Index of Lessons

131 (2006) No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.

MT: Why this? Why now? Why here? We were studying getting close to God.
JC: God is Truth. You may think truth is the hardest to find, but it actually is the easiest thing. Your world is upside down, that's all.
MT: Truth should be self-evident.
JC: It is--and yet you deny it, avoid it, continue to behave in ways that run contrary to what you know. Does that not seem odd to you?
MT: I can know the truth, and still see myself as a failure in reaching it, castigate myself for my obtuseness, and place myself farther away still. St. Paul spoke to that.
JC: Do you want to reach the truth today?
MT: I guess so. . . I feel pretty dim this morning. Cat woke me up too soon. He wanted his food.
JC: He got it, didn't he? Do you want the truth as much as the cat wants his food?
MT: One thing that's happened, JC, is that the Course has made my life a whole lot easier, smoother, reduced or eliminated the anguish I labored under BC (before Course). So perhaps I'm not suffering
enough to want to change any further.
JC: Walking with God should not be a crisis. I promised to smooth the path for you.
MT: Let's say I reach God within the year--I've got seven, almost eight months to do it. That's my goal. It's scary to put it down on the screen like this. I would like a more direct experience of God--although I've had them, briefly. I lose touch with my God-nature all too easily. I do not keep it in mind as a goal, as my purpose on this plane. I need help with that.
JC: Angels hover above and all about you. You can feel their wings brushing against your face. There is nothing to fear. Decisions have light and strength behind them. In making a decision, you summon help from higher spheres. You summon the miracle.
MT: I summon the miracle. I like that. It has the ring of truth to it. Thank you, JC.


131 No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.

MT: There you go, JC, with your bold statements. Failure is all around me--people losing their homes, men and women fighting an unwinnable war, a helpless population dying from lack of shelter, water and food because a parasitic government seeks only its own aggrandizement. Do none of the players of this absurd game seek the truth?

JC: You know the answer. They do not know what to seek. They are confused and divided. A divided mind cannot plan. A mind cut off from God is capable of savage and meaningless acts.

MT: Where does this leave me today? The images that I just conjured up make me sad. This is the world I appear to inhabit.

JC: You do not have to fix the world--not because you should not, but because you cannot. Today you are free of Quixotic tasks. Your only duty is to seek Atonement for yourself. Today you do the possible, the inevitable, the preordained. Today you open yourself to Truth.

131 No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.

I ask to see a different world, and think a different kind of
thought from those I made. The world I seek I did not make
alone, the thoughts I want to think are not my own.

MT: Yes, but . . . I reach inside for that feeling of being totally sick of the world I made, and I'm not there yet. Instead, I notice a slightly morose feeling: leave me alone, world, leave me alone, Course, leave me alone, God. Truth is, I cannot impose holiness on myself. It's got to come as inevitable choice.
JC: And so it will. An addict uses the substance yet again, in hopes that this time he can enjoy it with impunity. You wander in the darkness, looking for the light.
MT: Or not even looking, right now. I'm tired of the search. Give me Truth, not because I clamor for it, but because it's my birthright.
JC: And that is the truth, yours today.

132  I loose the world from all I thought it was.

MT: What did I think about the world I came into? I thought it was full of death, enemies, bickering and wars. I thought I could trust no one besides myself, and I had doubts about me too! I thought everybody was in pain all the time, especially women, cursed by the Scriptures. I thought I had to be careful with every step I took, with every word I spoke; careful not to laugh inappropriately, careful to look to others to find what "appropriate" was. I had to be careful of my sexuality because behind every man hid a rapist, and besides, my body was always a rat trap about to go off. I thought I was born defective and would never make it. The list goes on and on. Don't know how I managed to survive.

JC: Now you open yourself to a new vision, the one given by God.

MT: Now I let a new vision come to me by the grace of God.


