Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
LESSON 190 I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
- Pain is a wrong perspective. When it is experienced in any form, it is a proof of self-deception. It is not a fact at all. There is no form it takes that will not disappear if seen right. For pain proclaims God cruel. How could it be real in any form? It witnesses to God the Father’s hatred of His Son, the sinfulness He sees in him, and His insane desire for revenge and death.
- Can such projections be attested to? Can they be anything but wholly false? Pain is but witness to the Son’s mistakes and what he thinks he is. It is a dream of fierce retaliation for a crime that could not be committed; for attack on what is wholly unassailable. It is a nightmare of abandonment by an Eternal Love, Which could not leave the Son whom It created out of love.
- Pain is a sign illusions reign in place of truth. It demonstrates God is denied, confused with fear, perceived as mad, and seen as traitor to Himself. If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God. For vengeance is not part of love. And fear, denying love and using pain to prove that God is dead, has shown that death is victor over life. The body is the Son of God, corruptible in death, as mortal as the Father he has slain.
- Peace to such foolishness! The time has come to laugh at such insane ideas. There is no need to think of them as savage crimes, or secret sins with weighty consequences. Who but a madman could conceive of them as cause of anything? Their witness, pain, is mad as they, and no more to be feared than the insane illusions which it shields and tries to demonstrate must still be true.
- It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in anyway. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No one but yourself affects you. There is nothing in the world that has the power to make you ill or sad, or weak or frail. But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see by merely recognizing what you are. As you perceive the harmlessness in them, they will accept your holy will as theirs. And what was seen as fearful now becomes a source of innocence and holiness.
- My holy brother think of this awhile: the world you see does nothing. It has no effects at all. It merely represents your thoughts. And it will change entirely as you elect to change your mind and choose the joy of God as what you really want. Your Self is radiant in this holy joy, unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable, forever and forever. And would you deny a little corner of your mind its own inheritance, and keep it as a hospital for pain; a sickly place where living things must come at last to die?
- The world may seem to cause you pain, and yet the world, as causeless, has no power to cause. As an effect, it cannot make effects. As an illusion, it is what you wish. Your idle wishes represent its pains. Your strange desires bring it evil dreams. Your thoughts of death envelope it in fear, while in your kind forgiveness does it live.
- Pain is the thought of evil taking form and working havoc in your holy mind. Pain is the ransom you have gladly paid not to be free. In pain is God denied the Son He loves. In pain does fear appear to triumph over love, and time replace eternity in heaven. And the world becomes a cruel and a bitter place, where sorrow rules and little joys give way before the onslaught of the savage pain that waits to end all joy in misery.
- Lay down your arms and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven’s peace holds all things still at last. Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear. Let no attack enter with you. Lay down the cruel sword of judgement that you hold against your throat and put aside the withering assaults with which you seek to hide your holiness.
- Here will you understand there is no pain. Here does the joy of God belong to you. This is the day when it is given you to realize the lesson that contains all of salvation’s power. It is this: paying is illusion; joy, reality. Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening. Pain is deception; joy alone is truth.
- And so again we make the only choice that ever can be made; We choose between illusions and the truth, or pain and joy, or hell and Heaven. Let our gratitude unto our teacher fill our hearts, as we are free to choose our joy instead of pain, our holiness in place of sin, the peace of God instead of conflict, and the light of Heaven for the darkness of the world. Amen. 1
Notes and Personal Application: Lately I have been experiencing the world as hard and mean, spiteful and full of vengeance. Not necessarily in my personal life, but in the news media, in the conversations that I have with others, with the things that assail my mind – old resentments trying to resurrect themselves in my thoughts, ancient sorrows, betrayals, unkind things said and done. And my body has not been holding up as well as I think it should – it is no wonder either as I am carrying around extra weight with me, a drag on my energy levels and an impediment to everything I want to do.
Yesterday while we were out shopping, I sighed to myself, saying a little prayer, as if this life was too hard for me and I was ready to come home anytime the Lord sees fit. And Holy Spirit was so kind and showed me how much I have to live for here – the little heaven that is going on right here and right now, which I was choosing to shut out because I choose to see the darkness instead of the light, that I have become addicted to being stirred up, sad and sorrowful, full of angst and wondering what the world is coming to! Holy Spirit showed me so plainly that when I choose to entertain myself with darkness, when I choose to talk about darkness, when I choose to keep my mind awhirl with darkness, the light in me is obscured, the sweet truth of my Heaven is being covered by the lies of the world.
Then in Tuesday’s lesson which I did not study until later in the day, Jesus taught us that there is no need to wait for Heaven, that if we are not experiencing heaven, we are covering our eyes against it, because the light of Heaven is in us already. It is simply a matter of what I choose to focus my mind upon. Do I choose thoughts that are real, true, and holy or do I choose the lies of the world that blacken my perception and trick it into seeing enemies instead of friends, darkness instead of light, sorrow instead of joy?
Today when we are tempted to let the lies of the world be our reality, let us meditate upon our lesson idea for today: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.” Nothing external to us can cause us pain or oppress us because nothing but ourselves affects us. Nothing can make us ill, sad, weak, or frail because in Christ we have the power to dominate all things we see by simply knowing who and what we are. As we see how utterly harmless these things we are giving power to really are, our holiness becomes their holiness. What seemed to cause us to be worried or afraid now becomes a place of purity and goodness.
When we choose truth, truth becomes apparent to us. When we choose the illusion, the illusion becomes apparent to us. Jesus tells us we choose what we fill our mind with – pain or joy, hell or Heaven. Oh how thankful we are to Him to know that we get to choose! No matter what situation we are in, we can look at it with joy and faith and love or we can look at it in resentment, sorrow, and bitterness. We can say:
O Lord lead me out of this temptation to think of these weary bones, strained muscles, and aging body as my reality! The world’s quarrels, spats, wars, and factions have no reality in Christ. I know who I am in You. I know that I cannot be assaulted by the world outside of myself. My Heaven is right here and right now. I choose to experience Heaven and not the lies of darkness. That has no reality in You! I keep my mind focused on the truth to save myself from despair. In Jesus name. Amen.
1A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 190. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, (1992).
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com