WEDNESDAY July 6, 2016
Light of Loveliness
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 17 FORGIVENESS AND HEALING
III. THE FORGIVEN WORLD 
    
11 The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness. The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason which He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty which gentleness could release.     
    
A COURSE IN MIRACLES 
WORKBOOK Part I 
INTRODUCTION to LESSONS 181-200
Introduction to Lesson 181-200

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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
WHAT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER?

1
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.

2
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.

3
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.

  
CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY on INTRODUCTION
          
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DAILY LESSON
L e s s o n 187
I bless the world because I bless myself. 

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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
WHAT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER?  

   No one can give unless he has. In fact, 
   giving is proof of having. We have made
   this point before. What seems to make it hard
   to credit is not this. No-one can doubt
   that you must first possess what you would give.
   It is the second phase on which the world
   and true perception differ. Having had
   and given, then the world asserts that you
   have lost what you possessed. The truth maintains
   that giving will increase what you possess.
 
   How is this possible? For it is sure
   that if you give a finite thing away
   your body's eyes will not perceive it yours.
   Yet we have learned that things but represent
   the thoughts which make them. And we do not lack
   for proof that when we give ideas away,
   we strengthen them in our own minds. Perhaps
   the form in which the thought seems to appear
   is changed in giving. Yet it must return
   to him who gives. Nor can the form it takes
   be less acceptable. It must be more.
 
   Ideas must first belong to you, before
   you give them. If you are to save the world,
   you first accept salvation for yourself.
   But you will not believe that this is done
   until you see the miracles it brings
   to everyone you look upon. Herein
   is the idea of giving clarified
   and given meaning. Now you can perceive
   that by your giving is your store increased.
 
   Protect all things you value by the act
   of giving them away, and you are sure
   that you will never lose them. What you thought
   you did not have is thereby proven yours.
   Yet value not its form. For this will change
   and grow unrecognizable in time
   however much you try to keep it safe.
   No form endures. *To value form is but
   to worship death.* It is the thought behind
   the form of things that lives unchangeable.
  
   Give gladly. You can only gain thereby.
   The thought remains and grows in strength as it
   is reinforced by giving. Thoughts extend
   as they are shared, for they can not be lost.
   There is no giver and receiver in
   the sense the world conceives of them. There is
   a giver who retains; another who
   will give as well. And both must gain in this
   exchange, for each will have the thought in form
   most helpful to him. What he seems to lose
   is always something he will value less
   than what will surely be returned to him.
 
   Never forget you give but to yourself.
   Who understands what giving means must laugh
   at the idea of sacrifice. Nor can
   he fail to recognize the many forms
   that sacrifice may take. He laughs as well
   at pain and loss, at sickness and at grief,
   at poverty, starvation and at death.
   He recognizes sacrifice remains
   the one idea that stands behind them all,
   and in his gentle laughter are they healed.
 
   Illusion recognized must disappear.
   Accept not suffering, and you remove
   the thought of suffering. Your blessing lies
   on everyone who suffers when you choose
   to see all suffering as what it is.
   The thought of sacrifice gives rise to all
   the forms that suffering appears to take,
   and sacrifice is an idea so mad
   that sanity dismisses it at once.
 
   Never believe that you can sacrifice.
   There is no place for sacrifice in what
   has any value. If the thought occurs,
   its very presence proves that error has
   arisen, and correction must be made.
   Your blessing will correct it. Given first
   to you, it now is yours to give as well.
   No form of sacrifice and suffering
   can long endure before the face of one
   who has forgiven and has blessed himself.
 
   The lilies that your brother offers you
   are laid upon your altar, with the ones
   you offer him beside them. Who could fear
   to look upon such lovely holiness?
   The great illusion of the fear of God
   diminishes to nothingness before
   the purity that you can look on here.
   Be not afraid to look. The blessedness
   you will behold will take away all thought
   of form, and leave instead the perfect gift
   forever there, forever to increase,
   forever yours, forever given away.
 
