yourself for a long, long time. Let God do the steering! That's what it means to give your day over to God. Let me add, what do you think you are doing right this minute?
MT: I'm posting my daily blog on the lesson.
JC: And that is not a gift to God and to your brothers? If you define every move you make as worthless, your life will be worthless. It's that simple. When you see that watering the plants, writing to your granddaughter, brewing that cup of coffee, are equally gifts to God as speaking to the United Nations, your life acquires a totally different meaning. It acquires true greatness.
MT: Chop wood, carry water. . . thanks. Today I honor my every move as a gift to God.



243 Today I will judge nothing that occurs.


MT: I love this lesson, JC. Such a good reminder for me who lived by judgment--or thought I did. I thought judgment was essential. But all it did was to maintain the separation.
JC: I know that is true, but how do you see that?
MT: Every time I judge, I set myself up as wiser-than. I also close my mind to new thoughts: my way of seeing the world is the only right one. It's an attitude that makes for egregious mistakes.
JC: How so?
MT: Together with the father of my children, we raised them in psychological isolation. The world was the enemy. What did teachers know. What did doctors, authors, manuals know! My children, now reaching middle age, are still paying the price of arrogant isolation.
JC: No more than you paid the price. There are no sins. There is only the Path. As for you, accessing a higher wisdom was the lesson to be learned.
MT: Today, show me where I judge. Show me where I fall back into old conditioning. By the way, thank you for the lightness I felt yesterday. Thanks for the stretching of time, that light-hearted connection with others that replaced my preoccupied busyness.
JC: Without judgment, each and every day can be your gift to God.

243 Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

MT: I know I judge less than I used to, but really, as long as this world is seemingly real, I am still judging.
JC: Love is how you walk in gratitude. Judging comes from fear, and perfect love casts out fear.
MT: Help me practice gratitude! I know my days go better with it, but I forget. And then there is gossiping and scuttlebutt . . . I like gossiping, or think I do. It seems like an easy connection to others, my partner, my mother-in-law . . .
JC: And how does it feel to "connect" in this way?
MT: Well, slightly yucky. And there's always the fear that someone will tattle on me.
JC: Do you see how judging diminishes you?
MT: Yes, it is time to surrender those sharp-edged children's toys!



244 I am in danger nowhere in the world.


MT: Another one of those provocative negations, JC. It's startling to say, "I am in danger," and then to negate it.
JC: You have lived in seeming danger all your life. Your flesh is a collection of alarm signals. Alarm signals are active when you sleep!
MT: But why the assertion and then a negation? Wouldn't it be simpler to say, "I am safe in my Father's arms"?
JC: It would be simpler. We have many statements like this running through the workbook. But to acknowledge--if only for an instant--the fears you generate, avoids blandness.
MT: Yes, I can see that. One thing I have against affirmations is blandness. Eventually they begin to sound wishy-washy and hypocritical.
JC: So, where are you in danger? Nowhere. Never. There is nothing to fear.
MT: I can drive the road to Baghdad, and not be in danger. I can stand in the eye of the hurricane, and not be in danger. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. What a promise.
JC: What a fact! You made up danger with your thoughts. One with the Mind of God, you can now behold safety.

244 I am in danger nowhere in the world.

MT: What shall I do about this irregular heartbeat? I really don't want to be sick. I really don't want to take medication.
JC: And you don't have to. What is the danger that you fear?
MT: Oh, I guess it's more like pride. I pride myself in taking no medications and visiting no doctors.
JC: Pride cometh before a fall, they say.
MT: Am I setting myself up for a fall?
JC: Not if you don't choose to.
MT: Why did you say that, then?
JC: Hubris locks the mind firmly in the ego world.
MT: So it doesn't matter if I take medication, or don't.
JC: There is no virtue in it, either way.
MT: And I thought I was so holy . . .



