261 God is my refuge and security.
MT: This journey seems to be one of gradually detaching from the world
I made. What would it be like to give
up everything I have and to walk the country, as Peace Pilgrim did? It
would take courage I don't have right now.
JC: But what freedom it would offer you.
MT: My possessions are a cocoon. After being away for a few days, I come
in the front door with a sigh: it's all
here, it didn't burn down, my brother the burglar hasn't visited. The
cat is still around, starved for affection.
JC, I have no confidence in myself. If I lost everything, I would have
no idea how to get it back. People who've
held jobs all their lives feel more empowered, but for me, I left my parents'
home and made up a new family
with my husband, so I was sheltered all along. Someone else interfaced
with the larger world and brought in the
paycheck, the house, car, health insurance, a social rank, a circle of
friends. I am embedded in this social
JC: And you know that people can lose everything in an instant. The hurricane
pictures on television fascinate
you because they point out that fact, and you think, what if it were me?
What would it be like to swim out of
my house and never see it again? The truth is, you would be fine. You
would find out how much you don't need.
MT: I feel guilty that I hold on to my money. I should give it all away,
but I don't want to. I am terrified of
depending on my children. I don't trust that they would do anything for
JC: Your mind is making up a world of mistrust, even of your family. Peace
Pilgrim had to trust that food and
shelter would be there when needed, and they were, from strangers.
MT: I need to go now--do you have more to tell me before I shut down the
JC: Be open to God's abundance today. The sun shines on everyone willing
to fold the black umbrella and shed
the black cloak of sin.
261 (2008) God is my
refuge and security.
MT: As I read my post of two years ago, it's comforting to see that the
struggle is no longer there, or at least, not as fierce.
JC: You have accepted that God does not demand poverty and privation.
MT: More than that, I have accepted that God is not out to test me.
JC: This is not a school. There are no tests. This is about remembering
who you are.
MT: The world-as-school metaphor never sat too well with me. "Don't
know the answer? To the corner with a dunce cap!"
JC: You grew up with catastrophic expectations, but now you know the power
of love. You are learning to trust. This is the journey.
MT: A few years ago, I got in touch with the sheer joy of learning new
things. Learning does not have to be beaten into the child. Children want
to learn. Why, my cat wants to learn! He begs for his training session!
JC: Today, breathe deeply the air of the Father's house. You are home.
262 Let me perceive no differences today.
MT: God becomes my refuge and security, when I let go of differences.
JC: A small correction: God does not bargain with you. He does not wait
for you to let go of differences. He has
always been, always will be, your refuge and security. But you forget
this truth when your mind is busy making
up differences between you and your brother.
MT: From decades back a thought comes to me--it was in a book I read back
in the 80's: "Make no judgments.
Make no comparisons. Delete the need to understand."
JC: It helps to remember there is no sin, when you bless yourself along
with the world, when you own your true
power as co-creator with God. It all fits together in one magnificent
picture, a new vision of the possibilities
open to man. Wherever an ancient hate becomes a present love, there is
God. God is the moment, the opportunity. You
summon God when you forgive, you push away God when you focus on differences.
God IS the becoming
one with your brother.
262 Let me perceive
no differences today.
We are one. We are one at last!
263 My holy vision sees all things as pure.
JC: When you stop fighting God, when you allow him his rightful place,
he becomes your refuge and security as
he was in eons past, before you chose to be separate. This lesson, and
the one before it, has to do with the
"how." To see no differences, to see all things as pure, is
how you do the housecleaning. It has to do with
forgiveness, the royal road to God. You can mortify the body by walking
to Mecca on your knees, but you will be
no closer to your goal if you refuse to see all things as pure. Including
your brother. Yes, that brother. You know
who I mean.
MT: That brother. The closest one, the most difficult to forgive. The
one I make into my jailer, my judge, the
one who is unworthy of someone as holy, intelligent, talented, wise, rich,
beautiful as me. We've been together
twenty-five years, and still I have one foot out the door--perhaps I made
a mistake, perhaps there's someone
else for me out there. A most tenacious vision. How to see him as pure!
JC: Heaven is a decision you make. Holy vision requires intent. It requires
the relinquishment of everything
you thought was true, the worldview that locks your personality in place
and keeps you in purgatory.
