Lesson 195
Be the Give of Peace
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 17 FORGIVENESS AND HEALING
IX. THE CONDITIONS OF FORGIVENESS  
    
79 When you accepted truth as the goal for your relationship, you became givers of peace as surely as your Father gave peace to you. For the goal of peace cannot be accepted apart from its conditions, and you had faith in it, for no one accepts what he does not believe is real. Your purpose has not changed and will not change, for you accepted what can never change. And nothing that it needs to be forever changeless can you now withhold from it. Your release is certain. Give as you have received. And demonstrate that you have risen far beyond any situation that could hold you back and keep you separate from Him Whose call you answered. 
           
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 195
Love is the way I walk in gratitude. 
 
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 Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn
   for those who look upon the world amiss.
   The most that they can do is see themselves
   as better off than others. And they try
   to be content because another seems
   to suffer more than they. How pitiful
   and deprecating are such thoughts! For who
   has cause for thanks while others have less cause,
   and who could suffer less because he sees
   another suffer more? Your gratitude
   is due to Him alone Who makes all cause
   of sorrow disappear throughout the world.
 
   It is insane to offer thanks because
   of suffering. But it is equally
   insane to fail in gratitude to One
   Who offers you the certain means whereby
   all pain is healed, and suffering replaced
   with laughter and with happiness. Nor could
   the even partly sane refuse to take
   the steps which He directs, and follow in
   the way He sets before them to escape
   a prison which they thought contained no door
   to the deliverance they now perceive.
 
   Your brother is your enemy because
   you see in him the rival for your peace;
   a plunderer who takes his joy from you,
   and leaves you nothing but a black despair
   so bitter and relentless that there is
   no hope remaining. Now is vengeance all
   there is to wish for. Now can you but try
   to bring him down to lie in death with you,
   as useless as yourself; as little left
   within his grasping fingers as in yours.
 
   You do not offer God your gratitude
   because your brother is more slave than you,
   nor could you sanely be enraged if he
   seems freer. Love makes no comparisons,
   and gratitude can only be sincere
   if it is joined to love. We offer thanks
   to God our Father that in us all things
   will find their freedom. It will never be
   that some are loose while others still are bound,
   for who can bargain in the Name of love?
 
   Therefore give thanks, but in sincerity.
   And let your gratitude make room for all
   who will escape with you; the sick, the weak,
   the needy and afraid, and those who mourn
   a seeming loss or an apparent pain,
   who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk
   the way of hatred and the path of death.
   All these go with you. Let us not compare
   ourselves with them, for thus we split them off
   in our awareness from the Unity
   we share with them, as they must share with us.
 
   We thank our Father for one thing alone;
   that we are separate from no living thing,
   and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice
   that no exceptions ever can be made
   which could reduce our wholeness, nor impair
   or change our function to complete the One
   Who is Himself completion. We give thanks
   for every living thing, for otherwise
   we offer thanks for nothing, and we fail
   to recognize the gifts of God to us.
 
   Then let our brothers lean their tired heads
   against our shoulders as they rest a while.
   We offer thanks for them. For if we can
   direct them to the peace that we would find,
   the way is opening at last to us.
   An ancient door is swinging free again;
   a long forgotten Word re-echoes in
   our memory, and gathers clarity
   as we are willing once again to hear.
 
   Walk then in gratitude the way of love.
   For hatred is forgotten when you lay
   comparisons aside. What more remains
   as obstacles to peace? The fear of God
   is now undone at last, and we forgive
   without comparing. Thus we cannot choose
   to overlook some things, and yet retain
   some other things still locked away as sins.
   When your forgiveness is complete you will
   have total gratitude, for you will see
   that everything has earned the right to love
   by being loving, even as your Self.
 
   Today we learn to think of gratitude
   in place of anger, malice and revenge.
   We have been given everything. If we
   refuse to recognize it, we are not
   entitled therefore to our bitterness,
   and to a self-perception which regards
   us in a place of merciless pursuit,
   where we are badgered ceaselessly, and pushed
   about without a thought or care for us
   or for our future. Gratitude becomes
   the single thought we substitute for these
   insane perceptions. God has cared for us,
   and called us Son. Can there be more than this?
 
