Graphic by Susan Sorko
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 13 "FROM PERCEPTION TO KNOWLEDGE"
VIII. THE DECISION FOR GUILTLESSNESS
69 The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I ~ REVIEW IV
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
IAMBIC PENTAMETER BEGINS*
Now we review again, this time aware
we are preparing for the second part
of learning how the truth can be applied.
Today we will begin to concentrate
on readiness for what will follow next.
Such is our aim for this review and for
the lessons following. Thus we review
the recent lessons and their central thoughts
in such a way as will facilitate
the readiness which we would now achieve.|
There is a central theme which unifies
each step in the review we undertake.
It can be simply stated in these words:
My mind holds only what I think with God."
This is a fact. And represents the truth
of What you are and What your Father is.
It is this Thought by Which the Father gave
creation to the Son, establishing
the Son as co-creator with Himself.
It is this Thought Which fully guarantees
salvation to the Son. For in his mind
no thoughts can dwell but those his Father shares.
Lack of forgiveness blocks this Thought from his
awareness. Yet It is forever true.|
Let us begin our preparation with
some understanding of the many forms
in which the lack of true forgiveness may
be carefully concealed. Because they are
illusions, they are not perceived to be
but what they are; defenses which protect
your unforgiving thoughts from being seen
and recognized. Their purpose is to show
you something else, and hold correction off
through self-deception made to take its place.|
And yet your mind holds only what you think
with God. Your self-deceptions cannot take
the place of truth. No more than can a child
who throws a stick into the ocean change
the coming in and going out of tides,
the warming of the water by the sun,
the silver of the moon on it by night.
So do we start each practice period
in this review with readying our mind
to understand the lessons that we read
and see the meaning which they offer us.|
Begin each day with time devoted to
the preparation of your mind to learn
what each idea you will review that day
can offer you in freedom and in peace.
Open your mind and clear it of all thoughts
that would deceive, and let this Thought alone
engage it fully and remove the rest:
My mind holds only what I think with God."
Five minutes with this Thought will be enough
to set the day along the lines which God
appointed, and to place His Mind in charge
of all the thoughts you will receive that day.|
They will not come from you alone, for they
will all be shared with Him. And so each one
will bring the message of His Love to you,
returning messages of yours to Him.
So will communion with the Lord of Hosts
be yours, as He Himself has willed it be.
And as His Own completion joins with Him,
so will He join with you who are complete
as you unite with Him and He with you.|
After your preparation, merely read
each of the two ideas assigned to you
to be reviewed that day. Then close your eyes
and say them slowly to yourself. There is
no hurry now, for you are using time
for its intended purpose. Let each word
shine with the meaning God has given it
as it was given to you through His Voice.
Let each idea that you review today
give you the gift which He has laid in it
for you to have of Him. And we will use
no format for our practicing but this:|
Each hour of the day, bring to your mind
the Thought with which the day began, and spend
a quiet moment with It. Then repeat
the two ideas you practice for the day
unhurriedly, with time enough to see
the gifts which they contain for you, and let
them be received where they were meant to be.|
We add no other thoughts, but let them be
the messages they are. We need no more
than that to give us happiness and rest
and endless quiet, perfect certainty,
and all our Father wills that we receive
as the inheritance we have of Him.
Each day of practicing, as we review,
we close as we began, repeating first
the Thought that made the day a special time
of blessing and of happiness for us;
and through our faithfulness restored the world
from darkness to the light, from grief to joy,
from pain to peace, from sin to holiness.|
God offers thanks to you who practice thus
the keeping of His Word. And as you give
your mind to the ideas for the day
again before you sleep, His gratitude
surrounds you with the peace wherein He willed
you be forever, and are learning now
to claim again as your inheritance.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 150 ~ REVIEW IV
[Review Lesson 139 and Lesson 140]
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
IAMBIC PENTAMETER BEGINS*
My mind holds only what I think with God.
 "I will accept Atonement for myself."
 "Only salvation can be said to cure."
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
Review IV ~ Lesson 139 and Lesson 140
 I will accept Atonement for myself.
 Only salvation can be said to cure.
Here we are, almost halfway through the year. Hard to believe! Today's Lesson is the final one in our review. It is a reminder about the importance of dedicating ourselves to accepting our true identity already in our minds, which defines what we already are, in this present moment. It seems that we have partitioned off our true identity from our awareness, yet it is the only real thing about us. The self we think we are is an image, a false identity, and a character in the dream we took on in the tiny tick of time when we aligned with the ego. This self is a bundle of thoughts, beliefs, and values we hold and includes all the concepts we have about ourselves, as well as the roles we have adopted. None of them are true. The only thing true is that we remain as God created us---perfect, whole, holy, in Oneness with Him, and containing all His attributes as His Son.
