Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
LESSON 181 I trust my brothers who are one with me.
- Trusting your brothers is essential to establishing and holding up your faith in your ability to transcend doubt and lack of sure conviction in yourself. When you attack a brother, you proclaim that he is limited by what you have perceived in him. You do not look beyond his errors. Rather, they are magnified, becoming blocks to your awareness of the Self That lies beyond your own mistakes, and passed his seeming sins as well as yours.
- Perception has a focus. It is this that gives consistency to what you see. Change but this focus, and what you behold will change accordingly. Your vision now will shift, to give support to the intent which has replaced the one you held before. Remove your focus on your brother’s sins, and you experience the peace that comes from faith in sinlessness. This faith receives its only sure support from what you see in others past their sins. For their mistakes, if focused on, are witnesses to sins in you. And you will not transcend their sight and see the sinlessness that lies beyond.
- Therefore, in practicing today, we first let all such little focuses give way to our great need to let our sinlessness become apparent. We instruct our minds that it is this we seek, and only this, for just a little while. We do not care about our future goals. And what we saw an instant previous has no concern for us within this interval of time wherein we practice changing our intent. We seek for innocence and nothing else. We seek for it with no concern but now.
- A major hazard to success has been involvement with your past and future goals. You have been quite preoccupied with how extremely different the goals this course is advocating are from those you held before. And you have also been dismayed by the depressing and restricting thought that, even if you should succeed, you will inevitably lose your way again.
- How could this matter? For the past is gone; the future but imagined. These concerns are but defenses against present change of focus in perception. Nothing more. We lay these pointless limitations by a little while. We do not look to past beliefs, and what we will believe will not intrude upon us now. We enter in the time of practicing with one intent; to look upon the sinlessness within.
- We recognize that we have lost this goal if anger blocks our way in any form. And if a brother’s sins occur to us, our narrow focus will restrict our sight, and turn our eyes upon our own mistakes, which we will magnify and call our “sins.” So, for a little while, without regard to past or future, should such blocks arise we will transcend them with instructions to our minds to change their focus, as we say: It is not this that I would look upon. I trust my brothers, who are one with me.
- And we will also use this thought to keep us safe throughout the day. We do not seek for long-range goals. As each obstruction seems to block the vision of our sinlessness, we seek but for surcease an instant from the misery the focus upon sin will bring, and uncorrected will remain.
- Nor do we ask for fantasies. For what we seek to look upon is really there. And as our focus goes beyond mistakes, we will behold a holy sinless world. When seeing this is all we want to see, when this is all we seek for in the name of true perception, are the eyes of Christ inevitably ours. And the love He feels for us becomes our own as well. This will become the only thing we see reflected in the world and in ourselves.
- The world which once proclaimed our sins becomes a proof that we are sinless and our love for everyone we look upon attest to our remembrance of the holy Self which knows no sin, and never could conceive of anything without its sinlessness. We seek for this remembrance as we turn our minds to practicing today. We look neither ahead nor backwards. We look straight into the present. And we give our trust to the experience we ask for now. Our sinlessness is but the Will of God. This instant is our willing one with His.
Personal Notes and Application: Last year when I was first studying the Course lessons, I understood that, basically, my mind was being trained to think with love, acceptance, guiltlessness toward God, toward myself, and toward mankind. By lesson 181, I had concluded that studying A Course in Miracles was not going to give me a magical experience; Jesus was not going to float down from the heavens, come into my heart, fill me with ecstasy, and transform me into a holy being. I would have to ask, I would have to show, and I would have to practice my willingness to “give up” hatred, ill will, resentment, judgments, superiority/inferiority, jealousy, old wounds, imagined wounds, sad stories, sorrowful stories, false prophesies, a know-it-all attitude, bluff, arrogance, and littleness – and exchange it bit by bit for tiny holy instants of innocence, purity, goodwill, blessing, forgiveness, and Atonement.
A Course in Miracles is the path that I chose to prepare our minds for the Kingdom of God. A Course in Miracles explains why the traditional ways we have interpreted the gospel, revered some sages and “saints,” while castigating and torturing others, saved certain manuscripts and texts and called them holy, adopted and cherished false idols and wrongful images of God have stunted our minds, blinded our vision, and keep us in a prolonged state of separation from the very one Who promises us unity, love, and everlasting peace. Today Jesus tells us that we must know the blocks to our attainment of the Kingdom of God in order to recognize them and put them aside.
I had expected a miracle – as in a cloud of holiness, purity, and innocence that would sweep through me in an instant and change me, and I was a little disappointed that it was more than that – that I had to be prepared, I had to practice, I had to have things explained to me in a way that I could understand. I thought that I was through with school, but here I was again, learning what had befallen us, the deception that has tricked and seduced and held us captive, and how we cannot escape it on our own. Our human brains are designed to keep us trapped in this nightmare, and if we want to wake up and make our return to our Home, we cannot rely upon the very ideas, systems, and vision which has held us as slaves to its manipulations and dramas since time began.
We must answer God’s call from within. We have to reach for the truth. God cannot come to a lie and make it real. God does not come into a dream of death and despair and somehow work to take what is only a lie, an illusion, a nightmare and fix it up pretty so that it is more tolerable to us. We must come to understand that the whole thing is a lie, that time itself is an illusion, that we are Sons of God and not sons of man.
When we practice trusting in our brothers and seeing them as one with us, we are putting our faith in God and in God’s way of thinking. In the world we are accustomed to seeing each other as separate beings, living separate lives, accomplishing separate things. We are used to building trust with those who look like us, think like us, and share the same values. We are used to mistrusting those who look different, think different, and have a different set of values. We embrace some brothers and take up arms against others. This is how it is done here. The harder you try to bring peace to this world, to change the nature of this world, to make the separation real and everlasting, the worse it becomes. You trade one offense for thousands more.
You can carry your signs and banners, you can lecture all your friends on Facebook about social justice and racial inequality, you can vote for this one and start a campaign of hatred and blame toward another for not agreeing with you, but you will only cause more unrest, more war, more injustice.
When we focus upon the “sins” and failings of others, anger comes to block our return to God. We cannot enter into the peace of mind and the everlasting joy and love of God as long as we look upon the behaviors of those who do things that hurt, worry, and offend us through the eyes of fear. We must embrace a new understanding of what this world is, what happens here, and why we are here.
We are here to end the separation. We are here to establish unity and oneness with God. We are here to trust our brothers who are one with us. This is not a fantasy, this is not mind games, this is not wishful thinking. This is the reality of Christ. When all we want to see is how holy and precious are our brothers, when we recognize the truth of Christ’s perception, this will become the only thing we see reflected in the world and in ourselves.
Today practice this holy approach a little while. Meditate upon it. Ask Holy Spirit to bless your encounters and interactions with your brothers and teach you to trust in Him and in them. Here our eyes are trained on attack and defense; in God we have the eyes of love and devotion. Here we are steeped in thoughts of sin and shame; in God we know our sinlessness is His Will and God’s Will is done.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 181. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com