In the previous class, we looked at how we are currently alone and friendless; even the friendships we think we have are friendship mixed with its opposite: the perception of stranger and enemy. However, in truth, everyone is our “ancient friend,” not a stranger, not an enemy.
In this class, we saw that recognizing our brother as our friend is our choice. Nothing is stopping us from acknowledging our brother as our friend. And if we do that, we will see a world full of friends. And since “friend” is defined as someone who is supportive of and beneficial to our interests, then seeing a world of friends means seeing a world of safety, a world that is kind, a world we can trust, a world we can be at peace in.
Here are the quotes that I discussed in class. I would be very interested to hear any thoughts, reactions, or questions. I’ve decided to do the concluding exercise as my practice today. So far, it’s having a whole new effect on me. I’ve never experienced Lesson 68 quite this way.
IT IS OUR CHOICE
When we choose to be the world’s friend, how can it be our enemy?
No longer is the world our enemy, for we have chosen that we be its Friend. (W pI.194.9:6)
This brother is the giver of our salvation? Do we choose that he be our friend or enemy?
Is this giver of salvation your friend or enemy? Choose which he is, remembering that you will receive of him according to your choice. He has in him the power to forgive your sin, as you for him. Neither can give it to himself alone. And yet your savior stands beside each one. Let him be what he is, and seek not to make of love an enemy. (T 19.IV(D). 13:3-8)
WHICH FRIEND DO WE CHOOSE—OUR BROTHER OR AN ILLUSION?
With the following passage, first choose one illusion you are attached to, then choose one person in your life, preferably someone with whom that attachment gets in the way of your relationship. Then each time the passage mentions the “one illusion” or “one shadow,” think specifically of your illusion. And each time the passage mentions the friend that God appointed, think of the person you chose.
Lead not your little life in solitude, with one illusion as your only friend.
This is no friendship worthy of God’s Son, nor one with which he could remain content.
Yet God has given him a better friend, in whom all power in earth and Heaven rests.
The one illusion that you think is friend obscures his grace and majesty from you, and keeps his friendship and forgiveness from your welcoming embrace.
Without him you are friendless.
Seek not another friend to take his place.
There is no other friend.
What God appointed has no substitute, for what illusion can replace the truth?
Who dwells with shadows is alone indeed, and loneliness is not the Will of God.
Would you allow one shadow to usurp the throne that God appointed for your friend, if you but realized its emptiness has left yours empty and unoccupied?
Make no illusion friend, for if you do, it can but take the place of him whom God has called your friend.
And it is he who is your only friend in truth.
He brings you gifts that are not of this world, and only he to whom they have been given can make sure that you receive them.
He will place them on your throne, when you make room for him on his. (T-26.VI.2-3; “friend” references changed to lower case in accordance with original dictation)
A WORLD OF FRIENDS
In the real world, everyone and everything calls to you, asking to be your friend
The outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it, and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft eternal calling of each part of God’s creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings. (T-31.I.8)
When you are healed, a world in which all eyes appear to be accusing you will be replaced by a world full of people who see you as the friend who brought them their release.
The world of accusation is replaced by one in which all eyes look lovingly upon the Friend who brought them their release. (T 27.V.7:6)
In forgiving dreams, hated enemies are seen as friends with merciful intent
In His forgiving dreams are the effects of yours undone, and hated enemies perceived as friends with merciful intent. (T 28.II.10:3)
When I forgive, I will see everyone as my dearest friend
I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend. (W pI.rI.60. 3:5)
Exercise in seeing a world of friends and thus feeling a world of safety
In the following exercise, note how seeing all people as your friends leads to seeing a world that is safe, that supports, protects, and loves you.
Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like, and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.
Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all collectively, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:
I would see you as my friends,
that I may remember you are part of me,
and come to know myself.
Spend the remainder of the practice period in thinking of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world which protects you and loves you, and which you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you, and holding you up. Try to feel, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. (original version of W-pI.68.5-6)
[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]