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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 19 BEYOND THE BODY
III. SIN VERSUS ERROR
19 The Son of God can be mistaken; he can deceive himself; he can even turn the power of his mind against himself. But he cannot sin. There is nothing he can do that would really change his reality in any way nor make him really guilty. That is what sin would do, for such is its purpose. Yet for all the wild insanity inherent in the whole idea of sin, it is impossible. For the wages of sin is death, and how can the immortal die?
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
With this review, we take but one idea
each day, and practice it as often as
is possible. Besides the time we give
morning and evening, which should not be less
than fifteen minutes, and the hourly
remembrances we make throughout the day,
use the idea as often as you can
between them. Each of these ideas alone
would be sufficient for salvation, if
it is learned truly. Each would be enough
to give release to you and to the world
from every form of bondage, and invite
the memory of God to come again.
With this in mind, we start our practicing
in which we carefully review the thoughts
the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us
in our last twenty lessons. Each contains
the whole curriculum, if understood,
practiced, accepted and applied to all
the seeming happenings throughout the day.
One is enough. But for that one there must
be no exceptions made. And so we need
to use them all, and let them blend as one
as each contributes to the whole we learn.
These practice lessons, like our last review,
are centered round a central theme with which
we start and end each lesson. It is this:
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me."
The day begins and ends with this. And we
repeat it every time the hour strikes,
or we remember, in between, we have
a function that transcends the world we see.
Beyond this and a repetition of
the special thought we practice for the day,
no form of exercise is urged, except
a deep relinquishing of everything
that clutters up your mind, and makes it deaf
to reason, sanity and simple truth.
We will attempt to get beyond all words
and special forms of practicing for this
review. For we attempt this time to reach
a quickened pace along a shorter path
to the serenity and peace of God.
We merely close our eyes, and then forget
all that we thought we saw and understood.
For thus is freedom given us from all
we did not know and failed to understand.
There is but one exception to this lack
of structuring. Permit no idle thought
to go unchallenged. If you notice one,
deny its hold and hasten to assure
your mind that this is not what it would have.
Then gently let the thought which you denied
be given up in sure and quick exchange
for the idea we practice for the day.
When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim
your freedom from temptation, as you say:
This thought I do not want. I choose instead..."
And then repeat the idea for the day,
and let it take the place of what you thought.
Beyond such special applications of
each day's idea, we will add but few
formal expressions for specific thoughts
to aid your practicing. Instead we give
these times of quiet to the Teacher Who
instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives
our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.
To Him I offer this review for you.
I place you in His charge, and let Him teach
you what to do and say and think each time
you turn to Him. He will not fail to be
available to you each time you call
to Him to help you. Let us offer Him
the whole review we now begin, and let
us also not forget to Whom it has
been given, as we practice, day by day,
advancing toward the goal He set for us;
allowing Him to teach us how to go,
and trusting Him completely for the way
each practice period can best become
a loving gift of freedom to the world.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM September 1, 1970
L e s s o n 213
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
 All things are lessons God would have me learn.
A lesson is a miracle which God
offers to me in place of thoughts I made
that hurt me. What I learn of Him becomes
the way I am set free. And so I choose
to learn His lessons and forget my own.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
LESSON 213 Review VI
 All things are lessons God would have me learn.
The focus of this entire Review is on removing blocks to the awareness of who we are as eternal beings created by God. "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me." Nothing we think, nothing we have said or done has changed the truth of what we are, but we won't know the truth about ourselves until we come to the experience. We think what our senses report back to us is what is real. In the ego state, the real world seems like the illusion, and now we think the self we identify with and call by a name, is who we are. We think we are this body and personality, with specific values and concepts we hold. We believe we were born into this world, which is all that is real. Yet we are learning this is all a projection of our belief in sin, guilt, and fear, from a mind that has become confused. This confusion arose with the decision to align with the belief system of the ego. But just because we have come to believe the ego story that we sinned and God will now punish us does not make it true.
So we can change our minds. We can change our minds about who we are, as we recognize we have a choice always available to us in the mind. With a new understanding of how the ego set all of this up, we can choose to let go what is false. With every prayer, we loosen the mind from its interpretations and thus experience change. With each forgiving thought, we change. Every time we ask to see a situation differently, we change. Every time we respond to the temptation to be out of peace by choosing the thought for the day, we change. All of the changes come with willingness and dedication to commit our lives to waking up from this dream. When this is our only goal for our lives, we become very focused on seeing everything as a perfect classroom for healing. Every time we take responsibility for our lives, we change; and with these changes, all the blocks to the awareness of the presence of Love that we already are fall away, until we come to recognize the changeless Self.
