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What is the Ego?
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Sarah's Reflections
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* Faithfulness  

The extent of the teacher of God's faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God's trust in the Word of God to set all things right---not some but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.

What is the Ego  
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What is 'Iambic Pentameter'? 

   The ego is idolatry; the sign

   of limited and separated self,

   born in a body, doomed to suffer and

   to end its life in death. It is the will

   that sees the Will of God as enemy,

   and takes a form in which It is denied.

   The ego is the "proof" that strength is weak

   and love is fearful, life is really death,

   and what opposes God alone is true.


   The ego is insane. In fear it stands

   beyond the Everywhere, apart from All,

   in separation from the Infinite.

   In its insanity, it thinks it has

   become a victor over God Himself,

   and in its terrible autonomy

   it "sees" the Will of God has been destroyed.

   It dreams of punishment, and trembles at

   the figures in its dreams, its "enemies"

   who seek to murder it before it can

   ensure its safety by attacking them.


   The Son of God is egoless. What can

   he know of madness and the death of God,

   when he abides in Him? What can he know

   of sorrow and of suffering, when he

   lives in eternal joy? What can he know

   of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt,

   of hatred and attack, when all there is

   surrounding him is everlasting peace,

   forever conflict-free and undisturbed,

   in deepest silence and tranquility?


   To know Reality is not to know

   the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts,

   its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes,

   its plans for its salvation, and the cost

   belief in it entails. In suffering,

   the price for faith in it is so immense

   that crucifixion of the Son of God

   is offered daily at its darkened shrine,

   and blood must flow before the altar where

   its sickly followers prepare to die.


   Yet will one lily of forgiveness change

   the darkness into light; the altar to

   illusions to the shrine of Life Itself.

   And peace will be restored forever to

   the holy minds which God created as

   His Son, His dwelling-place, His joy, His love,
   completely His, completely one with Him.


   ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM    


ACIM Lessons  

L e s s o n  340
I can be free of suffering today.



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    Father, I thank You for today, and for

    the freedom I am certain it will bring.

    This day is holy, for today Your Son

    will be redeemed. His suffering is done.

    For he will hear Your Voice directing him

    to find Christ's vision through forgiveness, and

    be free forever from all suffering.

    Thanks for today, my Father. I was born

    into this world but to achieve this day,

    and what it holds in joy and freedom for

    Your holy Son and for the world he made,

    which is released along with him today.


   Be glad today! Be glad! There is no room

   for anything but joy and thanks today.

   Our Father has redeemed His Son this day.

   Not one of us but will be saved today.

   Not one who will remain in fear, and none

   the Father will not gather to Himself,

   awake in Heaven in the heart of Love.

    ~ Original Hand-script of ACIM          


ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 

ACIM Edmonton, CA

Lesson 340
I can be free of suffering today.
Sarah's Commentary:

What would the day look like if you accepted your freedom from suffering today? What would be present in your day today and what would be absent? Jesus speaks to us about today, but it is no different than any other day. It is just that we give time reality and we put off for tomorrow what we can accept today. We think that maybe, if we do enough work, the day would come when we would be free of suffering, but why not now?

In the movie, "Groundhog Day," remember that the main character relived the day over and over again until he got the lesson, and we are doing the same thing. We relive each day, and will continue to do so, until we learn the lesson that there is no suffering, that we can welcome in the Loving Presence at this very moment and experience joy and peace instead of suffering and pain. For this we are told to be glad today. It is a day of gratitude that can be chosen today. "Thanks for today, my Father. I was born into this world but to achieve this day, and what it holds in joy and freedom for Your holy Son and for the world he made, which is released along with him today." (W.340.1.5-6)
Until we accept the truth of who we are, we are repeating the same mistake daily by believing in what we have made, believing in the separation, believing in sin and guilt, and fearing punishment. What keeps us from the truth of who we are is our belief that we are unworthy. Yet Jesus says that we cannot make ourselves unworthy "because you are the treasure of God, and what He values is valuable." (T.8.VI.5.13)(T.8.VI.46) He goes on to say that this is because we did not make ourselves. All we did was make the decision to believe that we are unworthy. If we made this decision, then we could certainly choose again and we could do that in this moment. We can simply side with the truth. We can stop the searching for what is there now. We are all the same and we all want the same things, so seeing our brothers as guilty only hurts us. The light of God is shining through us now, but we are actively choosing to arrest it.
Now we can make another choice. All of our suffering comes from our own wish to be who we are not. This wish gives rise to our thoughts from which come our experience of suffering. We develop strategies and defenses to protect ourselves from more suffering. While we hold onto these defenses, strategies, thoughts, beliefs, and stories, we will continue to feel like victims of external events. This lesson is about realizing that the cause of all suffering is in our own false thoughts and beliefs. We are now invited to look at them and allow forgiveness to shine them away.

