“An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. (T21-22)”
Affirmation: “Tolerance for pain is not without limit.”
1 – An Imprisoned Will
This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles. When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another. Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult.
2 – Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Guidance
When we reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are caught in the bonds of an imprisoned will, which engenders pain–sometimes extreme pain. Although the Course affirms the releasing truth that we do not have to learn through pain, the truth is that many of us do learn through pain. We can suffer in this pain greatly, but our tolerance for pain, as this passage says, is “not without limit.” Sooner or later we will come to see that there must be another way, a better way, to live, and this is when we turn to God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit.
3 – Another Way
Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the two individuals responsible for bringing us the Course, agreed together to seek another way. At the time they and their department at Columbia University were embroiled in competition and attack, and camaraderie was largely missing. Helen and Bill embarked on a seven-year project, with Helen channeling from Jesus, and Bill, each morning, typing what had come through the day before. Tolerance for pain in these two had become intolerable.
4 – No Tolerance for Pain
May this tolerance soon become intolerable for us as well, and then we will be ready to listen, perhaps for the first time, to innermost guidance.
May I choose to eliminate pain from my experience. I know that pain is not Your will, and may it not be mine either.
If I have learned through pain, may this learning come to an end. Your will for me is total happiness.