Lesson 220
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Ego is Enemy of Life
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 19 BEYOND THE BODY
V.c. THE THIRD OBSTACLE:
THE ATTRACTION OF DEATH
    
77 To you in whose special relationship the Holy Spirit entered, it is given to release and be released from the dedication to death. For it was offered you, and you accepted. Yet you must learn still more about this strange devotion, for it contains the third of the obstacles which peace must flow across. No one can die unless he chooses death. What seems to be the fear of death is really its attraction. Guilt, too, is feared and fearful. Yet it could have no hold at all except on those who are attracted to it and seek it out. And so it is with death. Made by the ego, its dark shadow falls across all living things because the ego is the "enemy" of life.

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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 220
  
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
  
[200]
There is no peace except the peace of God. 
 
Let me not wander from the way of peace,
for I am lost on other roads than this.
But let me follow Him Who leads me home,
and peace is certain as the Love of God.  

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 220 Review VI

[200] There is no peace except the peace of God.

Sarah's Commentary:   
 
Today is our final day of the review after twenty days, where we reminded ourselves over and over, "I am not a body. " Now we are asked to remember that any road but the road home takes us nowhere.

"You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home."
(T.15.III.2.5-6) (ACIM T.15.IV.23) There is no peace except the peace of God. To delay is to suffer, but we are free to make that choice. Until we make Heaven a priority, we will wander many roads where we go nowhere with the ego as our guide. As long as we rely on our own will, we will remain lost. It is not because we are lost but because we are not aware of our true reality as a Son of God. We cannot separate from His Love, but we can choose to wander from it.
 
Our freedom is in remembering the truth about ourselves, which is to release all blocks to love. These blocks are based entirely on our egoic thought system. Thus, it is up to us to remain vigilant about watching the mind and redirecting our thoughts, asking for help from God and keeping our mind focused on the blessing. Peace does not come from a change in behavior or anything outside of ourselves. "You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think." (T.2.VI.2.5-7) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.73) Further, in the same section, Jesus says that behavior ". . . is controlled by me [Jesus] automatically as soon as you place what you think under my guidance." (T.2.VI.2.9) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.74) Thus, it is all about changing our minds and the behavior will follow.
 
When we do the healing work and become a clearer channel for the Holy Spirit, the body can be used by Him for His holy purpose. Peace will only come when we ". . . follow Him Who leads me home." (W.220.1.3) There is no question about the certainty of our homecoming, but it requires we join with our brothers in equality. As Jesus reminds us:
 
"This brother neither leads nor follows us, but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side." (T.31.II.6.5-9) (ACIM OE T.31.II.20)
 
"Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light." (T.31.II.11.1-9) (ACIM OE T.31.II.25)
 
The ego keeps assuring us we can find peace if we keep looking for it in the world, whether it is through a special relationship, making more money, getting the right job, or achieving fame and status. Yet there is no peace to be found in any of these worldly pursuits. Peace comes only in our choice to heal our minds. The Lesson reminds us to "Let me not wander from the way of peace," (W.220.1.2) because indeed, we do this when we pursue various distractions. Let us focus on remembering we want to take the way of peace only available to us by following "Him Who leads us home." (W.220.1.3) His light will guide us, and our brothers walk with us.
 
This means we must be disciplined and engage in mind watching. We must keep affirming the truth about our reality, stay open to guidance, and follow in the way we are led by the Holy Spirit. It means we must stay very vigilant to how the ego disguises itself behind special relationships, limiting love to part of the Sonship, and thus bringing guilt to these relationships. The ego also can fool us by appearing loving by exhibiting false empathy, giving to get, "lovingly" correcting others, debating issues, seeing differences, holding opinions, and trying to control both events and people in our lives. They are subtle ways of attacking kept hidden from our awareness. Any problem or conflict we try to resolve on our own is another way the ego keeps us from peace.
 
"The ego always tries to preserve conflict. It is very ingenious in devising ways that seem to diminish conflict, because it does not want you to find conflict so intolerable that you will insist on giving it up." (T.7.VIII.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.7.IX.84) I was recently at a function where the conversation turned to a discussion about breaking and entering. A request was made by one of those attending that the group not discuss this topic because it created anxiety in this person whose son was involved in crime. This is an example of how we try to control external events rather than going back to the mind, inquiring more deeply about the real cause of the upset, where the answer is. The only way to peace is within. Changing anything in form will never address the problem. There is only one problem and one solution. It is all the same.
 
