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“I am affected only by my thoughts.”
Today’s lesson is one of empowerment. It reclaims our power over all that we experience. With that power we are free to choose the peace and joy and Love of God instead of the darkness and emptiness of the ego.
The ego’s very existence depends on our believing that we are not responsible for what we see or think, that we are at the mercy of outside forces to the point of death. The ego needs us to believe that we are powerless before all these forces. At best we can make meager defenses that can temporarily hold off their advance, but ultimately we will succumb in death, which the ego tells us is ‘proof’ that we have ‘lived.’ But this is not life. It’s a cruel hoax, which substitutes for the tranquility and joy of the Life we share with God.
As I can accept that “I am affected only by my thoughts,” the ego ceases to have control. I become free to choose the happy thoughts of Love I share with God instead of the frightening thoughts of guilt the ego offers. I have long believed the ego’s lies without questioning them. And so I must practice day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, bringing all my thoughts to the Holy Spirit. I must ask Him with an open mind, “What does this mean? I do not know.”
This is how I will learn that I am truly affected only by my thoughts. This is how I will learn that I have a choice so that I can choose again. This is how I will learn that indeed I am God’s beloved Son, along with all my brothers. It is our unity in Him that keeps me safe, invulnerable, tranquil, in quiet joy and perfect Love. It is this I seek to remember today.
If I ever feel sad, depressed, anxious or fearful, it is only because of my thoughts. If I feel happy, enthusiastic and full of joy, it is because of my thoughts. My thoughts are the cause of everything I experience. The thoughts I hold in my mind are what gives meaning to everything I see and experience.
With Holy Spirit, I am now in the process of retraining my mind to think differently. I am learning to watch my thoughts and ask myself often, “With the thoughts I am thinking now, am I joining with the ego or am I joining with the Holy Spirit?”
With ego thoughts, I am perceiving the world as real. I think I am separate and alone and think others are separate and distinct from me. The ego thinking always looks for distinguishing differences. It looks to put all the guilt I am holding inside onto something or someone outside of me. The ego is attracted to thoughts of conflict, blame and judgment.
The Holy Spirit’s thoughts always lead me to peace and seeing the truth behind every separate form I see in this world. The Holy Spirit does not make this world real, but helps me see past this world of separation to the real world of unity. The Holy Spirit changes my perceptions to look past bodily behavior to the one Light that never changes. The Holy Spirit moves past time and space to what is eternally true. The Holy Spirit brings me to the holy instant, where all is one Mind.
As I go through my day, it is important that I remember the truth that “I am affected only by my thoughts.” It is important for me to take whatever thoughts are in my mind to the Holy Spirit to be purified and cleansed of all false ideas. If I want to be truly happy, I will do this on an ongoing basis all through the day. I will choose the Holy Spirit as my constant Companion and remember not to decide what anything means on my own based on my past learning.
I know too much to go back to the old ways of thinking. On page 22 of the Text it says, “Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.” I am at the stage where I would rather be happy than right. When I open to the Holy Spirit’s healing perceptions, I am led to forgive the thoughts that I thought were true. I am led to the experience of peace, joy and happiness. “I am affected only by my thoughts.”
What a beautiful lesson. He tells me that I will have thoughts that will frighten me, and I do. But He is in that place of quiet, patiently waiting for me to go there, and I do, but unfortunately sometimes only after I become frightened, and He gently and lovingly reminds me that this is not the way it has to be.
He tells me that it is my own plans that frighten me in the first place and that His plan is sure. And my heart tells me this is true, because He has never failed me before. My mind was in conflict this morning and I asked Holy Spirit to talk to me and He just did, in this lesson.
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How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles
Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:
T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.
W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.
M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.
C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6
The above numbering system
of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992,
The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.
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