Lesson 101
Nighmares are not Real
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21 We have repeatedly stated that beliefs of the ego cannot be shared, and this is why they are unreal. How, then, can "uncovering" them make them real? Every healer who searches fantasies for truth must be unhealed because he does not know where to look for truth and therefore does not have the answer to the problem of healing. There is an advantage to bringing nightmares into awareness, but only to teach that they are not real and that anything they contain is meaningless. The unhealed healer cannot do this because he does not believe it. 
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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  101
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
   Today we will continue with the theme 
   of happiness. This is a key idea 
   in understanding what salvation means. 
   You still believe it asks for suffering 
   as penance for your "sins." This is not so. 
   Yet you must think it so while you believe 
   that sin is real, and that God's Son can sin.| 
   If sin is real then punishment is just, 
   and cannot be escaped. Salvation thus 
   cannot be purchased but through suffering. 
   If sin is real then happiness must be 
   illusion, for they cannot both be true. 
   The sinful warrant only death and pain, 
   and it is this they ask for, for they know 
   it waits for them and it will seek them out 
   and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form 
   which evens the account they owe to God. 
   They would escape Him in their fear. And yet 
   He will pursue, and they can not escape.| 
   If sin is real salvation must be pain. 
   Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering 
   can never be escaped if sin is real. 
   Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, 
   but slowly, taking everything away 
   before it grants the welcome boon of death  
   to victims who are little more than bones 
   before salvation is appeased. Its wrath 
   is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.| 
   Who would seek out such savage punishment? 
   Who would not flee salvation, and attempt 
   in every way he can to drown the Voice 
   Which offers it to him? Why would he try 
   to listen, and accept Its offering? 
   If sin is real Its offering is death, 
   and meted out in cruel form to match 
   the vicious wishes in which sin is born. 
   If sin is real salvation has become 
   your bitter enemy, the curse of God 
   upon you who have crucified His Son.| 
   You need the practice periods today. 
   The exercises teach sin is not real, 
   and all that you believe must come from sin 
   will never happen, for it has no cause. 
   Accept atonement with an open mind 
   which cherishes no lingering belief 
   that you have made a devil of God's Son. 
   There is no sin. We practice with this thought 
   as often as we can today, because 
   it is the basis for today's idea.| 
   God's Will for you is perfect happiness 
   because there is no sin, and suffering 
   is causeless. Joy is just, and pain is but 
   the sign you have misunderstood yourself. 
   Fear not the Will of God. But turn to It 
   in confidence that It will set you free 
   from all the consequences sin has wrought 
   in feverish imaginations. Say:

    " God's Will for me is perfect happiness. 
     There is no sin; it has no consequence ."  
   So should you start your practice periods, 
   and then attempt again to find the joy 
   these thoughts will introduce into your mind.| 
   Give these five minutes gladly, to remove 
   the heavy load you laid upon yourself 
   in the insane belief that sin is real. 
   Today escape from madness. You are set 
   on freedom's road, and now today's idea 
   brings wings to speed you on, and hope to go 
   still faster to the waiting goal of peace. 
   There is no sin. Remember this today, 
   and tell yourself as often as you can:

    " God's Will for me is perfect happiness. 
     This is the truth because there is no sin."
~ Original Handscript of ACIM   
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.
Sarah's Commentary:

Jesus explains to us in this Lesson that if sin were indeed real, punishment would be called for and our salvation would require that we suffer for what we have done. I watched an Easter parade somewhere in South America. They were walking without shirts and beating each other on the back, drawing blood as part of their penance, believing that by this act of Atonement, they were demonstrating their love for Jesus and their willingness to suffer on behalf of what they believed he went through. Here Jesus says, "Who would seek out such savage punishment?" (W.101.4.1) Would we ever want to turn to a God who smiled approvingly on such self-sacrifice? Why do we insist on accepting the self-flagellation that we undertake when we crucify ourselves? No, we don't draw blood by physically beating on ourselves, but we do believe that we must be punished for what we have done wrong, and we crucify ourselves unmercifully with our self-attacking thoughts. We judge ourselves harshly for our perceived "sins," and we judge others equally. The ego seems to smile approvingly on such self-punishment, seeing it as appropriate penance for our "sins."
We believe Atonement can only come by satisfying God's need for vengeance. This is not the God Jesus talks about in the Course. This is the god of the ego. When we listen to the voice of the ego, it tells us that we deserve punishment for what we have done in leaving God and stealing His treasure. We are not unlike the Prodigal Son who stole his father's treasure and was afraid to go home and face him and believed he deserved to be punished for what he did.
We have established our separate self on God's demise. Thus, we believe Oneness has been destroyed, and God has been killed for us to exist. The ego has convinced us that we have committed a horrendous sin, and if we could see the extent of our guilt, we would want to die by our own hand. All who walk this world hold this belief. There is no question in our minds that sin and guilt always call for punishment. Through punishment, we think we are atoning for sin and thus making it all good with God. Basically, we hope the really guilty perpetrators in this world will be the ones severely punished. Now God can see how, in comparison to them, we did our best in a savage world. From this perspective, our salvation must be purchased. We have to pay a dear price in suffering, pain, victimization, and ultimately death. "The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God." (W.101.2.4-5)
To see this clearly, we need to look at our lives. Can you see how our lives are centered on so many experiences of pain and suffering? We attempt to avoid pain and distract from our suffering as much as possible, yet it is impossible for any of us to escape it. Our fear of God's punishment made up the world. We made up this world and the self we identify with in order to hide from God and avoid His punishment. Thus, the world of separation is where we hide from His love because we fear that, in the experience of His love, we will be annihilated. Now we punish ourselves, seeing ourselves as limited and lacking instead, hoping in the end that we will have suffered enough and thus atoned for our sin. Jesus says that God does not want this for us. He wants us to release our fears and our self-attacks by looking at them with him and recognizing we have been mistaken and have done nothing to deserve punishment.
It is important to understand the metaphysics of the Course, because otherwise our ego insanity will never get exposed. Without this teaching, our lives here as bodies and personalities, seemingly living in the world, appear to be very real and solid to us. We do our best to live with the pain and suffering and celebrate our periods of respite. In the end, we hope that we have been good enough and God will punish all those bad people out there, but not us, since we have adequately punished ourselves. We make efforts to be as good as we can be, atoning as much as possible for our mistakes.
Regardless of how much we try, we can't evade the end, which is death. The ego has tried to convince us that we will be safe in the body and in the world, but this is entirely bogus. Why would we not run from God if death were our salvation? We look to death as the assumed bringer of peace. How could we love a God who wills our death, especially a redeeming death full of pain and suffering? Isn't that what we are afraid of? Aren't we afraid that we have to suffer to atone for what we have done wrong? We are called to look at this part of ourselves that believes in the value of sickness and suffering.
"If sin is real, salvation must be pain ." (W.101.3.1) Jesus says, "It is essential that error be not confused with sin, and it is this distinction that makes salvation possible. For error can be corrected, and the wrong made right. But sin, were it possible, would be irreversible." (T.19.II.1.1-3) (ACIM OE T.19.III.17) "Sin calls for punishment as error for correction, and the belief that punishment is correction is clearly insane." (T.19.II.1.6) (ACIM OE T.19.III.17) Sin says that I have done something terrible, and now God is justified in punishing me so I can make it up to Him by my suffering.