We increasingly see that investing in our egoic thoughts only brings more pain, suffering and guilt into our lives. The question is, why do we so persistently hold onto our guilt and resist forgiving when we would be so much happier if we let it go? We resist forgiving because of our attraction to guilt and our determination to be right about the way we see others. We are still attracted to guilt, because we don't associate holding onto guilt with pain. We think that projecting our guilt and seeing it in others is our way out of pain. We think that judging others and holding them as guilty is how we maintain our own superior position of innocence. We don't see that guilt is attractive to us because it maintains our separate self. Thus, as long as we see guilt as our salvation and love as our damnation, we will be unwilling to give up the false self. We live in the split of wanting what we value as our own thoughts, and wanting the peace and love that is offered us through this practice. It is the continuing attraction to guilt, pain, death, victim and victimizer that keeps us rooted in the illusion, but this need not be. It is time to side with truth and refuse to listen to the ego. You are awakened now. You are the Christ. Accept that as the truth. Don't wait for tomorrow. Choose peace now.

When we see what we are doing to ourselves more starkly, then our motivation, to let these thoughts go, increases. We become willing to let them go, when we experience the joy and peace that come from bringing our unforgiving thoughts to the truth. Think of a difficult relationship that you have and look at the resistance in your mind to letting that person "off the hook" for what you believe they have done. This is an example of our resistance to forgiving and our attraction to guilt. Or think of someone that you have elevated as superior to you. Your feelings of unworthiness, in relation to that person, are another example of this attraction to guilt. It is about choosing to believe thoughts that are not true.

Jesus reminds us that, "Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not." (T.4.II.5.2)(ACIM OE T.4.III.28) They think their pleasure is in playing with what will hurt them. We are like those babies, believing we know where our pleasure comes from, how our judgments serve us, and what will bring us happiness.  Jesus reminds us that our sharp-edged toys, which we think are our source of pleasure, are actually painful for us. He invites us to look at how we are hurting ourselves with what we think we need and want. He will never coerce us to give up our beliefs and values, but he clearly shows us what the cost is to us. He shows us that our way only brings more unhappiness. Thus, we release our judgments in our own self-interest, and on behalf of our happiness. The ego tells us that once everything falls into place, we will know peace and happiness. Spirit says choose peace now and then everything will fall into place. Choose peace in all circumstances. Everything is called perfectly into our lives. There is nothing that should be different. We just need to see the perfection and accept it without judgment.
In Chapter 29.VII, "Seek Not Outside Yourself," (ACIM OE T.29.VIII "The Lingering Illusion"), Jesus reminds us that we will weep each time an idol falls. We invest in idols, which we substitute for God's Love, believing that is where our happiness comes from. These are special relationships with things outside of ourselves. When the idol is broken, stolen, lost or leaves us, we suffer. We suffer when we don't have it and want it, and we suffer when we have it, because of the fear of losing it. Our only true happiness comes from remembering who we are. Any other search for happiness is futile. Until we are ready to accept this, we will continue to look for happiness outside of ourselves and demand that things be different than they are. "For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there?" (T.29.VII.1.7-8)(ACIM OE T.29.VIII.43)