   Now are we one in thought. For fear has gone.
   And here, before the altar to One God,
   One Father, One Creator and One Thought,
   we stand together as one Son of God.
   Not separate from Him Who is our Source;
   not distant from one brother who is part
   of our One Self Whose innocence has joined
   us all as one, we stand in blessedness
   and give as we received. The Name of God
   is on our lips, and as we look within
   we see the purity of Heaven shine
   in our reflection of our Father's Love.
 
   Now are we blessed, and now we bless the world.
   What we have looked upon we would extend,
   for we would see it everywhere. We would
   behold it shining with the grace of God
   in everyone. We would not have it be
   withheld from anything we look upon.
   And to ensure this holy sight is ours,
   we offer it to everything we see.
   For where we see it, it will be returned
   to us in form of lilies we can lay
   upon our altar, making it a home
   for Innocence Itself, Who dwells in us
   and offers us His holiness as ours.
          
~ Original Handscript of ACIM June 1, 1970
 
 
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 187

I bless the world because I bless myself .

Sarah's Commentary: 
 
This whole Lesson is about giving and receiving. "Never forget you give but to yourself." (W.187.6.1) It is not hard to understand we must first have something in order to give it. To give salvation (love, forgiveness, blessing,) we must first accept for ourselves what is already in us. Yet how do we know we have it unless we give it away? Only by giving a gift do I know I have it to give! This Lesson is not only about extending the love we are to the world, but it is also about giving of things in form, which carry the content of love. The content behind the form is the only thing we really can give. The content is a thought. "Yet we have learned that things but represent the thoughts that make them." (W.187.2.3) What is really being given is a thought that is either ego-based, meaning the guilt in the mind, or a right-minded thought, which reflects the love in the mind. Behind the form, either love is being given or it is guilt, which looks like a bargain with strings attached.
 
If I have s form, such as money or material possessions, and if I give it away, I perceive it is lost to me. However, things are just manifestations of thoughts. (W.187.2.3) It is the thought in my mind that I am giving. When the thought is guilt, it is what I am giving you, but what I give you, I receive for myself. If it is a thought that carries guilt and fear, I will get for myself what I am giving, meaning more guilt and fear. Yet extending a thought of love strengthens it in my own mind, and thus I have gained.
 
This Lesson puts forth the startling thought that the only way to protect anything we value is to give it away. By giving it away, we have the assurance we will never lose it. (W.187.4.1) When we value peace and happiness, we can only keep them by giving them away. It is how we protect them and how we know they are in us. We know when peace and joy are extended through us. By continuing to give, we will continue to have. (W.187.6.1) "Yet it must return to him who gives. Nor can the form it takes be less acceptable. It must be more." (W.187.2.6-8)
 
If we are giving just to get something back, whether in the form of gratitude or something more in material exchange, we are bargaining. We want more than we have given. This is what the special relationship is based on, which is to give as little as possible in order to get more than what we have given. It is about giving, with the idea of getting something better for what we give. Obviously, this is not what true giving entails. Instead, what this reflects is the ego thought system of giving to get. When we want something in return for what we are giving, it is not about giving at all, but it is about bargaining in order to get. Jesus says we would much rather just take what we want, but we recognize this would not get us very far, so we have learned the art of bargaining instead.
 
It is clearly apparent when we give love, encouragement, and blessings, that are genuine and heartfelt, it gives us great joy. Anything shared is strengthened in our own minds. When I share ideas from the Course, I am reinforcing those ideas in my mind and gaining from this experience. It is not just about the form, meaning the thoughts I share, but it is the experience of joining with my brothers and sisters that I find so precious and affirming. I also get great pleasure from giving a material gift I think is perfect for someone. I get joy from the experience. The joy is already in me, but it becomes known to me through this expression of giving. When there are no expectations for anything in return, not even thanks, it is true giving.
 
