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What does "I need do nothing" mean?
Question: I know you must have answered this question a hundred times already, but it's really bothering me just now. I really don't understand the ACIM statement, "I need do nothing." Isn't getting off the ego train "doing" something? Isn't being vigilant for the Kingdom "doing" something? Isn't turning problems over to the Holy Spirit "doing" something? When I try "doing nothing,” nothing seems to happen and I eventually give up and start doing "something" like paying the bills, or weeding the garden or planning my family's meal. Any thoughts?
Answer: Your question is sincere and very practical from what you currently believe. The seeming "doer" is a self-concept based on the belief in linear time. The Holy Spirit will exchange these "doer" self-concepts over and over and over as you seem to approach Atonement, and each shift or exchange will reflect a loosening of the ego self-concept. It will seem more and more as if you are "done through" rather than the being the "doer,” until the experience of wholeness dawns as: "There is nothing 'outside' or 'apart' from mind." This is the all-inclusive nature of the experience of Enlightenment.
As long as Awakening seems to be a process, a good prayer is that of Saint Francis: Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace. This "useful servant" concept is a very helpful stepping stone toward emptying the mind of all specific concepts and accepting the unified concept of forgiveness. The Point of Awakening comes with the realization that there is no "doer" and nothing has happened at all. Practices such as "getting off the ego train" and "being vigilant for the Kingdom" and "turning problems over to the Holy Spirit" all involve the concepts of individual mind or person, and from such a perspective, “doing” and “not doing” are seen as actions of mind or body. Atonement sees that all is mind, and in this awareness the concept of private thoughts and specific behaviors has vanished.
While you believe in linear time, let the Holy Spirit pay the bills through you, weed the garden through you, and plan your family's meals through you. As you allow this broader perspective to be more consistent in awareness you will feel less and less identified with the "doer." And "I need do nothing" will dawn at last!
Love & Blessings, David