Apr 23 2018
An article written for the UK Miracles Network
“Choose Once Again.” I find this profound teaching and redirection for my mind to be as relevant at the beginning of my journey with ACIM, as it is after more than a decade of devotional practice with it.
At the beginning of my spiritual journey I was very much identified with my body, and after two accidents involving head-injuries and concussions, I was prepared to build a ‘life’ around consistent chronic fatigue and migraines. I had been through suicidal depression when I realized that I might never recover from these conditions; the thought of being limited for life was unbearable. Thank God for Divine Intervention!
Jesus showed up and literally directed me to A Course In Miracles and to the recognition of the power of my mind. In fact the first thing I popped the blue book open to was about learning that the only thing I had control over was the direction of my thinking, and how important this realization is.
All through A Course In Miracles Jesus points to the power of our mind and the power of decision. He reminds us constantly that we are experiencing the effects of our beliefs and decisions, and therefore we have the power to choose again. We are limited by nothing but our thoughts and we must learn to control the direction of our thinking in order to give it over to One who can free us from the insane notion that we left our Source and are now limited individuals with private minds and private thoughts, attempting to create our own lives apart from God!
After a full thirty-one chapters of learning about awakening from the dream and the dynamics of the ego, including false empathy, obstacles to peace, and special relationships, the powerful section Choose Once Again is placed at the very end of the Text. It is a firm, clear, and immediate redirection for our mind away from what is now recognizable to us as the weakness of the ego, to the strength of Christ in us. This is the answer to all temptation to believe in littleness. This final section is of great significance for the onward journey of awakening through mind-training and the practice of forgiveness.
There is nothing left to “learn about”, and there is nothing left to do but turn to the one who guides us from unfailing peace, innocence and love. It is not our function to understand the ego, or to attempt to understand the nature of perceived problems – no matter how convincingly real they may appear. After careful study of the Text and dedicated practice with the Workbook, we clearly know the difference between the painful illusions of the ego, and the innocent perception of the Holy Spirit, and truly, all there is left to do is choose for Christ.
And yet Jesus knows that this is still a decision that needs to be strengthened in mind. A decision that is to be made over, and over, and over again, until this decision is so consistent there is no longer a choice to be made for it at all.
One of the most commonly asked questions at my ACIM gatherings is “How do I discern the difference between the Holy Spirit and the ego?” and this section contains a golden key in answering this question: “You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power.” (T.31.VIII.2.3) By never using weakness to direct your actions, you are choosing not to fall into the trap of reacting to the ego ‘in others’ from your ‘own ego’. Every response we make to the world reinforces guilt or innocence, and therefore reinforces who we believe we are. This is a real experience, and there is no escaping the power of our own mind. Every time we choose to pause, and turn to Christ for the Answer rather than react to conflict, we are setting the world, our brothers, and our own mind, free.
This is such a deep practice, and one that I am in full appreciation of. s the awareness of Christ becomes more consistent within my mind, what is ‘not that’ is so glaringly obvious by contrast, that I find that the experience of turning to the strength of the Spirit within is now an automatic response. For example, if I find that if I am tempted to respond in false empathy to a brother, I feel the impact immediately, and it is so acute that within seconds I am turning to the Spirit and receiving the miracle of a shift of perception. I literally cannot continue ‘doing’ anything – the world stops working until my mind is realigned with Christ!
Jesus describes this decision as a habit that is to be learned. And so here we are at the very end of the Text, and he is still reinforcing the need for mind-training. And yes indeed, the ‘temptation’ to perceive yourself or someone else as unfairly treated will continue to arise in consciousness until this lesson is completely and utterly learned! It is our own belief in suffering, in the ego, in a cause apart from God, that is being unlearned and forgiven. And it is through our consistent and unrelenting decision for Christ that this is accomplished.
The transfer of this training is essential in order to have a total eclipse in the mind from identification with the ego, and being limited, to the freedom of identification with Christ. This means that we have to be willing to practice in every relationship and every circumstance because every relationship and circumstance is literally the out-picturing of our own thoughts and beliefs.
The gift of vision that Jesus offers in replacement for the world as we see it, is a clean and fresh perception. This gift of loving kindness is a gift from God and it is to be shared, to be given to everyone, in order to be kept in awareness and known. And this has been my experience. This journey has been one of not hiding or protecting ‘my’ private thoughts and judgements, but instead of being willing to bring these to the light of forgiveness, in order to be released from them. Through this total willingness, to hide nothing from my brothers and therefore from the Holy Spirit, and to have faith that I will be set free by the Truth, I find that my mind is now naturally aligned with Christ, ever ready to forgive, and to be shown what He would have me see.
Choose Once Again is a beautiful ending for the Text of A Course In Miracles. Jesus’ message becomes more poetic as the paragraphs go on. He affirms over and over again that we will hear him, and we will choose again. His faith in us is as certain as God because it is God’s. He describes that as we walk the world we will “find so many chances to perceive another situation where God’s gift can once again be recognized as ours.” And so he is not saying that by reading this section our mind will be instantly healed – he says that by applying this lesson, by consistently choosing for Christ, our minds will be washed of all identification with littleness, all darkness, private thoughts, and hatred. He is calling us to hear him, to join with him, so completely, that we are no longer tempted by judgement and attack thoughts that reinforce separation, and therefore the perception of a fragmented and broken world. He is calling us to freedom; to a beautiful, healed perception of the world, high above the battleground.
Jesus describes the joyous song of salvation echoing through the world with every choice that is made for Christ. He speaks of the impossibility of failure, and absolute acceptance of the closing of the journey, building like a crescendo to our homecoming in calm eternity where no trace of illusion remains, and Thy Will is done.
By Kirsten Buxton