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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.

V. OBSTACLES TO PEACE
The Fourth Obstacle:
The Fear of God
Workbook for Students
Part II
Introduction
1 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 the times in which we leave the world of pain and go to enter peace. Now we begin to reach the goal this course has set and find the end toward which our practicing was geared

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Workbook for Students
Part II
What is Forgiveness?
1 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 about 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.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 222
God is with me.
I live and breathe* in Him.
1 God is with me. He is my Source of life, the life within, the air I breathe, the food by which I am sustained, the water which renews and cleanses me. He is my home, wherein I live and move, the Spirit Which directs my actions, offers me Its Thoughts, and guarantees my safety from all pain. He covers me with kindness and with care and holds in love the Son He shines upon, who also shines on Him. How still is he who knows the truth of what He speaks today!

2 Father, we have no words except Your Name upon our lips and in our minds as we come quietly into Your Presence now and ask to rest with You in peace a while.

*Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] follows the original handscript:
"God is with me. I live and breathe in Him."
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Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Text
Chapter 19
 Beyond the Body

V. Obstacles to Peace
[PAUSED FOR WEEKEND]
d. The Fourth Obstacle: The Fear of God 90-96
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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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 222
God is with me.
I live and move* in Him.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
When Jesus says God is the air I breathe, the food by which I am sustained, and the water which renews and cleanses me, he is talking in beautiful metaphors. It is a way of saying that God is our Source of life, and since we think of life as being sustained by food, water, and air, our sustenance by God is akin to that. We experience the body as our home. We want God to join us in our reality to make our lives happier. In other words, we want to add spirituality to our lives so we can hold onto what we value about our lives yet still include God. Spirituality thus becomes an add-on to our lives.
 
To awaken is to remember that our only home and our only happiness is in God. Healing is not about bringing more light to the darkness. It is about bringing our false thoughts (our darkness) to the light. It is only in this way that the veil is lifted so we can experience transformation and come to know our reality.
 
What we think of as life is not what it is. The truth is that we have no life but God's. I function as if I were contained in a body and separate from others, trying to find my way in the world, trying to be successful at what I do, and doing my best to be happy. I try to be as good as I know how to be toward people around me and do my best to try to find my way back to God. But magnitude can only be experienced when we surrender our idea of finding God. This requires a strong focus and desire for Truth. Where is the desire to know your holiness in your list of what you want?
 
We cannot come to God if we think we know the way. "Think not that you can find salvation in your own way and have it. Give over every plan you have made for your salvation in exchange for God’s." (T.15.IV.2.5-6) (ACIM OE T.15.V.36) We must trust that the way will open to us, as we are willing to forgo our plans and undo all that stands in the way. It is the simple recognition that we have never left Him. There is nowhere to go. Our only job is to bring awareness to what blocks us from the light. This means that we must look at our thoughts, recognize our judgments, notice our grievances, and see how we defend against the truth. "It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No one but yourself affects you." (W.190.5.1-4)
 
The truth is in our right minds. Our Teacher, the Holy Spirit within, is always available to us. His presence becomes known to us when the motivation is strong to release the obstacles that block the truth. We must want the truth in order to commit ourselves to this process. The undoing of false perception is a choice. It all starts with willingness.
 
The first part of the Workbook is about undoing our wrong-minded perception. Through this process, we are given an opportunity to see that there is another option available to us. Until we were given this teaching in which the two thought systems in our minds were described, we were only aware of the voice of the ego, which seemed to be the only voice in us. This voice constitutes the conditioned mind. Now we are aware of another Voice within us that can only be heard when the voice of the ego is set aside. The voice of the ego speaks first, is obsessive, loud, and persistent. Training and discipline are required to ignore this voice because it is very familiar to us and seems to be what we are.
 
