Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
LESSON 196 It can be but myself I crucify.
- When this is firmly understood and kept to full awareness, you will not attempt to harm yourself, nor make your body slave in vengeance. You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself. You will be free of the insane belief that to attack a brother saves yourself. And you will understand his safety is your own, and in his healing, you are healed.
- Perhaps at first you will not understand how mercy, limitless and with all things held in its sure protection, can be found in the idea we practice for today. It may, in fact, appear to be a sign that punishment can never be escaped because the ego, under what it sees as threat, is quick to cite the truth to save its lies. Yet must it fail to understand the truth it uses thus. But you can learn to see these foolish applications and deny the meaning they appear to have.
- Thus do you also teach your mind that you are not an ego. For the ways in which the ego would distort the truth will not deceive you longer. You will not believe you are a body to be crucified. And you will see within today’s idea the light of resurrection, looking past all thoughts of crucifixion and death, to thoughts of liberation and of life.
- Today’s idea is one step we take in leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom. Let us take this step today, that we may quickly go the way salvation shows us, taking every step in its appointed sequence, as the mind relinquishes its burdens one by one. It is not time we need for this. It is but willingness. For what would seem to need a thousand years can easily be done in just one instant by the grace of God.
- The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross. Perhaps it seemed to be salvation. Yet it merely stood for belief the fear of God is real. And what is that but hell, who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and block him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?
- Such is the form of madness you believe, if you accept the fearful thought you can attack another and be free yourself. Until this form is changed, there is no hope. Until you see that this, at least, must be entirely impossible, how could there be escape? The fear of God is real to anyone who thinks this thought is true. And he will not perceive its foolishness, or even see that it is there, so that it would be possible to question it.
- To question it at all, its form must first be changed at least as much as will permit fear of retaliation to abate, and the responsibility returned to some extent to you. From there you can at least consider if you want to go along this painful path. Until this shift has been accomplished, you cannot perceive that it is but your thoughts that bring you fear, and your deliverance depends on you.
- Our next steps will be easy for you take this one today. From there we go ahead quite rapidly. For once you understand it is impossible that you be hurt except by your own thoughts, the fear of God must disappear. You cannot then believe that fear is caused without. And God, Whom you had thought to banish, can be welcome back within the holy mind He never left.
- Salvation’s song can certainly be heard in the idea we practice for today. If it can but be you you crucify, you did not hurt the world, and need not fear its vengeance and pursuit. Nor need you hide in terror from the deadly fear of God projection hides behind. The thing you dread the most is your salvation. You are strong, and it is strength you want. And you are free, and glad of freedom. You have sought to be both weak and bound because you feared your strength and freedom. Yet salvation lies in them.
- There is an instant in which terror seems to grip your mind so wholly that escape appears quite hopeless. When you realize, once and for all, that it is you you fear, the mind perceives itself as split. And this had been concealed while you believed attack could be directed outward and returned from outside to within. It seemed to be an enemy outside you had to fear. And thus a god outside yourself became your mortal enemy, the source of fear.
- Now, for an instant, is a murderer perceived within you, eager for your death, intent on plotting punishment for you until the time when it can kill at last. Yet in this instant is the time as well in which salvation comes. For fear of God has disappeared. And you can call on Him to save you from illusions by His Love, calling Him Father and yourself His Son. Pray that the instant may be soon, – today. Step back from fear and make advance to love.
- There is no Thought of God that does not go with you to help you reach that instant, and to go beyond it quickly, surely, and forever. When the fear of God is gone, there are no obstacles that still remain between you and the holy peace of God. How kind and merciful is the idea we practice! Give it welcome as you should, for it is your release. It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.
Notes and Personal Application: We have no enemy outside of our self! Our enemy is within us, dear Brother and Friend. We have an imposter who has usurped our identity and goes by our name. We have so aligned ourselves with the ego that we need salvation to deliver us from its fearful lies, its petty hatreds, its triteness, and its murderous intent. Only when we realize that any blame we try to pin upon our brothers is blame and shame we pin upon ourselves, will we begin to understand mercy, the light of resurrection, and soar past vengeance, sorrow, suffering, and death to take flight with thoughts of liberty and life.
Jesus teaches us through today’s lesson idea that salvation does not come by offing our enemies, calling them out, blaming them for our problems, or assailing their institutions. Salvation does not come from forcing our ideas about right and wrong upon others. Perhaps in the eyes of the world this seems to be the way to make positive change, but these endeavors – no matter how seemingly worthy or justified – merely stand for the belief that God is to be feared, that He uses His power against us or else keeps it all for Himself, and that we are not His Son.
In other words, Jesus spells it out to us in paragraph five – This is not heaven, this is hell.
If we think we can attack another to set ourselves free, there is no hope. Instead of loving God and trusting God, those who believe in attack believe that God is fearful, that He favors some over others, that He loves war and is strengthened through physical feats performed by bodies which bleed, suffer, and ooze pus, mucus, and saliva. When we rise up to defame another, to trash our neighbors, to spread rumors and engage in gossip, to form cliques…we believe in a God that cannot be trusted, a God who made a world set upon itself, a world in which we must band together to fight and arm ourselves against those who are different from us to thrive, to survive, to carry on our lineage to the next generation. When we take up signs and carry placards, pin our hopes on a political figure and make enemies of her rival, when we report negative things about our neighbors and recount all their wrongs and failings, we must understand that we are engaging and caging ourselves in hell.
There is no escape until we lay down our arms. There is no escape from this dreary madness until we take responsibility for the thoughts we cherish and carefully consider the path in which they lead us upon. Until we change our mind about this, Jesus says, until that shift takes place, we will not realize the truth of the matter: It is our thoughts that bring us fear. God does not reach down from Heaven and deliver us; deliverance comes from our willingness to stop thinking thoughts of attack and fear. We clear the altar of our minds, we dedicate our minds to thoughts of truth, of love, of unity and it is impossible to be hurt. When we accept this as true, we recognize God as our Father. We no longer think that the world is going to make us happy. We know that the world cannot and will not save us. We change our minds about who and what we are; we change our minds about who and what God is. We know Him and we love Him and in knowing Him we know ourselves and all of creation as one.
When we no longer experience ourselves as split between darkness and light, good and evil, black or white, we are saved. When we no longer fear God, we have peace. Our minds let go of the worries and cares that make this world spin in space and time. When our minds are full of the light of resurrection, there is no place for thoughts of the past. We break free from humanity and all its calls for taking up arms against each other – and into our rightful identity in God.
Dear Father, Enlighten our minds so that we come to know that when we harbor attack and defense thoughts toward others here on earth, we are binding ourselves to the hellish realm. Make it real to our minds that only when we let such thoughts go do we realize that we have no enemy except the enemy within – the ego whose only aim is to nail us to the cross in its efforts to crucify your beloved Son. Give us courage, O Lord, for this is the instant in which our salvation comes. We are saved from the lies of the enemy with Your Love. You know us as Your Son for we are one in Christ now and forever. And it is in His name we pray. Amen.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 196. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com