Lesson 174
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Holy Spirit does not Join in Pain
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
  CH 16 "THE FORGIVENESS OF ILLUSIONS" 
I. INTRODUCTION
      
1 To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That is the ego's interpretation of empathy and is always used to form a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided you let Him use it in His way. [His way is very different.] He does not understand suffering and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates through you, He does not relate through the ego to another ego. He does not join in pain, knowing that healing pain is not accomplished by delusional attempts to enter into it and lighten it by sharing the delusion.    
         
              ON LINE: ACIM.OE.TX.CH 16.I         AUDIO: TEXT CH 16, I-II     
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I ~ REVIEW V
INTRODUCTION
Part I Review V
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Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
WHAT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER? 
 
   Now we review again. This time we are
   ready to give more effort and more time
   to what we undertake. We recognize
   we are preparing for another phase
   of understanding. We would take this step
   completely that we may go on again
   more certain, more sincere, with faith upheld
   more surely. Our footsteps have not been
   unwavering, and doubts have made us walk
   uncertainly and slowly on the road
   this course sets forth. But now we hasten on,
   for we approach a greater certainty,
   a firmer purpose and a surer goal.
 
   " Steady our feet, our Father; let our doubts   
   be quiet and our holy minds be still,
   and speak to us. We have no words to give
   to You. We would but listen to Your Word
   and make it ours. Lead our practicing
   as does a father lead a little child
   along a way he does not understand.
   Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe
   because his father leads the way for him.
 
   "So do we bring our practicing to You.
   And if we stumble, You will raise us up.
   If we forget the way, we count upon
   Your sure remembering. We wander off,
   but You will not forget to call us back.
   Quicken our footsteps now, that we may walk
   more certainly and quickly unto You.
   And we accept the Word You offer us
   to unify our practicing as we
   review the thoughts that You have given us ."
 
   This is the thought which should precede the thoughts
   that we review. Each one but clarifies
   some aspect of this thought, or helps it be
   more meaningful, more personal and true,
   and more descriptive of the holy Self
   we share and now prepare to know again:
 
   " God is but love, and therefore so am I."
 
   This Self alone knows love. This Self alone
   is perfectly consistent in Its thoughts;
   knows Its Creator, understands Itself,
   is perfect in Its knowledge and Its love,
   and never changes from Its constant state
   of union with Its Father and Itself.
 
   And it is This that waits to meet us at
   the journey's ending. Every step we take
   brings us a little nearer. This review
   will shorten time immeasurably, if
   we keep in mind that This remains our goal,
   and as we practice it is This to which
   we are approaching. Let us raise our hearts
   from dust to life as we remember This
   is promised us, and that this course was sent
   to open up the path of light to us,
   and teach us, step by step, how to return
   to the Eternal Self we think we lost.
 
   I take the journey with you. For I share
   your doubts and fears a little while, that you
   may come to me who recognize the road
   by which all doubts and fears are overcome.
   We walk together. I must understand
   uncertainty and pain, although I know
   they have no meaning. Yet a Saviour must
   remain with those he teaches, seeing what
   they see, but still retaining in his mind
   the way which led him out, and now will lead
   you out with him. God's Son is crucified
   until you walk along the road with me.
 
   My resurrection comes again each time
   I lead a brother safely to the place
   at which the journey ends and is forgot.
   I am renewed each time a brother learns
   there is a way from misery and pain.
   I am reborn each time a brother's mind
   turns to the light in him and looks for me.
   I have forgotten no-one. Help me now
   to lead you back to where your journey was
   begun, and make another choice with me.
 
   Release me as you practice once again
   the thoughts I brought to you from Him Who sees
   your bitter need, and knows the answer God
   has given Him. Together we review
   these thoughts. Together we devote our time
   and effort to them. And together we
   will teach them to our brothers. God would not
   have Heaven incomplete. It waits for you,
   as I do. I am incomplete without
   your part in me. And as I am made whole,
   we go together to our ancient home,
   prepared for us before time was and kept
   unchanged by time, immaculate and safe,
   as it will be at last, when time is done.
 
   Let this review be then your gift to me.
   For this alone I need; that you will hear
   the words I speak, and give them to the world.
   You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands,
   through which I save the world. The Self from Which
   I call to you is but your Own. To Him
   we go together. Take your brother's hand,
   for this is not a way we walk alone.
   In him I walk with you and you with me.
   Our Father wills His Son be One with Him.
   What lives but must not then be one with you?
 
