SATURDAY MAY 14, 2016
Past is not - Future is Needless
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 11 "GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION"
X. GUILTLESSNESS AND INVULNERABILITY         

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 is eternal.
 
DAILY LESSON
SonShip Workbook 
 L e s s o n 134
Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

<AUDIO>
<VIDEO>  
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 
    
*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
 

   Let us review the meaning of "forgive,"
   for it is apt to be distorted and
   to be perceived as something which entails
   an unfair sacrifice of righteous wrath,
   a gift unjustified and undeserved,
   and a complete denial of the truth.
   In such a view, forgiveness must be seen
   as mere eccentric folly, and this course
   appears to rest salvation on a whim.|
 
   This twisted view of what salvation means
   is easily corrected when you can
   accept the fact that pardon is not asked
   for what is true. It must be limited
   to what is false. It is irrelevant
   to everything except illusions. Truth
   is God's creation, and to pardon this
   is meaningless. All truth belongs to Him,
   reflects His laws and radiates His Love.
   Does this need pardon? How can you forgive
   the sinless and eternally benign?|
 
   The major difficulty that you find
   in genuine forgiveness on your part
   is that you still believe you must forgive
   the truth and not illusions. You conceive
   of pardon as a vain attempt to look
   past what is there; to overlook the truth
   in an unfounded effort to deceive
   yourself by making an illusion true.
   This twisted viewpoint but reflects the hold
   that the idea of sin retains as yet
   upon your mind as you regard yourself.|
 
   Because you think your sins are real, you look
   on pardon as deception. For it is
   impossible to think of sin as true
   and not believe forgiveness is a lie.
   Thus is forgiveness really but a sin,
   like all the rest. It says the truth is false,
   and smiles on the corrupt as if they were
   as blameless as the grass; as white as snow.
   It is delusional in what it thinks
   it can accomplish. It would see as right
   the plainly wrong; the loathsome as the good.|
 
   Pardon is no escape in such a view.
   It merely is a further sign that sin
   is unforgivable, at best to be
   concealed, denied, or called another name,
   for pardon is a treachery to truth.
   Guilt cannot be forgiven. If you sin,
   your guilt is everlasting. Those who are
   forgiven from the view their sins are real
   are pitifully mocked and twice condemned;
   first by themselves for what they think they did,
   and once again by those who pardon them.|
 
   It is sin's unreality which makes
   forgiveness natural and kind and sane,
   a deep relief to those who offer it;
   a quiet blessing where it is received.
   It does not countenance illusions, but
   collects them lightly, with a little laugh,
   and gently lays them at the feet of truth.
   And there they disappear entirely.|
    
   Forgiveness is the only thing that stands
   for truth in the illusions of the world.
   It sees their nothingness, and looks right through
   the thousand forms in which they may appear.
   It looks on lies but it is not deceived.
   It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks
   of sinners mad with guilt. It looks on them
   with quiet eyes, and merely says to them,
   "My brother, what you think is not the truth."|
 
   The strength of pardon is its honesty,
   which is so uncorrupted that it sees
   illusions as illusions, not as truth.
   It is because of this that it becomes
   the undeceiver in the face of lies,
   the great restorer of the simple truth.
   By its ability to overlook
   what is not there, it opens up the way
   to truth, which had been blocked by dreams of guilt.
   
   Now are you free to follow in the way
   your true forgiveness opens up to you.
   For if one brother has received this gift
   of you, the door is open to yourself.|
    There is a very simple way to find
   the door to true forgiveness, and perceive
   it open wide in welcome. When you feel
   that you are tempted to accuse someone
   of sin in any form, do not allow
   your mind to dwell on what you think he did,
   for this is self-deception. Ask instead,
   "Would I accuse myself of doing this?"|
 
   Thus will you see alternatives for choice
   in terms which render choosing meaningful,
   and keep your mind as free of guilt and pain
   as God Himself intended it to be,
   and as it is in truth. It is but lies
   which would condemn. In truth is innocence
   the only thing there is. Forgiveness stands
   between illusions and the truth, between
   the world you see and that which lies beyond,
   between the hell of guilt and Heaven's gate.|
 
