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80 Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. There is nothing that will not give place to Him and to His majesty. To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God. Praise be to your relationship with Him and to no other. The truth lies here and nowhere else. You choose this or nothing.

"The End of Illusions"
Workbook for Students
Part I
Introduction to Lessons 181-200
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.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 188
The peace of God
is shining in me now.

1 Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.

2 This light cannot be lost. Why wait to find it in the future or believe it has been lost already or was never there? It can so easily be looked upon that arguments which prove it is not there become ridiculous. Who can deny the presence of what he beholds in him? It is not difficult to look within, for there all vision starts. There is no sight, be it of dreams or from a truer source, that is not but the shadow of the seen through inward vision. There perception starts, and there it ends. It has no source but this.

3 The peace of God is shining in you now and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing and leave a blessing with it which remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give and you who have received.

4 The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well. From you salvation radiates with gifts beyond all measure, given and returned. To you, the giver of the gift, does God Himself give thanks. And in His blessing does the light in you shine brighter, adding to the gifts you have to offer to the world.

5 The peace of God can never be contained. Who recognizes it within himself must give it. And the means for giving it are in his understanding. He forgives because he recognized the truth in him. The peace of God is shining in you now and in all living things. In quietness is it acknowledged universally. For what your inward vision looks upon is your perception of the universe.

6 Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world and let your thoughts fly to the peace within. They know the way. For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself. These thoughts you think with Him. They recognize their home. And they point surely to their Source where God the Father and the Son are one.

7 God's peace is shining on them, but they must remain with you as well, for they were born within your mind as yours was born in God's. They lead you back to peace from where they came but to remind you how you must return. They heed your Father's Voice when you refuse to listen. And they urge you gently to accept His Word for what you are instead of fantasies and shadows. They remind you that you are the co-creator of all things that live. For as the peace of God is shining in you, it must shine on them.

8 We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home. We have betrayed them, ordering that they depart from us. But now we call them back and wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes. We restore to them the holiness of their inheritance.

9 Thus are our minds restored with them, and we acknowledge that the peace of God still shines in us and from us to all living things that share our life. We will forgive them all, absolving all the world of what we thought it did to us. For it is we who make the world as we would have it. Now we choose that it be innocent, devoid of sin, and open to salvation. And we lay our saving blessing on it as we say:

10 The peace of God is shining in me now. Let all things shine upon me in that peace, and let me bless them with the light in me.

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Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Text
Chapter 16
 The Forgiveness of Illusions

VIII. The End of Illusions
 par 70-81
[PAUSED FOR THE WEEKEND]
70 It is impossible to let the past go without relinquishing the special relationship. For the special relationship is an attempt to reenact the past and change it. Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices, and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which becomes a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem. What basis would you have for choosing a special partner without the past? Every such choice is made because of something "evil" in the past to which you cling and for which must someone else atone.

71 The special relationship takes vengeance on the past. By seeking to remove suffering in the past, it overlooks the present in its preoccupation with the past and its total commitment to it. No special relationship is experienced in the present. Shades of the past envelop it and make it what it is. It has no meaning in the present, and if it means nothing now, it cannot have any real meaning at all. How can you change the past except in fantasy? And who can give you what you think the past deprived you of? The past is nothing. Do not seek to lay the blame for deprivation on it, for the past is gone. You cannot really not let go what has already gone. It must be, therefore, that you are maintaining the illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled. And it must also be that this purpose could not be fulfilled in the present, but only in the past.

72 Do not underestimate the intensity of the ego's drive for vengeance on the past. It is completely savage and completely insane. For the ego remembers everything that you have done which offended it and seeks retribution of you. The fantasies it brings to the special relationships it chooses in which to act out its hate are fantasies of your destruction. For the ego holds the past against you, and in your escape from the past, it sees itself deprived of the vengeance it believes that you so justly merit. Yet without your alliance in your own destruction, the ego could not hold you to the past.

73 In the special relationship, you are allowing your destruction to be. That this is insane is obvious. But what is less obvious to you is that the present is useless to you while you pursue the ego's goal as its ally. The past is gone; seek not to preserve it in the special relationship, which binds you to it and would teach you that salvation is past and that you must return to the past to find salvation. There is no fantasy which does not contain the dream of retribution for the past. Would you act out the dream or let it go?

74 In the special relationship, it does not seem to be an acting out of vengeance which you seek. And even when the hatred and the savagery break briefly through into awareness, the illusion of love is not profoundly shaken. Yet the one thing which the ego never allows to reach awareness is that the special relationship is the acting out of vengeance on yourself. But what else could it be? In seeking the special relationship, you look not for glory in yourself. You have denied that it is there, and the relationship becomes your substitute for it. And vengeance becomes your substitute for Atonement, and the escape from vengeance becomes your loss.

75 Against the ego's insane notion of salvation, the Holy Spirit gently lays the holy instant. We said before that the Holy Spirit must teach through comparisons and uses opposites to point to truth. The holy instant is the opposite of the ego's fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant, it is accepted that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfolds you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth.