   Let this review become a time in which
   we share a new experience for you,
   yet one as old as time and older still.
   Hallowed your name. Your glory undefiled
   forever. And your wholeness now complete,
   as God established it. You are His Son,
   completing His extension in your own.
   We practice but an ancient truth we knew
   before illusion seemed to claim the world.
   And we remind the world that it is free
   of all illusion every time we say,
 
   " God is but love, and therefore so am I."

   With this we start each day of our review.
   With this we start and end each period
   of practice time. And with this thought we sleep,
   to waken once again with these same words
   upon our tongue to greet another day.
   No thought that we review but we surround
   with it, and use the thoughts to hold it up
   before our minds and keep it clear in our
   remembrance throughout the day. And thus
   when we have finished this review, we will
   have recognized the words we speak are true.
 
   Yet are the words but aids, and to be used,
   except at the beginning and the end
   of practice periods, but to recall
   the mind, as needed, to its purpose. We
   place faith in the experience that comes
   from practice, not the means we use. We wait
   for the experience, and recognize
   that it is only here conviction lies.
   We use the words, and try and try again
   to go beyond them to their meaning, which
   is far beyond their sound. The sound grows dim
   and disappears, as we approach the Source
   of meaning. It is here that we find rest.
 
        ~ The Original Handscript Notes
   

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  174 ~ Review V
[Lesson 157 and Lesson 158]  

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God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
 
   [157] Into His Presence would I enter now.   
  
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
 
   [158] Today I learn to give as I receive.
      
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
 

                            ~ The Original Handscript Notes
   

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 174
Review V  ~ Lesson 157 and Lesson 158

  
Sarah's Commentary:

[157] Into His Presence would I enter now.
[158] Today I learn to give as I receive.
 
We continue today to review the Lessons with the constant reminder, "God is but Love and therefore so am I." (W.RV.4.3) Anything God creates is like Himself---holy, sinless, innocent, an endless spring of love, and immortal as Himself. We are not human beings who are desperately seeking our spirituality or having a spiritual experience. We actually are spiritual beings, who think that we are having a human experience, although we are dreaming that we are here.
 
The truth is that we are love. We defend against that love in order to maintain an existence separate from God. But now we choose to bring our defenses to awareness, recognizing how unhappy we are in our seemingly separated state.
 
We are guided on this journey by the Holy Spirit, Who is the quiet presence in our right minds, but as long as we stay in control of our process and believe everything is up to us, we will continue to take the lead ourselves. When we are willing to step back and let Him lead the way, we then give over our separate will and agree to have our Father, "Lead our practicing as does a father lead a little child along a way he does not understand. Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe because his father leads the way for him." (W.RV.2.5-6) The truth is within us now, and Jesus is leading us to this state of happiness and peace that is not possible to achieve by our own efforts, no matter how hard we try. When we think we know our own best interests, we are constantly reaching out for pleasure, but we always receive pain because that is the way the ego set it all up.
 
We take this teaching on faith until we have the experience that affirms the truth of it. Yet since the truth is already in our minds, we resonate with what is said here. When we defend against it, we experience resistance to his teaching, but he is gentle with us. We are in charge of how quickly we go. Thus, we don't have to be afraid that we will be hurled into Heaven. Our awakening is a gentle process, even though to the ego the events of our lives are often not to our liking. But since everything that seems to happen is by our own choosing, we are not victims of the events and circumstances of our lives.
 
As we apply the Lessons, we increasingly experience a shift into greater peace and freedom. We have all had experiences of being in the right place at the right time, of meeting people who we are meant to meet, of feeling in the flow where everything works easily, and of having things work out when we take our hands off of the steering wheel of our lives or when we give up control even a little. Alternatively, when things seem not to be moving in this kind of flow and challenges arise, we can remember to ask for help in choosing peace. Everything made by the ego can be used by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of undoing what does not serve us. Nothing the ego has made will ever bring happiness. We are reminded that we don't know our own best interests and that our greatest setbacks, as seen by the ego, can actually be our greatest spiritual advances. When we let all things be exactly as they are and not fight and resist what comes, we become happy learners. "You are not a happy learner yet because you still remain uncertain that vision gives you more than judgment does, and you have learned that both you cannot have." (T.21.I.3.7) (ACIM OE T.21.II.5) Until we step through this conflict, there will be resistance to the Lessons. When the conflict becomes sufficiently painful, we will be ready to take the giant strides to our freedom by focusing all our efforts on the Holy Spirit's Lessons.
 