   Across this bridge, as powerful as Love
   Which laid Its blessing on it, are all dreams
   of evil and of hatred and attack
   brought silently to truth. They are not kept
   to swell and bluster and to terrify
   the foolish dreamer who believes in them.
   He has been gently wakened from his dream
   by understanding what he thought he saw
   was never there. And now he cannot feel
   that all escape has been denied to him.|
 
   He does not have to fight to save himself.
   He does not have to kill the dragons which
   he thought pursued him. Nor need he erect
   the heavy walls of stone and iron doors
   he thought would make him safe. He can take off
   the ponderous and useless armor made
   to chain his mind to fear and misery.
   His step is light, and as he lifts his foot
   to stride ahead, a star is left behind
   to point the way to those who follow him.|
 
   Forgiveness must be practiced, for the world
   cannot perceive its meaning, nor provide
   a guide to teach you its beneficence.
   There is no thought in all the world which leads
   to any understanding of the laws
   it follows, nor the Thought which it reflects.
   It is as alien to the world as is
   your own reality. And yet it joins
   your mind with the Reality in you.|
 
   Today we practice true forgiveness that
   the time of joining be no more delayed.
   For we would meet with our Reality
   in freedom and in peace. Our practicing
   becomes the footsteps lighting up the way
   for all our brothers, who will follow us
   to the Reality we share with them.
 
   That this may be accomplished, let us give
   a quarter of an hour twice today,
   and spend it with the Guide Who understands
   the meaning of forgiveness, and was sent
   to us to teach it. Let us ask of Him:
  
   " Let me perceive forgiveness as it is."|
 
   Then choose one brother as He will direct,
   and catalog his "sins" as one by one
   they cross your mind. Be certain not to dwell
   on any one of them, but realize
   that you are using his offenses but
   to save the world from all ideas of sin.
   Briefly consider all the evil things
   you thought of him, and each time ask yourself
   "Would I condemn myself for doing this?"|
 
   Let him be freed from all the thoughts you had
   of sin in him. And now you are prepared
   for freedom. If you have been practicing
   thus far in willingness and honesty,
   you will begin to sense a lifting up,
   a lightening of weight across your chest,
   a deep and certain feeling of relief.
   The time remaining should be given to
   experiencing the escape from all
   the heavy chains you sought to lay upon
   your brother, which were laid upon yourself.|
 
   Forgiveness should be practiced through the day,
   for there will be so many times when you
   forget its meaning and attack yourself.
   When this occurs, allow your mind to see
   through this illusion as you tell yourself:
 
   " Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
    Would I accuse myself of doing this?
    I will not lay this chain upon myself."
 
   In everything you do remember this:
 
   " No-one is crucified alone, and yet
    No-one can enter Heaven by himself."
  
       ~ From Original Hand Script Notes 
 
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 134
Let me perceive forgiveness as it is. 

Sarah's Commentary:
   
This is a very important Lesson, as forgiveness is at the core of the Course teaching, and it is important to understand how it is described in the Course. It is not the forgiveness we typically think of, where we perceive someone has actually done something that justifies our attack and judgment for their guilt. With this kind of forgiveness, we try to overlook it in the name of our own goodness and charity and "forgive" them for what they have actually done. In fact, this kind of forgiveness is actually an attack. Why? As Jesus explains, what we are seeing is our own sin projected onto others, and seen there because we find it too horrific to see it in ourselves. We find the sin and guilt we believe are in us, so horrific we project it onto others. In this view, we believe they will get the punishment from God we think we deserve. In turn, we 'buy' our innocence at their expense. In this scenario, forgiveness may be given or withheld by us for what the other has seemingly done based on our elevated position or assumed spirituality. Thus, "In such a view, forgiveness must be seen as mere eccentric folly, and this course appear to rest salvation on a whim." (W.134.1.2)
 