In fact, the gift can be given anonymously and there will be pure joy just in the giving of it. I can also see when there are expectations attached to my giving or where giving feels like sacrifice. Here we have the principle of one or the other reflected. This is where one wins and the other one loses. Thus, through our giving and receiving, we are always teaching ourselves what it is we believe we are. We are reinforcing the beliefs we hold about ourselves, as beings of love and light or as needy, grasping egos. Thus, we are either affirming love or fear within. Either way, we are strengthening whatever beliefs we are holding onto at the time. If I project guilt onto someone, I feel even more guilt. I receive what I give. "Thoughts increase by being given away. The more who believe in them the stronger they become." (T.5.I.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.5.II.8)
 
"What you thought you did not have is thereby proven yours. Yet value not its form. For this will change and grow unrecognizable in time, however much you try to keep it safe. No form endures. It is the thought behind the form of things that lives unchangeable." (W.187.4.2-6) In our special relationships, we value form. We value our own bodies, and we value the bodies of others. Jesus encourages us not to put our value onto form, "For this will change and grow unrecognizable in time. . . " (W.187.4.4) Form will not endure, but the content of love will endure forever. It is eternal and changeless. "The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at raising the form to take the place of God at the expense of content." (T.16.V.12.2) (ACIM OE T.16.VI.54) We see it in our world, where we celebrate long-term marriage as something wonderful in and of itself. In other words, the form is what we see as most important, regardless of the content.
 
Jesus tells us there is no point in valuing the form, as it has no value. It is nothing. While we do value it, giving it away will feel like sacrifice. Only when we see no value in form will we recognize what is real and truly has value, which is God's Love. We experience being more loving and more peaceful when we extend love and peace. Isn't that the goal we want for ourselves? We all want to be happy and have peace in our lives, but we have been misguided in where our happiness lies when we look for it in form.
 
Bring awareness to where in your life you are holding back on giving and where you feel like you are sacrificing when you give. Sacrifice takes many forms, including grief, poverty, pain, starvation, and death. Any time we experience pain and loss, we are in sacrifice. Nothing truly can be lost to us because we already have everything. As Jesus says in Lessons of the Holy Spirit, "To Have, Give All to All." (T.6.V.A) (ACIM OE T.6.V.a.) This is the only way we will know what we already have.
 
If someone we love has left us through separation in form (death, desertion, divorce) and we feel we have lost the relationship, according to this Lesson, we can laugh gently at the idea of sacrifice when we recognize nothing real has happened. We can only be hurt if we identify with the figure in the dream whom we see as a form in the world. When we recognize we are the dreamer of this dream rather than the dream figure, we can see there is nothing tragic. Holding this perspective allows us to smile gently at the dream and see there is no meaning in form. However, this is not an invitation to be unkind or dismissive to others who may be experiencing pain of loss. When others are suffering, it is important to realize that what we see is not real, yet in the world it does seem real and tragic, and so we are called to be kind.
 
"Accept not suffering, and you remove the thought of suffering. Your blessing lies on everyone who suffers, when you choose to see all suffering as what it is." (W.187.7.2-3) We need to bring sanity to the suffering by not joining with our brother's dream of sickness. This is true empathy. When we look at the illusion and realize it is illusion, it must disappear. If we don't get taken in by the world's dream of suffering, and we stand outside of the dream, we won't experience our brother as suffering. "Your blessing lies on everyone who suffers, when you choose to see all suffering as what it is." (W.187.7.3) We do not minimize the experience for anyone. We simply do not identify with it. When we get distressed by someone's pain, we cannot be of any help. If we jump into the pit with our brother, it is now incumbent on us to heal our upsets by bringing them to the Holy Spirit. Our misperceptions of our brother must now be healed in our own minds, otherwise we cannot be truly helpful. When we have been mistaken in how we see another, it is because we have forgotten who we are. When we are a demonstration of the light within us, shining through us, we extend a blessing to our brother. What we give, we receive.
 
