Lesson 199
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Be Not Disturbed of Shadows
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
  CH 18 "THE DREAM AND THE REALITY"
V. THE LITTLE WILLINGNESS  

33 Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them, you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be. 
 
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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  199
I am not a body. I am free. 

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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* 
     
   Freedom must be impossible as long
   as you perceive a body as yourself.
   The body is a limit. Who would seek
   for freedom in a body looks for it
   where it cannot be found. The mind can be
   made free when it no longer thinks itself
   as in a body, firmly tied to it,
   and sheltered by its presence. If this were
   the truth, the mind were vulnerable indeed!
 
   The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is
   unlimited forever, in all ways,
   beyond the laws of time and space, unbound
   by any preconceptions, and with strength
   and power to do whatever it is asked.
   Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind,
   because it has been given to the Source
   of Love. And fear can never enter in
   a mind which has attached itself to Love.
   It rests in God. And who could be afraid
   who lives in innocence, and only loves?
 
   It is essential for your progress in
   this course that you accept today's idea,
   and hold it very dear. Be not concerned
   that to the ego it is quite insane.
   The ego holds the body dear because
   it dwells in it, and lives united with
   the home that it has made. It is a part
   of the illusion which has sheltered it
   from being found illusory itself.
  
   Here does it hide, and here it will be seen
   as what it is. Declare your innocence,
   and you are free. The body disappears
   because you have no need of it except
   the need the Holy Spirit sees. For this
   the body will appear as useful form
   for what the mind must do. It thus becomes
   a vehicle which helps forgiveness be
   extended to the all-inclusive goal
   that it must reach, according to God's plan.
 
   Cherish today's idea and practice it
   today and every day. Make it a part
   of every practice period you take.
   There is no thought that will not gain thereby
   in power to help the world, nor none which will
   not gain in added gifts to you as well.
   We sound the call of freedom round the world
   with this idea. And would you be exempt
   from the acceptance of the gift you give?
 
   The Holy Spirit is the home of mind
   that seeks for freedom. In Him it has found
   what it has sought. The body's purpose now
   is unambiguous. And it becomes
   perfect in the ability to serve
   an undivided goal. In conflict-free
   and unequivocal response to mind
   with but the thought of freedom as its goal,
   the body serves, and serves its purpose well.
   Without the power to enslave, it is
   a worthy servant of that freedom which
   the mind within the Holy Spirit seeks.
 
   Be free today, and carry freedom as
   your gift to those who still believe they are
   enslaved within a body. Be you free,
   so that the Holy Spirit can make use
   of your escape from bondage to set free
   the many who perceive themselves as bound
   and helpless and afraid. Let love replace
   their fears through you. Accept salvation now,
   and give your mind to Him Who calls to you
   to make this gift to Him. For He would give
   you perfect freedom, perfect joy, and hope
   that finds its full accomplishment in God.
 
   You are God's Son. In immortality
   you live forever. Would you not return
   your mind to this? Then practice well the thought
   the Holy Spirit gives you for today.
   Your brothers stand released with you in it;
   the world is blessed along with you, God's Son
   will weep no more, and Heaven offers thanks
   at the increase of joy your practice brings
   even to it. And God Himself extends
   His Love and happiness each time you say:
 
    I am not a body. I am free.
    I hear the Voice that God has given me,
    And it is only this my mind obeys.  

~ Original Handscript of ACIM ~ August 20, 1970

  ACIM OE WORKBOOK LESSON 199

CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 199
I am not a body. I am free.

  
Sarah's Commentary:
 
As we come to the end of this block of twenty Lessons and will be starting the Review in a couple of days, we are reminded once again of our true reality as a limitless Self, abiding in the Love of God. Our minds are totally free and unencumbered. When we come to the realization we are not bodies that can only be known outside of the dream, we come to the awareness of the body as just a projection of the mind and no different than any other object we see in this world. The body is not who we are.
 
"The body is a limit." (W.199.1.2) Thus, freedom is impossible as long as we perceive the body as our reality. Freedom is only possible when we accept our reality as only mind. The ego has left us in a state of mindlessness. In this state, we can't know we have the power to change our minds from the decision we made for the body and the world as our reality. Now we are shown that we can indeed make another choice, and this is what the ego is afraid of.
 
How do we currently see freedom? Currently, it is tied to the freedom of the body. It is about being able to go where we please, do what we want, and move about freely with no encumbrances. Yet Jesus says that the body can never offer us freedom, and if we look to it for freedom, we look "where it can not be found." (W.199.1.3) In fact, later in the Lesson, he talks of the body as enslaving us, meaning we are a slave to its demands. This is not hard to see in our own lives. The body makes many demands on us: to feed it, wash it, clothe it, satisfy its cravings, keep it warm and comfortable, and offer it the pleasures it seeks.
 
