131 (2006) No one can
fail who seeks to reach the truth.
MT: Why this? Why now? Why here? We were studying getting close to God.
JC: God is Truth. You may think truth is the hardest to find, but it actually
is the easiest thing. Your world is upside down, that's all.
MT: Truth should be self-evident.
JC: It is--and yet you deny it, avoid it, continue to behave in ways that
run contrary to what you know. Does that not seem odd to you?
MT: I can know the truth, and still see myself as a failure in reaching
it, castigate myself for my obtuseness, and place myself farther away
still. St. Paul spoke to that.
JC: Do you want to reach the truth today?
MT: I guess so. . . I feel pretty dim this morning. Cat woke me up too
soon. He wanted his food.
JC: He got it, didn't he? Do you want the truth as much as the cat wants
MT: One thing that's happened, JC, is that the Course has made my life
a whole lot easier, smoother, reduced or eliminated the anguish I labored
under BC (before Course). So perhaps I'm not suffering
enough to want to change any further.
JC: Walking with God should not be a crisis. I promised to smooth the
path for you.
MT: Let's say I reach God within the year--I've got seven, almost eight
months to do it. That's my goal. It's scary to put it down on the screen
like this. I would like a more direct experience of God--although I've
had them, briefly. I lose touch with my God-nature all too easily. I do
not keep it in mind as a goal, as my purpose on this plane. I need help
JC: Angels hover above and all about you. You can feel their wings brushing
against your face. There is nothing to fear. Decisions have light and
strength behind them. In making a decision, you summon help from higher
spheres. You summon the miracle.
MT: I summon the miracle. I like that. It has the ring of truth to it.
Thank you, JC.
131 No one can fail
who seeks to reach the truth.
MT: There you go, JC, with your bold statements. Failure is all around
me--people losing their homes, men and women fighting an unwinnable war,
a helpless population dying from lack of shelter, water and food because
a parasitic government seeks only its own aggrandizement. Do none of the
players of this absurd game seek the truth?
JC: You know the answer. They do not know what to seek. They are confused
and divided. A divided mind cannot plan. A mind cut off from God is capable
of savage and meaningless acts.
MT: Where does this leave me today? The images that I just conjured up
make me sad. This is the world I appear to inhabit.
JC: You do not have to fix the world--not because you should not, but
because you cannot. Today you are free of Quixotic tasks. Your only duty
is to seek Atonement for yourself. Today you do the possible, the inevitable,
the preordained. Today you open yourself to Truth.
131 No one can fail
who seeks to reach the truth.
I ask to see a different world, and think a different kind of
thought from those I made. The world I seek I did not make
alone, the thoughts I want to think are not my own.
MT: Yes, but . . . I reach inside for that feeling of being totally sick
of the world I made, and I'm not there yet. Instead, I notice a slightly
morose feeling: leave me alone, world, leave me alone, Course, leave me
alone, God. Truth is, I cannot impose holiness on myself. It's got to
come as inevitable choice.
JC: And so it will. An addict uses the substance yet again, in hopes that
this time he can enjoy it with impunity. You wander in the darkness, looking
for the light.
MT: Or not even looking, right now. I'm tired of the search. Give me Truth,
not because I clamor for it, but because it's my birthright.
JC: And that is the truth, yours today.
132 I loose the world from all I thought it was.
MT: What did I think about the world I came into? I thought it was full
of death, enemies, bickering and wars. I thought I could trust no one
besides myself, and I had doubts about me too! I thought everybody was
in pain all the time, especially women, cursed by the Scriptures. I thought
I had to be careful with every step I took, with every word I spoke; careful
not to laugh inappropriately, careful to look to others to find what "appropriate"
was. I had to be careful of my sexuality because behind every man hid
a rapist, and besides, my body was always a rat trap about to go off.
I thought I was born defective and would never make it. The list goes
on and on. Don't know how I managed to survive.
JC: Now you open yourself to a new vision, the one given by God.
MT: Now I let a new vision come to me by the grace of God.
132 I loose the world
from all I thought it was.
MT: Shakesperean language, JC!
JC: And the thought?
