In lesson six of A Course in Miracles Workbook it says, “I am upset because I see something that is not there.” What does this mean, especially when we’re seeing something devastating and terror rushes in?
It takes diligent mind training to begin to make a positive separation between the ego’s perception of devastation and what lies hidden by it as the truth of God’s Love.
First up, when triggered I ask just who in my mind “believes” this devastation and is therefore seeing and reacting to it. Is it the false self – or – is it the Holy Self? In other words, I ask myself, “Is my reaction coming from fear and lack? Clearly if I am triggered it is. Or is it coming from Love, peace and conviction in God’s Will? If my body’s five senses reveal the appearance of pain or devastation it must be the ego filter that is triggered.
Recall that only the ego can be triggered, the Holy Self cannot. The ego formed the body along with its five physical senses, exclusively as a separation device. It sends its senses to report the ego’s projected belief, which is that we’ve sinned, we’re guilty, and now we are deserving of punishment. This mostly unconscious anticipation of punishment (pain, sickness, loss, conflict, etc.) produces all the fear and control it uses to protect itself from the light and immediate healing of the Atonement and our Holy Self.
We never see people or the world as they really are but rather as we are. We always see and react to exactly what our mind wants to see. We react to our chosen interpretation of people and events. Projection makes perception. All seeing arises from what we believe (value) first. Is it fear or is it Love? The next step is that we always encounter what we believe, whether painful or pleasurable, because we desire it. We either project our seeming desires through the ego’s unforgiven filter of fear, or we extend Love and forgiveness through the Holy Self. This is why there are no victims in the highest sense.
Until our unconscious attraction to sin, guilt and fear – as suffering and separation – is somewhat healed through forgiveness then the unconscious ego mind will continue to project people and events which trigger it to perpetuate the illusion of separation.
I refer again to lesson six in the Course, “I am upset because I see something that is not there.” The ego filter projects its meaning or interpretation onto the seeming material evidence (as others, the body and the world) it requires to try to prove the impossible, that fear and devastation are more powerful than the beloved Holy Self we share with God. Therefore, I am upset because “I” (ego) see its interpretation of something that is not there. The ego believes and sees only what it has superimposed in our mind from its imaginary past, over the Holy Spirit’s joy-filled, and very present real world dream.
Once we recognize that every trigger regardless of its seeming significance is always the ego superimposing its distortions over the real world dream, we can then join Holy Spirit in our wholehearted desire to accept immediate healing of our perception through the Atonement. All He needs is our willingness to recognize our error, and exchange it for His corrected perception.
When we are upset it is always due to our choice to believe the thoughts of fear (ego). These thoughts, regardless of how convincing they appear to be, are not God’s, which means these fear thoughts are not ours as the Holy Self. The only real thoughts we have are those we share with God. Everything else is pure illusion made by the false self to defend its “self” from our true Identity with God.
“The thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything because I am trying to think without God. What I call “my” thoughts are not my real thoughts. My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God. I am not aware of them because I have made my thoughts to take their place.” W-51.4 (4)
Understanding and Peace
A fundamental truth to help us return to peace whenever we feel threatened by fear and its byproducts is to ask which of these two do we desire more: Understanding? Or peace?
The ego will choose understanding! It believes, mistakenly, that we reach peace after we gain understanding and that peace is the outcome of understanding. However, this is not true. And the reason is that there is no understanding possible until there is peace first. Peace always precedes understanding.
The ego’s default is the illusion of fear. Yet all its supreme efforts to gain its version of understanding are made in fear. There is no understanding in fear. Fear, being insanity, is not understandable. This is why when we are triggered it’s always the ego mind that attempts to understand and solve the particular issue; anything except to enter a Holy Instant and accept the Atonement which erases the “cause” of the seeming dilemma – our choice to believe the ego’s projection.
“I do not understand anything I see. How could I understand what I see when I have judged it amiss? What I see is the projection of my own errors of thought. I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it. But there is every reason to let it go, and make room for what can be seen and understood and loved. I can exchange what I see now for this merely by being willing to do so. Is not this a better choice than the one I made before?” W-51.3 (3)
Once we accept the peace that comes with letting go of our interpretation of a fearful appearance or thought, and accept the Atonement instead, we are then open to receive Holy Spirit’s guidance. In this peace, free of fear, we act as and from the Will of God.
An inseparable attribute of God’s peace is certainty. This is real faith, which comes from being aligned as His Will, in conscious awareness that Love has no opponent. Doubt and trust cannot coexist. From this formidable powerhouse of peace and certainty we can extend God’s healing. In fact, only here within this peace and certainty is where all real healing is done.
