Lesson 221
Lifting of the Veil
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d. The Fourth Obstacle: The Fear of God 
91 The fourth obstacle to be surmounted hangs like a heavy veil before the face of Christ. Yet as His face rises beyond it, shining with joy because He is in His Father's Love, peace will lightly brush the veil aside and run to meet Him and to join with Him at last. For this dark veil, which seems to make the face of Christ Himself like to a leper's and the bright rays of His Father's love which light His face with glory appear as streams of blood, fades in the blazing light beyond it when the fear of death is gone.

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Workbook Part II Introduction
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   Words will mean little now. We use them but
   as guides on which we do not now depend,
   for now we seek direct experience
   of truth alone. The lessons which remain
   are merely introductions to your times
   in which you leave the world of pain and go,
   and enter into peace. Now we begin
   to reach the goal this course has set, and find
   the end towards which our practicing was geared.
   Now we attempt to let the exercise
   be merely a beginning. For we wait
   in quiet expectation for our God
   and Father. He has promised He will take
   the final step Himself. And we are sure
   His promises are kept. We have come far
   along the road. And now we wait for Him.
   We will continue spending time with Him
   each morning and at night, as long as makes
   us happy. We will not consider time
   a matter of duration now. We use
   as much as we will need for the result
   that we desire. Nor will we forget
   our hourly remembrance, in between
   calling to God when we have need of Him
   as we are tempted to forget our goal.
   We will continue with a central thought
   for all the days to come. And we will use
   that thought to introduce our times of rest,
   and calm our minds at need. Yet we will not
   content ourselves with simple practicing
   in the remaining holy instants which
   conclude the year that we have given God.
   We say some simple words of welcome, and
   expect our Father to reveal Himself
   as He has promised. We have called on Him,
   and He has promised that His Son will not
   remain unanswered when he calls on Him.
   Now do we come to Him with but His Word
   upon our minds and hearts. And wait for Him
   to take the step to us that He has told
   us, through His Voice, He would not fail to take
   when we invited Him. He has not left
   His Son in all his madness, nor betrayed
   His trust in him. Has not His faithfulness
   earned Him the invitation that He seeks
   to make you happy? We will offer it,
   and it will be accepted. So our times
   with Him will now be spent. We say the words
   of invitation that His Voice suggests,
   and then we wait for Him to come to us.
   Now is the time of prophesy fulfilled.
   Now are all ancient promises upheld
   and fully kept. No step remains for time
   to separate from its accomplishment.
   For now we cannot fail. Sit silently
   and wait upon your Father. He has willed
   to come to you when you had recognized
   it is your will He do so. And you could
   have never come this far unless you saw,
   however dimly, that it is your will.
   I am so close to you we cannot fail.
   Father, we give these holy times to You
   in gratitude to Him Who taught us how
   to leave the world of sorrow, in exchange
   for its replacement given us by You.
   We look not backward now. We look ahead,
   and fix our eyes upon the journey's end.
   Accept these little gifts of thanks from us,
   as through Christ's vision we behold a world
   beyond the world we made, and take that world
   to be the full replacement for our own.
   And now we wait in silence, unafraid,
   and certain of Your coming. We have sought
   to find our way by following the Guide
   You sent to us. We did not know the way,
   but You did not forget us. And we know
   that You will not forget us now. We ask
   but that Your ancient promises be kept
   which are Your Will to keep. We will with You
   in asking this. The Father and the Son,
   Whose holy Will created all that is,
   can fail in nothing. In this certainty,
   we undertake these last few steps to You,
   and rest in confidence upon Your Love,
   Which will not fail Your Son, who called to You.
   And so we start upon the final part
   of this one holy year, which we have spent
   together in the search for truth and God,
   Who is its its one Creator. We have found
   the way He chose for us, and made the choice
   to follow it as He would have us go.
   His hand has held us up. His Thoughts have lit
   the darkness of our minds. His Love has called
   to us unceasingly since time began.
   We had a wish that God would fail to have
   the Son whom He created in Himself.
   We wanted God to change Himself, and be
   what we would make of Him. And we believed
   that our insane desires were the truth.
   Now we are glad that this is all undone,
   and we no longer think illusions true.
   The memory of God is shimmering
   across the wide horizons of our minds.
   A moment more, and It will rise again.
   A moment more, and we who are God's Son
   are safely home, where He would have us be.
   Now is the need for practice almost done.
   For in this final section we will come
   to understand that we need only call
   to God, and all temptations disappear.
   Instead of words, we need but feel His Love.
   Instead of prayers, we need but call His Name.
   Instead of judging, we need but be still
   and let all things be healed. We will accept
   the way God's plan will end, as we received
   the way it started. Now is it complete.
   This year has brought us to eternity.
   One further use for words we still retain.
   From time to time, instructions on a theme
   of special relevance will intersperse
   our daily lessons and the periods
   of wordless, deep experience which should
   come afterwards. These special thoughts should be
   reviewed each day, each one of them to be
   continued till the next is given you.
   They should be slowly read and thought about
   a little while, preceding one of the
   holy and blessed instants in the day.
   We give the first of these instructions now.
      ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  