MT: The world I saw . . . oh, JC, what a painful world I grew up in. A
traumatic experience of rejection happened around age 5. I was like
a kitten getting slapped around for trying to romp around with the cats,
its joy transmuted into despair in an instant's time. My heart scrunches
up to even think of it. That's what I thought the world was--a machine
to mow down the smallest sprouts of spontaneity, creativity, and love.
JC: That was then, this is now. The dawn of a new day is here.
MT: I "enslaved the world with all my fears, my doubts and miseries,
my pain and tears, and all my sorrows press on it, and keep the world
a prisoner to my beliefs." How I could possibly have wished for a
world like this?
JC: Yet you did. You found exactly what you looked for when you came.
MT: Much as I would like to complain, there is an odd sort of comfort
in these words. The implication is, I can look for something else and
what I look for, this shall I find.
JC: You are not the victim of the world you see. It exists as a thought
in your mind, and fast as it appeared, in an instant can it vanish. In
its place you see a forgiven world, and you in it, a radiant being of
133 I will not value what is valueless.
MT: Only you could put it this way, JC! If I value the valueless I make
up a world of anxiety and fear. I do not ask too much of life, but far
too little. I was just thinking this morning, how behind every procrastination,
every bit of sloppiness, is the thought: I am not worth it. So life realigns
itself when I realize--and it is a staggering thought--my true worth as
a Son of God. The possibilities are infinite.
You say, next, "if you choose to take a thing away from someone else,
you will have nothing left." I see the burglar walking out the window
in the night, fantasizing on the riches that he has just obtained. He
does not know that to take from another means to take from oneself. He
does not know what he just did to himself!
JC: How can you use this thought in your life today?
MT: I will commit acts of senseless beauty today. I see, today, the true
worth that is all around me: our inheritance as Sons of God. This inheritance
I claim as my right. I claim it for myself when I offer it to my brothers.
133 (2006) I will not value what is valueless.
MT: How am I today? How does this lesson apply to my state today? I have
gone a long way in disidentifying with the body. My fear of death, my
panics about becoming a bag lady who digs for breakfast in trash cans,
the constant looking for sickness lurking around the next corner, paranoia
about getting ripped off by merchants and health professionals, the endless
searching for new clothes or pretty jewelry--those manifestations of the
error are gone. What remains feels like a small rock that stops the machinery:
that I do the things I do not want to do, and do not do the things I want
to do. It feels like a mysterious force holding me back. Or a puzzle.
I am spending a great deal of money and time exercising my body--daily
trips to the gym, hikes, dieting. . . in this way, I know I am valuing
what is valueless: the body.
JC: The body will not last. Spirit goes on forever. You cannot not have
MT: I need help with redirecting my life. It used to be directed by avoidance
of pain, by paranoia, by random responses to anxiety. Tethering my mind
to my husband's (I cringe to say I did that) gave me purpose and relative
peace, as did raising the kids. I never questioned getting a higher education,
and I did it very well. But now? I am freer than at any other time in
my life, and I squander this freedom, day by day, hour by hour.
JC: What would be a good use of your life, in your opinion?
MT: To write a book? To work for political change in this troubled country?
To agitate for more bike paths, more trees, more humane treatment of animals?
It is difficult to say, and I expect therein lies the problem. There is
no one thing that I can say: this I am destined to do. The certainty was
there forty years ago, where did the certainty go?
JC: There is certainty in doing this daily posting, isn't there?
MT: Yes, you are right. This is one thing I definitely want to be doing.
It is valuable to me, enough that I do not question it.
JC: God knows how to reach you. You do not need to find the way to Him.
133 I will not value
what is valueless.
This lesson always puts me in a pensive mood. I will not value what is
valueless. It brings up a quiet voice inside, a detached, wry observation.
Why would anyone value the valueless? Only if he does not know the difference.
Only if he is completely confused as to what's what and does not know
enough to get in out of the rain! And that is the state I lived in for
the first half of my life. I searched without knowing what the object
was. My mind flitted from one decision to another, from one bad feeling
to a worse one, until only death appear to offer relief.
Enough of this. The bonds of this world are weak, evanescent. They only
seem solid if the mind makes them so. Sometimes I think I'm losing it,
that I'm a fool not to take charge of my life, not to give value to what
others kill for, an irresponsible fool to abandon goals and To-Do lists.
