FRIDAY APRIL 15, 2016
Look Back from Sanity
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 9 "THE CORRECTION OF ERROR"
VI. SALVATION AND GOD'S WILL 

43 You cannot evaluate an insane belief system from within it. Its own range precludes this. You can only go beyond it, look back from a point where sanity exists, and see the contrast. Only by this contrast can insanity be judged as insane. With the grandeur of God in you, you have chosen to be little and to lament your littleness. Within the system which dictated this choice, the lament is inevitable. Your littleness is taken for granted there, and you do not ask, "Who granted it?" The question is meaningless within the ego's thought system because it opens the whole thought system to question.    
DAILY LESSON
SonShip Workbook 
 L e s s o n 105
God's peace and joy are mine.  

*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*

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   God's peace and joy are yours. Today we will
   accept them, knowing they belong to us.
   And we will try to understand these gifts
   increase as we receive them. They are not
   like to the gifts the world can give, in which
   the giver loses as he gives the gift;
   the taker is the richer by his loss.
   Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt.
  
   The truly given gift entails no loss.
   It is impossible that one can gain
   because another loses. This implies
   a limit and an insufficiency.
   No gift is given thus. Such "gifts" are but
   a bid for a more valuable return;
   a loan with interest to be paid in full;
   a temporary lending, meant to be
   a pledge of debt to be repaid with more
   than was received by him who took the gift.
  
   This strange distortion of what giving means
   pervades all levels of the world you see.
   It strips all meaning from the gifts you give,
   and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.
   A major learning goal this course has set
   is to reverse your view of giving, so
   you can receive. For giving has become
   a source of fear, and so you would avoid
   the only means by which you can receive.
 
   Accept God's peace and joy, and you will learn
   a different way of looking at a gift.
   God's gifts will never lessen when they are
   given away. They but increase thereby.
   As Heaven's peace and joy intensify
   when you accept them as God's gift to you,
   so does the joy of your Creator grow
   when you accept His joy and peace as yours.
  
   True giving is creation. It extends
   the limitless to the unlimited,
   eternity to timelessness, and love
   unto itself. It adds to all that is
   complete already, not in simple terms
   of adding more, for that implies that it
   was less before. It adds by letting what
   cannot contain itself fulfill its aim
   of giving everything it has away,
   securing it forever for itself.

   Today accept God's peace and joy as yours.
   Let Him complete Himself as He defines
   completion. You will understand that what
   completes Him must complete His Son as well.
   He cannot give through loss. No more can you.
   Receive His gift of joy and peace today,
   and He will thank you for your gift to Him.

   Today our practice periods will start
   a little differently. Begin today
   by thinking of those brothers who have been
   denied by you the peace and joy which are
   their right under the equal laws of God.
   Here you denied them to yourself. And here
   you must return, to claim them as your own.
   Think of your "enemies" a little while,
   and tell each one as he occurs to you:
   
    My brother, peace and joy I offer you, 
    That I may have God's peace and joy as mine.

   Thus you prepare yourself to recognize
   God's gifts to you, and let your mind be free
   of all that would prevent success today.
   Now are you ready to accept the gift
   of peace and joy which God has given you.
   Now are you ready to experience
   the joy and peace you have denied yourself.
   Now you can say "God's peace and joy are mine,"
   for you have given what you would receive.

   You must succeed today if you prepare
   your mind as we suggest, for you have let
   all bars to peace and joy be lifted up,
   and what is yours can come to you at last.
   So tell yourself "God's peace and joy are mine,"
   and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice
   assure you that the words you speak are true.

   Spend your five minutes thus with Him today
   each time you can today, but do not think
   that less is worthless when you cannot give
   Him more. At least remember hourly to say
   the words which call on Him to give you what
   He wills to give, and wills you to receive.
  
   Determine not to interfere today
   with what He wills. And if a brother seems
   to tempt you to deny God's gift to him,
   see it as but another chance to let
   yourself receive the gifts of God as yours.
   Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:
    
   My brother, peace and joy I offer you, 
   That I may have God's peace and joy as mine.
                  
          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM  

  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 105
God's peace and joy are mine.
 
