THURSDAY June 16, 2016
Open to Giving and Receiving
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40 You could live forever in the holy instant, beginning now and reaching to eternity, but for a very simple reason. Do not obscure the simplicity of this reason, for if you do, it will be only because you prefer not to recognize it and not to let it go. The simple reason, simply stated, is this: The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that it is a time in which your mind is open, both to receive and give. It is the recognition that all minds are in communication. It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything.      
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L e s s o n 167
There is one life, and that I share with God.


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   There are not different kinds of life, for life
   is like the truth. It does not have degrees.
   Life is the one condition in which all
   that God created share. Like all His Thoughts,
   it has no opposite. There is no death
   because what God created shares His Life.
   There is no death because an opposite
   to God does not exist. There is no death
   because the Father and the Son are One.
   In this world there appears to be a state
   that is life's opposite. You call it death.
   Yet we have learned that the idea of death
   takes many forms. It is the one idea
   which underlies all feelings that are not
   supremely happy. It is the alarm
   to which you give response of any kind
   that is not perfect joy. All sorrow, loss,
   anxiety and suffering and pain,
   even a little sigh of weariness,
   a slight discomfort or the merest frown,
   acknowledge death. And thus deny you live.
   You think that death is of the body. Yet
   it is but an idea, irrelevant
   to what is seen as physical. A thought
   is in the mind. It can be then applied
   where mind directs it, but its origin
   is where it must be changed if change occurs.
   Ideas leave not their source. The emphasis
   this course has placed on that idea is due
   to its centrality in our attempts
   to change your mind about yourself. It is
   the reason you can heal. It is the source
   of healing. It is why you cannot die.
   Its truth established you as part of God.
    Death is the thought that you are separate
   from your Creator. It is the belief
   conditions change, emotions alternate
   because of causes you cannot control,
   you did not make, and you can never change.
   It is the fixed belief ideas can leave
   their source, and take on qualities the source
   does not contain, becoming different
   from their own origin, apart from it
   in kind as well as distance, time and form.
   Death cannot come from life. Ideas remain
   united to their source. They can extend
   all that their source contains. In that they can
   go far beyond themselves. But they can not
   give birth to what was never given them.
   As they were made, so will their making be.
   As they were born, so will they then give birth.
   And where they come from, there will they return.
   The mind can think it sleeps, but that is all.
   It cannot change what is its waking state.
   It cannot make a body, nor abide
   within a body. What is alien to
   the mind does not exist because it has
   no source. For mind creates all things that are,
   and cannot give them attributes it lacks,
   nor change its own eternal, mindful state.
   It cannot make the physical. What seems
   to die is but the sign of mind asleep.
   The opposite of life can only be
   another form of life. As such, it can
   be reconciled with what created it,
   because it is not opposite in truth.
   Its form may change; it may appear to be
   what it is not. Yet mind is mind awake
   or sleeping. It is not its opposite
   in anything created, nor in what
   it seems to make when it believes it sleeps.
   God creates only mind awake. He does
   not sleep, and His creations cannot share
   what He gives not, nor make conditions which
   He does not share with them. The thought of death
   is not the opposite to thoughts of life.
   Forever unopposed by opposites
   of any kind, the Thoughts of God remain
   forever changeless, with the power to
   extend forever changelessly but yet
   within Themselves, for They are everywhere.
   What seems to be the opposite of life
   is merely sleeping. When the mind elects
   to be what it is not, and to assume
   an alien power which it does not have,
   a foreign state it cannot enter, or
   a false condition not within its Source,
   it merely seems to go to sleep a while.
   It dreams of time; an interval in which
   what seems to happen never has occurred,
   the changes wrought are substanceless, and all
   events are nowhere. When the mind awakes,
   it but continues as it always was.
   Let us today be children of the truth,
   and not deny our holy heritage.
   Our life is not as we imagine it.
