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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 11 "GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION"
X. GUILTLESSNESS AND INVULNERABILITY
As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realize that there
no journey, but only an awakening. The Son of God, who sleepeth not, has kept faith with his Father
you. There is no road to travel on and no time to travel through. For God waits not for His Son in time, being forever unwilling to be without him. And so it has always been. Let the holiness of God's Son shine away the cloud of guilt that darkens your mind, and by accepting his purity as yours, learn of him that it
L e s s o n 133
I will not value what is valueless.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Sometimes in teaching there is benefit,
particularly after you have gone
through what seems theoretical and far
from what the student has already learned,
to bring him back to practical concerns.
This we will do today. We will not speak
of lofty, world-encompassing ideas,
but dwell instead on benefits to you.|
You do not ask too much of life, but far
too little. When you let your mind be drawn
to bodily concerns, to things you buy,
to eminence as valued by the world,
you ask for sorrow, not for happiness.
This course does not attempt to take from you
the little that you have. It does not try
to substitute utopian ideas
for satisfactions that the world contains.
There are no satisfactions in the world.|
Today we list the real criteria
By which to test all things you think you want.
Unless they meet these sound requirements,
They are not worth ** desiring at all,
For they can but replace what offers more.
The laws which govern choice you cannot make,
no more than you can make alternatives
from which to choose. The choosing you can do;
indeed you must. And it is wise to learn
the laws you set in motion when you choose,
and what alternatives you choose between.|
We have already stressed there are but two,
however many there appear to be.
The range is set, and this you cannot change.
It would be most ungenerous to you
to let alternatives be limitless,
and thus delay your final choice until
you had considered all of them in time,
and not been brought so clearly to the place
where there is but one choice which must be made.|
Another kindly and related law
is that there is no compromise in what
your choice must bring. It cannot give you just
a little, for there is no in between.
Each choice you make brings everything to you
or nothing. Therefore, if you learn the tests
by which you can distinguish everything
from nothing, you will make the better choice.|
First, if you choose a thing that will not last
forever, what you chose is valueless.
A temporary value is without
all value. Time can never take away
a value that is real. What fades and dies
was never there, and makes no offering
to him who chooses it. He was deceived
by nothing in a form he thought he liked.|
Next, if you choose to take a thing away
from someone else, you will have nothing left.
This is because when you deny his right
to everything, you have denied your own.
You therefore will not recognize the things
you really have, denying they are there.
Who seeks to take away has been deceived
by the belief that loss can offer gain.
Yet loss must offer loss and nothing more.|
Your next consideration is the one
on which the others rest. Why is the choice
you make of value to you? What attracts
your mind to it? What purpose does it serve?
Here it is easiest of all to be
deceived, for what the ego wants it fails
to recognize. It does not even tell
the truth as it perceives it, for it needs
to keep the halo which it uses to
conceal its goals from tarnish and from rust,
that you may see how innocent it is.|
Yet is its camouflage a thin veneer
which could deceive but those who are content
to be deceived. Its goals are obvious
to anyone who cares to look for them.
Here is deception doubled, for the one
who is deceived will not perceive that he
has merely failed to gain. He will believe
that he has served the ego's hidden goals.|
And though he tries to keep its halo clear
within his vision, yet must he perceive
its tarnished edges and its rusted core.
His ineffectual mistakes appear
as sins to him, because he looks upon
the tarnish as his own, the rust a sign
of deep unworthiness within himself.
He who would still preserve the ego's goals
and serve them as his own makes no mistakes
according to the dictates of his guide.
This guidance teaches it is error to
believe that sins are but mistakes, for who
would suffer for his sins if this were so?|
And so we come to the criterion
for choice which is the hardest to believe
because its obviousness is overlaid
with many layers of obscurity.
If you feel any guilt about your choice,
you have allowed the ego's goals to come
between the real alternatives, and thus
you do not realize there are but two.
And the alternative you think you choose
seems fearful and too dangerous to be
the nothingness it actually is.|
All things are valuable or valueless,
worthy or not of being sought at all,
entirely desirable, or
not worth the slightest effort to obtain.
