Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
REVIEW VI I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
- (198) Only my condemnation injures me.
My condemnation keeps my vision dark, and through my sightless eyes I cannot see the vision of my glory. Yet today I can behold this glory and be glad.
I am not a body. I am free, for I am still as God created me.
Here we are this morning nearing the end of Review VI. By this time, our review theme should ring resoundingly in our minds: I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me. We can take this with us throughout the rest of our journey home and let the words guide us, refresh us, remind us, and so let our light shine from within.
It is only our condemnation toward others that leads us down a path of forgetting who we are in Christ. When we raise up our defenses against others and rail against the bad examples they are setting themselves up to be, the poor life choices they are making, air their sins and rage over the minimum sentences that they receive for their crimes against humanity – we allow our minds to be filled with the lies of the world instead of the glory of God. In other words, we are valuing the valueless, cherishing thoughts of fear and discord which blinds us to our freedom, liberty, and magnitude with God.
The other day I enjoyed about as perfect of a day as I can have in this world. I woke up with a sense of energy, quickness, and gratitude long before the sun came up. I had a sweet, creamy cup of French roast coffee and a quiet time with God before James roused from sleep. When he had his coffee, we sat on our sunny, spacious deck and enjoyed our Course lesson and time of devotion together. Later we went on a little shopping spree, indulged in a delicious lunch at Cracker Barrel, enjoyed our ride, our conversation, the little treasures and good things to eat that we bought while we were out and about. When we got home and had everything put away, we stretched out and took a little snooze, got up and had a glass of iced coffee, some more conversation and then both of us got to work. I worked in the garden and harvested a big basketful of juicy red tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, and some green beans. James tiled our retaining wall on the south side. Later we had a light supper and James asked me for a date in the hot tub.
All day long I enjoyed a sense of peace, well-being, and communion with God and with James. My mind was filled with gratitude for our lives, health, blessings, and even for our trials and that which challenges us for I saw them as lessons designed for our spiritual growth and deepening of our understanding. For the first time in my life I am experiencing on a daily, moment-to-moment basis a sense of security, well-being, a release from fear, anxiety, and condemnation. It has been a journey to get to this, it is not magic, it has taken a full-fledged commitment and daily practice to free my mind from all that had warped, distressed, and caused me both mental, social, and physical torment.
So there I was after our dinner – wiping off the counters, rinsing off the plates, putting the dirty dishes and glasses in the dishwasher – not hurrying necessarily but certainly not poking around. I was looking forward to getting in the hot tub, laying back in the warm water and gazing at the stars and moon, talking, and extending the sense of comradery and closeness that we had enjoyed all day. Except a dark shadow crept into my consciousness in the form of a video clip stored in my mind: Tony Soprano lurking in the backyard waiting to exact bloody vengeance upon a former mobster living under an assumed identity. For years I had been hooked on The Sopranos and to this day hearing the opening theme, remembering the plot lines of the troubled characters, salivating over Carmela’s Italian dishes, and shivering over the Pine Barrens episode thrills my mortal senses. And yet tonight I did not want to think of the Tony’s in the world, creeping into my joy and love and peace, rekindling a smokescreen of menace and danger while Lover and I sat under the stars soaking up the bubbles in our spa.
With thoughts of the fictional Tony, my mind traveled to a decade’s old tale of home invasion, arson, torture, rape, and death. The tragedy that befell Dr. William Petit and his first wife and two daughters stands in my mind for all the horror and evil in the world. For years Dr. Petit’s story haunted me, kept me awake at night, drawing me out of bed to check locks, investigate suspicious noises, and live in fear. Now the ego was inviting me to take up its cause again, to give up the peace of God, to fill my mind once again with thoughts of danger, vulnerability, and fright.
Fear would have paralyzed me at one point in my life. Always having been afraid of the dark, the lonely, unanswerable questions evoked by the endless black of the night sky above, there was no way I would have sat outside in the hot tub without all the lights on, with no safeguards against wild dogs, midnight prowlers, or things that go bump in the night.
Never again! I have had my fill of interrupted sleep, mental fatigue, distrust of others, the lack of peace and joy and well-being. Only my condemnation injures me. I forgive the world for its crooked paths, its predatory nature, its horrors, pains, cruelties, and caprice. In paragraph four of Lesson 198, we read: Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death. I will never again oppose this plan of God. I will not argue with it. I will not try to find ways in which it would fail or must be wrong. I will not look for another way. I will not seek to punish, to condemn, to hold accountable, to take up arms, or call for war. I will forgive!
Only my condemnation injures me. Only my own forgiveness sets me free. Let our words for today free us from all that would haunt us, torment our minds, give us cause to worry, fret, or be afraid. Stand along with me as we resolve to never oppose, argue with, or find fault with God’s plan of freeing us from all that is not of love. We can stop searching for other solutions for there is no other way. When we forgive and hold no condemnation toward the world all we fear is washed away.
Thank you for listening and have a forgiving and forgiven day!2
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 218. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
2Audio credit: The Friar Patch @ http://www.eckiefriar.com