Lesson 218
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Peace to and from Eternity
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 19 BEYOND THE BODY
V. b. THE SECOND OBSTACLE:
THE BELIEF THE BODY IS VALUABLE FOR WHAT IT OFFERS  
    
63 Peace is extended from you only to the eternal, and it reaches out from the eternal in you. It flows across all else. The second obstacle is no more solid than the first. For you will neither to get rid of peace nor limit it. What are these obstacles which you would interpose between peace and its going forth but barriers you place between your will and its accomplishment? You want communion, not the feast of fear. You want salvation, not the pain of guilt. And you want your Father, not a little mound of clay, to be your home. In your holy relationship is your Father's Son. He has not lost communion with Him nor with himself. When you agreed to join each other, you acknowledged this is so. This has no cost, but it has release from cost.

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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 218
  
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
  
[198]
Only my condemnation injures me. 
 
My condemnation keeps my vision dark,
and through my sightless eyes I cannot see
the vision of my glory. Yet today
I can behold this glory and be glad.   

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 218 Review VI

[198] Only my condemnation injures me.

Sarah's Commentary:   
 
We have aligned with the ego thought system of sin, guilt, and fear and identify ourselves as a separate self, alone in the world. We have become unaware of what we are. With this choice for the ego, we have crossed the bridge from Oneness into the body and the world. The body and the world are illusions, but to us, they seem so very real because we have no recollection of how we got here. Our experience here will continue to feel very real until we have the experience of the holy instant, where we have a glimpse of the eternal. The bridge built by the ego has been detonated with denial and repression so we have no memory of the decision made by the mind to run away from our reality, as divine beings of light and love. Now, we think of our reality as a body, which is limited, lacking, vulnerable, and destructible.
 
Our decision to listen to the lies of the ego has resulted in tremendous guilt. The ego has convinced us we have stolen our identity from God, and now we fear He will come after us. It is not a conscious thought, but it is the origin of the guilt we hold in our wrong minds. However, the ego knows we will not continue to choose it if it means being overwhelmed with guilt, so it has devised a plan for us to project the guilt and see it in others and blame them for our condition. Thus, we judge others for their guilt, and now we claim innocence for ourselves. When we condemn and blame others, we only experience more guilt, which hurts us. That is the part the ego has kept hidden from us, which is why Jesus goes to great lengths to unveil its whole operation. Once we see it clearly, we will readily dismiss it. Jesus shows us that when we condemn our brothers, instead of getting rid of our guilt, we keep ourselves guilty. That is precisely the ego's game.
 
There are many ways we condemn: through blame, judgment, attack, unsolicited advice-giving, analyzing the motives of others, correcting others, holding grievances and resentments, focusing on the mistakes of others or even our own, using others to meet our needs through our special relationships, holding onto past hurts, getting vengeance on others through our suffering, compensating for our negative beliefs by trying to be nice and kind, abusing ourselves with substance use and other self-indulgent behaviors and much more.
 
These are examples of some of the ways the ego operates in the world. It is always self-serving, always giving to get, and always seeing differences. Even a feeling of discomfort or anxiety around someone is a self-attack based on self-judgment and self-hatred. Our discomforts are never about anyone else. When we take responsibility and see it is all a projection of our own unhealed thoughts, we can begin the process of choosing against the ego and releasing our wrong-minded thoughts to the Holy Spirit. This requires we look at them first and recognize them as our own projections. The ego will always focus outward. It is what keeps its thought system intact and not available for healing. By denying, projecting, and repressing our thoughts, they are kept apart from healing.
 
So what do we do? Our responsibility is to accept the Atonement for ourselves. What does this mean? It means we must take responsibility for our thoughts and recognize that what we have come to believe about ourselves is not the truth. We need to do the work of forgiveness so we can take the steps necessary to return to sanity until we can finally accept our true reality as created by God. How do we do that? We do it by forgiving our thoughts. It is by taking responsibility for them and bringing them to awareness. We do it by being willing to see everything and everyone in our lives as an opportunity to heal ourselves. Everything happening in this illusion is helpful if we choose to see it that way.
 