76 For a time you may attempt to bring illusions into the holy instant to hinder your full awareness of the complete difference in all respects between your experience of truth and illusion. Yet you will not attempt this long. In the holy instant, the power of the Holy Spirit will prevail because you joined Him. The illusions you bring with you will weaken the experience of Him for a while and will prevent you from keeping the experience in your mind. Yet the holy instant is eternal, and your illusions of time will not prevent the timeless from being what it is nor you from experiencing it as it is.

77 What God has given you is truly given and will be truly received. For God's gifts have no reality apart from your receiving them. Your receiving completes His giving. You will receive because it is His Will to give. He gave the holy instant to be given you, and it is impossible that you receive it not, because He gave it. When He willed that His Son be free, His Son was free. In the holy instant is His reminder that His Son will always be exactly as he was created. And everything the Holy Spirit teaches you is to remind you that you have received what God has given you.

78 There is nothing you can hold against reality. All that must be forgiven are the illusions you have held against your brothers. Their reality has no past, and only illusions can be forgiven. God holds nothing against anyone, for He is incapable of illusions of any kind. Release your brothers from the slavery of their illusions by forgiving them for the illusions which you perceive in them. Thus will you learn that you have been forgiven, for it is you who offered them illusions. In the holy instant, this is done for you in time to bring to you the true condition of Heaven.

79 Remember that you always choose between truth and illusion—between the real Atonement which would heal and the ego's "atonement" which would destroy. The power of God and all His Love, without limit, will support you as you seek only your place in the plan of Atonement arising from His Love. Be an ally of God and not the ego in seeking how Atonement can come to you. His help suffices, for His Messenger understands how to restore the Kingdom to you and to place all your investment in salvation in your relationship with Him.

80 Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. There is nothing that will not give place to Him and to His majesty. To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God. Praise be to your relationship with Him and to no other. The truth lies here and nowhere else. You choose this or nothing

  81 Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You in which there are no illusions and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will. And let us receive only what you have given and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 188
The peace of God
is shining in me now.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
The focus now is on entering the holy instant. It is to experience moments of stillness and a withdrawal from the world into the quiet center of the mind. Only in the holy instant do we have the experience of deep peace. What is needed to come to this experience is for us to look at our blocks to love reflected in all our judgments and attitudes toward others. In releasing them, we experience the reflection of Heaven. It is a feeling of deep peace and a sense of being at home. It requires a willingness to take responsibility for our thoughts and a recognition that everything we perceive starts within our own minds.
 
The world is a projection of the guilt in our wrong minds. When the blocks to love are healed, the love in us extends from our heart to everyone. "It pauses to caress each living thing, and leaves a blessing with it that remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts, and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give, and you who have received." (W.188.3.2-6) Now the gifts we give are returned to us ". . . beyond all measure." (W.188.4.2)
 
How we know whether we have chosen the ego or the Holy Spirit comes from what we perceive. Jesus says, "It is not difficult to look within, for there all vision starts." (W.188.2.5) Yet the ego tells us not to look within. It says that all is dark there, and God will destroy us because of the sin in us. So, we are afraid to go there. "Loudly the ego tells you not to look inward, for if you do your eyes will light on sin, and God will strike you blind. This you believe, and so you do not look." (T.21.IV.2.3-4) (ACIM OE T.21.V.42) As a result of this belief that we hold, we feel safer in our distractions. Yet when we are willing to look at these false beliefs, we can go beyond them to the light. That light is already in us, blocked by our dark thoughts. Willingness is required to go beyond our defenses. We set up defenses against the love we are because of our fear of God. When we are willing to look past our defenses with honesty and courage, it is the beginning of vision.
 
The world is an outward picture of our inward condition. Thus, we can clearly see what we have aligned with, whether it is with the dark thoughts of the ego or with the love of the Holy Spirit. Both the problem and the solution are in our own minds. This is where all healing takes place. What we see with our eyes and take in with our ears and other senses is designed to deceive us that there is actually a world out there, acting on us. But the world is in our own minds. Everything we see starts and ends there. That is what is beautiful about this process because all power is in us. "The power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world." (T.12.VII.9.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.70) Nothing outside of us can take our peace and joy. If we do not feel the peace and joy that are ours, it is because we have chosen the ego thought system of judgment, condemnation, and specialness.
 
We cannot release what we refuse to acknowledge in ourselves. Our beliefs, opinions, concepts, values, and thoughts are what we need to acknowledge as keeping us from love, as we are tempted to deny or project our guilt onto others. It is important to resist this temptation if we are to heal what stands in the way of the love we are. "Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all." (W.188.1.4) It is not light we need to seek because we already have it. To find this light, simply look within. It is not about struggling with the ego or struggling against our obsessive thoughts. To do so is to give them reality. It is not even about trying "hard" but only about surrendering. It is to give up our way and follow His way.
 
"Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now." (W.188.1.1-3) To seek for a future state of enlightenment is what many of us try to do, yet this is precisely what keeps it at bay. We are in the past or future and not accepting the present moment. The moment of the holy instant, where there is an authentic knowing that floods our minds, is the moment of knowing that it is all here now. Chasing the goal of enlightenment is just another ego ploy to "seek and do not find." (T.12.V.7.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VI.49)
 
We need to give up control, as everything has already been determined. The end is certain, so what do we do now? The answer is to choose love in every moment. In every circumstance that is in front of us, we can stay aware of our thoughts and choose how to respond, whether from the ego or from the Spirit. Let your life be guided by Love in each moment. No matter what you are facing, keep asking how Love would have you respond to the situation. The Answer is within you. It requires tuning into the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The ego will tend to speak first, but it is never the truth. When we turn to the Holy Spirit, He will always offer His guidance, which is in direct opposition to the ego.
 
If the peace of God is shining in us now, there is nowhere to go to find it and nothing to seek for. It is indeed humorous to seek for the light while covering our eyes, refusing to see it is here now. "Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes." (W.188.1.2) In other words, Jesus says, although we seek it, there is also a part of us keeping it from our awareness. How do we do that? We defend against it by holding it apart from us, believing we will find it some day in the future. "Why wait to find it in the future, or believe it has been lost already, or was never there?" (W.188.2.2) Jesus calls these arguments "ridiculous." (W.188.2.3) "The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own." (W.188.1.6) There is no reason to delay our peace and joy. There is no reason to indulge in the belief that we have to atone for our sins and clean up our act in order to know Heaven. There is no need to suffer any longer. We think it is hard to find and that we need to struggle with our ego. We think that this is a difficult process, but Jesus keeps assuring us that to struggle with the ego is to make it real. Recognition of the light in us is all that is needed. The light is there now. This light cannot be lost. We do not need to try hard to find where it is. We have just forgotten who we are. It is always present, yet we deny its presence.
 
Everything that seems to happen in this illusion can contribute to our journey if given over to the Holy Spirit. Every event, every circumstance, every mistake, and every situation can be seen as an opportunity to release our self-condemnation, self-attacks, and judgments that we project onto the world. None of these things are a reason for guilt. No mistake should be used for crucifying ourselves or others. It is all there for our learning. It is just another opportunity to release our own self-condemnation that we project onto others. "In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, 'My brother, choose again'." (T.31.VIII.3.2) (ACIM OE T.31.VIII.87)
 
Jesus is not denying that we experience difficulty, distress, or perplexity in our lives. We all have a lot of stuff that occupies our thoughts, but all these challenges hamper our spiritual growth if we deny and resist them. As Ken Wapnick writes, in The Healing Power of Kindness, pp.38-39: "Rather than feel guilty, angry or depressed about a problem--physical or psychological--we need to accept it as a classroom, telling ourselves this is the form in which we will learn what we need to learn: whatever the distress, it is our choosing. This is not because we are neurotic, psychotic or bad, but because we want to prove we are who we are not; that the separated, sinful, and guilty self is real, and our glorious Self an illusion."
 
When you feel discouraged on this journey, do not fight yourself. Nothing is wrong. Nothing is out of place. I recently heard Adyashanti say that the world is "benevolently ruthless." In other words, we all get exactly what we need for our awakening. It can be grace, even though it may look like ruthless grace. Whatever you may think that you have done wrong and whatever you may feel frustrated with or sad about, do not resist it or deny it. It is in the opposition of it that we suffer. Allow yourself to accept wherever you are. Allow yourself to be defeated or discouraged. Experience the feeling, instead of trying to manage or control it. It is about absolute acceptance. The truth is that we are perfect, innocent, complete, and always in the Presence of God's Love, but our minds convince us otherwise. When we accept whatever the situation is in front of us and fully accept what we are feeling, we can immediately turn to the Holy Spirit and open our minds to His interpretation.
 
As long as we hold onto our judgments and grievances and as long as we are unwilling to take responsibility for them, we cannot know the peace of God that is shining in us now. That is why burying, hiding, or avoiding taking responsibility for our dark thoughts keeps them from being purified and washed clean by the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, "We have betrayed them, ordering that they depart from us. But now we call them back, and wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes. We restore to them the holiness of their inheritance." (W.188.9.5-7) Actually, we do not do that because the ego will never undertake to undo itself. The Holy Spirit does it when we turn our strange desires and disordered wishes over to Him by putting them on the inner altar. This is the miracle. "We will forgive them all, absolving all the world from what we thought it did to us." (W.188.10.2) That is what forgiveness does; it washes away what no longer serves us.
 
"We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them [ our wandering thoughts] stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home." (W.188.9.1-4) Today, we practice watching our thoughts by calling them to our attention so they can be washed clean by the Holy Spirit. Thus, they leave room for only God's Thoughts. In the light that has never left us, we find God's peace.
 
Rather than blaming the world, "Now we choose that it be innocent, devoid of sin and open to salvation." (W.188.10.4) We lay our blessing on it today instead of cursing and blaming it for the conditions we have chosen for ourselves. We say, " The peace of God is shining in me now. Let all things shine upon me in that peace, and let me bless them with the light in me. " (W.188.10.6-7)
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is


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