Lesson 284: Thoughts that Hurt: Am I Willing NOT to Keep Them?

Share the joy

A Course in Miracles is about mind-training; about practicing a gentler way of being.  That gentler way is found in noticing when we (I) are(am) listening to the “wrong” voice and remembering that there is a better way.  Today’s lesson, #284, is about that – I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.  Because that is what happens after you’ve been studying the Course for a while – you start to notice who it was that authored those hurtful thoughts, and by taking responsibility for them, begin to notice that there is an easier way of being in the world.  We can “accept but the joyous as the truth.”  I don’t have to hold on to thoughts that hurt.  I can let them go.  I can forgive.  I can ask the Holy Spirit to help me see things differently.  I can choose again. 

In our ACIM group last night, we read, “I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.”

Once we stop trying to place blame outside of ourselves and acknowledge that we are responsible for what we see, things change.  The Course says of the Son of God (us) “His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident….Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you.”  No need to get upset about it.  There’s no judgment about it.  It’s just information.  “I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.Choose again. We don’t have to hurt.  We can choose happiness. Today’s lesson, from last year’s writing:   

Thoughts that Hurt

Thoughts that Hurt

We are always at choice.  Every minute of every day, a thought occurs to us and we get to choose whether or not to believe it.  Here’s the thing: if it hurts, it is a lie.  Don’t take it so personally!  We are all at choice.  Even when something was tossed your way specifically to be hurtful (I’ll spare you the law of attraction reason for why that would come into your life for the moment, although it’s germane), it only hurtful if you elect to take it personally.  This lesson, I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt is about that.

God’s got your back.  1 We said before that the Holy Spirit is evaluative, and must be. He sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it in the light of what God put there. Whatever is in accord with this light He retains, to strengthen the Kingdom in you. What is partly in accord with it He accepts and purifies. But what is out of accord entirely He rejects by judging against. This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified.”

Of course, the rub of it is that I may be required to forgive….

Still, it’s liberating to recognize that you are never really a victim; that I am responsible for my thoughts.  It is for me anyway.  I catch myself thinking things that are hurtful (“she doesn’t like me” “he’s trying to take advantage of me and rip me off” “I need to go on a diet, I’m getting too fat”) and I notice that these thoughts aren’t serving me.  I was at the grocery store last week and the clerk charged me $1.69 for tomatoes that were supposed to be $1.49 a pound.  So I brought it to his attention.  He was surly about it but reweighed the tomatoes at $1.49/lb.  Except it cost more – in his haste, he hadn’t had all the produce on the scale the first time.  So I brought the fact that it was now more at the cheaper price per pound to his attention.  So he weighed them again and again and again.  As I was exiting the store, I noticed that the 2.38 pounds of tomatoes suddenly weighed 4.15 pounds so now I was really overcharged.  I very sweetly returned to him to question what had happened and I ended up getting the tomatoes for free (and he was nicer about it).  I silently blessed him, figured he’d been having a bad day or whatever and went on my way, happy for my free tomatoes.

How do all those components fit with not being a victim?  I don’t know.  It’s just something that happened but I have noticed that it takes more energy when I am expecting to get ripped off (not trusting in the innocence of my brothers) and that it would be nicer/easier/more peaceful to just let that go and think that God has my back and that I don’t need to worry about any of it.

That worry is a form of mistrust.  It is thinking that I am not safe and that instead of being “vigilant only for God and His Kingdom” I need to be vigilant for ego and make sure I’m not getting cheated.

This does not make me a nicer person as I go through my life; just sayin’.

Today’s lesson:

Lesson 284

I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.

Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. This is the truth, at first to be but said and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth. I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. And I would go beyond these words today, and past all reservations, and arrive at full acceptance of the truth in them.

Father, what You have given cannot hurt, so grief and pain must be impossible. Let me not fail to trust in You today, accepting but the joyous as Your gifts; accepting but the joyous as the truth.



