Lesson 181
A New Perspective by Suzette Boulais
Graphic by Suzette Boulais


68The new perspective you will gain from crossing over will be the understanding of where Heaven is. From here it seems to be outside and across the bridge. Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you. And you will think in glad astonishment that for all this you gave up nothing! The joy of Heaven, which has no limit, is increased with each light that returns to take its rightful place within it. Wait no longer, for the love of God and you. And may the holy instant speed you on the way, as it will surely do if you but let it come to you. 
              ON LINE: ACIM.OE.TX.CH 16.VII         AUDIO: TEXT CH 16, VII       
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Introduction 181-200
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 

Our next few lessons make a special point
of firming up your willingness to make
your weak commitment strong, your scattered goals
blend into one intent. You are not asked
for total dedication all the time,
as yet. But you are asked to practice now
in order to attain the sense of peace
such unified commitment will bestow,
if only intermittently. It is
experiencing this which makes it sure
that you will give your total willingness
to following the way the course sets forth.     

Our lessons now are geared specifically
to widening horizons and direct
approaches to the special blocks which keep
your vision narrow and too limited
to let you see the value of our goal.
We are attempting now to lift these blocks,
however briefly. Words alone can not
convey the sense of liberation which
their lifting brings. But the experience
of freedom and of peace that comes as you
give up your tight control of what you see
speaks for itself. Your motivation will
be so intensified that words become
of little consequence. You will be sure
of what you want and what is valueless.     

And so we start our journey beyond words
by concentrating first on what impedes
our progress still. Experience of what
exists beyond defensiveness remains
beyond achievement while it is denied.
It may be there, but you cannot accept
its presence. So we now attempt to go
past all defenses for a little while
each day. No more than this is asked because
no more than this is needed. It will be
enough to guarantee the rest will come.    

  ~ The Original Handscript Notes

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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  181
I trust my brothers who are one with me.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   Trusting your brothers is essential to
   establishing and holding up your faith
   in your ability to transcend doubt
   and lack of sure conviction in yourself.
   When you attack a brother, you proclaim
   that he is limited by what you have
   perceived in him. You do not look beyond
   his errors. Rather, they are magnified,
   becoming blocks to your awareness of
   the Self that lies beyond your own mistakes
   and past his seeming sins as well as yours.
   Perception has a focus. It is this
   that gives consistency to what you see.
   Change but this focus, and what you behold
   will change accordingly. Your vision now
   will shift to give support to the intent
   which has replaced the one you held before.
   Remove your focus on your brother's sins,
   and you experience the peace that comes
   from faith in sinlessness. This faith receives
   its only sure support from what you see
   in others past their sins. For their mistakes,
   if focused on, are witnesses to sins
   in you. And you will not transcend their sight
   and see the sinlessness that lies beyond.
   Therefore, in practicing today, we first
   let all such little focuses give way
   to our great need to let our sinlessness
   become apparent. We instruct our minds
   that it is this we seek and only this
   for just a little while. We do not care
   about our future goals, and what we saw
   an instant previous has no concern
   for us within this interval of time
   wherein we practice changing our intent.
   We seek for innocence and nothing else.
   We seek for it with no concern but now.|
   A major hazard to success has been
   involvement with your past and future goals.
   You have been quite preoccupied with how
   extremely different the goals this course
   is advocating are from those you held
   before. And you have also been dismayed
   by the depressing and restricting thought
   that even if you should succeed, you will
   inevitably lose your way again.|
   How can this matter? For the past is gone;
   the future but imagined. These concerns
   are but defenses against present change
   of focus in perception. Nothing more.
   We lay these pointless limitations by
   a little while. We do not look to past
   beliefs, and what we will believe will not
   intrude upon us now. We enter in
   the time of practicing with one intent;
   to look upon the sinlessness within.|
   We recognize that we have lost this goal
   if anger blocks our way in any form.
   And if a brother's sins occur to us,
   our narrowed focus will restrict our sight
   and turn our eyes upon our own mistakes,
   which we will magnify and call "our sins".
   So, for a little while, without regard
   to past or future, should such blocks arise,
   we will transcend them with instructions to
   our minds to change their focus as we say:
   " It is not this that I would look upon.
    I trust my brothers, who are one with me."|
   And we will also use these thoughts to keep
   us safe throughout the day. We do not seek
   for long-range goals. As each obstruction seems
   to block the vision of our sinlessness,
   we seek but for surcease an instant from
   the misery the focus upon sin
   will bring, and uncorrected, will remain.|
   Nor do we ask for fantasies. For what
   we seek to look upon is really there.
   And as our focus goes beyond mistakes,
   we will behold a wholly sinless world.
   When seeing this is all we want to see,
   when this is all we seek for in the name
   of true perception are the eyes of Christ
   inevitably ours. And the love
   He feels for us becomes our own as well.
   This will become the only thing we see
   reflected in the world and in ourselves.
   The world which once proclaimed our sins becomes
   the proof that we are sinless. And our love
   for everyone we look upon attests
   to our remembrance of the holy Self
   Which knows no sin, and never could conceive
   of anything without Its sinlessness.
   We seek for this remembrance as we turn
   our minds to practicing today. We look
   neither ahead nor backward. We look straight
   into the present. And we give our trust
   to the experience we ask for now.
   Our sinlessness is but the Will of God.
   This instant is our willing one with His.

