A Course In Miracles Lesson 22
A Course In Miracles Lesson 22 states:
What I see is a form of vengeance.
This may seem like a change of subject from the previous lessons, but if we are determined to see things differently, we must first recognize how we currently do see things as well as why that way of seeing needs to change.
Today’s lesson is the next logical conclusion our determined mind needs to make in order to see things differently. Any feelings of disruption or disoriented confusion about today’s lesson are caused by the fact that half our mind does not want us to change. The experience of reading these lessons isn’t always going to feel easy or comfortable. The statements may even feel quite wrong and we may feel quite certain of their wrongness.
However, the lessons feel wrong only to the part of our mind which is in the wrong. Such a statement, like many in this book, will feel like a “head trip” to the misguided part of our minds. But it is helpful to consider that our mind is split. Our mind is multiplicitous. One part is connected to truth while the other part is self-generating opposition to what is true. The reason why our minds are engaging in this strange self-made argument is found in the nature of freedom that governs all of Creation. As infinitely creative beings, we are free to choose what we place our attention on. We are also free to turn away from the truth. Self-imposed opposition to what is true is not a problem for anyone but ourselves and we are the ones who need help out of that isolated frame of mind.
Let us acknowledge any resistant, confused, or irritated responses we have towards the daily lessons as only half of our whole being. That questioning half is honored for engaging in its inherent freedom to explore and discover even more about the nature of eternal truth through the process of opposing it. Let us make space for the part of us that feels resistant.
The ego (the self-made resistance to truth) is a small part of our whole eternal being. When we identify with an ego part, we believe ourselves to be isolated, alone, separate, on our own, and threatened by all that is around us. It is this ego logic we need to include and teach how to include itself, even while it is generating opposing impulses. Our ego is a part of our whole being. We, as the eternal wellness we truly are, are perfectly capable of holding oppositions. But the ego part of us is not capable of it. We hold space for that too. Giving space rather than resistance to the opposing part of us is the key to resolving its effects.
We can not banish ego thinking because banishment is the error the ego is making in the first place. To manage the ego as it would manage things is a sure way to keep those dysfunctional dynamics in place.
Today’s lesson is showing us a quality/condition of our mind and asking us to hold space for this truth rather than recoil from it. Our mind is in a state of vengeance. Let us ask what vengeance is so we can understand our minds and this lesson better.
Vengeance is an act of payback for a wrong done against us. Vengeance seeks to balance the scales of power and restore power to ourselves by a display of force and violence. Vengeance is an act of desperation on our part to restore the power we feel we have lost at the hands of someone more powerful. Vengeance seeks to put right a betrayal by engaging in the same act of attack that led to the feeling of betrayal it is trying to set right. Attack and vengeance (counterattack) can not ever lead to what it promises to lead to (relief and peace) no matter how convincing its burning logic may seem to us.
Viewing others as the cause of our pain is a way to avoid looking at what our own mind is doing to cause that pain. There are ways of thinking that bring peace. There are ways of thinking that disrupt peace and cause all other feelings. The painful way of thinking is a form of attack. Such logic attacks the peaceful way of thinking.
The peaceful way of thinking never attacks. How could it and remain what it is? Peaceful logic only waits peacefully for the anger which is always temporary to subside. No matter how hard the ego tries to assert anger and discontent as an equally eternal state to peace, it will always find that disruptions always end and peace always prevails because that is what Reality is- peace and wellness.
Peace and joy are eternal states of Reality. Everything else is temporary. The nature of peace is peaceful. Peace responds to discord with peace and does not feel threatened or compelled to avenge any form of attack. Peaceful logic knows it is not in danger because it is connected to a direct relationship with Eternal reality- which is peace, joy, and love.
Learning to recognize how we have many hostile thoughts occurring throughout the day will begin the process of guiding us out of misguided thinking. As we become aware of all the ways in which our attack thoughts negatively affect ourselves and others, we release our interest in vengeance. We shift our instinctive responses to this world. Realizing the hostile conditions of our thoughts can quickly lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, or defenses. We can often be shocked to discover how immature our logic is regarding someone or some situation. Letting all the experiences of self-discovery in will lead to the humility that enables us to better enjoy life. Let us stay calm and meet these discoveries of the condition of our mind with calm rather than generate more disturbance of worry, shame, or defense. Let’s not generate more attack thoughts upon our attack thoughts which are all self-generating unhappiness.
If we do not recognize how we have instigated our own unhappiness by choosing a misguided form of logic, we will only see the world around us in a mistaken way. And it is this mistaken way that we want to see differently since, from previous lessons, we are determined to see things differently. The part of us that wants to assert and maintain the misguided logic will certainly feel attacked because anything vulnerable is subject to disillusionment.
Because it is in error, ego logic will be defensive. Being defensive is a state of expecting an attack and being ready to defend (attack back or even attack first with a preemptive strike.) Defensiveness indicates a need to protect and defend. Protecting and defending indicates an awareness of something being unsafe. Anything that is unsafe is not of an Eternal nature since Eternal is forever unassailable and forever safe, being as it is ever-enduring. Only the unsafe would fear for their safety. Attack impulses indicate a sense of danger and a need for protection. Such impulses indicate a disconnection from the awareness of Eternity which from the perspective of attack would seem mythical and fanciful.
This is why the concept of an Eternal state of wellness is experienced as a choice to believe in against the counter logic that seeks to maintain that all is separate and disconnected. We are not separate from Eternal Creation. We are always part of that ever-expanding event. We are the movement of expansion of Creation.
Whenever we feel threatened we have forgotten our deeper Eternal Being and believe ourselves to be in danger. Our bodies can be in danger because our bodies are temporary self-made forms. Our life conditions can be in danger because those too are temporary and self-made. We may find the idea that we create our own reality as offensive but if reality were determined by external factors, and if those external factors were against us, would we not already be destroyed by an overpowering force against us? That we are still here is proof that reality is shaped by personal desire, will, and interest in being. The outside world reflects what we currently believe is possible. That external world changes as we change our beliefs about the world.
Identifying with the temporary will always cause pain. Can we identify with the eternal and enjoy the temporary for what it is? We can. But the ego logic that clings to the material world can not. Engaging in beliefs of separation and beliefs that the world is not of our own making makes more of that misguided logic.
It can cause frustration and confusion when the book says that what we see around us is not real. It can feel like we are being asked to participate in a self-induced head trip when we are asked to believe that the solid object in our hand is not real or the shoes on our feet are not real. Is the book asking us to consider what we know to be reality as not real? Yes. If we look more closely, that solid object is not so- solid. It is breakable, changeable, and will eventually vanish from so-called existence. Recall how real things seem in a dream and how strange it feels to wake up and discover that what we felt certain was solid is now not at all what we believed was true. It felt so real, that dream, didn’t it?
So too does this one. We have constructed an astoundingly elaborate fantasy along with others who are choosing to be in a collective agreement with the belief in the realness of illusion. Let us consider the possibility that at this time we do not know what is real. Let us consider the objects around us are not what we should think of as real. The nature of real is not physical. The nature of reality is energetic… Meta-physical.
What I see around me, all these temporary objects is an act of rebellion against that which is Eternal. What I see around me is my own effort to establish a permanence of forms where none can ever reside. What I see is a form of defiance against what is truly Eternal. What I see around me is an effort to defend a vulnerable and misguided logic that states Eternity does not exist while at the same time trying to assert misguided logic as Eternal.
Let me recognize that all I see is perishable. All I see will fade and change and vanish. That which fades is not real. That which fades is an act of rebellion and a form of vengeance.
This is not the world we want to see. We want to see the truth.