"A happy outcome to all things is sure."
(See Part II Practice Summary, and also Part II Introduction)
"God's promises make no exceptions. And He guarantees that only joy can be the final outcome found for everything. Yet it is up to us when this is reached; how long we let an alien will appear to be opposing His" (1:1-3).
"It is up to us when this is reached." We keep coming back to that: when we experience the outcome of joy in all things is up to us. My experience of anything less than total joy is due to my own choice to "let an alien will appear to be opposing His." It seems to me as if my own will is at times opposing God's. It seems as if I don't want to let go of the little creature comforts, the physical, mental and emotional indulgences I continually grant myself in the illusion that I need them.
The law of perception states that "You will see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there" (T-25.III.1:3). If I see in myself a will that differs from God's, I see it because I believe it is there. I believe my will is different from God's will. And I believe that because I want to believe that. If I am alike to God in every way, God and I have only one Will, and the alien will I perceive has no meaning. That is the exact truth! The alien will has no meaning! It does not exist. That is why I want to see "my" will as opposed to God's, and why I do. The apparent conflict in my life is just the ego's vain attempts to hold on to its identity, which is wholly illusory.
The truth of the matter is that what I see--my resistance to the will of God, which is my perfect happiness--does not exist. I am projecting that from my mind. What I see is an illusion of myself. It is not real, and therefore carries no taint of guilt.
"And while we think this will is real, we will not find the end He has appointed as the outcome of all the problems we perceive, all trials we see, and every situation that we meet" (1:4).
All of us go around most of the time consciously or unconsciously disturbed by the undercurrent of resistance to God we believe exists within our selves. We think it is real. We read ACIM and determine to be more loving, more forgiving, and then we encounter a deep resistance to the entire idea, a seemingly immovable wall that will not allow us to change. We have an addiction we can't break. We find one relationship in which forgiveness seems impossible despite all of our efforts. We determine that "Today I will judge nothing that occurs" and then, minutes later, flare up in anger over some small unfairness. And we feel despair, we feel we cannot do it. Somehow we are incorrigible. Some part of us is beyond redemption. Some part of our will is implacably opposed to God.
As long as we believe that this part of us which seems opposed to God is real, Jesus is saying, we won't find the real world. We won't find our escape. We won't find the "happy outcome in all things."
We have to come to the point where we are simultaneously fully aware of that stubborn knot within us, and aware that it is not real. We have to get to the place where we see it, own it, and take responsibility for it, and yet do so entirely without guilt. To look on the ego's darkness without guilt is possible only if, as we look, we have abandoned all belief in its reality. That is what the Holy Spirit will enable us to do. Through His enabling, we will come to see that the ego is an illusion of ourselves projected from our minds, nothing more than an illusion, and therefore nothing to be upset about. "Yes, I see the knot of resistance in me, but what I see is not really there. I am seeing it, but it isn't real. It doesn't change anything about reality. I am the beloved Son of God, even if I can't see that now."
We want the ego knot to change. We want it to go away. And while we believe in its reality it won't. The ego is incorrigible. Self forgiveness involves accepting that about ourselves. The ego will always be the ego, that's the bad news. But the ego is not who we are, and that's the good news.
When we catch ourselves listening to the ego, believing in the reality of an alien will, we can come to the point of learning not to take it seriously. It's as if we say, "I was dreaming again. Now, I choose to be awake." And if we find we are not ready yet for full wakefulness, if the appearance of resistance in ourselves still seems real, we can say, "Yes, I see that, I'm not awake yet, and it still seems real, but at least I am aware that I am dreaming." The ego is of no consequence. It's "no big deal," as Ken Wapnick says. Even if we seem to be caught in the dream, we don't have to accept guilt about it.
"Yet is the ending certain. For God's Will is done in earth and Heaven. We will seek and we will find according to His Will, which guarantees that our will is done" (1:5-7).
All the raging of the ego, all the apparent struggle, it's all a dream. The ending is certain, and is totally unaffected by the ego's madness. There is no will opposing God's, and therefore, His Will and ours will be done. My will and God's are in fact the same, which guarantees the outcome. The craziness of the ego dream has no effects, just as a dream has no effect on the physical world. The craziness of the ego is just a play of images in the mind, and nothing more than that. In the end there will be nothing but joy.
"We thank You, Father, for Your guarantee of only happy outcomes in the end. Help us not interfere, and so delay the happy endings You have promised us for every problem that we can perceive; for every trial we think we still must meet" (2:1-2).
"Help us not interfere." That is our prayer. Resisting the ego, being guilty about it in ourselves, striving to change it, or demeaning ourselves because of it, are all forms of interference. They all make the mistake of believing the ego is real, believing there really is an alien will in us that opposes God. To not interfere is to recognize that the ego is just a dream about ourselves, and that nothing need be done about it. The most potent force "against" the ego is the simple thought: "It doesn't matter. It doesn't mean anything." Just bring it to the Holy Spirit and let Him handle it. Just say, "Look, I'm dreaming again." And let it go.
What is the Real World? (Part 2)
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