Choosing is simple just because of this.
Complexity is nothing but a screen
of smoke that hides the very simple fact
that no decision can be difficult.
What is the gain to you in learning this?
It is far more than merely letting you
make choices easily and without pain.|
Heaven itself is reached by open hands
and open minds, which come with nothing to
find everything and claim it as their own.
We will attempt to reach this state today,
with self-deception laid aside, and with
an honest willingness to value but
the truly valuable and the real.
Our two extended practice periods
of fifteen minutes will begin with this:
I will not value what is valueless,
and only what has value do I seek,
for only that do I desire to find
And then receive what waits for everyone
who reaches, unencumbered, for the gate
of Heaven, which swings open as he comes.
Should you begin to let yourself collect
some needless burdens, or believe you see
some difficult decisions facing you,
be quick to answer with this simple thought:
I will not value what is valueless,
for what is valuable belongs to me
* From Original Hand Script Notes
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I will not value what is valueless.
This Lesson, "I will not value what is valueless," (W.133) is eminently practical as it sets forth very clear criteria for what is valuable and what is valueless. After all the discussion and challenge with the Lesson yesterday about the world not being real, it seems like a positive assurance of more clarity. Still the Lesson is quite challenging in spite of this assurance, as there is significant metaphysical teaching included here as well.
The main point of the Lesson between the nature of love and truth contrasted with the seeming reality of this world. Thus, only what is of God has value while everything that keeps us invested in this world is valueless. So while the metaphysical teachings of the Course can sometime seem very difficult, the truth is simple. Yet the process can be difficult, as Jesus describes in the Manual for Teachers, Development of Trust. As we go through the undoing process, it need not be painful, but usually is because the plan often calls for changes in external circumstances that are always helpful, but not necessarily experienced that way by us. Then comes a period of sorting out, which is ". . . always somewhat difficult," (M.4.I.A.4.2) because now we are looking at what is keeping us invested in the illusion and what will be helpful or will hinder our journey. It is the third stage, which is a period of relinquishment, where there is enormous conflict. All these stages are about this sorting out process where we are sorting out the valuable from the valueless. This Lesson speaks about this process.
Jesus starts off by saying: "You do not ask too much of life, but far too little." (W.133.2.1) In fact, even more startling, he is saying we are actually asking for sorrow and not happiness in the world. Who would think it? Certainly it is not a conscious request, but the ego has set it up so we don't realize this is what we are actually doing at an unconscious level of the mind.
When we pursue the things of the world, we are literally going after nothing because we can't be satisfied by anything we pursue. We look for whatever we believe will address our ". . . bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world. . ." (W.133.2.2) Clearly what is said here is not about this Course attempting ". . . to take from you the little that you have." (W.133.2.3) Nor is Jesus asking us to ". . . substitute utopian ideas for satisfactions which the world contains." (W.133.2.4) He is only bringing our attention to the reality, "There are no satisfactions in the world." (W.133.2.5) In fact, Jesus goes on to say, when we pursue these seeming satisfactions, all we are getting is more guilt. His interest is on behalf of our happiness is to show us how we are hurting ourselves, pursuing the things that can't bring us true happiness.
Is he asking us to stop pursuing what we think will make us happy? Should we feel guilty when we go shopping, look for special relationships with people, or look to food, objects, money, careers, fame, and attention, for happiness? Clearly not. This Course is not about behavior. It is about what is going on in our minds. Certainly, as we change our minds, behavior will follow. What Jesus is showing us is that we make these choices based on fear. The thing is, we don't realize this. We think we are pursuing pleasure, but to choose based on fear is not a sin. We need not feel guilty about our choices. He does not want us to judge ourselves. We certainly don't need more guilt based on what we are doing. He is just helping us to look at how we spend our lives, seeking for what can never be found in the world. We all want peace, love, and happiness. While they are available to us, the things we pursue in the world are substitutes for the real thing. We will never find satisfaction there. As we become more aware that searching for anything outside of ourselves is a futile search, we become more motivated to look for the answers where they truly are, which is within.
