Lesson 230
The Forgotten Song
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8 Listen---perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember from just this little part how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.  
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What is Forgiveness
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   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 Handscript of ACIM September 21, 1970

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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 230
Now will I seek and find
the peace of God.

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   In peace I was created. And in peace  
   do I remain. It is not given me
   to change my Self. How merciful is God
   my Father, that when He created me
   He gave me peace forever. Now I ask
   but to be what I am. And can this be
   denied me when it is forever so?

    Father, I seek the peace you gave as mine
    in my creation. What was given then
    must be here now, for my creation was
    apart from time and still remains beyond
    all change. The peace in which Your Son was born
    into Your Mind is shining there unchanged.
    I am as You created me. I need
    but call on You to find the peace You gave.
    It is Your Will that gave it to Your Son.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Now will I seek and find the peace of God.

Sarah's Commentary:  

It is important to recognize in this Lesson that the state of peace and happiness is not something we need to achieve. Yearning for peace is based on the belief that we do not have it in us now. It denies the reality that the peace and joy we seek have been given us by a merciful God and given us forever. "What was given then must be here now, for my creation was apart from time, and still remains beyond all change." (W.230.2.2)
The Atonement Principle guarantees that we cannot change the truth of what we are. "It is not given me to change my Self." (W.230.1.3) When we do not have peace, we are actually choosing against it. This is the case every time we choose the ego thought system, which is a choice to listen to our specialness and our attack thoughts, rather than the Thought of God. If I am upset, I am actually choosing to be separate from the love that I am. And if I stay upset, then I am stubbornly resisting surrendering my story. It seems insane to choose against our own peace, and it is. Our very identity in this world carries with it the insanity of the ego thought system. It is the belief that the innocent, unlimited Son of God could make of itself a separate, lacking, and limited self. Why do we continue to hold onto our limited beliefs? We hold onto them because we have a fear of God's Will. We abandoned Him, but now we blame Him for abandoning us. In other words, we project onto Him our own self-abandonment. Now we see Him as a punishing God, Who we no longer trust because we believe He wants to extract from us what we value and want to hold onto.
What we value most is our individual will. We think that we will have to sacrifice everything that is ours to this "god" made-up by the ego. The final obstacle to peace is the fear of God. The mind is split and is in conflict between the truth of what we are---always and forever at peace as we were created and remain---and the part of the mind that the ego has taken over. In our minds are both the belief in separation (the ego) and the memory of Oneness (the Holy Spirit). "The ego's goal is as unified as the Holy Spirit's, and it is because of this that their goals can never be reconciled in any way or to any extent. The ego always seeks to divide and separate. The Holy Spirit always seeks to unify and heal." (T.7.IV.5.1-3) (ACIM OE T.7.V.36)
So while we seek peace, we are actually afraid of it. This puts us in conflict with ourselves. Total peace means the end of our specialness, the end of our unique personality, and the end of the body identification to which we are attached. This brings up fear, but we must remember that we are not being hurled into reality. The Course is very practical. It offers us a daily process of undoing the thought system of the ego that keeps us in hell. "The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace." (T.5.III.9.4) (ACIM OE T.5.V.41)
We do whatever we can to fulfill our needs, based on our idea of what will bring us peace and happiness and avoid pain. When we see that this will never bring us what we want, we pursue real peace by following guidance and trusting in the path set out for us. However, while we straddle two separate and distinct thought systems, we will experience conflict. We continue to seek for happiness in the world and yet blame the world for our condition; and at the same time, we try to follow the teachings of Jesus and release our misperceptions about ourselves. The result is inconsistency in the way we experience our day.
We say we want God as our only goal and we want the healing of our minds, yet we stubbornly hold onto our perspectives, argue for our positions, and demand that our needs be met at the expense of others. We cannot stubbornly hold onto our perspectives while still showing up fully in our own lives. The answer is to choose the Holy Spirit more and more consistently so that joy and peace can be more prevalent in our lives. This requires considerable vigilance. Clearly, once on this path, the choice to revert entirely to egoic thinking is no longer possible. Once we have started on this path, it is like we have swallowed the blue pill (The Matrix) and have said "yes" to the Call. Now it is impossible to make a total reversal back to the ego dictates. The "blue pill" has taken hold in our experience.
When we have an experience of the holy instant, it is an experience of the peace within us. Whenever we choose and value our ego goals instead, we bring this peace to an end. The peace is still in us, but we are blocking it. We are always choosing between the truth in us that brings peace, or the falsity that maintains our suffering. As I look at my concerns, my feelings of being overwhelmed, my excitement over plans I have, and the busyness of my life, I sometimes feel as if life is conspiring against me and actually robbing me of my peace, but it is just the ego's game. When my mind has made a choice for the ego, I become distracted by my thoughts and conflicting goals. It is all a set-up, but it is set up by me! We continue to choose it because we think we know our own best interests and want to maintain the separate self.
Jesus is showing us that we are not victims of external circumstances. He is showing us that all we have to do is learn to recognize the mind's choice by paying very close attention to our feelings and judgments. Every time we feel the loss of peace, whether it is in the form of anger, depression, irritation, anxiety, concern, distress of any kind, excitement, or frustration, we have once again made a decision for separation from love in the mind. By recognizing this, we can become more vigilant about the choice made by the mind to listen to the ego. We must now step away from our story about what we tell ourselves is the cause of our angst, accept our thoughts and feelings, turn them over to the Holy Spirit, and trust Him to do the rest.
It is only by this kind of attentiveness that we can undo our denial and let the Holy Spirit bring us to the truth. This is what salvation is all about---to be saved from our mistaken thoughts. But, like the miracle, salvation does nothing because nothing needs to be done. We are already perfect. We just need to bring our mistaken perceptions to the truth. When we become aware of how painful it is to choose the ego, we get very motivated to choose differently. Without this awareness and recognition, we become very confused about what seems to be coming at us. We feel like helpless victims of the world, but this victimhood is a way of not taking responsibility for our lack of peace. It is not because someone took it from us, but it is only because we have chosen to throw it away and blame our brothers for taking it. We blame and attack because we do not want to be responsible for our own condition. We would rather put the blame on conditions and circumstances that we believe are outside of our own minds, than put it on ourselves.
When we identify with our ego and our specialness, we will always feel guilt, which is inevitably projected in some form of judgment against ourselves and others. This happens very quickly. Because of the mind's speed in forgetting (denial), we do not even notice what we have done. This is why it appears that everything is coming from outside of our own minds. It is why we need to pay attention to our thoughts and become aware of our judgments because they show us that we have once again chosen separation.
We may judge ourselves when we are not at peace. We may feel like poor Course students, who aren't getting it. Yet both the conditions of peace and lack of peace are very valuable experiences for our learning. Through them, we can see how peace feels and how judgments cause us pain. Through these contrasts, we become aware of the choices we are making. When we are not at peace, it is for no other reason than we have chosen the ego. The world is just an outside picture of our inward condition. Thus, it is a reflection of the choice we have made in our minds of which voice we are listening to, the ego or the Holy Spirit. It is not helpful to judge ourselves, but it is helpful to look at our mistaken decisions. Everything can be used by the Holy Spirit. It all has value when used for healing purposes.
And now we conclude our section on "What is forgiveness?" (W.PII.Q1) "Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do, through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success." (W.PII.Q1.5.1) "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." (W.PII.Q1.5.3) We have not changed ourselves as a result of our foolish thoughts of sin. We can only become unaware of who we are. I love the line in Chapter 19 of the Text that says, "What you would still contain behind your little barrier and keep separate from your brother seems mightier than the universe, for it would hold back the universe and its Creator." (T.19.IV.A.3.7) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.42) That is precisely the power we have. It is our decision to choose illusion or the truth.
Through our healed perception, we share His function in the world. We are His manifestation in the world, bringing peace to other minds and offering kindness and gentleness; and by doing so, we know it is in us. It is, in fact, what we are in truth.
Love and blessings, Sarah 
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A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty One

