Lesson 200
If You Only Knew
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[ Song excerpt Donna Marie Cary]  
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If you knew Who walks beside you on this way which you have chosen, fear would be impossible.     
Introduction to Lesson 181-200
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio


 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.

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L e s s o n 200
There is no peace except
the peace of God.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
   Seek you no farther. You will not find peace
   except the peace of God. Accept this fact,
   and save yourself the agony of yet
   more bitter disappointments, bleak despair,
   and icy sense of hopelessness and doubt.
   Seek you no farther. There is nothing else
   for you to find except the peace of God,
   unless you seek for misery and pain.
   This is the final point to which all men
   must come at last, to lay aside all hope
   of finding happiness where there is none;
   of being saved by what can only hurt;
   of making peace of chaos, joy of pain
   and heaven out of hell. Attempt no more
   to win through losing, nor to die to live.
   You cannot but be asking for defeat.
   Yet you can ask as easily for love,
   for happiness, and for eternal life
   in peace that has no ending. Ask for this,
   and you can only win. To ask for what
   you have already must succeed. To ask
   that what is false be true can only fail.
   Forgive yourself for vain imaginings,
   and seek no longer what you cannot find.
   For what could be more foolish than to look
   and seek and seek again for hell, when you
   have but to look with open eyes to find
   that Heaven lies before you, through a door
   which opens easily to welcome you?
   Come home. You have not found your happiness
   in alien places and in foreign forms
   which have no meaning to you, though you seek
   to make them meaningful. This world is not
   where you belong. You are a stranger here.
   And it is given you to find the means
   by which the world no longer seems to be
   a prison house nor jail for anyone.
   Freedom is given you where you beheld
   but chains and iron doors. For you must change
   your mind about the purpose of the world,
   if you would find escape. You will be bound
   till all the world is seen by you as blessed,
   and everyone made free of your mistakes
   and honored as he is. You made him not;
   no more yourself. And as you free the one,
   the other is accepted as he is.
   What does forgiveness do? In truth it has
   no function and does nothing, for it is
   unknown in Heaven. It is only hell
   where it is needed, and where it must serve
   a mighty function. Is not the escape
   of God's beloved Son from evil dreams
   which he imagines, yet believes are true,
   a worthy purpose? Who could hope for more
   while there appears to be a choice to make
   between success and failure; love and fear?
   There is no peace except the Word of God
   because He has one Son, who cannot make
   a world in opposition to God's Will
   and to his own, which is the same as His.
   What could he hope to find in such a world?
   It cannot have reality because
   it never was created. Is it here
   that he would seek for peace? Or must he see
   that, as he looks on it, the world can but
   deceive? Yet can he learn to look on it
   another way, and find the peace of God.
   Peace is the bridge which everyone will cross
   to leave this world behind. But it begins
   within the world perceived as different,
   and leading from this fresh perception to
   the Gate of Heaven and the way beyond.
   Peace is the answer to conflicting goals,
   to senseless journeys, frantic vain pursuits
   and meaningless endeavors. Now the way
   is easy, sloping gently toward the bridge
   where freedom lies within the peace of God.
   Let us not lose our way again today.
   We go to Heaven, and the path is straight.
   Only if we attempt to wander can
   there be delay and needless waste of time
   on thorny byways. God alone is sure,
   and He will guide your footsteps. He will not
   desert His Son in need, nor let him stray
   forever from his home. The Father calls;
   the Son will hear. And that is all there is
   to what appears to be a world apart
   from God, where bodies have reality.
   Now is there silence. Seek no further. You
   have reached to where the road is carpeted
   with leaves of false desires fallen from
   the trees of hopelessness you sought before.
   Now are they underfoot. And you look up
   and look toward Heaven, with the body's eyes
   but serving for an instant longer now.
   Peace is already recognized at last,
   and you can feel its soft embrace surround
   your heart and mind with comfort and with love.
   Today we seek no idols. Peace can not
   be found in them. The peace of God is ours,
   and only this will we accept and want.
   Peace be to us today. For we have found
   a simple, happy way to leave the world
   of ambiguities, and to replace
   our shifting goals and solitary dreams
   with single purpose and companionship,
   for peace is union if it be of God.
   We seek no further. We are close to home,
   and draw still nearer every time we say:
   There is no peace except the peace of God,
    And I am glad and thankful it is so .
~ Original Handscript of ACIM ~ August 26, 1970

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA

There is no peace except the peace of God .