Do not judge yourself for looking for status in this world or trying to find that special relationship you think will be the answer to all your dreams or pursuing material things you think will fulfill you. What Jesus is asking us to look at is the content of our minds and not at the forms we are pursuing. In other words, it is about looking at cause, not effects. When we look at effects, we see the problem is in the world and we think the solution is there too. And so we are constantly trying to solve what can't be solved. However, when we look at the thoughts in our minds, change can happen. And when our minds are changed, the effects are changed as well.
All he wants us to see is that what we pursue to meet our needs, as we see them, will not make us happy nor will it bring us peace. It is not sinful to pursue something in the world. It is only misguided because, even when we get what we want, we will not achieve consistent peace and happiness. When we see that our pursuits bring nothing of value and only more pain, our motivation will change and our focus will be on what is important for our happiness, which is the healing of our minds. As we continue on this path, we will increasingly realize nothing outside our own minds can bring us the true joy we all want. Again, it is a process and we need to be patient with ourselves, as Jesus is patient with us.
In this Lesson, we are given the two laws that govern choice. Fortunately, we are not confronted with a zillion alternatives to confuse us about our choices. We are told there are only two alternatives. "The laws that govern choice you cannot make, no more than you can make alternatives from which to choose." (W.133.3.3) We are choosing either love or fear, God or the ego. We are making a choice between everything and nothing. Therefore, every choice we make is between Spirit and the ego, between truth and illusion, between the miracle and a grievance, between everything and nothing. There are no other alternatives. It is impossible for us to make any more alternatives because these two are governed by laws we did not make.
The first law affirms there are only two alternatives in front of us. The second law says there is no compromise between these two alternatives. Again, he says it is "Another kindly and related law. . ." (W.133.5.1) There is no compromise on what our choice brings to us. One brings everything and the other brings nothing, and there is nothing in between. It is one or the other. The decision becomes simple. When I judge or attack or hold a grievance, I need to remind myself I am choosing hell. I need to remember I am valuing attack, but in the process, I am hurting myself and choosing against my own peace and joy.
Now, we have four tests he wants us to run our decisions through, so we can distinguish whether we are choosing either everything or nothing, our two alternatives. They are all interconnected.
I know I have chosen the valueless if:
1) I choose something ". . . that will not last forever. . ." (W.133.6.1) He reminds us, only the permanent and changeless is real. Everything in this world fades and dies, including our bodies, which will not last. All of the stuff we seek, the self-aggrandizement and even our ecstasies, are temporary. Nothing lasts, and if it does not last, it can't have value. "A temporary value is without all value." (W.133.6.2)
2) If I ". . . choose to take a thing away from someone else. . ." (W.133.7.1) I will have nothing left. When we deny a thing to someone else, we ourselves will feel we don't deserve it, and so we will deny it for ourselves. It seems only fair to us. We have given loss, and so we get loss. Even if what we take is there for us, we will feel like we should not have it. This relates to the fourth law of chaos ". . . the belief that you have what you have taken. By this, another's loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself." (T.23.II.9.3-4)(ACIM OE T.23.III.27) If I believe I have something you don't, it serves my specialness, but I will feel guilty. The treasure I now hold is nothing if it means my brother is deprived of the gift. When you look at what real gifts are, they are everything that come from God. These are peace, love, joy, truth, changelessness, holiness, and oneness, all of which are in everyone. But if I think I can have them at your expense, then I will not be aware of these gifts in myself. God's love is given to all with no special favors. Can Heaven's loss be my gain? Of course, we do think we have gained at God's expense, having taken our individual existence separate from Him.