Jesus acknowledges that we are all here because we still have hope of something outside of ourselves that will bring us happiness and peace. We will wander aimlessly searching for this 'something' that we will never find until we become 'disillusioned' with our seeking for our happiness where it cannot be found. It is then that we become willing to give up our suffering, which comes from attachment to our separate identity, to our specialness, and to special people, things and events of this world. As long as we focus on the idols, we will not recognize that the source of our pain and suffering is in our own minds. It has nothing to do with how things go in the world. In fact, the purpose of this world is to keep us from this truth. What we see in the world can now serve a different purpose, which is for healing of our minds. Nothing will be taken away from us. The power of choice is our own. We can take as long as we want. The question is, are we willing to look at our painful experiences and realize that they are of our own choosing? When we do, we can either ask for help to release them or use these experiences to continue to justify our suffering. What was meant to curse can now bless!

We all have this incredibly deep, prevailing desire to go home. We may experience it as a yearning for our childhood home, our desire to return to our origin, a yearning for the good old days, or a yearning for a peaceful place somewhere in the world. It is well described in the movie, "Trip to Bountiful," which shows how deep and prevailing this yearning is. This old woman does everything in her power to return to her childhood home. The music is playing, "Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling,"---calling all of us to come home. You can also see it in the wonderful movie, "August Rush," which is another metaphor for the separation and return home. When movies tug at something very deep in us, by eliciting this longing, it is an indication of how deep this yearning is. But what we need to know is that the longing is really for our true home in God.

Why are we here? According to this lesson, it is only to achieve this day, a day free of suffering, a day of achieving Christ's vision. And every day we are on this earth, we have this as a meaningful goal until we return to the awareness of who we are. When we experience difficulty in our day, there is such a temptation to feel bad. When we don't meet our own expectations for what we set for ourselves as spiritual achievement, we judge ourselves. But this is not helpful. The truth is that we need do nothing. We are already redeemed. All that is needed is to be willing to look at our judgments without judging ourselves and be willing to let them go. Be watchful of your mind and simply be willing to look at what comes up, reminding yourself that any pain and anguish you are feeling is a false belief you are holding and not the truth about you or anyone else. Willingness is all that is called for. Perfection is a standard that the ego wants to set up for you so that you can crucify yourself when you fall short. Continue to do the work, but be gentle with yourself.

Finally we are reminded in this lesson that it is a day of joy and gratitude. "Be glad today! Be glad!" (W.340.2.1-2) "There is no room for anything but joy and thanks today." (W.340.2.3) With a grateful heart, let us embrace the lesson and know with certainty that we have help along the way, and that we can choose again, in every moment of distress, to be joyful in our day because our purpose is set.

"Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up, to show that what is born can never die for what has life has immortality." ( W.PII.Q13.5.1-4)
Jesus tells us, "Make this year different by making it all the same." (T.15.XI.10.11)(ACIM OE T.15.XI.112) He is reminding us that every situation, person or event we encounter in this dream is just another opportunity for forgiveness. And we do it over and over again until we recognize---that is all this world is for. It is truly like "Groundhog Day". Instead of treating every situation and event as having degrees of difficulty, realize that they all have one purpose---the healing of the mind through forgiveness. That is what today is all about, as is every day. Make every day the same.

Love and blessings, Sarah 


Paused for Weekend

4. What Are The Characteristics of God's

* Generosity

18 The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God's teachers, this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust, no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means "giving away" in the sense of "giving up." To the teachers of God, it means "giving away" in order to keep. This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world's thinking. In the clearest way possible and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.


19 The teacher of God is generous out of self-interest. This does not refer, however, to the self the world speaks of. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.  

* Patience

20 Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown as yet but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes---nothing that did not serve to benefit the world as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.


* Faithfulness

21The extent of the teacher of God's faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God's trust in the Word of God to set all things right---not some but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.


22True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain it is joyous, and being confident, it is tolerant. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God's teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. It is to them that faithfulness in the true sense is always directed. Toward them it looks, seeking until it finds. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on that alone to which all faithfulness is due.


* OpenMindedness

23 The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognized. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God's Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ's image be projected on him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.


24 How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.


25 You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God's teachers does not include those things which are the Son of God's inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God's teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is "true learning" in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.




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