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What is Forgiveness

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   Forgiveness recognizes what you thought
   your brother did to you has not occurred.
   It does not pardon sins, and make them real.
   It sees there was no sin. And in this view
   are all your sins forgiven. What is sin
   except a false idea of God's Son?
   Forgiveness merely sees its falsity,
   and therefore lets it go. What then is free
   to take its place is now the Will of God.
   An unforgiving thought is one which makes
   a judgment that it will not raise to doubt,
   although it is untrue. The mind is closed,
   and will not be released. The thought protects
   projection, tightening its chains, so that
   distortions are more veiled and more obscure;
   less easily accessible to doubt,
   and further kept from reason. What can come
   between a fixed projection and the aim
   that it has chosen as its needed goal?
   An unforgiving thought does many things.
   In frantic action it pursues its goal,
   twisting and overturning what it sees
   as interfering with its chosen path.
   Distortion is its purpose, and the means
   by which it would accomplish it as well.
   It sets about its furious attempts
   to smash reality without concern
   for anything that would appear to pose
   a contradiction to its point of view.
   Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still
   and quietly does nothing. It offends
   no aspect of reality, nor seeks
   to twist it to appearance that it likes.
   It merely looks and waits and judges not.
   He who would not forgive must judge, for he
   must justify his failure to forgive.
   But he who would forgive himself must learn
   to welcome truth exactly as it is.
   Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show
   you what to do through Him Who is your Guide,
   your Saviour and Defender, strong in hope
   and certain of your ultimate success.
   He has forgiven you already, for
   such is His function, given Him by God.
   Now must you share His function, and forgive
   whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees,
   and whom He honors as the Son of God. "
  ~ Original Hand Script September 21, 1970

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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 221
Peace to my mind.
Let all my thoughts be still.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

    Father, I come to You today to seek
    the peace that You alone can give. I come
    in silence. In the quiet of my heart,
    the deep recesses of my mind, I wait
    and listen for Your Voice. My Father, speak
    to me today. I come to hear Your Voice
    in silence and in certainty and love,
    sure You will hear my call and answer me.

   Now do we wait in quiet. God is here
   because we wait together. I am sure
   that He will speak to you and you will hear.
   Accept my confidence, for it is yours.
   Our minds are joined. We wait with one intent;
   to hear our Father's answer to our call,
   to let our thoughts be still and find His peace,
   to hear Him speak to us of what we are,
   and to reveal Himself unto His Son.
    ~ Original Handscript of ACIM

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA

Peace to my mind. Let all my thoughts be still.

