"I am under no laws but God's."
Purpose: To rejoice that only God's laws exist, to no longer hide from this fact. To realize that magic imprisons and God's laws set free.
Longer: 2 times for 10-15 minutes.
- Review the different "laws" you believe in (physical: nutrition, medication, economics; social: reciprocal relationships; religious: relationship with God).
- Dismiss these "laws" with the thought there is no laws but God's.
- Then wait in receptive silence to hear God's Voice, repeating the idea until you have heard and understood His message. He will tell you that only God's laws exist; that they just give, instead of asking for loss in exchange for gain. He will also tell you about the Love and joy God has for you, His channel for creation. Today you open His channel to Him.
- Conclude by repeating idea.
Shorter: 4 or 5 per hour (at least).
Repeat idea as a dedication, a statement of freedom from all danger, an acknowledgment that your Father has saved you.
Response To Temptation: Repeat idea whenever tempted to see yourself as subject to other laws.
This is perhaps one of the most challenging lessons in the Workbook. It confronts, head on, a whole panoply of security blankets and substitutes for salvation that we have developed, and that we have convinced ourselves we depend on. It shocks us by its radical assertions. If we are open to what it says, we will begin to see that the Course is challenging all of our basic assumptions about life and about ourselves. We are far more entrenched in the ego's illusions than we have heretofore realized.
The following scenario forms the background to this lesson:
- We are perfect, formless mind, each of us parts of a seamless Whole, but we have wished to separate off and fragment a small piece of mind to call "me." Moreover, we have not only wished to do so, we have convinced ourselves that we have actually done it. Our sense of identity has become restricted to this little fragment of mind. Our mind has felt enormous guilt because of this belief, which is false.
- We have made up a world filled with bodies for two reasons: first, to support our illusions of separateness; and second, to escape from the guilt in our minds by projecting that guilt onto the world and the "others" who fill it. We have become primarily identified with our own body, rather than even with the fragment of mind we perceive as being "within" the body.
- Believing we are the body, and that we (our bodies) are endangered by many things in the world, we have devised an endless list of means for protecting and preserving our bodies. These are the "laws" of the world spoken of in this lesson.
Lesson 76 begins (1:1) by referring to an earlier statement, in Lesson 71, the first three paragraphs, that pointed out how many senseless things we have looked to for our salvation (which can be understood as protection, or safety, or even happiness). In Lesson 71, the key factor about each of these things was the thought, "If this were different, I would be saved" (W-pI.71.2:4). Lesson 76 now adds the thought that, "Each (of these things) has imprisoned you with laws as senseless as itself" (1:2). For example, if we look to good physical health to "save" us, we become bound by a myriad of laws governing health: nutrition, medicine, and so on.
The lesson identifies many of the so-called laws we believe ourselves to be subject to: the need for money (paper strips and metal discs); the use of medicine to ward off disease; the need for physical interaction with other bodies (sex, companionship); laws of medicine, economics, and health (nutrition, exercise, sleep, vitamins); any way we try to protect the body; "laws" of friendship, of "good" relationships, and reciprocity (being fair); even "religious" laws.
We are not actually bound by any of these laws. That is a stunning and almost unbelievable statement (1:3). In order to understand our freedom from these laws, however, we "must first realize salvation lies not there" (1:4). In other words, we have to realize that our bodies and our egos are not what need preservation. We have to undo the mistake we have made in identifying what and who we are. That undoing, of course, is what the entire Course in Miracles is all about.
In saying that we "bind" ourselves "to laws that make no sense" (1:5) as long as we are seeking for salvation by attempting to change something--anything--other than our minds, the Course is telling us that our subjugation to these laws of the world is something that we have chosen and are continuing to choose, moment to moment. Following the dictates of our own ego in its attempts to preserve itself at the expense of our reality, we blindly continue to look for salvation outside of ourselves. That blind pursuit is what binds us to the laws of the world. By implication, ending that mistaken pursuit will free us from the laws of the world.
We think "miracles" means sudden healing of the body, or the arrival of money from an unexpected source, or the appearance of someone or something we believe will bring us happiness. To believe this is still to seek for salvation from outside of our own minds, and will continue to bind us to the laws of the world. What's worse, it also continues to make our separated, ego identity seem real to us.
The idea of living without any need for money, or medicine, or physical means of protection appeals to everyone. That state can be ours, but paradoxically, not by seeking for it. The world and its laws is not where freedom lies. Having all the money we need magically provided is not freedom. Having perfect physical health is not freedom. Having "good" relationships is not freedom. Freedom has nothing to do with our bodies. Freedom can be found only within ourselves.
"The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself" (5:2). All of our physical lack and suffering is unconsciously engendered by our minds, in an attempt to keep the mind from consciously realizing that it is its own victim (5:3-5). Because of our primal guilt, caused by our belief in the reality of separation, our mind "attacks itself and wants to die" (5:5). This is why we think we are bodies (which do die). The "laws" we think we must obey in order to save our bodies are just the mind's attempt to camouflage the real problem, which is its own thoughts of guilt and separation.
"God's laws forever give and never take" (9:6). The "laws" we see are not like this; therefore they cannot be real, because they do not come from God. And "There are no laws but God's" (9:1). In today's practice we are asked to consider our foolish laws, and then to listen, deep within, to "hear the Voice That speaks the truth to you" (9:2). This Voice will tell us of God's undying Love, His desire that we know "endless joy" (10:5), and His yearning to use us as channels for His creation (10:6). If we hear this message of Love within ourselves, our thoughts of guilt and separation will vanish. We will realize Who we are. And in so doing, our insane desire to attack and kill ourselves will be over. The cause of our false seeking will go, and with it, our bondage to the "laws" that govern these idols we have made.
By bringing our imaginary "laws" into direct confrontation with what the laws of God must be--laws in which there is no loss, no giving and receiving of payment, no exchanges nor substitutions, but only God's unconditional Love--we are bringing our illusions to the truth. (See the Text, 14.VII.1-4, for an excellent discussion of just why our two systems of belief need to be brought together so that the falsehoods will vanish in the light of the truth.)
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