[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
In my Post-Workbook Practice this year, I am choosing my daily lesson from the Text. Yesterday’s lesson was from T-13.IX.”The Cloud of Guilt.” The main ideas for me were:
- Guilt is an attack upon God’s Son
- It links the past to the future
- If I feel guilty within, I will project it outward and condemn my brother
- In doing so, I will essentially choose to remain guilty
- Seeing no one as guilty affirms my own innocence and the other person’s as well
- Guilt makes me blind… blind to the light that is really within me
- However, there can be no guilt in me because God created me perfectly innocent
- Therefore, I must look within and see that innocence, and then I will look upon a guiltless world
Since guilt is the default in my “operating system,” all of this really spoke to me, but I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to practice it. By the time I had to drive James to work, I still hadn’t got the exact words to practice. On the way back, as I let the ideas percolate, what kept coming to me was “Guilt made me blind… but now I can see.”
Then what came into my mind were these words from “Amazing Grace”: “I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” Now, I must say that I have never liked “Amazing Grace.” To me, it sounds like a dirge, so heavy and mournful. I also don’t like the “wretch like me” idea; it smacks too much of sin and guilt to me. However––driving home along the highway, those words repeating in my mind, tears were streaming down my face, and I saw the song in a whole new light. I recognized that guilt made me blind, but also understood that the grace of God had created me innocent and that seeing that innocence frees me and allows me to free my brothers. That solidified my practice idea: “Guilt made me blind, but now I can see!” I drove the rest of the way home still teary, but filled with joy. I felt as if I had received a miracle.
I got home just in time to quickly prepare for a meeting with two of my Course colleagues. I knew that they were finishing up Review V, so I had a quick look at the Introduction and was struck by these words: “Let this review become a time in which we share a new experience for you, but one as old as time and older still. Hallowed your name. Your glory undefiled forever. And your wholeness now complete, as God established it… We practice but an ancient truth we knew before illusion seemed to claim the world” (10:1-6). These words related so well to the section I had read earlier. I was being called today to have a new experience of my innocence and holiness, and it was by practicing the words of my lesson that I would have that experience.
Then I went on to look at the two review ideas. I knew the central review thought, “God is but Love, and therefore so am I,” but I didn’t know the two specific review lessons for the day. You can imagine how I felt when I saw, “By grace I live, by grace I am released,” and “There is no cruelty in God and none in me”!
It’s the grace of God that says that I am totally innocent, and in that I am released. The second practice line from the original lesson is, “By grace I give, by grace I will release.” Through grace, I will free my brothers from their belief in guilt. Then the second lesson: I look within and see unlovingness, judgment, even cruelty sometimes. But this lesson tells me that’s not who I am. God’s grace releases me from the belief that there is cruelty in me, as well as from the guilt I feel. I knew that this was no coincidence. The miracle was continuing! I wouldn’t even have looked at that review lesson if I hadn’t had my meeting this morning. It was as if the Holy Spirit knew that the idea needed reinforcing in me!
At the end of our meeting, I told my colleagues about this experience, and after I finished, one of them said, “I read something from T-25.VI on the grace of God this morning as well.” She had taken Robert’s suggestion in the TRP commentary and had reworded the first paragraph in the first person, making it into a prayer. I asked her to end our meeting time by reading the prayer to us. As she did, I was amazed: The prayer wrapped up all we had been talking about. All of it was beautiful, but it was these two lines that moved me especially:
The grace of God rests gently upon my forgiving eyes…. I have the power to heal and bless all those I look upon with the grace of God upon my sight.
So, I incorporated them into my lesson for the day, which ended up being:
Guilt made me blind, but now, I can see.
The grace of God lies gently on my forgiving eyes,
And I see everyone with that grace upon my sight.
By the end of the meeting, about all we could do was marvel at how the Holy Spirit had woven all those pieces together to give me a lesson (in more ways than one!) and all of us a blessing.
From the meeting, I went out on to several “busy doings” in the world, and I carried the lesson with me throughout. The last line was particularly helpful as a response to temptation, although I didn’t even need it very much. The experience I had had earlier must really have worked, because I hardly had any temptations to respond to! I truly hope that this does offer me “a new experience” every day of my life!