SATURDAY June 25, 2016
Nothing is Sacrificed
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107 In the holy instant, the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body's interference, and where there is communication, there is peace. The Prince of Peace was born to reestablish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken, even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then, is sacrifice?    
Part I Review V
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   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.
       ~ Original Handscript of ACIM
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Son ship Video
L e s s o n 176 ~ Review V
[Lesson 161 and Lesson 162]
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
   [161] Give me your blessing, holy Son of God.   
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
   [162] I am as God created me.
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 176 ~
Review V

[161] Give me your blessing, holy Son of God .
[162] I am as God created me.

Sarah's Commentary: 
In the introduction to these Review Lessons, Jesus offers to lead us on the journey he took and tells us he is renewed each time he leads one of us to ". . . the place at which the journey ends and is forgot." (W.R.V.7.1) He needs our cooperation, asking us to "Help me now to lead you back to where the journey was begun, to make another choice with me." (W.R.V.7.5) We do that by undertaking the practice and giving it more time and effort. He encourages our willingness on behalf of our own healing. It means being vigilant in watching our minds and seeing when we have sided with the ego.
When he says we are just being led back to where the journey started, this means nothing is irrevocable. We are being taken back to where we made the wrong choice for the ego and, with it, for sin, guilt, and fear. Now we can make another choice, which means every wrong choice can be undone. It was all just a mistake, and mistakes can be corrected. It also means, for me, I need not feel guilty about the wrong choices and decisions I have made, and there need not be regrets. Each mistaken choice can be undone with the help of the Holy Spirit until the memory of who we really are as God created us is restored to us. Forgiveness is the means for this undoing.
It is always important to remember we have not changed ourselves. Whenever we start to beat up on ourselves or allow doubt thoughts and beliefs in our unworthiness to slip in, we can choose to remind ourselves that these thoughts are not the truth about us. When we start our healing journey, the ego gets threatened, becomes suspicious, and ultimately vicious, warning us of the consequence of this path. We may start to question whether this program works for us and may be tempted to abandon its teaching. We need each other and our mighty companions to strengthen our weak resolve when we are tempted to wander off the path. The wonderful thing about "talking" to you as I write these commentaries is that I am really talking to myself and reinforcing the Lessons in my own mind. It is a gift I receive as I give.
This Course is not just a personal path of salvation for me alone. To undertake this journey alone is to undertake it with the ego as guide. We heal through our connections with each other, extending miracles so we know we have received them, and they are always in us, waiting for our acceptance. Every time we are willing to offer a blessing instead of judgment, we feel renewed. Everything we give, we receive. We are not separate from each other, but part of the whole. When we say, "Give me your blessing, holy Son of God," (W.161) we are not asking for anything of our brother. It is our own desire to see the innocence in our brother, so we could know it for ourselves. Our hearts open to our brothers with love, rather than judgment. In our invulnerability, we have nothing to defend and thus see no attack from anyone. We know our safety and our peace. We share the same light with everyone. The truth is in us all. When we recognize this sameness, we are reminded that nothing has changed from who we are as we were created. The light in everyone is all there is to see. When we do not see it, we are choosing against our own peace and happiness.
We need not be in the presence of anyone physically to do this healing together. It is important to remember there is no world outside our own minds. Thus, as our mind is healed, so is the world, which is a projection of the mind. And since all minds are joined, and we are just one mind, then my healing is for the healing of the world. As Jesus tells us, he is incomplete without us, and we are incomplete without our brothers, because there is only one Self.
The practice we do with these Lessons, both in our meditation times and our daily lives, requires vigilance in watching our thoughts and being willing to apply the teachings throughout the day. When our day is dedicated to healing the mind, it puts God at the forefront and the activities of the day recede to the background. In the Course, meditation is only mentioned twice, although there were apparently a few more references in the original dictation. In the Text Chapter 18, Jesus mentions it by saying, "Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary." (T.18.VII.4.9)(ACIM OE T.18.VIII.66) In fact, it is tedious and time consuming. This is in the Section, "I Need Do Nothing." In Lesson 124, he says, "This is our first attempt at an extended period for which we give no rules nor special words to guide your meditation." (W124.8.4)
There is no particular focus on the practice of meditation in the first 40 Lessons. However, in Lesson 41, a new "kind of practice" (W.41.8.6) is introduced. This comes up again in Lesson 44 and, by the time we reach Lesson 153, we are spending more time in extended practice or meditation.
In the Manual for Teachers, Section 16, "How should a teacher of God spend his day?" there is a caution against routines. "Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up." (M.16.2.5) Jesus is telling us not to ritualize our practice into something we just do as a routine, where the form becomes more important than the content. It might make us think that just by doing the Lessons right, we will appease God and make Him happy with our efforts. We think we are doing something to make ourselves good in the eyes of some external judge instead of our own inner motivation to wake up from this dream.
Jesus urges us to start each day right as a way to save time by choosing to spend time with God as soon as possible on awakening. Setting our intention for the kind of day we want is also an important part of the morning practice. "The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone; your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted." (T.30.I.IN.1.2-4)(ACIM OE.T.31.IN.1) He goes on to say that eventually we will make the practice into habits so they will always be available to us to address every egoic thought. We do this by calling on the Holy Spirit in every situation, so we will be making no decisions by ourselves; meaning, no decisions will be made with the ego. When we set this intention in the morning, the day will be given to the Holy Spirit and our own judgments in every situation will be suspended in favor of His direction. He says our only problem now is, "You still make up your mind, and then decide to ask what you should do." (T.30.I.3.2)(ACIM OE.T.30.II.6)
