Anthony Gold

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  • Anthony Gold
    Keymaster

    Hi Francine,
    Great questions – as always. The course refers to these “lessons” as obstacles (obstacles to peace, obstacles to love). These are the barriers or blockages that we erect, seemingly to protect ourselves – when in actuality we are further rooting ourselves in the realm of the ego and its special “friends” of sin, guilt, and fear.

    One of the more powerful (and direct) passages comes right at the end of the text.

    Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought you. (T-31.VIII.3)

    And then couple that with the following line:

    The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this to yourself. No matter what the form, this still is true. (T-27.VIII.10)

    Thus it seems like we keep “attracting” these same situations over and over (the same kinds of people in our lives, the same kinds of sadness, and so forth). But, it isn’t that we actually attract them, rather we choose them. That’s the real “secret” as we read above – that we do this to ourselves. Thus, the answer is not to change the situations or the people, but rather to change the choice we are making for misery.

    Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. (T-21.in.1)

    When we make that different choice, what was once a hurdle or an obstacle or a blockage to peace now becomes the gateway to love.

    The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love. (T-26.IX.6)

    And so we use all of our daily trials as a way to help us see the blockages we’ve erected and the unholy alliances we’re not yet ready to release. From there, we can gently ask the question, “Is this what I really want?” And then we are ready to make a different choice.

    in reply to: Crucifixion and Resurrection #225
    Anthony Gold
    Keymaster

    That is a great question that you ask and warrants a more detailed explanation, but I’ll try to give a (somewhat) brief response below.

    As in many cases in the Course, Jesus “reinterprets” much of what we’ve “taught ourselves” including what is written in the Bible (as well other spiritual texts). In the case of the crucifixion, He makes it very clear that He did not suffer. A few quotes from the Course:

    The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. (T-6.I.4:6)

    The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. (T-6.I.13)

    The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not [believe in betrayal]. (T-6.I.15:6)

    So, what Jesus is telling us is that the crucifixion is nothing more than choosing the wrong-minded thought system of the ego, which subsequently leads to a projected world of sin, guilt, fear, lack, comparisons, jealousy, anger, betrayal, vengeance, and so forth.

    We cannot be persecuted, because who we truly are is part of the one Sonship. But as we’ve forgotten that and dreamed this dream of separation, we think (from the wrong-minded perspective of the ego) that we can be persecuted and that the crucifixion is not only real, but that we are continually being crucified (either by others or by ourselves or by “circumstances”). We “teach” ourselves (again, from the ego mind) that sin and suffering are real, and that in some “incredible” way we needed a “savior” to “die” for us so that we could be “saved” from our sins.

    Jesus is telling us that we’ve got it all wrong and that nothing could be further from the truth.

    God does not judge his guiltless Son. Having given Himself to him, how could it be otherwise? (T-11.VI.7:6-7)

    The dream of crucifixion still lies heavy on your eyes, but what you see in dreams is not reality. (T-11.VI.8:4)

    And perhaps most powerfully are these lines where Jesus again makes it very clear that we’ve got the (ego) message totally wrong:

    The crucifixion is the symbol of the ego. (T-13.II.6:1)

    This world is a picture of the crucifixion of God’s Son. And until you realize that God’s Son cannot be crucified, this is the world you will see. Yet you will not realize this until you accept the eternal fact that God’s Son is not guilty. (T-13.in.4:1-3)

    Likewise, the resurrection is choosing the Holy Spirit (or the right-minded thought system of love) that reflects that state of Oneness within the illusion. This is when we realize that we are the ones choosing this, and that the world is a projection of our wrong-minded thought system.

    From here we learn that we can choose between the wrong-mind (ego) or the right-mind (holy spirit), and what we see will always tell us which “teacher” (or mind) we’ve chosen. If we experience anything other than joy, happiness, inclusiveness, shared purpose, and an incredible sense of peace then we can be sure we’ve chosen the ego. Because, as Jesus noted above (and throughout the Course), we are love. And when joined with the Holy Spirit, all we can do is reflect that love and experience that love in everything. Even if we come across people behaving in inappropriate, awful ways (as we all do when joined with the ego), when we are joined with the Holy Spirit, we see nothing more than a crying out for love. And when all we see is love (either an extension of love or a crying out for love), then we can’t but help to respond with love – because, again, that is all we are.

    Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed, because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them, because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, unhappy or happy. (T-14.III.4)

    Not only are we all much more beautiful than we think (as I wrote in the essay below), but we are all sinless and guiltless. Any belief otherwise is simply a choice for the ego. But as we learn throughout the Course, we have the opportunity to choose again – and this time, we can choose the right-minded thought system of the Holy Spirit.

    In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” (T-31.VIII.3:2)

    I hope this helps.

    in reply to: Script already written? #135
    Anthony Gold
    Keymaster

    That’s a terrific question.  Recall that ACIM is written on two levels: one is the level of truth or reality – which some have referred to as Level One.  On this level, we are at home in the state of infinite oneness.  You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. (T-10.I.2)  This is our true reality, even though our experiences are to the contrary.

    Enter the second level the Course is written on, or Level Two, which is the level of the dream or the level of the illusion.  This is one of the many amazing things about ACIM.  It not only sets forth a theoretical framework for reality, but it also is a practical guide for meeting us where we think we are, providing us a means for awakening.  Since you believe that you are separate, Heaven presents itself to you as separate, too.  Not that it is in truth, but that the link that has been given you to join the truth may reach to you through what you understand. (T-25.I.5)

    Thus much of the Text and the entire 365 lessons in the Workbook help us not only understand why we believe we are here, but how we can recognize the dream, realize we are the dreamer of the dream, become lucid dreamers in a sense, and awaken from this nightmare of separation.

    But while we believe we are bodies here in the world, it doesn’t do us very much good to just say, “Oh, it’s an illusion – it doesn’t matter what I do with my life.”  This world seems and feels very real, with very serious consequences indeed.  So, we would be deluding ourselves even further to say “it’s just an illusion” when we don’t really believe it.

    Instead, we acknowledge that we believe we are bodies and we do all the normal things that bodies do: eat, sleep, work, have relationships, try to take care of ourselves, and so forth.  But as we practice ACIM, we realize that we are doing all these things with one of two teachers: either the ego or the holy spirit.  Living our lives with the ego as our teacher, which we’ve become expert at doing, we continually experience pain and despair.  Choosing the other teacher, the still, small Voice for God referred to as the holy spirit, our world becomes transformed from a prison into a classroom.  The happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings herald the dawn of truth upon the mind.  They lead from sleep to gentle waking, so that dreams are gone. And so we find our peace.  Our self-made roles are shifting, and they seem to change from mourner to ecstatic bliss of love and loving. (W-pI.140.3; W-pI.186.8)

    Thus we live our lives as we normally do, but remember that our experiences will always be a result of which teacher we’ve chosen.  And as we practice choosing the gentle teaching of the holy spirit, we begin experiencing that ecstatic bliss of love and loving.

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