When we look upon the holiness, shining forth from our brothers, we recognize "The great illusion of the fear of God diminishes to nothingness before the purity that you will look on here." (W.187.9.3) Our fear of God is based on our belief He will punish us for our sin of separation. We project the guilt we feel for our own sin onto our brothers. When we use our relationships for healing the guilt in our minds by withdrawing our projections, we then see our brothers as guiltless. We accept our own innocence as well, and now our fear of punishment from God is gone. We only fear punishment when we feel guilty. When we know who we are, the separation is healed and our divine innocence is reclaimed.
 
When we accept the blessing, we are reminded that loss and sacrifice cannot be the truth. As we stand together as one Son of God, ". . . we stand in blessedness, and give as we receive. The Name of God is on our lips. And as we look within, we see the purity of Heaven shine in our reflection of our Father's Love." (W.187.10.3-5) This is stunningly beautiful and suggests to me we can only know our beautiful, sinless perfection by seeing it in our brothers. How quickly we judge instead! Today, we can truly focus on setting our intent to bless, bless, bless, everyone we encounter in order to know we are blessed and to know it is in us to give. This can only happen when our grievances, judgments, and expectations are seen for what they are and given over for forgiveness and healing. Then the blessing is a natural response, where we see our interests as the same as our brother's. Thus, the relationship is transformed from specialness to holiness.
 
As we give, we receive. We are blessed and ". . . now we bless the world." (W.187.11.1) There is no separation, only Oneness. We are joined at the altar where our gifts of giving and receiving are held. We bring our storehouse of blessings to the world when we accept the Atonement for ourselves. When we accept the Correction in our own minds, blessings automatically extend through us. While our guilt attacks, our peace embraces everyone. Nothing is withheld, for we only give to our Self. We now see with vision rather than with the limitations of our ego perspectives.
 
In the world, we speak of being blessed when everything goes according to our wishes and desires, and we feel victimized when this is not the case. Yet accepting the Correction is to see our peace is not dependent on anything outside ourselves. The blessing is there all the time, because we know it is in us. Any time you are tempted to withhold anything from anyone, recognize you are believing in sacrifice and loss. You can ask for help in remembering we all share the same interests, and in giving, we know we have.
 
Today, we look at where we have reluctance in giving, and what beliefs we hold about lack and loss. We ask for help in forgiving ourselves for using these situations to keep ourselves separate from the love we are. It is important to see there is no value for us to take on more guilt when we notice our reluctance to give or when we want to get something in return. Remember, this is a classroom for undoing the ego thought system. Noticing our blocks is what allows us to bring them to the light for healing. It is not helpful to judge ourselves. Celebrate the opportunities when you see your ego in action, for this is where the healing is. It is a mistake to try to spiritualize the form rather than to look at the content of your mind.
 
At the quiet center of our minds is where there is only the fullness of Being and the purity of our blessedness, where they have always been. When we get in touch with this purity, we bring the blessing of God's Love to embrace everything and everyone in our day, so it can be strengthened in us.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah 
 
1 The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his "sins" are but his own imagining. His reality is forever sinless. He need not be forgiven, but awakened. In his dreams he has betrayed himself, his brothers, and his God. Yet what is done in dreams has not been really done. It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are because of their illusion of reality. Only in waking is the full release from them, for only then does it become perfectly apparent that they had no effect on reality at all and did not change it. Fantasies change reality. That is their purpose. They cannot do so in reality, but they can do so in the mind that would have reality different.
 
2 It is, then, only your wish to change reality that is fearful because by your wish you think you have accomplished what you wish. This strange position in a sense acknowledges your power. Yet by distorting it and devoting it to "evil," it also makes it unreal. You cannot be faithful to two masters who ask of you conflicting things. What you use in fantasy you deny to truth. Yet what you give to truth to use for you is safe from fantasy.

