Index of Lessons

341  I can attack but my own sinlessness/And it is only that which keeps me

MT: Another reminder of the insanity we make up, the insanity we live by like a sacred rule. If we are one, then to attack another is to attack myself. My safety comes from recognition that nobody, including me (so much for my terminal uniqueness) is a sinner. We all make mistakes, and mistakes can be corrected. To call something a sin implies need for redemption through pardon. It implies a need for punishment, a denial of our magnitude. But a mistake, that's different. Even in our blindness, we recognize that everybody makes mistakes, and mistakes can be corrected and made whole. But what about the taking of a life?
JC: Yes, what about the taking of a life. . . this would seem to call for retribution, an eye for an eye. But I came to teach forgiveness. I did not call for the execution of those who broke my body, because I knew that I never was my body. They could not take my life. My life was part of something beyond comprehension, a vast Reality invisible to the eye, so pervasive that it is no longer seen.
MT: I want an end to the insanity. Let me be an instrument of Thy peace. . .

341 (2006) I can attack but my own sinlessness/And it is only that which keeps me safe.

MT: Where am I today? Had an unquiet night. The eye doctor tells me the spots I see come from macular degeneration. JC, I don't want to lose my eyesight. I love colors and flowers and photography. I love to see the smiles of my grandchildren.
JC: You are in grief, dear, dear sister.
MT: Yes. This is the year of loss--losing Nina, losing pets, now losing my lovely clear eyesight. I don't even want to write this. I am ashamed, like it's my fault that I am defective. I feel angry and separated as well. I want to get up and distract myself with busyness. I don't want to take in this lesson. I don't even want to see this differently!
JC: I hear you. Who needs to be forgiven, and for what?
MT: I need to forgive myself, right now. For what? I don't know. I am confused. I'm not even sure who I am blaming, but surely I am blaming someone. God, perhaps. It's easy to be a saint when all goes well, then I am brutally reminded that there is a body even if I'm not it, and it will deteriorate like everybody else's. Am I attacking my sinlessness? Probably.
JC: There is no "I" to attack or be attacked. There is only attack happening in the Great Void.
MT: Disembodied attack! It could be joy instead, or love . . . I could be reaching out with my (imaginary) hands to (imaginary) others. I could be playing the game of Atonement instead of the game of self-pity.

341 I can attack but my own sinlessness/And it is only that which keeps me

MT: Let me not attack my safety today by requiring that Sarah change her behavior.
JC: Your salvation lies not in her hands, this much is true.
MT: So what is my next step?
JC: You need do nothing. Especially, do not attack Sarah in hopes of releasing your anger.
MT: I just want to correct her . . . what she's doing is harmful. I have never seen gossip so clearly for what it is.
JC: You know the answer already.
MT: I should let it go. There is no need to correct sin in others.
JC: Do not embark in another useless journey. You have one need, and that is to remember God.

342  I let forgiveness rest upon all things/For thus forgiveness will be given me.

JC: All forgiveness is self-forgiveness. If you did not imagine sin in yourself, you would not project it out onto others.
MT: I sit here at the computer, thinking--I know all this, why are you repeating it.
JC: Call it Forgiveness 101. Everything you've put around is a reminder of the world you do not want and sought to escape when you embarked on this quest for peace. Without reinforcement, the mind relapses into the made-up world of the ego and it's as if you had never taken the Universal Course.
MT: Tell me, in my life right now, where am I blind to my projections?
JC: There's H, who doesn't return your calls! You are falling back into your old pattern of withdrawing at the barest hint of a slight. There is no need for this.
MT: Shucks, I asked. . . I get my answer, and don't know what to do with it.
JC: What could you learn from H? This is your chance to see things differently. Could you trust, and go with guidance instead of resisting
MT: You are so right. I forgot that I prayed for guidance! Now help me return to God's Presence.
JC: Beyond the sun and stars, a world calls to you, a world hinted at and not quite believed. Its resonance enlivens every cell in your body. Its harmony calls on you to sing with it. You are silent in awe at the beauty of its glow.