But really, this is the dawn of sanity. I will not value what is valueless.
134 (2006) Let me perceive
forgiveness as it is.
MT: Forgiveness: the realization that my brother is as sinless as I am.
JC: You cannot accept your own sinlessness and hold others guilty, nor
can you see the sinlessness in others while holding on to your guilt.
MT: To smite another becomes totally pointless, because then I smite myself.
I have been known to do so! The self-hate this Course uncovered was scary
JC: And then you realized how pointless the whole game was, and you became
ready to give it up.
MT: It's been a strange trip, JC, but a delightful one as well. I discover
hidden aspects of myself as I go. I would never want to sink back into
the well of despair and hopelessness.
JC: And you do not have to. The light has come.
MT: The light has come, and I thank my Father for His gifts to me.
134 Let me perceive
forgiveness as it is.
JC: I see that a new lesson on forgiveness was offered you yesterday.
MT: I lost peace. For a while, sin seemed real. Character defects (his)
seemed real. I forgot everything I learned all these years. Why does he
have to be so careless?
JC: Ok, ok, not so fast. This is a superb chance to learn today's lesson.
What character defects are you seeing in your partner?
MT: He is angry. He feels imposed upon. I guess he was tired, but did
he have to lose patience? Does he have to yank the suitcase from the garage
rafters and drop it on my car? Couldn't he wait a moment for me to move
the car? Now he probably won't want to fix the hood. It's up to me. No
responsibility there! This guy never grew up. What am I doing with him?
There. I said it.
JC: Would you accuse yourself of doing someone a favor in the spirit of
sacrifice and loss, as Scott has apparently done?
MT: Yes, I know about that. I hurt my back trying to lift my helpless
lump of a father-in-law from his chair.
JC: Helpless? Lump? Would you like to change this configuration, or would
you rather be miserable?
MT: Guess I haven't suffered enough, JC. I am still angry, now at both
JC: What is your goal in doing these lessons so faithfully, year after
MT: I want to remember who I am. I want to step out of this shabby so-called
reality I made up. I want to be at peace, and to offer peace to those
I meet. Including, I guess, my partner and his father, much as my ego
wants to write in an exclusion for them!
JC: You can exclude your brothers and yourself, or you can be with me
in Paradise today. Which do you choose?
134 Let me perceive
forgiveness as it is.
And how is true forgiveness? Not as the world of the ego would have it:
as a condescending act from a more enlightened soul to a benighted one.
No--true forgiveness sees that nothing happened. True forgiveness resides
in the eternal present of God-energy. It does not grope around in darkness,
but dwells in the light. It sees that there is no "me" versus
"other," but only the Sonship, one with God.
135 If I defend myself I am attacked.
MT: So much for legal fights and assertiveness training. "For no
one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart."
I know I've dropped a huge amount of defensiveness, JC, but pray tell,
where do I still buy into the need for defense?
JC: Money is an area of your life where you think you must defend yourself.
MT: I think I am only being prudent, saving for the morrow like the ant.
Suppose the ants danced in the summer sun, what would they eat in winter?
JC: Yet this is part of the illusion that winter means starvation, that
God provides for every need except when the weather turns cold!
MT: We learned to hoard when we gave up hunting to become tillers of the
soil, I guess, but we lost much of the joy of life at that point.
JC: Do not become overly concerned with saving or not saving, planning
or not planning. Just know that defense implies vulnerability. It implies
a belief in separation, a belief in an unreliable and fickle God.
MT: Thanks for now, Friend. I have miles to go before I sleep. Drive with
135 If I defend myself
I am attacked.
That is so true. The moment I recoil, in that moment I am declaring separation,
from the Other, from God, from myself. Therefore, my prayer for this morning
is: Dear God, help me meet, completely without defenses, the world I made!
Because I did make it up, and I am the one who can unmake it. Nobody else
will ever, not in a million years, be able to fix the world for me. I
am the One, the Messiah, the Savior. I am The One.
136 Sickness is a defense against the truth.
MT: Radical statement, JC! You are very bold. I feel so helpless when
I am sick. This morning I woke up with a positional headache, and I immediately
launched into a string of thought: I had slept with my head turned
to the left, the position must have restricted flow of blood
to my head, must go to a doctor check on that, I don't want to have a
stroke and be in a wheelchair. . . so here I was, putting my body in a
wheelchair already, while lying in bed at four am!