If you are wondering if this is true for you, look at some of the ways it is expressed in our daily lives. We may feel something is too good to last; or if we are too happy, we become afraid the "other shoe would drop." Chuck Spezzano, who developed Psychology of Vision based on the Course, used to say in his sessions, "How good can you stand it?" Often, we don't allow the good into our lives. We sabotage ourselves. We stop ourselves from feeling "too happy." Or we may feel guilty if we are happy and someone in our lives is suffering. We feel obligated to join them in their misery, and we call this empathy.
True empathy does not mean joining with someone in his suffering. To do so is the ego's version of empathy. The Holy Spirit would teach us that suffering is not understandable and asks us not to try to join in their pain. We don't lighten it by sharing the delusion of suffering. "Make no mistake about this maneuver; the ego always empathizes to weaken, and to weaken is always to attack." (T.16.I.2.5) (ACIM OE T.16.I.2) To empathize from a place of strength is to ". . . merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you." (T.16.I.2.7) (ACIM OE T.16.I.2) In other words, we really don't know how to help or heal anyone. The only healer is the Holy Spirit. When we get out of the way, His Light shines through us. We will always be doing the loving thing under His guidance and not our own. When we see someone suffer, we are seeing wrongly. We are then called to heal our own misperception of who they are as limited and lacking. We are called to look beyond such appearances to the truth.
We think happiness cannot be a constant state. We believe in suffering. When I worked in juvenile detention, I saw young people mutilate their bodies. They would tell me that the pain was the only thing that made them feel like they were alive. They were so cut off from any kind of joy and were actively choosing pain in order to feel something---anything. And in many ways, we may do the same thing. We mess it up if it gets too good because we get scared. We all have some form of this self-inflicted pain because we believe we deserve punishment. Death is just further proof of God's vengeance on us for what we have done. "An angry father pursues his guilty son. Kill or be killed, for here alone is choice. Beyond this there is none, for what was done cannot be done without. The stain of blood can never be removed, and anyone who bears this stain on him must meet with death." (Manual for Teachers.17.7.10-13)
Aren't we afraid that if there were no sin, people would get away with murder, and without guilt people would do whatever they wanted, with no consequences? There would be no control. We have a strong investment in sin and punishment. There is no question that, within the illusion, controls are necessary. There are consequences for breaking the law, but this Course is not about behavior. It is about healing our mistaken notions of God---our fear of God---which is the final obstacle to peace. Jesus assures us constantly that God is only love. He is our refuge. Why would we be attracted to salvation if it required pain and suffering from us? Jesus keeps reminding us that God's will for us is perfect happiness. He does not want pain for us. We will know this is the case when we accept our innocence. It has always been there. We have not changed ourselves with our ideas of sin. "Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God's Son." (W.101.5.3) Let go of the idea of sin and guilt and recognize that mistakes can all be corrected. All of our misperceptions and mistaken notions of who we are can now be brought to the truth.
We are being asked today to look at how much we cherish sin in ourselves and others. Whether we blame ourselves or others, it is the same, because if we blame our brothers, it is just our self-blame and our guilt projected onto them. Forgiveness corrects our belief that sickness and suffering are the answer for us as a way to purchase our innocence, which we believe we have lost. Jesus clearly wants us to question this deeply held belief. Today, we recognize that to forgive others is our road back to forgiveness of God. We recognize that seeking happiness at the expense of our brothers only brings more guilt. Healing requires that we see our interests as the same as our brothers'. We all share the same need to heal our minds. When we see sameness in everyone, it reflects the Oneness of Heaven.
Today in our meditation practice, we go deep into the mind where we connect with the joy and happiness that are constant in us. The ego does not need to be punished and attacked in order to be subdued. Simply be willing to look at it. To resist it just strengthens the ego and makes it real; but when we connect to joy and peace, the ego has no defense. We do that by looking at our thoughts and bringing our false beliefs to the light of truth.
Knowing that God only wants happiness for me strengthens my willingness to continue on this path. I find that my determination, as well as my trust, grows through the dedicated practice of watching the mind and releasing the blocks to love. This is about being willing to take responsibility for my attack thoughts and bringing my projections back to my own mind.
When we have hurt or attacked someone, we don't have to go through a long period of remorse. Yes, we may deeply regret our actions, but instead of crucifying ourselves, we can recognize that what we have done is a mistake and not a sin. We are called to bring our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit. That is what God wills for us. That is the choice we can make. "There is no sin; it has no consequence." (W.101.6.7) Jesus did not die for our sins. He only demonstrated that he did not die, and neither can we.

