Lesson 216
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Messages Sent and Received
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 19 BEYOND THE BODY
V. OBSTACLES TO PEACE
"The Attraction of Guilt"  
    
49 The attraction of guilt produces fear of love, for love would never look on guilt at all. It is the nature of love to look upon only the truth, for there it sees itself, with which it would unite in holy union and completion. As love must look past fear, so must fear see love not. For love contains the end of guilt as surely as fear depends on it. [Love is attracted only to love.] Overlooking guilt completely, it sees no fear. Being wholly without attack, it could not be afraid. Fear is attracted to what love sees not, and each believes that what the other looks upon does not exist. Fear looks on guilt with just the same devotion that love looks on itself. And each has messengers which they send forth and which return to them with messages written in the language in which their going forth was asked.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I
REVIEW VI
Review VI
<AUDIO><VIDEO> 
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
WHAT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER?
 
   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

  
CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY
          
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DAILY LESSON
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 216
  
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
  
[196]
It can be but myself I crucify. 
 
All that I do, I do unto myself.
If I attack,  I suffer. But if I
forgive, salvation will be given me.    

I am not a body. I am free. 
For I am still as God created me .

~ Original Handscript of ACIM
 
  
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 216 Review VI

[196] It can be but myself I crucify.

Sarah's Commentary:   

It is not difficult to get the idea that if we attack we suffer, but it is much more difficult to really live it every day, especially when we experience any kind of perceived attack and feel justified in retaliating. Notice how easy it is to see flaws and what seem to be idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies in others and to use these to judge and criticize. Yet it is precisely what we do not like in ourselves that we condemn in others. The solution, of course, is "If I forgive, salvation will be given me." (W.216.2.4) Forgiveness in the Course is always about remembering that the lesson is always our own. Everything comes from our own minds. We are the dreamers of our own dream. We are judging something in our brother that we have not forgiven in ourselves. Our brother can truly be an effective mirror for our own mind if we are willing to take responsibility for what we see in him as a projection of our own perceived deficiencies and self-attacks.
 
Now, if you look closely at the wording of this Lesson, you will see it speaks entirely about what we are doing to ourselves. When I get upset with someone, I find it helpful to see there is no 'other'. What I am seeing in anyone is entirely my own mind. I can only be affected by the situations and behaviors of others attacking me if I give them the power to hurt me. Seeing ourselves as victimized by others is the way the ego set it all up so we can justify our own attacks and deem ourselves innocent in the face of attack. When we forgive, by seeing we are responsible for our own pain, we see that in truth no one has done anything. Yes, in the dream, something seems to have happened. but the cause is only in our own minds.
 
Others are just playing out the script we have written for them. It is as if they are reading their lines from a teleprompter, and these lines have been determined by us. This probably feels like quite a stretch, but it is very helpful in remembering that their response to us, which may look like an attack, is actually orchestrated by our own minds for our own awakening. We are not the victims of the world we see. Jesus asks us to be wary of the idea that we can be unfairly treated. "Unfairness and attack are one mistake, so firmly joined that where one is perceived the other must be seen. You cannot be unfairly treated. The belief you are is but another form of the idea you are deprived by someone not yourself." (T.26.X.3.1-3) (ACIM OE T.26.XI.87) Our brothers have simply revealed the pain and unhealed aspects of our own minds. This pain must be brought forth for healing. Because they have revealed it to us, they are actually our saviors. If we forgive, salvation will be given us, and what is salvation but to know our own innocence, joy, and happiness. We cannot know this when we attack.
 
"What we give, we receive" is a law that works one hundred percent of the time. There are no exceptions to it. I can think I am hurting you and maintaining my innocence, but this is the lie of the ego, which tells us we can get rid of our guilt by projecting it onto others. Anytime we hurt anyone or try to gain at our brother's expense, we will suffer. We cannot escape the reality that what we do to others we are actually doing to ourselves. The ego tells us to project guilt to be rid of it. What it does not tell us is this is precisely the way guilt is kept in the mind.
 
The golden rule says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Now it seems like there is a choice. The choice is to offer love to our brothers or to withhold it from them. However, there is no wiggle room with this law. What I give, I receive. It is an immutable law. When I cause pain, I will feel pain in return. How it shows up is that I suffer guilt and believe I deserve punishment, and thus I draw it into my life. The difficult events of our lives are based on the belief that we have them coming to us because of our attacks on others.
 
