Lesson 180
Brdige to the Heart of God
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57 The core of the separation delusion lies simply in the fantasy of destruction of love's meaning. And unless love's meaning is restored to you, you cannot know yourself, who shares its meaning. Separation is only the decision not to know yourself. Its whole thought system is a carefully contrived learning experience designed to lead away from truth and into fantasy. Yet for every learning that would hurt you, God offers you correction and complete escape from all its consequences. The decision whether or not to listen to this course and follow it is but the choice between truth and illusion. For here is truth separated from illusion and not confused with it at all.

58 How simple does this choice become when it is perceived as only what it is. For only fantasies made confusion in choosing possible, and they are totally unreal. This year is thus the time to make the easiest decision that ever confronted you and also the only one. You will cross the bridge into reality simply because you will recognize that God is on the other side and nothing at all is here. It is impossible not to make the natural decision as this is realized.
              ON LINE: ACIM.OE.TX.CH 16.VI         AUDIO: TEXT CH 16, VI       
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Part I Review V
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   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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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  180 ~ Review V
[Lesson 169 and Lesson 170]  

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
   [169] By grace I live. By grace I am released.    
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
   [170] There is no cruelty in God and none in 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
Review V  ~ Lesson 169 and Lesson 170

Sarah's Commentary:

[169] By grace I live. By grace I am released.
[170] There is no cruelty in God and none in me.

