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35 Let your minds wander not through darkened corridors, away from light's center. You may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can only be brought together by the Guide appointed for you. He will surely lead you to where God and His Son await your recognition. They are joined in giving you the gift of oneness, before which all separation vanishes. Unite with what you are. You cannot join with anything except reality.

"Perception Without Deceit"
Workbook for Students
Lesson 160
I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.
1 Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself. And thus you are unknown to you. What is your Self remains an alien to the part of you which thinks that it is real but different from yourself. Who could be sane in such a circumstance? Who but a madman could believe he is what he is not and judge against himself?

2 There is a stranger in our midst who comes from an idea so foreign to the truth he speaks a different language, looks upon a world truth does not know, and understands what truth regards as senseless. Stranger yet, he does not recognize to whom he comes and yet maintains his home belongs to him, while he is alien now who is at home.

3And yet how easy it would be to say, "This is my home. Here I belong and will not leave because a madman says I must." What reason is there for not saying this? What could the reason be except that you had asked this stranger in to take your place and let you be a stranger to yourself? No one would let himself be dispossessed so needlessly unless he thought there was another home more suited to his tastes.

4 Who is the stranger? Is it fear or you that is unsuited to the home which God provided for His Son? Is fear His own, created in His likeness? Is it fear that love completes and is completed by? There is no home can shelter love and fear. They cannot coexist. If you are real, then fear must be illusion. And if fear is real, then you do not exist at all.

5 How simply, then, the question is resolved. Who fears has but denied himself and said, "I am the stranger here. And so I leave my home to one more like me than myself and give him all I thought belonged to me." Now is he exiled of necessity, not knowing who he is, uncertain of all things but this—that he is not himself and that his home has been denied to him.

6 What does he search for now? What can he find? A stranger to himself can find no home wherever he may look, for he has made return impossible. His way is lost except a miracle will search him out and show him that he is no stranger now. The miracle will come. For in his home his Self remains. It asked no stranger in and took no alien thought to be Itself. And It will call its own unto Itself, in recognition of what is Its own.

7 Who is the stranger? Is he not the one your Self calls not? You are unable now to recognize this stranger in your midst, for you have given him your rightful place. Yet is your Self as certain of Its own as God is of His Son. He cannot be confused about creation. He is sure of what belongs to Him. No stranger can be interposed between His knowledge and His Son's reality. He does not know of strangers. He is certain of His Son.

8 God's certainty suffices. Who He knows to be His Son belongs where He has set His Son forever. He has answered you who ask, "Who is the stranger?" Hear His Voice assure you, quietly and sure, that you are not a stranger to your Father, nor is your Creator stranger made to you. Whom God has joined remains forever one, at home in Him, no stranger to Himself.

9Today we offer thanks that Christ has come to search the world for what belongs to Him. His vision sees no strangers, but beholds His own and joyously unites with them. They see Him as a stranger, for they do not recognize themselves. Yet as they give Him welcome, they remember. And He leads them gently home again where they belong.

10Not one does Christ forget. Not one He fails to give you to remember that your home may be complete and perfect as it was established. He has not forgotten you. But you will not remember Him until you look on all as He does. Who denies his brother is denying Him and thus refusing to accept the gift of sight by which his Self is clearly recognized, his home remembered, and salvation come.

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Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Text
Chapter 14
 Bringing Illusions to Truth

IV. Perception Without Deceit
 par 24-37
[PAUSED FOR WEEKEND]
24 What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together and not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.

25 The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can be neither lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognized or unrecognized, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe the more you look at fear, the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.

26 It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view, it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints of what the "unknowing" are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have, and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.

27 You must have noticed that the emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realize that salvation must come to you this way if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. It has been recognized that if they were brought together their joint acceptance would become impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them.

28 You cannot have them both, for each denies the other. Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go because the other is seen in the same place. Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defense is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit uses defenses on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to His purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them.

29 Defenses, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self-destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay yourselves in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfill what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.

30 The Holy Spirit asks of you but this—bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. For He sees for you, and unless you look with Him, He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgment must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His. Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge.

31 You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognize what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion, and one purpose. God has one purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish for all the world not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His love as yours. All honor to you through Him, and through Him unto God.

