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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 11 "GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION"
VI. THE SANE CURRICULUM
, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can
the way to Him
learn it if you follow the Teacher Who knows it and His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous because the goal is
divided, and the means and the end are in
accord. You need offer only
. Everything else will be
you. For it is
will to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the will of God's Son. His learning is as unlimited as
L e s s o n 129
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
Beyond this world there is a world I want.
This Lesson presents us with a choice between the world we see and a better alternative. Jesus describes our world as merciless, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with us, with no lasting love and no certainty. It is a place where all things end, a place which is
". . . quick to avenge and pitiless with hate." (W.129.2.3) How readily do you agree with this statement? Certainly, we can agree all things end. Perhaps what is most cruel is that the world is a transitory place, but Jesus reminds us today, there is another choice to be made. He leaves us with the feeling there is something else available for us beyond this hopeless world. He says we need more than just the idea that the world is worthless. We need hope for a better alternative. Otherwise, it would leave us depressed, with no hope for something better.
The alternative is the real world, ". . . where losing is impossible; where love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning." (W.129.3.1) This is the real world, as described in the Course. It is not a place, but a state of mind, revealed to us through forgiveness. When we no longer listen to the voice of the ego and hear only the Holy Spirit, the love we are is reflected back at us and seen everywhere. Love is experienced when the thought system of sin, guilt and fear that brought us to the world is healed. Now, we are in a world of joy and peace. "Yet even they [the gifts of the real world] will be exchanged at last for what we cannot speak of, [Heaven] for you go from there to where words fail entirely, into a silence where the language is unspoken and yet surely understood." (W.129.3.3) This is a place of direct knowledge and is beyond the real world. Thus, the Lesson covers the three worlds: the ego's world of loss, hate, vengeance, suffering and death; the real world, which reflects Heaven's love and is the bridge to Heaven; and Heaven itself, where God takes the last step and lifts us up.
This world of separation can never make us happy, and whatever happiness we think we can find in it is only transitory. Oh yes, we might argue there are lovely things in this world, things to enjoy, beautiful sunsets, mountains, lakes, and flowers, but they are still all subject to time. This Lesson helps us to recognize that the things of this world fall so very short of what is given in the real world, and somewhere in our minds, we know this is so. If we choose to see this world as wonderful, at some level there is denial of the guilt in the mind, because the nature of this world is not lovely. It is a world of beauty, but also of murder, torture, war, famine, disease and death. Yet when the guilt in our minds is brought up for healing, joy and beauty are indeed reflected everywhere. This happens not in the world, but only in the mind. It becomes an outside reflection of our inner healed condition, where there is no more guilt.
The real world is a much more valuable option than the most wonderful things in the world we currently experience. We must be honest and ask ourselves if we really think this world can offer us nothing but joy and peace. (W.129.1.4) Clearly, this is not a world where ". . . love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning." (W.129.3.1) We see loss, vengeance, and death every day. It is the nature of this world of guilt and fear.
We still hold onto some hope we might find something of value in the world. We think there is something here still worth striving for. For us, to give up the hope of finding value in the world may feel like loss. Jesus anticipates this when he says, "What loss can be for you in choosing not to value nothingness?" (W.129.6.2) In truth, there is nothing here we really want. Our real heart's desire lies beyond the things of this world. All we need to do is realize this. It awaits our choice. As we read yesterday, Jesus is not saying we must refuse pleasure and resist temptation, no matter how appealing it looks to us right now. Instead, he is reminding us our happiness can never be found in the things of this world. He asks us again to be very honest about this and realize, "This world holds nothing that you really want, but what you choose instead you want indeed!" (W.129.6.3) Then he urges us not to delay and reminds us that it is all about our choice for what is important to us. When we seek things we still think we want in the world, we are delaying this decision. Jesus is urging us not to delay on behalf of our own happiness. He reminds us that all we are sacrificing when we give up the pleasures of this world is our own pain. "Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? Does an adult resent the giving up of children's toys?" (M.13.4.2-3)
There is something even more satisfying awaiting us than the things of this world. The possibility of finding the changeless and eternal is not about anything physical. It is really about connecting with Oneness or Love. We are here to find and experience the eternal. We are slowly learning to let go of our investment in the changeable and to value instead that which is changeless. When we can do this, we get a sense of the real world Jesus speaks about.