Are you challenged by the external circumstances in your life and wonder why your work with the Course is not bringing more harmony into your life? In fact, things may even seem to be more difficult for you than when you started with this spiritual program. For some, this is indeed the case. So what's up? Generally, it is about the unhealed aspects of the unconscious mind getting flushed up. The feelings that are coming up have been there, but they have not been in our awareness because we were so defended against them. We were not prepared to look at them while our defenses were strong. When we do not look at what we are defending, we project all our subconscious issues onto others and see our secret sins there. The practice we have undertaken with the Workbook is now flushing up the issues stored in the mind. It is a good thing, as it is only in this way that healing can be brought to our unconscious beliefs.
To do the healing work on our own minds, it is important to bring our projections back to the mind and take responsibility for them. "The little problems that you keep and hide become your secret sins, because you did not choose to let them be removed for you." (T.25.IX.9.1) (ACIM OE T.25.X.86) Our part is simply to look at them without judgment. The deepest layers of guilt in the mind are seen most clearly in our difficult relationships. These relationships can be a source of great healing, provided we are willing to see that everything that is brought to the surface through these relationships is in our own minds. It is an outward picture of our own inner condition. It is a mirror for us where there are unhealed beliefs in the mind, which can now be seen and for which we can be grateful.
Whatever is showing up in our lives at any moment is another opportunity for healing. We don't know why certain things go the way they do in our lives. "What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?" (W.135.18.1) We do not know our own best interests. What seem like our greatest setbacks may, in fact, offer us the most opportunity for real gain. We just do not know, and it is not helpful to try to figure it out or analyze the situation or our part in it. The important thing is to get out of our own way and not judge what is happening in our lives as good or bad. Remember that this Course is all about undoing the blocks to love so uncomfortable feelings will get flushed up for healing. This is not a time for discouragement. The undoing of these blocks provides us with an opportunity to wash away that which keeps us from the awareness of the truth, and the truth is that we are innocent, divine Beings.
We may be under the delusion that if we just get everything right spiritually, all else in the world would become absolutely blissful and peaceful for us, which is the case when our minds are in that state. But until we reach that state, the world will continue as a necessary classroom for undoing what still needs healing in the mind. As the mind is healed more and more, the events of this world will not necessarily change, but what will change is our interpretation of these events. When we have given over our judgments for healing, we will see everything simply as it is, with no emotional impact on us. In other words, our peace will not be affected by what we observe in the world. The condition of detachment is quite an advanced spiritual state. However, it is not a cold detachment but one of deep compassion. It is important not to deny the reactions and judgments we have to events in our lives, as this would simply constitute a spiritual bypass. We must be honest with ourselves and have the courage to look behind our defenses. When we get triggered and react to circumstances and events, it is a valuable gateway to healing.
The events and circumstances of this world continue to offer us great opportunities for healing. Every circumstance, every problem, and every difficult relationship is perfectly designed for that purpose. We are not victims, as we are the ones who have conceived of these situations which constitute our script. We are the ones who have dreamed them into our lives for our healing. Everything is purposeful when used for undoing the blocks to love. We may wonder how we could be truly peaceful when so many things seem to challenge us. Yet every challenge provides us with another opportunity to choose forgiveness and peace in the face of the temptation to get upset.
Jesus reminds us to "Concentrate only on this, [the little willingness] and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came." (T.18.IV.2.4-5) (ACIM OE T.18.V.33) In the Manual for Teachers, Jesus asks us not to despair because of limitations. "It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them." (M.26.4.2) In other words, we need not be disturbed that we still get rattled by our issues and need to continue to work to overcome our judgments and negative reactions. Being born in a body in this physical world is a limitation in itself. "Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it." (W.PII.Q5.What is the Body?3.4) Yet we can change the purpose the body will obey by changing what we think it is for. When used as a communication device by the Holy Spirit, the body has a holy purpose and its health will be assured. Remember that the definition of health in the Course is inner peace.
Sometimes, Course students chastise each other for making judgments, but this is just an attack on a brother, judging him for making judgments. It is not helpful. We all make judgments, which is not the real problem. The only problem is when we are not willing to bring those judgments to the Holy Spirit Who will then shine them away. It is not our job to try to fix ourselves but to do our best not to judge. It is more honest to recognize that we have judged and to take responsibility for those judgments. "I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see." (W.51.[2].5)
When things seem to go wrong in our lives, we may respond with frustration, disappointment, anxiety, and anger. Jesus reminds us when we look at how we are responding and take responsibility for our projections by turning them over to the Holy Sprit, they will be healed. When Jesus asks us to "Make this year different by making it all the same," (T.15.XI.10.11) (ACIM OE T.15.XI.112) he means that we can respond to every situation, no matter what it is, with peace. We don't have to seek for it since it is already in our right minds. We are simply blocking with our judgments the peace that is already there. Everything that goes on in our lives carries the same lesson, which is to see every seeming problem for what it is---just a shadow and not the truth. We do not react to it as something bad, and we do not give anything or anyone the power to disturb our peace and happiness.