This is a very long Lesson, and there is so much that can be said about it. Thus, it will be difficult to keep my writing short and concise. I will try to do so by touching on the highlights as I see them. The idea put forth is that forgiveness should actually become easy and natural, which can be the case when we are able to see nothing real has happened. No sin has been committed. Our brother is innocent, as are we. The transgression happened in a dream we are dreaming. "Truth is God's creation, and to pardon that is meaningless." (W.134.2.4) "How can you forgive the sinless and eternally benign?" (W.134.2.7)
 
When we understand the basis for true forgiveness, we will be very motivated to apply it because our healing and happiness depend on it. The way the world defines forgiveness is by pointing out that the injustice actually happened. It did real harm. It was totally unfair and unjustified. It was done on purpose and meant to hurt. If all these were true, we would have a right to our anger. To forgive what is seen as true would require we try to let go of our resentment, and instead, we do our best to feel love for the person. It is an impossible situation. Jesus says, we can't forgive what we have made real. The only way we can go from resentment to love is by recognizing it is all about healing our own minds. By bringing our judgments to the Holy Spirit, the resentments we are holding in our minds are released. Otherwise, we are saying, "You are the object of my justified and righteous wrath, but I will assume a mantle of spirituality and pardon you for your sin."
 
With this kind of forgiveness, we try to make ourselves appear to be the good and charitable ones. When we perceive that the other person has done something sinful, particularly if it is something we consider a major assault, then to offer forgiveness, in the usual sense, feels like an "unfair sacrifice" (W.134.1.1) or a "gift unjustified" (W.134.1.1) or a "vain attempt to look past what is there." (W.134.3.2) We simply can't make ourselves see something as right, which to us is "plainly wrong." (W.134.4.6) We can't desperately try to see innocence where there is real damage, as we perceive it. In The Song of Prayer, the world's version of forgiveness is called 'forgiveness-to-destroy.' It just becomes another attack we make that seem like love. In Chapter 30, Jesus calls this false forgiveness, ". . . which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive." (T.30.VI.4.1)(ACIM OE T.30.VII.73) The world thrives on guilt and sin.
 
Forgiveness is not about overlooking the truth. "This twisted view of what forgiveness means is easily corrected, when you can accept the fact that pardon is not asked for what is true." (W.134.2.1)
 
So let's look at how this was all set up in the first place. It is essential to see the way it was set up if we are to understand how we have deceived ourselves into thinking that what we perceive in the world is the truth. It starts with the idea we have done something terrible in separating from God and establishing our own kingdom. Now we see ourselves as individuals, separate from each other and seemingly rulers of our own lives. This required that God be destroyed, because it is impossible we could exist separate from Oneness. Although in truth we could not separate, it appears as though we have. The ego has made it very convincing, giving us bodies and the world, making it difficult for us to refute this reality. With separation come guilt, anxiety, fear, and distress, as a result of the belief we have destroyed love. It is not a thought in our conscious minds, yet the effects are something we can all relate to. Our experience here is one of constant underlying fear and anxiety. We hardly ever experience a state of complete ease and a sense of being at home in ourselves. We carry a feeling we have done something wrong and will be found out, yet we have no idea of the origin of this thought.
 
The guilt in our minds is so overwhelming that the ego gave us a solution, which is to project the guilt in the mind, and now, instead of seeing it in ourselves, we find it in others. The world was made as a defense against our own guilt. The whole physical universe is a giant projection screen onto which we project our sin and guilt.
 
In truth, we are all ". . . sinless and eternally benign" (W.134.2.7) and, in fact, have never changed our reality. "I am as God created me." (W.94) No matter what the behavior in the world of illusion, it is not real and has no real effects. Therefore, when we forgive, according to this Lesson, we are not forgiving the truth. (W.134.3.1) In fact, we are only letting go of the illusion that a sin has actually been committed. "For it is impossible to think of sin as true and not believe forgiveness is a lie." (W.134.4.2) Because sin is unreal in whatever form it takes, we can simply lay it gently at the feet of truth, and there it disappears. When we do ". . . not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt," (W.134.7.4) we make space for the truth of who we are and who our brother is.
 