How do we learn to hear the guidance? The approach taken in the Course to help us with the decision process that we go through every day is different than what we have learned in the world. No tools are given to us to make better, wiser, or more effective decisions. Jesus tells us that we are incapable of good decisions, so we need to let the Holy Spirit decide for us. This means that we make room for Him to guide our lives. We just need to ask in everything we do. We might complain that we don't hear His Voice, which is actually speaking to us throughout the day. But when we don't, it is because we are listening to our own voice, which is the voice of the ego. That voice is loud and raucous. To be guided is to trust our intuition and choose not to listen to the fearful thoughts of the ego and all of its doubts. We bring its wrong-minded dictates to the truth by placing them on the inner altar.
 
When we have the desire and willingness to hear and the confidence that the answers will be provided, we can trust in the perfection of everything that shows up for our healing. When we don't hear, it is because our minds are cluttered with guilt and fear thoughts. We want to stay in control, and thus, we resist guidance. With time and practice, our trust will grow, and increasingly we will find that we are releasing control, day-by-day, step-by-step. When we do so, the guidance becomes clearer, as long as we keep remembering to step back and let Him take the lead.
 
Jesus reminds us, "We sing the song of thankfulness today, in honor of the Self that God has willed to be our true Identity in Him." (W.123.4.2) "And we give thanks that in our solitude a Friend has come to speak the saving Word of God to us. And thanks to you for listening to Him. His Word is soundless if it be not heard." (W.123.5.2-4) Thus, our ability to listen comes when the obstacles in our minds are seen and brought to the light of Truth.
 
Today, we enter a day of silence and of trust. We remind ourselves that we can be wholly unafraid and thus completely trusting because of our invulnerability as Spirit. As we walk in trust and unafraid, we choose Christ's Vision. "It sees no separation. And it looks on everyone, on every circumstance, all happenings and all events, without the slightest fading of the light it sees." (W.158.7.4-5) No matter what comes up as we go through the day, we recognize that there is no value in anything except to know our identity as the love that we are.
 
Often, I find that when a situation shows up for me that seems problematic, and if I don't try to address it on my own but live in the not knowing, the answer comes in unexpected ways. Guidance comes in many forms. We just need to stay aware and tune into the guidance, whether it shows up as an inner voice, in pictures, nighttime dreams, a gut instinct, coincidences, feelings, a stirring in the heart, or other signs or symbols.
 
In this journey to awakening, Jesus goes with us. He says, "I take the journey with you. For I share your doubts and fears a little while, that you may come to me who recognize the road by which all fears and doubts are overcome. We walk together. I must understand uncertainty and pain, although I know they have no meaning. Yet a savior must remain with those he teaches, seeing what they see, but still retaining in his mind the way that led him out, and now will lead you out with him. God's Son is crucified until you walk along the road with me." (W.RV.6.1-6)
 
He knows the way out, and he has shared our experience. He understands all that makes our progress slow and about our hesitation on this road. He knows what lies at the end of the road. He knows our doubts and fears, and yet he sees a way out. He is our perfect teacher and holds our hand through every step of this journey to the end. He knows both the journey and the end of it as a result of his own experience. He never raises himself above us but walks beside us as an equal. It is so encouraging when we take this seriously. Can you really imagine the perfect, most loving teacher who has had the experience we have had, lovingly walking with us through each practice period and motivating us to hasten our footsteps? We ask this of God in our prayer, but he needs us to do our part.
 
"My resurrection comes again each time I lead a brother safely to the place at which the journey ends and is forgot." (W.RV.7.1) This is the part of our mind where the journey began with the choice for the ego. This led to the experience of this body and the world. The journey ends with the Correction of our mistaken choice for the ego. The choice for resurrection is the same choice made by Jesus. He demonstrates for us that we can make the same choice he made so that we can realize our own resurrection, as we awaken from this dream of death. "Release me as you practice once again the thoughts I brought to you from Him Who sees your bitter need, and knows the answer God has given Him." (W.RV.8.1) He is the symbol of the awakened mind, right there with us, because he is in our minds. Indeed, he says, "I am incomplete without your part in me." (W.RV.8.7) There is only one Son, but we need to ask for his help, or he cannot help us because we are free to choose as we desire.
 
It is a journey back to our ancient home---a home that was prepared for us "before time was." It has been kept pristine, safe, immaculate, and unchanged through eons of time. It is awaiting our return, though we have never left except in dreams.
 