132 I loose the world from all I thought it was.

MT: Shakesperean language, JC!
JC: And the thought?
MT: The world I saw . . . oh, JC, what a painful world I grew up in. A traumatic experience of  rejection happened around age 5. I was like a kitten getting slapped around for trying to romp around with the cats, its joy transmuted into despair in an instant's time. My heart scrunches up to even think of it. That's what I thought the world was--a machine to mow down the smallest sprouts of spontaneity, creativity, and love.
JC: That was then, this is now. The dawn of a new day is here.
MT: I "enslaved the world with all my fears, my doubts and miseries, my pain and tears, and all my sorrows press on it, and keep the world a prisoner to my beliefs." How I could possibly have wished for a world like this?
JC: Yet you did. You found exactly what you looked for when you came.
MT: Much as I would like to complain, there is an odd sort of comfort in these words. The implication is, I can look for something else and what I look for, this shall I find.
JC: You are not the victim of the world you see. It exists as a thought in your mind, and fast as it appeared, in an instant can it vanish. In its place you see a forgiven world, and you in it, a radiant being of light.

133 I will not value what is valueless.

MT: Only you could put it this way, JC! If I value the valueless I make up a world of anxiety and fear. I do not ask too much of life, but far too little. I was just thinking this morning, how behind every procrastination, every bit of sloppiness, is the thought: I am not worth it. So life realigns itself when I realize--and it is a staggering thought--my true worth as a Son of God. The possibilities are infinite.

You say, next, "if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left." I see the burglar walking out the window in the night, fantasizing on the riches that he has just obtained. He does not know that to take from another means to take from oneself. He does not know what he just did to himself!

JC: How can you use this thought in your life today?
MT: I will commit acts of senseless beauty today. I see, today, the true worth that is all around me: our inheritance as Sons of God. This inheritance I claim as my right. I claim it for myself when I offer it to my brothers.

133 (2006) I will not value what is valueless.

MT: How am I today? How does this lesson apply to my state today? I have gone a long way in disidentifying with the body. My fear of death, my panics about becoming a bag lady who digs for breakfast in trash cans, the constant looking for sickness lurking around the next corner, paranoia about getting ripped off by merchants and health professionals, the endless searching for new clothes or pretty jewelry--those manifestations of the error are gone. What remains feels like a small rock that stops the machinery: that I do the things I do not want to do, and do not do the things I want to do. It feels like a mysterious force holding me back. Or a puzzle. I am spending a great deal of money and time exercising my body--daily trips to the gym, hikes, dieting. . . in this way, I know I am valuing what is valueless: the body.
JC: The body will not last. Spirit goes on forever. You cannot not have eternal life.
MT: I need help with redirecting my life. It used to be directed by avoidance of pain, by paranoia, by random responses to anxiety. Tethering my mind to my husband's (I cringe to say I did that) gave me purpose and relative peace, as did raising the kids. I never questioned getting a higher education, and I did it very well. But now? I am freer than at any other time in my life, and I squander this freedom, day by day, hour by hour.
JC: What would be a good use of your life, in your opinion?
MT: To write a book? To work for political change in this troubled country? To agitate for more bike paths, more trees, more humane treatment of animals? It is difficult to say, and I expect therein lies the problem. There is no one thing that I can say: this I am destined to do. The certainty was there forty years ago, where did the certainty go?
JC: There is certainty in doing this daily posting, isn't there?
MT: Yes, you are right. This is one thing I definitely want to be doing. It is valuable to me, enough that I do not question it.
JC: God knows how to reach you. You do not need to find the way to Him.

133 I will not value what is valueless.

This lesson always puts me in a pensive mood. I will not value what is valueless. It brings up a quiet voice inside, a detached, wry observation. Why would anyone value the valueless? Only if he does not know the difference. Only if he is completely confused as to what's what and does not know enough to get in out of the rain! And that is the state I lived in for the first half of my life. I searched without knowing what the object was. My mind flitted from one decision to another, from one bad feeling to a worse one, until only death appear to offer relief.

Enough of this. The bonds of this world are weak, evanescent. They only seem solid if the mind makes them so. Sometimes I think I'm losing it, that I'm a fool not to take charge of my life, not to give value to what others kill for, an irresponsible fool to abandon goals and To-Do lists. But really, this is the dawn of sanity. I will not value what is valueless.

