Yesterday, I put up a part in ACIM called, “The Real Alternative” in a reply to a post, which had a sentence in it that said, “This is a simple course in the obvious.”
The course seems to be a difficult course for many of us. I have heard the running joke that if you haven’t thrown your book across the room yet, then you’re not really doing the course.
I know for myself that I have had resistance to doing the lessons. Reading the text? No problem, loved it! But as soon as I started to do the lessons, almost immediate resistance.
I am no longer experiencing the resistance that I did in the beginning of the lessons and have been told that the first 50 lessons are the hardest. Though I am taking my own sweet time doing them now. This maybe another form of resistance as I am on Lesson 106 right now. I know that I should be farther along than that. Though with my time schedule at work, I cannot get away for 5 minutes every hour, so I do them when I can, so I have been repeating each lesson twice for this. Though I am no longer worried about the time frame in doing the course. A forgiveness lesson within itself.
Yesterday, while I was at work, I was listening to ACIM on my IPod. There was a sentence that jumped out at me, that really made me realize that this is a course in the obvious. It said, “The fear of God, is the fear of loss of idols.”
That sentence really hit me. How obvious it is. I think sometimes just how difficult this course can be and it is not. This is a very simple course. The difficulty doesn’t come from the course at all. It simply comes from my fear of loss and when I looked directly at that fear, it really did seem insane.
When I first started reading ACIM, I thought calling the ego insane, was maybe a bit over the top, but the truth is, if anything it is an understatement.
My resistance is the fear of loss of my idols, but why would I want them?! My God, this is my whole root of suffering. How insane it is to protect what is causing me pain and grief!
And we all know that idols aren’t what many people think they are. Idols are our concepts, wishes, “abilities”, etc.
How insane it is to resist “giving up” the ability to judge, our get angry at someone when they “deserve” it, or to bestow guilt on the “guilty” when they are, or to hold a grudge, to “mentally” attack another, to condemn where condemnation is called for. It is as if by finding peace, that I am “giving up” all these “wonderful abilities” that have kept me safe from the world and now I have to make a choice between peace and powerlessness or war and protection. At least that’s how my ego looks at it.
But isn’t it absolutely insane to think that I am giving these up? The anger, the judgment, the guilt, the pain, the hurt, the attack. Why would I want to keep such debilitating abilities? What gifts do they bring? None! This is the root of my suffering disguised as gifts of salvation. Yet each one is an attack upon myself and my peace.
The truth is, I’m not giving these up at all, but being released from them. Yet, there are times when I look to them for my salvation. I look for safety in making another guilty to find my innocence and yet the only thing that I have achieved is that I have disassociated the guilt from myself and projected it onto another and created an illusion that I have temporarily found some salvation at the expense of another’s condemnation. I believe that I have found peace when I have simply waged attack upon both myself and the other person. And the question I have to ask, “What is it for” is obscured in all of this.
The truth is, it is for nothing. It has no real purpose, for there is no real goal that I want, though I may think that there is. Nothing is truly achieved though I may think that we have achieved. I have simply waged attack upon myself, upon my brothers/sisters and upon God.
This is a simple course in the obvious. The fear of God is the fear of loss of idols.
What achievement is there in keeping an idol? The attack? The “ability”? The vice or addiction, whatever idol I make, what is an idol for? This is a question that I must seriously start asking when I look to idols for salvation. When instead of choosing the Holy Instant, I choose an idol. What is an idol for? There can be many answers to that question, I suppose, but it all seems to come down to an idol is for suffering. For as the course says, “No one looks to idols that hasn’t enslaved themselves to littleness.”
So when I feel resistance come up in doing the course, I have to remember something else that it says.
“This course is not set out to take away the little that you think you have.”