I will refer to David Hawkins, simply because I am currently inspired by reading his book, "Discovery of the Presence of God: Devotional Non-Duality." In it he says:
 
"The pace of spiritual evolution is not under personal control and may take sudden surprising leaps. Therefore, It is wise to prepare beforehand with knowledge of what yet may come." Certainly, that is the reason for our study of the Text. It helps us see what is yet to come. And to the question of why we sometimes feel like we are not making progress on this path to enlightenment, his words are encouraging. "There is no point to wondering how am I doing? For the compass has already been set by dedication and devotion to the highest truth. While the pace may seem slow or even arduous at times, it is best to be prepared for sudden, unexpected leaps. It is wise to avoid pessimism, even after a seemingly long, dry period of frustration, for such periods are due to overcoming major obstacles and attachments that often presage major changes."
 
Today, "We place faith in the experience that comes from practice, not the means we use." (W.RV.12.2) Thus, our faith is in the experience we have when we use the words of this Lesson to point us to the truth. It is an experience of deep peace, a feeling of being connected with all there is, and a trust in our brothers and in the journey that we seem to be undertaking.

Love and blessings, Sarah

A Course in Miracles
TEXT
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Sixteen

The Forgiveness of Illusions 

   Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio


I. Introduction   
 
1 To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That is the ego's interpretation of empathy and is always used to form a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided you let Him use it in His way. [His way is very different.] He does not understand suffering and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates through you, He does not relate through the ego to another ego. He does not join in pain, knowing that healing pain is not accomplished by delusional attempts to enter into it and lighten it by sharing the delusion.
 
2 The clearest proof that empathy as the ego uses it is destructive lies in the fact that it is applied only to certain types of problems and in certain people. These it selects out and joins with. And it never joins except to strengthen itself. [Having identified with what it thinks it understands, it sees itself and would increase itself by sharing what is like itself.] Make no mistake about this maneuver; the ego always empathizes to weaken, and to weaken is always to attack. You do not know what empathizing means. Yet of this you may be sure-if you will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathize with strength and both of you will gain in strength, and not in weakness.
 
3 Your part is only to remember this---you do not want anything you value to come of the relationship. You will neither to hurt it nor to heal it in your own way. You do not know what healing is. All you have learned of empathy is from the past. And there is nothing from the past that you would share, for there is nothing there that you would keep. Do not use empathy to make the past real and so perpetuate it. Step gently aside and let the healing be done for you. Keep but one thought in mind and do not lose sight of it, however tempted you may be to judge any situation and to determine your response by judging it. Focus your mind only on this:
 
4 I am not alone, and I would not intrude
  the past upon my Guest.
  I have invited Him, and He is here.
  I need do nothing except not to interfere.
 

II. True Empathy   

5
True empathy is of Him Who knows what it is. You will learn His interpretation of it if you let Him use your capacity for strength and not for weakness. He will not desert you, but be sure that you desert not him. Humility is strength in this sense only---to recognize and accept the fact that you do not know is to recognize and accept the fact that He does know. You are not sure that He will do His part because you have never yet done yours completely. You will not know how to respond to what you do not understand. Be tempted not in this, and yield not to the ego's triumphant use of empathy for its glory.
 
6 The triumph of weakness is not what you would offer to a brother. And yet you know no triumph but this. This is not knowledge, and the form of empathy that would bring this about is so distorted that it would imprison what it would release. The unredeemed cannot redeem, yet they have a Redeemer. Attempt to teach Him not. You are the learner; He the Teacher. Do not confuse your role with His, for this will never bring peace to anyone. Offer your empathy to Him, for it is His perception and His strength that you would share. And let Him offer you His strength and His perception to be shared through you.
 
7 The meaning of love is lost in any relationship which looks to weakness and hopes to find love there. The power of love, which is its meaning, lies in the strength of God, which hovers over it and blesses it silently by enveloping it in healing wings. Let this be, and do not try to substitute your "miracle" for this. We once said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you, to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other. Foolish requests are foolish for the simple reason that they conflict because they contain an element of specialness. Only the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. And He will teach you how to meet both without losing either.
 
8 You will attempt to do this only in secrecy. And you will think that, by meeting the needs of one, you do not jeopardize another because you keep them separate and secret from each other. That is not the way, for it leads not to light and truth. No needs will long be left unmet if you leave them all to Him Whose function is to meet them. That is His function and not yours. He will not meet them secretly, for He would share everything you give through Him. And that is why He gives it.
 
9 What you give through Him is for the whole Sonship, not for part of it. Leave Him His function, for He will fulfill it if you but ask Him to enter your relationships and bless them for you.
   
    ~ The Original Handscript Notes

 
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