32 In the darkness you have obscured the glory God gave you and the power He bestowed upon His guiltless Son. All this lies hidden in every darkened place shrouded in guilt and in the dark denial of innocence. Behind the dark doors which you have closed lies nothing, because nothing can obscure the gift of God. It is the closing of the doors that interferes with recognition of the power of God that shines in you. Banish not power from your mind, but let all that would hide your glory be brought to the judgment of the Holy Spirit and there undone. Whom He would save for glory is saved for it. He has promised the Father that through Him you would be released from littleness to glory. To what He promised God He is wholly faithful, for He shared with God the promise that was given Him to share with you.

33 He shares it still, for you. Everything that promises otherwise, great or small, however much or little valued, He will replace with the one promise given unto Him to lay upon the altar to your Father and His Son. No altar stands to God without His Son. And nothing brought there that is not equally worthy of both but will be replaced by gifts wholly acceptable to Father and to Son. Can you offer guilt to God? You cannot, then, offer it to His Son. For they are not apart, and gifts to one are offered to the other.

34 You know not God because you know not this. And yet you do know God and also this. All this is safe within you, where the Holy Spirit shines. He shines not in division, but in the meeting place where God, united with His Son, speaks to His Son through Him. Communication between what cannot be divided cannot cease. The holy meeting place of the unseparated Father and His Son lies in the Holy Spirit and in you. All interference in the communication that God Himself wills with His Son is quite impossible here. Unbroken and uninterrupted love flows constantly between the Father and the Son, as both would have it be. And so it is.

35 Let your minds wander not through darkened corridors, away from light's center. You may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can only be brought together by the Guide appointed for you. He will surely lead you to where God and His Son await your recognition. They are joined in giving you the gift of oneness, before which all separation vanishes. Unite with what you are. You cannot join with anything except reality. God's glory and His Son's belong to you in truth. They have no opposite, and nothing else can you bestow upon yourselves.

36 There is no substitute for truth. And truth will make this plain to you as you are brought into the place where you must meet with truth. And there you must be led, through gentle understanding which can lead you nowhere else. Where God is, there are you. Such is the truth. Nothing can change the knowledge given you by God into unknowingness. Everything God created knows its Creator. For this is how creation is accomplished by the Creator and by His creations. In the holy meeting place are joined the Father and His creations, and the creations of His Son with them together. There is one link which joins them all together, holding them in the oneness out of which creation happens.

37 The link with which the Father joins Himself to those He gives the power to create like Him can never be dissolved. Heaven itself is union with all of creation and with its One Creator. And Heaven remains the Will of God for you. Lay no gifts other than this upon your altars, for nothing can coexist beside it. Here your meager offerings are brought together with the gift of God, and only what is worthy of the Father will be accepted by the Son, for whom it was intended. To whom God gives Himself, He is given. Your little gifts will vanish on the altar where He has placed His Own.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 160
I am home. Fear is the stranger here.
This Lesson describes, in a very stark manner, the insanity of the choice made by the Son of God for the ego that is referred here as the stranger. With this choice, our home is now invaded by fear. Now, we are a stranger to the Self that is still at home with God. We have identified with fear and now we don't know our own reality as Love. We are confused about our identity and wonder, "What am I?" "Who could be sane in such a circumstance?" (W.160.1.5) When we align with the ego as our identity, confusion reigns. Once you have made a choice for the ego, you automatically become a stranger to the Christ Self that you are. "And thus you are unknown to you." (W.160.1.3) Who I really am has become alien to me.
 
We have come to believe that we are the home of sin, guilt, and fear. With the separation comes the belief in sin, guilt, and the fear of God’s punishment. We feel lost, and so we keep searching for a place where we can feel at home. Jesus asks us to consider what we are searching for. "What can he find? A stranger to himself can find no home wherever he may look, for he has made return impossible." (W.160.6.2-3) What we are desperately searching for is the love we think we have lost, and now we are looking for it outside of ourselves in the world, which is exactly where the ego would have us look for it, knowing we will never find it there. The peace, fulfillment, and happiness that we think are "out there" somewhere can't be found in the world because it doesn't exist out there. When we follow the ego's mantra, we keep seeking but never finding. Until we seek where our happiness truly is, which is in our right minds, we will be going on a futile search, looking for happiness where it will never be found. Under these conditions, truth will not be found.
 
When I have fear-thoughts, I say, "I am afraid," as if the fear thoughts were me. When I have thoughts of anger, sadness, and jealousy, I say that I am angry, sad, worried, or jealous, but these thoughts are not descriptive of anything true about me; they are just thoughts I have chosen to believe, and when I hold onto them, I become a stranger to the Self that is in a constant state of peace. I am actually blocking this state with my reliance on what my senses report back to me. Their aim is to prove to me that I am what I say I am. As I hold these thoughts, I suffer because my misperceptions block the truth of my reality.
 