What we do in Course-based forgiveness is recognize nothing happened in truth. Instead, everything is seen as a call for love and understanding. Yet this can't happen until we are willing to look at our judgments and our own attack thoughts and take responsibility for them in our own minds. We need to see how we are constantly looking for sin and guilt in others. It is this we need to forgive in ourselves. It is an opportunity to heal our own minds by taking responsibility for our projections. If everything is a projection of the guilt in our own minds, then what we are seeing in the world is a reflection of our minds. Now we can choose to see our own judgments and attacks and bring them to the light of truth to be healed. Jesus is not asking us to deny our experience of what we perceive as attacking behaviors, but we are asked to look at our interpretations of those behaviors. When we turn to the Holy Spirit for His interpretation, He reminds us, what we are seeing is not the truth. He reminds us, only truth is true. We are One. We are all innocent.
 
We may complain about the treatment we receive from others but the fact is, we actually want people to behave in abusive, rejecting ways so we can see ourselves innocent. Now they are the guilty sinners and we hold the innocence for ourselves. God will punish them instead of us. We have bought our innocence at their expense, which is why at some level we are happy to see them as the betrayers and the abusers. Still, at our core, we know we can't get away with this. We still believe in our own guilt and that we are deserving of punishment. While we try to escape from that punishment by projecting our sin onto others, we hold the thought that we are bad. Our secret wish is nevertheless for others to take the fall for our sins. If we could "forgive" them for what they have done, we could fool ourselves into believing they truly are miserable sinners and we, in turn, are saintly. From our superior position of forgiving them, maintaining our false innocence, we hope to feel better about ourselves. The problem is, this never heals the guilt in our own minds, but continues to keep us separate from our brothers.
 
Jesus keeps telling us, we are not asked to ". . . forgive the truth." (W.134.3.1) We are not asked to ". . . look past what is there." (W.134.3.2) If we were, we would be ". . . making an illusion true," (W.134.3.2) and if sin were true, forgiveness would have to be a lie. Can you see why we have so much difficulty with forgiveness? If forgiveness is overlooking the truth of something that really happened, then forgiveness itself is a sin, because it is then a lie. "It [forgiveness to destroy] says the truth is false, and smiles on the corrupt as if they were as blameless as the grass; as white as snow." (W.134.4.4) "It would see as right the plainly wrong; the loathsome as good." (W.134.4.6) It would be like trying to imagine an evil person as good. It just can't work. We are trying to see as right something plainly wrong. This is our real deception. Once we see that all the behavior we are trying to overlook takes place in a dream, has no real effect, there is no real injury, and no one has done anything real, then we are not pardoning anything true. The only thing true is, we are all ". . . sinless and eternally benign." (W.134.2.7) If we accept this, what is there to forgive?
 
Jesus is not asking us to deny what our body's eyes see or what people do, but he is asking us to look at our interpretation of them as guilty sinners and thus bad people. It is not about denying our judgments. It is only about taking responsibility for the guilt in our minds that we project onto others. There is only our mind, looking back at us. The world mirrors what is in our mind. Be willing today to look at your guilt with the light of truth and without judging yourself for what you see in yourself. Our job is to bring our own darkness to the light, recognizing we are not guilty but only mistaken. We must take responsibility for it and look at it while being gentle with ourselves in the process. We can ask for Jesus to help us and go with us into the darkness of our minds, but we can't ask him to take it from us because we are the ones who made it. For him to intervene would be to undermine the power of our own minds. We are the ones who must give it up. Our part is to look at our guilt and willingly release it to the Holy Spirit.
 
"Truth is God's creation, and to pardon that is meaningless. All truth belongs to Him, reflects His laws and radiates His Love." (W.134.2.4-5) No matter what it looks like in the illusion, the only truth is, we are God's Son, and we share in all His attributes. We simply deceive ourselves if we believe a dream is a reality. We have deceived ourselves by believing what we see in the illusion is the truth. "Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world. It sees their nothingness, and looks straight through the thousand forms in which they may appear. It looks on lies, but it is not deceived. " (W.134.7.1-3) Forgiveness "looks on devastation and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. " (W.P.II.Q.13.1.3) We think we are guilty and sinful. Jesus tells us, "My brother, what you think is not the truth." (W.134.7.5) We are called to give up these thoughts, because once we accept our own innocence, we will see it everywhere. We will know we are loved and will extend that love to everyone.
 