342 (2006) I let forgiveness rest upon all things/For thus forgiveness will be
given me.

JC: Lightness of heart is yours today. Claim it for yourself.
MT: And lightness of seeing? I can't help to think that this eye issue has to do with spiritual sight.
JC: There's no need to analyze, find causes and reasons. It is what it is, and when you accept that, it changes of its own accord.
MT: Well, I had a good time with friends yesterday. I felt lighthearted. I pledge to let go of this "problem" that I see. Today I dream and laugh and play. Oh, and let me ask again: I want to bring lightness to driving around with Sarah this morning. Our interaction feels bound and constricted, and I know it need not be so.
JC: Be where she is. Do not condemn her seeming prison cell, but do not accept it as real, because it is not. Bring the light of forgiveness to her imaginary chains.
MT: And thus will forgiveness be given me. Thank you, JC.

342 I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.

"All things." Including my body! Including mosquitoes, slime molds, and whitefly on the hibiscus bush. Including people, and that's the hardest, because I've built chains of resentments and knee-jerk reflexes in the presence of some. Yes, at one time I held a couple of people on a pedestal. They could do no wrong. But then I discovered that they were only human, and had their moments too. And I held that against them.

"All things." There's a recoiling, a definite feeling of "not-me" when I see fur in the sour cream container in the fridge. There's a recoiling at the tyranny of inanimate objects, going back to my teens, when I broke the stuck key on the piano. How dare it emit that strangled note? What a personal insult!

So there's a lot of separation floating around after all these years. Do I want forgiveness for myself? Do I want peace, or would I rather fight yet one more quixotic battle?

343  I am not asked to make a sacrifice to find the mercy and the peace of God.

MT: It is a rule in this world that to get, we must give. That to everything there is a price. No pain, no gain. But this is telling me (once again) that salvation is free. 
JC: Free like sunshine and air. Yours whenever you choose it.
MT: I knew there was a rub! I've got to choose. 
JC: Would you rather be forced to accept salvation? Where would free will be, then?
MT: But to choose salvation I'd have to toss out that delicious feeling of being a victim. The relief of blaming someone else. The savage pleasure of resentment. 
JC: That's the confusion of pain and joy I talk about in the Text. You think that pain is really pleasure. But when, one day soon, you allow yourself to experience the joy of being one with God, you will never long for pain again.  
MT: Shoot. I really fight being powerful, don't I. 
JC: Go and fight no more. God is not selfish and grasping. The sun shines on just and unjust alike. Just don't hold up a black umbrella and then complain that you don't get a tan!

343 I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

The undoing of sacrifice: what a gift! I grew up with the unpleasant feeling, always lurking in the recesses of my mind, that it was not appropriate to take care of myself. Years of my father's Baptist sermons hammered in my mind the notion that the ultimate sacrifice was required, the sacrifice of my life. Like Jesus, after all. If he died for my sins, could I do no less, I who was the actual sinner? And the shame, the shame that I actually wanted to live, now made into selfishness. Not to mention the fear of roasting forever in unspeakable hell if I didn't sacrifice my comfort, my safety, my life!

As Shakespeare put it so well, "what a tangled web we weave."

343 I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

No sacrifice. What a gift to mankind! We were MEANT to be happy. We were meant to be free like the birds in the sky. We were created as dolphins who leap out of the water as one. Dolphins say, "Look at us, we need do nothing!" But here on land, if you're happy like that, they lock you up!

344  Today I learn the law of love; that what I give my brother is my gift to me.
I cannot give without receiving. I can be blind to the gifts that I receive, and call my giving sacrifice, but it is impossible not to grow as we nurture others' unfolding of the Self.
Today I let go of sacrifice. Today I give to others what I want for myself, because there is no other. I am Other, the other is I.