David Hawkins, MD, Ph.D., describes the Self that we are as the hardware of a computer. It is our lovable, innocent, Christ nature. On the other hand, the software contains the beliefs that have been programmed in us by the conditioning of our culture, family, and what we have made of our experiences. It is important to note that the software does not change the hardware. We are innocent, as is everyone. We have all been programmed, but the hardware has not been changed by that programming that runs our lives. Now we are learning to incorporate new software through our study and application of the Course teaching.
For many years, as I studied and practiced the Lessons and the Text, I had trouble understanding what it meant to accept Atonement for myself. In spite of learning the Course definition of Atonement, I kept having the worldly definition in my mind. Atonement is deeply ingrained in me as a negative concept of attrition for my sins, penance, mea culpa, belief in unworthiness, and having done something wrong and needing to atone for my sins, but this is not the Course definition. Atonement is only about accepting the Correction for our mistakes. When we come to recognize that we have never left our Source, there will be nothing left to correct. While we know that we have made many mistakes, held grievances, and hurt others, Jesus assures us that there is no need for guilt because we have not sinned. He simply invites us to accept the Correction in our minds for our mistakes, and they will be released by His love and His grace. If sin existed, there could be no correction, only punishment. However, Jesus assures us that we have not sinned. We have only made a mistake in choosing separation and with it, our separate identity. Furthermore, he says the mistake was corrected by the Holy Spirit the second we made it. Now it is about accepting the Correction, which is awaiting us anytime we choose. The Holy Spirit negated all consequences of the decision for separation.
As a result of the separation, we forgot who we are and got lost in this dark dream of the ego. The only way back to the awareness of our Self, which is already in the mind, is by accepting who we really are in our perfection, in our Oneness with our Creator, and in our innocence. This is what is meant by accepting the Atonement for ourselves. It is letting go of our guilt and shame, our judgments on ourselves, our self-concepts, our self-assessments, our individuality, our specialness, and ultimately our mistaken notion that we are bodies living in the world. In fact, it is the letting go of everything we think we are as egos, bodies, and personalities which constitute the false self. Basically, to accept the Atonement is to accept the truth about ourselves. We are created in the image of God with all His characteristics. Thus, accepting the Atonement is a process of reconciliation not possible within the framework of the ego thought system, meaning, the ego will never undo itself. We need help from outside the ego framework. In other words, we need to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit in the mind.
Jesus has laid out a carefully designed curriculum, letting us know how to come back to ourselves. We do these Lessons in training the mind, recognizing that we don't know the way and rely on One Who does know. Only with our mind training and our willingness, dedication, commitment, and openness can our minds be prepared for healing. What we are invited to do is to watch our mistaken thoughts about ourselves, look at all our judgments, worries, grievances, anger, and specialness as they come to awareness, and be willing to bring them to be corrected. When we look at our judgments with the light, love, and non-judgment of Spirit, we are reminded that what we are perceiving and believing is not the truth. He is the Correction always available to us when we are willing to take the first step and look at our own mistaken choices. This is what forgiveness is. It brings the miracle. It shifts our perception. It brings us back to our magnitude. All we are asked to do is stay vigilant and not fall into littleness.
The ego's "life" depends on the acceptance of ourselves as guilty sinners. The ego's voice berates us: "You can't do that! Who do you think you are? It is arrogant to think you are perfect. Look at all the things you have messed up and all the people you have hurt! You should feel guilty. You deserve punishment." To the ego, it is holy to accept oneself as a guilty sinner. The ego is happy when we accept a sentence of guilt on ourselves. However, Jesus tells us that if we listen to the ego's counsel and buy into the its description of us, we are actually being arrogant. If God says we are innocent, eternal beings, who have never sinned, then to accept the ego's contention about ourselves is to defy God. The voice of the ego says that God is wrong about us and that it alone is right about who we are. That is why Jesus challenges us by asking, "
Do you prefer that you be right or happy?
(T.29.VII.1.9) (ACIM OE T.29.VIII.43) In other words, are we going to keep listening to what the ego says about who we are, or will we turn to the Holy Spirit to be reminded of our Divine Nature?
This struggle goes on in our conflicted minds, but the Spirit does not fight the ego because the ego is not real. It is a mistaken thought system in the mind that we are called to release. Spirit simply waits for us to prepare our minds to ultimately accept the truth about ourselves. How we get to the truth is through the daily spiritual practice of meditation, contemplation, focus, deep inquiry, and journaling. We are called to do whatever it takes to come to the acceptance of our innocence and our true nature. We accept what is true about ourselves and deny the power of anything outside our own minds to help us or hurt us. This is about being willing to look with great honesty at how we block and resist the truth.