245 Your peace is with me, Father. I am safe.


MT: Well, this is a good lesson now that the media are flooded (no pun intended) with photos of Katrina's passage. I am thankful for the peace You bestow on me. Could I be at peace if I had to take up residence in a freeway overpass, with no food, shelter, or water?
JC: I was at peace on the cross. It is possible. It is also unlikely you will ever challenge yourself in this extreme way.
MT: What shall I do to help my brothers in need?
JC: Reach out to those right around you. Love spreads out from its center--you.
MT: It's interesting that you are not telling me to send money. Seems like everybody wants money.
JC: You can send of your abundance, yes. But do not forget your first task: to accept Atonement for yourself, and offer it to those you meet. Do not forget today, when so many cry in seeming desperation.

245 (2008) Your peace is with me, Father. I am safe.

MT: There you go, mentioning God as father again.
JC: You sound irritated.
MT: I am. I had restless dreams this morning, after meditating at 4 am and then going back to sleep. Dreamt I was lost in a strange hotel, could not find the way to my room. A concert was underway. Then I was lost in narrow, convoluted streets lined with decaying buildings, and could not find my way back to the hotel! I even got to a dead end after huffing up a hill, and had to turn back.
JC: And your ego's conclusion is?
MT: It could blame meditation, but, with the clearer thinking of the morning, I suspect it's the fear of God. I fear that God will smite me for my sloppiness, my lack of dedication, my stupidity. Sheesh. I had never seen it with such clarity.
JC: You fear that God will smite you for failing to follow the spiritual practice that will bring you closer to Him!
MT: I made up a God in the image of my dad, didn't I.
JC: Who made up a God in the image of his authoritarian father, and on and on through the generations. You know that image is false. It was made to keep you firmly in the world of the ego. It is causeless and does not exist, any more than the dream of this morning.
MT: God's peace is with me. I am safe, despite all confused dreams. Thank you, God, for your Presence in my life today.


245 Your peace is with me, Father. I am safe.

MT: I don't want to do this, JC.
JC: Then don't! Remember the old saying, "the more I say no to things I do not want. . . "
MT: ". . . the more I get the things I do want." But I feel a commitment to pursuing enlightenment.
JC: Which is yours already, denied or not. One symptom of enlightenment is that struggle is no more. You know you no longer need to struggle, so why do you struggle?
MT: Because I am avoiding God?
JC: Yes, struggle is a way to forget God's presence within you, at all times, in all places.
MT: Even though I cross the valley of the shadow of death, God's peace is with me.



246 To love my Father is to love His Son.

MT: I grew up with the thought that one could love God and attack the Son. The congregation prayed with tremulous voices and raised eyes to an unfeeling and unseeing God, and then went out and beat up the children and the dog. Although I was only a child then, the words "last judgment" brought terror to my heart. God was a Nazi, prepared to send me to a hell of unspeakable horrors, not so much for what I did, but for who I was.
JC: How could that be the truth, that some are saved and some are not? Would God condemn any of His children to eternal damnation?
MT: That was then, this is now. I now open my eyes to the new world Truth lays before me.
JC: Summon God's Presence to fill the seeming space between you and your brother. Where two or more meet in God's name, there the Christ shall manifest.



247 Without forgiveness I will still be blind.

JC: There are no idle thoughts. Every thought either reinforces the illusion, or brings you closer to God.
MT: I like the question you posed so long ago: who needs to be forgiven, and for what?
JC: It is time to reap the benefits of forgiveness in your life.
MT: How do I do that at this point?
JC: Forgive yourself for all you didn't do. Look at yourself with kindness and gentle humor. Love the life you have.
MT: I have a hard time with that one.
JC: Be complete every hour of every day.
MT: To be complete! What a priceless gift that is. When I rest my head on the pillow tonight, I will know that it's been a good day, that I am complete.
JC: Make no decisions by yourself, and you shall be complete.