Today, we are reminded that the way we remember our true Self is by recognizing there is an opportunity for a miracle in all that seems to happen to us in the script we have chosen. It has all happened already. The outside circumstances don't matter. All that matters is how we see them. Nothing has meaning except for the meaning we give it. It is all neutral. Whatever thought system we hold in our minds is either projected from the wrong mind or extended from the right mind onto every circumstance we encounter. All we are seeing are our own thoughts reflected back to us.
We know guilt does not feel at all wonderful, but what is wonderful is, as students of this Course, we can bring our thoughts of anger, hatred, and distress to awareness, which is the first step in forgiveness. As we are willing to take responsibility for these thoughts, we can turn them over to the Teacher in our minds (the Holy Spirit) Who can reinterpret our thoughts for us, from our wrong-minded perspective to true perception. With His help "all that stood between your image of yourself and what you are, forgiveness washes joyfully away." (T.30.V.6.2) (ACIM OE T.31.VI.62) We supply Him with the material for forgiveness, and he will teach us how to see the situation, so we can experience a miracle instead of a grievance in each situation.
Imagine your partner leaves and the relationship is over. Left on your own, the experience may be one of anger and distress. Challenges such as this create problems for us we feel we need to resolve. But the only problem is our lack of acceptance which is the only way out of suffering. No matter what happens in our lives, when we take the hand of our master teacher Jesus and turn to him for help, every situation confronting us can become a beautiful new lesson of forgiveness. When we resist the lesson we suffer. It is why Jesus reminds us we need to be a happy learner. What was a painful situation becomes another opportunity to rediscover the truth about ourselves.
The only requirement for this learning is not to run away from our feelings. In other words, we have to first be willing to give up our story about the situation, then acknowledge our murderous thoughts, our sadness, and our despair, though not indulging them, denying them or building an altar to them. The important thing is not to repress, deny or project our feelings. Simply looking at them without judgment and remembering there is another choice we can make, is how the mind gets transformed. Trust that the healing will happen when you willingly turn to the Holy Spirit and release the feelings and beliefs you are holding in your mind to Him. Instead of seeing a problem, we can recognize this as a situation where the belief we are separate from love and on our own, and in a state of lack, can now be put on the inner altar and given over to the Holy Spirit.
All things truly are lessons God would have me learn, but none are given me by God. The curriculum is my own life experiences. My relationships provide me with every opportunity to undo the guilt and fear with the help of the Holy Spirit. Only then can I remember I am an eternal being who has no reason for guilt and fear. It is all of my own making. It is all about the thoughts I am believing. We have a choice to see it differently and to know there is another part of the mind where truth resides and always has been there. As Jesus reminds us, we do not have to strive for our magnitude because we already have it. "All your striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world." (T.15.III.4.4) (ACIM T.15.IV.25)
This Lesson can be misinterpreted and often is. How is that done? Our way of thinking about this Lesson is that we have problems because we screwed up in some way and now have to learn to do it differently. For example, if my relationship fails, I try to look at what the Lesson is. Did I do this wrong or do this badly? How can I do it differently next time in order not to have my relationship fail? Or, if I get sick, I want to know what I can do differently so I don't get sick. And so it goes. We think it is some behavior we need to change so we don't get the punishment that seems to be coming at us that we think we deserve, or we to try to avoid being hurt and betrayed again. We ask questions like, "How did I manifest this?" or we think we did something wrong and hurt someone and now deserve to be punished. We think every trial and tribulation brings a different lesson, and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the lesson is. We put our own ego in charge to figure our way out of difficult situations instead of turning everything over to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has just one answer for us. He makes it simple. We don't need to waste any time analyzing the problem, the lesson, or what we failed to do right. Jesus says in every trial and tribulation no matter the form the lesson is always the same--- to forgive and turn to him in trust and willingness to heal. Therefore, every problem is just one more opportunity to learn this one lesson. All the things coming our way are there only to teach us one lesson: forgiveness. Every problem is the same in fundamental content because every situation teaches us the same thing "Forgive, and you will see this differently." (W.193.3.7) Why? Because the content of all distress, regardless of the form it comes in, is our belief in sin and the guilt that accompanies it. We think we have done something terribly wrong because we have bought into the ego story that indeed we have. Now we fear the punishment our lives deliver to us through problems and painful situations we experience here. With forgiveness, we learn to look beyond the apparent difficulty and see it is not real. Our own painful thought system we carry around keeps us in the ego game. With forgiveness, we are released.