Sarah's Commentary:   
Our Father comes to us in the stillness of our minds. In this stillness, we meet Him. It is our invitation to Him, and through our trust and faith, He is always there, as close as our breath. Left to itself, the mind continually ruminates on the past and focuses on the future. Thoughts go around and around in our minds until deep ruts develop in our thought processes, and we obsess about things that have happened, or we fear what might happen. This keeps us from the truth of who we are and keeps us from the peace that is ever-present but blocked by our thoughts.
"There is no peace except the peace of God." (W.220.1.1) Today, we seek this peace He alone can give. (W.221.1.1) For us to enter this place of silence and stillness takes a lot of mind training. When we started the Course, most of us were totally unaware there is a part of the mind outside of the ego thought system. Another way to look at this is to see that our egoic thoughts are like a software program somehow inserted into our hard drive. Thus, it elicits all kinds of feelings and reactions that seemed "natural." This is the nature of the conditioned mind, where we have learned we are something we are not. In other words, we have deceived ourselves as to who we really are. When our false thoughts about ourselves are changed, our experience in the world is also changed. We learn that changing our thoughts requires forgiveness. We are not exchanging one illusory thought for another, but we are becoming aware of our misperceptions and bringing them to the Holy Spirit. The darkness of our thoughts, when brought to the light of Truth, cannot remain.
This is what Course-based forgiveness is. It is about releasing judgments and about recognizing ". . . what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred." (W.PII.Q1.1.1) Of course, this would only make sense in the context of the world not being real. If everything, what we see in our brother is a projection of our own guilt, and bringing those projections back to our own mind is how the healing can happen. With it comes the recognition that we too are as guiltless as our brothers. When we no longer engage with our thoughts, but simply watch them go by, we can visit the silence within, where we are in communion with the Thought of God. This is a Thought of perfect peace, perfect stillness, and perfect quietness, where we rest from the seeming demands of the world and the body.
Jesus waits with us. He has joined us in our meditation time. "God is here, because we wait together." (W.221.2.2) Jesus asks us to accept his confidence. Why? He asks this because he says his confidence is ours. We are the same. "Our minds are joined." (W.221.2.5) There is no separation. Jesus is the symbol of the part of our minds that has accepted the truth. He says he is like us. The only difference between us is that we do not know we are equal to him. He is helping us to recognize this, as we learn from him to undo the ego thought system through forgiveness.
In Chapter 19, Jesus asks us to forgive him. "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?" (T.19.IV.B.6.4-6) (ACIM OE T.19. V.b.65) Why would he say this? He says this because if we perceive he has something we do not have, we are acknowledging separation as real. If he is innocent and the rest of us are guilty, it would mean deep down that we believe he has something we do not. If that is the case, it would mean he must be more special and thus guilty. Specialness in the Course is all about our brother taking something from us that rightly belongs to us. The undoing of this perception is what forgiveness is about. It is the recognition of our sameness with Jesus and all our brothers, without exception. How could there be differences with anyone, except in the dream, if we are all One Self? The process of forgiveness is the process of coming to the recognition day by day that we are the Christ Self.
This is how we come to know who we are as unlimited beings of light and love. We do so by applying this teaching to our everyday experiences and the people and situations we encounter in our lives. It is our way back to who we are. Yes, there is tremendous resistance because we are so invested in our individuality and specialness, which we defend vociferously. It is why Jesus urges us to be gentle with ourselves and to take the process step by step. Nothing is demanded of us. We can take all the time we need. We are not guilty if we have resistance or even if perhaps we need to lay the Course down for a while; but as we take the steps given to us daily, in these practices, they take us closer to the peace we crave.
We can only achieve real happiness through this kind of forgiveness, based on the willingness to look at the beliefs we hold. It is all about coming to the recognition that our judgments are always wrong. In fact, we must come to the recognition that everything we think is wrong. All of our thinking comes from being deceived in who we think we are. Byron Katie challenges our thinking by asking, "Who would you be without that thought?" We are now in touch with the Teacher within---the right mind that knows who we are. When we turn to Him, we are turning away from the incessant noise of the ego and trusting in guidance. We are not looking to the brain to figure things out, but we are asking more and more within---how are we to see this person, how are we to respond to this situation, and what are we to do with regard to this perceived problem.
We will not hear the Voice for Truth while our minds are in turmoil, but neither can we force stillness on our minds. Our job is only to look at our thoughts and feelings without judging them, denying them, repressing them, or projecting them. We bring these thoughts to awareness simply by looking at them without guilt or self-judgment, and then the Holy Spirit does the rest, as we willingly hand them over to Him. We cannot heal our own minds. This will defeat us because, by our own efforts to reach this stillness, we can only fail. We need to do the work of releasing our thoughts as they come up and asking for Jesus to join us in this process so we can reach the quiet center within, where all truth abides. Forgiveness is easy because it is done for us. Our part is only to bring the darkness to the light, and then trust that everything else will be done for us.
There is no need to do more than this. We do not need to understand anything further about the process. In fact, Jesus says, ". . . for this is but another way in which you would still try to keep understanding to yourself." (T.16.II.2.3) (ACIM OE T.16.III.11) And later he says, "You do not understand what you accepted, but remember that your understanding is not necessary." (T.18.III.4.11) (ACIM OE T.18.IV.27) We think we need to understand how all this happens, but again, Jesus says our problem is "You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is." (T.18.IV.7.5) (ACIM OE T.18.V.39) That is why we are told in Chapter 18 VII (ACIM OE VIII) "I Need do Nothing," meaning there is nothing we can do to change the truth of what we are. The only part we play is to bring the thoughts that block the truth of our Being to the light and keep surrendering what we think we know.
Today, when worry thoughts occupy your mind, or you feel anxious or distressed about anything, take a moment to step back, look at the thoughts, give up the story of what brought them about, accept the feelings, and trust that when given over to the Holy Spirit, you can now rest in God. When I feel upset about anything or start planning or obsessing about something, I remember this Lesson and find it is a wonderful invitation to my mind to step back and be willing to accept that I just don't know. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves over and over, as each interfering thought comes to obsessively occupy our minds, that we can choose peace. With practice, we can learn about letting these thoughts go. The thoughts have no substance, but when we hold onto them they obstruct our peace. Why would we want to keep them? It seems these thoughts have value to us or we would not hold onto them. The perceived value is that they define who we think we are, and they keep us invested in the illusion. That is precisely why we stubbornly insist on working out our own problems in form instead of turning to the quiet Answer. This is the nature of resistance. We think we know better.

