A Course In Miracles Lesson 70
A Course In Miracles Lesson 70 states:
My Salvation comes from me.
Release from suffering comes from me.
You are the only one who can end the suffering you feel. This idea is one of the easiest lessons to argue with because locating the source of suffering involves comprehending where the physical world comes from. It comes from you. The outside world is the dream we have created. Physical reality, as A Course In Miracles teaches, is not what we ought to understand as real. Physical reality fades away and vanishes. What is real is an ever-enduring state. That eternal state is love, joy, acceptance, peace, excitement, expansion, and creation. We call it God, The Knowing Field, The Great Mystery, the Tao…
It is there. But the physical senses you function from are not designed to perceive the non-physical dimension. They are specifically designed to validate physical reality. You see something, you feel something, you hear it, touch it or smell it and consider it real. To be told the physical is not real can produce resistance and debate. The impulse to argue with today’s idea is the impulse to believe the world out there exists without me. But it is the other way around. The world I see around me exists because of me. I have participated in bringing it about through the power of my interests and desires. Throughout time, humanity has wanted something, and time and time again, what we have wanted has manifested, not just on a collective scale, but individually as well.
If you take a moment and recall, you will find that every time you truly wanted something without any arguing or debating or grievances involved, you got what you wanted. Your desires shape the dream you are having. This life is a dream, your dream, and our dream together. When we have a nightmare, it can not be the dream that stops being painful to us. It can only be our awareness of the maker of the dream who can say, “enough.” When we believe that external conditions cause us pain, we are actually believing in a state of powerlessness.
The first universal law of the Creative Field is freedom. This means that nothing will prevent you from believing something that is not correct. You are free to shape your beliefs as your interests desire. The inherent state of freedom found in the Creative Field enables even the impossible to occur. The Universal Field of EVERYTHING, by definition, even includes the impossible. That is how “every” the Universal Field is. But when something is impossible, it can only be experienced as an illusion and that experience is a dream-like quality, like a cloud that never comes anywhere close to engaging the sun it obscures.
What we believe is what we will experience. And what we experience will confirm what we believe, even if it is not accurate. In other words, we are able to dupe ourselves. This causes a very strange condition of having to believe in what is true, having to choose the more accurate path for ourselves rather than simply be directed by truth. Following truth is a choice we make. Why would we ever want to choose anything other than the truth? The answer to that are as numerous as all our desires for things to turn out the way we are hoping. We want the world to be different than it is and for a while, we can live as if it is how we want it to be. But if what we want is not aligned with what is true, it is only a matter of time before what we’ve placed our hopes on will fall away and cause pain. Once we have given over to pursuing the world we want rather than living in the world that is, we feel that the outside world is a dangerous and chaotic place. We feel that the world is against us. And we believe external people or things need to be the ones who behave differently and put things right.
The truth is, nothing that has ever happened in the world is impossible to recover from. All events are passing clouds we experience and then which fade in intensity. The notion that “This too shall pass” can be a depressing one if we insist on holding onto that which can not endure. But this universal law of reality is actually the best news we could ever hear. It means we are not in prison. Our mistakes were not a life sentence. What has happened can be released.
It is helpful to clarify the distinction between pain vs suffering. Pain recovers within a matter of minutes or days and is a natural part of being alive. Suffering never recovers. It goes on and on and on for as long as the belief about its necessity continues. If you are living under a constant burden of suffering, the only way you will ever end that ongoing misery is by deciding to believe you have the power to end that suffering. To believe you do not have that power is to believe in powerlessness. No one in this world can stop you from choosing this belief. You are free to prove your belief over and over again for as long as you wish. And it will, indeed, be physically true for you that you are powerless.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 70 wants us to see that it is not the external world that is against us. It is how we are thinking about that world that causes pain. Understanding that release from pain comes from within you aligns with a belief that is actually true rather than a belief that is mistaken. It will always feel like a belief no matter how much we would like reality to be a definitive, undeniable force. The nature of reality is a profound willingness beyond comprehension. The nature of reality will impose if imposition is what you want. The nature of reality will grow peaceful if what you want is peace. We are free to explore any experience we want. And we are never judged for having explored a painful path. The moment we decide to be done with that path, we simply pivot towards a less painful path.
But our actions have momentum. It is not possible to pivot and suddenly be in a different condition in the same way it is not possible to get a Mac truck to stop on a dime. The momentum of our choices will roll out before us, and often make it seem as if our efforts to develop peace are being shut down by “reality.” But really what we are dealing with when we finally make the decision to align with truth is the ability to take responsibility for the effects of all our past actions. The choices we made years ago and weeks ago have paved a movement towards their inevitable results. Choosing in this new moment to refrain from lashing out, or to alter our usual responses towards a more peaceful behavior can seem nearly impossible in the face of our habitual impulses of behavior we’ve established for so long.
This is a very real problem that A Course In Miracles addresses through what it calls “The Holy Ghost” or “The Holy Spirit.” This concept is not unique to A Course In Miracles and it is not new. The concept is identified in what is called the Trinity which is an observation about reality that is found in every culture’s spiritual traditions. Body, Mind, Spirit. Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Yin, Yang, and the Middle Way. The trinity concept is everywhere because it is needed.
The Universal Field of Everything is not something we can experience directly in the same way we can not look directly at the sun or engage directly with fire. To experience everything requires leaving our physical situation, which most of us do not yet wish to do. But the gap between our perspective and God’s perspective is bridged by a third party. This middle ground is simultaneously able to perceive our limited logic as well as stay connected with the greater whole. We call this middle ground by many names. And all the ways it can present itself to us are a deep joy. No one form is more right than any other. This mediator between our perspective and The Unified Field can appear in our minds as a person, an animal, a symbol, an equation, or any other structure possible. But its primary function is to always relate to you from where you are in your limited understanding and guide you effectively towards greater truth.