Sarah's Commentary:
 
We know we have received the gifts of God when we give them. We can't know about what we have and what we are until we give and extend. This is a central thought in the Course. In fact, Jesus says reversing our view of giving is a "major learning goal this course has set." (W.105.3.1) What is your idea of giving? Isn't it mostly about what you can get in return? In the world's perspective,giving is about loss and a requirement for reciprocity. Don't we usually expect something back? If I am kind and generous to you, I expect some kind of gratitude, kindness and generosity in return. When we really understand there is no need for reciprocity, because we are only giving to ourselves, then we can experience true giving where there are no expectations.

"God's peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them ." (W.105.1.1-3) How do we accept God's peace and joy? It is by recognizing if they are in us now, then everyone must share in our peace and joy. These attributes are already in everyone because they have been given to us all by God in our creation. We all share in the oneness. The ego would have us believe if we have peace and joy, we must have gained at someone's expense. It is the belief in one or the other. If I am happy, I have won my happiness at someone's expense and they have therefore lost what I have gained. This is why we feel guilty when we feel very happy, and believe happiness can't last. We feel we don't deserve to be happy. The ego is all about bargaining. It is only happy to give when it will get something in return.
 
A friend recently gave me some items in her garage sale for which I paid what she asked. Later, I noticed there was a small item I had picked up I had not paid for. I assumed it would perhaps be worth about three to five dollars. When I phoned her and told her I wanted to pay for this item, she told me I could pay for the lunch we had scheduled the following week. Lunch would be in the neighborhood of twenty dollars. All of a sudden I felt as though I had lost in this transaction. The bargain was not in my favor. It was another opportunity to look at my idea of value and a sense of having lost in this transaction. But to the spirit, nothing can be lost. We are only giving to ourselves all the time. The gifts we truly give, we truly receive.
 
Where the thought originated in the mind was with the belief we stole our identity from God and now we have our individual self at His expense, because there can't be both God and me in oneness. If I exist then He cannot. It is a thought of 'one or the other,' meaning if I win, someone must lose. It is how we function in the illusory world. With this thought comes the belief we have done something terribly wrong, so we feel guilty. It is not a conscious thought in us, but don't we all carry a vague feeling we are wrong, although we are not sure why? When we hold onto this belief, any happiness we feel is tinged with guilt, because we feel someone must have lost if we have gained. For example, if I feel happy my needs are being met, it is based on my expectation that you have sacrificed your happiness on my behalf. Now I feel loved and supported by you. I have received what I want from you. As a result, my happiness is tinged with guilt. It is because we feel if we got what we wanted, we must have stolen it, just like we stole God's gifts and hid them in the world to escape His wrath. So it seems like peace and joy can't be ours without being accompanied by the feeling we don't really deserve to have them. If we have them, someone else must not.
 
This idea is really developed in Chapter 16 where Jesus talks about our special relationships. These are what he calls the "bargains made with guilt." (W.105.1.5) They are bargains made with guilt because in our special relationships, we give our gifts in exchange for receiving them from the other. Yet we want something better than what we gave. Our special relationships are about trying to extract from the other gifts of greater value than the ones we gave. We each want to give as little as possible to get as much as possible. All the conflict we experience in our relationships is based on this premise. We are constantly trying to extract from the other what will best meet our needs. It is the basis for our misery and suffering because now we live in guilt. Healing requires this be looked at with great honesty. Otherwise we exempt ourselves from this process, seeing ourselves as innocent while others are the guilty ones, withholding from us what we are trying to extract from them.
 
"Each partner tries to sacrifice the self he does not want for one he thinks he would prefer. And he feels guilty for the 'sin' of taking, and of giving nothing of value in return. How much value can he place upon a self that he would give away to get a 'better' one?" (T.16.V.7.5-7)(ACIM OE T.16.VI.49) We can't stand to be happy for long, because our guilt says we don't deserve it. With each bargain we make in our special relationships, our guilt is reinforced because we are constantly making bargains to serve our needs at the expense of our brothers, exchanging our gifts of little worth for ones where we hope to gain with each exchange.
 
The belief God has lost because I have taken His love and joy for myself is the basis for what I have carried into the thought system in the world. It is such a foundational belief in our lives and so deeply defended against, which makes it very challenging to see, yet it is the foundation of everyone's lives here. In order to recognize this pattern in our lives, we must stay very vigilant about our motivations and intentions so we can bring them to awareness. We can't heal what we don't see. To see it takes great honesty.
 
