Today’s ACIM lesson, #338, I am affected only by my thoughts, is a crucial component of understanding how fear is our personal responsibility. One of the interesting aspects of being human is that each of us experiences an influx of thoughts that seem to be not our own on a daily basis. Some of them (like a creative idea) we will claim, and others we disown. (“I never thought about jumping off that bridge!”) Thoughts swirl around – some of them beautiful and loving and some of them murderous and ugly – and the ones we notice will be the ones we think have value. “No one can see a world his mind has not accorded value. And no one can fail to look upon what he believes he wants.” (“And what you value you will keep.”)
Today’s lesson teaches us that when we notice a thought that destroys peace it is our responsibility to choose again. “His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love.” That’s the value of doing these lessons – when we finally “get” that there is nothing to be frightened of that we didn’t create (or rather miscreate), then we can relax. The power only seems frightening because we are choosing to listen to the “wrong” voice. Choose again. Ego will try to convince you that you cannot hear the Voice for Love, but that is a lie. Everyone has that voice within them. “All are called but few choose to listen.” The only prerequisite for “hearing” that voice is the willingness to choose love. We are responsible for the filter we use and when we choose to listen to the ego’s voice it is because we still believe it can offer us something of value (safety). It cannot, but until we know that, it will continue to tempt us.
Today’s lesson, from last year’s writing:
Each of us creates our own world because each of us has our own “private” thoughts, or so it seems. Minds are connected so how truly private they are is debatable but nonetheless, each of us has the privilege/responsibility of generating thoughts that affect us. When people say, “You create your own reality,” what they are saying is that the world you experience is the direct result of the thoughts you have. Someone who thinks the world is a beautiful, amazing, gentle place is not going to experience life in the same way as someone who is suspicious, hostile, and cynical. Two people could have the exact same experience in terms of mechanics but if one is an optimist and the other a pessimist they will likely recount the experience in such stark contrast that one would think they had undergone difference experiences. The mechanics of the experience may have been alike, but they processed it differently.
The advantage of doing these daily A Course in Miracles lessons is that they retrain the mind; they strengthen love and decrease fear. Once you learn that you alone are responsible for your thoughts and that despite the whispers of ego, you don’t have to believe the ones that rob you of peace, that you can choose again, you start to breathe a little easier. It feels good to have faith that God loves us and that the Holy Spirit purifies. (“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.”)
It feels good to be released from fear, which is what happens when you stop listening to the voice for fear and start listening to the Voice for Love.
I am affected only by my thoughts.
It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear. Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things. His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love. He crucified himself. Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed.
Your plan is sure, my Father,—only Yours. All other plans will fail. And I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere. But the Thought You gave me promises to lead me home, because it holds Your promise to Your Son.
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As seems to happen every week, this was part of what we were reading in our Tuesday night ACIM group.
“1 I have said you have but two emotions, love and fear. One is changeless but continually exchanged, being offered by the eternal to the eternal. In this exchange it is extended, for it increases as it is given. The other has many forms, for the content of individual illusions differs greatly. Yet they have one thing in common; they are all insane. They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. For they are meaningful only to their maker, and so they have no meaning at all. In this world their maker moves alone, for only he
“They make up a private world that cannot be shared.”
Right – because we are each of us making up the illusions we are experiencing. The crazy thing is that because most of us aren’t that great at being fully present, most of what we see is based on the stories we told ourselves about the past.
“2 Each one peoples his world with figures from his individual past, and it is because of this that private worlds do differ. Yet the figures that he sees were never real, for they are made up only of his reactions to his brothers, and do not include their reactions to him. Therefore, he does not see he made them, and that they are not whole. For these figures have no witnesses, being perceived in one separate mind only.
“3 It is through these strange and shadowy figures that the insane relate to their insane world. For they see only those who remind them of these images, and it is to them that they relate. Thus do they communicate with those who are not there, and it is they who answer them. And no one hears their answer save him who called upon them, and he alone believes they answered him. Projection makes perception, and you cannot see beyond it. Again and again have you attacked your brother, because you saw in him a shadow figure in your private world. And thus it is you must attack yourself first, for what you attack is not in others. Its only reality is in your own mind, and by attacking others you are literally attacking what is not there.”
Once you understand that “projection makes perception,” that the ego is projecting out all the crap that it is trying to deny belongs to it and using that to color your world, you start to understand the necessity of sinlessness. It is the only way that guilt can be eliminated. It is the only solution to the insanity. (“All attack is Self attack.”)
Once we learn to trust God and to remember that “I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere,” and that’s okay, we can stop being so afraid. We can know that God would never leave His Children comfortless.
I am affected only by my thoughts. And I am responsible for those thoughts. But for heaven sake, if they suck, don’t believe them. Choose again. Because our thoughts create our world and if you have to live there, doesn’t it make more sense to craft one that you like?
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.