Lesson 197
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Heaven is for Sure
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
  CH 18 "THE DREAM AND THE REALITY"
III. THE BASIS OF THE DREAM 

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.  
 
    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  197
It can be but my gratitude I earn. 

<
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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* 
     
   Here is the second step we take to free
   your mind from the belief in outside force
   pitted against your own. You make attempts
   at kindness and forgiveness. Yet you turn
   them to attack again unless you find
   external gratitude and lavish thanks.
   Your gifts must be received with honor, lest
   they be withdrawn. And so you think God's gifts
   are loans at best; at worst, deceptions which
   would cheat you of defenses to make sure
   that when He strikes He will not fail to kill.
 
   How easily are God and guilt confused
   by those who know not what their thoughts can do.
   Deny your strength, and weakness must become
   salvation to you. See yourself as bound,
   and bars become your home. Nor will you leave
   the prisonhouse, nor claim your strength until
   guilt and salvation are not seen as one,
   while freedom and salvation are perceived
   as joined, with strength beside them, to be sought
   and claimed and found and fully recognized.
 
   The world must thank you when you offer it
   release from your illusions. Yet your thanks
   belong to you as well, for its release
   can only mirror yours. Your gratitude
   is all your gifts require, that they be
   the lasting offerings of a thankful heart
   released from hell forever. Is it this
   you would undo by taking back your gifts
   because they were not honored? It is you
   who honor them and give them fitting thanks,
   for it is you who have received the gifts.
 
   It does not matter if another thinks
   your gifts unworthy. In his mind there is
   a part that joins with yours in thanking you.
   It does not matter if your gifts seem lost
   and ineffectual. They are received
   where they are given. In your gratitude
   are they accepted universally,
   and thankfully acknowledged by the Heart
   of God Himself. And would you take them back,
   when He has gratefully accepted them?
 
   God blesses every gift you give to Him,
   and every gift is given Him, because
   it can be given only to yourself,
   and what belongs to God must be His Own.
   Yet you will never realize His gifts
   are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless,
   forever giving out, extending love
   and adding to your never-ending joy,
   while you forgive but to attack again.|
  
   Withdraw the gifts you give, and you will think
   that what is given you has been withdrawn.
   But learn to let forgiveness take away
   the sins you think you see outside yourself,
   and you can never think the gifts of God
   are lent but for a little while, before
   He snatches them away again in death.
   For death will have no meaning for you then.|
   And with the end of this belief is fear
   forever over. Thank your Self for this,
   for He is grateful only unto God,
   and He gives thanks for you unto Himself.
 
   To everyone who lives will Christ yet come,
   for everyone must live and breathe in Him.
   His Being in His Father is secure
   because Their Will is One. Their gratitude
   to all They have created has no end,
   for gratitude remains a part of love.|
   Thanks be to you, the holy Son of God,
   for as you were created, you contain
   all things within your Self. And you are still
   as God created you. Nor can you dim
   the light of your perfection. In your heart
   the Heart of God is laid. He holds you dear
   because you are Himself. All gratitude
   belongs to you because of what you are.|
  
   Give thanks as you receive it. Be you free
   of all ingratitude to anyone
   who makes your Self complete. And from this Self
   is no-one left outside. Give thanks for all
   the countless channels that extend this Self.
   All that you do is given unto Him.
   All that you think can only be His Thoughts,
   sharing with Him the holy Thoughts of God.
   Earn now the gratitude you have denied
   yourself when you forgot the function God
   has given you. But never think that He
   has ever ceased to offer thanks to you.
 
~ Original Handscript of ACIM ~ August 12, 1970
  
  ACIM OE WORKBOOK LESSON 197

CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 197
It can be but my gratitude I earn.

  
Sarah's Commentary:
 
The Lesson today clearly affirms that gratitude is only in our own minds and is not something dependent on anything outside of us. Gratitude and love go hand in hand because both reflect the Oneness of reality. Just as attack comes only from our own minds, the same is said here of gratitude. This Lesson addresses the belief we hold that there can be something outside of our own minds that can help us or hurt us.
 
Gratitude is a gift we give ourselves. If I give anything to anyone and they do not respond as I expect they should, I may withdraw the gift unless, of course, I see that I give only to myself. Since that is the case, I would not want to withdraw the gift. When someone does not respond the way I expect them to, with gratitude, appreciation, attention, loyalty, or a gift in return, then I may have a grievance. Now, what I have given is no longer a gift, but an attack on them. In effect, I am saying, "I did this for you, and I expect something in return." Clearly, this is an affirmation that we are separate because we don't realize we are always only giving to ourselves. There is no one outside of ourselves, so the gift is given or withdrawn from ourselves.
 
The special relationship is about bargaining, where we give with the expectation or requirement of a gift in return; hopefully, it is something better than what we have given. If I don't get what I expect from you, I hold a grievance in my mind and no longer choose to give. When we see ourselves as doing our part in being generous and do not receive appreciation, love turns to resentment and bitterness; but, this is not giving and clearly not love. The conditions we have placed on the gift make it a form of manipulation. If you prove you are not worthy of my gift, I take it back. It is how we relate to God, believing He too wants something from us in return for His gifts, and ultimately, it will cost us our lives. Our misguided perception is that we must sacrifice for His love. Thus, our relationship with God becomes one of bargaining.
 
Putting any conditions on our giving is what we think a capricious God does. "And so you think God's gifts are loans at best; at worst, deceptions which would cheat you of defenses, to ensure that when He strikes He will not fail to kill." (W.197.1.5) We think God asks something of us, and if we don't give it, He will kill us. We defend against His "love," as we fear our vulnerability. We don't trust love, and in the same way, as we protect ourselves from God, we set up defenses against being hurt in our relationships.
 