   Who changes life because he shuts his eyes,
   or makes himself what he is not because
   he sleeps, and sees in dreams an opposite
   to what he is? We will not ask for death
   in any form today. Nor will we let
   imagined opposites to life abide
   even an instant where the Thought of Life
   Eternal has been placed by God Himself.
   His holy home we strive to keep today
   as He established it, and wills it be
   forever and forever. He is Lord
   of what we think today. And from His Thoughts,
   Which have no opposite, we understand
   there is one life, and that we share with Him;
   with all creation, with their thoughts as well,
   whom He created in a Unity
   of life which cannot separate in death
   and leave the Source of Life from where It came.
   We share our life because we have one Source,
   a Source from Which perfection comes to us,
   remaining always in the holy minds
   which He created perfect. As we were,
   so are we now, and will forever be.
   A sleeping mind must waken as it sees
   its own perfection mirroring the Lord
   of Life so perfectly it fades into
   what is reflected there. And now it is
   no more a mere reflection. It becomes
   the thing reflected and the light which made
   reflection possible. No vision now
   is needed. For the wakened mind is one
   that knows its Source, its Self, its Holiness.
    ~ The Original Handscript Notes
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
There is one life, and that I share with God.

Sarah's Commentary: 
This is like Lesson 163, "There is no death. The Son of God is free." This Lesson says the same thing, but now the focus is more on the nature of our one life. Life does not have degrees. It is like truth. Since God is Life, what He creates can only be life, as there can be no opposite to God. Certainly, in this world there seems to be an opposite to life, and we call it death. As was said in Lesson 163, death is apparent to us, as we see it all around. It seems certain and real to us. As a result, the illusion of this body and this world seems more real than perfect Oneness, which has no opposite. Yet Jesus says, "There is no death because what God created shares His life." (W.167.1.5) Nothing outside of God exists. If this is the case, death must be illusory and thus has no reality. Life is all there is. What to us depicts life, is quite simply illusion. "There is no death because the Father and the Son are one." (W.167.1.7)
There are those who hold the belief that when we die we go to Heaven, or for some, it is the belief we go to hell. The truth is we can only know the state of Heaven through awakening. As we said before in the discussion on death in Lesson 163, nothing happens when we die because it is all part of the dream. Dying is of bodies, but bodies are not real. Our reality is eternal. There is only life. There is no hereafter; there is only the present eternal now. Recognizing the unreality of death assists us in the process of waking up from this dream.
"In this world, there appears to be a state that is life's opposite. You call it death." (W.167.2.1-2) Death seems to show up in many forms, as we learned in Lesson 163. Yet whether it is the death of the body or death in the form of sorrow, loss, anxiety, sickness, pain, weariness, anger, or suffering of any kind, none of it is true. Indeed, any state where we are not supremely happy cannot be real. The experience of the individual self seemingly living in a body is an illusory state of a character in a dream. Our true state is actually perfect joy and peace. (W.167.2.5) When we respond to anything in this world with anxiety and fear or even ". . . a slight discomfort or the merest frown," (W.167.2.6) Jesus tells us we are actually denying the life we are. If God is all there is and He is Life, what we experience, including death, simply cannot be true.
Ultimately, death is a thought in the wrong mind. If our natural state of extreme happiness can be changed to a state of sadness, misery and suffering, it must be because we are holding onto a false thought. In fact, it can be said that all of our problems are a result of the wrong-minded thoughts we are holding. These wrong-minded thoughts have come about with the seeming separation from who we really are. With separation comes our separate identity as a body and personality, but it is an identity that is illusory. It is just an image we have projected. If that is the case, then who we think we are does not live, and therefore, it does not die.