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


“Father, what You have given cannot hurt, so grief and pain must be impossible.” The longer I do these lessons, the more I notice that my failure to see innocence is a statement of mistrust in God (and my brothers!).

Last night, Jay and I watched All Business: The Essential Donald Trump followed by All Business: The Essential Hilary Clinton on CNN.  I have been working on trying to see innocence rather than guilt in these candidates because I don’t actually like either one of them and have been seriously contemplating voting for a third party candidate.  I must say that after watching these CNN documentaries, I did like both of them better.  For the first time ever, I could understand Donald Trump’s appeal.  But since I am a Course student and very aware that attack is of the ego, I couldn’t help but notice how both candidates seem to specialize in being attacked.  Trump in particular always seem to be complaining about how unfair the media is to him, etc., but Clinton is no slough in the victim department either.  Should I be worried at the number of scandals she’s weathered?

In church today, it occurred to me that failure to see innocence in “others” is an indication of the places in me that I haven’t accepted.  It is my own need for healing that I am noticing.

There are no “others.”  It is only thought that keeps me from noticing this.  It is only the places that I’ve kept (I’ll solve this one myself) that get in my way.  Ego loves exceptions.   Except there aren’t any.

“To give a problem to the Holy Spirit to solve for you means that you want it solved. To keep it for yourself to solve without His help is to decide it should remain unsettled, unresolved, and lasting in its power of injustice and attack. No one can be unjust to you, unless you have decided first to be unjust. And then must problems rise to block your way, and peace be scattered by the winds of hate.

8 Unless you think that all your brothers have an equal right to miracles with you, you will not claim your right to them because you were unjust to one with equal rights. Seek to deny and you will feel denied. Seek to deprive, and you have been deprived. A miracle can never be received because another could receive it not. Only forgiveness offers miracles. And pardon must be just to everyone.”

Thus we return to one of my favorite Course lines:  “Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.”

Electing to change all thoughts that hurt is really having the willingness to give it to the Holy Spirit.  It is the willingness to allow yourself to be led by God, to let go of trying to make God wrong.

It’s easier that way, though ego would prefer you didn’t notice that.

“Yet He cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you.”

Ego loves the idea of keeping thoughts for itself, as if all minds weren’t connected, as if the separation had really occurred. “You believe you can harbor thoughts you would not share, and that salvation lies in keeping thoughts to yourself alone. For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you find a way to keep what you would have alone, and share what you would share. And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you, and with God Who surrounds all of you together.

8 Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off, because you would have it so. It is impossible to recognize perfect communication while breaking communication holds value to you. Ask yourself honestly, “Would I want to have perfect communication, and am I wholly willing to let everything that interferes with it go forever?” If the answer is no, then the Holy Spirit’s readiness to give it to you is not enough to make it yours, for you are not ready to share it with Him. And it cannot come into a mind that has decided to oppose it. For the holy instant is given and received with equal willingness, being the acceptance of the single Will that governs all thought.”

I’m practicing noticing the many ways that I search for guilt in my brothers.  The many ways I seek differences and bring condemnation into the equation.  I notice the many ways I judge.  Even noticing something like global warming comes with a blanket of guilt that I would lay upon another.

We are all perfect, whole, and complete.  Any failure to experience that is an indicator of a thought that needs healing.  Sickness isn’t of God.  Poverty isn’t Spirit’s idea for you.  Lack of any sort is a red flag that illustrates that there are thoughts you/I am trying to keep for yourself/myself.

9 The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. “

Holy Instant

None that You Would Keep

Thoughts born of Spirit are always comforting, for God did not leave his Son comfortless. “Father, what You have given cannot hurt, so grief and pain must be impossible. Let me not fail to trust in You today, accepting but the joyous as Your gifts; accepting but the joyous as the truth.”

Miracles are my birthright.  I can experience them when I am willing to release all judgment and let go of keeping some things for myself.


Namaste, my friends, Namaste.



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