The body has many baser urges, which we try either to resist or to fulfill. It requires food. It gets uncomfortable and restless. It demands that we give it attention and fill its needs and requirements. It keeps us cooped up in it and keeps us limited. We suffer pain, get sick, age, and then die. We get bent out of shape by events that seem to interfere with our expectations of how the body should look, how it should be treated, whether it has been well fed, whether it has had enough sleep, how it is functioning, whether it has been mistreated by anyone, whether it is hot or cold, whether it has lots of clothes, its requirements for money, its safety, and its sensory pleasures, including sex. We can see that we are clearly a slave to it and its many demands. As I write this, I feel drowsy, uncomfortable in my chair, and, having been at the computer for some time, I notice my neck is hurting. Shall I ignore its requirements and suffer, or take a moment and meet its seeming demands? Ultimately, Jesus asks us whose service are we in---the body or the Holy Spirit? Which one is our home?
 
Our bondage to the body is clearly very powerful. The healing work we do with these Lessons and through the Course is about loosening ourselves from our identity as a body so we can realize our true reality as Spirit. "The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked." (W.199.2.1) Clearly, that is not our experience when we identify ourselves as a body living in the world, but we get glimpses of our reality when we experience ourselves outside the dream and above the battleground. There is no fear there. There is no fear when love is present in our experience. Otherwise, we feel vulnerable and fragile, and fear is evident in our bodily state. When we have a glimpse of our reality from outside of this dream, there is "strength and power to do whatever it is asked." (W.199.2.1) This is freedom. Now, we are no longer restricted. The body becomes a tool to be used as needed and set aside when it is not required. It becomes a communication vehicle for the Holy Spirit.
 
Jesus tells us, "It is essential for your progress in this Course that you accept today's idea, and hold it very dear." (W.199.3.1) The ego holds the body dear because it is its home. The body is an illusion that shelters the ego, which is another illusion. Thus, the body seems to grant the ego some kind of reality and keeps it from being seen as illusory. "The ego holds the body dear because it dwells in it, and lives united with the home that it has made. It is a part of the illusion that has sheltered it from being found illusory itself." (W.199.3.3-4) The ego needs our allegiance in order to survive. Yet it is vital to our spiritual growth that we disconnect from our identity with the ego and the body. As long as we identify with the body, we will think it is who we are. Its purpose is to keep us from recognizing that the ego is nothing but a thought that we have decided is the truth and now claims that the body is what we are.
 
Why would we not want to recognize our home is in the Holy Spirit when the identity with the body is such a fragile alliance, which only brings despair and, at the end, its own demise? It is indeed a hopeless picture and one Jesus assures us is not the truth of what we really are. We are a mind. We are not a body with just a spark of divinity in us. We are a mind outside of the body. The body is a projection of the mind. In other words, the mind is not in the body at all. Once we understand our reality is the mind and not the body, the body can then be put to its holy purpose, which is to serve. "Without the power to enslave, it is a worthy servant of the freedom which the mind within the Holy Spirit seeks." (W.199.6.6) It becomes the means for fulfilling the plan of the Atonement, and thus it becomes a learning device.
 
The body can then serve the Holy Spirit, "And carry freedom as your gift to those who still believe they are enslaved within a body. Be you free, so that the Holy Spirit can make use of your escape from bondage, to set free the many who perceive themselves as bound and helpless and afraid." (W.199.7.2-3) As we are set free, we exemplify this freedom with everyone we meet. It is communicated through peace, joy, and hope extended through our right minds, and thus it brings blessings to the world. We become a reminder to others that they can make the same choice that we have made. I felt this through my friend Tomas Vieira, who had cancer. Despite the challenges of his experience, he exemplified deep peace throughout his sickness. He thus became a shining reflection of God's Love, demonstrating that others could choose as he did, regardless of the circumstances confronting them. The condition of the body did not deter him from demonstrating the message of freedom, forgiveness, joy, and peace.
 
I am called today to be with a sister who is angry and defensive. I am asking for help to remember that this is all a call for love. This is an opportunity to reflect the joy and peace within and not withdraw my gifts because they are seemingly not received. Jesus reminds us that a part of the mind of our brothers receives every gift we give. It is a beautiful opportunity to remember that it is all a call for love.
 
Before I started the Course, I did not question my reality as that of a body. As far as I was concerned, not only was I a body, but my body was my temple and needed lots of care and concern. I thought that through death the soul, which was part of me, would continue on, but I did not see it as the entirety of my Being. Through the holy instant, we get a brief experience of who we are without the body. Through these experiences, we increasingly recognize that our reality is only Spirit. Our minds are framed by the Holy Spirit, not by the body. The fear of death is dissipated as we increasingly recognize and accept that we cannot die. "In immortality you live forever. Would you not return your mind to this?" (W.199.8.2-3) The choice is between being imprisoned in the body or unlimited in the Holy Spirit, where the body is there only temporarily to serve the mind's divine purpose.
 
