This means that
You cannot be hurt, persecuted, offended, insulted.
Only the ego feels and identifies with these things;
You are not the ego; you are not the body; you are not the personal self.
You are Spirit, you are Pure Love, you are Innocence.
You are whole, healed, unassailable, eternal and changeless
‘Spirit is in a state of Grace forever’
This Easter I have been reflecting on when I first read ‘The Message of the Crucifixion’ (which is part of ‘The Lessons of Love’) and how extraordinary I found it. I could not believe this! Here was a message so very different from anything I had ever been taught. It was literally mind-blowing as it blew apart everything I had learnt in my exposure to the Christian message, and it blew apart my own attachment to and beliefs in suffering, guilt and victim-hood. I will explain why.. and I do hope that what I share will be helpful to you, dear reader, and perhaps interesting too.
Firstly, I had always found the Christian message troubling as I understood it and interpreted it; it simply didn’t resonate with me, particularly as a child and I mean no disrespect to others who have found solace and great enrichment in the acceptance of the traditional Easter message in their own lives.
With my discovery of the Course and it’s message of the crucifixion (and more importantly the resurrection) as one of love, innocence, invulnerability and forgiveness I felt great relief. This was a story and teaching I could embrace emotionally and practically, through application, in my life. This message is rooted in the Course’s wholly benevolent view of God – a God of pure unconditional love who created us as extensions of himself, as purely loving and loveable Sons of God who are wholly incapable of sin, and who are simply asleep to our True Nature.
Because of our belief in the separation, in the mistaken idea that we left our Source, we have accepted on an unconscious/unknowing level a false or imaginary belief in our guilt and our sin. This is the deep origin of our ‘unconscious guilt’ or sense of unworthiness that appears to be the default setting of humanity; the projection of which has caused untold pain for eons. That said, guilt and sin are illusions, for they are not real. Only LOVE is real. However we so believe in the illusion and this is because the world we experience with our five senses ‘proves’ its ‘real-ness’ over and over, with great emphasis and ingenuity. It is all a masterful and convincing smokescreen designed as a distraction and veil to prevent our ever knowing ourselves as we Truly are.
But the Christ, or Jesus as he was known as a man, saw straight through the illusion, and he KNEW who he was. He came to help us with our own awakening from the at times horrific dream-scape we believe ourselves to be in.
In the crucifixion Jesus gave us an extreme demonstration that precisely because evil, sin and death are illusions, we can love and forgive those that seem to harm us, because no real harm has been done. He tells us ‘I was persecuted as the world judges, and did not share this evaluation for myself’. He knew that he was not a body and therefore ‘the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter’. When he said ‘forgive them Father for they know not what they do’ he meant it because he saw through it all. Those who attacked him were sound asleep to their true nature, and as he teaches so often in the Course all attack is a call for Love, and that is how he perceived it.
Through his resurrection he demonstrated that he could not be destroyed, and his entreaty to us is to ‘Teach only LOVE, for THAT is what YOU are’. What we teach (extend) we will learn, and we need to learn that we are innocent, that we are invulnerable, that we are eternal Spirit – and that we are no different to Jesus because we are One with him, as the Christ, and as a brother.
No-thing, no assault nor attack nor illness can touch the Son of God, for he is unassailable.
Jesus writes ‘If you react as if you are persecuted, you are teaching persecution. This is not a lesson a Son of God should want to teach if he is to realise his own salvation (aka ‘awakening’). Rather, teach your own perfect immunity, which is the truth in you, and realise that it cannot be assailed.’
‘Teach your own perfect immunity, which is the truth in you’
This took my breath away when I first really ‘got it’. How many times in my life had I felt victimised, persecuted, threatened and frankly ‘crucified’, and reacted as such? So often when I had mis-perceived myself entirely as being a personal self within a fragile body, subject to the vicissitudes of life, I had experienced suffering, and all along I had unknowingly done this to myself. Blessedly I have learnt that I am NOT a victim of the world – I am at cause and not effect, and inherent in that is the empowering energy of total responsibility, as in each moment I can ask myself: ‘Am I crucified here, or am I an Infinite Being – invulnerable, unassailable and as God created me?’ Each choice for my invulnerability is my personal choice for resurrection.. ‘your resurrection is your reawakening’.
Moving on, Jesus talks about the ‘so-called agony in the garden’ where in the Bible Jesus is described as being angry with the disciples because they fell asleep instead of keeping watch. In the Course Jesus says ‘but I could not be angry with them because I knew I could not be abandoned.’
