October 2014 – “I am sustained by the Love of God.”

“Here is the answer to every problem that will confront you, today and tomorrow and throughout time. In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God….” ACIM, Workbook page 79, Lesson 50.

Do we really believe we are sustained by the Love of God? Most of us probably don’t. We rely on our own efforts to provide for our own safety, security and survival. As Jesus says in Lesson 50, “Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, ‘protective’ clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the ‘right’ people, and endless lists of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.” W79. Wow! That just about sums it up. We do rely on those things just mentioned because we are asleep dreaming we are miles away from Heaven, living in a world dominated by the ego, whose whole belief system is based on fear, lack and competition. We have forgotten that we are at one with God and, whilst our dream is going on, we are alive, safe and well in Heaven, where we have always been.

Speaking of the list of things just mentioned Jesus points out, “All these things are your replacements for the Love of God. All these things are cherished to ensure a body identification. They are songs of praise to the ego. Do not put your faith in the worthless. It will not sustain you.” We have to admit that we are concerned with protecting and preserving the physical body. This is because we think we are our bodies. We may believe that when our bodies die, we die, and it is the end of life. ACIM tells us that this is just not true. In the Manual for Teachers Jesus states: “Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality and dying in the end?…Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His Love is blotted out in the idea…If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love…” M66.

This really does make sense. God is a God of Love so how could there be death? The anticipation of death, whether our own or that of a loved one, arouses great fear in our hearts. And when death finally does come, it brings so much grief in its wake, as we mourn for and long for our departed loved one. God would not do that do us. He is not cruel and He does not punish us because we are part of Him and He loves us. As Lesson 35 states: “My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.”

Jesus asks us to look past death and seek eternal life by remembering that we are not our bodies, we are eternal spirit, and spirit cannot die. We started off as a thought in the Mind of God and the Course tells us that, “ideas leave not their source”; so we still remain in the Mind of God; the separation never occurred.

He asks us to make the body holy by using it to serve God, as we can see from this uplifting passage: “The central lesson is always this; that what you use the body for it will become to you…Use it to bring the Word of God to those who have it not, and the body becomes holy. Because it is holy it cannot be sick, nor can it die. When its usefulness is done it is laid by, and that is all….God’s Voice will tell him when he has fulfilled his role, just as It tells him what his function is. He does not suffer either in going or remaining…” Manual, p. 32. There is no death and we do not suffer. There is only a dream of death which we can awaken from.

We need to withdraw our attention from our physical form, if possible. Yet it makes sense to look after the body, whilst we believe we are in it. When the body is in good working order one doesn’t think about it as much as when one is in pain or unwell. It is not easy to ignore a painful toothache or a throbbing migraine. So it is all right for us to continue to use the things we are used to, such as vitamin pills, painkillers, healthy food, exercise, protective clothing, etc. In Chapter 2 of the Text, Jesus tells us that it is all right to use on outside agent, such as the things just mentioned, as we may not yet be ready to accept the Atonement, which is the fact that we have not separated from God. As we believe we live in this dream world, then we can use what he calls “magical means” to help us, if we believe in them.

The problem is that at some point we are going to have to overcome our identification with the physical form and let go of our attachment to the body, the ego and all the things we have come to rely on. Unfortunately, this engenders fear because we have become completely identified with the body and the ego. It is our egoic mind that keeps us trapped in the world of form. So what do we do?

In a moment of quiet and stillness, I turned within and asked the Holy Spirit how I could overcome my attachment to the body and the ego. His reply: You begin to identify less and less with your physical body. You just know that you are the Self, created by God, who has chosen for some reason to manifest a physical form. Yet, you do not worry about the body, because the spirit has eternal life, which is something the physical body can never achieve. You don’t neglect your body but you use it to extend love to others and to extend forgiveness. And when the time comes for your mortal body to pass away, you feel no regret only joy at the thought of returning to your oneness with God in Heaven.”

Those are comforting words.  Lesson 50 is also reassuring as it shows us that we have the strength of God within us. “Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and forever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you today. Through the Love of God within you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort…”

We look for happiness in the ego’s world but lasting happiness cannot be found here. Everything is transient and changes sooner or later. Lesson 50 tells us we should put our faith only in the Love of God, which is the only thing that is real. That’s why Jesus advises us to repeat frequently: “I am sustained by the Love of God,” so that it sinks deep into our consciousness.

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