      ~ The Original Handscript Notes

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
I trust my brothers who are one with me.

Sarah's Commentary:

The point of these next Lessons is to continue to firm up our willingness. Jesus recognizes our commitment is not yet strong. Again, we have another opportunity in these next twenty Lessons to increase our dedication, even though "You are not asked for total dedication all the time as yet." (W.PI.IN.181-200.1.2) These Lessons underscore the importance of our practice to have an experience of the truth. Jesus understands our fear, which is what makes us forget the Lesson throughout the day. There is no need to feel guilty, but Jesus urges us to firm up our dedication because he knows this is the only thing that will make us happy. We are still not convinced that following this teaching is where all our happiness lies. None of our substitutes will bring us the happiness we seek. Because we do not know our own best interests, Jesus says we do not yet completely see the value of our goal.
The goal of these next twenty Lessons is to widen our horizons, which is another way of saying to expand our limited vision. Our blocks keep our vision narrow. We still want control over our own lives, and we still want to control others. "But the experience of freedom and of peace that comes as you give up your tight control of what you see speaks for itself." (W.PI.IN.181-200. 2.4) This tight control is what keeps our defenses in place. Healing requires we give up this control by looking at what we are working so hard to protect in ourselves. Until we see the value in his goal and not our own, we will not relinquish our control. As long as we identify with the ego, we will try to do everything to protect our image of ourselves. Jesus does not chastise us for this, but he merely lets us know that our motivation will be intensified when we have the experience of what he speaks of.
We need words for now to muster our motivation. "And so we start our journey beyond words by concentrating first on what impedes your progress still." (W.PI.IN.181-200.3.1) Our defenses against the truth are still strong, and as long as we defend against His love, we cannot achieve the goal. This Course is about looking at how we try to protect ourselves with our defenses, so the blocks we hold against the love we are, can be undone. The love is already in us. We do not have to go looking for it. We just have to take responsibility for the thoughts blocking it from our awareness and be willing to be humble and surrender what does not serve our highest good.
We must be aware of our fears in order to let them go. This requires we look at the fear, to bring awareness to it. That is all. The Holy Spirit does the rest. "The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two." (T.18.IV.1.1-6) (ACIM OE T.18.V.32)
Our defenses keep us bound to our "stuff," our story, our way of seeing things, and our way of being. We have made an alliance with the ego, without which it would have no power at all. We have become comfortable with our story and wonder who we would be without our worries, our sickness, our sadness, our anxieties, and our specialness. Now we are asked to bring it all to awareness, so it can be released. When the blocks to love are released, we will have an experience of the peace of God. This is the experience that will motivate us to keep applying the Lessons. This is the beginning of the journey home, which is a step-by-step process. Each day, when we take steps to release our grievances, we will be taken closer and closer toward our goal. The irony is that we are already there, but we have not yet accepted it.
It is always amazing to me how well defended the ego is in ways we don't always see. I remember learning this clearly one day from a Course student and friend, who is an astute psychologist. It was a lesson that demonstrated to me how subtle the ego is. It keeps us from noticing how we are constantly defending ourselves. My friend was a visiting Course student and teacher, and translator of the Course. I took him for lunch to a restaurant where the chef, someone who usually catered to me, proposed we share his signature dish. It was much too big for me, so I proposed to my friend that we share it. He refused. Then the chef said he would happily give me half an order, to which I agreed. Shortly thereafter, I started to notice a stab of pain in my head. I confessed to my friend that I was getting a bit of a headache. He asked if I was aware of the reason this were so. When I indicated I had no idea, he said it was because I had ordered something I did not want in order to please the chef. He conjectured further that I was angry at him for refusing to share the dish.