Why do we choose to identify with thoughts that are not true? "What could the reason be except that you had asked this stranger in to take your place, and let you be a stranger to yourself? No one would let himself be dispossessed so needlessly, unless he thought there were another home more suited to his tastes." (W.160.3.2-3) Yes, we still believe the world and body give us what we want, and as long as we think this, we will pursue our spiritual goals, while still holding onto the belief that there is something to be gained from the world.
 
This is a reflection of our split minds. True, we suffer as a result of the thoughts and beliefs we hold, but there is a payoff without which we would not continue to hold these thoughts. First and foremost, it keeps us invested in the separate self that we still value. Secondly, we believe we can make others responsible for our suffering and let them take the anticipated punishment for the separation, while maintaining our innocence. We give the attributes of fear to love, meaning that we now look to fear to keep us safe. We give our allegiance to our body, our individuality, and our independence where we believe our happiness lies. We think we know our own best interests and what will keep us safe.
 
This is how we establish our barricades to protect us from God's wrath, which is why Jesus says that the world was made as a place to hide from God. In fact, he describes it as a place where God could enter not. "The 'attack on God' made His Son think he was Fatherless, and out of his depression he made the god of depression." (T.10.V.4.2) (ACIM OE T.9.XI.96) What a sad substitute for our true happiness, yet until we see what we have done, we will not know there is another way to see it all. Eventually, we come to see how the ego has set all this up. It is not our friend. In fact, it is the stranger that has taken over our pristine home and made himself comfortable at our invitation. This is the height of insanity.
 
The stranger we have invited into our home is fear. As a result, we no longer feel safe. We feel dispossessed from ourselves. We live with a sense of underlying anxiety, worry, anger, depression, restlessness, frustration, unworthiness, helplessness, confusion, sadness, and hurt. These, and a myriad of other feelings, are what have taken up residence in our wrong minds. Truth regards these feelings as senseless. They are alien to our real nature. We have chosen littleness over our magnitude, but this need not be. All that is required is to recognize that we could tell the madman to leave at any moment! "What reason is there for not saying this?" (W.160.3.1) Why do we continue to entertain these feelings? Why do we continue to listen to the counsel of the ego that does not have our best interests in mind? Until we recognize what we have done and release our allegiance to this thought system, we remain a stranger to ourselves. We don't have to listen to the ego any longer, but in order to realize we don't want the ego thought system, we must be very vigilant in seeing its game. Jesus is helping us with this by unveiling the ego strategy very clearly to us. He shows us how we have been duped by the ego and will continue to live in a state of underlying fear until we choose against it. We are called to recognize the power of the mind to choose whether we will continue to invite the stranger in, or turn to the Holy Spirit instead.
 
On a practical level, this requires watching our thoughts, since we can't bring forward, for healing, what we don't see. It means looking at our beliefs, our values, our feelings, our thoughts, and our self-concepts. We believe: we need to know what to do, we know our own best interests, we are lacking, we are unworthy, we have been abandoned, and that people are judging us. These, and other beliefs we hold, must now all be brought to question. We have been wrong about everything we value and believe. All of our self-concepts are part of the stranger's identity.
 
Jesus asks us to consider, "Who is the stranger? Is it fear or you who are unsuited to the home which God provided for His Son?" (W.160.4.1-2) How could fear have any part in God's creation. We have all the attributes of God and fear is not part of Him. If fear is not part of God's creation, it cannot be real, even though it seems real to us because we have made it real in our minds and have given it power over us. When we identify with the fear, it does seem like it is love that is the stranger because the love in the mind is not apparent to us. Fear seems more real. In other words, the dream of this illusory world seems more real than God's reality, which to us seems more illusory.
 
But we don't have to give fear a safe place to exist. This stranger (fear) has become comfortable to us. We no longer recognize it as fearful, as we have become very familiar with these fear-based thoughts and feelings. We may not like them, but they are familiar, and thus we know what to expect. As Byron Katie asks, "Who would you be without this fear?" "Fear is a stranger to the ways of love." (W.160.1.1) Fear and love can't coexist. "There is no home can shelter love and fear." (W.160.4.5) "If you are real, then fear must be illusion. And if fear is real, then you do not exist at all." (W.160.4.7-8) Thus, it is one or the other. Both can't be true.
 