When Jesus says, "He is my home, wherein I live and move," (W.222.1.3) it is again a statement of our true home with God from which we have never separated in truth. I remember, as a little girl sitting in church, asking God to reveal Himself to me, and when I did not get any "sign", I finally gave up on the whole notion of God, even though somewhere inside I always had a strong sense of a spiritual presence. I did not know where to look to get some confirmation of the feeling of this presence. I did not know to look in my own mind. I did not know the presence of God was as close to me as my own breath. I did not know that it was a matter of uncovering the unforgiving thoughts in my mind so Love would be revealed to me as my Self. My life is God's Life. My right-minded thoughts are God's thoughts. There is no one to seek and no one to save us. We must do the work of undoing what we have made that keeps us from the awareness that we are One with Him---now. All we need to do is to apply this teaching to our daily lives and His Presence in us can then be experienced. What a relief that is! What a comfort!
 
Take in the words, "He covers me with kindness and with care, and holds in love the Son He shines upon, who also shines on Him." (W.222.1.4) These are such powerfully loving thoughts. I think of God offering safety in all circumstances, always holding me up and protecting me, no matter how the situation might look. Feel the power and beauty this thought conveys and know this can only come as a result of a deep contentment. When we are not content and feel restless, we seek for something that we can never find. This is the substitute reality that Jesus talks about, where we turn to idols of specialness that we think will make us happy. Until we learn where our peace and happiness lie, we will keep looking for it where it cannot be found. We finally become disillusioned, which is a good thing. It can be a gift that takes us in a new direction to find a better way. The answer is given when the mind is open and willing to listen within.
 
Loneliness has been such a big part of my life, and it certainly is a condition of the state of separation. Yet now I have a growing recognition and acceptance that I am truly never alone. He walks with me and always has. Having an experience of His presence ends the longing. Knowing the steps to take to open up to the awareness of His presence, which are clearly laid out in this Course, reconnect us to our hearts. Any feelings of being cut off, of being alone in the world, of having no support, and of being separate from everyone else are healed in this process when we lay them on the inner altar to be healed. The Holy Spirit does the work of dissolving what we bring to His healing Light. We cannot fix ourselves. We must trust that it is done without our interference.
 
We make but one choice over and over again in the Course. It is the choice to remember who we are. We are making this one choice over a series of small steps that we take, but it is always the same choice. We are always choosing between truth and illusion, between love and fear, between forgiveness and attack, and between Heaven and hell. There is no urgency, no rush, and no expectation put on us, as we remember to be loving and gentle with ourselves in this process. Feeling guilty for any lack of progress is still part of the ego game to keep us in hell.
 
It is hard to remember that it is not helpful to think that we can judge or fix ourselves or try to make ourselves holy; but we can look at these thoughts and smile with recognition at their nothingness. We just need to be willing to look at them unflinchingly and then turn them over. Looking from outside of the dream, with the love of Jesus, we can smile, as we recognize that the characters in the dream and the situations we encounter are all illusory. Yes, they seem very serious to us in the experience of the dream, but from a higher vantage point, with no judgments of good or bad and right or wrong, we can see it all differently. Indeed, it all becomes a perfect classroom for healing, as long as we keep our minds focused on the blessing available behind every seeming problem.
 
We are now attempting to go beyond words to experience, as we continue to do the forgiveness work by clearing the thoughts that come up in our minds and disturb our peace. We enter the holy instant so we can bring peace with us into the world wherever we go today. If we lose our peace because of someone or something that seems to disturb us, we redirect our thoughts, remembering that "God is with me. I live and move in Him." (W.222)
 
It does not matter how busy we are with the doings of the world. The focus is not on what we are doing but what thoughts we are holding in our minds as we do what we do. Thoughts that block our awareness of the truth are what we bring to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to help us. We do this by constantly asking for guidance. "Holy Spirit, help me to see this situation from Your perspective. Help me to know how to respond. Help me not to use my own idea of what to do. Guide me in what to say and what to do. Show me the way." With our willingness, in each moment that we turn to Him, the ego becomes increasingly irrelevant. To use time in this way is to use it for a higher purpose. Time can waste us as well as be wasted. "The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted." (T.1.V.2.1-2) (ACIM OE T.1.I.87)
 