Whether we experience sickness, pain, sorrow, or fear, they all come from the choice for the wrong mind and are non-existent. They start with the belief the ego is true, the body and the world are real, and problems we experience are caused by events and circumstances outside the mind. What we do in response to our perceived problems is try to fix them with remedies that can never work. This is because we try to fix problems where they are not, outside the mind and on the screen of this world; but problems all originate in our own minds. For example, I may be holding thoughts of conflict and distress in my mind, but now I will see the conflict in my relationships because what is in my mind will be manifested in the world. Working with the outside picture of my inward condition will not solve my problems in my relationships. The only solution is to take responsibility for the inner conflict in me and bring it to the healing light of the Holy Spirit. Then my seemingly external problems will not be experienced as conflict. I will see everything as love or a call for love, and I will experience joy and peace. Healing requires I return to the real source of my problem, which is the guilt in my mind. "Ideas leave not their source." (W.167.3.6) This is a central idea in the Course, meaning, to understand anything in the Course, we must understand that everything originates in the mind. Therefore, it only makes sense to go back to the mind, which is the only place healing can occur. We have the power within to choose to see every situation, including death, differently.
When we are not supremely happy, peaceful, and joyful, we have denied the life we are. We have denied God. We have affirmed death. We have affirmed there is something other than God and other than His perfect Oneness. We hold the belief there could be something other than Life and there could be something other than Love. How could there be something other? We need to see that anything unlike supreme happiness is not the truth. It is important when we don't experience happiness that we not deny our feelings and emotions. In fact, to sit with our feelings and investigate what we must be thinking and believing is very important to our healing. To ignore our feelings is an inappropriate form of denial and not helpful. At the same time, Jesus invites us to see the unreality of our experience. We have the power to choose to see everything from a different perspective. We are not victims of external circumstances. While we experience the many forms of death on a regular basis in our seemingly human condition, we have an opportunity, by bringing our thoughts and feelings to awareness, to go through the fear to the love within. When we change the cause (our minds), the effects are gone.
All of our feelings, whether anxiety, sadness, anger, anxiety, any kind of suffering, or feelings of loss and pain, can be traced to the beliefs we hold. It is not helpful to just dismiss these feelings with the statement, "It is all an illusion." It is true that these feelings are part of the dream of death, but as long as we experience pain, suffering, and loss, our minds are still attracted to guilt. By denying our thoughts and feelings, we are choosing to keep them. Bringing them to the loving light of truth is how we heal. Anything we conceal or deny, we are actively choosing to hold back from healing. In this way, we are insisting we are right about the way we see the situation, and our thoughts and feelings are now justified.
I find sometimes that I stubbornly hold onto my anger and justify my suffering. Jesus says this is what our attraction to death, and our investment in being right, is all about. These thoughts seem to have a life of their own, but this is not so, since, in order to experience them, they need our consent and agreement. The thoughts we hold can feel tenacious and obsessive, as if we do not have a choice about what we are experiencing. They seem to have quite a hold on our minds when we experience events in our lives that are distressful. Yet the events are, in and of themselves, just neutral. It is our thoughts about them and the interpretations we give them that bring the distress. The whole point of this teaching is to recognize we have the power within us with the help of the Holy Spirit to change our minds about the way we see anything that seems to be happening to us. The miracle is behind every seemingly distressing situation, waiting for our acceptance. And with the miracle, our perception of the events we previously found distressful is shifted.
Our distressing thoughts are the veil keeping us from knowing the truth about ourselves. The truth is already in us. Our own dark thoughts keep the truth of who we are from our awareness. When we are willing to be honest and have the courage to look at them, only then can they be released. This undeniably requires tremendous honesty, openness, non-defensiveness, courage, and most of all, willingness. We are masters at denial. As long as we identify with the self that we think we are, we will be continually defending this character in the mistaken belief we need to protect this false image.
We have not left the mind of God, since we are still an idea in His mind. It is not possible we can take on different characteristics than those of God, except in the illusion. We think we can take on qualities apart from our Source (God), and that we can be different from our original design specs. It seems to us we have qualities God does not have. We experience ourselves as a body and personality, separate from God, but this cannot be. We cannot be victims of outside circumstances. There are no outside circumstances. Everything originates in our minds and, by the same token, we originate in God's Mind, and therefore, we cannot be anything He is not.