Sarah's Commentary:   

The last 20 Lessons were there to ". . . make a special point of firming up your willingness to make our weak commitment strong; your scattered goals blend into one intent." (Intro to Lessons 181-200.1.1) Total dedication is not asked of us as yet, but practice of the Lessons leads us to greater peace. It is a journey that is now taking us beyond words. We continue to look at how we defend ourselves against the truth. We continue to apply these Lessons to our daily lives. Great willingness and vigilance are called for in watching our thoughts and going past them to the light of truth. Perhaps you have become aware of more moments of peace, glimpses of the holy instant, awareness of miracles, a profound decision to no longer place blame outside of your own mind, and more willingness to let go of grievances, and the healing that this brings.
Perhaps you are also aware of the resistance that shows up as you get closer to the truth. We still fear the perceived sacrifice of where we fear this path will lead. The voice of the ego tells us of the folly of using our time in this way, and we may feel as though we will never "get it," but it is not the truth. The power of decision is ours to choose our experience. We can move beyond the clouds of despair and anger and remember the sun is always shining. It is up to us to choose to lift our minds above the clouds. We need not stay there.
We are now at a stage in the process where we are listening both to the voice of the ego and to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. While these two conflicting voices are there, we will feel the inner conflict and confusion, which will continue until we choose to step more fully into right mindedness and ultimately come to listen only to the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The ego will keep talking, but we no longer attend to it, until its power in our lives is significantly diminished. Jesus tells us that when God calls for us to "Come home," (W.200.4.1) we will hear, (W.200.9.6) because we cannot stray forever from our home with Him. (W.200.9.5) The body is not our home. "You have not found your happiness in foreign places and in alien forms that have no meaning to you, though you sought to make them meaningful. This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here." (W.200.4.3-4) There is no certainty in this world, only hopelessness and despair, but the Call in our minds is certain, and within that certainty, we are at home in God.
This Lesson is a beautiful conclusion to Part I of the Workbook. The theme of this Lesson is remembering who we are as beings of light and love, given us in our creation by our Father. This is where our true peace and joy come from. They come from remembering there is nothing to seek of any value in the world. The world brings pain and misery, no matter how intermittent "pleasures" distract us. We must remember the world is about seeking and never finding. It keeps us on this gerbil wheel of incessant activity with no real purpose. "But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone." (W.200.4.5) The only purpose or any value of the world is as a classroom to bring us to the recognition of who we are. When we use everything in our lives for the purpose of awakening to the truth, it all has value. Now we must realize we have been wrong about everything, and we are willing to be taught, so we no longer see ourselves imprisoned.
We do stray in this world, taking this path and that path, always looking for our happiness in idols, but Jesus says it is all to no avail. We will all finally come to the realization that everything we seek in the world ultimately ends in despair, hopelessness, and doubt, because we are looking for happiness and fulfillment where it can never be found. "This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of chaos, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell." (W.200.2.1) We put a lot of time and effort in pursuits that ultimately end in defeat. They all end in defeat, no matter how effusive we may feel at the time about that new car, new job, new relationship, new friends, recognition, new romance, new home, good sex, or great holiday. It all ends ultimately in misery and pain and the certainty of death. No matter how successful we may feel, what course of action we follow, or how hard we try to hang onto the health and well-being of this body, it will all fail. The game of the world ultimately ends in defeat. (W.200.2.3)
"Seek you no further. You will not find peace except the peace of God. Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt." (W.200.1.1-3) How often have we come to this place of deep disappointment? The unhappiest times in my life have been when I have looked to a relationship to fulfill me and make me happy. All the promise of happiness that seemed to be there at the beginning evaporated over time no matter how hard I tried. Do we suffer because of the loss of the relationship, or the loss of our dream, with all the expectations of how things should look in form? If we could turn those times into opportunities to forgive and to find the answer to our inner sense of lack, which we try to fill from the outside, we could begin the healing process. It is a process of changing our relationships from specialness to holiness. Relationships can now take on a whole new purpose and meaning. Instead of using them to try to get our needs met, we now use them to learn forgiveness. The setbacks I have experienced in my relationships are what have motivated me to deeper inquiry and more willingness to do this work. Everything happening in our lives is perfectly orchestrated for our highest good, even if it does not look that way at the time.
To keep looking outside for our happiness is to waste a lot of time in trivial pursuits. Jesus is not trying to deny us happiness by telling us it is not out there. He is simply reminding us we will never find anywhere but within. While he is encouraging and supporting us in this journey, we are never being coerced by him to buy into this thought system. We can continue to exhaust all possibilities in the world and keep looking and trying to find happiness in our own way for as long as we want. But why keep seeking for answers where they don't exist? Jesus wants happiness for us to save us time spent in misery. All we have to do is look honestly at our lives and realize that "To ask that what is false be true can only fail." (W.200.3.4) Yet "To ask for what you have already must succeed." (W.200.3.3) Peace and joy are already in us, and they are what we really want. We have just blocked them from our awareness.
"There is a tendency to think the world can offer consolation and escape from problems that its purpose is to keep. Why should this be? Because it is a place where the choice among illusions seems to be the only choice. And you are in control of outcomes of your choosing. Thus do you think, within the narrow band from birth to death, a little time is given you to use for you alone; a time when everyone conflicts with you, but you can choose which road will lead you out of conflict, and away from difficulties that concern you not." (T.31.IV.1-5) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.33)