Let us be reminded, as in paragraph two of the Section "What is Forgiveness?" (W.PII.Q1.2.1), all we need to do today with any judgments we make is to raise them to doubt. "Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking?" (T.30.I.12.3-4) (ACIM OE T.30.II.26) We question our judgments by affirming, "I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself." (T.31.V.17.7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60) Thus, we raise to doubt our need to be right about everything and instead open ourselves to happiness. "Do you prefer that you be right [about the way you set up reality] or happy" (T.29.VII.1.9) (ACIM OE T.29.VIII.43) by remembering the truth of who you are and who your brother is? We raise our judgments to doubt. We acknowledge that the way we have set up reality, and have stubbornly refused to question our perceptions, has kept us in hell. Perhaps there is another way to look at this situation or this person. Perhaps I have been wrong. Perhaps I have been stubbornly choosing against my own happiness because I justified my way of seeing this situation or this person. Now I am giving up my opinions and my need to be right. I am stepping back from my stories and not justifying my interpretations.
 
“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequence of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.” (T.5.VII.6.7-11) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.96)
 
Releasing our way allows us to be shown another way. To see God is to see our brother's holiness. We can only experience our brother’s innocence by releasing our grievances. We have many people in our lives with whom we can practice this. They include our parents, children, siblings, partners, politicians, and all of our special love and special hate relationships. Our special function in this world is all about forgiving these special relationships that are part of our curriculum. We do so by looking at our thoughts, judgments, beliefs, and attitudes toward them as they come up and willingly releasing them to the Holy Spirit. This is the work of forgiveness that we are here to do. All these thoughts are projections coming from our own minds, based on our own self-judgments, self-hatred, and self-attacks. They are what we do not want to acknowledge in ourselves, so we project onto others and see the guilt in them. All we see in anyone is an outward picture of our own inner condition. We are not at the mercy of the world. We need do nothing but look at our thoughts and be willing to surrender them. It requires desire and courage to be very honest with ourselves. When we find our mind defending, denying, justifying, or projecting, we must remember that we are choosing to be right, rather than happy.
 
We cannot do the forgiveness work without understanding the metaphysics of the Course. It makes no sense to be told, "Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred" (W.PII.Q1.1.1) when we are so certain that we are right about what our brother has done, based on our senses. Our senses were made to keep our focus outward on the world. The whole point here is to recognize that there is no world and that we are all figures in a dream. Thus, what I see "out there" is just a thought projected from my mind and acted out in my brother, based on a false idea of God's Son as a separate being and different from me. Instead of seeing with my eyes, made by the ego to show me a world that does not exist, Jesus is asking me to look through his eyes and to doubt how I see anything. It requires giving up the idea that I am right. It means raising my judgments to doubt. "It [forgiveness or the miracle ] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.1.3)
 
Jesus talks about this in the Manual for Teachers, in the Section "Open-Mindedness," (M.4.X) as follows: "As judgment shuts the mind against God's Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf." (M.4.X.1.3‑4) (ACIM OE M.4.23)
 
Every time we let a brother off the hook for what we think that he has done, we release him from the prison we have put him in. It takes a willingness on our part to let go of our own distorted perceptions. To be open-minded is to close the door on our own interpretations and only be open to those of the Holy Spirit. "Father, my mind is open to Your Thoughts, and closed today to every thought but Yours." (W.PII.236.2.1) This transition, from our judgment of guilt to the Holy Spirit's verdict of innocence, is just another way of talking about forgiveness.
 
If we ever thought we had achieved complete forgiveness with someone, according to this Section in the Manual, we have not and will not until we reach the end of the journey. So let us not get discouraged about our progress in the Course. As long as we are here, we have work to do in releasing our judgments. Welcome this opportunity, instead of judging yourself for your judgments. "Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum."  (M.4.X.2.9) (ACIM  OE M.4.24)
 
"Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. " (W.189.7.1­3)
 
With judgment set aside, "What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God. " (W.PII.Q1.1.7)

*Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] follows the original handscript:
"God is with me. I live and breathe in Him."
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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Allen Watson's
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:




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