134 (2006) Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

MT: Forgiveness: the realization that my brother is as sinless as I am.
JC: You cannot accept your own sinlessness and hold others guilty, nor can you see the sinlessness in others while holding on to your guilt.
MT: To smite another becomes totally pointless, because then I smite myself. I have been known to do so! The self-hate this Course uncovered was scary at first.
JC: And then you realized how pointless the whole game was, and you became ready to give it up.
MT: It's been a strange trip, JC, but a delightful one as well. I discover hidden aspects of myself as I go. I would never want to sink back into the well of despair and hopelessness.
JC: And you do not have to. The light has come.
MT: The light has come, and I thank my Father for His gifts to me.

134 Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

JC: I see that a new lesson on forgiveness was offered you yesterday.
MT: I lost peace. For a while, sin seemed real. Character defects (his) seemed real. I forgot everything I learned all these years. Why does he have to be so careless?
JC: Ok, ok, not so fast. This is a superb chance to learn today's lesson. What character defects are you seeing in your partner?
MT: He is angry. He feels imposed upon. I guess he was tired, but did he have to lose patience? Does he have to yank the suitcase from the garage rafters and drop it on my car? Couldn't he wait a moment for me to move the car? Now he probably won't want to fix the hood. It's up to me. No responsibility there! This guy never grew up. What am I doing with him? There. I said it.
JC: Would you accuse yourself of doing someone a favor in the spirit of sacrifice and loss, as Scott has apparently done?
MT: Yes, I know about that. I hurt my back trying to lift my helpless lump of a father-in-law from his chair.
JC: Helpless? Lump? Would you like to change this configuration, or would you rather be miserable?
MT: Guess I haven't suffered enough, JC. I am still angry, now at both of them!
JC: What is your goal in doing these lessons so faithfully, year after year?
MT: I want to remember who I am. I want to step out of this shabby so-called reality I made up. I want to be at peace, and to offer peace to those I meet. Including, I guess, my partner and his father, much as my ego wants to write in an exclusion for them!
JC: You can exclude your brothers and yourself, or you can be with me in Paradise today. Which do you choose?

134 Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

And how is true forgiveness? Not as the world of the ego would have it: as a condescending act from a more enlightened soul to a benighted one. No--true forgiveness sees that nothing happened. True forgiveness resides in the eternal present of God-energy. It does not grope around in darkness, but dwells in the light. It sees that there is no "me" versus "other," but only the Sonship, one with God.

135 If I defend myself I am attacked.

MT: So much for legal fights and assertiveness training. "For no one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart." I know I've dropped a huge amount of defensiveness, JC, but pray tell, where do I still buy into the need for defense?
JC: Money is an area of your life where you think you must defend yourself.
MT: I think I am only being prudent, saving for the morrow like the ant. Suppose the ants danced in the summer sun, what would they eat in winter?
JC: Yet this is part of the illusion that winter means starvation, that God provides for every need except when the weather turns cold!
MT: We learned to hoard when we gave up hunting to become tillers of the soil, I guess, but we lost much of the joy of life at that point.
JC: Do not become overly concerned with saving or not saving, planning or not planning. Just know that defense implies vulnerability. It implies a belief in separation, a belief in an unreliable and fickle God.
MT: Thanks for now, Friend. I have miles to go before I sleep. Drive with me.

135 If I defend myself I am attacked.

That is so true. The moment I recoil, in that moment I am declaring separation, from the Other, from God, from myself. Therefore, my prayer for this morning is: Dear God, help me meet, completely without defenses, the world I made! Because I did make it up, and I am the one who can unmake it. Nobody else will ever, not in a million years, be able to fix the world for me. I am the One, the Messiah, the Savior. I am The One.