Jesus tells us we can't really be asleep in this dream, since God is awake. How could we be something God is not? Yet we seem to be asleep, unaware of the truth of our being. Thus, the whole journey is about awakening from this sleep into which we seem to have fallen. Yet because we are in God's Mind, which is not asleep, our seeming state of sleep cannot be true. Since ideas leave not their source, and God is awake Mind, this has to be our state as well. To be in a state of sleep is to take on properties God does not have.
Jesus says ideas ". . . can go far beyond themselves. But they can not give birth to what was never given them." (W.167.5.4-5) Ideas in the mind can only seem to wander beyond the mind and seem to exist outside the mind. In this dream, ideas seem to have gone beyond themselves by making this world, but that does not make it real. The ego has no life and cannot give birth to life. This is not easy for us to understand. Our experience seems different from this, yet the reality is "It [the mind] cannot make a body, nor abide within a body." (W.167.6.3) We experience ourselves as separate from God, seemingly living in a body, and living in the world. We believe all of this is real, but thinking this is true does not make it so. We can think what we want, but we cannot establish reality. Within the dream, the mind can make a body, but it cannot make the body real, anymore than we can make the characters real that show up in our nighttime sleep. When we are dreaming, the figures and the situations in the dream seem to be real. If we never woke up from our nighttime dream, it would seem to be our reality. When we do awaken, we know the people and events in the dream were not real, even though we thought they were while we were dreaming. The source of the body is the ego, but it is not a real source. What seems to die is the body, but the body is just a thought in the mind. Since the body and the physical world were not made by Spirit, which is the only real Source there is, they can have no reality.
"The opposite of life can only be another form of life." (W.167.7.1) The body is just the symbol of the sleeping mind. Through forgiveness, what has been made that is untrue is released. When forgiveness is complete, we experience the real world, which is a reflection of Heaven. Forgiveness is still part of the illusion, as there is nothing that needs forgiveness. Yet it is a helpful illusion, as it takes us to the end of illusions. The truth is---there is nothing to forgive because nothing has happened. To our minds, something has happened, and now we seem to be sleeping. Through forgiveness, the mind is awakened to the reflection of God's truth.
To us, death seems to be the opposite of life, but it is only sleep. "What seems to be the opposite of life is merely sleeping." (W.167.9.1) We have simply fallen asleep, dreaming of what has never occurred. This is why forgiveness in the Course is about seeing that what your brother did to you has never happened. Nothing here is real. The best we can do here is to come to a reflection of reality. What forgiveness does is reflect God's Love in this world. In the world of time, things seem to happen and people seem to hurt us, but when we realize nothing has really happened and is only our dream, then all forms of death are put in perspective as having no real meaning. They are all actually nothing. This puts everything into a renewed perspective when we take in what is being said. It means that everything we think and believe, about our lives here and what we are, is wrong. Admitting we are wrong in the way we perceive is a big step in learning.
Jesus asks us to accept our heritage. "Let us today be children of the truth, and not deny our holy heritage. Our life is not as we imagine it." (W.167.10.1-2) These are actually encouraging thoughts. All of our seeming problems are of our imagination. All of our sadness, suffering, and distress of any kind, is just a form of death and not the truth. He asks us not to let these ". . . imagined opposites to life" (W.167.10.5) stay with us even an instant, remembering instead that we were given only eternal life by God Himself. Our practice today is all about remembering this truth and keeping our minds in a state of holiness as "He established it." (W.167.11.1) With vigilance, we can watch the thoughts that are forms of death and be willing to have them released, remembering they are not the truth about us, and they do not define who we are. The ultimate goal is to know our own perfection and to perfectly reflect the "Lord of Life," (W.167.12.3), until the illusion is no more.