MT: I wait no longer. Today I choose joy. Today I see all things reborn,
a fresh new world directly from the
hands of God.
My holy vision sees all things as pure.
MT: That's a huge expectation, bro.
JC: And yet, how do you leave the world of pain and suffering behind,
if you insist on keeping part of it? It should be clear by now that you
cannot save a pocket of sin within a world redeemed.
MT: I feel very contrary today. My brain seems to be melting into a soup.
I can't focus the way I used to.
JC: That is fine. Come as you are. I welcome your anger and your smiles,
your tears and your joy.
MT: Even when I fall short of the ideal.
JC: There is no ideal. There is only God here. As for soup, God hovers
in the fertile Void. Your categorical certainty seeks to do the impossible:
to push God away.
MT: How great it is that I cannot push God away! "Vocatus atque non
vocatus Deus aderit": invited or not invited, God will be there.
263 My holy vision sees
all things as pure.
MT: I am at a loss for words, JC.
JC: Words are twice removed from reality. What you call a loss is really
MT: So what do I need to do, to achieve this holy vision . . . oh, I see,
I need do nothing.
JC: In having nothing, you have everything. That is the miracle of the
MT: And I cannot get there by trying.
264 I am surrounded by the love of God.
JC: You do not walk alone. You walk with God. If God has seemingly abandoned
you, look within and see where you have abandoned the Way.
MT: I would like God to be responsible, just for a change!
JC: That would not be a change. That is part of your old belief system.
We are looking for the miracle of the reversal, the most pressing need
of a suffering world.
MT: Actually, I was just being peevish, JC. Pay no attention.
JC: But you are important to me. How could I pay no attention? Your part
is essential to the Plan. Do not diminish who you are--a magnificent creation.
MT: Today, let me act out of that magnificence. It seems so real and obvious
when I'm talking to you, and then I completely forget. I especially need
help in following God-impulses, those moments when you suggest the tiniest
move away from the rutted path.
JC: Today, be willing to allow guidance. There is only joy there. Know
that you are surrounded by the love of God.
264 I am surrounded by the Love of God.
Such comforting words. I do not need to earn the love of God. I do not
need to sacrifice to merit the love of God. There is no need to pay with
good deeds--or avoid evil deeds lest the love of God be withdrawn. The
love of God is always here, freely given. I am being offered the opportunity
to love as God does, that I be as God IS.
265 Creation's gentleness is all I see.
MT: The love of God that surrounds me with the gentleness of creation.
What a lovely world has replaced my
fearful one of yore! You have a way with words, JC. Now pray tell me,
what do I need to know today?
JC: You need to know you are loved. That this world is an instant that
will pass and disappear in the eons of time. What matters in this instant?
You need to know that those around you are creations of God, just as you
are. Give your fellow humans the love you bestow on your cat.
MT: It was a gift of God, the first time that I "saw" my cat.
My hands felt the presence of the animal. They
could ask her, does this feel good? No, they didn't need to ask, they
knew. As my hands enjoyed the delicious
softness of her fur, they could touch the energy of her little body as
JC: That is creation's gentleness. That is the door to God's world--to
be one with the Other.
265 (2008) Creation's
gentleness is all I see.
MT: But it is painful too, JC. I love trees and plants and animals, but
look what we're doing to them. No gentleness there.
JC: All doings of the ego, the separation principle. It seemingly justifies
treating Nature as a commodity. God would not have it so.
MT: We treat people, too, as things. We use each other, sometimes in barbarous
JC: Again, what you are seeing is the work of the ego. In this day of
the passing of the ego, you are part of this devolution, the devolution
of mankind into Sonship, the rolling back of the carpet of time.
MT: In my small way, I can help convey a message of hope.
JC: When all seems lost, there is most to be gained. It is crucial to
play your part in the Great Awakening.
MT: Today I am at peace. Today I bring peace to my brothers.
265 Creation's gentleness
is all I see.
There is a gentleness in every blade of grass, every drop of dew, every
new leaf in spring. Yes, we can talk about the fierce cruelty of nature,
but gentleness is everywhere: the sparrow mother incubates her eggs, the
lioness licks her cubs clean. And God watches out for me, created in His
image, one with Him.