Another light-bulb moment! I recalled how often in my own life I had seen myself as rejected or abandoned –simply because in my state of awareness or consciousness at that time, I believed that I could be abandoned! Yes, there were occasions where the actions of others were hurtful. But as Spirit, eternally one with all that is, and with the constant companionship of my Inner Comforter and Guide, how can I be abandoned? This is impossible and there is joy in seeing that now – and compassion for the self that thought she could be abandoned. Amazingly, Jesus knew this as he was wholly integrated with his True Nature, so a sense of abandonment was impossible for him!
So why is there such a different story in the Bible, you may ask. That’s a whole field of inquiry itself, but in the Course Jesus mentions several times that the disciples projected their own fears, because of their guilt, onto him and perhaps this is why he is described as being angry. He refers to other anomalies where the intent of his teachings were misconstrued and he is presented as angry, or with vengeance at heart – ‘if the Apostles had not felt guilty they never could have quoted me as saying, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught.’
Further Jesus refers to Judas. This one is amazing and carries such a lesson of forgiveness. Poor old Judas has been vilified for centuries as the one who betrayed Jesus, bringing the soldiers to him in the garden, and then betraying Jesus ‘with a kiss ’. And he certainly got his ‘just deserts’ as the ego would define it, in his demise. In the Course Jesus contradicts the Biblical story by saying, ‘I could not have said, “Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The punishment that I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake.’
He then goes on to say ‘Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?’
‘I did not believe in betrayal.’ Wow. This man who lead the soldiers straight to Jesus was a brother and that was that. How many times in my life have I judged my brothers and sisters for much lesser ‘betrayals’? Someone is unkind or doesn’t align with my opinion and I feel betrayed. Things don’t go ‘my way’ and I feel betrayed. I experienced years of agony because a close friend rejected my child – I felt betrayed. But I have to ask myself, who was betrayed? My ego was betrayed because only the ego can feel betrayed. Spirit, my true nature, cannot be betrayed.. what is there to be betrayed but an illusion of Self, a diminutive personal self, so at the effect of changing winds and circumstance? Betrayal I realise is a belief.. and beliefs can be undone and released for the falsity that they are! Oh, the lightening in that awareness, and again only compassion for the sleepy self.
Jesus taught us that if he could remember the unchanging invulnerability of his True Nature, as well as the consistent Love of God, while facing extreme assault upon his body/person, surely we can remember and demonstrate the same truth when facing our own lesser ‘crucifixions’.
‘You have probably reacted for years as if you were being crucified.’ Umm.. yes. My ‘crucifixions’ may be small in comparison but there is no hierarchy of illusions in the mind. Feelings of persecution, of affront, of feeling unfairly treated have been myriad indeed; some so transient and undetectable that they slip through the net unacknowledged.
Think about it – someone cuts us off in the traffic and we feel persecuted; taxi drivers ‘drive us crazy’; our meal arrives late or not to our satisfaction in a restaurant and we feel aggrieved; a quirky comment in an email has us reeling; someone lets us down and we react as if we have been crucified! ‘WTF’ is the ego’s wail.. how dare they.. poor me.. did you see what they did.. I won’t forget this, and so on and on in a relentless dirge. Jesus doesn’t mince his words as he tells us ‘If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.’ I love that.. Only when we recognise the silly dynamic can we laugh at it and make a better choice!
The decision to root out our unconscious attraction to ‘crucifixion’ takes humility and radical self inquiry, but the sheer exhilaration of the exposure of it all opens the mind to healing.. and to miracles! The change of mind, the release of non-sensical self-deceptions is liberating; each a little ‘resurrection’ in itself.
It seems to me that Jesus is imploring us to absorb his teaching through every atom of our being. We are Love, we are Innocence, we are Invulnerable. Jesus demonstrated this truth as a potential in all of us, just waiting on our recognition. We cannot be hurt, abandoned, betrayed no matter how vehemently the ego would tell us otherwise! We are not guilty sinners; ‘No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners’. If we believe we are sinners we will project that onto our loved ones, our colleagues, our brothers.. those with whom we are One, and we will continue to hurt one another. The ‘Message of the Crucifixion’ invites us to teach an extraordinary message of hope, renewal and awakening.. to ‘Teach only LOVE for THAT is what YOU are’.