344  Today I learn the law of love: that what I give my brother is my gift to me.
MT: You keep reminding me of that, don't you.
JC: As you found out yourself, repetition is key to learning.
MT: Any specifics apropos my struggles with my own particular ego?
JC: Ah, it's good you used that expression: particular ego. The ego is individual, God is universal. 
MT: At one point in my growing up from child to woman, I developed away from the universal.
JC: And now you find yourself on the reverse journey—rolling back the carpet of time—returning to the universal self.
MT: Your words take my breath away. I asked to hear specifics, but this is such a moving way to remind me of a basic tenet of the Course.
JC: He whom you forgive will give you gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth.
MT: I forgive out of selfishness!
JC: Out of love of self comes love of the Other, and vice versa. But you must accept Atonement for yourself in order to extend it to the Other. If you attempt to forgive while holding your self apart from God's grace, you give out of sacrifice, you give as the better of the two. The dance of guilt goes on, and nobody benefits. It happens all the time in your world.
MT: Out of love of self comes love of Other . . . but there is no Other. We are One. The journey's end.
JC: The journey ends where it began.

344 Today I learn the law of love; that what
I give my brother is my gift to me.

MT: OK, JC, how do I need to know this in my life today? Sarah?
JC: You have given her a lot of criticism.
MT: So that's what I am doing to myself. Criticizing.
JC: You have also given her much support, and you support yourself very well.
MT: Interesting how we go about our lives. We think it's all out there, when in fact it's all in here.
JC: What do you want for yourself today? Give it, that you may have it.

345  I offer only miracles today/For I would have them be returned to me.

MT: Now, how to stay in this miracle-minded frame of mind? JC?
JC: Do you believe for a moment that God would have you return to the illusion?
MT: Of course not! But then, there's my own mind. It's like a loose cannon. It shoots off in all sorts of directions.
JC: Your decision to offer miracles has all the power of God behind it. You do not walk alone. All manner of mysterious events and unforeseen circumstances will show up to move you along, if you remain open to guidance.
MT: My prayer today: walk with me, Brother. Guide me with your sure hand while I learn to see, for I have been blind too long.

345 I offer only miracles today,
For I would have them be returned to me.

MT: OK, JC, show me the real meaning of this--again. I know you already have, many times.
JC: The real miracle is the love that transcends this illusory world.
MT: I used to feel cheated with this definition. It felt like a cheap copout.
JC: And now?
MT: I see the truth in it. I see that what the Course offers is sight that goes beyond the five senses. It offers me a chance to escape from the world I made. It also puts full responsibility on my shoulders!
JC: And you would rather . . . ?
MT: It's easier to let someone else make all decisions, and then assign blame when things go wrong.
JC: Is it really easier, or just seems so at first glance?
MT: Ah well. This study is like losing virginity. No more innocent wrongdoing!

346  Today the peace of God envelops me/And I forget all things except His Love.

MT: How easy to say these simple words, how many stumbling blocks I place in the way!
JC: It is work to place stumbling blocks on the road to freedom. Why keep
doing it?
MT: Because I don't really, really trust, JC. Not yet.
JC: Ah, the unbearably sweet moment of awakening, it eludes you still.
MT: But I've let go of the anguish over this unfinished business. The mind chatter that used to intrude has moved to a remote place in my head. The crowd is silent except for a boorish talker somewhere in the rear. Now please bring me back to the peace of God, it's all I want and need.
JC:  Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not. [T-21.I.8]

346 Today the peace of God envelops me
And I forget all things except His Love.

All things of Earth are still. Mind is still in the presence of God, our Rock of Ages.