   Our gratitude will pave our way to Him,
   and shorten our learning time by more
   than we can even dream of. Gratitude
   goes hand in hand with love, and where one is
   the other must be found. For gratitude
   is but an aspect of the love which is
   the Source of all creation. God gives thanks
   to you, His Son, for being what you are;
   His Own completion and the Source of love,
   along with Him. Your gratitude to Him
   is one with His to you. For love can walk
   no way except the way of gratitude,
   and thus we go who walk the way to God.
 
~ Original Handscript of ACIM ~ August 4, 1970
 
 
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 195

Love is the way I walk in gratitude .

Sarah's Commentary:   

Think of the ways in which you are grateful. What are you grateful for today? Are you grateful you have a place to live unlike those who find themselves homeless? Are you grateful you have a job while others don't? Are you grateful you are healthy unlike someone who is sick and suffering? Are you grateful you have a partner, unlike someone who is alone? Or you may feel, " There but for the grace of God go I. At least I am better off than that person." We are grateful that God saved us from a car accident, even if someone else had to lose their life. We are grateful when our team wins, because someone has to lose. In these examples, aren't we basically being grateful we have gained at someone's loss? This kind of gratitude depends on comparing ourselves to people who have less than we do and it relies on someone else losing. In other words, this kind of gratitude is all about comparison and differences. Jesus says, "It is insane to offer thanks because of suffering," (W.195.2.1) but that is the ego's notion of gratitude, which is based on differences. It is based on the principle of one or the other.

Specialness always makes comparisons. On our spiritual path, we even compare ourselves to those who are more or less enlightened than we are. We go through our life with the mantras of better than and worse than, everywhere we look. "The ego literally lives by comparisons." (T.4.II.7.1) (ACIM OE T.4.III.32) We feel superior when we feel better than someone else and angry or jealous when we feel worse than someone else. It is truly the disease of the ego, and it is the dark side of the ego's version of gratitude. It is important to bring these dark thoughts to awareness rather than to deny thoughts and feelings that arise in us. The reality is that we do make these kinds of judgments. It is an aspect of the separation. Jesus understands this is our condition when he says, "But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone 'better,' someone incapable of being like what he condemns, 'above' it, sinless by comparison with it." (T.24.I.4.2) (ACIM OE T.24.II.6)
 
What happens when you see your brother as better than you are, and thus a ". . . rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you," (W.195.3.1) is that you then see him as your "enemy." Why? This goes back to the discussion of special love and special hate relationships, where Jesus says if we see our brother as having something we don't have, we believe he has something that was actually taken from us. If he is the one winning in this competition between us, then ". . . vengeance is all there is to wish for." (W.195.3.2) Now all we want in this rivalry is to see him diminished, because he has what we believe we rightly deserve. We may, for example, experience this when those who seem to have it all take a fall. We enjoy these moments because we no longer see ourselves as "less than" someone who previously seemed superior. We now see ourselves as having taken back what we think we rightly deserve. It is a situation of gaining our happiness at someone else's expense. Of course, we assume the same program is running in their minds too. In the same way, we are upset and angry if someone has more than we do. This is the nature of the ego thought system---always of 'one or the other'.
 
Comparisons are everywhere in this world of separation and competition. Clearly, we see ourselves as better than those who murder and hurt others, but Jesus says, "Love makes no comparisons." (W.195.4.2) "Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see." (T.24.II.1.6) (ACIM OE T.24.III.12) Our specialness depends on seeing the lack in others while purporting the innocence in ourselves. We want to see them as the guilty ones, so we can see ourselves in a better light. Yet if we are willing to look in our own minds, with great honesty, we will see our own hateful, murderous thoughts and realize that the content of the ego mind is always the same.
 
Jesus says that the thoughts we feel as a result of comparison with others are ". . . pitiful and depreciating." (W.195.1.4) The comparisons we make create a tremendous burden for us. They are a significant obstacle to our peace. Any comparisons made are unloving, because comparison is a way of setting things apart. They are another way to keep the separation going and to see our brothers as different from ourselves. "Let us not compare ourselves with them, for thus we split them off from our awareness of the unity we share with them, as they must share with us." (W.195.5.4) Comparison is a way we avoid our reality of Oneness with all of our brothers.
 