"How easily are God and guilt confused by those who know not what their thoughts can do." (W.197.2.1) Jesus explains this by telling us, "A major source of the ego's off-balanced state is its lack of discrimination between the body and the Thoughts of God. Thoughts of God are unacceptable to the ego, because they clearly point to the nonexistence of the ego itself. The ego therefore either distorts them or refuses to accept them. It cannot, however, make them cease to be." (T.4.V.2.1-4) (ACIM OE T.4.VI.70) He goes on to say that what we try to do is conceal our "unacceptable" body impulses and also our impulses toward the love of God because both threaten us. Our fear of love is our fear of God, for the ego tells us that to accept His love is to lose ourselves. We are threatened by this because all the ego is concerned with is self-preservation.
 
Jesus assures us, "Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again." (W.197.5.3) In our attacks, we affirm separation and differences. We must remain vigilant when trying to be helpful and loving to another. There may be is a subtle hook, where we see that we are giving in order to get, which is the nature of the special relationship. Whenever you see this in yourself, it is important not to feel guilty and beat on yourself. Recognize that this is very helpful to your healing. It is something you can willingly put on the inner altar for healing so you can accept the love that you are back into yourself.
 
When we deny the strength of God in us, all we have to depend on is the weakness of the ego. "Deny your strength, and weakness must become salvation to you." (W.197.2.2) We rely on the ego to save us, yet the ego is a sign of weakness accompanied by guilt. To overcome this belief in weakness, we try to get strength from those around us, competing for some form of power. The ego has extracted its strength from the death of God, and now it seems to live off His strength.
 
Today, we keep our awareness on the attachment we have to the results of our giving. We remember that when we give truly, we earn our own gratitude. Every gift we give is received. Every blessing we give our brother is received, even if it is not apparent to us. "In his mind there is a part that joins with yours in thanking you." (W.197.4.2) "In your gratitude are they accepted universally, and thankfully acknowledged by the Heart of God Himself." (W.197.4.5) It does not matter whether others express appreciation or not because a part of their mind is grateful, and the gift is acknowledged in the One Mind. What is given is accepted by the One Mind. The light of Christ shines in every mind where the gift is received. The same light shines in us all, as minds are joined. When we come to know our gifts are only given to the Self we are, we realize that to give and to receive are one in truth.
 
In Oneness, there is only the One Self that gives and receives the gift. Whether it is the gift of forgiveness or healing or some other kind of gift, it is all the same. It is all a gift given to ourselves. To be concerned with whether the gift has been received or not is to see others as separate and that is an attack. We are One Self, one with each other, and One with God. In the holy instant we experience a moment of sanity and recognize that we have not changed ourselves from the glorious beings we are as God's Son.
 
The core of the gift given to our brothers, regardless of the form, is forgiveness. When the gift of forgiveness is given and received, we experience our own innocence. When we withdraw the gift, we reinforce the guilt in our own minds. Sometimes our giving has subtle hooks attached in the form of expectations that we have of how they should respond to us. Again, it is giving to get. For example, we may be nice to someone because there is something we want for ourselves. We are kind and helpful because we think we will get love and appreciation in return. This is different than just letting the love of the Holy Spirit come through us, with no concern for any kind of response. The ego can be subtle and wily in not acknowledging that what we are doing is giving to get. Great honesty and courage are called for to look beyond the immediate inclination we have to deny the truth that we want something in return.
 
"Withdraw the gifts you give, and you will think that what is given you has been withdrawn. " (W.197.6.1) Clearly, when I withdraw my gifts, I believe others will do the same to me. It creates suspicion of our brothers that, like our own gifts, their gifts have strings attached as well. Sometimes, when we receive gifts from them, we wonder what they want and expect of us in return. That is why receiving can be difficult for us. God, too, is constantly giving us His gifts of love and holiness, but we have withdrawn from His gifts, substituting our own instead. Now we believe He is the One Who has withdrawn His gifts from us. I am the one who has withdrawn my love, but now I project that belief and see others withdrawing their love from me. "Do not forget, however, that to deny God will inevitably result in projection, and you will believe that others and not yourself have done this to you." (T.10.V.2.1) (ACIM OE T.9.XI.94) This is where Byron Katie's work is so valuable, where we turn around what we are seeing in anyone and recognize that it all starts in our own minds. For example, what I see in you, I turn around and take responsibility for, since it is in my own mind.
 
The gifts of love and forgiveness, which are the core of all our giving, remind us of who we are in truth. When our guilt is healed, fear is gone, and we experience the love of God, Who has laid His Heart in our own. "In your heart the Heart of God is laid." (W.197.8.5) The memory of God is in our right minds. Jesus reminds us, "He holds you dear, because you are Himself." (W.197.8.6) We can only know this when we exclude no one from His Love; for again, we are only doing this to ourselves. So whenever we feel unfairly treated by anyone, we are saying that they are different from us, which reinforces our separation from each other, and in our minds, it justifies our attacks on them.
 
Today, notice when you want to withhold gratitude from people in your life, when you feel unfairly treated by anyone, when you are tempted to exclude anyone from your life, when you are inclined to hold grievances whenever your expectations are not met, or in any situation where your thoughts and feelings are not peaceful. They are all opportunities to see how you are withholding joy, given you by God, from shining forth. Our focus is to undo the false self and remember who we are.
 
Today, above all, we can be grateful for this teaching and for this classroom where we have many opportunities to fulfill our function, which is to reflect God's Love through forgiveness. Every brother contains the memory of God's love. Thus, we can "Give thanks for all the countless channels which extend this Self." (W.197.9.4) There is no one outside of our own minds. "It can be but my gratitude I earn." (W.197)
 
Love and blessings, Sarah 
huemmert@shaw.ca 

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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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