When we start the day right, we connect with the stillness of our Being. We are to "Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself." (W.189.7.1) We are being asked to empty the contents of the mind and come with wholly empty hands, meaning an empty mind, and openness to the experience. In fact, the attitude with which we approach the meditation time is important. It includes: 1) confidence we can have because we are uniting our will with God's, 2) desire and determination, because it is our only goal and our only need to end this ancient search, 3) importance, because we are needed for the healing of the world, and 4) holiness, because of its inestimable value to us.
Michele O'Donnell, a Christian spiritual healer, says you can watch your thoughts go by like birds in the sky, but you don't have to invite them to build a nest in your hair. It is not about having no thoughts, but about letting each thought that comes up simply go, releasing these thoughts to the Holy Spirit. No matter how obsessive and challenging to our peace the thoughts that come up are, try to look at them dispassionately and without judging yourself for them. Look at them from above the battleground, and recognize from this place, outside of the dream, there is nothing serious going on here in this illusory world. With the help of Jesus, we can let them go, before weaving them into some kind of a story. Remember that the natural state of the mind is to be in a state of stillness, peace, and joy. If we are not at peace, we are doing something to stop the mind from taking its natural course.
The ego mind fears this experience. Why? Because we identify with the false-self, which sees itself as a body, and sees value in private thoughts, victimhood, problems perceived outside of its own mind, and specialness. Ultimately, this is the value we put on our separate self and with it the value we give to our opinions, our beliefs, and our concepts. It is our attraction to the self we made, which is our attraction to guilt.
In the center of our minds is perfection, truth, God, holiness, and the Source of all joy, of which we are not wholly aware now, but we are assured this Source goes with us wherever we go. Even without our awareness, It is there! The truth about ourselves is here always awaiting our acceptance. This acceptance is of the Atonement and the correction for our wrong-minded thinking.
Think of your mind as a big circle. The surface of our minds is our current awareness. It is surrounded by heavy clouds, which represent our insane thoughts that block awareness of our perfection. The purpose of each daily Lesson is to focus our awareness on the thought for the day. We start the meditation with this thought and use it to pull us back when our minds wander. It is not intended we say the thought over and over like a mantra, but to use the thought to focus our minds, and then sink down and inward into our minds. The mind is not in the brain or in the body, but outside of it. The words simply point to the meaning, and we use them to focus our attention and enter the silence beyond words, where we wait in still anticipation, with the mind at rest and our awareness focused on the anticipation of the experience.
The important thing is to do what works for you. Practice what is most effective for you. The Course is not about rules, and you will not find anything in the Course that speaks about having to be in a certain body position while meditating, nor about using your breath, nor using any kind of devices, such as needing to be in front of a statue nor a lit candle. However, there is no injunction against any of that either. If these actions are helpful to your process, all is good. This Course is not about form, but only about the content of our minds.
Remember the earlier comments about how Jesus takes this journey with us. He tells us when we visualize taking his hand and walking with us, it is no idle thought. He is really there because he is already in our minds. He is not remote or distant from us. He does not dismiss our uncertainty as irrelevant. He understands. He has taken this same journey. That is why he knows the way and why he is described as our elder brother. If this relationship bothers you, it is an area for healing, just like any other relationship where you project your discomfort onto someone. If the thought of Jesus, as a symbol in the mind, does not bring comfort as your chosen friend, call on the presence of the Holy Spirit, Love, God, or whatever symbol is helpful to you.
The central thought, which begins and ends our day today, as well as each practice throughout the day, is "God is but [only] Love and therefore so am I." Then, we review Lesson 161, "Give me your blessing holy Son of God." We recognize that the people in our lives can offer us a blessing that can transform and enlighten us. The blessing comes when we recognize they are not who they seem, as the symbol of fear and hate, but are really our saviors. Why would that be? That is so because behind their appearance as a body and an ego is the Christ. This brother reflects the love of God showing up in this specific form. Jesus reminds us our minds are naturally abstract, but right now we don't understand abstraction, so we need specifics on which to focus forgiveness. All forgiveness is the release of judgments and grievances our brothers seem to evoke in us. They are the reflection of our own unhealed thoughts.
Our next Review Lesson says, "I am as God created me." (W.162) This Lesson is literally the same as "God is but Love and therefore so am I." We keep having to be reminded, no matter what we think we have done, we can't change the truth about our being as created by a loving Father. Our state is love. God is only love. He is nothing but love. That is His nature and His nature establishes our own. We can't change what we are as we were created. It is a fact, and it is the Atonement Principle, which affirms we are as God created us. We have become unaware of this truth, but we cannot change it. We think we have changed the truth by making ourselves into something unique and special, an individual living in a body, but it is impossible to depart from the truth of who God is and who we are.
What we have come to believe about ourselves are only wild imaginings. We give them power because we believe them, but it does not make them true. We think there are lovely good parts to us and many parts that are vicious and hateful. Neither what we think is good nor what we think is bad is the truth. They are only concepts we have accepted as true. The truth is beyond these self-made concepts, which are reinforced by the world and accepted by us. As Ken Wapnick says, just because billions of people hold something as true does not mean it is.
We need to support each other on this path, as it is outside of the collective thinking of the world. Thus, it can be a challenge for us because our minds have been conditioned by the beliefs held by the majority. We have bought into the cult of the ego. We drank the Kool-aid! It is these conditioned thoughts we are releasing when we remind ourselves, "I am as God created me." (W.162) We enter the meditation time to experience the truth beyond these words. Our practice times now are a preparation for Part II of the Workbook