3) The next criterion is about what purpose is being served by the choice I am making. "Why is the choice you make of value to you?" (W.133.8.2) Whose goals are being served by your choice, those of the ego or of the Holy Spirit? Gaining at someone else's expense serves ego goals. Does the choice you are making support your specialness and individuality or contribute to your healing? Jesus says this is where we are easily deceived because we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves we have the best of intentions and are well-meaning in what we are doing, but we deceive ourselves about this. We smile as we attack and pretend we are just being helpful. Yet he says we can only deceive ourselves if we are ". . . content to be deceived." (W.133.9.1) When we are willing to look, we will see our intentions are less than benign. We hide this even from ourselves, polishing our halo of innocence while lying to ourselves about our true motives. This is the rusted core he talks about in this Lesson. When we get very honest with ourselves, and we are willing to look at our anger and our attacks without judgment, then we have started the healing journey to uncovering the blocks to the love within us.
The final test is:
4) "If you feel any guilt about your choice, you have allowed the ego's goals to come between the real alternative." (W.133.11.1) Do I feel any guilt about my choice? We will feel guilty when we have benefited at someone else's expense. Now we think of ourselves as a guilty sinner, with a corrupt core, but Jesus wants us to see it differently. While we may have benefited at the expense of our brothers, when we get honest and have the courage to look at all the people we may have hurt and all the pain we have caused, it is not a sin, but only a mistake. The only way to know our innocence is to take off the halo (the face of innocence) and be willing to look. The ego would have us believe we have sinned and this requires punishment. The ego's existence depends on our continued belief in having committed an unpardonable sin. It wants us to keep holding onto shame and guilt, as the ego's existence depends on it.
We are being called to look at our intentions with great honesty. How are we serving the ego's goals while pretending to be doing our best in a hostile world? We try to maintain the face of innocence, claiming we would not attack if we were not justified. Yet deep down, when we are willing to lift the curtain of denial, we know where we are gaining at someone else's expense and how we are feeling guilty, believing we are sinners. Jesus assures us, our guilt is not the truth about us. When we try to gain at our brothers' expense, he says we are simply failing to make the gains available to us. Now we have the criteria where we can apply these four tests and ask: "What purpose does it serve?" (W.133.8.4) Am I going for the stuff of the world and all the guilt that goes with it or for the eternal where I get everything with no guilt? This choice is there for us in every situation. Do I want to know my Eternal Self and receive the benefit for all my brothers, or do I look for my personal benefit while lying to myself about my motives and working hard to maintain and defend my image of false innocence?
Jesus asks us, "What attracts your mind to it? What purpose does it serve?" (W.133.8.3-4) Unless we are able to really look at these questions honestly, we will be deceived. The ego is devious. Under its guidance we try our best to look innocent and pretend our intentions are noble and honest when, indeed, they are anything but. When there is guilt, we know we have chosen the valueless. Guilt will always come from valuing anything in the world. It reenacts once again our choice for more than God's love, which was the basis for our separation, where we chose our specialness instead.
In every moment, we make a choice for Heaven or hell. In every moment, we hold thoughts of attack, grievances, and specialness. We defend our self-concept, trying to fill our perceived lacks and needs, but we can make another choice. The important thing is not to judge ourselves. If we do, we take on even more guilt. We came to this world for the purpose of getting what we can from it, and we will do what we came for until we realize it no longer holds value for us. Eventually, disillusionment and depression show up and with them comes a sincere desire to wake up to the truth of who we are. The important thing in this process is radical self-honesty.
"Love is not an illusion. It is a fact. Where disillusionment is possible, there was not love but hate. For hate is an illusion, and what can change was never love." (T.16.IV.4.1-4)(ACIM OE T.16.V.33) When I first read this, I was really upset to be told I never knew what love was, but from the Course perspective, "Love's meaning is obscure to anyone who thinks that love can change." (W.127.2.1) Though I was initially affronted by this, slowly I started to recognize the truth of it. Instead of trying to be more loving, Jesus showed me that the only way to love was by removing the blocks. This Lesson is another step in seeing how the blocks to love are defended by our focus on the externals of our lives, always choosing what truly has no eternal value.
So today, let's recognize we can be the observer of what has chosen to make mistakes in the misguided notion that it knows where our happiness lies. It is not who we are. "He who would still preserve the ego's goals and serve them as his own makes no mistakes, according to the dictates of his guide." (W.133.10.3) In other words, the ego wants us to feel guilty by identifying with our mistakes, so we would feel like failures, unworthy of love and guilty for the "sins" the ego would have us believe we have committed. Jesus says, they are not sins but only mistakes to be corrected, and the mighty help of the Holy Spirit, already present in our minds, is the One we can turn to for correction.