We can indeed be grateful we are given the means to turn these dark thoughts over for healing. We are given the means to escape this prison-house we made. There is "One Who offers you the certain means whereby all pain is healed, and suffering replaced with laughter and with happiness." (W.195.2.2) Pain and suffering are always the result of our investment in specialness, but true gratitude, based on love, can show us the way. When gratitude is joined with love, we recognize our sameness. We share the same thought system that brought us into the experience of this world of duality, but we also share the same One Self. Our sameness reflects the Oneness of who we are. We can be truly grateful that, instead of the bargaining and reciprocity that are part of the special relationship, where we always try to benefit at the expense of our brother, our freedom can be found in recognition of the sameness we share. This sameness is a reflection of the Oneness of Heaven. It is a recognition that as we are released our brothers are as well. While we imprison them with our judgments, we imprison ourselves.
 
We all share the same purpose. We all want to escape from this prison house, but we can't do it when we hold thoughts of specialness. These are thoughts of comparison and differences. In fact, Jesus asks us to question why we would want to hold onto this kind of insanity and turn away from him and the peace and joy he is offering us. "Nor could the even partly sane refuse to take the steps which He directs, and follow in the way He sets before them, to escape a prison that they thought contained no door to the deliverance they now perceive." (W.195.2.3) It requires for us to really ask ourselves how we can possibly trust what we think and feel. To refuse to question our perceptions is to continue in our insanity, relying on our false ideas of who our brothers are.
 
The idea presented in this Lesson is that our gratitude is not about raising ourselves above anyone but recognizing the unity we share with everyone. Thus, our true gratitude is to the Holy Spirit, Who has given us the means to recognize our Oneness. This gratitude makes room for ". . . the sick, the weak, the needy and afraid, and those who mourn a seeming loss or feel apparent pain, who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk the way of hatred and the path of death." (W.195.5.2) In other words, to raise ourselves above anyone at all is to keep ourselves separate and alone. When we are tempted to look at anyone and be grateful we are not like them, we exclude ourselves from love. We all share the same unity. (W.195.5.3) Only when we experience the inclusiveness of all brothers is gratitude sincere. Otherwise, we are thankful for nothing but the suffering of others. However, if we extend gratitude to everyone, the way opens up for us to know our Self and be grateful for it. It comes from a recognition we are not lacking. We already have been given everything. No one can take our peace from us. It is in us. "Our gratitude will pave the way to Him, and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of." (W.195.10.1) It goes hand in hand with love.
 
What is true gratitude? It is gratitude for our Oneness, and for having been given the means to go home together. We are grateful for all of our brothers with no exceptions! Am I to be grateful to those who push my buttons, which elicits my anger and rage, those who seem to abandon me, or those who hurt me? The answer here is a resounding yes! For gratitude for all events, circumstances, and difficulties will move us forward immeasurably. How would we ever access the guilt in ourselves without the help of those who bring it to our awareness? Without them we would have no way of experiencing it. That is why this supposed enemy is really our savior from hell. When we recognize this, we can actually turn our anger and revenge into a song of gratitude. While it may seem difficult, our part is actually simple. We acknowledge our thoughts and release them to the Holy Spirit. He will do the rest. We can be grateful that we have been given everything. We are not lacking. We have within us what we look for outside ourselves.
 
Regine Akers recently wrote a piece that relates beautifully to the gifts our brothers can offer, where she says, "It is easy to feel enlightened or transformed or spiritual when things seem to be going your way...when people agree with you, when they state how much they like you, when they do as you ask. But if there is a need for these things, the ego will rise again, because the ego is always there. When the ego rises with some type of upset or suffering, you can deny it or explain it away but if this is done, the gift is being missed. There is a great gift in ego appearing from hiding. The gift is finding the path to freedom again. One may need to admit I wasn't as far along as I thought. That is OK. You've found the path again. Yay! Now for those earlier practices of forgiveness, observation and attachment. Rest, accept, trust. Watch your thoughts and feel your emotions but don't believe them or act on them. Wait and let the storm pass. Do nothing. Just watch. Above all else, blame no one or nothing. Even what seems to be your current pain, be grateful. Be vigilant and grateful. You never really wanted to fool yourself anyway. Thank God you are at home."
 