Praying for Others
Every belief we have is a form of prayer in itself. And most of our beliefs arise from fear and lack until they are forgiven. We can never extend healing unless we have accepted it first, in order to share or extend it to others. This is why, if we are triggered by seeming devastation and we try to pray for others, our unhealed belief in fear as the appearance of adversity, completely cancels our prayers for their healing. No prayer can be answered if it arises from fear or lack.
When we pray from a sense of fear or lack, we unwittingly join with it and attract it. Fear and lack as unforgiven beliefs, are sent outward by the ego returning what they value, which is more fear and lack. God as perfect Love does not know of fear, so if we pray for something from a state of fear it cannot reach Him. Fear and Love cannot communicate with each other. Before we attempt to pray for others we need to check within first, to discern whether it’s the ego luring us into false empathy which is really a form of attack:
“To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must [refuse] to understand. That is the ego’s interpretation of empathy, and is always used to form a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided you let Him use it in His way. His way is very different. He does not understand suffering, and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates through you, He does not relate through your ego to another ego. He does not join in pain, understanding that healing pain is not accomplished by delusional attempts to enter into it, and lighten it by sharing the delusion.” T-16.I.1.
True prayer never begs for something, because asking is a sign that we believe we are lacking (fear). Only the false self is lacking. Yet when this fear driven self prays, it always prays from fear and deprivation. There is no communication between the ego and Holy Spirit. This is why, when we are triggered it’s imperative that we recognize and admit that only our perception and interpretation of the person or event is erroneous. This is all that is in need of healing.
Once we accept this healing through sincerely wanting it, above all else, then we are gifted with the peace of God in that Holy Instant. It is in this peace that Holy Spirit’s understanding comes, which is always an undoing of guilt and fear – the single cause of all devastation. And when we accept His healing we accept it for the entire Sonship because the Christ Mind is shared as one continuous Mind. Only the ego imagines that we each have private minds.
For example, if I am triggered by a disaster such as the Australian bushfires in 2020 which left many Australians homeless and emaciated much of the country’s fauna and flora, then it’s my perception that is need of healing. I can help at this fundamental “cause” level by surrendering my belief in separation and fear to Holy Spirit. I accept His healing of my perception of fear.
Being born in Australia and having been raised there I witnessed some devastating bushfires. I recall one time when the fires were rapidly approaching my grandparent’s town in Victoria where I was living at the time. The fear was palpable as the midday sky was blackened while it rained hot ash.
As an adolescent I made an attempt to join with others in prayer to bring rain to our already parched land; and to spare us from losing our homes. To make the situation even more distressing my grandparents had already lost their previous home in a flood. They called the flood and the bushfires “natural disasters” or “acts of God” which I now see are terms the ego uses to define the acts of its own deluded projection; its god of fear, punishment and death.
The ego’s projected dream consists of both seemingly good and bad phenomena. Fire is good to heat a home on a cold winter’s night but bad if it threatens to burn down our home. Rain is seen as good in moderation but devastating in excess as in the flood that took my grandparent’s home.
But now I recognize that in praying together for specifics such as rain, we completely overlooked the real cause – the ego’s perception – and asked God to replace one negative phenomenon (fire) with what the ego perceived as a positive phenomenon (rain). These are all effects and are never the real cause of or remedy for any perceived problem. The problem is our erroneous perception and the answer is to unite in the Loving Will of God without fear.
Jesus explains in the following quote a common mistake made especially when we join with others to pray together for specifics:
“Even together you may ask for things, and thus set up but an illusion of a goal you share. You may ask together for specifics, and not realize that you are asking for effects without the cause. And this you cannot have. For no one can receive effects alone, asking a cause from which they do not come to offer them to him.”
“Even the joining, then, is not enough, if those who pray together do not ask, before all else, what is the Will of God. From this Cause only can the answer come in which are all specifics satisfied; all separate wishes unified in one.” S-1.IV.2:5-8,3:1-2
In the Holy Instant’s peace our awareness is reunited with Love, the healed state that is already given by God as our one shared Holy Self. God’s restoration of wholeness does not take time because it’s already here and now. Our Holy Self is here now. It takes no time to return our awareness to it. Thus, we ask to receive what God has already given which is known by our Holy Self.
Jesus has already accomplished the Atonement on behalf of every sleeping Son of God. There is nothing more that we can do to hasten its dawning in awareness except to surrender our identification as a false self apart from our brothers and God whenever we perceive threat. Only the ego perceives fear. In the Holy Instant of Atonement our perception is returned to the sanctity, innocence and safety of our Holy Self. In this alone is real peace.