The only guiltless choice we can make is to choose love, which is to choose the eternal, where no one loses and where there is no compromise. Jesus acknowledges, we don't know how to do that, so we need to come with ". . . empty hands and open minds. . ." (W.133.13.1) and an ". . . honest willingness," (W.133.13.2) which means we need to look at what we are valuing. We think we know our best interests and what will bring us happiness. We make judgments about how others aren't serving our needs and are guilty of neglecting us. We try to control and manipulate others, attacking and judging them. We get disappointed and depressed when things are not going our way. These are all indications that we are choosing what is valueless. Now we can choose instead what is eternal and truly has value, which is the love we are. We do this by not seeing our interests as separate from our brothers. We do this by watching our thoughts today, and being willing to let them go and have them washed clean and returned to us as blessings.
"I will not value what is valueless, and only what has value do I seek, for only that do I desire to find." (W.133.13.4) Then look at what you are valuing in the world. Look at the needless burden of maintaining your ego and release it, so you can truly come ". . . unencumbered, to the gates of Heaven," (W.133.14.1) which swing open as you come. See yourself lifting the burdens of past "sins" and feeling your own innocence, as you release the places where you have been trying to polish your halo and recognize, with great, unflinching honesty, the areas where you have simply failed to gain.
Love and blessings, Sarah
X. Guiltlessness and Invulnerability
85 If you did not feel guilty, you
could not attack, for condemnation is the root of attack. It is the judgment of one mind by another as
unworthy of love and
deserving of punishment. But herein lies the split. For the mind that judges perceives itself as
separate from the mind being judged, believing that by punishing another,
it will escape punishment. All this is but the delusional attempt of the mind to deny itself and
escape the penalty of denial. It is not an attempt to
relinquish denial but to
hold on to it. For it is guilt that has obscured the Father to you, and it is guilt that has driven you insane.
86 The acceptance of guilt into the mind of God's Son was the beginning of the separation, as the acceptance of the Atonement is its end. The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt. Look carefully at this world, and you will realize that this is so. For this world is the symbol of punishment, and all the laws which seem to govern it are the laws of death. Children are born into it through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds are trapped in their brain, and its powers decline if their bodies are hurt. They seem to love, yet they desert and are deserted. They appear to lose what they love, perhaps the most insane belief of all. And their bodies wither and gasp and are laid in the ground and seem to be no more. Not one of them but has thought that God is cruel.
87 If this
were the real world, God
would be cruel. For no father could subject his children to this as the price of salvation and
Love does not kill to save. If it did, attack
would be salvation, and this is the
not God's. Only the world of guilt could demand this, for only the guilty could
conceive of it. Adam's "sin" could have touched none of you, had you not believed that it was the
Father Who drove him out of paradise. For in that belief, the knowledge of the Father was lost, since only those who do
not understand Him
could believe it.
88 This world
is a picture of the crucifixion of God's Son. And until you realize that God's Son cannot
be crucified, this is the world you will see. Yet you will not realize this until you accept the eternal fact that God's Son is
not guilty. He
deserves only love because he has
given only love. He cannot
be condemned because he has never condemned. The Atonement is the final lesson he need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no
need of salvation.
89 Long ago we said that the Holy Spirit shares the goal of all good teachers, whose ultimate aim is to make themselves unnecessary by teaching their pupils all they know. The Holy Spirit wills
only this, for sharing the Father's love for His Son, He wills to remove
all guilt from his mind that he may remember his Father in peace. For peace and guilt are antithetical, and the Father can be remembered
only in peace. Love and guilt cannot coexist, and to accept one is to
deny the other. Guilt hides Christ from your sight, for it is the denial of the blamelessness of God's Son.