With everything that comes up in my life, I have a decision to make. Do I use my past learning and my own judgments to apply to my situation, or do I turn the whole situation over to the Holy Spirit for a miracle? Do I choose God or the ego? How do I know which choice I have made? If I still feel guilt, fear, and a lack of peace, then I have chosen the ego. I know, if I am chewing on some issue, I am still in my ego mind. I know, if I have a story around the situation that I am unwilling to release, I am still in my ego. And I know I have chosen the right mind when I am at peace. It is a process that requires our commitment to stay vigilant, constantly watching our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and opinions, which underpin the decisions we have made. We are called to be the observer and notice where the mind is focused. The ego may keep chattering, but our part is not to give it any attention.
 
What is my purpose here? It is always to remember who I am. To do so, I need to look honestly at everything in my life and bring it to the Holy Spirit. My usual way of figuring things out will not heal anything. We need to release our personal self from being the one in charge. Yes, we learn and study the Course, but only for one purpose---to heal the mind by applying what we learn. In order to do that, it is important that we look at everything and keep nothing hidden from the light of Truth. This means we need to stop and look at what is going on in the mind. Defenses will not allow us to look, so we must be willing to let them down to the extent possible. This takes great courage, great honesty, and a strong dedication to the truth.
 
The important question is always to ask, "What is this for?" in everything we do. It is all about purpose. The ego's purpose is to keep us invested in the illusion. The Holy Spirit's purpose is to wake us up to who we really are. Everything made by the ego can now be used by the Holy Spirit for healing. The form does not change. We can still have our special relationships, although now the content is no longer to serve our needs but for the purpose of healing. The body, which was made to get, can now be used for a holy purpose of giving and extending. Now the body is no longer an end in itself but is a communication device for the Holy Spirit.
 
Whatever situations you face today, use each of them as opportunities for healing rather than for self-condemnation. This means we don't judge what comes up. Murderous and hateful thoughts are only thoughts. Judging them is a way to condemn ourselves instead of looking at these thoughts honestly and being willing to release them to the Holy Spirit. He will do the rest. This is what makes forgiveness easy. It is not done by us. Our part is only to look at the blocks to love. As the mind awakens to the truth, we become clear channels, so the love in us can extend through us. No amount of charity work, no amount of service, no amount of good deeds, or of being nice, which comes from compensating for the ego's darkness and self-serving motives, will ever offer the extension of love in the world that can be demonstrated when we make space for the Holy Spirit.
 
It is our choice as to which operating system we run today---that of the ego or of the Holy Spirit. One brings only condemnation, while the other opens the way for us to behold our glory and be glad. What a choice! And of course we can only accomplish this with mind training, and that means doing the practices so we over-learn the Lessons, and they become our habitual response to every situation where we find ourselves out of peace. Thus, we affirm, "This thought I do not want. I choose instead___," (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) to behold my brother's glory and my own, so I can know my innocence and his. Only when we offer forgiveness can we behold the truth, or as Jesus says, ". . . behold this glory and be glad." (W.218.1.3) Ultimately, this is how we learn the central Lesson we have been practicing every day, which is "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me." We do not learn this Lesson by shouting down the ego with affirmations. We learn it by looking at how we are defending ourselves against this truth.
 
Remind yourself frequently of the truth today, as you apply the Lesson to all the events and situations you encounter today. When you lapse, remember it is a mistake. Do not give power to your mistake by judging yourself for it and feeling guilty. Simply correct it and resolve to keep going with your daily practice.

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

    b. The Second Obstacle: The Belief the Body is
      
        Valuable for What It Offers


59 We said that peace must first surmount the obstacle of your desire to get rid of it. Where the attraction of guilt holds sway, peace is not wanted. The second obstacle that peace must flow across, and closely related to the first, is the belief that the body is valuable for what it offers. For here is the attraction of guilt made manifest in the body and seen in it.
 