"Here is the world that comes to take its place, as you unbind your mind from little things the world sets forth to keep you prisoner."
(W.129.5.3) Of course, in our minds, we don't always see things in the world as little things. These are often what we think of as big and important things that we value. "Value them not, and they will disappear. Esteem them, and they will seem real to you." (W.129.5.4-5) Everything here is a reflection of the thought system of the ego. This is a thought system, based on guilt and fear, projected out onto the world, so how could we expect anything else reflected back at us except what is projected out? There truly is no world. It is just a massive defense system against the guilt and fear in our minds. It keeps us from seeing we have a choice and can, indeed, dismiss the ego. When we see that God's love holds more value for us than the ego's fear-based specialness of separation and individuality, we will make this choice.
As long as we still fear God's love, we will defend against it. The world has been made as a place where we could hide from the punishment we fear God has in store for us. The ego has convinced us that we have sinned against God and thus we are guilty of destroying our home in Heaven. The world was made to exclude God and to protect the thought that God's love was not enough. We wanted more. We wanted specialness, uniqueness, and our individuality. Since He can't give us more than everything, we decided to be our own god instead and make a world for ourselves in which we could get everything we think we want. This was the ego's promise to us. What it did not tell us is that the pain we experience as a result of the separation from God is part of its package.
We came to believe we don't need God anymore. This thought engenders so much guilt. Now we are terrified God will destroy us, and so the ego gave us the answer for our guilt. The ego's answer was to make up a world and make up a body, where we could hide. Jesus says we think we made a place of safety for ourselves and a power we think could save us from all the fearful things we see in dreams, (M.16.6.3-4) yet it is a place which teaches only despair. "Everyone who follows the world's curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein is the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete." (M.IN.4.4-8)
We have the power and are given the help to change our minds about where our safety and protection really lie. They do not lie in the world. The things we think will protect us and bring us pleasure in the world ultimately fail to deliver. We already know this is true when we look honestly at the outcomes of our lives for ourselves. We have a false sense of safety when we take our vitamins, lock our doors, take out insurance policies, count on enduring relationships, and count on our bank accounts. They are all illusions of safety and protection, and they all, ultimately, fail us, because they can never protect us from the pain of our own guilt. Jesus asks us, "Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice. Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the 'hero' to whom all these things belong? Could they mean anything except to a body?" (M.13.2.5-6) They keep us prisoner to the world. "Value them not, and they will disappear. Esteem them, and they will seem real to you." (W.129.5.4-5) Again, we are not asked to give up what we still value, which would seem like a sacrifice and sacrifice is not asked of us. Jesus is only urging us to see the choice available to us and to see the nothingness of what the ego offers us, recognizing there is only pain in pursuing what will never deliver us joy and peace.
What makes the world lovely, though, is when we shift our purpose and no longer look at the world and body as a place to hide, but as a classroom in which we learn to look at what we don't want to look at (guilt) in ourselves. The people, events and situations we encounter in our day allow us to get in touch with our unconscious guilt by mirroring for us what is in our minds that we don't otherwise readily see. These unconscious beliefs rule our lives, yet we are unaware of the program running in the background of our conscious minds. Healing can only occur when we are willing to look at the darkness with the light Jesus holds for us as he goes through the darkness with us. We need not go alone. He does not judge what we see and asks us not to judge ourselves for our dark thoughts. When we use the world and our relationships, which are filled with specialness, need, lack, expectations, hate, judgment and pain, as the curriculum and use Jesus as the teacher, we have hope of achieving the real world that shines bright with peace and joy.
Our purpose today is to make this choice for what we really want by practicing willingness. Take ten minutes, three times today, to affirm, "Beyond this world there is a world I want. I choose to see that world instead of this, for here is nothing I really want," (W.129.7.3-4) but don't let this thought escape you throughout the day.