We never do leave these concerns behind because wherever we go, the same concerns go with us because they are in our minds. The world does nothing to us. We are the ones manifesting our own experience based on the thoughts we hold. As long as we continue to choose among illusions, "All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death." (T.31.IV.2.3) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.34) Jesus acknowledges that some of the roads we travel seem to bring happiness for a while. "On some you travel gaily for a while, before the bleakness enters. And on some the thorns are felt at once. The choice is not what will the ending be, but when it comes." (T.31.IV.2.12-14) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.34) In somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek way he says, "Perhaps you would prefer to try them all, before you really learn they are but one." (T.31.IV.3.2) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.35)
This is how we "win through losing," (W.200.2.2) by trying so hard to make our time in this illusion one of fulfillment of our hopes and dreams. Can we ever win at a game that keeps us seeking and seeking peace and joy we believe is in the world but can never be found there? It is the ego's game, but so skillfully camouflaged we don't see it for what it is until it is exposed.
It seems to us we have a lot of choices in the world, ". . . but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another." (T.31.IV.3.3) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.35) Eventually, we all get world weary, some to the point of choosing suicide as a result of deep despair. It comes from trying every which way to find happiness until it becomes apparent there are no other paths to take and what has been tried has not worked. Jesus urges us not to despair about the fact there is ". . . no hope of answer in the world." (T.31.IV.4.35) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.36) It is often at this low point we start a search for a better way. For all of us, it has put us on this path. "For from this lowest point will learning lead to heights of happiness, in which you see the purpose of the lesson shining clear, and perfectly within your learning grasp." (T.31.IV.4.8) (ACIM OE T.31.IV.36) Yet giving up on searching in the world for happiness is not something we do readily. We are not easily convinced and cling to some semblance of hope that happiness can still be found here.
There is no point in continuing to look for the light in the darkness. We are on the wrong track when we look for happiness in the world. We look at what is false and hope to find truth there. What we try to get is our own version of peace and happiness, which is just another useless journey; but we don't have to give it up. We are not asked to sacrifice the little we have. We will ultimately see what we valued previously has no value, and it just falls away. We are encouraged to ask in everything, "What is it really for?" And in everything we do, "What is the purpose?"
Having said all of this, there is a purpose in the world, which does bring peace and happiness. Our ego's purpose is to keep us rooted in this dream, but we can choose to serve the Holy Spirit's purpose, which is to wake up from the dream by doing the healing work and choosing forgiveness. Thus, we come to see the world as a classroom for the undoing the ego thought system. Every relationship now is a perfect mirror for what needs healing in us. Whatever we are projecting onto anyone is an opportunity to see where healing is needed in our own minds. "But you must change your mind about the purpose of the world, if you would find escape." (W.200.5.2)
Free everyone of your mistaken perceptions of them. "You will be bound till all the world is seen by you as blessed, and everyone made free of your mistakes and honored as he is." (W.200.5.3) Freedom comes from setting our brothers free by taking back the projections we have placed on them and taking responsibility for our own healing. As we give blessings instead of judgments, we receive them for ourselves. "But peace begins within the world perceived as different, and leading from this fresh perspective to the gate of Heaven and the way beyond." (W.200.8.2) Now, everything in the world can be used to heal our misperceptions through forgiveness, and we can experience the miracle that ultimately takes us back to our true Self.
"What does forgiveness do? In truth it has no function, and does nothing. For it is unknown in Heaven. It is only hell where it is needed, and where it must serve a mighty function." (W.200.6.1-4) Forgiveness does nothing, because the world is illusory and nothing real has happened. It is an illusion, but it is an illusion that undoes the illusions of this world.
Through forgiveness, we find the peace of God. (W.200.7.6) We know that when our obsessive thoughts take over, our peace is gone. Only our thoughts keep us from peace. Our thoughts deceive us. We think we get what we want from this world, but the only thing we truly want is the peace of God. Our thoughts about how to achieve peace keep leading us into hell. Only forgiveness brings us to what we really want, which is to escape the misery, pain, and death that are part of "life" here.
Let's stay very aware of our thoughts today. If you are willing to see everything that seems to be happening to you as an opportunity for forgiveness, you will see everyone in your life as a teacher in helping you to unveil the happiness and peace already in you. Everyone in your life is there for a purpose. They show you the way home by revealing to you the unhealed places in your mind. A sure way to know that guilt has come up is when you are not at peace. This is the opportunity to look at what is going on in your mind, bring your awareness there, and be willing to choose otherwise. When Jesus talks about leaving the world behind, he is not talking of death but of making new choices and setting a new goal for ourselves. Yes, we can continue to waste time, lose our way, delay, and wander off, but we will return, because there is nowhere else to go. While we may still hold out hope that there is something in this world we want, we can certainly continue to pursue it. Eventually, we will all come to the place where our motivation, to know the deep peace that can only be found in the truth of who we are, will be so strongly reinforced that there will be no turning back.
"There is no peace except the peace of God. And I am glad and thankful that it is so." (W.200.11.9) As Jesus told us in Lesson 185, to say these words is nothing, but to mean them is everything. Today, take a stand for peace by being vigilant with your thoughts and staying mindful. "For we have found a simple, happy way to leave the world of ambiguity, and to replace our shifting goals and solitary dreams with single purpose and companionship. For peace is union, if it be of God. We seek no further. We are close to home, and draw still nearer every time we say: There is no peace except the peace of God. And I am thankful that it is so." (W.200.11.5-9)
Love and Blessings, Sarah 
ACIM Original Edition
IV. Light in the Dream   

