Opening to the Possibility

What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn't Fail?

Lesson 221: Sitting Quietly: I Need Do Nothing

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From last year’s post, this is lesson 221, and of course, it is what we were discussing last night in our ACIM group.  Sitting quietly, doing nothing – allowing God to do the work. “Peace to my mind.  Let all my thoughts be still.” I need do nothing.

Forgiveness sits quietly

I Need Do Nothing

Doing these lessons daily changes you, or at least I feel like it’s changed me. This is the point where the Course acknowledges that shift.  Today, I begin Part II, and in some ways, it feels like I am entering graduate school.  I’ve noticed it a lot lately: I’ve arrived to where the veil of illusion is thinner.  I don’t fall for all the old ego tricks quite so readily.  There is less pettiness in me.  Less need to be right.  I’m definitely less of a victim.  How could I be a victim when I am the one who created the jail I sometimes find myself in?  Yes, as I embark upon Part II of these daily A Course in Miracles lessons, I feel changed.  I’ve noticed that somehow our Tuesday night ACIM group has morphed from beginners mind into a more advanced understanding – which is precisely why I continuously return to Lesson 25: I do not know what anything is for.  I can’t afford to think of myself as an expert.  I am only a little better at surrender; a little better at knowing – I need do nothing.

So today’s lesson is really a multi-part deal.  The first is the explanation of how the rest of the lessons will be, followed by a theme of special relevance” (today’s is forgiveness), and finally the daily lesson. Here is the lesson in its entirety:

Lesson 221

PART II

Introduction

Words will mean little now. We use them but as guides on which we do not now depend. For now we seek direct experience of truth alone. The lessons that remain are merely introductions to the times in which we leave the world of pain, and go to enter peace. Now we begin to reach the goal this course has set, and find the end toward which our practicing was always geared.

Now we attempt to let the exercise be merely a beginning. For we wait in quiet expectation for our God and Father. He has promised He will take the final step Himself. And we are sure His promises are kept. We have come far along the road, and now we wait for Him. We will continue spending time with Him each morning and at night, as long as makes us happy. We will not consider time a matter of duration now. We use as much as we will need for the result that we desire. Nor will we forget our hourly remembrance in between, calling to God when we have need of Him as we are tempted to forget our goal.

We will continue with a central thought for all the days to come, and we will use that thought to introduce our times of rest, and calm our minds at need. Yet we will not content ourselves with simple practicing in the remaining holy instants which conclude the year that we have given God. We say some simple words of welcome, and expect our Father to reveal Himself, as He has promised. We have called on Him, and He has promised that His Son will not remain unanswered when he calls His Name.

Now do we come to Him with but His Word upon our minds and hearts, and wait for Him to take the step to us that He has told us, through His Voice, He would not fail to take when we invited Him. He has not left His Son in all his madness, nor betrayed his trust in Him. Has not His faithfulness earned Him the invitation that He seeks to make us happy? We will offer it, and it will be accepted. So our times with Him will now be spent. We say the words of invitation that His Voice suggests, and then we wait for Him to come to us.

Now is the time of prophecy fulfilled. Now are all ancient promises upheld and fully kept. No step remains for time to separate from its accomplishment. For now we cannot fail. Sit silently and wait upon your Father. He has willed to come to you when you have recognized it is your will He do so. And you could have never come this far unless you saw, however dimly, that it is your will.

I am so close to you we cannot fail. Father, we give these holy times to You, in gratitude to Him Who taught us how to leave the world of sorrow in exchange for its replacement, given us by You. We look not backward now. We look ahead, and fix our eyes upon the journey’s end. Accept these little gifts of thanks from us, as through Christ’s vision we behold a world beyond the one we made, and take that world to be the full replacement of our own.

And now we wait in silence, unafraid and certain of Your coming. We have sought to find our way by following the Guide You sent to us. We did not know the way, but You did not forget us. And we know that You will not forget us now. We ask but that Your ancient promises be kept which are Your Will to keep. We will with You in asking this. The Father and the Son, Whose holy Will created all that is, can fail in nothing. In this certainty, we undertake these last few steps to You, and rest in confidence upon Your Love, which will not fail the Son who calls to You.

And so we start upon the final part of this one holy year, which we have spent together in the search for truth and God, Who is its one Creator. We have found the way He chose for us, and made the choice to follow it as He would have us go. His Hand has held us up. His Thoughts have lit the darkness of our minds. His Love has called to us unceasingly since time began.

We had a wish that God would fail to have the Son whom He created for Himself. We wanted God to change Himself, and be what we would make of Him. And we believed that our insane desires were the truth. Now we are glad that this is all undone, and we no longer think illusions true. The memory of God is shimmering across the wide horizons of our minds. A moment more, and it will rise again. A moment more, and we who are God’s Sons are safely home, where He would have us be.

Now is the need for practice almost done. For in this final section, we will come to understand that we need only call to God, and all temptations disappear. Instead of words, we need but feel His Love. Instead of prayers, we need but call His Name. Instead of judging, we need but be still and let all things be healed. We will accept the way God’s plan will end, as we received the way it started. Now it is complete. This year has brought us to eternity.

One further use for words we still retain. From time to time, instructions on a theme of special relevance will intersperse our daily lessons and the periods of wordless, deep experience which should come afterwards. These special thoughts should be reviewed each day, each one of them to be continued till the next is given you. They should be slowly read and thought about a little while, preceding one of the holy and blessed instants in the day. We give the first of these instructions now.

  1. What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go. What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God.