347  Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is the weapon I would use against myself, to keep the miracle away from me.
MT: Anger, fear, guilt--the infamous triad.
JC: With anger come the two mournful sisters, fear and guilt.
MT: This thing about judgment, please say more. Where am I punishing myself with judgment?
JC: Do I need to count the ways? The whole world you see is a product of judgment. The image of self you have made up--judgment. The bodies around you, sick, fat, sad and lonely, or, perhaps, ideally beautiful--all a product of judgment.
MT: You're talking about a vast illusion, so pervasive that it's like water to a fish: always present, therefore unrecognizable.
JC: So pervasive that you need a miracle to see beyond. Fortunately, God wrote in your birth certificate: Entitled to Miracles.
MT: This Course has a very lofty goal, doesn't it.
JC: Indeed. But it is a required course! Only the time you take it is voluntary. The return to God must happen eventually. How long will you stare at the garden of Eden from outside the heavy iron gate you work so hard to make real?

347 Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from me.

MT: Yes, judgment is the sword pointed at my own belly. Yet, to be honest, miracles are scary. They entail giving up that which I thought kept me safe all these years.
JC: It takes faith to leap into the unknown.
MT: It does! I see people clinging to a worldview despite all sorts of evidence to the contrary. They would rather die than to change their minds.
JC: And you, how are you holding on?
MT: I guess it's fear. Fear of ridicule. Fear of looking stupid when the rug is pulled out from under me and there's nothing there! I fall flat on my butt!
JC: You want guarantees, don't you.
MT: Yes, but guarantees are of the ego, I guess. My ego wants guarantees. I see people taking leaps, and I envy them. They "know" that things will turn out for the good.
JC: You judge that you not see.
MT: I judge that I not see, and it is painful, because all my life has led me to this point. Here I stand at the branching of the road, not knowing which way to go.
JC: Yet, is it really a choice?

348 I have no cause for anger nor for fear, for You surround me. And in every need that I perceive, Your grace suffices me.
MT: Powerful words, JC. Peace Pilgrim comes to mind. Her every need was taken care of by God's grace. What an example of total trust. 
JC: So can you trust? Trust is a muscle that builds as it is used. You don't have to wander the country with only the clothes on your back and pennies in your pocket, unless that's your guidance. Just remember that God surrounds you, and practice trust in whatever ways are at hand.
MT: I've always felt like a chicken, and to prove I was not, I made myself confront danger, even expose myself to it.
JC: Such are the ways of the ego. God's strength is different from "being a chicken/not being a chicken." God's strength resides far, far, from the world of ideas in your head. Let go of ideas and be with God. This bears repeating: you are either with an idea, or you are with God.
MT: So I shall. Thanks, JC. You are such a good friend.
JC: Always here for you.

348 I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
that I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

MT: I don't know what to say, JC.
JC: Then, say what you don't know.
MT: I don't know how this applies to me, today, and yet it's the lesson given me.
JC: So there is part of you that doesn't want to see.
MT: Oh, I know that. I wait for it all to come together in a glorious moment.
JC: Your path is that of building, slowly and carefully. You are doing well.
MT: I do seem to have fewer and fewer needs. How great is that? Today I shall look at perceived needs and silently affirm that God's grace is sufficient.

348 I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

MT: OK, JC, I don't know what to say. But I want to say something.
JC: Go on . . .
MT: I am full of shopping and rushing and rude people behind the wheel of their cars.
JC: The irony of this "season of love" does not escape you.
MT: Well, I know it need not be so. But I get short-tempered too. Especially with those closest to me.
JC: And what do you want to do about it?
MT: Be rude with strangers, perhaps?
JC: Or be gentle with everyone you meet? You have no cause for anger nor for fear.
MT: There is a lightness about, even in these darkest days of the year. I want to remember this light, formless and without end!