24 You who have spent your lives in bringing truth to illusion, reality to fantasy, have walked the way of dreams. For you have gone from waking to sleeping and on and on to a yet deeper sleep. Each dream has led to other dreams, and every fantasy which seemed to bring a light into the darkness but made the darkness deeper. Your goal was darkness in which no ray of light could enter. And you sought a blackness so complete that you could hide from truth forever in complete insanity. What you forgot was simply that God cannot destroy Himself. The light is in you. Darkness can cover it but cannot put it out.
25 As the light comes nearer, you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. You know this. The goal which you accepted is the goal of knowledge, for which you signified your willingness. Fear seems to live in darkness, and when you are afraid, you have stepped back. Let us then join quickly in an instant of light, and it will be enough to remind you that your goal is light. Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it.
26 If you knew Who walks beside you on this way which you have chosen, fear would be impossible. You do not know because the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourselves, so long despised. You go toward love, still hating it and terribly afraid of its judgment upon you. And you do not realize that you are not afraid of love, but only of what you have made of it. You are advancing to love's meaning and away from all illusions in which you have surrounded it. When you retreat to the illusion, your fear increases, for there is little doubt that what you think it means is fearful. Yet what is that to us who travel surely and very swiftly away from fear?
27 You who hold each other's hand also hold mine, for when you joined each other you were not alone. Do you believe that I would leave you in the darkness you agreed to leave with me? In your relationship is this world's light. And fear must disappear before you now. Be tempted not to snatch away the gift of faith you offered to each other. You will succeed only in frightening yourselves. The gift is given forever, for God Himself received it. You cannot take it back. You have accepted God. The holiness of your relationship is established in Heaven. You do not understand what you accepted, but remember that your understanding is not necessary. All that was necessary was merely the wish to understand. That wish was the desire to be holy. The will of God is granted you. For you desire the only thing you ever had or ever were.
28 Each instant that we spend together will teach you that this goal is possible and will strengthen your desire to reach it. And in your desire lies its accomplishment. Your desire is now in complete accord with all the power of the Holy Spirit's Will. No little, faltering footsteps that you may take can separate your desire from His Will and from His strength. I hold your hand as surely as you agreed to take each other's. You will not separate, for I stand with you and walk with you in your advance to truth. And where we go, we carry God with us.
29 In your relationship, you have joined with me in bringing Heaven to the Son of God, who hid in darkness. You have been willing to bring the darkness to light, and this willingness has given strength to everyone who would remain in darkness. Those who would see will see. And they will join with me in carrying their light into the darkness when the darkness in them is offered to the light and is removed forever. My need for you, joined with me in the holy light of your relationship, is your need for salvation. Would I not give you what you gave to me? For when you joined each other, you answered me.
30 You who are now the bringers of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness. The darkness in you has been brought to light. Carry it back to darkness from the holy instant to which you brought it. We are made whole in our desire to make whole. Let not time worry you, for all the fear that you experience is really past. Time has been readjusted to help us do together what your separate pasts would hinder. You have gone past fear, for no two minds can join in the desire for love without love's joining them.
31 Not one light in Heaven but goes with you. Not one ray that shines forever in the Mind of God but shines on you. Heaven is joined with you in your advance to Heaven. When such great light has joined with you to give the little spark of your desire the power of God Himself, can you remain in darkness? You are coming home together after a long and meaningless journey which you undertook apart and which led nowhere. You have found each other and will light each other's way. And from this light will the Great Rays extend back into darkness and forward unto God to shine away the past and so make room for His eternal Presence, in which everything is radiant in the light.

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