All attack is meant to hurt. We can say we did not mean it, but we are just lying to ourselves. We actually attack because we want to. That is why watching our mind takes discipline, vigilance, and the courage to be very honest with ourselves. It requires we look openly at our intentions and see where we try to get from others, using them for our personal gain. What we are doing in these situations is always hurting ourselves while serving our specialness. I cannot think of anything that undoes the ego more readily than to really take this law very seriously and use every opportunity to look at our defenses and take responsibility for our projections. When we are not being kind, forgiveness is called for, as soon as we see we have tried to gain at our brother's expense.
 
Any negative thought we have about anyone can immediately be dispelled by diligently applying the Lesson. Application of the Lesson must become a habit that we over-learn, as it is not generally our immediate reaction to a difficult situation. "The ego always speaks first" (T.5.VI.3.5) (ACIM OE T.5.VIII.73) means the ego will be the first to give us its interpretation of any situation. Thus, our response today is: "This thought I do not want. I choose instead____, (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) 'If I forgive, salvation will be given me'." (W.216.1.4) Or, "This thought I do not want. I choose instead___, (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) 'It can be but myself I crucify'." (W.216.1.1) Or, use a version that works for you so it will be meaningful to you. This is not just rote repetition of these words. Words are powerful, but only when we connect with them deeply and with sincerity and conviction.
 
If what I am doing brings me suffering, I have another opportunity today to recognize---I can experience peace instead of this. Would you not be highly motivated to change your thoughts and behaviors if you truly believed in this law? We would do this out of our own self-interest. If I was to shoot an arrow at you that landed in my own heart, I would be highly motivating not to make that attack on you. Thus, the Lesson affirms that this is exactly what happens, except the forms may change in which our attack comes back at us. If I blame you, my car breaking down may be my form of self-punishment or I may lose my job or get sick. We draw all these experiences to ourselves for a purpose. They are all there to remind us that as we forgive, the world looks more and more benign to us, regardless of what problems seem to be there. We are then able to see beyond the events and accept them as part of our classroom rather than resist and bring more suffering into our experience.
 
There are many ways we attack our brothers. We may even find ourselves using the metaphysics of the Course to make the other person wrong. We may try to correct them, judge or critique them, in the belief we are being helpful. Yet when we step aside and place the Holy Spirit in charge, only then is peace possible, but we need to be gentle with ourselves in this work. We have believed, for a very long time, the cause of our distress is outside of our own minds. Changing our minds about this belief requires a lot of vigilance and discipline. Jesus is helping us to realize everything is coming from our minds and not from hostile elements in the world or as a result of the condition of the body. This is all part of the ego's strategy to keep us mindless.
 
When we discover the murderer is within, it can induce a lot of guilt; and when we feel guilty, we find ways to punish ourselves. "For the ego does want to kill you, and if you identify with it you must believe its goal is yours." (T.13.II.5.6) (ACIM OE T.12.II.5) In Lesson 196, "It can be but myself I crucify." Jesus says our attacks on others, in the name of self-defense, lead to our fear of crucifixion at the hands of God and the world. As Lesson 198 reminds us, "Only my condemnation injures me. Only my own forgiveness sets me free." (W.198.9.3-4)
 
It is helpful to remember in this regard, "Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable. Their interaction is a process that alters both, because they were not made by or with the Unalterable [God]. It is important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical proximity. Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction. There could be no better example that the ego is only an idea and not a fact." (T.4.II.2.1-6) (ACIM OE T.4.III.25)
 
How does this relate to today's Lesson? Well, we all play the game of separation and the game of hurt. We have called into our experience all the characters that show up in our play, as well as those who play the roles of our friends and enemies. We are like children playing this game, but we have forgotten and now take it all seriously. We can stand back and laugh at it all. It is actually just a silly game we forgot we were playing. Yet our thoughts about it hurt us when we take it seriously. We can heal this hurt by asking for help to forgive our thoughts, even if we don't do it in a tangible way or in proximity to those who have seemingly hurt us. We can do it just in our own thoughts alone, and we can do it by forgoing our desire to crucify our brothers or to try to get for ourselves at their expense. When we forgive, we see we are all the same. We share the same ego, albeit with different life circumstances, and we share One Self.