349  Today I let Christ's vision look upon all things and judge them not, but give each one a miracle of love instead.
MT: I've heard this before.
JC: But have you done it?
MT: No, I don't think so, and that's a regret I carry. My initial pass through the lessons, two decades ago, was done in a fog. I did the lessons nearly unconsciously. I mouthed the words. I cleverly analyzed what I thought the meaning must be. I even looked for subliminal suggestions and puns.
JC: Such is the ego, and you put together a powerful one.
MT: What I regret is that the surprise element is gone. I think you intend the Course to have a surprise element to catch the ego unawares before it has a chance to set up a defense system, but I managed to defeat that by not following the instructions exactly as they were given.
JC: Having said that, could you please restate the problem?
MT: I messed up, and I regret that. Another missed opportunity in my life. It has many.
JC: You see only the past, and the past can touch you not. The same process by which you did the lessons in a fog twenty years ago is playing out today, right now. You think you know better what you should have done twenty years ago, but you are merely reinforcing the belief that, deep down, you are a bumbling idiot. Which, by the way, you are not. That's just your ego talking.
MT: So you are telling me to let go.
JC: Come home to God. You are the Prodigal Son. Your belief that you are undeserving does not change God's view of you. The Father welcomes you with a banquet, fine linens and a complete spa treatment! There is plenty of salvation for you and everyone else.
MT: Thank you, JC. I needed the reminder.

349 Today I let Christ's vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.

MT: Here I am, JC. This is my "little willingness." I must say, I would rather use "Buddha's vision" rather than Christian terminology.
JC: There is no difference. Let this year end with seeing no differences.
MT: Well, then, here goes: Today I let the Buddha's vision look upon all things . . .
JC: Say more about what Christ means to you.
MT: That name is wrapped up in sacrifice, a crown of thorns, the cross, giving up one's life to save the benighted. The Buddha, on the other hand, is fat and sassy and laughs a lot. I think he enjoys a drink now and then. I would rather forget the suffering Christ.
JC: Why don't you just do it? Words do not matter as such. What matters is the love that inspires them.
MT: Thank you. I needed to hear that.

349 Today I let Christ's vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.

MT: The quiet eyes of Christ! But I would appreciate another expression for love that's not of this world. Reason is, I still cringe at the word "Christ." It brings up memories of Baptist fire and brimstone or at least hard benches and prolonged sermons, and guilt and more guilt.
JC: My intention is never to add to your guilt, even though we know it is not real.
MT: I feel like a hypocrite when I try to be the Christ. It just doesn't happen for me.
JC: So you judge yourself for using that expression. Could you offer yourself a miracle of love instead?
MT: I would have to step out of those ancient memories.
JC: And the past is over. It can touch you not, not now, not ever.
MT: Well, I can use someone else. I can use Arny Mindell, who represents love that's not of this world. I know he was not perfect, but he will do, I think. His eyes twinkled. He didn't take people too seriously, but at the same time he was willing to be silly/serious/intelligent/imaginative--whatever would bring about healing. Yes, JC, that works for me!

350  Miracles mirror God's eternal love. To offer them is to remember Him, and through His memory to save the world.

MT: Mirroring God's love. . . what is this love that you suggest I mirror?
JC: You know it already--the expansive, all-encompassing love that excludes nothing and no one from its embrace. It fills your lungs with the air of
your eternal home. It energizes every cell in your body. It melts the heart with compassion for every living thing. It recognizes the awesome intelligence that sprouts the seed and beckons a leatherback turtle hatchling to the breakers, and safety.
You also know what this love is not. It is not a pining for another body, a jealous threatening for fear of loss, a grasping without trust. It is not conditional upon good behavior. It does not judge, does not condemn. It sees past the body into the Self beyond.
MT: Today, let me remember that which I so often forget. Let me today be a mirror of God's love. Let me offer miracles today.

350 Miracles mirror God's eternal Love.
To offer them is to remember Him,
And through His memory to save the world.

One who accepts Atonement fully can save the world. This is because we are not separate. Change in one will, does affect the rest. So it's up to us, you, me, whoever is ready, whoever can offer "a little willingness."

This is my relationship with God, who is my brother, that which my brother is. The God that I am.

350 Miracles mirror God's eternal Love.
To offer them is to remember Him,
And through His memory to save the world.

And what are miracles, other than daring to BE?

There are those of us who "measure life in coffeespoons," and then there are those who dare to follow guidance, wherever it may take us. Which am I?


Index of Lessons