60 This [is] the value that you think peace would rob you of. This is what you believe that it would dispossess and leave you homeless. And it is this for which you would deny a home to peace. This "sacrifice" you feel to be too great to make, too much to ask of you.
 
61 Is it a sacrifice or a release? What has the body really given you that justifies your strange belief that in it lies salvation? Do you not see that this is the belief in death? Here is the focus of the perception of Atonement as murder. Here is the source of the idea that love is fear. The Holy Spirit's messengers are sent far beyond the body, calling the mind to join in holy communion and be at peace. Such is the message that I gave them for you.
 
62 It is only the messengers of fear that see the body, for they look for what can suffer. Is it a sacrifice to be removed from what can suffer? The Holy Spirit does not demand you sacrifice the hope of the body's pleasure; it has no hope of pleasure. But neither can it bring you fear of pain. Pain is the only "sacrifice" the Holy Spirit asks, and this He would remove.
 
63 Peace is extended from you only to the eternal, and it reaches out from the eternal in you. It flows across all else. The second obstacle is no more solid than the first. For you will neither to get rid of peace nor limit it. What are these obstacles which you would interpose between peace and its going forth but barriers you place between your will and its accomplishment? You want communion, not the feast of fear. You want salvation, not the pain of guilt. And you want your Father, not a little mound of clay, to be your home. In your holy relationship is your Father's Son. He has not lost communion with Him nor with himself. When you agreed to join each other, you acknowledged this is so. This has no cost, but it has release from cost.
 
64 You have paid very dearly for your illusions, and nothing you have paid for brought you peace. Are you not glad that Heaven cannot be sacrificed, and sacrifice cannot be asked of you? There is no obstacle which you can place before our union, for in your holy relationship, I am there already. We will surmount all obstacles together, for we stand within the gates and not outside. How easily the gates are opened from within to let peace through to bless the tired world! Can it be difficult for us to walk past barriers together when you have joined the limitless? The end of guilt is in your hands to give. Would you stop now to look for guilt in each other?
 
65 Let me be to you the symbol of the end of guilt, and look upon each other as you would look on me. Forgive me all the sins you think the Son of God committed. And in the light of your forgiveness, he will remember who he is and forget what never was. I ask for your forgiveness, for if you are guilty, so must I be. But if I surmounted guilt and overcame the world, you were with me. Would you see in me the symbol of guilt or of the end of guilt, remembering that what I signify to you, you see within yourself?
 
66 From your holy relationship truth proclaims the truth, and love looks on itself. Salvation flows from deep within the home you offered to my Father and to me. And we are there together in the quiet communion in which the Father and the Son are joined. Oh come ye faithful to the holy union of the Father and Son in you! And keep you not apart from what is offered you in gratitude for giving peace its home in Heaven. Send forth to all the world the joyous message of the end of guilt, and all the world will answer. Think of your happiness as everyone offers you witness of the end of sin and shows you that its power is gone forever. Where can guilt be, when the belief in sin is gone? And where is death, when its great advocate is heard no more?
 
67 Forgive me your illusions and release me from punishment for what I have not done. So will you learn the freedom that I taught by teaching freedom to each other and so releasing me. I am within your holy relationship, yet you would imprison me behind the obstacles you raise to freedom and bar my way to you. Yet it is not possible to keep away One Who is there already. And in Him it is possible that our communion, where we are joined already, will be the focus of the new perception that will bring light to all the world, contained in you.
 
Pleasure and Pain 
 
68 Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole idea of sacrifice. And to accept the peace He gave instead, without the limits which would hold its extension back and so would limit your awareness of it. For what He gives must be extended if you would have its limitless power and use it for the Son of God's release. It is not this you would be rid of, and having it you cannot limit it. If peace is homeless, so are you and so am I. And He Who is our home is homeless with us. Is this your will? Would you forever be a wanderer in search of peace? Would you invest your hope of peace and happiness in what must fail?
 