To give up this world is to give up nothing, while gaining everything. It means we let go of upsets as they arise during the day. If we let go of the small upsets as they arise and stay vigilant throughout the day, when the seemingly big disturbances show up, our daily practice will put us in good stead. By giving up our judgments and grievances as they arise, the day proceeds more smoothly. When we give up planning against all the perceived needs we think we have, we increasingly learn to trust and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we look at things in the world that we cherish and withdraw the value we have placed on them, we learn they don't define us.
Feel the confidence the Holy Spirit has in you today. "Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently." (W.75.8.1-3)
Try to get in touch with your desire to see a world of meaning. This world is totally harmless, peaceful, benign, and loving, without a trace of pain or loss. Visualize the lights of Heaven shining on your eyelids as you rest beyond the world of darkness. It is a light your eyes cannot behold, but your mind can see plainly. Today is a day of grace.
Whenever you become aware of thoughts of judgment, specialness or attack, bring them to the Holy Spirit and recognize you can look at any situation with Him and know peace today instead of pain. To keep ego thoughts is to defend against this purpose of forgiveness and awakening from this dream. Ask yourself if you want to use this situation, this event, or this problem, to stay invested in the illusion or awaken to who you are.
Love and blessings, Sarah
43 Only love is strong because it is
undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so.
Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have
perceived yourself as weak. Because you had attacked yourself and believed that the attack was
effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and all your brothers as equal and regarding yourself as
weaker, you attempt to "equalize" the situation
you have made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening
44 That is why the recognition of your
own invulnerability is so important in the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognizing that attack
has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, and very brutally, you will demonstrate that
nothing happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done
anything. Once you realize this, there is no longer any
sense in attack, for it manifestly
does not work and
cannot protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have
failed to weaken you,
you are still strong. You therefore have no need to "equalize" the situation to establish your strength.
45 You will never realize the utter uselessness of attack
except by recognizing that your attack on
yourself had no effects. For others
do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack
them, you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The
only place where you can cancel out all reinforcement is in
you are always the first point of your attack, and if
this has never been, it
has no consequences.
46 The Holy Spirit's love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You could not trust your own love when you have
attacked it. You cannot learn of perfect love with a split mind because a split mind has
made itself a poor learner. You tried to make the separation eternal because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation with your own
content. Yet creation is
not of you, and poor learners need special teaching. You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense.
47 There are areas in your learning skills which are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction provided by a Teacher Who can
transcend your limited resources. He
becomes your resource because, of
cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself
is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. Poor learners are not good choices for teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to
them to establish the curriculum by which they can
escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not
48 You do not know the meaning of love, and that
is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourselves what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed.
Your learning goal has been
not to learn, and this
cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalize is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have
failed to learn what learning aids are
for? They do not know. For if they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.
49 We have said that the ego's rule is, "Seek and do
not find." Translated into curricular terms, this is the same as saying, "
Try to learn but do
not succeed." The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning
will be misinterpreted. For they are all for learning facilitation, which this strange curriculum goal is
against. If you are trying to learn how
not to learn and are using the aim of teaching to
defeat itself, what can you expect
but confusion? The curriculum does not make
50 This kind of "learning" has so weakened your mind that you
cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is
against love and amounts to a course in
how to attack yourself. A necessary minor, supplementing this major curriculum goal, is learning how
not to overcome the split which made this goal believable. And you can
not overcome it, for all
your learning is on its
behalf. Yet your will speaks against your learning, as your learning speaks against your will, and so you fight
against learning and succeed, for that
is your will. But you do not realize even yet that there
is something you
do will to learn, and that you can learn it because it
is your will to do so.
51 You who have tried to learn what you do
not will should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it
possible that the way to achieve a goal is
not to attain it? Resign
now as your own teachers.
This resignation will
not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourselves and of the learning outcomes which have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become excellent learners and teachers. But it is not so yet and will not
be so until the whole learning situation as
you have set it up is reversed.
52 Your learning
potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can
teach the way to Him
and learn it if you follow the Teacher Who knows it and His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous because the goal is
not divided, and the means and the end are in
complete accord. You need offer only
undivided attention. Everything else will be
given you. For it is
your will to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the will of God's Son. His learning is as unlimited as
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