266 My holy Self abides in you, God's Son.
MT: If I see God's Son in everyone I meet, I am in danger nowhere in the
world, because God is there with us.
God is our refuge and security. The only way I can forfeit God's protection
is to make the Son of God into
something he is not--my enemy, my persecutor, my crucifier. One insight
of this Course is truly staggering in
its implications: the active part I play in making up an unfriendly world
to live in.
JC: You hurt your shoulders and neck the other day. Want to talk about
MT: Yes, it's nagging me. I went over to help my disabled father-in-law
off a chair and into bed. Even as I
struggled with his weight, I knew I was using poor body mechanics, but
the chance to get hurt and blame him
was too tempting!
JC: And if you had seen your holy Self in him?
MT: I wouldn't have leapt in there, for starters. There was no hurry.
He wasn't injured, bleeding, or in pain. I
could have stepped back and let You lead the way--and saved myself a couple
of hundred in chiropractic bills!
But right there and then, I saw no other option than to sweat and groan
with his dead weight. My gunnysack of
resentments put blinders on my eyes. For the moment, I turned really stupid.
JC: You see the value in today's lesson, do you not?
MT: Yes. Please help me remember Creation's gentleness! For selfish reasons
if nothing else, I want to
remember that my holy Self abides in Bill and in everyone I meet.
266 (2008) My holy Self
abides in you, God's Son.
MT: But to remember that my happiness resides in this vision!
JC: And why not? All it takes is willingness. Angels and prophets stand
at the ready to help you out.
MT: I lose touch with them, too.
JC: I have said this before: to lament that which is not there, shuts
out that which you want.
MT: Dear JC . . . I always start with the ego, and you redirect me. The
ego seems primary.
JC: You stand at the crossing of the road, not knowing which way to go.
But salvation is simple: it is in everyone you meet. Look no further.
Your teachers are sent you at all times of the day.
MT: How, specifically, do I apply this vision to my son, who is freaking
out over the collapse of the economy?
JC: A correction: he sees a collapse of the economy. When enough egos
predict a collapse and run to the bank to pull out little wads of paper,
the shabby imitation of safety they've got, guess what happens?
MT: We bring about collapse. So what can I do in this situation?
JC: Bring love where fear is, and fear will vanish. Remind him of his
holy self, and you will remember yours.
MT: What matters what happens in this little blink of time! My holy self
resides in God's Son, eternal, timeless, unchanging.
266 My holy Self abides
in you, God's Son.
MT: I would like to keep my resentments, my grievances, my hate and discontent,
and be "enlightened" as a private predilection. Yet you tell
me it is not so.
JC: It is not so.
MT: I left my holy Self with the brother that I despised.
JC: And there you shall find the holy Self you never lost.
MT: Why does it have to be so hard?
JC: Only you make it difficult. The work is in maintaining a worldview
that requires constant defense. The work is in tightening up against a
world you place outside yourself, that you may blame it for all your ills.
MT: I know you speak the truth, but it is hard to live it.
JC: You do not walk alone. Angels and prophets go with you. I will never
leave you comfortless.
267 My heart is beating in the peace of God.
MT: Sooo. . . you're saying that God is my security (not a portfolio of
stocks, a rich husband, or life
insurance); that if let God's vision replace perception, I will see no
differences and things around me will be
transformed in Creation's gentleness (seen as pure); that the royal way
to this vision is to know that my
brother is my mirror.
JC: Yes. You have used your brother to define what you are not--not male,
not black, not fat, not a rapist or a
looter, not a liar, not stupid or disabled or poor, not a Jew nor a Catholic.
You surrounded yourself with barriers
and used them to define you. Now you are guided to see something else:
your holy Self in those you meet. That
is the holy vision that will bring you peace. Thus will your tired heart
rest, cradled in the peace of God. Then
you will know you need nothing else, that all has been given you, now
MT: The miracle of the reversal! This is what I've been looking for, as
I wandered barefoot and bleeding. All has been given me, now and forever.
268 I let all things be exactly as they are.
MT: I stand here, God, before You, exactly as I am. Take me and make use
of my assets and character defects.
Who knows, defects too may come in handy someday.
God: Well put. I will.
MT: But how about assurances? Will I be OK even if I don't change anything?