90 In this strange world which you have made, the Son of God
has sinned. How could you
see him, then? By making him invisible, the world of retribution rose in the black cloud of guilt which you accepted, and you hold it dear. For the blamelessness of Christ is the proof that the ego never was and can never be. Without guilt the ego
has no life, and God's Son
is without guilt. As you look upon yourselves and judge what you do honestly, as you have been asked to do, you may be tempted to wonder how you
can be guiltless.
91 Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in
have "sinned" in the past, but there
is no past. Always has
no direction. Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end, it will roll up like a long carpet which has spread along the past behind you and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty, you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death. And the journey will seem long and cruel and senseless, for so it
92 The journey which the Son of God has set himself is foolish indeed, but the journey on which his Father sets him is one of release and joy. The Father is
not cruel, and His Son
cannot hurt himself. The retaliation he fears and which he
sees will never touch him, for although he believes in it, the Holy Spirit
knows it is not true. The Holy Spirit stands at the
end of time, where
you must be because He is
with you. He has
always undone everything unworthy of the Son of God, for such was His mission, given Him by God. And what God gives has
93 You will see me as you learn the Son of God is guiltless. He has always sought his guiltlessness, and he has
found it. For everyone is seeking to escape from the prison he has made, and the way to find release is not denied him. Being
in him, he
has found it.
When he finds it is only a matter of time, and time is but an illusion. For the Son of God is guiltless
now, and the brightness of his purity shines untouched forever in God's Mind. God's Son will
always be as he was created. Deny
your world and judge him not, for his eternal guiltlessness is in the Mind of his Father, and protects him forever.
94 When you have accepted the Atonement for yourselves, you will realize that there
is no guilt in God's Son. And
only as you look upon him as guiltless can you understand his oneness. For the idea of guilt brings a belief in condemnation of one by another, projecting separation in place of unity. You can condemn only
yourself, and by so doing, you cannot know that you
are God's Son. You have denied the condition of his Being, which is his perfect blamelessness. Out of love he was created, and in love he abides. Goodness and mercy have always followed him, for he has always extended the love of his Father.
95 As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realize that there
is no journey, but only an awakening. The Son of God, who sleepeth not, has kept faith with his Father
for you. There is no road to travel on and no time to travel through. For God waits not for His Son in time, being forever unwilling to be without him. And so it has always been. Let the holiness of God's Son shine away the cloud of guilt that darkens your mind, and by accepting his purity as yours, learn of him that it
96 You are invulnerable
because you are guiltless. You can hold on to the past
only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done and thus depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what
always means. And therefore guilt
must deprive you of the appreciation of eternity. You are immortal
because you are eternal and always
must be now. Guilt, then, is a way of holding past and future in your minds to ensure the ego's continuity. For if what has been
will be punished, the ego's continuity is guaranteed. Yet the guarantee of your continuity is God's, not the ego's. And immortality is the opposite of time, for time passes away, while immortality is constant.
97 Accepting the Atonement teaches you what immortality
is, for by accepting your guiltlessness, you learn that the past has never been, and so the future is needless. The future, in time, is always associated with expiation, and
only guilt could induce a sense of
need for expiation. Accepting the guiltlessness of the Son of God as
yours is therefore God's way of reminding you of His Son and what he is in truth. For God has never condemned His Son, and being guiltless, he
98 You cannot dispel guilt by making it real and
then atoning for it. This is the ego's plan, which it offers
instead of dispelling it. The ego believes in atonement through
attack, being fully committed to the insane notion that attack
is salvation. And you who cherish guilt must
also believe it, for how else but by identifying
with the ego could you hold dear what you do not want?
99 The ego teaches you to attack yourself
because you are guilty, and this must
increase the guilt, for guilt is the
result of attack. In the ego's teaching, then, there
is no escape from guilt. For attack makes guilt real, and if it is real, there
is no way to overcome it. The Holy Spirit dispels it simply through the calm recognition that it has never been. As He looks upon the guiltless Son of God, he
knows this is true. And being true for
cannot attack yourself, for without guilt, attack is impossible. You, then,
are saved because God's Son is guiltless. And being wholly pure, you
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