When our investment in the body and personality is recognized as the false self, we become more willing to look at our mistaken decisions and not take them personally. We only defend the false self when we believe it is what we are. As we identify more and more with the one who is witnessing the persona and not the persona itself, there is less need to defend. Through the release of the fearful self-judgments, space is opened up for the truth to dawn on our minds. With each step on this journey, our trust and acceptance of the process increase, and we are able to see how all things work together perfectly for our good.
It is the constant and persistent voice of the ego, heard non-stop in our heads, that keeps us distracted from the truth. It keeps us invested in the dream or nightmare and constitutes the monkey-mind of random thoughts that torture us and keep us from peace. Its whole purpose is to keep us from the truth. The ego is threatened by our decision-making minds, knowing we can withdraw our allegiance from it whenever we choose. Thus, it is heavily invested in constantly reminding us of our guilt and unworthiness, and offers us ample justification to hold grievances and anger. Because we don't want the weight of responsibility for all this, we prefer to see ourselves as victims of a world outside of ourselves. Our stories of betrayal by others justify our position and allow us to see others as responsible for our condition so that we can maintain our face of innocence. We believe our stories and hide our shadow, constantly trying to show the world an image of this face of innocence. What it does is to cover over the hate and the rage and the terror that we hold in the mind for what we believe we have done. This is what needs to be seen if we are to discover the love beneath it all. It requires that we turn our attention within where the ego tells us never to look.
We remind ourselves today that "My mind holds only what I think with God" (W.RIV.IN.2.2) (ACIM OE W.RIV.3) because all the other thoughts are ego-driven and not real thoughts. They constitute the deceived mind that has forgotten what it is. They are the thoughts that keep us from God. They are the thoughts that keep us in hell. They are the thoughts we choose in order to defend against the love we are. They are the thoughts we must be willing to bring to Correction, thus allowing the Holy Spirit to shine them away. How willing are we to do this? How much are we willing to trust Him? How willing are we to walk through the darkness to the light? It takes great honesty and a lot of courage. We must let go of our defenses, which is process.
How do we learn to accept Atonement for ourselves? We take the time to quiet our self-talk, to turn over our anger for healing, and to bring every unworthy, guilty, and impure thought to the truth. This includes our pain, despair, loneliness, helplessness, fear, hurt, confusion, depression, sadness, grief, judgment and every concept we hold about ourselves, whether we judge it as good or bad. All this, and more, we bring to this miraculous place of the Atonement. We take the time required to connect with the deep peace in ourselves where we can experience a holy instant, a glimpse of Heaven, and let the holiness in us be experienced.
We accept the healing in our minds every time we reach out to a brother with joy, peace, and love. When we offer patience and love instead of condemnation, and when we offer forgiveness instead of correcting a brother, then we will understand what accepting the Atonement for ourselves is about. Then we will be motivated to visit this place, more and more often until we can truly know this world is not our home and the ego is not what we are. Then we will know the true healing of the mind, which is the only cure for every kind of pain we experience. It is our willingness to take ourselves, and our brothers, out of our self-imposed prison of the ego thought system.
None of our chosen remedies will work. "Only salvation can be said to cure." (W.140) We are reminded in this Lesson that the treatments for sickness offered by the world can never cure because they don't treat the problem. They only address the symptoms. The problem is the guilt in our minds that we project onto the body, and now we see it in some kind of sickness. We come to recognize there is indeed a real cure for the guilt. The cure is our acceptance of the Atonement that addresses the only problem we have---the guilt in the mind that came with the separation.
If God is holiness and is everywhere, and sin and guilt are nothing and nowhere, then guilt and sin are baseless. They are completely invalid emotions that have no reality. When we believe in guilt and sin, the power of our belief seems to give it reality. Our responsibility, however, is to withdraw belief in guilt and recognize that all sickness is some form of guilt. A sick body offers us an opportunity to see the guilt in our minds and be willing to choose peace and healing. We are not always able to do that in the face of sickness. Jesus assures us that we need not feel guilty about taking some form of magic to relieve the symptoms so that we can turn within to the real Answer when our fear is diminished. We can never experience true healing by addressing effects. Real healing must address the cause, which is the guilt in our minds.
Now we come to our final practice in this review and affirm the truth about ourselves once again. It is helpful to notice our resistance to waking up from this dream by taking note of how often we remember to do the Lesson. We all have resistance to giving up control, giving up our belief in independence, and surrendering our perspectives. We are very invested in our concepts and our opinions. We are invested in being right about ourselves, but this keeps us from being truly happy.
