by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
If you have ever read the section in A Course in Miracles entitled “Above the Battleground,” you quickly realize that the battleground is the everyday experiences of our lives in which we see ourselves as separate and at odds with each other. Every day we arm ourselves for war, so to speak, with our defenses, grievances, and judgments. We do not see ourselves as one with our brother or one with our Father. That sort of perception can often be seen as naive or perhaps hoped for in some future experience when we have all “evolved.” We don’t see that we have made a choice for “murder” instead of “miracles.” We have murdered the awareness of the Son of God (who we truly are) and settled for the pain and suffering of the world instead of the healing miracle God is holding out to us.
The Course tells us that we don’t even know we have done all this. We are not even aware of what we have “sacrificed” for this world of pain. All we know is the pain and suffering, and this world of misery has become a habit, the “norm,” and what we expect. From the perspective of the battleground of the world, it is what we deserve.
So how do we “win” this “war?” Well, not by fighting or attacking, but by transcending. We are to allow ourselves to be lifted up above the battleground, to a higher place where we can look from a new perspective at the situation we are experiencing. As the Course tells us…
“Here in the midst of it [the struggle and battles of life], it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped.” (T-23.IV.5)
In the past, I have asked people what their favorite quote from the Course is and why. I remember receiving this quote and explanation from a subscriber to our weekly livestream in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I feel her story highlights the point above. She wrote…
“I had lunch with The Holy Encounter today and decided to write and let you know my favorite quote from the Course. How could I possibly have just one? But, here goes. ‘Sickness is a defense against the Truth.’ (W-136)
“It took me a long time to really come to terms with that lesson. Every time I was feeling sick, I would pick up the Course and read that passage. One day when my ego was not getting in the way and I had stepped out of my fear, Holy Spirit really had me understand that sickness is a choice I make. The lesson says that we choose sickness and then forget that we do, but on this particular day I could actually see, like a stack of dominoes falling backward, what past decision had brought me to this point of suffering. In that instant (yes, a Holy one) I was able to ‘choose peace instead of this.’
“My illness didn’t go away, but the suffering that usually comes with it did. To this day I still get sick and yet I’m sick in a whole new way. I don’t dread it and I’m not frightened by it, I merely recognize that I am defending against God. That somewhere in my past few hours, days or weeks I made a choice to listen to fear instead of love, and then I make a conscious decision to choose love again. The illness may disappear, or not, but my suffering does. My attitude becomes one of acceptance and I am at peace with the illness, not fighting it or figuring out what I’ve done wrong to get myself in this situation (I recognize analyzing is a function of the ego and stop). I let go and let God and once again I am at rest in His arms.”
As this insightful Course student allowed herself to be lifted above the battleground, she permitted the healing process to begin. She did not have to struggle to figure out what she had “done” — that was not the issue. She just wanted to experience healing — healing of the mind. She joined her will with the Holy Spirit, accepted her responsibility for her choice for pain and not peace, and chose again. The result was a miracle (a holy instant) that healed her mind.
We are asked to accept responsibility for our choices, not guilt for our choices. Accepting responsibility allows the Holy Spirit to lift us above the battleground.”
We are asked to accept responsibility for our choices, not guilt for our choices. Accepting responsibility allows the Holy Spirit to lift us above the battleground. Feeling guilty for the situations or experiences we find ourselves in “murders” the awareness of peace in our lives. Therefore, we have chosen attack. Attack of ourselves, our brothers, and God. We feel separate and our experience of guilt reinforces that choice.
Accepting a miracle instead of murderous thoughts, allowing the Holy Spirit to lift us above the battleground, lets us experience right now a world of peace that is God’s will for us. It does not mean that anything in the “form” of the world changes, but the way we experience that “form” has been transformed. We have no idea from our limited perspective how to make that transformation, but then that is not our concern. Our focus is on rising above the cloud of confusion that the world so often shows us so that we might experience the world of clarity that God has promised us.
I remember when our son Jeff was little and how he would get so worked up when he was overtired. Nothing would satisfy him, not even his favorite toys or activities. He would become so confused that he would “attack” everything. He didn’t want to go to sleep and yet he really did. It is how I get when I am caught in the confusion of the world. When I am trying to figure everything out on my own, whether it be my personal challenges or my global concerns, attack fills my mind. I judge myself, and I judge the people and world I see. In that moment, I need to stop. I need to rest from my perceptions. I need to be lifted above the battleground of my mind to a place of peace and understanding.
Having this awareness is the start. Knowing that there is another choice we can make is very important. But, also recognizing when we are falling into the confusion is important. As the Course reminds us…
“When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.” (T-23.IV.6)
“A stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace.” All of these are warning signs that we are being tempted to leave the world of peace that God is holding out to us in favor of the painful, suffering world of the ego. Let us not “leave our place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder.” And we are told that this choice will be supported by God Himself. Is there a better support or help?
This is what we will be experiencing at our seminar this Saturday, September 25th. It is time we commit to living together in peace and making the choice to rise above the battleground. We must become aware of the temptation to assault love by cherishing attack, and then rise above it and make the choice for miracles instead. I hope you will join me.