I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.
“Father, what You have given cannot hurt, so grief and pain must be impossible. Let me not fail to trust in You today, accepting but the joyous as Your gifts; accepting but the joyous as the truth” (ACIM Lesson 284 2:1-2).
As humans, we feel pain and we feel suffering. However, as we have journeyed throughout A Course in Miracles, our experience has been a deepening in the understanding that although we may feel pain and suffering, we are not pain and suffering. Light can feel pain. Love can feel suffering. The difference is that neither pain nor suffering can overcome Light and Love.
It has been quite the journey, 284 lessons worth, as we have observed our misguided thinking of, “I am going through a tough time. I am suffering. How can the Course tell me that I do not have to suffer? My circumstances tell me that I am suffering. And I know I am because I feel it.” We can also insert the word, “pain,” instead of suffering into those sentiments. But we are not new to a statement like today. We have approached a similar teaching many times before, accepting the invitation to go deeper and deeper, making the Truth part of being, just as we will do today.
“And I would go beyond these words today, and past all reservations, and arrive at full acceptance of the truth in them” (ACIM Lesson 284 1:8).
The real question is, “What is your identity?” Is it pain? Is it suffering? Is it your external circumstances? Each lesson builds upon the next and we recall from yesterday, “My true Identity abides in You” (ACIM Lesson 283). Our Identity is beyond any thought or feeling of pain, injustice, shame, guilt, and suffering. Where we truly abide, nothing can touch us. Nothing can change us. We have the gift of free will and can choose to experience any range of emotions and feelings that we wish. And, true, sometimes, like with the pain of an illness or injury, it can seem like we have no choice, but we do.
The body can feel pain. We, as humans, can feel sadness. But we have a choice to see the love in it and to see what can be explored. We can say, “Pain, bring it on. Teach me! Suffering, I welcome you. Teach me with all your might!” We can be as curious as a scientist about pain and suffering, instead of standing in resistance. When pain and suffering see our courage, from personal experience, the feeling of them seems to diminish a little. When we let go of our resistance, it is easier for such experiences to wash over us rather than to topple us over.
I have noticed recently that when I have felt pain, I have caught myself saying, “When this pain goes away, I promise I will live my life differently. I am going to enjoy life more. I am going to do more of what I love to do.” When pain has overtaken my body in recent years, it has drawn my attention to where I have been asleep in my life. It has gathered my awareness to those areas where I have desired to live differently but have been putting it off. As a human being, I will be privy to pain, suffering, and the entire gamut of emotions and feelings; however, I do have the power to change my thought about them and how I shall experience such things. The difference lies in the desire to be taught by them rather than to be led by them. In doing so, the awareness that everything is always okay, inevitably arises, because what is created as perfect, shall remain so.
We will exercise our power of choice today. We will go past the layer of emotion and feeling and go straight to the root of what we are, to then turn around and experience what we may feel but from a different level. We will rise above our identity to our Identity. We will go where we have previously thought was impossible, a place beyond pain and suffering, to what is actually not only possible but absolutely True. We will see the joy, light, love, and “okayness” in all. Namaste.