The Inner Picture  
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Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio 
I. Introduction 

Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but will to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result, not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.
2 Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God. If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him. If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free. There is no choice that lies between these two decisions. And you will see the witness to the choice you made and learn from this to recognize which one you chose. [The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you and to accept as yours. And if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.]

II. The Imagined World 

3 Never forget the world the sightless "see" must be imagined, for what it really looks like is unknown to them. They must infer what could be seen from evidence forever indirect and reconstruct their inferences as they stumble and fall because of what they did not recognize, or walk unharmed through open doorways which they thought were closed. And so it is with you. You do not see. Your cues for inference are wrong, and so you stumble and fall down upon the stones you did not recognize, but fail to be aware you can go through the doors you thought were closed but which stand open before unseeing eyes, waiting to welcome you.
4 How foolish it is to attempt to judge what could be seen instead. It is not necessary to imagine what the world must look like. It must be seen before you recognize it for what it is. You can be shown which doors are open, and you can see where safety lies and which way leads to darkness, which to light. Judgment will always give you false directions, but vision shows you where to go. Why should you guess?
5 There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget. It is not this you would deny. Your question is whether the means by which this course is learned will bring to you the joy it promises. If you believed it would, the learning of it would be no problem. You are not happy learners yet because you still remain uncertain that vision gives you more than judgment does, and you have learned that both you cannot have.
6 The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome. And still believing this, they hold those lessons dear and cling to them because they cannot see. They do not understand the lessons keep them blind. This they do not believe. And so they keep the world they learned to "see" in their imagination, believing that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain. And everything they think is in it serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived.
7 Thus they define their life and where they live, adjusting to it as they think they must, afraid to lose the little that they have. And so it is with all who see the body as all they have and all their brothers have. They try to reach each other, and they fail and fail again. And they adjust to loneliness, believing that to keep the body is to save the little that they have. Listen and try to think if you remember what we will speak of now.
8 Listen---perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember from just this little part how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.
9 The notes are nothing. Yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you. You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.
10 Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity, forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.
11 This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well. Here is the sight of him who knows his Father. Here is the memory of what you are---a part of this, with all of it within and joined to all as surely as all is joined in you. Accept the vision which can show you this and not the body. You know the ancient song and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn [of love] the Son of God sings to his Father still.
12 And now the blind can see, for that same song they sing in honor of their Creator gives praise to them as well. The blindness which they made will not withstand the memory of this song. And they will look upon the vision of the Son of God, remembering who he is they sing of. What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in each other, you are remembering for everyone. 
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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