God: There are no guarantees. The only guarantee is that you will receive
whatever you request.
MT: Ouch. That's the scary part. I seem to be requesting stuff I don't
know about and don't want, like cardiac
God: Oh, but you did ask for heart trouble, and I don't mean that in the
usual angry meaning of the phrase. At
some level, you said, "God give me heart trouble so I can learn the
lessons I'm unable to take in in any other
form." That's all. Can you relax into it? Lots of people have
heart trouble. Join the club, as they say over there
on Planet Earth.
MT: OK. . . minimally, that's an incentive to lose twenty pounds.
God: There you go. You wanted, and asked for, a way to connect with a
true inner drive to lose weight, rather
than your appearance to others.
MT: God, I thank You for today's blessings, especially the persistent
arrhythmia that signals to me: Take off
the extra fat! It's a burden to your heart! Now, as for seeing a cardiologist.
God: You are very resistant to the idea.
MT: You bet. I HATE the idea of doctors with their pills and potions,
machines and gadgets. I think medicine is
an abomination. There's no kindness in it.
God: Perhaps you could bring yourself to forgive the medical scene? To
look upon it with gentle eyes? Doesn't
mean you have to accept what it offers.
MT: Spare me becoming one they "help."
God: So your way is different. Just don't hold so dear the view that
doctors and hospitals are evil. This is a
source of—quite unfounded—fear for you.
MT: You got it. I am afraid of Western medicine.
God: There is nothing to fear, remember? You are vastly, infinitely more
than your fading body.
MT: Yes, my fading body. I am afraid of decay. I am afraid of dependency,
of becoming like B. No one will take
care of me.
God: Did you notice that affirmation? Negation, rather? Repeat it enough
times, and it becomes a reality. It's a
deep conviction of yours. You "know" that no one will take care
of you, and in saying so, you make it happen.
Know that's what you are doing. Do you really want nobody to take
care of you if you are disabled?
MT: I must admit, there's a savage sort of pleasure in it. "Behold
me, brother, at your hands I die."
God: You want them to feel guilty. You want to suffer so they squirm.
Not a pretty picture, is it? How about
rewriting that script? You are taking care of your in-laws, why shouldn't
your own children and partner do
likewise for you?
MT: Because I hate them. . . That's startling. I don't want any favors
because I would have to be grateful.
God: Startling, and ugly to look at, no? You push those
closest to you into being stone-hearted,
unfeeling creeps. They may possibly oblige.
MT: I'm pretty hard of heart toward B myself. I think he should go. His
life is over.
God: Even though he treated you so generously.
MT: He did it out of fear: "here, take this money, but don't ever
put me in a home."
God: So, let me see if I have it straight. You reframe B's generosity
as selfishness. You "hate" those who might
have to provide for you in your dotage. You blame them for denying you
care, even though this hasn't happened
and may never happen. What shall we call it, preemptive hate?
MT: Stop making fun of me!
God: Awwww. . . I couldn't resist.
MT: Anyhow, thanks for the lesson. Surprising things happen when "I
let all things be exactly as they are."
268 I let all things be exactly as they are.
MT: Me, I look for things to change and improve: "my legs are getting
weak, I must ride my bicycle. How come I can't focus the way I used to,
gotta do some puzzles to sharpen my mind. And my belly, it sticks out,
Pilates might help connect with my core. Did I say something wrong at
dinner yesterday? Mustn't drink so much." It goes on and on, JC.
That's what occupies my mind, hour after hour. I sometimes feel like a
hare chased by dogs. I'm like the homeless man muttering to himself, except
that I don't (yet) wait for a handout on the sidewalk.
JC: Well, look at it this way: you now know you're doing it.
MT: Yes, you're right. I stand somewhat apart from my constant ruminations.
Perhaps that's all that needs to happen?
JC: A correction: Nothing "needs" to happen.
MT: But what about "I rule my mind, which I alone must rule?"
JC: That is the task, yes: not to indulge in unforgiving thoughts. Offer
yourself the same forgiveness you have learned to offer your brother.
Which brings us right back to today's lesson.
MT: Today I let myself be exactly as I am! What a novel idea!
268 Let all things be
exactly as they are.
MT: How does this apply to me, here, today?