My immediate response was complete and total denial. The more he insisted, the more I resisted. It was only later, in the quiet of my own thoughts, that I went deeper and recognized a pattern playing out in many areas of my life. It was about pleasing others (the chef), going along with something I truly did not want to do, trying to impress, not taking time to listen within to what I really wanted, and feeling rejection from my friend for seemingly not wanting to please me. We can see, if we are willing to look, that even from the seemingly insignificant, we keep ourselves defended. We all want to be right about our perspectives. Until we are truly ready to let them go and do the learning and healing, we simply continue to defend the way we see everything and make ourselves right.
"I trust my brothers, who are one with me," (W.181) removes our focus on our brothers' sins and asks us to release our judgments of them. Most of our lives have been about trying to get others to see us in a good light. We have developed an image, with the skills, abilities, and attitudes we hold, all to get the kind of attention and acceptance we are seeking. Yet Jesus says how we feel about ourselves is not determined by how others see us. It is only in how we see them; because, how I see you is how I see myself. If I see the love in you, the Christ in you, and the holiness in you, I see there is the same loveliness and beauty in me. If I respond to your attacks and see them as a call for love, I know the love in me. The world affirms that we need to have love in order to give it. Yet Jesus reminds us that love is already in us, and when it is extended, we know we have it. If you are not feeling good about yourself today, you might bring to mind someone who needs your support, and be grateful for them for being in your life. Extend your blessing, so that you might receive it for yourself.
Every time we see error in someone, every time we focus on their sins and all the things they have done wrong, we have judged ourselves for the same sin. Does this mean we should not see the mistakes and errors of others and become totally blind to them? We are not being asked to trust the egos of our brothers. We will see errors, but we are called to look beyond the ego and recognize the perfect innocence of our brothers, so we can know our own innocence. This is the truth about them and about ourselves. But this Self is hidden from our awareness, when we refuse to recognize the innocence in every brother, just as it is in us. We are not denying the facts of their behavior in the world. We are simply trusting in their sinless nature.
The ego has no power. How can anything have power in a dream? Jesus reminds us to forgive our brother for what he has not done. Yes, in the dream he has made mistakes, but in reality, nothing has happened. Our brothers are our saviors simply because in them, we see the choice we have first made in our own minds, to see with the ego or with the Spirit. Jesus asks us to remove our focus on their sins, so we may experience the peace that comes from faith in sinlessness. Their mistakes, if focused on, are witnesses to our own sin. Our intent is to see the light of Christ in them, so we can know it in ourselves. This is not about not making judgments because we will judge, but it is about being willing to turn our judgments over to the Holy Spirit. Through forgiveness comes a new perception.
Jesus talks of our selective attention, which is about where we put our focus. He tells us our focus is what gives consistency to what we see. I can thus make a case for my point of view, line up all my "facts," and argue on behalf of a perception of someone's sins, flaws, and screw-ups. The ego relishes this process. It is why we seem to relish gossip and create stories of why we are right about the way the world has mistreated us and what our judgments are about. We occupy our time analyzing the egos of others and comparing how we measure up in turn, making ourselves special. Specialness is such a trap of the ego and is what keeps us rooted in the illusion. This is what David Hawkins calls the juice or the payoff that we get from our investment in our beliefs, concepts, values, and perceptions. Without the payoff, we would not continue this process. We even get a payoff from suffering or we would not hold onto it. We make ourselves special by focusing on the errors of others and, in turn, comparing ourselves as more superior and righteous. We like to magnify their errors and minimize our own, but Jesus says it is impossible to play that game without suffering. We will naturally apply exactly the same judgments to ourselves as to our brothers. Thus, when we see their sins, it is because we want to see our guilt in them and see ourselves as the innocent victim of their attacks. The cost to us is that it keeps our joy and peace at bay. To do so is to maintain the separation.
Jesus tells us, "Remove your focus on your brother's sins, and you experience the peace that comes from faith in sinlessness." (W.181.2.5) When we do this, we become motivated to give more time and attention to this practice. The only way to peace and to know our innocence and the way to reinforce our own faith is by seeing the Christ in everyone, with no exceptions.
