We are rounding the bend with our "Light Within" class on Thursday evenings and have one more session this coming week to conclude our study. The class thus far has been a true joy to be a teacher, witness and a participant. Our Thursday classes allow for authenticity for lifting the veil so that we may see truly within. That was this case this past class session.
In between the class sessions, I offer daily practices. Part of this week was spent on Lesson 185, particularly we focused in on paragraph 8.
Today devote your practice periods to careful searching of your mind, to find the dreams you cherish still. What do you ask for in your heart? Forget the words you use in making your requests. Consider but what you believe will comfort you, and bring you happiness. But be you not dismayed by lingering illusions, for their form is not what matters now. Let not some dreams be more acceptable, reserving shame and secrecy for others. They are one. And being one, one question should be asked of all of them,
"Is this what I would have, in place of Heaven and the peace of God?" (Bold mine)
We can become focused on anything but the light within. We are easily swayed by the ego with its distractions and forays into the past, or blame of another, or guilt. Or, even as we shared within our class the idea of subtle "superiority" which can come in various forms. It looks as such: "I am superior than others because I am a Course student," or "I am superior to others because I have X numbers of years of education or letters in front or behind my name," or "I am superior because I will forgive you or I am kinder." We don't think of these ideas coming to take the place of Heaven and the peace of God, yet they do.
We judge others and we judge ourselves. Mostly we judge ourselves for the seeming separation that in truth never occurred. We project outward to keep the truth at bay. Another reading in our study, in Chapter 26, X. The End of Injustice, Jesus speaks to us about judgment, injustice, and unfairness, all feelings we can relate. We deprive ourselves of our light as we believe we are or have been unfairly treated by someone or something in the world, ultimately it is we feel unfairly treated by God. Yet once again Jesus reminds us:
If you perceive injustice anywhere, you need but say:
By this do I deny the Presence of the Father and the Son.
And I would rather know of Them than see injustice, which Their Presence shines away.
Myself, I had a week of peace over Thanksgiving. Less work (even with a bad cold) allowed me to rest more in the Light of Peace. I find myself in a place of total acceptance which is a place of what truly matters. What matters is the peace of God. Not the slight judgments that can run through the mind, nor the overbearing judgments either. I have been querying myself as soon as I thought arises that is not of peace, "Is this what I would have?" I haven't been denying what I am feeling as certainly I do not believe in skirting the emotions that are on the surface, instead it is seeing the benefit of detachment.
Whose class have I enrolled in? The ego's or Holy Spirit's? It's my choice. After all this world is a classroom, and we can choose to allow it to help us continue to forgive the obstacles to love. The blocks are there. Don't deny it. You can say you are a student of the Course, but do you still hold secret grievances? If so, you are holding back from allowing love to reign. "What matters" was my intention during my respite of last week. Does it matter if someone spoke ill of me several weeks ago? Does it matter if my daughter wanted ham for Thanksgiving rather than turkey and I don't even personally eat meat? Does it matter about my past rape in the 1980s that colors my view of the Bill Cosby accusations? I can make it all matter. Yet, I can allow the Holy Spirit to translate all through His Vision so healing occurs. And that is exactly what is occurring.
The practice of the Course is not lip service. It takes work. Not that one has to dig for all the echoes of the past, but when it's ready to be healed it appears on its own. Do we engage in the lesson with Holy Spirit or stay in our pain with the ego? Do I have to be right when I could rather be happy? Questions all the same I ask myself.
What if the Light within was sufficient? What if we didn't have to dig or peel layers away? What if you realized you are the one depriving yourself of the Light of Peace? What if we just recognized it for what it is? Already present and alive in us.
What if we simply release our defenses? Every defense that we hold. Our judgments, our past, our desire for control, our righteousness, everything. What if we accepted the Light within us and others as what it is?
When we can release this control, these barriers to love/light, then we will be calm and certain. Think about it. Think about those things you loudly or subtly complain about in your mind. The big, the small, what if you came into acceptance of all things? What if it didn't matter? If it matters, then we are holding on to what we want and how we want to see things. This doesn't mean we have to agree with someone or an organization for example, we can have our preferences. What we have to look at is when we are defending our so-called preferences, i.e. strong opinions, with which teacher are we doing so, the ego perhaps?
Our problem is never what is happening in the world (form) but always with our choice of the ego rather than Jesus/Holy Spirit as our teacher (content). It's okay to acknowledge our preferences without making them an issue. We can recognize that we don't like what an organization stands for, or that we like chocolate over vanilla, we like warm weather over cold, or we prefer to be with person A over person B. We can remain peaceful in these preferences. What occurs is we feel guilty and feel we SHOULD take a situation as a TEST and PROVE that we are a good Course student by forcing ourselves to muddle through it.
In this body, we have already chosen the ego's thought system of one or the other. There's no difference between not wanting to be with person B or not wanting to be with God. Either way we see separation. It's still judgment. What are we excluding in our mind? Do we see others as separate? We can accept our limitations and not attack ourselves because of them. Jesus cares about the content (what's going on in the mind) and whether or not you are excluding people, including Jesus himself in your mind. Always be kind to yourself in this.
For our class, the paragraph for the week was paragraph 6 in Lesson 188 – The peace of God is shining in me now. It is the overall lesson for the class. This paragraph tells us, Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world, and let your thoughts fly to the peace within. They know the way. For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself.
I encourage you, just as I did our class, to meditate on this paragraph and journal. What if the light within you was sufficient? You need nothing else. What would it feel like to drop all your defenses and come into acceptance?
Feel free to share with us here on the blog.
Rev. Deb Phelps
December 6th, 2014