I was struck by the story a friend in Sedona shared when her body was not well and confined to a nursing home---her worst nightmare. Her biggest fear was that she would die in the nursing home. While there, she became acquainted with the person in the bed next to hers. She felt called to extend her support and blessing and joined with this person. As she helped this woman make her transition, she herself became well and was discharged. She recognized that the purpose of her time there and received the perfect lesson for herself. She learned that she was exactly where she needed to be. Her body was put in the service of the Holy Spirit in order to be of help where she was needed. Once she overcame her self-interest, her body and its health were no longer of the same level of concern to her and her health returned. "Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort." (T.20.IV.8.4) (ACIM OE T.20.V.35)
 
This Lesson reminds me of my recent struggle with the question of freedom of the body related to a feeling of being "stuck" in caregiving responsibilities for my frail mother, who is approaching her 102nd birthday. My wish is to have more freedom for myself and to go where and when I want to go, but the demands in front of me seem to create a significant restriction to my "freedom." I remind myself that this is not about the freedom of the body, but the forgiveness opportunity in front of me with regard to this relationship. I have recently become aware of how I project the idea that my mother is controlling me, which is simply a reflection of my own fear of releasing my self-control reflected in the fear of love.
 
There is a big learning here for me, which is the real freedom that the ego mind is resisting. When the lesson is fully learned, this part of the journey with my mother will be over. "What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?" (W.135.18.1) When we are clear about our goal, the way always shows up. I say I want joy, peace, and freedom, but if I determine how it should look, I am not giving the Holy Spirit the space to bring me the perfect conditions for the lesson I must learn. If I put my own plan into place, I push His plan away.
 
"You are God's Son. In immortality you live forever. Would you not return your mind to this?" (W.199.8.1-3) "I am not a body. I am free. I hear the Voice that God has given me, and it is only this my mind obeys." (W.199.8.7-9) In other words, we affirm that it is not the call of the body we choose to obey. We recognize it is an unworthy boss. Our joy comes from serving the Holy Spirit and using our body for His purposes. It does not mean we neglect the body, but we recognize its purpose. Thus, we keep the body in good condition so we can hang around in it long enough to do the forgiveness work. Jesus reminds us that health is inner peace. With inner peace, the health of the body is assured.
 
When I perceive the body as myself, I make all kinds of plans for its well-being and protection, which then become my primary goal. What will make this body happy? What does this body need for its health and well-being? What should I give this body for its contentment? How can I protect this body? How can I keep it safe? How can I extend its "life"? Our entire lives can be devoted to this effort, basically to no avail because we can't keep the body forever. Is it not a more laudable goal to free ourselves from these limited ideas and accept the idea presented in this Lesson and hold it very dear? Jesus says, "It is essential for your progress in this course that you accept today's idea, and hold it very dear." (W.199.3.1) It means everything that what we have believed about ourselves is wrong and is all based on the belief in separation, which brings to us the reality of the world and the body.
 
Today, Jesus urges, "Then practice well the thought the Holy Spirit gives you for today. Your brothers stand released with you in it; the world is blessed along with you. God's Son will weep no more, and Heaven offers thanks for the increase of joy your practice brings even to it. And God Himself extends His Love and happiness each time you say:
 
"I am not a body. I am free. I hear the Voice that God has given me, and it is only this my mind obeys." (W.199.8.4-9)
 
See yourself resting in God, unbounded by the body and thus immortal forever. See your brothers and the world blessed by the forgiveness that you offer. We do that by choosing to turn to the Holy Spirit in everything so we can experience the love and the peace we are.  

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

V. The Little Willingness    

32 The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the
answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precedes its coming. You prepare your minds for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego unto Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is
He who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.
 
33 Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them, you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.
 
34 Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness, which comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling-place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.
 
35 The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God's Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself and then expect one to be made for you?
 
36 You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer it, but merely receive the answer as it is given. In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God's. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:
 
37 I who am host to God am worthy of Him. 
   He Who established His dwelling-place in me created it
   as He would have it be.
   It is not needful that I make it ready for Him,
   But only that I do not interfere with His plan to restore to
   me my own awareness of my readiness, which is eternal.
   I need add nothing to His plan.
   But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute
   my own in place of it
.
 
38 And that is all. Add more and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement
to it and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourselves to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part and how great is His.
 
39 It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do. [You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little to receive so much.] And it is very hard for you to realize that it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit's are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing that you cannot give right now.
 
40 Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. What you believe to be impossible will be if God so wills it, but you will remain quite unaware of it. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your minds, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.
 
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