Honor is the natural greeting of the truly loved to others who are like them. Jesus says, "Give only honor to the Sons of the living God, and count yourself among them gladly."(T.7.VII.5.8) (ACIM OE T.7.VIII.75) Honor is due everyone, because they are as God created them, one with me. Truly I can be grateful for all of the blessings, as well as for the opportunities these brothers and sisters offer me for my forgiveness and healing. Wow, if only we can keep this at the top of our awareness all through the day today. Today, as I think of each of you, I am truly grateful that you take this journey with me. I am grateful we all go together. I am grateful for this Course, for the opportunities to release comparisons, specialness, and all thoughts that keep us separate. "Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness, and to self-perception which regards us in a place of merciless pursuit, where we are badgered ceaselessly, and pushed about without a thought or care for us or for our future. Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions. God has cared for us, and calls us Son. Can there be more than this?" (W.195.9.1-6)
 
Our purpose today is to ". . . learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge." (W.195.9.1) In other words, we bring awareness to our ungrateful attitude, where we feel better than others. We uncover this attitude in our own minds, so we are not simply doing a spiritual bypass, trying hard to see our brother beyond our own judgments. This will never work. We must face our own darkness and be willing to acknowledge our judgments. We must put them on the inner altar and be grateful for the gift this practice offers us. We need not be grateful for anyone's behavior but only for the awareness it brings to our own minds. We can be grateful we can't change the truth of what we are. We are still one with God. Nothing else is real. Open today to the deep peace that comes from recognition that no dream can change our reality. Love is the only reality!
 
Love and Blessings, Sarah 
ACIM Original Edition
IX. The Conditions of Forgiveness
   
74 The holy instant is nothing more than a special case or an extreme example of what every situation is meant to be. The meaning which the Holy Spirit's purpose has given it is also given to every situation. It calls forth just the same suspension of faithlessness, withheld and left unused, that faith might answer to the call of truth. The holy instant is the shining example, the clear and unequivocal demonstration of the meaning of every relationship and every situation, seen as a whole. Faith has accepted every aspect of the situation, and faithlessness has not forced any exclusion on it. It is a situation of perfect peace simply because you have let it be what it is.
 
75 This simple courtesy is all the Holy Spirit asks of you. Let truth be what it is. Do not intrude upon it, do not attack it, do not interrupt its coming. Let it encompass every situation and bring you peace. Not even faith is asked of you, for truth asks nothing. Let it enter, and it will call forth and secure for you the faith you need for peace. But rise you not against it, for against your opposition it cannot come.
 
76 Would you not want to make a holy instant of every situation? For such is the gift of faith, freely given wherever faithlessness is laid aside unused. And then the power of the Holy Spirit's purpose is free to use instead. This power instantly transforms all situations into one sure and continuous means for establishing His purpose and demonstrating its reality. What has been demonstrated has called for faith and has been given it. Now it becomes a fact from which faith can no longer be withheld. The strain of refusing faith to truth is enormous and far greater than you realize. But to answer truth with faith entails no strain at all.
 
77 To you who have acknowledged the call of your Redeemer, the strain of not responding to His call seems to be greater than before. This is not so. Before, the strain was there but you attributed it to something else, believing that the "something else" produced it. This was never true. For what the "something else" produced was sorrow and depression, sickness and pain, darkness and dim imaginings of terror, cold fantasies of fear and fiery dreams of hell. And it was nothing but the intolerable strain of refusing to give faith to truth and see its evident reality.
 
78 Such was the crucifixion of the Son of God. His faithlessness did this to him. Think carefully before you let yourself use faithlessness against him. For he is risen, and you have accepted the cause of his awakening as yours. You have assumed your part in his redemption, and you are now fully responsible to him. Fail him not now, for it has been given you to realize what your lack of faith in him must mean to you. His salvation is your only purpose. See only this in every situation, and it will be a means for bringing only this.
 
79 When you accepted truth as the goal for your relationship, you became givers of peace as surely as your Father gave peace to you. For the goal of peace cannot be accepted apart from its conditions, and you had faith in it, for no one accepts what he does not believe is real. Your purpose has not changed and will not change, for you accepted what can never change. And nothing that it needs to be forever changeless can you now withhold from it. Your release is certain. Give as you have received. And demonstrate that you have risen far beyond any situation that could hold you back and keep you separate from Him Whose call you answered.
  
 

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