II. Fantasy and Distorted Perception 
 
3 When you maintain that there must be order of difficulty in miracles, all you mean is that there are some things you would withhold from truth. You believe that truth cannot deal with them only because you would keep them from truth. Very simply, your lack of faith in the power that heals all pain arises from your wish to retain some aspects of reality for fantasy. If you but realized what this must do to your appreciation of the whole! What you reserve unto yourself, you take away from Him Who would release you. Unless you give it back, it is inevitable that your perspective on reality be warped and uncorrected.
 
4 As long as you would have it so, so long will the illusion of order of difficulty in miracles remain with you. For you have established this order in reality by giving some of it to one teacher and some to another. And so you learn to deal with part of truth in one way and in another way the other part. To fragment truth is to destroy it by rendering it meaningless. Orders of reality is a perspective without understanding, a frame of reference for reality to which it cannot really be compared at all.
 
5 Think you that you can bring truth to fantasy and learn what truth means from the perspective of illusions? Truth has no meaning in illusion. The frame of reference for its meaning must be itself. When you try to bring truth to illusions, you are trying to make illusions real and keep them by justifying your belief in them. But to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal and thus enable you to escape from them. Reserve not one idea aside from truth, or you establish orders of reality which must imprison you. There is no order in reality because everything there is true.
 
6 Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him who knows the truth and in Whom all is brought to truth. [Salvation from separation will be complete or will be not at all.] Be not concerned with anything except your willingness to have this be accomplished. He will accomplish it; not you. But forget not this: When you become disturbed and lose your peace of mind because another is attempting to solve his problems through fantasy, you are refusing to forgive yourself for just this same attempt. And you are holding both of you away from truth and from salvation. As you forgive him, you restore to truth what was denied by both of you. And you will see forgiveness where you have given it.

III. The Forgiven World 
 
7 Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely. Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness. And nothing will you value like unto this nor hold so dear. Nothing that you remember that made your heart seem to sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you. For you will see the Son of God. You will behold the beauty which the Holy Spirit loves to look upon and which He thanks the Father for. He was created to see this for you until you learn to see it for yourself. And all His teaching leads to seeing it and giving thanks with Him.
 
8 This loveliness is not a fantasy. It is the real world, bright and clean and new with everything sparkling under the open sun. Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven, and there are no fantasies to hide the truth. The bridge between that world and this is so little and so easy to cross that you could not believe it is the meeting place of worlds so different. Yet this little bridge is the strongest thing that touches on this world at all. This little step, so small it has escaped your notice, is a stride through time into eternity and beyond all ugliness into beauty that will enchant you and will never cease to cause you wonderment at its perfection.
 
9 This step, the smallest ever taken by anything, is still the greatest accomplishment of all in God's plan of Atonement. All else is learned, but this is given, complete and wholly perfect. No one but Him Who planned salvation could complete it thus. The real world, in its loveliness, you learn to reach. Fantasies are all undone, and no one and nothing remains still bound by them, and by your own forgiveness, you are free to see. Yet what you see is only what you have made, with the blessing of your forgiveness on it. And with this final blessing of God's Son upon himself, the real perception, born of the new perspective he has learned, has served its purpose.
 
10 The stars will disappear in light, and the sun which opened up the world to beauty will vanish. Perception will be meaningless when it has been perfected, for everything that has been used for learning will have no function. Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations which made perception possible will occur. The perception of the real world will be so short that you will barely have time to thank God for it. For God will take the last step swiftly when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him.
 
11 The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness. The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason which He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty which gentleness could release.
 
12 All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally transforms vision and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos and removing all illusions which had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder and a blade of grass a sign of God's perfection. From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily into his home. And there he knows that he has always rested there in peace. Even salvation will become a dream and vanish from his mind. For salvation is the end of dreams and with the closing of the dream will have no meaning. Who awake in Heaven could dream that there could ever be need of salvation?
 
13 How much do you want salvation? It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you. The eagerness of the Holy Spirit to give you this is so intense He would not wait, although He waits in patience. Meet His patience with your impatience at delay in meeting Him. Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer and walk with him in trust out of this world and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness.

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