Applying these Lessons in our daily lives and staying very vigilant in watching our thoughts is important if we are to make progress in undoing this thought system. "This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take." (W.105.2.3-4)
 
The ego constantly wants to prove to us it is the source of our love and our life, not God. While we invest in its thought system, we will feel guilty when we experience peace and joy, because these "gifts" come at someone's expense. Yet true giving entails no loss. "Accept God's peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God's gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby." (W.105.3.3-5) This is an authentic kind of giving, because we give and know in this giving we can't lose. We then won't feel guilty in receiving the gifts we give and receive. We are undoing the idea of giving to get. We are increasingly learning, through the application of the thought system Jesus is teaching, all we give is given to ourselves, as Lesson 126 reminds us. Every time we bring our specialness to awareness and are willing to release it for healing, we receive the miracle. Specialness tells us we are number one. It is all about me.
 
Now Jesus tells us "giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God's peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God's gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby." (W.105.3.2-5) Ultimately, our fear is, we will be punished for what we have stolen from God and are taking from our brothers in the self-serving bargains we try to make with everyone. Now we are called to bring the guilt, specialness, hate and fear in our minds to the altar of truth, so we can experience the gifts of peace given us by God, Whose infinite love for us is boundless.
 
While the Lesson says God's joy grows with our acceptance of His joy and peace for ourselves (W.105.4.1) and He is not complete until we do, this should not be taken literally. God's joy is complete now. Nothing is lacking in Him. It is just an expression of how much we should take to heart the importance for ourselves of accepting the fullness of God's love for us. With acceptance of our Reality comes gratitude for the joy we are, and the joy we affirm in ourselves as we give with no expectations of anything in return.
 
Today we are asked to choose someone we think of as an enemy to whom we have denied peace and joy. We have forgotten they are the same as us and "under the equal laws of God." (W.105.6.2) In seeing differences with our brother, we have denied ourselves the same peace and joy in us both. Now we can claim the peace and joy we have denied ourselves by seeing our brother as innocent. (W.105.6.4) We do so by recognizing anything we give our brother we give ourselves. Any attack we make on another is an attack on ourselves, while the peace and joy we extend to another we receive for ourselves, as we are one with every brother. Now we learn how we see our brother is how we see ourselves. We are all the same in our divinity. This sameness is a reflection of the one Self we are. We all hold the same thought system that came with the separation, and we also all hold the same healing light of the Holy Spirit within our minds. There are no differences despite appearances in the world of form.
 
When we become willing to take responsibility for our guilt by seeing it is only ourselves we are attacking, we can bring the guilt back to our own minds and choose to give it over to Spirit. By bringing our projections to the Holy Spirit, they are released. "Now we are ready to accept the gift of peace and joy God has given us." (W.105.7.4) This allows us to truly experience the joy and peace we have denied ourselves. (W.105.7.5) Only by silencing the ego's voice of specialness will we hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit. In order to hear His Voice, we need to look at all the ways we interfere. We do this when we express impatience, irritation, think unkindly of others, gossip about them, get frustrated and all the other ways we throw our peace away. When any brother tempts us to throw away our peace and joy, it is because we actually want them to betray us so we can blame them for taking our joy from us. We have actually chosen to throw our peace away and project the choice we have made onto them, making them responsible for our lack of peace. No one can take our peace unless we give them the power to do so. By choosing to take responsibility for everything that seems to happen to me, I increasingly come to recognize I truly am not a victim of the world I see.
 
Today we choose to release our misperceptions and offer blessings instead, so we can receive the blessings for ourselves. Every one of our brothers deserves to receive this blessing from us with no exceptions. It is their "right under the equal laws of God." (W.105.6.2)
 
Today we are called to look at who we are withholding blessings from and recognize, when we do, we are only withholding them from ourselves. By cutting someone off from my love, I am cutting it off from myself. When I open my heart to my so-called "enemies" by seeing their call for love and understanding, rather than focusing on their behavior, I am opening up to the gift of peace and joy God is holding out for me. Thus, I am opening myself to receive these gifts. It is not something we receive first and then give, but in fact we give in order to know we have received. These gifts of peace and joy are already in us. It is not just affirming God's peace and joy are ours, but letting go of the barriers we put up against receiving these gifts.
 