An unforgiving thought is one which makes a judgment that it will not raise to doubt, although it is not true. The mind is closed, and will not be released. The thought protects projection, tightening its chains, so that distortions are more veiled and more obscure; less easily accessible to doubt, and further kept from reason. What can come between a fixed projection and the aim that it has chosen as its wanted goal?

An unforgiving thought does many things. In frantic action it pursues its goal, twisting and overturning what it sees as interfering with its chosen path. Distortion is its purpose, and the means by which it would accomplish it as well. It sets about its furious attempts to smash reality, without concern for anything that would appear to pose a contradiction to its point of view.

Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not. He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive. But he who would forgive himself must learn to welcome truth exactly as it is.

Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do, through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success. He has forgiven you already, for such is His function, given Him by God. Now must you share His function, and forgive whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees, and whom He honors as the Son of God.
Lesson 221

Peace to my mind.  Let all my thoughts be still.

Father, I come to You today to seek the peace that You alone can give. I come in silence. In the quiet of my heart, the deep recesses of my mind, I wait and listen for Your Voice. My Father, speak to me today. I come to hear Your Voice in silence and in certainty and love, sure You will hear my call and answer me.

Now do we wait in quiet. God is here, because we wait together. I am sure that He will speak to you, and you will hear. Accept my confidence, for it is yours. Our minds are joined. We wait with one intent; to hear our Father’s answer to our call, to let our thoughts be still and find His peace, to hear Him speak to us of what we are, and to reveal Himself unto His Son.

 

© Foundation for Inner Peace • PO Box 598 • Mill Valley, CA  94942-0598

So the “theme of special relevance” today is forgiveness; an idea I have been thinking a lot about lately.  We say the words so often yet the popular concept of forgiveness is not the same as the Course’s perspective and the longer I study the Course, the more I come to realize that forgiveness is really letting go of what you think happened.  It is letting go of being a victim.  It is taking back your power by returning to the thoughts of God.  Thinking as God thinks, innocence comes rushing in.  I think humans have a hard time with this concept, yet the longer I study this stuff, the more clearly I see that the system must be set up that way for it to work.  Plus, guys, think about it – if we are part of God, if are that which He is, how in the world could we be anything but innocent, perfect, and pure?

“Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go.”

Forgiveness recognizes

It Never occurred

Going back to making error real: “1 You have been told not to make error real, and the way to do this is very simple. If you want to believe in error, you would have to make it real because it is not true. But truth is real in its own right, and to believe in truth you do not have to do anything. Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analyzing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had actually done so, having made his error real to you. To interpret error is to give it power, and having done this you will overlook truth.”

I recognize that trap.  I used to do it all the time with my ex-boyfriend years ago.  Whole battles were fought over the story I made up in my own mind about what was happening.  None of is was real. (Which always reminds me of the Dave Barry column The Difference Between Men and Women in a Conversation.  It you don’t know it – do yourself a favor and take the time to read it.)

I don’t respond to anything directly; I respond to my interpretation of it and my interpretation is invariably filtered through ego, which wants to blame and point fingers and do anything but accept responsibility for it.  When I can’t accept responsibility, when I don’t want to own my shit, it’s because I am afraid.  I’m afraid of what will happen.  I’m afraid of what others might think.  I’m afraid I won’t be good enough.  Fear, fear, fear.

Ego projects because ego is trying like hell not to own the shit that will make it guilty.  It wants someone else to me guilty, meanwhile making you feel guilty for wanting someone else to be guilty.

Yet guilt is of the ego, not God.  Which means, I am trying to protect myself from something that I made up.

Fuck!

 “Fear cannot be real without a cause, and God is the only Cause.”  The rest is illusion, my friends.

Here’s the part that is tough: ego wants to control.  It tells you you need to control, that you’re fucked if you don’t control things and so you’d better keep your finger on the pulse of the matter.

But you would only need to control if you couldn’t trust and you only don’t trust if you’re afraid.  “Fear cannot be real without a cause, and God is the only Cause.”

It all feels untenable, until you realize that God is your Source and that you can trust Him.

It always comes down to trust.  The Manual for Teachers say of trust: 1 This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfil their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning, because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world, because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a power that is in them but not of them. It is this power that keeps all things safe. It is through this power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.

2 When this power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one’s own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him? And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him? What is it that induces them to make the shift?”

Somewhere in the middle of all these concepts, my mind recognizes that failing to forgive is siding with ego; it is the decision to remain powerless, to try to rely on my own “tiny wings.” It is a failure to remember who I am.

So today, as I sit with the thought: “Peace to my mind.  Let all my thoughts be still.” I remember that my function is forgiveness. (“Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.”)  What it is important that I refuse to buy into the bullshit that I seem to bear witness to.  I can’t believe in the fear because the fear is not of God and only the Love is real.

The longer I study, the more I understand that letting go of judgment, letting go of the stories of what I think things are for is the path to forgiveness.  “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven.”  I recognize that ego still wants to assign guilt; but what we are “guilty” of is of being mistaken.  What we are “guilty” of is not knowing who we are.  Who could condemn that?  It’s being upset over an illusion.  Would I make the illusion real so I have something to fight against?

Wow.  The insanity of it all becomes more and more apparent as I study this stuff.  The insanity of believing in anything that tries to make guilt reality becomes a little more obvious.  The Course tells me repeatedly, “I need do nothing.”

“Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do, through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success.”  

All that is required of me is to listen: be still and listen.  God is here.  And if I shut up and listen, I will find Him.

Namaste, my friends, Namaste.

 

 

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