JC: There is something you are not letting be.
MT: There's a foreboding about my son whose marriage seems in trouble.
I couldn't take it if those two should split up.
JC: So you need comfort. You need to know that God is in you, and all
MT: I have a feeling that there something I should be doing.
JC: God is within and all around. His grace envelops you, and all is well
in His creation.
MT: Thank you. I do not need to nurture pain and help it grow. I can be
happy right now.
269 My sight goes forth to look upon Christ's face.
MT: In all my days, I've personally met only two people capable of consistently
holding this vision, a couple of favorite teachers of mine. Two. So it's
not easy, JC.
JC: No, it's not easy, but what other choice is there? We can see with
projection, or we can see with eyes of love. I made available a course
in the new vision. It is up to you to take it.
MT: The more I work on it, the more inevitable it seems--the more inevitable
JC: Summoned or not, God will be there. How God manifests in your life
is up to you. Sickness, wars, pestilence and disasters are the natural
outcome of not welcoming God.
MT: This feels like punishment, like a threat, but I know it is not.
JC: It would be punishment if it weren't a choice you make, every second
of every hour. Which do you choose today? A wretched brother, or the Christ
beyond the veil?
269 My sight goes forth
to look upon Christ's face.
MT: I feel a bit sad right now, JC.
JC: Tell me more. I am here for you.
MT: Something to do with my son and his fiancee--the loss of Nina, I guess.
Fear for the kids. I want to protect my son, too. I want him to be happy.
I would do anything to help them out.
JC: It is not your life. The only thing you can do for them is to remind
them of who they are in truth. To reawaken the memory of God in them.
MT: Sigh. I miss them. But I also am happy to leave when I've been there
more than a couple of days.
JC: And yourself? Are you feeding the fires of fear in your life?
MT: Financial fears, yes. I would like to trust that I can earn a good
living, that I can take care of myself.
JC: Earning a good living depends on the ego world. Taking care of yourself--that
is a given from God.
MT: I never quite learned the ways of the ego. Is it too late?
JC: Best to learn forgiveness now. Best to learn the ways of God.
270 I will not use the body's eyes today.
MT: How easy to mouth these words, how far away this goal! Yet I know
that nothing is impossible when my will
and Yours are one. I relearned that yesterday.
God: You have no need to use the body's eyes. You made up the five senses
out of fear. Inner vision is God's
MT: And how do I get inner vision?
God: First, you ask for it, but the truth is, you already have it. It
takes trust to go with inner vision. Trust is
what you need now.
MT: And I develop trust by. . .
God: You develop trust by taking chances. You show to yourself that inner
vision can be trusted.
MT: And if I fall flat on my face?
God: There are no guarantees. Do you want faith, or Social Security? Know
that Love will keep you safe.
MT: They killed Jesus—a nightmare deeply etched in us: that's what
happens when you stick out your neck.
God: And does he not live on? Roman legions turned to dust fifteen hundred
years ago, but the words of an
unarmed, barefoot man still have the power to change the world.
MT: He stood for Truth, and they did not.
God: Indeed. Who had the power?
I will not use the body's eyes today.
MT: They are getting pretty tired anyway, JC.
JC: They will continue to serve, but that is not the point.
MT: What is the point, then?
JC: There is a different vision available to you. The physical eyes are
peripheral to it.
MT: I look for a grand experience, after all these years. A burning bush.
JC: The only requirement is that you stop belittling yourself. What have
you got to lose?
MT: You are saying, my self-definition as one who can't have a grand experience
keeps the grand experience away.
JC: That is exactly the paradox of the ego: seek but do not find. Thirty
years ago it was money and status, now it is spiritual vision.
MT: Today, I seek no more what is already mine. I let all things be exactly
as they are, that they change of their own accord.
270 I will not use the
body's eyes today.
MT: What vision, then, shall I use?
JC: We're talking about spiritual sight here. It is a gift from God. You
cannot will it with your ego, because the ego is the abandonment (albeit
temporary) of spiritual sight.
MT: I don't feel well today, emotionally. Methinks I'm having an ego attack
of long duration.
JC: You indulge your ego. Don't let it rule your life.
MT: Be my companion as I lay me down to sleep. Let me dream softly of
a forgiven world.
Index of Lessons