God sends us no painful lessons but, through the Holy Spirit, the memory of God is forever in our minds, given to free us from this painful thought system. Thus, the problem is in our own thoughts and the Answer is also in our own minds. There is nowhere else to look. Our part is to bring the problem to the Answer. In our practice, we are reminded that we have a choice and can bring all of our misperceptions to the truth. We remember to give over our thoughts, as we stay mindful of what is coming up for us throughout the day. "This thought I do not want. I choose instead" (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) to forgive and I "will see this differently." (W.193.3.7)
"A lesson is a miracle which God offers to me, in place of thoughts I made that hurt me. What I learn of Him becomes the way I am set free. And so I choose to learn His lessons and forget my own."
(W.213.1.2-4) If I wake up in the morning upset, I have chosen separation. Now the lesson for me is to release my upsets, so instead of choosing separation, I can choose the miracle offered me by God in place of the thoughts I am holding that are hurting me. This choice is consistently and constantly available to me. The power of decision is my own. "Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell, and brings you the awareness of what you decided for." (T.15.III.5.7) (ACIM T.15.IV.27) Our part is to bring our misperceptions to the truth. The rest is done for us. It is a matter of trust. When you truly and willingly hand over your painful thoughts to the Holy Spirit, He will do the rest.
Everything we have taught ourselves hurts us. To be set free from our own thought system is the purpose of this practice
Love and Blessings, Sarah
III. Sin Versus Error
17 It is essential that error be not confused with "sin," and it is this distinction which makes salvation possible. For error can be corrected, and the wrong made right. But sin, were it possible, would be irreversible. The belief in sin is necessarily based on the firm conviction that
minds, not bodies, can attack. And thus the mind is guilty and will forever so remain unless a mind not part of it can give it absolution. Sin calls for punishment as error for correction, and the belief that punishment
is correction is clearly insane.
18 Sin is not an error, for sin entails an arrogance which the idea of error lacks. To sin would be to violate reality and to succeed. Sin is the proclamation that attack is real and guilt is justified. It assumes the Son of God is guilty and has thus succeeded in losing his innocence and making himself what God created not. Thus is creation seen as not eternal, and the Will of God open to opposition and defeat. Sin is the "grand illusion" underlying all the ego's grandiosity. For by it, God Himself is changed and rendered incomplete.
19 The Son of God can be mistaken; he can deceive himself; he can even turn the power of his mind against himself. But he
cannot sin. There is nothing he can do that would really change his reality in any way nor make him really guilty. That is what sin would do, for such is its purpose. Yet for all the wild insanity inherent in the whole idea of sin, it is impossible. For the wages of sin is death, and how can the immortal die?
20 A major tenet in the ego's insane religion is that sin is not error but
truth, and it is
innocence that would deceive. Purity is seen as arrogance, and the acceptance of the self as sinful is perceived as holiness. And it is this doctrine which replaces the reality of the Son of God as his Father created him and willed that he be forever. Is this humility? Or is it, rather, an attempt to wrest creation away from truth and keep it separate?
21 Any attempt to reinterpret sin as error is always indefensible to the ego. The idea of sin is wholly sacrosanct to its thought system and quite unapproachable except through reverence and awe. It is the most "holy" concept in the ego's system-lovely and powerful, wholly true, and necessarily protected with every defense at its disposal. For here lies its "best" defense which all the others serve. Here is its armor, its protection, and the fundamental purpose of the special relationship in its interpretation.
22 It can indeed be said the ego made its world on sin. Only in such a world could everything be upside-down. This is the strange illusion which makes the clouds of guilt seem heavy and impenetrable. The solidness this world's foundation seems to have is found in this. For sin has changed creation from an Idea of God to an ideal the ego wants; a world
it rules, made up of bodies, mindless and capable of complete corruption and decay. If this is a mistake, it can be undone easily by truth. Any mistake can be corrected, if truth be left to judge it. But if the mistake is given the status of truth, to what can it be brought? The "holiness" of sin is kept in place by just this strange device. As truth it is inviolate, and everything is brought to
it for judgment. As a mistake,
it must be brought to truth. It is impossible to have faith in sin, for sin is faithlessness. Yet it
is possible to have faith that a mistake can be corrected.
23 There is no stone in all the ego's embattled citadel more heavily defended than the idea that sin is real-the natural expression of what the Son of God has made himself to be and what he
is. To the ego, this is no mistake. For this
is its reality; this is the "truth" from which escape will always be impossible. This is his past, his present, and his future. For he has somehow managed to corrupt his Father and changed His Mind completely. Mourn, then, the death of God, Whom sin has killed! And this would be the ego's wish, which in its madness it thinks it has accomplished.
24 Would you not rather that all this be nothing more than a mistake, entirely correctable, and so easily escaped from that its whole correction is like walking through a mist into the sun? For that is all it is. Perhaps you would be tempted to agree with the ego that it is far better to be sinful than mistaken. Yet think you carefully before you allow yourself to make this choice. Approach it not lightly, for it
is the choice of hell or Heaven.
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