Our brother's ego has no more power than ours to change the truth of what he really is and who we really are. What we are trusting in, then, is his sinlessness. As Jesus says "When you correct a brother, you are telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that, if he is speaking from the ego, he will not be making sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right." (T.9.III.2.4-6) (ACIM OE T.9.I.2) What we are trusting is not that everyone will act in a loving manner, but behind the ego's antics is the ever-present love of Christ in everyone. This is what makes our brother right. When he is speaking from the ego, of course, he will always be wrong.
Today, instead of allowing the ego to cruise for guilt, "We seek for innocence and nothing else." (W.181.3.5) Obviously, our wrong minds have a different focus. They are preoccupied with past mistakes, past grievances, guilt and shame, as well as future goals and plans. Jesus says these are the blocks to seeing with vision. In the holy instant, we release our preoccupation with the past and the future. We all have a list of things that others have done to us. It is this list we are being asked to release. The list contains everything we accuse ourselves of by making our own sinful past real. Today, we let our sinlessness become apparent by releasing our attack thoughts. "We instruct our minds that it is this we seek, and only this, for just a little while." (W.181.3.2) He clearly understands this is a process for us in each moment. "We do not care about our future goals." (W.181.3.3) He is releasing us from any long term commitment.
Clearly, people do appear to attack us, to hurt us, to betray us, and to create situations that seem dangerous to our well being. Jesus reminds us, "When a brother acts insanely, he is offering you an opportunity to bless him. His need is yours. You need the blessing you can offer him. There is no way for you to have it except by giving it. This is the law of God, and it has no exceptions. What you deny you lack, not because it is lacking, but because you have denied it in another and are therefore not aware of it in yourself. Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be is what you think you are. What you want to be, then, must determine every response you make." (T.7.VII.2.1-8) (ACIM OE T.7.VIII.72)
The power of our minds is immense. Our minds will take whatever we do in one case and generalize it to all cases. What this means is that how we see one person is how we will see everyone, including ourselves. We can't love one and hate another and know love. When we deny a blessing to a brother, we will feel deprived of the blessing for ourselves. When we deny one brother's reality, we blind ourselves to all reality. We really cannot think poorly of someone and confine that negative intent to that one person. Thus, attack thoughts directed at anyone will affect our perception of everyone, including ourselves. No wonder he asks us to guard our minds. Specifically, we are to instruct our minds today to ". . .seek for innocence and nothing else." (W.181.3.5) Can you imagine that with every negative thought you have you are creating karma for yourself, meaning that with each thought you have you are inviting judgment on yourself because what you give you receive. If we really believed this, would we not be highly motivated to release our attack thoughts?
When we see our brothers' guilt, we remind ourselves "It is not this that I would look upon. I trust my brothers, who are one with me." (W.181.6.4-5) Imagine what a gift we give to ourselves if we stay committed today to our goal by not allowing any anger, judgment, distress, or frustration of any kind, to stay in our minds. We set the intention by doing our morning practice, holding in mind nothing but our great desire to see our own sinlessness, and experience our true reality. We also set aside any concerns today about the future, not allowing our ego to discourage us by telling us that "even if you should succeed, you will inevitably lose your way again." (W.181.4.3) "These concerns are but defenses against present change of focus in perception. Nothing more." (W.181.5.3-4)
We try to remember our intention hourly and use this Lesson to "keep us safe throughout the day." (W.181.7.1) And, as the evening comes, we spend time in quiet meditation, where we recognize the importance of releasing the blocks to the awareness of who we are in truth. The holy instant is an experience of timelessness, which is transformative. When we come back into the world, we bring with us a new vision, and we see that we are all the same---a reflection of the Oneness of God.
"There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, 'God's Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation.' It can be taught by actions or thoughts; in words or soundlessly; in any language or in no language; in any place or time or manner." (M.1.3.1-6) "This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome." (M.1.4.1-2)