Love and Blessings, Sarah 
ACIM Original Edition
V. Obstacles to Peace

    The Attraction of Guilt 

49 The attraction of guilt produces fear of love, for love would never look on guilt at all. It is the nature of love to look upon only the truth, for there it sees itself, with which it would unite in holy union and completion. As love must look past fear, so must fear see love not. For love contains the end of guilt as surely as fear depends on it. [Love is attracted only to love.] Overlooking guilt completely, it sees no fear. Being wholly without attack, it could not be afraid. Fear is attracted to what love sees not, and each believes that what the other looks upon does not exist. Fear looks on guilt with just the same devotion that love looks on itself. And each has messengers which they send forth and which return to them with messages written in the language in which their going forth was asked.
 
50 Love's messengers are gently sent and return with messages of love and gentleness. The messengers of fear are harshly ordered to seek out guilt and cherish every scrap of evil and of sin which they can find, losing none of them on pain of death and laying them respectfully before their lord and master. Perception cannot obey two masters, each asking for messages of different things in different languages. What fear would feed upon, love overlooks. What fear demands, love cannot even see.
 
51 The fierce attraction which guilt holds for fear is wholly absent from love's gentle perception. What love would look upon is meaningless to fear and quite invisible. Relationships in this world are the result of how the world is seen. And this depends on which emotion was called on to send its messengers to look upon it and return with word of what they saw. Fear's messengers are trained through terror, and they tremble when their master calls upon them to serve him. For fear is merciless even to its friends. Its messengers steal guiltily away in hungry search of guilt, for they are kept cold and starving and made very vicious by their master, who allows them to feast only upon what they return to him. No little shred of guilt escapes their hungry eyes. And in their savage search for sin, they pounce on any living thing they see and carry it screaming to their master to be devoured.
 
52 Send not these savage messengers into the world to feast upon it and to prey upon reality. For they will bring you word of bones and skin and flesh. They have been taught to seek for the corruptible and to return with gorges filled with things decayed and rotted. To them such things are beautiful because they seem to allay their savage pangs of hunger. For they are frantic with the pain of fear and would avert the punishment of him who sends them forth by offering him what they hold dear.
 
53 The Holy Spirit has given you love's messengers to send instead of those you trained through fear. They are as eager to return to you what they hold dear as are the others. If you send them forth, they will see only the blameless and the beautiful, the gentle and the kind. They will be as careful to let no little act of charity, no tiny expression of forgiveness, no little breath of love escape their notice. And they will return with all the happy things they found, to share them lovingly with you. Be not afraid of them. They offer you salvation. Theirs are the messages of safety, for they see the world as kind.
 
54 If you send forth only the messengers the Holy Spirit gives you, wanting no messages but theirs, you will see fear no more. The world will be transformed before your sight, cleansed of all guilt and softly brushed with beauty. The world contains no fear which you laid not upon it. And none you cannot ask love's messengers to remove from it and see it still. The Holy Spirit has given you His messengers to send to each other and return to each with what love sees. They have been given to replace the hungry dogs of fear you sent instead. And they go forth to signify the end of fear.
 
55 Love, too, would set a feast before you on a table covered with a spotless cloth, set in a quiet garden where no sound but singing and a softly joyous whispering is ever heard. This is a feast which honors your holy relationship and at which everyone is welcomed as an honored guest. And in a holy instant, grace is said by everyone together as they join in gentleness before the table of communion. And I will join you there, as long ago I promised and promise still. For in your new relationship am I made welcome. And where I am made welcome, there I am.
 
56 I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me. For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so Atonement is achieved through murder. Salvation is looked upon as a way by which the Son of God was killed instead of you.
 
57 Yet would I offer you my body, you whom I love, knowing its littleness? Or would I teach that bodies cannot keep us apart? Mine was no greater value than yours; no better means for communication of salvation, but not its Source. No one can die for anyone, and death does not atone for sin. Yet you can live to show it is not real. The body does appear to be the symbol of sin while you believe that it can get you what you want. While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain.
 
58 To think you could be satisfied and happy with so little is to hurt yourself, and to limit the happiness that you would have calls upon pain to fill your meager store and make your lives complete. This is completion, as the ego sees it. For guilt creeps in where happiness has been removed and substitutes for it. Communion is another kind of completion which goes beyond guilt because it goes beyond the body.
 
 

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