We have filled our minds with ideas, beliefs, and values that we hold as true, and now we must recognize that none of this has brought true peace. When we are defensive, we have identified with an illusion of ourselves. It is not who we are.
With this recognition comes the motivation to step back into the stillness and defenselessness of our True Self.
Love and blessings, Sarah
From Perception to Knowledge
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
VIII. The Decision for Guiltlessness
64 Learning will be commensurate with motivation, and the interference in your motivation for learning is exactly the same as that which interferes with
all your thinking. The happy learner cannot
guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns so easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is
interference, not salvation, and serves no useful function at all.
65 You are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt and do not look upon it as having value
in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are
both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both, you do not see yourselves as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole
only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness
can you be happy. There
is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in
any way, in
any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness and push it from your sight.
66 There is no compromise that you can make with guilt and escape the pain which
only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in Heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt
seems to attract you, remember that, if you yield to it, you are deciding
against your happiness and will not learn
how to be happy. Say therefore to yourself gently, but with the conviction born of the love of God and of His Son,
What I experience, I will make manifest.
If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear.
I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement,
not for its rejection.
I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest
and sharing it.
Let me bring peace to God's Son from his Father.
68 Each day, each hour and minute, even every second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection, between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the decision for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide
between is fixed because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them because they are opposites which
cannot be reconciled and
cannot both be true. You are guilty
or guiltless, bound
or free, happy
69 The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is not a cause, but an
effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will
think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving
is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.
70 No penalty is ever asked of God's Son except
by himself and
of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it, he binds himself to darkness because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By
giving power to nothing, he threw away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing
has no power. And by
not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness
and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches and would have
you teach with Him. It is
His joy to teach it, as it will be
71 The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: guiltlessness
is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone, and teach him that
whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him
he is guiltless. He can do
nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to
think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for
yourself, is also
is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause,
72 God is the
only Cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God
has power over you.
The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in it in any mind. Remember always that
mind is one and
cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness
only when you learn to
deny the causeless and accept the Cause of God as
yours. The power that God has given to His Son
is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt
in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.
73 Whenever you decide to make decisions for yourself, you are thinking destructively, and the decision
will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision which led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions
by yourself or
for yourself alone. No thought of God's Son
can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the
whole Sonship, directed in and out and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of. Those who accept the Atonement
are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty
will respond to guilt because they think it is salvation and will not refuse to see it and side with it. [They
increasing guilt is self-
protection.] And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want
must hurt them.
74 All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is
good. Yet will was given them
because it is holy and will bring to them
all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their wills will not provide that offers them
anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it
for them and
gives them what they will without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.
75 It will never happen that you will have to make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help, and Help that
knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He Who gives you everything will simply
offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourselves. Instead, accept His answer, for He
knows that you are worthy of everything God wills
for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God which He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him
for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you
76 Would you deny the truth of God's decision and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son?
Nothing can shake God's conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it
is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him, it
must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan which God has set for his Atonement, relinquishing his
own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask of the Holy Spirit everything and leave
all decisions to His gentle counsel.
77 The One Who knows the plan of God which God would have you follow can teach you what it
His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what salvation
is and what you would be saved
from. The Holy Spirit knows that
all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other "enemy," and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit is your
only friend. He is the strong protector of your innocence, which sets you free. And it is
His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.
Let Him, therefore, be the
Guide that you would follow to salvation. He knows the way and leads you gladly on it.
Him you will not fail to learn what God wills for you
His guidance, you will think you know alone and will decide
your peace as surely as you made the wrong decision in ever thinking that salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not, and He will make every decision for you, for your salvation, and the peace of God in you.
79 Seek not to appraise the worth of God's Son, whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge
against Him. And you
will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. God's Spirit teaches only that the "sin" of self-replacement on the throne of God is
not a source of guilt. What cannot happen can have
no effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but
not your reality. Never forget the love of God, Who
has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from His loving Mind wherein he was created and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.
80 Say to the Holy Spirit only, "Decide for me," and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God
knows about you, and in this light, error of
any kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all that you
cannot know when all knowledge lies behind every decision which the Holy Spirit makes
for you? Learn of His wisdom and His love and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them
and for yourself.
81 How gracious is it to decide all things through Him Whose equal love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one
outside yourself, alone
without you. And so He gives you what is yours because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone
will be. Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring
only good to everyone? Would you
82 You taught yourselves the most unnatural habit of
not communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with Him and with everything that is within Him, as it is within yourself.
Unlearn isolation through His loving guidance and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.
83 Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His Presence in you and tell yourself this and
He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not.
Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn.
And so I trust Him to communicate to me all that
He knows for me.
85 Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is
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