Lesson 195
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Holy Spirit Accepts Your Dreams
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
  CH 18 "THE DREAM AND THE REALITY"
III. THE BASIS OF THE DREAM 

20 The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. We once said that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in your special relationship. He does not destroy it nor snatch it away from you. [But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you.] Your special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom. It will not be for you alone, for therein lay its misery. As its unholiness kept it a thing apart, its holiness will become an offering to everyone.
 
    ON LINE: ACIM.OE.TX.CH 18.III  

      AUDIO: TEXT CH 18, III           
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I
INTRODUCTION to LESSONS 181-200
Introduction 181-200
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Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 
 
*IAMBIC PENTAMETER

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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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  195
Love is the way I walk in gratitude. 

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Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 
 
*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* 
     
 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
 
  ACIM OE WORKBOOK LESSON 195

CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY

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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 that you have a place to live, unlike those who find themselves homeless? Are you grateful that you have a job while others don't? Are you grateful that you are healthy, unlike someone who is sick and suffering? Are you grateful that 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 may be grateful that God saved us from a car accident, even if others had to lose their lives. We may be grateful when our team wins, although the other team lost. We may be grateful that we beat someone to the front of the line in the grocery store or we beat them to the parking place. In these examples, aren't we basically being grateful that we have gained at someone else's loss? This kind of gratitude depends on seeing ourselves winning when someone is 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 lives with the mantras of "better than" or "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, diminished, 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 the 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 that 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)
 
When you see your brother as better than you, then "Your brother is your "enemy" because you see in him the rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you," (W.195.3.1) This goes back to the discussion of special love and special hate relationships in which Jesus says that 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, "Now is vengeance 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 taking 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---it is always "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 at 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 have 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 the 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 that we avoid our reality of Oneness with all of our brothers.
 
We can indeed be grateful that 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 our reality. We can be truly grateful that, instead of the bargaining and the reciprocity that are part of the special relationship in which we always try to benefit at the expense of our brother, our freedom can be found in the recognition of the sameness we share. This sameness is a reflection of the Oneness of Heaven. It is recognizing 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 that 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 ask ourselves how we could 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 ideas presented in this Lesson are that gratitude is not about raising ourselves above anyone but recognizing the unity we share with everyone. Thus, true gratitude is to the Holy Spirit, Who has given us the means to recognize our Oneness. "Faith and belief and vision are the means by which the goal of holiness is reached." (T.21.III.4.1) (ACIM OE T.21.IV.32) 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 that 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 our 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 that we are not lacking. We already have been given everything. No one can take 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 being 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! Gratitude for all events, circumstances, and difficulties will move us forward immeasurably; and how could we ever access the guilt in the mind without the help of those who bring it to our awareness? Without them, we could 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 of ourselves.
 
Regine Akers recently wrote a piece that relates beautifully to the gifts our brothers can offer, in which 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 could 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 that we all go together. I am grateful for this Course and 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 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 calls us Son. Can there be more than this?" (W.195.9.1-6)
 
"Today we 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 in which 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 that it brings to our own minds. We can be grateful that 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 the recognition that no dream can change our reality. Love is the only reality!
 
Love and blessings, Sarah 
huemmert@shaw.ca 

  A Course in Miracles
TEXT
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Eighteen

The Dream and the Reality  
   
   Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio

III. The Basis of the Dream  

14
Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams? Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept. Rather, it is a distortion of the world, planned solely around what you would have preferred. Here, you are "free" to make over whatever seemed to attack you and change it into a tribute to your ego, which was outraged by the "attack." This would not be your wish unless you saw yourself as one with the ego, which always looks upon itself and therefore on you as under attack and highly vulnerable to it.
 
15 Dreams are chaotic because they are governed by your conflicting wishes, and therefore they have no concern with what is true. They are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. You do not take them seriously on awaking because the fact that reality is so outrageously violated in them becomes apparent. Yet they are a way of looking at the world and changing it to suit the ego better. They provide striking examples both of the ego's inability to tolerate reality and your willingness to change reality on its behalf.
 
16 You do not find the differences between what you see in sleep and on awaking disturbing. You recognize that what you see on waking is blotted out in dreams. Yet on awakening, you do not expect it to be gone. In dreams you arrange everything. People become what you would have them be, and what they do you order. No limit on substitution is laid upon you. For a time, it seems as if the world were given you, to make it what you will. You do not realize that you are attacking it, trying to triumph over it and make it serve you.
 
17 Dreams are perceptual temper tantrums in which you literally scream, "I want it thus!" And thus it seems to be. And yet the dream cannot escape its origin. Anger and fear pervade it, and in an instant, the illusion of satisfaction is invaded by the illusion of terror. For the dream of your ability to control reality by substituting a world which you prefer is terrifying. Your attempts to blot out reality are very fearful, but this you are not willing to accept. And so you substitute the fantasy that reality is fearful, not what you would do to it. And thus is guilt made real.
 
18 Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be, and that because you want it, you see it. And while you see it, you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realize that the emotions which the dream produces must come from you. It is the figures in the dream and what they do that seem to make the dream. You do not realize that you are making them act out for you, for if you did, the guilt would not be theirs, and the illusion of satisfaction would be gone. In dreams these features are not obscure. You seem to waken, and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognize is that what caused the dream has not gone with it.
 
19 Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. And what you seem to wake to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it. In your waking dreams, the special relationship [has a special place. It is the means by which you try to make your sleeping dreams come true. From this you do not awaken. The special relationship] is your determination to keep your hold on unreality and to prevent yourself from waking. And while you see more value in sleeping than in waking, you will not let go of it.
 
20 The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. We once said that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in your special relationship. He does not destroy it nor snatch it away from you. [But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you.] Your special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom. It will not be for you alone, for therein lay its misery. As its unholiness kept it a thing apart, its holiness will become an offering to everyone.
 
21 Your special relationship will be a means for undoing guilt in everyone blessed through your holy relationship. It will be a happy dream, and one which you will share with all who come within your sight. Through it, the blessing which the Holy Spirit has laid upon it will be extended. Think not that He has forgotten anyone in the purpose He has given you. And think not that He has forgotten you to whom He gave the gift. He uses everyone who calls on Him as means for the salvation of everyone. And He will waken everyone through you who offered your relationship to Him. If you but recognized His gratitude! Or mine through His! For we are joined as in one purpose, being of One Mind with Him.
 
22 Let not the dream take hold to close your eyes. It is not strange that dreams can make a world that is unreal. The wish to make it is incredible. Your relationship has become one in which the wish has been removed because its purpose has been changed from one of dreams to one of truth. You are not sure of this because you think it may be this that is the dream. You are so used to choosing between dreams you do not see that you have made, at last, the choice between the truth and all illusions.
 
23 Yet Heaven is sure. This is no dream. Its coming means that you have chosen truth, and it has come because you have been willing to let your special relationship meet its conditions. In your relationship, the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world-the world of happy dreams from which awaking is so easy and so natural. For as your sleeping and your waking dreams represent the same wishes in your mind, so do the real world and the truth of Heaven join in the Will of God. The dream of waking is easily transferred to its reality. For this dream comes from your will joined with the Will of God. And what this Will would have accomplished has never not been done.
  
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