JC: The headache is a defense against the truth of who you really are:
a sinless Son of God, created to create.
MT: That's startling. As you said that, I realized that people who are
truly engaged in what they are doing have very few illnesses, if any.
They are too busy. I've had the experience, myself, of starting a
backpacking trip with a cold, and fearing not to be able to go, but one
day into the wilderness and I think: where did the cold go? I couldn't
afford to be sick, away from medical care, so I wasn't sick any more.
JC: Yes, so how real was the cold? But I caution you that being sick is
not a sin. It's only a mistake, a failure in recognition, and very easily
corrected. Please avoid judging yourself or anyone else as less than holy
for being sick.
MT: We have all sorts of defenses, and sickness is only one of them, is
what you're saying. I get it.
136 Sickness is a defense against the truth.
MT: Sigh. Here comes The Body! Sadly, I can't fight illness. It happens,
and to engage in affirmations and visualization makes sickness real, just
as taking pills does.
JC: You must take the ultimate step: to give it all up. Surrender your
body and its infirmities to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is your
137 When I am healed I am not healed alone.
MT: Masterful, JC, the connection between the six billion of us humans through
healing. Sickness, the great separator, the scourge of mankind--sickness
spared no one, Beethoven went deaf from syphilis, Darwin died from Chagas'
disease--and healing through the Great Connection. This is truly the way
home. When I hurt my back fifteen years ago, I wanted nothing to do with
anyone else. I was angry, depressed, morose, immersed in my separated
self. Whenever I walk the world thinking how my body looks and how to
make it healthier, or just more acceptable, more enviable, more representative
of my status, I am separating myself and making hell of what could be
Heaven. But I must say, sickness seems awfully real when it's there. It's
easy to talk about it when I am feeling fine.
JC: It does have every appearance of reality. Your mind is very
clever in service of the ego. I am asking it to join with God instead.
MT: Just to reinforce the concept of the mind as maker of illness--supposedly
(I've only read about this) people with true multiple personalities
can be healthy in one, diabetic in another, to suffer from allergies in
one personality and not in another. It is totally unexplainable within
the medical view of illness, so medicine chooses to ignore it.
JC: What a price men have paid to maintain the separation and make themselves
MT: Oh yes, a staggering price to pay for nothing.
JC: What about you, today, here? How will you use this idea
in your life today?
MT: Well, you tell us to share it. Not to buy into the prevailing view
that we are helpless in the face of sickness, and to become miracle workers.
But I'm afraid of miracles. In the not-so-remote past, women got
burned to death as witches when they tried to be healers. Far easier
to bend my neck for the yoke than to soar like an eagle.
JC: You do not have to work miracles by yourself--in fact, you cannot.
Where the miracle is, there I am with you. Connection is the essential ingredient
of the miracle.
MT: What a good thought. I would share my healing with the world, that
sickness may be banished from the mind of God's one Son, Who is my Self.
137 When I am healed
I am not healed alone.
MT: So, JC, I cannot have Atonement for myself alone. I cannot shut out
those I don't like.
JC: You cannot have Oneness while maintaining duality. Who would want
to, after a glorious experience of God?
MT: I know all too well the isolating quality of sickness. When I am sick,
I want to curl up in bed and not even answer the phone. I sometimes actively
welcome the relief from duty and obligation.
JC: There is no duty and there is no obligation. These are from the ego.
You are under no laws but God's.
MT: How nice. I don't have to be sick. All I need is to be happy.
138 Heaven is the decision I must make.
MT. Interesting lesson about decision, JC. Just yesterday I thought: I
must decide to lose weight, it's only a matter of decision. But I
see that there is a more important decision to make. I see that to
focus on body weight is like focusing on a leaf when it's a forest I'm
JC: To continue with your analogy, the forest isn't even the constructive
focus. The real decision is to step out of shadows of trees
and walk out into the light. You do not have problems, you only have one
problem. To scatter your energies on a thousand different problems and
to ignore the real one would be a pity, besides being insane and driving
MT: I need to focus. I feel quite scattered, even as I understand
perfectly well what you're saying. Will you help me focus, please.
