Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
- (195) Love is the way I walk in gratitude.
The Holy Spirit is my only guide. He walks with me in love. And I give thanks to Him for showing me the way to go.
I am not a body. I am free, for I am still as God created me.
Love is the way I walk in gratitude. When I choose love, I am undermining the insane complications of the ego. The ego will never lie entirely – it would be too easy to see through – instead it blends truth and lies so cleverly that the lies and the truth look appear as one. Every special relationship in my life – family, friendships, professional, and carnal alike – have been poisonous smoothies the ego offers to take the place of the love relationship.
The relationships of the ego drive us insane. Sometimes people seem genuine; the next time you run into them, they won’t meet your eyes or smile. You’ll share some good news with them, and they will find a way to deflate you. They remind you of the past; building cases on long-gone trespasses in the interval between reunions; they don’t like the way you look, or you do not measure up in one way or the other. It could be a thousand different things, and yet you are in the dark, not knowing, – bewildered, wondering – what in the world did I do or say that turned them against me?
We are lovers and givers, according to the Course, being Sons of God, having the spirit of God, how could we be otherwise? At 34, I realized that somewhere along the line, I could no longer consider myself either. Silent treatment, lies, mind games, digs, mockery, manipulation, and outright hostility – at home, at work, in all my relationships, had worn me out. Eventually, it was too-dah-fucking-loo to liars, manipulators, cheaters, users, and those who hid hostility behind silence, and sly, hooded looks. The joy and freedom of stepping out of those so-called relationships far outweighed the semblance of love and affection that they sometimes offered.
Nasty emails, blatant accusations, suspicions, and dark insinuations – although a slap in the face – still seem like gifts. When you know the case, you can at least try to correct it. The clincher, however, is this: Truth and falsehood artfully combined – are impossible to sort through. There is no saving it, no matter how special.
On Thursday, I planned to make smoothies for the brothers at our Course study group. The iced coconut milk, frozen coffee cubes, and heavy whipped cream blended into a thick, frosty answer to the heat and humidity. However, in my distraction, I put two heaping teaspoons of salt in the blender instead of sugar. One sip, and I was forced to toss the whole delicious-looking thing. Having no more coconut milk, a new coffee smoothie with substitute ingredients replaced the original, but oh the pangs of regret!
This homey example is a good lesson on the reasoning behind why all relationships, special and otherwise, must start new. When the ego poisons our love, we must start fresh. We cannot sort through the lies and the truths, the envy and resentment, the joys and sorrows, any more than we can remove the salt out of an otherwise delicious smoothie.
Apostle Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new has come: The old is gone, the new is here!” A cross-reference provided by biblehub.com, recalls Isaiah 43:18: “Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to things of old.” The Course teaches that the meaning of forgiveness is choosing to remember only the loving thoughts from the past – the ones you gave and those given you. The rest is forgotten, undone by Holy Spirit, as we bring darkness to light and show our willingness to forgive.
Forgiveness, another word for love, is selective remembering. It is based not on the ego’s dark and fearful shadows of the past, but the Holy Spirit’s selection, which is always loving, pure, and innocent. For me, the exercises provided in our lessons exposed hurts, fears, projections, and resentments that had sullied my relationships for years, especially the relationship with my Self. When I first started this Course study, I thought how simple and easy it would be. I would study the Course and finish another novel in my spare time. However, to expose the ego in oneself, to bring all that darkness to light, is one of the most arduous, time-consuming tasks imaginable. One brother from our study group says it reminds him of rooting out dandelions!
Let us learn to walk in gratitude with forgiveness, which is synonymous with Love in this realm. Let us become new and accept our brothers as new. Loving them and forgiving them so we can receive and keep the love and forgiveness offered to us. It sounds fairly undemanding, but the ego’s resistance makes the practice of this at least a one-lifetime endeavor.
It is not a Course for the faint of heart.