Love and blessings, Sarah
A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Nine

The Correction of Error   

Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio

IV. The Unhealed Healer                

20 The ego's plan for forgiveness is far more widely used than God's. This is because it is undertaken by unhealed healers and is therefore of the ego. Let us consider the unhealed healer more carefully now. By definition, he is trying to give what he has not received. If he is a theologian, he may begin with the premise, "I am a miserable sinner and so are you." If he is a psychotherapist, he is more likely to start with the equally incredible idea that he really believes in attack and so does the patient, but it does not matter in either case.
21 We have repeatedly stated that beliefs of the ego cannot be shared, and this is why they are unreal. How, then, can "uncovering" them make them real? Every healer who searches fantasies for truth must be unhealed because he does not know where to look for truth and therefore does not have the answer to the problem of healing. There is an advantage to bringing nightmares into awareness, but only to teach that they are not real and that anything they contain is meaningless. The unhealed healer cannot do this because he does not believe it.
22 All unhealed healers follow the ego's plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians, they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation, and advocate a very fearful solution. Projecting condemnation onto God, they make Him appear retaliative and fear His retribution. What they have done is merely to identify with the ego and, by perceiving clearly what it does, condemn themselves because of this profound confusion. It is understandable that there has been a revolt against this concept, but to revolt against it is still to believe in it. The form of the revolt, then, is different but not the content.
23 The newer forms of the ego's plan are as unhelpful as the older ones because form does not matter to the Holy Spirit and therefore does not matter at all. According to the newer forms of the ego's plan, the therapist interprets the ego's symbols in the nightmare and then uses them to prove that the nightmare is real. Having made it real, he then attempts to dispel its effects by depreciating the importance of the dreamer. This would be a healing approach if the dreamer were properly identified as unreal. Yet if the dreamer is equated with the mind, the mind's corrective power through the Holy Spirit is denied.
24 It is noteworthy that this is a contradiction even in the ego's terms, and one which it usually does note, even in its confusion. If the way to counteract fear is to reduce the importance of the fearer, how can this build ego strength? These perfectly self-evident inconsistencies account for why, except in certain stylized verbal accounts, no one can explain what happens in psychotherapy. Nothing real does. Nothing real has happened to the unhealed healer, and he learns from his own teaching.
25 Because his ego is involved, it always attempts to gain some support from the situation. Seeking to get something for himself, the unhealed healer does not know how to give and consequently cannot share. He cannot correct because he is not working correctively. He believes that it is up to him to teach the patient what is real, but he does not know it himself. What, then, should happen? When God said, "Let there be light," there was light. Can you find light by analyzing darkness as the psychotherapist does or like the theologian, by acknowledging darkness in yourself and looking for a distant light to remove it while emphasizing the distance?
26 Healing is not mysterious. Nothing will occur unless you understand it, since light is understanding. A "miserable sinner" cannot be healed without magic, nor can an "unimportant mind" esteem itself without magic. Both forms of the ego's approach, then, must arrive at an impasse, the characteristic "impossible situation" to which the ego always leads. It can be helpful to point out to a patient where he is heading, but the point is lost unless he can change his direction. The therapist cannot do this for him, but he also cannot do this for himself.
27 The only meaningful contribution the therapist can make is to present an example of one whose direction has been changed for him and who no longer believes in nightmares of any kind. The light in his mind will therefore answer the questioner, who must decide with God that there is light because he sees it. And by his acknowledgment, the therapist knows it is there. That is how perception ultimately is translated into knowledge. The miracle worker begins by perceiving light and translates his perception into sureness by continually extending it and accepting its acknowledgment. Its effects assure him it is there.
28 The therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness, but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only therapist. He makes healing perfectly clear in any situation in which he is the Guide. The human therapist can only let Him fulfill His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. Remember that you are choosing a guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will. Trust Him, for help is His function, and He is of God.
29 As you awaken other minds to the Holy Spirit through Him and not yourself, you will understand that you are not obeying the laws of this world, but that the laws you are obeying work. "The good is what works" is a sound, though insufficient, statement. Only the good can work. Nothing else works at all. This course is a guide to behavior. Being a very direct and very simple learning situation, it provides the Guide who tells you what to do. If you do it, you will see that it works. Its results are more convincing than its words. They will convince you that the words are true. By following the right Guide you will learn the simplest of all lessons-
30 By their fruits ye shall know them,  
and they shall know themselves. 
          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM  

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