As was discussed in Lesson 152, "As God created you, you must remain unchangeable, with transitory states by definition false. And that includes all shifts in feeling, alterations in conditions of the body and the mind; in all awareness and in all response." (W.152.5.1-2) Anything other than a state of love, peace, and joy is our own contribution and not given by God. What is created in the image and likeness of God is love, not fear. If we are real, then fear must be unreal. If we are fear and it is illusion, not given by God, then it is nothing and does not exist. Yet while we can seem to abandon the Self that we are, it has not left us. This is the Call within our right minds that we have heard and responded to by coming to this Course. While we feel lost, a miracle has searched us out and is showing us that we are not this stranger. "No stranger can be interposed between His knowledge and His Son’s reality. He does not know of strangers. He is certain of His Son." (W.160.7.7-9) "The miracle will come." (W.160.6.5-9)
 
As a result of our decision to invite the stranger in, we think our home is denied to us and that someone else is to blame for our condition. But because we are the ones responsible, we can now choose again in each situation and every circumstance that we encounter. We are choosing to no longer listen to the stranger. Love is still there in our right minds, waiting for our acceptance. The memory of who we are has never left. We can reverse our decision for separation each time we are willing to forgive our misperceptions and ask for a new interpretation from the Holy Spirit. We have so many opportunities in the situations and events of our lives to choose forgiveness instead of attack. Why would we continue to hurt ourselves when there is a way out of our pain? Our happiness depends on our decision to watch our minds and let fear thoughts be placed on the altar where they are exchanged for the miracle. The Truth is still in our minds. We need not be stuck in our fear, nor hang onto our stories of pain and betrayal.
 
We can distance ourselves from the stranger by looking at what it is up to. When the thoughts and feelings that no longer serve us are identified, we can look at them without judgment. We do this by stepping back from them and looking from outside of this dream where Jesus stands with us. We become the observer. We become the investigator of our feelings and emotions. We continue this process until we no longer identify with this stranger at all and attend more and more to the Holy Spirit's Voice within us. "Hear His Voice assure you, quietly and sure, that you are not a stranger to your Father, nor is your Creator stranger made to you." (W.160.8.4) God knows us as the Christ Self that we are and does not see the ego at all. He does not know of this illusion. How could He when none of it is real? "His vision sees no strangers, but beholds His Own and joyously unites with them." (W.160.9.2)
 
We can be truly thankful that "Christ has come to search the world for what belongs to Him." (W.160.9.1) He does not see anything but the truth of who we are. All of our fears, our worries, our feelings of aloneness and separateness, our angst and our sadness have been answered in His Call to which we have responded. Now we willingly follow our pathway home to the Self that is nothing but love. We no longer need to continue to identify with thoughts of fear. We can know this stranger is not who we are. Our identification with this stranger lessens with each step that we take on this path. It is through forgiveness of our brothers that we come to know the love that we are.
 
"But you will not remember Him [the Christ Self ] until you look on all [your brothers] as He does." (W.160.10.4) When we accept our brothers as part of our one Self, seeing no differences, the love we are is extended through us, and we experience our Oneness on our journey back to our true home where we all belong. We all share the same wrong-minded thought system that has taken us to this world where the stranger seems to be at home. Now the world can become a classroom where the Christ Self we share can be born again and reflect the Oneness of Heaven. In the world, Oneness is reflected by seeing everyone the same.
 
Let us be determined to reclaim our true home today. It is not here. Our home is "complete and perfect as it was established." (W.160.10.2) We have not been forgotten by Him, as He is in our minds, awaiting our acceptance. Let us today distance ourselves from the craziness of our ego thoughts and the insanity of the world and choose forgiveness in every situation. We have asked for the light, and we are determined to see. We cannot fail to know the truth. Keep watching your thoughts and see the reflection of your mind in everything and everyone. Take responsibility for what you are projecting and bring all fear thoughts and concepts, with which you identify, to the Holy Spirit for healing. Notice how much of the time you are not accepting your brothers, judging them, or being insensitive to them. This is the awareness called for if we are to heal our mistaken perceptions. Do not judge yourself in this. Simply be the observer. This world is a classroom where we can be set free to use every opportunity for healing. When we exclude any brother, we are excluding ourselves from love. We won't remember our home in Christ until we see everyone with His vision.
 
"Today we offer thanks that Christ has come to search the world for what belongs to Him. His vision sees no stranger, but beholds His Own and joyously unites with them. They see Him as a stranger, for they do not recognize themselves. Yet as they give Him welcome, they remember. And He leads them gently home again where they belong." (W.160.9) No one is forgotten.

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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is “ A Workbook Companion: Vol I and II .”
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