Today, when you are tempted to see someone as separate and to believe that the thought system of the ego is real, recognize you are mistaken. When you attack, criticize, get angry, or blame anyone, it is just an attempt to see your own guilt outside of your own mind, believing ideas can leave their source. Today is another opportunity to choose to release these blocks to the Holy Spirit, until the illusion is no more.
"The song of freedom, which sings the praises of another world, brings to it hope of peace. For it remembers Heaven, and now it sees that Heaven has come to earth at last, from which the ego's rule has kept it out so long. Heaven has come because it found a home in your relationship on earth. And earth can hold no longer what has been given Heaven as its own." (T-21.IV.7:4-7)

Love and blessings, Sarah

V. Practicing the Holy Instant           
35 This course is not beyond immediate learning unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so. The holy instant is this one and every one. The one you want it to be it is. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. You must decide on when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, in which you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance. Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it, for it holds the whole release from littleness.
36 Your practice must therefore rest upon your willingness to let all littleness go. The instant in which magnitude will dawn upon you is but as far away as your desire for it. As long as you desire it not and cherish littleness instead, by so much is it far from you. By so much as you want it will you bring it nearer. Think not that you can find salvation in your own way and have it. Give over every plan that you have made for your salvation in exchange for God's. His will content you, and there is nothing else that can bring you peace. For peace is of God and of no one beside Him.
37 Be humble before Him and yet great in Him. And value no plan of the ego before the plan of God. For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fulfill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan but His. I call you to fulfill your holy part in the plan that He has given to the world for its release from littleness. God would have His host abide in perfect freedom. Every allegiance to a plan of salvation that is apart from Him diminishes the value of His Will for you in your own minds. And yet it is your mind that is the host to Him.
38 Would you learn how perfect and immaculate is the holy altar on which your Father has placed Himself? This you will recognize in the holy instant in which you willingly and gladly give over every plan but His. For there lies peace, perfectly clear because you have been willing to meet its conditions. You can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere you want it. In your practice, try to give over every plan you have accepted for finding magnitude in littleness. It is not there. Use the holy instant only to recognize that you alone cannot know where it is and can only deceive yourself.
39 I stand within the holy instant, as clear as you would have me. And the extent to which you learn to be willing to accept me is the measure of the time in which the holy instant will be yours. I call to you to make the holy instant yours at once, for the release from littleness in the mind of the host of God depends on willingness and not on time. The reason why this course is simple is that truth is simple. Complexity is of the ego and is nothing more than the ego's attempt to obscure the obvious.
40 You could live forever in the holy instant, beginning now and reaching to eternity, but for a very simple reason. Do not obscure the simplicity of this reason, for if you do, it will be only because you prefer not to recognize it and not to let it go. The simple reason, simply stated, is this: The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that it is a time in which your mind is open, both to receive and give. It is the recognition that all minds are in communication. It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything.
41 How can you do this when you would prefer to have private thoughts and keep them? The only way you could do that is to deny the perfect communication that makes the holy instant what it is. You believe that it is possible to harbor thoughts you would not share and that salvation lies in keeping your thoughts to yourself alone. For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you find a way to keep what you would have alone and share what you would share. And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you and with God Who surrounds all of you together.
42 Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off because you would have it so. It is impossible to recognize perfect communication while breaking communication holds value to you. Ask yourselves honestly, "Would I want to have perfect communication, and am I wholly willing to let everything that interferes with it go forever?" If the answer is no, then the Holy Spirit's readiness to give it to you is not enough to make it yours, for you are not ready to share it with Him. And it cannot come into a mind that has decided to oppose it. For the holy instant is given and received with equal willingness, being the acceptance of the single Will that governs all thought.
43  The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts which are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Yet it would not be Atonement if there were no need for Atonement. You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you.
44 In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep unto yourself. Let the Holy Spirit's purity shine them away and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you. Thus will He make you ready to acknowledge that you are host to God and hostage to no one and nothing.

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