Love and blessings, Sarah

Printable Document 
XI. The End of Sacrifice  
101 Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making. And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are, the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.
102 The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself but shining in the Heaven within and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind of anyone is asked by Him. In His Presence, the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of Holiness creates the holiness which surrounds it. No fear can touch the host who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects and Whose power protects Him.
103 This Christmas, give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me, you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice, there love must be.
104 You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back and realize that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you excluded from yourself seems fearful, for you endowed it with fear and tried to cast it out though it was part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome and live within himself in peace? And who can try to resolve the perceived conflict of Heaven and hell in him by casting Heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?
105 As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who can suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourselves when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? For deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation, and sacrifice becomes love.
106 So is it that in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it. Yet you find not love. It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it. The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning at all apart from you. It is what you preferred to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe and holds the universe together in its meaning. For unless the universe were joined in you, it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning.
107 In the holy instant, the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body's interference, and where there is communication, there is peace. The Prince of Peace was born to reestablish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken, even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then, is sacrifice?
108 The lesson I was born to teach and still would teach to all my brothers is that sacrifice is nowhere and love is everywhere. For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself. Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy. Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so will you offer me the love I offer you. What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing? Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me. For in the time of Christ, communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son's creation.
109 God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him and let Him enter and abide where He would be. And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him. And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves. Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them. And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had and ever want to have.
110 This is the weekend in which a new year will be born from the time of Christ. I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish. Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy. Say and understand this:
111 I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.
     I know that you will be released, unless I want to
     use you to imprison myself.
     In the name of my freedom I will your release,
     Because I recognize that we will be released together
112 So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.

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