As I think of Jesus and his crucifixion, it is not something one would willingly choose, no more than I would choose crucifixion in my life. Yet increasingly, I come to the realization that I cannot judge the events of my life, nor to always be able to see, at the time, what purpose they serve. Difficult and painful circumstances show up for us so we can learn to choose forgiveness and peace, as Jesus demonstrated through his ordeal. Looking back on some of the painful situations in my life, I now see their value.
New age philosophy, with its focus on manifesting more abundance, prosperity, and happiness within this dream, assumes that we know what will make us happy. Certainly, we would not choose to manifest the difficult situations and challenges in our lives. Yet when our purpose is to awaken from this dream, we learn to accept all the events of our lives and increasingly see how they serve the purpose we have chosen for ourselves. It is not about making the illusion more beautiful, although there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying abundance and beauty in our lives. Enjoying and appreciating what shows up in the illusion is wonderful, but we don't make it our goal or indulge the ego's idea of what will bring us happiness if our purpose is to awaken.
This reminds me of Jim Carey's comments where he said: "I hope you get everything you ever dreamed of so you can see this is not where your happiness lies." Some seem to need to "fill their boots" with the things of this world: career, money, power, and prestige, in order to ultimately see that there is no happiness there. Others come to hear the Call through very difficult situations.
Jesus says that he needs us to reach out to others. Everyone in our lives is there for a purpose, however briefly. It reminds me of the movie, The Four Feathers, which takes the main character in the movie, Harry Faversham, on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and, ultimately, trust in his fellow man and trust in God. Harry Faversham, an Englishman, asks Abou, who rescues him on the plains of the Sudan, "Why are you protecting me?" To which Abou responds, "God put you in my way. I have no choice." Harry is astounded, as Abou represents the enemy. He tells Abou he must have done something terrible to offend God that God would put an Englishman and a Christian on his path. It is a matter of destiny. Who has been put in your path to offer you this kind of opportunity to forgive? There are no mistakes in how the world is orchestrated for our healing.
Another movie that carried this theme for me was Whale Rider. It powerfully demonstrates the idea of an ancient calling, compelling us to follow our destiny. The little girl, who is living in a Maori tribe set in New Zealand, feels destiny calling her from birth and is undaunted, despite tremendous obstacles. While she feels a strong pull to be with her father and leave her calling behind, in the end, she cannot stay. She has chosen to be a mapmaker, and she must follow her inner guidance, regardless of the consequences to her. While she is hurt by the actions of her grandfather, who dismisses her because she is a girl and in his view not worthy of a high calling, she moves forward with great resolve, yet with no bitterness, nor rebellion. Nothing will stop her. She is relentless in her determination. It is a deeply inspiring story of a little girl, whose actions transcend and transform her world and thus the perceptions of those around her.
We all have a destiny we are called to that only we can fulfill. But whatever it might be, it is only a backdrop for our true calling, which is to remember who we are. Whatever we seem to be doing in the world, we are doing it for only one purpose. It is to allow everything to be used for the purpose of healing our minds. Sometimes our situation can seem overwhelming. Yet just as in the movie, while we do not always understand it, how willing are we to go forward and trust that we are where we need to be at this moment? If it feels like a difficult and challenging time for you, just be in the experience and trust that all things work together for your highest good. We are being called to be patient and simply live the question until the answer comes. It is not up to us to try to change ourselves but only to look with the light of the Holy Spirit beside us at what the experience is. I am becoming more and more aware that I do not have to plan my life, and in fact, it has always seemed to evolve perfectly, in spite of my plans. It all seems to show up as it is meant to. To resist what is, is to suffer. It is to demand, "I want it thus!"
We have all chosen the teachings of A Course in Miracles as our path, at least for this moment. What the Course does is to simply point to the truth. The truth is already within. We just need to listen. Another movie that demonstrates this beautifully is the Swedish movie, As it is in Heaven. In this movie, the main character is depleted by the events of his life and is determined to find his way back to himself by simply being still and learning to listen and be guided.
We can be grateful we are shown the way through every difficulty. The way is to remember that neither our happiness nor our unhappiness comes from anything outside our own minds. Today, we use these words to focus our attention on the truth: "God is but love, and therefore so am I." (W.RV.10.8) "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 lips, to greet another day." (W.RV.11.1-3)
Ultimately, the goal is the experience which can only be found in the silent mind. "And thus, when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true." (W.RV.11.5) This means we will know because we will have had the experience of God's Love. No words can substitute for that. It is something that comes through the practice. When and how we come to know is not something that can be explained.
This is the final Lesson in the Review. We are reminded that the experience of grace is to receive in order that we may give. "By grace I live. By grace I am released." (W.180 [169]) It follows on the Review Lesson from yesterday, "Your grace is given me. I claim it now." (W.179 [168]) Today, we focus on our release through grace.
There is no cruelty in God and none in me." (W.180 [170]) This is a reminder that attacking in self-defense amounts to cruelty. We think that self-defense is what keeps us safe. When we defend, what we are doing is giving the attributes of love to fear, because we think this god of fear is our protector. The ego whispers to us not to be some kind of spiritual wimp by letting our defenses down. It tells us that responding with love will make us vulnerable and our safety will be jeopardized. We think attack has power over others. This Lesson asks us to face this false god of fear and cruelty that speaks to us unceasingly about our need for protection and to recognize that it is powerless. All of our power comes from our Father, God, Who is pure love, with no cruelty in Him and thus there is none in us. That is where our safety lies.