It is not our task to achieve total Truth. That will come of its own accord in time eventually. While alive, all we are being asked to do is let connections to truth start to occur wherever possible. How we get from pain to relief is with the assistance of that third party, the guiding presence we are able to talk to and trust. The shape and visuals you give to this Middle Field are entirely up to you. The usual legendary figures may hold your heart’s attention or they may not. If not, that does not mean the Middle Field is not available to you. It only means you have not yet located a way of thinking about it or connecting to it that you feel safe doing. The term “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” may not be particularly helpful to modern minds because of the negative religious connotations it carries from centuries of misuse. If it is not received by your mind, simply let it go as unuseful and move towards whatever definition captures the essence of its meaning. That meaning will always teach: There is a way through every block. Peace and well-being are not unattainable. There is a stepping stone, a guide to help us from wherever we are.
For A Course In Miracles, this middle ground is Christ. The book is written in first person singular from His voice. If you have come this far in your studies of A Course In Miracles it can only mean that you are receptive to holding the images and meanings of Christ as a resource for connecting to the Creative Field of Well-being. This does not mean you are a Christian. It does not even mean you are religious. Christ, in his lifetime was not a Christian and he was not dogmatically religious since all his stories tell of defying all political institutions. The message Christ teaches is the same message the Buddha teaches: Find your way to that which is always there to help you.
The actual story of Jesus as told in the bible has us meet him at his birth and know him up until the age of eleven. We then do not hear anything about him until he suddenly reappears at age 33. Speculations abound as to how he spent his time in those lost years but one thing we can note is that his teachings of compassion are very similar to the teachings of the Buddha. It would not have been impossible for the boy to have traveled into the east and learned of spiritual traditions of India and Tibet then returned to the Middle East to share the messages he found. Where he discovered the teaching of compassion is not as important as the fact that he was able to embody it so completely and is now a vibrant symbol and resource for anyone anywhere who wishes to learn what he learned about life. The Buddha learned the same and both are Spirit Guides.
A Spirit Guide is a mental device that is imaginary but real. A Spirit Guide is a visual or an auditory experience within you that feels different from your usual thoughts. This guidance is quiet, calm, and in no hurry. It knows – All is well. And It also understands why you do not yet see that in your agitation. A Spirit Guide is the most reliable friend you could ever have. More reliable than any human or animal companion because, being of spirit, it will never let you down, it will never be too busy and it will never get angry or need anything from you. A conversation or encounter with a Spirit Guide is how we can break out of limited logic. A Course In Miracles refers to this concept as The Holy Ghost. Call the concept whatever pleases you and begin to turn towards it whenever you feel overwhelmed with grievances or confusion.
The process presented in A Course In Miracles is a year-long daily event of slowly bringing our beliefs into as close an alignment with what is true reality as we possibly can so that what we believe can become a living match with what is true. If our mind is like a lake and the surface of the water is rippled with agitation, that surface can not be a smooth mirror. But if we bring our mind to stillness, like a calm lake, the experience we have will be in alignment with that which exists beyond the agitation, the Reality beyond the disruptions which are there even if we can not see them. Bringing our minds into stillness enables a reflective surface to emerge. From this, all manner of joyful revelations can be revealed about that which lays beyond the turbulent thoughts.
Oh, my mind, be still and know, my peace is found inside me.
Nothing out in the world can help you unless you let it in. Nothing can bring peace if you believe yourself to be excluded from experiencing peace. You are not excluded. You are part of All That Is and you are a joy to that Field.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 70 reminds us that we are the creator of the universe. We are creating our lives. It is not an ego power trip to think you have that much power. It is simply true that you have it. It is in your possession to do with it what you wish.
There are two longer practice periods today of ten to fifteen minutes in length. You determine when you sit down to them and you are asked to decide the set times and keep that schedule for the days that follow. Establishing a consistent time in which to meet with your Spirit Guidance system will ensure you are able to be given information from that Guide in a reliable way. Like keeping an appointment, set a time for the daily practice sessions to commune with the larger field of your awareness. When you begin to experience the profound enjoyment this small action produces, you will be highly motivated to keep these appointments. They will become immovable centerpieces in your day-to-day affairs which govern your actions in a grounded way and connect your thoughts, words, and decisions to the Grace of God.
We do not know the best responses to the situations we encounter. But we do know how to put down trying to figure out the impossible and ask for help. The sitting meditations are that asking. Begin the 10-minute session by saying, “My release from pain comes from me. It can not come from anywhere else.” With eyes closed review some of the ways you have looked for relief in the external world by expecting other people or possessions to remedy your pain. Say to these memories, “My peace can not come from any of these outside things. My release from pain comes from within me.” Then sit a moment and see again how all your thoughts are like puffy clouds in the sky. Move between each cloud and do not enter them. If you get caught up in the logic of one, simply pull away and say, “I can not figure this out.” And move past the cloud. As you travel past the contents of your thoughts you can imagine a Spirit Guide holding your hand if that feels helpful to you. You do not need to find your own way out of confusion. Turn to the light of your imagination and give shape to the Energy that resides always by your side ready to assist you from wherever you may be.
Remember also to recall the day’s lesson as often as you can think of it, especially when faced with something that hurts. Remind yourself that you are in charge of your own peace of mind and that the end of pain comes from you.