Our 'enemies' are not really outside of us, but reflect our own inner self-hatred, which we project onto our brothers. The self-hatred must be seen for what it is if we are to heal our minds. To accept the gifts of God, we must take the self-hatred we feel we have projected on our brothers and we must take responsibility for it. As we turn it over to the Holy Spirit, He reminds us it is not the truth about ourselves or our brothers. Our brothers are innocent, just as we are. We are the same. When we see others as different from ourselves, we are always trying to get, bargain, and see ourselves as the special ones who deserve more than what others get. It is important to look at our motivations and be very, very honest in recognizing the guilt these relationships entail. We are worth the effort it takes to remain vigilant in watching our minds. What we don't see can't be healed. 
 
Love and blessings, Sarah
 
 
VI. Salvation and God's Will  
 
38 God's Will is your salvation. Would He not have given you the means to find it? If He wills you to have it, He must have made it possible and very easy to obtain it. Your brothers are everywhere. You do not have to seek far for salvation. Every minute and every second gives you a chance to save yourself. Do not lose these chances, not because they will not return, but because delay of joy is needless. God wills you perfect happiness now. Is it possible that this is not also your will? And is it possible that this is not also the will of your brothers?
 
39 Consider, then, that in this joint will you are all united, and in this only. There will be disagreement on anything else, but not on this. This, then, is where peace abides. And you abide in peace when you so decide. Yet you cannot abide in peace unless you accept the Atonement, because the Atonement is the way to peace. The reason is very simple and so obvious that it is often overlooked. That is because the ego is afraid of the obvious since obviousness is the essential characteristic of reality. Yet you cannot overlook it unless you are not looking.
 
40 It is perfectly obvious that if the Holy Spirit looks with love on all He perceives, He looks with love on you. His evaluation of you is based on His knowledge of what you are, and so He evaluates you truly. And this evaluation must be in your mind because He is. The ego is also in your mind because you have accepted it there. Its evaluation of you, however, is the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit's because the ego does not love you. It is unaware of what you are and wholly mistrustful of everything it perceives because its own perceptions are so shifting. The ego is therefore capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst. That is its range. It cannot exceed it because of its uncertainty. And it can never go beyond it because it can never be certain.
 
41 You, then, have two conflicting evaluations of yourself in your minds, and they cannot both be true. You do not yet realize how completely different these evaluations are because you do not understand how lofty the Holy Spirit's perception of you really is. He is not deceived by anything you do because He never forgets what you are. The ego is deceived by everything you do, even when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such times its confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly because it has evaluated you as unloving, and you are going against its judgment.
 
42 The ego will begin to attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness, since its uncertainty is increased. Yet it is surely pointless to attack in return. What can this mean except that you are agreeing with the ego's evaluation of what you are? If you are willing to see yourself as unloving, you will not be happy. You are condemning yourself and must therefore regard yourself as inadequate. Would you look to the ego to help you escape from a sense of inadequacy it has produced and must maintain for its existence? Can you escape from its evaluation of you by using its methods for keeping this picture intact?
 
43 You cannot evaluate an insane belief system from within it. Its own range precludes this. You can only go beyond it, look back from a point where sanity exists, and see the contrast. Only by this contrast can insanity be judged as insane. With the grandeur of God in you, you have chosen to be little and to lament your littleness. Within the system which dictated this choice, the lament is inevitable. Your littleness is taken for granted there, and you do not ask, "Who granted it?" The question is meaningless within the ego's thought system because it opens the whole thought system to question.
 
44 We said before that the ego does not know what a real question is. Lack of knowledge of any kind is always associated with unwillingness to know and produces a total lack of knowledge simply because knowledge is total. Not to question your littleness, therefore, is to deny all knowledge and keep the ego's whole thought system intact. You cannot retain part of a thought system because it can be questioned only at its foundation. And this must be questioned from beyond it because, within it, its foundation does stand. The Holy Spirit judges against the reality of the ego's thought system merely because He knows its foundation is not true. Therefore, nothing that arises from it means anything. The Holy Spirit judges every belief you hold in terms of where it comes from. If it comes from God, He knows it to be true. If it does not, He knows that it is meaningless.
 
45 Whenever you question your value, say:
 
46 God Himself is incomplete without me .
  
47 Remember this when the ego speaks, and you will not hear it. The truth about you is so lofty that nothing unworthy of God is worthy of you. Choose, then, what you want in these terms and accept nothing that you would not offer to God as wholly fitting for Him, for you do not want anything else. Return your part of Him, and He will give you all of Himself in exchange for your return of what belongs to Him and renders Him complete.

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  Lesson 108
  
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