136  Sickness is a defense against the truth.
MT: Radical statement, JC! You are very bold. I feel so helpless when I am sick. This morning I woke up with a positional headache, and I immediately launched into a string of thought: I had slept with my head turned to the left, the position must have restricted flow of blood to my head, must go to a doctor check on that, I don't want to have a stroke and be in a wheelchair. . . so here I was, putting my body in a wheelchair already, while lying in bed at four am!
JC: The headache is a defense against the truth of who you really are: a sinless Son of God, created to create.
MT: That's startling. As you said that, I realized that people who are truly engaged in what they are doing have very few illnesses, if any. They are too busy. I've had the experience, myself, of starting a backpacking trip with a cold, and fearing not to be able to go, but one day into the wilderness and I think: where did the cold go? I couldn't afford to be sick, away from medical care, so I wasn't sick any more.
JC: Yes, so how real was the cold? But I caution you that being sick is not a sin. It's only a mistake, a failure in recognition, and very easily corrected. Please avoid judging yourself or anyone else as less than holy for being sick.
MT: We have all sorts of defenses, and sickness is only one of them, is what you're saying. I get it.

136 Sickness is a defense against the truth.

MT: Sigh. Here comes The Body! Sadly, I can't fight illness. It happens, and to engage in affirmations and visualization makes sickness real, just as taking pills does.
JC: You must take the ultimate step: to give it all up. Surrender your body and its infirmities to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is your challenge now.

137  When I am healed I am not healed alone.
MT: Masterful, JC, the connection between the six billion of us humans through healing. Sickness, the great separator, the scourge of mankind--sickness spared no one, Beethoven went deaf from syphilis, Darwin died from Chagas' disease--and healing through the Great Connection. This is truly the way home. When I hurt my back fifteen years ago, I wanted nothing to do with anyone else. I was angry, depressed, morose, immersed in my separated self. Whenever I walk the world thinking how my body looks and how to make it healthier, or just more acceptable, more enviable, more representative of my status, I am separating myself and making hell of what could be Heaven. But I must say, sickness seems awfully real when it's there. It's easy to talk about it when I am feeling fine.
JC: It does have every appearance of reality. Your mind is very clever in service of the ego. I am asking it to join with God instead.
MT: Just to reinforce the concept of the mind as maker of illness--supposedly (I've only read about this) people with true multiple personalities can be healthy in one, diabetic in another, to suffer from allergies in one personality and not in another. It is totally unexplainable within the medical view of illness, so medicine chooses to ignore it.
JC: What a price men have paid to maintain the separation and make themselves powerless.
MT: Oh yes, a staggering price to pay for nothing.
JC: What about you, today, here?  How will you use this idea in your life today?
MT: Well, you tell us to share it. Not to buy into the prevailing view that we are helpless in the face of sickness, and to become miracle workers. But I'm afraid of miracles. In the not-so-remote past, women got burned to death as witches when they tried to be healers. Far easier to bend my neck for the yoke than to soar like an eagle.
JC: You do not have to work miracles by yourself--in fact, you cannot. Where the miracle is, there I am with you. Connection is the essential ingredient of the miracle.
MT: What a good thought. I would share my healing with the world, that sickness may be banished from the mind of God's one Son, Who is my Self.

137 When I am healed I am not healed alone.

MT: So, JC, I cannot have Atonement for myself alone. I cannot shut out those I don't like.
JC: You cannot have Oneness while maintaining duality. Who would want to, after a glorious experience of God?
MT: I know all too well the isolating quality of sickness. When I am sick, I want to curl up in bed and not even answer the phone. I sometimes actively welcome the relief from duty and obligation.
JC: There is no duty and there is no obligation. These are from the ego. You are under no laws but God's.
MT: How nice. I don't have to be sick. All I need is to be happy.

138  Heaven is the decision I must make.
MT. Interesting lesson about decision, JC. Just yesterday I thought: I must decide to lose weight, it's only a matter of decision. But I see that there is a more important decision to make. I see that to focus on body weight is like focusing on a leaf when it's a forest I'm in.
JC: To continue with your analogy, the forest isn't even the constructive focus. The real decision is to step out of shadows of trees and walk out into the light. You do not have problems, you only have one problem. To scatter your energies on a thousand different problems and to ignore the real one would be a pity, besides being insane and driving you insane.
MT: I need to focus. I feel quite scattered, even as I understand perfectly well what you're saying. Will you help me focus, please.
JC: One-pointedness. . . it is a matter of experience rather than understanding. You can understand the darkness, you can bemoan it and hurt yourself walking into rocks, you can fear the darkness because you can't see in it, you can enlist others in studying it and become the world's expert on darkness--it is all to no avail if you don't turn on the light!
MT: Today I decide on Heaven. Today I walk into the light.


