[Article written for Miracles Worker Magazine, Issue No.143]:
Love is a choice. Life is a choice. Darkness is a choice. Heaven or hell is but a choice. That’s the good news. Heaven is and always has been here, now, in the mind, free to reach. Can you imagine the freedom that comes when the mind realises it has the power to choose peace right now? This realisation can free the mind from all suffering and all beliefs about the world.
Jesus says in A Course in Miracles: “Be not content with future happiness. It has no meaning, and is not your just reward. For you have cause for freedom now.” T-26.VIII.9:1-3 The promise Jesus gives is that freedom is available now. No matter the degree of misery and suffering, the mind can be lifted to a place where it feels only joy and only peace.
Since childhood, I was haunted by beliefs of rejection and abandonment. These beliefs were my instant ‘hooks’ to the ego and to suffering. For periods of time, I would cruise through life feeling fine until the moment when someone or something triggered these beliefs. Although I learned how to build barriers around myself in an attempt to minimise the hurt, eventually a deeper desire called from within me to heal the wound and end all suffering forever. At the time, I questioned whether that was even possible: “is it too lofty a goal to aim for?”
In Workbook Lesson 121 of A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that forgiveness is the way to safety, the answer to all questions, and the end of all uncertainty. Hope is there, and yet, how can we bring it into an experience that will end all doubting?
As I began my healing journey with the Course, the old egoic beliefs of rejection and abandonment came up many times. I looked deeply into my thoughts, gained insights about my ego patterns, and developed strategies in order to face and heal these beliefs. I thought I was very close to being completely healed because of all the amazing insights I had gained. However, to my great surprise, the insights didn’t help when the beliefs and emotions struck again. I was just as powerless as ever, still feeling like a weak victim—unloved and mistreated. Yet now, not only was I a victim, but a completely devastated victim left with the realization that no amount of intellectual understanding or insight could help me break free from my beliefs.
One day, I was in the middle of yet another intense experience of the same ego thoughts spinning in my mind. All the evidence was there again, in my mind, to prove that I was rejected and unworthy of love. Then, in the middle of my anger and pain, a thought arose: “Now is my chance to do it differently! I need to pull myself out of the darkness right here, right now, and not wait till later.” Somewhere inside I knew, that to truly heal the hurt, I had to choose to rise above it. That was my moment. It was not easy to make that choice. I debated with myself for about half an hour, trying to encourage myself by thinking that I had nothing to lose; that surely I could have at least one experience of knowing what it was like to really break through. Of course, I thought, I could always choose to go back into the hurt later!
It took absolutely everything I had to finally lay aside all my attack thoughts and grievances, and ask the Holy Spirit to light up my mind and show me a different way of looking at the situation. In less than five minutes, I was lifted up! Not only was I lifted up but I actually couldn’t go back into the darkness anymore. I couldn’t even remember or understand why I was angry! I was completely “Above the Battleground.” T-23.IV The situation and people that I was angry with suddenly became completely loving and innocent in my mind. Everything was seen from a totally different perspective. It was very precious.
I had never thought that healing would require this little of me. All I had done was to relinquish my version of the story for a brief moment and choose to invite the Light to come into my awareness. That’s all! I realised that true healing was about being lifted up to a different perspective and not about battling with the ego. This single experience fundamentally changed my perspective of the healing journey.
In the midst of a powerless moment, seemingly trapped by the beliefs that I had battled with all my life, I had chosen differently. And, after being lifted up, within just five minutes from making this simple choice, I never saw the world in the same way again. I had proven to myself that I had power over all ego beliefs, all interpretation, and all hurt and pain. That one experience put a lifelong ego pattern to an end; that one experience re-awoke a strength and certainty that I didn’t know existed in my mind. From that moment on, my life’s purpose changed.
In Workbook Lesson 194, Jesus says: “For he who has escaped all fear of future pain has found his way to present peace, and certainty of care the world can never threaten. He is sure that his perception may be faulty, but will never lack correction. He is free to choose again when he has been deceived; to change his mind when he has made mistakes.” What a relief to know that I am not responsible for my errors but only responsible for accepting the correction.
Now, it is not so much about healing the hurt but rather accessing the Light in the mind. Once I have access to the Light, joy overflows and wants to extend itself. I no longer feel powerless against the ego beliefs I occasionally slip into, knowing that nothing from the past will have any effect once I choose happiness. Healing takes but an instant every time because choice takes but an instant. Suffering only lasts as long as it takes for the mind to choose the Spirit’s perspective. I find myself less interested in looking back or analysing cause and effect in a linear way; linear thinking is a direct defence against the experience that happiness and love are available now. I have also become less interested in needing anyone or anything to change because I realised that I alone have the power to choose happiness in all situations. When the mind yields to ego thoughts, my only function is to choose the Spirit, and then I wait in patience and certainty that Love and Light will rush back into my awareness.
The purpose of my relationships have changed as well: they are not based on how much I can get in order to complete myself, but instead, how much I can give. Similarly, the purpose of any project I am involved in has also changed: rather than achieving any end result, it is more about the love and connection I can access with the people or tasks at hand. Questions about this world cease to come up. Decisions in form cease to matter. I move in certainty and in Love with every action that flows from the joyful state of mind I am in.
Ego has no power over the mind that chooses Peace. It does take practice to strengthen the willingness to choose Peace over grievances. But we are hopeful indeed. For now we can relax into the true experience that: “In God’s Hands we rest untroubled, sure that only good can come to us. If we forget, we will be gently reassured. If we accept an unforgiving thought, it will be soon replaced by love’s reflection. And if we are tempted to attack, we will appeal to Him Who guards our rest to make the choice for us that leaves temptation far behind. No longer is the world our enemy, for we have chosen that we be its friend.” W-194.9:2-6