from Issue 006 — Mar 2002
In this final article of a series of three, the subject will be the idea that peace is always possible now if only we let go our belief in sin. Salvation is immediate and salvation is here once we finally learn where to look for it. Salvation is ours once we fully accept it does not and indeed cannot lie beyond the present moment.
Our errors necessarily express some form of attempt to use the body and our relationships inappropriately. Some sort of specialness has crept in and we are using an aspect of our life as if it were an end in itself. We are forgetting the only purpose that can transform our special relationships into holy ones. That purpose has been given by Spirit and so too have the means. The means in any instant is to let go our judgements. Peace necessarily attends that choice. We no longer experience ourselves in conflict with some part of another or ourselves. Thus the awareness of our underlying unity and wholeness is facilitated as is the awareness truth is indivisible.
When we accepted the Holy Spirits purpose as our own, we implicitly signaled our willingness to learn the lesson inherent in that purpose. In essence that lesson allows for the demonstration of the fact of oneness. We are using time for a holy purpose when we allow all aspects of our lives and relationships to facilitate the learning of that lesson. We are wasting time and putting a gap between our awareness and our purpose when we do not cooperate in the process of forgiveness.
“The Obstacles to Peace” examine the ways in which our resistance to truth can express themselves. Its plea is that we use the very obstacles to the coming of peace to facilitate its coming, such that our relationships assume the purpose of holiness. If we continue in the way we were on before, we demonstrate to ourselves the original error is in fact the truth-—we are separate, needful and alone. In the section just previous to “The Obstacles to Peace” Jesus says:
Your holy relationship has, as its purpose now, the goal of proving this (that there is a will separate from and in constant opposition to God’s Will and that these separate wills are eternally in conflict with each other) is impossible. Heaven has smiled upon it, and the belief in sin has been uprooted in its smile of love. (T-19. III. 8: 4-5)
What is of special interest in terms of drawing together the themes I explored in my first article (the simple means of salvation can seem to involve lengthy periods of struggle) and second article (the belief in sin must be seriously questioned for the possibility of genuine healing to occur) and this final article, is what he goes on to say:
You see it still (sin), because you do not realize that its foundation has gone. Its source has been removed, and so it can be cherished but a little while before it vanishes. Only the habit of looking for it still remains. (T- 19. III. 8:6-8)
The belief in sin necessitates struggle, all of which takes time. The Course assures us in many places we already have the answer. It simply waits on our acceptance. It is quite literally the case that all our suffering arises directly from the habit of expecting the past to be like the future. We thus preclude ourselves from the only time in which release can be effected: the present moment. What we put our attention on is what we get, or to put it another way, what we put our attention on we make real for ourselves.
Desire what you want, and you will look on it and think it real. (T-21. VII. 13:6)
And, in the spirit of “The Obstacles to Peace”, what has been made real cannot at the same time be surmounted. Our very action or stance in the present moment nullifies the very healing we might think we want. After all, we have been told to trust not our good intentions. They are not enough!
As long as we do not take on board these ideas wholly or as long as we seek some sort of compromise in relation to them, we will suffer. Healing our wounded sense of self can seem to be an interminable process. The feeling of worthlessness, which lets us, know guilt is alive and well can seem to have the presence of an immovable mountain. While our attention is riveted on the outside form of nothing we literally cannot conceive that all wounds of any and every self have already been healed; that the mountain need not be climbed or gone around, it simply can be walked through. The Course is literally introducing us to an entirely different language and way of being. We would do well to be mindful of that. It is humbling in the most joyous sense of the word.
Recall the extraordinary words in Chapter 7:
To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it. (T-7. III. 4:1)
The inward shift of attention is a subtle but absolutely essential one. Jesus asks us poetically:
Would you not rather greet the summer sun (The light of the truth of who we are) than fix your gaze upon a disappearing snowflake (the belief in sin), and shiver in remembrance of the winter’ cold? (T –19. IV. 9: 6)
The direction we are looking in any instant is our answer. Remember that the ego always speaks first. Remember also the ego is always wrong. In many instances, however, especially when we are “in the thick of it”, the awareness of that is extremely dim. So what are we to do? Whatever willingness we have needs to be used in shifting our faith in what the body’s eyes perceive to that which we cannot see. We ask help of Spirit. What other choice is there when we realise with increasing clarity that any movement on our part, any attempt to either do or not do something, either inwardly or outwardly, only reinforces error?
We are much like an insect caught in a spider’s web. The more we struggle, the more the sticky strands of the web trap us. So our teacher says to us: do nothing. Our task is simply to turn in the direction of healing and help. Spirit is in charge of healing the core of the malady and its form. This is a course in miracles and as we surrender more to its process in true humility it is given us to realise not only are we gently released as soon as we stop struggling but aas we rub our eyes in joyous disbelief it dawns on us—there never was a web.
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