Along with our peace and certainty comes another inseparable attribute, gratitude. Real prayer never arises from lack and separation but is some form of genuinely felt gratitude for what God has already given. We may not perceive it yet in our awareness however our faith and certainty calls it into awareness.
Once we accept the Atonement, our gratitude lifts the ego’s veil of terror to catch a glimpse of what true perception reveals; a healed dream filled with Loving union, health, abundance, happiness and joy. In the gratitude of the Holy Self, if we are to take action to help those who need it at the form level then this is inspired, not from fear and lack, but from peace, certainty and gratitude by Holy Spirit.
“Prayer is a way offered by the Holy Spirit to reach God. It is not merely a question or an entreaty. It cannot succeed until you realize that it asks for nothing. How else could it serve its purpose? It is impossible to pray for idols and hope to reach God. True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. Ask, rather, to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there.”
“The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. Also in the same way, in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s Hands. There they become your gifts to Him, for they tell Him that you would have no gods before Him; no love but His.” S-1.I.1,4:1-4
Seeing the Real World
When these devastating times seem to occur, and they will continue until the Sonship agrees to forfeit the belief that there is value in separation, the ego promotes its seeming power through the media. We see countless pictures and hear about the devastation via videos which makes it all the more tempting to believe that it is reality we are watching.
The pull on our emotions as we watch “helpless victims,” often animals and children, are among the ego’s strongest weapons to draw us into the hallucination of fear and to give witness in our agreement that something real is happening. When we’re emotionally lost in this nightmare we declare that we are lost to our Holy Self and God. The illusion of fear then appears as all powerful, becoming our central idol and all that we can see. In other words, we value fear above all else; so the ego conceives and uses these fears and problems to build an almost impenetrable shield to protect “it” from the brilliant light of our Holy Self. NOTE: Please refer to “Breaking Through the Shield of Fear” with its diagram: https://nouksanchez.com/nouks-blog/breaking-through-the-shield-of-fear/#audio
Although some of us have gained the understanding of how this dream works and that what we perceive through our body’s senses is not of God and therefore cannot be true, there is always a preference lingering that says I wish the flames would just cease, the storm vanish, the illness be healed, or that the destruction stop.
Jesus calmed the waves, walked on water, healed the sick and raised the dead, all in direct opposition to the world’s so-called laws. As followers of Jesus, there is not one of us who doesn’t believe that Jesus could do the same today. And to be honest, we want to be able to do the same, i.e. stop the devastation with a word or wave of a hand. And the Christ we ARE can do this. Therein lays the key. It is the Christ that does it, not the human self.
It is imperative that we recognize that each of us will harness the power of God and the dominion He gave His Son when we are the Christ, and nothing but the Christ. We accept readily the idea that we are the Son of God, that our true Identity is the Christ, yet we also believe that we are the human self, invested in its pleasure, protection, amusement, etc.
“The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them.” T-11.VII.2:6-8
While we remain a mixture in belief, attempting to integrate these two wholly irreconcilable identities, we will not be fit to do the works, the miracles that Jesus Christ did. Yet He reminds us repeatedly that we, as the Holy Self, are identical to Him – as equals –and that we will extend the same miracles as He did and even “greater works” than these. In the following passage Jesus explains that we are equals with Him, saying that there is nothing about Him that we cannot also attain:
“The miracle, on the other hand, is a sign of love among equals. Equals cannot be in awe of one another because awe implies inequality. It is therefore an inappropriate reaction to me. An elder brother is entitled to respect for his greater experience and a reasonable amount of obedience for his greater wisdom. He is also entitled to love because he is a brother and also to devotion if he is devoted. It is only my devotion that entitles me to yours. There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The main difference between us as yet is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state of true holiness, which is only a potential in you.” T-1.II.3
When we are truly ready to drop our addiction to fear completely, and be the Christ, to be in total service to our Creator, recognizing and being only the Will of God, then this will naturally and effortlessly result in the abundant miracles that Jesus performed in His day. We will exercise our God given dominion over the earth and look upon the worst form of devastation as the mirage it is, and at our Word, it will and must cease. Because we’ve learned to forgive all appearances of sin, guilt and fear they must fall away as they are no longer desired or valued. And then we welcome and thus see only the real world where fear, sickness and death are no more. This is the healed and happy dream of Homecoming, filled with joy and union.
“I said before that God so loved the world that He gave it to His only begotten Son. God does love the real world, and those who perceive its reality cannot see the world of death. For death is not of the real world, in which everything reflects the eternal. God gave you the real world in exchange for the one you made out of your split mind, and which is the symbol of death.” T-12.III.8:1-4
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