“All that is needful is to train our minds to overlook all little senseless aims, and to remember that our goal is God. His memory is hidden in our minds, obscured but by our pointless little goals which offer nothing and do not exist...” ACIM, Workbook page 423, Lesson 258.
Do we really believe that our goals in life are “pointless little goals which offer nothing and do not exist?” Of course we don’t. Most of us share the same goals, which include getting a good education, having a fulfilling career, a happy family life and money in the bank. These goals seem real to us and that’s why it is difficult to remember that our only true goal is God. Yet, if we want to awaken, God really is our only meaningful goal.
But that’s the problem with the world of the ego; the ego convinces us that our goals are valid and worth working towards. The more we focus on our worldly goals, the less likely we are to focus on awakening to God, which is the last thing the ego wants us to do. Remember that the ego has set itself up as a sort of God substitute, and if we listen only to the voice of our egos, we will remain trapped in an unreal world with meaningless goals.
It could be argued that goals such as an education, career, family, etc., are understandable for all of us experiencing life in the earth plane. These goals are fine provided we don’t let them obliterate the much more important goal of awakening from our dream. One will always have preferences in this world. Some people prefer city life; others prefer the peace and calm of the countryside. Many of us choose to have families whilst others prefer not to. Some enjoy having the security that goes with a regular job; others choose instead to travel around the world seeking fun and adventure. So long as these choices are just preferences which leave us time for our spiritual growth, then all is well. But if we focus all our attention on achieving any goals in the transient, illusory world we find ourselves in, in the end we will have wasted a lifetime.
A Course in Miracles teaches us that we need to accept the gift of Christ’s vision. The reason we don’t yet have Christ’s vision is because we have conflicting goals. Yes, we want to awaken but we also have earth-based goals. In Chapter 12 of the Text, Jesus acknowledges that we have called upon him but he points out that the reason we may not hear him is that we have conflicting goals: “...I have heard your call and I have answered it, but you will not look upon me nor hear the answer that you sought. That is because you do not yet want only that...” T232. In other words, we want to awaken yet we also want certain things in our dream world.
David Hoffmeister, in his wonderful book, Awakening through A Course in Miracles, says pretty much the same thing. A Course student asked him why it was so hard for him to have the atonement, when he had been practising the teachings of ACIM for many years. The reply that David gave him was, “All doings, behaviors and perceptions seemed to spring from a heart that desired God and desired idols....By desiring only God, remembrance of God comes back into Full Awareness. False desires will go for they have no Reality, no Source...” page 89.
If we look back at our lives we will realise that many “false desires” have now vanished, and even the things we still desire are not as important as they once were. So, with time, we will gradually grow to desire only God as we slowly turn away from things that once seemed so important to us. Of course, we still have to live somewhere, eat, clothe ourselves, go to work, look after our families, etc., but we will do all that whilst remembering that our only true goal is God. It may initially appear to be a matter of being in this world but not of it. However, we are not supposed to be in this world at all and so that Biblical phrase is not strictly accurate; we need to awaken from the dream and leave this world altogether. The Course tells us that the world will simply slip away when we have awakened.
If our only true goal is God, we will spend time with Him each day in meditation or prayer; we will practice all our forgiveness lessons and remember to stop ourselves when we find that we are judging others or ourselves. We will follow the instructions of our chosen Path whilst still fulfilling all our responsibilities in the dream world until the dream world is no more.
As we read in Lesson 258, “...Shall we continue to allow God’s grace to shine in unawareness, while the toys and trinkets of the world are sought instead? God is our only goal, our only Love. We have no aim but to remember Him.” W423.
If we remember that we are not at home here on earth, it might make it easier to focus on God as our only goal. We live in homes but they are not our true Home because they will not endure forever—neither will our bodies. ACIM frequently reminds us that we are wandering lost in a world that was not created by God. Thus we read in Lesson 200, “...This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here...”
The following passage from Lesson 205 sums it up very well: “The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide where I am not at home.”
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