I have long been inspired by the idea of standing for something, of taking a stand, of standing up and being counted. With the Course in my life, I feel that I have been taking a stand for Jesus, standing for his teachings. I have felt that I’ve been standing with him, joining with him, carrying his standard and being an active worker in his party.
I can easily picture Jesus and I standing together side-by-side, firm and united in “certainty of purpose.” Together, we are taking a stand for truth and against illusions. We are taking a stand for love and forgiveness and against judgment and anger. We are taking a stand for blessing the world and against condemning it. We are taking a stand for God and against the ego. We are standing on the only firm and safe ground on which we can stand; that is, the ground of truth. This is where we are meant to stand.
However, that is not where I always do stand! A lot of my life has been about taking a stand for the ego. I have listened to its lies and even upheld them, making them the modus operandi of my life. With the teachings of the Course, I feel that I have had help to make my stand against the ego, just like in the old western movies, when the “good guys” made a stand against the “bad guys.” I feel that Jesus is here to help me take up position against the ego and to help me stand my ground, maintaining my position, being vigilant for the “attacks” of the ego and diligent in countering them. I can’t do this by myself, but with him standing by my side, I feel I have all the help I need.
I have always liked yesterday’s lesson––Lesson 354––mainly because of the idea of standing together and all it implies:
We stand together, Christ and I, in peace
And certainty of purpose. And in Him
Is His Creator, as He is in me.
Even though I have practiced it many times over the years, I experienced it differently this time around. I think in the past I have seen it as Jesus and I standing together, two individual human beings––albeit one in his Christ Self! That’s been easy to picture. However, yesterday in my morning quiet time, when I read, “We stand together, Christ and I,” that wasn’t as easy for me to imagine. Christ is different. Christ isn’t another human being. He isn’t someone outside me; he’s not even simply a part of me. He is, as this lesson says, my true Self, my one and only Self.
I actually felt a bit threatened by the idea––even though the day before I had posted a blog entitled, “Christ is but my Self,” and felt all excited! Standing with Christ means that I have to accept that He is not outside me, but within. Standing with Christ means joining with the truth of my Self and counting on it. It means I have to take God’s Word for what I am, and do what Christ, God’s Son would do. No more excuses, no more littleness. Hmm, I just realized how well this lesson fits in with the Christmas readings in Chapter 15, especially Section III, “Littleness versus Magnitude.” To stand with Christ means that I first need to let Him be born in me.
As I practiced during the day, I really tried to join with the Christ that I am and stand together with Him. For instance, I was driving across the city on a snowy highway on this Saturday-before-Christmas, and as I drove I said, “We drive together, Christ and I, in peace and certainty of purpose.” I also remembered from the day before that,
My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet today
Have but one purpose; to be given Christ
To bless the world with miracles.
So, I gave my eyes to Christ and that helped me be more tolerant and loving toward other drivers. I gave Him my tongue and found myself blessing those drivers! I gave Him my hands and feet, and I drove in a more relaxed and peaceful fashion. As I stood outside a theatre in well-below-freezing temperatures, waiting for the doors to open, I repeated, “We stand together Christ and I, in peace and certainty of purpose.” It didn’t warm me up, but it did stop me from judging and getting angry at the management!
I had plenty of other occasions to practice the idea yesterday. As I went about my business, I imagined standing with Christ and looking through the same eyes, speaking the same words, using the same hands to do things together, and walking with the same feet to the same place. It helped me go through the day with grace and with ease, “in peace and certainty of purpose.”
Last night I got upset with James and ended up standing, not with Christ, but with the ego. I decided to take some space from the situation and finish writing my blog about today’s lesson. In the midst of writing it, I realized that I should be applying the lesson to the situation (duh!), so I decided to do an ask-and-answer exercise with myself:
What am I standing for now in this situation? Truth or illusions? Joy or pain? Peace or conflict? Love or fear? Forgiveness or judgement?
Tears came to my eyes as I answered, “Illusions, conflict, fear, judgement.”
What do I really want to stand for?
“Truth, peace, love, forgiveness.”
With whom am I standing? Christ, my true Self, or the ego, the self I made?
With whom do I really want to stand?
Tears again as I answered, “Christ, my true Self.”
What is my purpose in this situation? To bless with miracles or to condemn with my judgements?
“My purpose is only to bless with miracles of love and forgiveness. This is all I want to do. It’s the only thing that will restore me to the peace and joy I want.”
I ended by extending this invitation to Christ: “Come and stand with me, and help me take a stand for the truth. Help me see my brother James with Your eyes. Help me love and forgive him. Help me bless him with miracles.”
I have finished the practice and this blog, and I feel totally different. I am at peace and filled with love and gratitude for my brother. I think I’ll go and tell him––even if it is the middle of the night!