JC: One-pointedness. . . it is a matter of experience rather than
understanding. You can understand the darkness, you can bemoan it and
hurt yourself walking into rocks, you can fear the darkness because you
can't see in it, you can enlist others in studying it and become the world's
expert on darkness--it is all to no avail if you don't turn on the light!
MT: Today I decide on Heaven. Today I walk into the light.
138 Heaven is the decision
I must make.
MT: I can be in heaven right now, this minute. Heaven waits, not on time,
but on my decision. You say that time was made to help us make the decision.
Could you explain?
JC: Let me try. You are concerned with time. Your days, when you are at
home and free to do anything you want, are racked with doubts about how
to use time, and you end up doing something you don't really want to do,
such as playing computer games. You step away from the creative and into
the pastime. Why do you think it's called a pastime?
MT: A pastime is a way to sidestep guilt, for me--guilt for "wasting"
my day, the only day I've got. I can only waste today, I can't waste tomorrow
or yesterday. At that point, guilt, fear, anger rack at the self. In the
confusion all I can do is eat or play computer games. But I'm afraid you
won't be able to help me here.
JC: Yeah, I'll help you with everything else, but with this issue of time,
you're on your own!
MT: OK, sarcasm aside, what do you want to tell me?
JC: Time is not real. Time does not exist. You divided your life into
months and years and decades and assigned yourself tasks to be completed
within those arbitrary divisions. But God does not divide your life. Life
is. God is. You can accomplish in a moment what might take a thousand
years in your fragmented world.
MT: I want you to show me, again, how time does not exist. I experienced
this before, and how sweet it is. Show me that time does not exist. Help
me end the dream of conflict here.
139 I will accept Atonement for myself.
MT: I love it, JC, when you point out absurdities in the ego's thinking:
[The world] . . . is a place whose purpose is to be a home where those
who claim they do not know themselves can come to question what it is
they are. I am ready to give up my persona. I will accept Atonement for
myself. I am ready to be, again, still, as God created me.
139 (2006) I will accept Atonement for myself.
This lesson always sends a shiver up my spine. How long I labored under
the delusion that I was born bad and needed exorcism, the fear that my
father and his misguided deacons might exorcise my demons (how? it was
left to the fertile imagination of a young girl), and the endless, constant
preoccupation with my "defective" body. Today I accept Atonement
as reality, those old fears as a lamentable illusion that wasted decades
of my life and were handed down to my daughters. Today I shall no longer
worship at the blood-stained altar of sin. There is no sin. The Son of
God is free.
140 Only salvation can be said to cure.
MT: JC, the words you use this lesson are peculiar.
Salvation "said" to "cure"?
JC: Salvation cures. Medicine offers the illusion of cure, leaving the
root cause of illness untreated. The word "cure" can only be
rightfully used for the restoration of the connection with God. Anything
else is illusion, and does not exist.
MT: Once again, you turn my world upside down.
JC: No, I turn it right side up. It was upside down all along, and you
didn't know it.
MT: I just got a glimpse of what we're doing in our endless pursuit of
the right pill. Pills to lose weight, even. What a travesty--let me gorge
myself and then take in a chemical to magically throw the fat away.
People are hungry elsewhere, while in this country eating is an illness.
Even our animals suffer from this--my folks' cat is obese. Cat comes around
begging for attention, they feed it shrimp.
JC: The cat begs for connection, just as your soul does. The cat is a
living metaphor for the human predicament. By the way, the hunger you
see elsewhere comes also from a missing connection with God and with fellow
MT: This is profound. Think what will happen when we restore Oneness.
I can't wait.
JC: Paradise is your decision today. Refuse to make hell, and God will
140 Only salvation can
be said to cure.
You think that antibiotics cure. You imagine that salvation rests on pricey
cosmetics, the best health clubs, the right kind of herb concoction, sunscreen
and ointments and plastic surgery. But only salvation can be said to cure.
MT: I do my best to avoid doctors.
JC: You can go see a doctor, but you must know what you are seeing him
MT: And . . . ?
JC: You are seeing him as a brother, that your mind may heal, that his
mind, the mind that believes in sickness, can heal. That is what you are
seeing him for. Thus is your visit made holy.
Index of Lessons