Traditional pardon does nothing to remove the thoughts of sin and guilt from our minds. In fact, Jesus says it makes us twice condemned. "Those who are forgiven from the view their sins are real are pitifully mocked and twice condemned; first, by themselves for what they think they did, and once again by those who pardon them." (W.134.5.5) In other words, if you have done something to me, then you are already feeling guilty and will suffer because you think you did something real. This is how you are first mocked. Then, you are mocked again by your own mind because you hold the belief you do not deserve to be forgiven. If I suffer as a result of your actions, I am letting you know that you don't really deserve my forgiveness. If, in my superior position, I deign to forgive you, you will feel twice mocked because you will feel the condescension of my superior position. True forgiveness says the guilt you think is true about you is not the truth.
 
When we truly apply this teaching, it is so very freeing. We all have people in our lives whom we see as having hurt us and upset us in big and little ways. The ego would have us see them as the guilty ones. We justify our anger, and ultimately, we may "forgive" them, while still holding onto what they have done. If we want to heal our minds, we must bring their "sin" back to our own minds and be willing to have these misperceptions released from our minds. This releases everyone from the bondage of guilt and sin. This is an enlightening experience and very powerful in shifting our minds from wrong-minded to right-minded perception. Nothing has to change in anyone else. Through forgiveness, we are undoing the ego thought system of hate, specialness, selfishness, and attack. We see it was all made up in our own minds. We can withdraw our investment in it, as it is not the truth.
 
The people we have had great difficulty with in our own lives are precisely those who played their role perfectly for our healing. If this world is a classroom for undoing our misperceptions of who we are, then everyone in the classroom plays their role for our benefit. In my family, I was required to take over the mothering and housekeeping role to a large extent. I forfeited my childhood because my mother was not willing to do her part. I learned later that I had a past life where I worshipped God and lived as a martyr. Clearly, there had been a kind of sacrifice I came to heal. Given that, I had the perfect mother to show me my mistaken choice in my own mind for believing I had to suffer and make myself worthy for God. When I saw how I had chosen this perfect script for my healing, I was able to appreciate the part my mother played and able to let her out of the prison I had put her in. Everything had been perfectly orchestrated for my healing. I was grateful.
 
Today, when we want to accuse anyone of anything at all, we are given an opportunity to look at the tremendous burden and cost there is to us. We are accusing ourselves of this same thing, as it is all about our own mind. "There is a simple way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide in welcome. When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. Ask instead, 'Would I accuse myself of doing this?'" (W.134.9.1-3) We are not denying what we think someone did, but we are now looking at it and asking ourselves, how does what I am accusing my brother of show up in me? In other words, is the guilt I am projecting onto anyone in my own mind? As Jesus says, over and over, "As you see him you will see yourself." (T.8.III.4.2)(ACIM OE T.8.IV.19) Whenever we have judged anyone, it is impossible not to make this judgment on ourselves. Any condemnation of anyone becomes a condemnation of ourselves. If we really believed this, would we ever want to condemn anyone? Would we really want to do this to ourselves once we realize we are hurting ourselves by condemning others?
 
The figures in our dream were written into our script as the recipients of our attacks so we could be off the hook. This is how the ego actually has us keep the sin while blaming someone else. Thus, someone else pays the price for my existence, but Jesus wants us to see, we are the ones who pay the price. Now we can use every situation in our lives as a classroom. This is where we can learn to ignore the ego's urgings to see others as guilty. Instead, we turn to Jesus/Holy Spirit who brings a new interpretation to every situation if we truly desire it. Devotion to our healing will motivate us to do this.
 
I have used this practice, again and again, and found it helpful in situations where I found myself judging someone. Whenever I am truly willing to look at my own mind, I can see in myself some version of the guilt I put onto others. For example, I judge someone for being greedy and see where I put my own self-interests above anyone else's. When I am willing to turn every judgment around on myself, I can find some version of it, in myself.
 