Love and blessings, Sarah

Printable Document  
A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Sixteen

The Forgiveness of Illusions 

   Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio

VI. Specialness and Guilt       
43 In looking at the special relationship, it is necessary first to realize that it involves a great amount of pain. Anxiety, despair, guilt, and attack all enter into it, broken into by periods in which they seem to be gone. All these must be understood for what they are. Whatever form they take, they are always an attack on the self to make the other guilty. We have spoken of this before, but there are some aspects of what is really being attempted that we have not touched upon.
44 Very simply, the attempt to make guilty is always directed against God. For the ego would have you see Him, and Him alone, as guilty, leaving the Sonship open to attack and unprotected from it. The special love relationship is the ego's chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven. It does not appear to be a weapon, but if you consider how you value it and why, you will realize what it must be. The special love relationship is the ego's most boasted gift, and one which has the most appeal to those unwilling to relinquish guilt. The "dynamics" of the ego are clearest here, for counting on the attraction of this offering, the fantasies which center around it are often quite open. Here they are usually judged to be acceptable and even natural. No one considers it bizarre to love and hate together, and even those who believe that hate is sin merely feel guilty and do not correct it.
45 This is the "natural" condition of the separation, and those who learn that it is not natural at all seem to be the unnatural ones. For this world is the opposite of Heaven, being made to be its opposite, and everything here takes a direction exactly opposite of what is true. In Heaven, where the meaning of love is known, love is the same as union. Here, where the illusion of love is accepted in love's place, love is perceived as separation and exclusion.
46 It is in the special relationship, born of the hidden wish for special love from God, that the ego's hatred triumphs. For the special relationship is the renunciation of the love of God and the attempt to secure for the self the specialness which He denied. It is essential to the preservation of the ego that you believe this specialness is not hell, but Heaven. For the ego would never have you see that separation can only be loss, being the one condition in which Heaven cannot be.
47 To everyone Heaven is completion. There can be no disagreement on this because both the ego and the Holy Spirit accept it. They are, however, in complete disagreement on what completion is and how it is accomplished. The Holy Spirit knows that completion lies first in union and then in the extension of union. To the ego, completion lies in triumph and in the extension of the "victory" even to the final triumph over God. In this it sees the ultimate freedom of the self, for nothing would remain to interfere with it. This is its idea of Heaven. From this it follows that union, which is a condition in which the ego cannot interfere, must be hell.
48 The special relationship is a strange and unnatural ego device for joining hell and Heaven and making them indistinguishable. And the attempt to find the imagined "best" of both worlds has merely led to fantasies of both and to the inability to perceive either one as it is. The special relationship is the triumph of this confusion. It is a kind of union from which union is excluded, and the basis for the attempt at union rests on exclusion. What better example could there be of the ego's maxim, "Seek but do not find?"
49 Most curious of all is the concept of the self which the ego fosters in the special relationship. This "self" seeks the relationship to make itself complete. Yet when it finds the special relationship in which it thinks it can accomplish this, it gives itself away and tries to "trade" itself for the self of another. This is not union, for there is no increase and no extension. Each partner tries to sacrifice the self he does not want for one he thinks he would prefer. And he feels guilty for the "sin" of taking and of giving nothing of value in return. For how much value can he place upon a self that he would give away to get a better one?
50 The "better" self the ego seeks is always one that is more special. And whoever seems to possess a special self is "loved" for what can be taken from him. Where both partners see this special self in each other, the ego sees "a union made in Heaven." For neither one will recognize that he has asked for hell, and so he will not interfere with the ego's illusion of Heaven, which it offered him to interfere with Heaven. Yet if all illusions are of fear, and they can be of nothing else, the illusion of Heaven is nothing more than an "attractive" form of fear in which the guilt is buried deep and rises in the form of "love."