In the introduction to the prayers in Part II of the workbook, we are told that:
"We say some simple words of welcome, and expect our Father to reveal Himself, as He has promised." (W.P.II.IN.3.3)
"We say the words of invitation that His Voice suggests, and then we wait for Him to come to us." (W.P.II.IN.4.6)
It is a prayerful time we spend in the introduction to the practice, where we speak directly to our Father, then wait with silent expectancy, bringing our minds back into focus with the Lesson when our thoughts start to wander. It takes practice, so do not be discouraged by your interfering thoughts. We are still practicing the process of watching our thoughts and releasing them to the truth.
While we still use our structured practice, our dependence on it may have diminished by now. It is still about staying vigilant throughout the day and being willing to continually invite the Holy Spirit in. We trust He is always there in every situation because He is in our minds. Increasingly, we are recognizing it is all mind. Everything and everyone we perceive is a reflection of our own mind. The Holy Spirit is simply a symbol of the light within our minds rather than some being separate from us.
And now we are looking at "What is Forgiveness?" (W.PII.Q1) as questions are answered for us in this second part of the workbook, where "Words will mean little now." (W.PII.IN.1.1)
I will comment further on this introduction and the question of forgiveness in the commentaries over the next few days.

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

    d. The Fourth Obstacle: The Fear of God

90What would you see without the fear of death? What would you feel and think if death held no attraction for you? Very simply, you would remember your Father. The Creator of life, the Source of everything that lives, the Father of the universe and of the universe of universes and of everything that lies even beyond them would you remember. And as this memory rises in your mind, peace must still surmount a final obstacle after which is salvation completed and the Son of God entirely restored to sanity. For here your world does end.
91 The fourth obstacle to be surmounted hangs like a heavy veil before the face of Christ. Yet as His face rises beyond it, shining with joy because He is in His Father's Love, peace will lightly brush the veil aside and run to meet Him and to join with Him at last. For this dark veil, which seems to make the face of Christ Himself like to a leper's and the bright rays of His Father's love which light His face with glory appear as streams of blood, fades in the blazing light beyond it when the fear of death is gone.
92 This is the darkest veil, upheld by the belief in death and protected by its attraction. The dedication to death and to its sovereignty is but the solemn vow, the promise made in secret to the ego never to lift this veil, not to approach it nor even to suspect that it is there. This is the secret bargain made with the ego to keep what lies beyond the veil forever blotted out and unremembered. Here is your promise never to allow union to call you out of separation; the great amnesia in which the memory of God seems quite forgotten; the cleavage of your Self from you- the fear of God, the final step in your dissociation.
93 See how the belief in death would seem to "save" you. For if this is gone, what can you fear but life? It is the attraction of death that makes life seem to be ugly, cruel, and tyrannical. You are no more afraid of death than of the ego. These are your chosen friends. For in your secret alliance with them, you have agreed never to let the fear of God be lifted so you could look upon the face of Christ and join Him in His Father.
94 Every obstacle that peace must flow across is surmounted in just the same way; the fear that raised it yields to the love beneath, and so the fear is gone. And so it is with this. The desire to get rid of peace and drive the Holy Spirit from you fades in the presence of the quiet recognition that you love Him. The exaltation of the body is given up in favor of the Spirit, which you love as you could never love the body. And the appeal of death is lost forever as love's attraction stirs and calls to you. From beyond each of the obstacles to love, Love Itself has called, and each has been surmounted by the power of the attraction of what lies beyond. Your wanting fear seemed to be holding them in place. Yet when you heard the voice of love beyond them, you answered and they disappeared.
95 And now you stand in terror before what you swore never to look upon. Your eyes look down, remembering your promise to your "friends." The "loveliness" of sin, the delicate appeal of guilt, the "holy" waxen image of death, and the fear of vengeance of the ego you swore in blood not to desert, all rise and bid you not to raise your eyes. For you realize that if you look on this and let the veil be lifted, they will be gone forever. All of your "friends," your "protectors," and your "home" will vanish. Nothing that you remember now will you remember.
96 It seems to you the world will utterly abandon you if you but raise your eyes. Yet all that will occur is you will leave the world forever. This is the reestablishment of your will. Look upon it open-eyed and you will nevermore believe that you are at the mercy of things beyond you, forces you cannot control, and thoughts that come to you against your will. It is your will to look on this. No mad desire, no trivial impulse to forget again, no stab of fear, nor the cold sweat of seeming death can stand against your will. For what attracts you from beyond the veil is also deep within you, unseparated from it and completely one.

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  Lesson 108
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