When we think we know how to solve the problems we perceive in our lives, it all comes from not knowing who we are. The only sanity is within. Outside is insanity. Jesus reminds us of this when he says, "Inward is sanity; insanity is outside you." (T.18.I.7.4) (ACIM OE T.18.II.7) We are being called to remain focused on what is going on within, otherwise we step right back into the delusion. Our moments of sanity come from this inward focus. As soon as we get caught up in the world with feelings of anger, impatience, annoyance, and jealousy, we are focusing our attention outside, where there can be no healing. It is always about bringing everything back into the mind.
 
Recently, I took a walk with Don, and he decided to go through a rocky, muddy area. I was wearing sandals and told him I did not want to go there, but he went anyway, so I continued on the same path and met up with him down the road. Annoyance flared up in me that he would disregard my request to stay on the sidewalk. I took a moment to go within and looked at my feelings of being disrespected, disregarded, unimportant to him, and so on. Rather than act on those feelings, I chose to go within and give them over to the Holy Spirit. How easy it is to do and yet how resistant we can be. I shared my process with him, as a lesson for myself, of what I wanted to practice more and more, so the ego's dominance in my life could be increasingly diminished. And in that sharing, love was not disrupted by attack.
 
This Lesson ends the first part of the workbook. It is now the final reminder of the importance of listening to the Holy Spirit and not the ego. Jesus is urging us not to get lost in the illusion but to keep focused on opening up to real peace. We are urged to turn to the truth already in our minds and not to listen to the thoughts coming from the ego. We are also urged in our willingness to have our thoughts be corrected. I cannot over emphasize the importance of this willingness and daily application, as situations and events show up in our lives to be brought to truth. Otherwise, we are just holding lovely thoughts when it is convenient for us to do so rather than doing the work of undoing the ego with the support of our Inner Teacher and Guide. It is all about our purpose that we must monitor throughout the day. Is the world a classroom for undoing our misperceptions, or do we look to it for support for our false self?
 
Everything in our day is another opportunity to look at purpose more deeply and truly recognize that our freedom has nothing to do with the demands of the day. It is all about maintaining vigilance and staying focused on our purpose, which is to awaken and not to get lost on the roadways of this world. Every situation is just a backdrop to look at how we can best learn the lesson that we are one with all there is. This gives meaning to our day and helps us to remember our Father's love for us.
 
Let us watch our thoughts today with honesty and courage and recognize our projections that maintain our guilt. They block our awareness of the truth. We do not have to ask for peace. We already have it. All we need to do is recognize, moment-by-moment, how we are blocking the reality of who we are from our awareness. As we do this, we keep asking Holy Spirit, "What would you have me do?" This question includes questions such as, "How would you have me think about this?" "How would you have me see this situation?" "What would you have me know?" "How shall I respond to this?" We are going beyond our own perspectives and are willing to be wrong about the way we currently see.

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

    c. The Third Obstacle: The Attraction of Death

77 To you in whose special relationship the Holy Spirit entered, it is given to release and be released from the dedication to death. For it was offered you, and you accepted. Yet you must learn still more about this strange devotion, for it contains the third of the obstacles which peace must flow across. No one can die unless he chooses death. What seems to be the fear of death is really its attraction. Guilt, too, is feared and fearful. Yet it could have no hold at all except on those who are attracted to it and seek it out. And so it is with death. Made by the ego, its dark shadow falls across all living things because the ego is the "enemy" of life.
 
78 And yet a shadow cannot kill. What is a shadow to the living? They but walk past, and it is gone. But what of those whose dedication it is not to live-the black-draped "sinners," the ego's mournful chorus, plodding so heavily away from life, dragging their chains and marching in the slow procession which honors their grim master, lord of death? Touch any one of them with the gentle hands of forgiveness and watch the chains fall away along with yours. See him throw aside the black robe he was wearing to his funeral and hear him laugh at death. The sentence sin would lay upon him he can escape through your forgiveness.
 
79 This is no arrogance. It is the Will of God. What is impossible to you who chose His Will as yours? What is death to you? Your dedication is not to death nor to its master. When you accepted the Holy Spirit's purpose in place of the ego's, you renounced death, exchanging it for life. We know that an idea leaves not its source. And death is the result of the thought we call the ego as surely as life is the result of the Thought of God.

The Incorruptible Body

80 From the ego came sin and guilt and death, in opposition to life and innocence and to the Will of God Himself. Where can such opposition lie but in the sick minds of the insane, dedicated to madness and set against the peace of Heaven. One thing is sure-God, Who created neither sin nor death, wills not that you be bound by them. He knows of neither sin nor its results. The shrouded figures in the funeral procession march not in honor of their Creator, Whose Will it is they live. They are not following it; they are opposing it.
 