51 The appeal of hell lies only in the terrible attraction of guilt, which the ego holds out to those who place their faith in littleness. The conviction of littleness lies in every special relationship, for only the deprived could value specialness. The demand for specialness and the perception of the giving of specialness as an act of love would make love hateful. And the real purpose of the special relationship, in strict accordance with the ego's goals, is to destroy reality and substitute illusion. For the ego is itself an illusion, and only illusions can be the witnesses to its "reality."
52 If you perceived the special relationship as a triumph over God, would you want it? Let us not think of its fearful nature nor of the guilt it must entail nor of the sadness and the loneliness. For these are only attributes of the whole religion of the separation and of the total context in which it is thought to occur. The central theme in its litany to sacrifice is that God must die so you can live. And it is this theme which is acted out in the special relationship. Through the death of your self, you think you can attack another self and snatch it from the other to replace the self which you despise. And you despise it because you do not think it offers the specialness which you demand. And hating it, you have made it little and unworthy because you are afraid of it.
53 How can you grant unlimited power to what you think you have attacked? So fearful has the truth become to you that unless it is weak and little, [and unworthy of value,] you would not dare to look upon it. You think it safer to endow the little self which you have made with power you wrested from truth, triumphing over it and leaving it helpless. See how exactly is this ritual enacted in the special relationship. An altar is erected in between two separate people on which each seeks to kill his self and on his body raise another self which takes its power from his death. Over and over and over this ritual is enacted. And it is never completed nor ever will be completed. For the ritual of completion cannot complete, and life arises not from death, nor Heaven from hell.
54 Whenever any form of special relationship tempts you to seek for love in ritual, remember love is content and not form of any kind. The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at the raising of the form to take the place of God at the expense of content. There is no meaning in the form, and there will never be. The special relationship must be recognized for what it is-a senseless ritual in which strength is extracted from the death of God and invested in His killer as the sign that form has triumphed over content and love has lost its meaning. Would you want this to be possible, even apart from its evident impossibility? For if it were possible, you would have made yourself helpless. God is not angry. He merely could not let this happen. You cannot change His Mind.
55 No rituals that you have set up in which the dance of death delights you can bring death to the eternal. Nor can your chosen substitute for the wholeness of God have any influence at all upon it. See in the special relationship nothing more than a meaningless attempt to raise other gods before Him and by worshiping them to obscure their tininess and His greatness. In the name of your completion, you do not want this. For every idol which you raise to place before Him stands before you in place of what you are.
56 Salvation lies in the simple fact that illusions are not fearful because they are not true. They but seem to be fearful to the extent to which you fail to recognize them for what they are, and you will fail to do this to the extent to which you want them to be true. And to the same extent you are denying truth, and so are making yourself unable to make the simple choice between truth and illusion, God and fantasy. Remember this and you will have no difficulty in perceiving the decision as just what it is and nothing more.
57 The core of the separation delusion lies simply in the fantasy of destruction of love's meaning. And unless love's meaning is restored to you, you cannot know yourself, who shares its meaning. Separation is only the decision not to know yourself. Its whole thought system is a carefully contrived learning experience designed to lead away from truth and into fantasy. Yet for every learning that would hurt you, God offers you correction and complete escape from all its consequences. The decision whether or not to listen to this course and follow it is but the choice between truth and illusion. For here is truth separated from illusion and not confused with it at all.
58 How simple does this choice become when it is perceived as only what it is. For only fantasies made confusion in choosing possible, and they are totally unreal. This year is thus the time to make the easiest decision that ever confronted you and also the only one. You will cross the bridge into reality simply because you will recognize that God is on the other side and nothing at all is here. It is impossible not to make the natural decision as this is realized.
    ~ The Original Handscript Notes

ACIM OE TX.CH 16.VI       
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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