Think of someone you have a grievance with and look at your own mind to see if you have some version of what you are accusing them about, in you. You will find that you apply the same standard to yourself as you do to your brother. You will believe you should be condemned for the same thing you condemn in him. While we will consciously condemn him, we will unconsciously condemn ourselves for some form of the same thing. This is why we feel so bad about ourselves. It is our own self-attack and self-judgment that we are projecting onto them. It may look different in how it appears. For example, I might be offended by your laissez-faire attitude when you failed to inform me of a cancellation, and I showed up for an event that was not happening. I condemn you for brushing it off as insignificant because I see myself as inconvenienced. I hold myself to a different standard, demanding absolute compliance, never allowing myself to make a mistake. I judge myself for my rigidity in this regard and now project that judgment onto you. If we are to heal our self-judgments, we must look at every grievance we hold against anyone and take responsibility for our projections. We think projecting guilt keeps us looking innocent, but as we read in the Lesson yesterday, we are simply polishing our halo while perceiving ". . . its tarnished edges and its rusted core." (W.133.10.1)
 
There are tremendous benefits in doing this practice. We lift a tremendous burden from ourselves when we apply true forgiveness to those we judge. There is such a sense of "deep relief" (W.134.6.1) with true forgiveness. "You will begin to sense a lifting up, a lightening of weight across your chest, a deep and certain feeling of relief. The time remaining should be given to experiencing the escape from all the heavy chains you sought to lay upon your brother, but were laid upon yourself." (W.134.16.3-4) It truly is a gift to ourselves.
 
Whomever we are upset with and whomever we are judging holds the key to our salvation because they are showing us the unhealed parts of our own minds. When we judge them, we actually are laying chains upon ourselves and keeping us both imprisoned. They are our saviors because they hold the key to our release. Forgiveness truly is a gift to ourselves, and it is always fully justified for all the reasons stated. Forgiveness sees the nothingness of 'sin.' We look on behavior, which appears in a thousand different forms, (W.134.7.2) but we are not deceived that we are looking at anything real. We can thus respond with, "My brother, what you think is not the truth," (W.134.7.5) but first we must be able to look "on them with quiet eyes." (W.134.7.5) We need to ask for help to release our own judgments, so we could know our brother is innocent, as we are.
 
For fifteen minutes, twice today, we ask of the Holy Spirit, Who understands the meaning of forgiveness, "Let me perceive forgiveness as it is." (W.134.14.6) Then let the Holy Spirit bring to mind someone who you need to forgive.
 
Now, catalog this person's "sins," one by one, without dwelling on any one of them, and ask yourself, "Would I condemn myself for doing this?" (W.134.15.3) Would I want to hold this "sin" against myself and condemn myself for it, just as I condemned him? Determine not to lay this chain upon yourself. Look at what you are condemning in someone and then look inside yourself to see how you are judging yourself for the same thing or some version of it.
 
Forgiveness becomes a daily practice for us when we are willing to do the healing. It is a constant discipline of mind watching. We become vigilant with regard to our thoughts and increasingly see the benefits in increased peace and joy, as we do this work. Allow all thoughts that arise to be brought to truth. With honesty, openness and willingness, look at your judgments, anger, and frustrations that come up with anyone today. Put them on your inner altar where they will be easily dismissed by the Holy Spirit who will render the verdict---you are innocent. Trust in His healing light to shine away your grievances. Remind yourself, "No one is crucified alone, and yet no one can enter Heaven by himself." (W.134.17.7) We can't enter Heaven at the expense of anyone. We are not separate. We share the same Self.

Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
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 be loving. Love does not kill to save. If it did, attack would be salvation, and this is the ego's interpretation, 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 eternity. You 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 is.
 
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 always been.
 
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 is yours.
 
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 is eternal.
 
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 you, you cannot attack yourself, for without guilt, attack is impossible. You, then, are saved because God's Son is guiltless. And being wholly pure, you are invulnerable.

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