81 And what is the black-draped body they would bury? A body which they dedicated to death, a symbol of corruption, a sacrifice to sin, offered to sin to feed upon and keep itself alive-a thing condemned, damned by its maker, and lamented by every mourner who looks upon it as himself. You who believe you have condemned the Son of God to this are arrogant. But you who would release him are but honoring the Will of his Creator. The arrogance of sin, the pride of guilt, the sepulcher of separation-all are part of your unrecognized dedication to death. The glitter of guilt you laid upon the body would kill it. For what the ego loves, it kills for its obedience. But what obeys it not, it cannot kill.
 
82 You have another dedication which would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose. The body no more dies than it can feel. It does nothing. Of itself, it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing. It is the result of a tiny mad idea of corruption which can be corrected. For God has answered this insane idea with His own, an Answer which left Him not and therefore brings the Creator to the awareness of every mind which heard His Answer and accepted it.
 
83 You who are dedicated to the incorruptible have been given through your acceptance the power to release from corruption. What better way to teach the first and fundamental principle in a course on miracles than by showing you the one which seems to be the hardest can be accomplished first? The body can but serve your purpose. As you look upon it, so will it seem to be. Death, were it true, would be the final and complete disruption of communication which is the ego's goal.
 
84 Those who fear death see not how often and how loudly they call to it and bid it come to save them from communication. For death is seen as safety, the great dark savior from the light of truth, the answer to the Answer, the silencer of the Voice that speaks for God. Yet the retreat to death is not the end of conflict. Only God's Answer is its end. The obstacle of your seeming love for death that peace must flow across seems to be very great. For in it lies hidden all the ego's secrets, all its strange devices for deception, all its sick ideas and weird imaginings. Here is the final end of union, the triumph of the ego's making over creation, the victory of lifelessness on Life Itself.
 
85 Under the dusty edge of its distorted world, the ego would lay the Son of God, slain by its orders, proof in his decay that God Himself is powerless before the ego's might, unable to protect the life that He created against the ego's savage wish to kill. My brothers, children of our Father, this is a dream of death. There is no funeral, no dark altars, no grim commandments nor twisted rituals of condemnation to which the body leads you. Ask not release of it. But free it from the merciless and unrelenting orders you laid upon it and forgive it what you ordered it to do. In its exaltation you commanded it to die, for only death could conquer life. And what but insanity could look upon the defeat of God and think it real?
 
86 The fear of death will go as its appeal is yielded to love's real attraction. The end of sin, which nestles quietly in the safety of your relationship, protected by your union, ready to grow into a mighty force for God, is very near. The infancy of salvation is carefully guarded by love, preserved from every thought that would attack it and quietly made ready to fulfill the mighty task for which it was given you. Your newborn purpose is nursed by angels, cherished by the Holy Spirit, and protected by God Himself. It needs not your protection; it is yours. For it is deathless, and within it lies the end of death.
 
87 What danger can assail the wholly innocent? What can attack the guiltless? What fear can enter and disturb the peace of sinlessness? What has been given you, even in its infancy, is in full communication with God and you. In its tiny hands, it holds in perfect safety every miracle you will perform, held out to you. The miracle of life is ageless, born in time but nourished in eternity. Behold this infant to whom you gave a resting-place by your forgiveness of each other, and see in it the Will of God. Here is the babe of Bethlehem reborn. And everyone who gives him shelter will follow him, not to the cross, but to the Resurrection and the Life.
 
88 When anything seems to you to be a source of fear, when any situation strikes you with terror and makes your body tremble and the cold sweat of fear comes over it, remember it is always for one reason-the ego has perceived it as a symbol of fear, a sign of sin and death. Remember then that neither sign nor symbol should be confused with source, for they must stand for something other than themselves. Their meaning cannot lie in them but must be sought in what they represent. And they may thus mean everything or nothing, according to the truth or falsity of the idea which they reflect. Confronted with such seeming uncertainty of meaning, judge it not. Remember the holy Presence of the One given to you to be the Source of judgment. Give it to Him to judge for you, and say:

89 Take this from me and look upon it, judging it for me.
    Let me not see it as a sign of sin and death
    Nor use it for destruction.
    Teach me how not to make of it an obstacle to peace,
    But let You use it for me to facilitate its coming.
 
 

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