138 Heaven is the decision I must make.

MT: I can be in heaven right now, this minute. Heaven waits, not on time, but on my decision. You say that time was made to help us make the decision. Could you explain?

JC: Let me try. You are concerned with time. Your days, when you are at home and free to do anything you want, are racked with doubts about how to use time, and you end up doing something you don't really want to do, such as playing computer games. You step away from the creative and into the pastime. Why do you think it's called a pastime?

MT: A pastime is a way to sidestep guilt, for me--guilt for "wasting" my day, the only day I've got. I can only waste today, I can't waste tomorrow or yesterday. At that point, guilt, fear, anger rack at the self. In the confusion all I can do is eat or play computer games. But I'm afraid you won't be able to help me here.

JC: Yeah, I'll help you with everything else, but with this issue of time, you're on your own!

MT: OK, sarcasm aside, what do you want to tell me?

JC: Time is not real. Time does not exist. You divided your life into months and years and decades and assigned yourself tasks to be completed within those arbitrary divisions. But God does not divide your life. Life is. God is. You can accomplish in a moment what might take a thousand years in your fragmented world.

MT: I want you to show me, again, how time does not exist. I experienced this before, and how sweet it is. Show me that time does not exist. Help me end the dream of conflict here.

139 I will accept Atonement for myself.

MT: I love it, JC, when you point out absurdities in the ego's thinking: [The world] . . . is a place whose purpose is to be a home where those who claim they do not know themselves can come to question what it is they are. I am ready to give up my persona. I will accept Atonement for myself. I am ready to be, again, still, as God created me.

139 (2006) I will accept Atonement for myself.

This lesson always sends a shiver up my spine. How long I labored under the delusion that I was born bad and needed exorcism, the fear that my father and his misguided deacons might exorcise my demons (how? it was left to the fertile imagination of a young girl), and the endless, constant preoccupation with my "defective" body. Today I accept Atonement as reality, those old fears as a lamentable illusion that wasted decades of my life and were handed down to my daughters. Today I shall no longer worship at the blood-stained altar of sin. There is no sin. The Son of God is free.

140  Only salvation can be said to cure.

MT: JC, the words you use this lesson are peculiar. Salvation "said" to "cure"?
JC: Salvation cures. Medicine offers the illusion of cure, leaving the root cause of illness untreated. The word "cure" can only be rightfully used for the restoration of the connection with God. Anything else is illusion, and does not exist.
MT: Once again, you turn my world upside down.
JC: No, I turn it right side up. It was upside down all along, and you didn't know it.
MT: I just got a glimpse of what we're doing in our endless pursuit of the right pill. Pills to lose weight, even. What a travesty--let me gorge myself and then take in a chemical to magically throw the fat away. People are hungry elsewhere, while in this country eating is an illness. Even our animals suffer from this--my folks' cat is obese. Cat comes around begging for attention, they feed it shrimp.
JC: The cat begs for connection, just as your soul does. The cat is a living metaphor for the human predicament. By the way, the hunger you see elsewhere comes also from a missing connection with God and with fellow human beings.
MT: This is profound. Think what will happen when we restore Oneness. I can't wait.
JC: Paradise is your decision today. Refuse to make hell, and God will show up.

140 Only salvation can be said to cure.

You think that antibiotics cure. You imagine that salvation rests on pricey cosmetics, the best health clubs, the right kind of herb concoction, sunscreen and ointments and plastic surgery. But only salvation can be said to cure.
MT: I do my best to avoid doctors.
JC: You can go see a doctor, but you must know what you are seeing him for.
MT: And . . . ?
JC: You are seeing him as a brother, that your mind may heal, that his mind, the mind that believes in sickness, can heal. That is what you are seeing him for. Thus is your visit made holy.


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