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

VII. The Bridge to the Real World        
  59 The search for the special relationship is the sign that you equate yourself with the ego and not with God. For the special relationship has value only to the ego. To the ego unless a relationship has special value, it has no meaning, and it perceives all love as special. Yet this cannot be natural, for it is unlike the relationship of God and His Son, and all relationships that are unlike this one must be unnatural. For God created love as He would have it be and gave it as it is. Love has no meaning except as its Creator defined it by His Will. It is impossible to define it otherwise and understand it.
    60 Love is freedom. To look for it by placing yourself in bondage is to separate yourself from it. For the love of God, no longer seek for union in separation nor for freedom in bondage! As you release, so will you be released. Forget this not, or love will be unable to find you and comfort you. There is a way in which the Holy Spirit asks your help if you would have His. The holy instant is His most helpful tool in protecting you from the attraction of guilt, the real lure in the special relationship. You do not recognize that this is its real appeal, for the ego has taught you that freedom lies in it. Yet the closer you look at the special relationship, the more apparent it becomes that it must foster guilt and therefore must imprison.
    61 The special relationship is totally without meaning without a body. And if you value it, you must also value the body. And what you value, you will keep. The special relationship is a device for limiting your self to a body and for limiting your perception of others to theirs. The Great Rays would establish the total lack of value of the special relationship if they were seen. For in seeing them, the body would disappear because its value would be lost. And so your whole investment in seeing it would be withdrawn from it. You see the world you value.
    62 On this side of the bridge, you see the world of separate bodies seeking to join each other in separate unions and to become one by losing. When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude. Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe. Far more is left outside than would be taken in. For God is left without and nothing taken in. If one such union were made in perfect faith, the universe would enter into it. Yet the special relationship which the ego seeks does not include even one whole individual. For the ego wants but part of him and sees only this part and nothing else.
    63 Across the bridge, it is so different! For a time the body is still seen but not exclusively, as it is seen here. For the little spark which holds the Great Rays within it is also visible, and this spark cannot be limited long to littleness. Once you have crossed the bridge, the value of the body is so diminished in your sight that you will see no need at all to magnify it. For you will realize that the only value which the body has is to enable you to bring your brothers to the bridge with you and to be released together there.
    64 The bridge itself is nothing more than a transition in your perspective of reality. On this side, everything you see is grossly distorted and completely out of perspective. What is little and insignificant is magnified, and what is strong and powerful cut down to littleness. In the transition there is a period of confusion in which a sense of actual disorientation seems to occur. But fear it not, for it means nothing more than that you have been willing to let go your hold on the distorted frame of reference which seemed to hold your world together. This frame of reference is built around the special relationship. Without this illusion, there can be no meaning you would still seek here.
  65 Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it for reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your minds from their fixed position here. This will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation which precedes the actual transition is far shorter than the time it took to fix your minds so firmly on illusions. Delay will hurt you now more than before only because you realize it is delay and that escape from pain is really possible. Find hope and comfort rather than despair in this: You could no longer find even the illusion of love in any special relationship here. For you are no longer wholly insane, and you would recognize the guilt of self-betrayal for what it is.
    66 Nothing you seek to strengthen in the special relationship is really part of you. And you cannot keep part of the thought system which taught you it was real and understand the Thought that really knows what you are. You have allowed the Thought of your reality to enter your minds, and because you invited it, it will abide with you. Your love for it will not allow you to betray yourself, and you could not enter into a relationship where it could not go with you, for you would not be apart from it.
    67 Be glad you have escaped the mockery of salvation which the ego offered you and look not back with longing on the travesty it made of your relationships. Now no one need suffer, for you have come too far to yield to the illusion of the beauty and holiness of guilt. Only the wholly insane could look on death and suffering, sickness and despair and see it thus. What guilt has wrought is ugly, fearful, and very dangerous. See no illusion of truth and beauty there. And be you thankful that there is a place where truth and beauty wait for you. Go on to meet them gladly, and learn how much awaits you for the simple willingness to give up nothing because it is nothing.
    68 The new perspective you will gain from crossing over will be the understanding of where Heaven is. From here it seems to be outside and across the bridge. Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you. And you will think in glad astonishment that for all this you gave up nothing! The joy of Heaven, which has no limit, is increased with each light that returns to take its rightful place within it. Wait no longer, for the love of God and you. And may the holy instant speed you on the way, as it will surely do if you but let it come to you.
    69 The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you. Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on Heaven for you.
    ~ The Original Handscript Notes

ACIM OE TX.CH 16.VII       
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