69 Faith in the eternal is always justified, for the eternal is forever kind, infinite in its patience, and wholly loving. It will accept you wholly and give you peace. Yet it can unite only with what already is at peace in you, immortal as itself. The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither pain nor joy. It is a means and not an end. It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it. [Only the mind can set a purpose, and only mind can see the means for its accomplishment and justify its use.] Peace and guilt are both conditions of the mind to be attained. And these conditions are the home of the emotion which called them forth and therefore is compatible with them. But think you which it is that is compatible with you.
 
70 Here is your choice, and it is free. But all that lies in it will come with it, and what you think you are can never be apart from it. The body is the great seeming betrayer of faith. In it lies disillusionment and the seeds of faithlessness, but only if you ask of it what it cannot give. Can your mistake be reasonable grounds for depression and disillusionment and for retaliative attack on what you think has failed you? Use not your error as the justification for your faithlessness. You have not sinned, but you have been mistaken in what is faithful. And the correction of your mistake will give you grounds for faith.
 
71 It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain. It is essential that this relationship be understood, for it is one the ego sees as proof of sin. It is not really punitive at all. It is but the inevitable result of equating yourself with the body, which is the invitation to pain. For it invites fear to enter and become your purpose. The attraction of guilt must enter with it, and whatever fear directs the body to do is therefore painful. It will share the pain of all illusions, and the illusion of pleasure will be the same as pain.
 
72 Is not this inevitable? Under fear's orders, the body will pursue guilt, serving its master whose attraction to guilt maintains the whole illusion of its existence. This, then, is the attraction of pain. Ruled by this perception, the body becomes the servant of pain, seeking it dutifully and obeying the idea that pain is pleasure. It is this idea that underlies all of the ego's heavy investment in the body. And it is this insane relationship which it keeps hidden and yet feeds upon. To you it teaches that the body's pleasure is happiness. Yet to itself it whispers, "It is death."
 
73 Why should the body be anything to you? Certainly what it is made of is not precious. And just as certainly, it has no feeling. It transmits to you the feelings that you want. Like any communication medium, the body receives and sends the messages that it is given. It has no feeling for them. All of the feeling with which they are invested is given by the sender and the receiver. The ego and the Holy Spirit both recognize this, and both also recognize that here the sender and receiver are the same. The Holy Spirit tells you this with joy. The ego hides it, for it would keep you unaware of it. Who would send messages of hatred and attack if he but understood he sends them to himsel f? Who would accuse, make guilty, and condemn himself? 
 
74 The ego's messages are always sent away from you in the belief that for your message of attack and guilt will someone other than yourself suffer. And even if you suffer, yet someone else will suffer more. The great deceiver recognizes that this is not so, but as the "enemy" of peace, it urges you to send out all your messages of hate and free yourself. And to convince you this is possible, it bids the body search for pain in attack upon another, calling it pleasure and offering it to you as freedom from attack.
 
75 Hear not its madness, and believe not the impossible is true. Forget not that the ego has dedicated the body to the goal of sin and places in it all its faith that this can be accomplished. Its sad disciples chant the body's praise continually, in solemn celebration of the ego's rule. Not one but must believe that yielding to the attraction of guilt is the escape from pain. Not one but must regard the body as himself, without which he would die, and yet within which is his death equally inevitable.
 
76 It is not given to the ego's disciples to realize that they have dedicated themselves to death. Freedom is offered them, but they have not accepted it, and what is offered must also be received to be truly given. For the Holy Spirit, too, is a communication medium, receiving from the Father and offering His messages unto the Son. Like the ego, the Holy Spirit is both the sender and the receiver. For what is sent through Him returns to Him, seeking itself along the way and finding what it seeks. So does the ego find the death it seeks, returning it to you.
 
 

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