248 Whatever suffers is not part of me.

MT: This sounds suspiciously like denial, JC.
JC: It is denial. I use everything I can to help you along the path. I am suggesting you deny the denial of truth.
MT: Since this Course is concerned with the practical--I had an ego attack yesterday, when Cathy so airily dismissed our agreement of a month ago. She behaves as if her happiness depended on me--please arrange this trip, I really, really need to get out of town! Now she tells me she's not going. There is a pattern here, and I need help looking at it. I feel used. Used and discarded, just like that.
JC: You want to resent, don't you?
MT: Yes. The resentment is like a bone in my throat. It calls for resolution--I can't let myself be used, but I wouldn't want her to go out of obligation anyway. So show me what I need to learn here!
JC: Such as times when you have used and discarded someone else?
MT: Ouch. Yes, there was Stan, twenty-five years ago. . . I know he felt used and discarded. I desperately needed him, and I was so very glad he was there for me, but there was no way I could have met his expectations. Should I write and apologize?
JC: Best not to dig up old bones. It is sufficient to pass along the forgiveness you need from Stan. In your mind, hold hands with him and Cathy, and let the tender light of forgiveness bathe the three of you today. Be ready for a miracle!

248  (2008) Whatever suffers is not part of me.

MT: Suffering is not mine, you say. It is not me. Have I identified with suffering?
JC: Have you?
MT: I was overwhelmed. It took over. Little stuff, like a toothache. Big stuff, like the loss of Nina.
JC: It was not part of you, but you gave it ownership.
MT: So, some clarity here, please! I remember thrashing about with the toothache. There was desperation.
JC: Your ego made you desperate. You wanted out. And the out was to pull the tooth.
MT: I hate the thought of losing a tooth, but at that time I welcomed it. Anything but that pain.
JC: I can say that the most horrific thing that can happen to you has already happened, or seemingly so--your separation from the Source. Nothing can compare to the pain of separation from God.
MT: What are you saying, then? That a toothache is lesser than the separation from God?
JC: There is no order of illusions. They are all equally not real. That you can distance yourself from the world you see, pain and all, because it is not real. You live, or think you live, in a dream. This is a dream. This writing is a dream. Wake up!
MT: Suffering makes the dream appear real.
JC: That is the function of suffering--to make real the dream. But it cannot do the impossible. Therefore, the impossible has not happened. God Is.



249 Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.

MT: Right now, I must confess--I feel that forgiveness is an empty promise. It hasn't delivered all that was offered. I haven't become a Marianne Williamson, speaking to vast audiences.
JC: Would you choose the alternative?
MT: You mean, the hell of my own making? No way. No way would I go back to the resentments I inventoried and catalogued and archived in my vast Grievance Room.
JC: But one grievance you have kept: forgiveness hasn't made you rich and famous. Forgiveness only put an end to the hell you lived in, that's all.
MT: It's ridiculous, when you really look at it.
JC: This is not a course in being rich and famous. There are how-to books for that.
MT: It's a course in miracles, isn't it. Not a course in hobnobbing with the powerful.
JC: This is a course in hobnobbing with God and your brother. Those you call "powerful" are your brothers too, as much as the derelict on the park bench.



250 Let me not see myself as limited.


MT: This thought follows right from yesterday’s, doesn’t it? The yearning we all seem to have, to be all we can be--crassly put, to be rich and famous--is the yearning not to be limited, which deep down I know I am not. But my efforts to be “successful” came loaded with anxiety and fear I wouldn’t wish on anybody else. I had to fight myself every step of the way to put together a simple workshop, to make one phone call, to post a few flyers around town, and in the end it wasn’t worth it. I would really like to understand that. I want to forgive myself for being limited!
JC: The connection wasn’t there. You tried to do it alone, to offer gifts of God you hadn’t received for yourself. The workshops came from obligation, and the last thing you needed was another obligation. You had lived your life out of obligation, and your soul begged for a better way.
MT: So many times we do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
JC: The ego finds reasons to run you down, to maintain the fiction that you are ugly, sinful, mendacious and selfish, and then it urges you to be successful. The ego splits you, not only from God and your brothers, but from the core of who you are.
MT: What advice do you have for me today?
JC: You are not limited. Place nothing between you and God, your brothers, or yourself. The barriers are a fiction and do not exist.


 

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