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70 Do you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that you are powerless? Being helpless is the cost of sin. Helplessness is sin's condition—the one requirement that it demands to be believed. Only the helpless could believe in it. Enormity has no appeal save to the little. And only those who first believe that they are little could see attraction there. Treachery to the Son of God is the defense of those who do not identify with him. And you are for him or against him; either you love him or attack him, protect his unity or see him shattered and slain by your attack.

VIII. PERCEPTION AND WISHES
Workbook for Students
Part II
What is the World?
1 The world is false perception. It is born of error, and it has not left its source. It will remain no longer than the thought which gave it birth is cherished. When the thought of separation has been changed to one of true forgiveness will the world be seen in quite another light, and one which leads to truth, where all the world must disappear and all its errors vanish. Now its source has gone, and its effects are gone as well.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 244
I am in danger nowhere
in the world.
1 Your Son is safe wherever he may be, for You are there with him. He need but call upon Your Name, and he will recollect his safety and Your Love, for they are one. How can he fear or doubt or fail to know he cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness when he belongs to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace?

2 And there we are in truth. No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God are we secure. For what can come to threaten God Himself or make afraid what will forever be a part of Him?
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VIDEO L244 Video

Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Text
Chapter 21
 The Inner Picture

VIII. Perception and Wishes
par 70-84
[TEXT READING PAUSED FOR WEEKEND]
70 Do you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that you are powerless? Being helpless is the cost of sin. Helplessness is sin's condition—the one requirement that it demands to be believed. Only the helpless could believe in it. Enormity has no appeal save to the little. And only those who first believe that they are little could see attraction there. Treachery to the Son of God is the defense of those who do not identify with him. And you are for him or against him; either you love him or attack him, protect his unity or see him shattered and slain by your attack.

71 No one believes the Son of God is powerless. And those who see themselves as helpless must believe that they are not the Son of God. What can they be except his enemy? And what can they do but envy him his power and by their envy make themselves afraid of it? These are the dark ones, silent and afraid, alone and not communicating, fearful the power of the Son of God will strike them dead and raising up their helplessness against him. They join the army of the powerless, to wage their war of vengeance, bitterness, and spite on him to make him one with them. Because they do not know that they are one with him, they know not whom they hate. They are indeed a sorry army, each one as likely to attack his brother or turn upon himself as to remember they thought they had a common cause.

72 Frantic and loud and strong the dark ones seem to be. Yet they know not their enemy, except they hate him. In hatred they have come together but have not joined each other. For had they done so, hatred would be impossible. The army of the powerless must be disbanded in the presence of strength. Those who are strong are never treacherous because they have no need to dream of power and to act out their dream. How would an army act in dreams? Any way at all. It could be seen attacking anyone with anything. Dreams have no reason in them. A flower turns into a poisoned spear, a child becomes a giant, and a mouse roars like a lion. And love is turned to hate as easily. This is no army, but a madhouse. What seems to be a planned attack is bedlam.

73 The army of the powerless is weak indeed. It has no weapons, and it has no enemy. Yes, it can overrun the world and seek an enemy. But it can never find what is not there. Yes, it can dream it found an enemy, but this will shift even as it attacks, so that it runs at once to find another and never comes to rest in victory. And as it runs, it turns against itself, thinking it caught a glimpse of the great enemy which always eludes its murderous attack by turning into something else. How treacherous does this enemy appear, who changes so it is impossible even to recognize him!

74 Yet hate must have a target. There can be no faith in sin without an enemy. Who that believes in sin would dare believe he has no enemy? Could he admit that no one made him powerless? Reason would surely bid him seek no longer what is not there to find. Yet first he must be willing to perceive a world where it is not. It is not necessary that he understand how he can see it. Nor should he try. For if he focuses on what he cannot understand, he will but emphasize his helplessness and let sin tell him that his enemy must be himself. But let him only ask himself these questions, which he must decide to have it done for him:

75 Do I desire a world I rule instead of one which rules me?

Do I desire a world where I am powerful instead of helpless?

Do I desire a world in which I have no enemies and cannot sin?

And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth? 

76 You have already answered the first three questions but not yet the last. For this one still seems fearful and unlike the others. Yet reason would assure you they are all the same. We said this year would emphasize the sameness of things that are the same. This final question, which is indeed the last you need decide, still seems to hold a threat the rest have lost for you. And this imagined difference attests to your belief that truth may be the enemy you yet may find. Here, then, would seem to be the last remaining hope of finding sin and not accepting power.

77 Forget not that the choice of truth or sin, power or helplessness, is the choice of whether to attack or heal. For healing comes of power and attack of helplessness. Whom you attack you cannot want to heal. And whom you would have healed must be the one you chose to be protected from attack. And what is this decision but the choice whether to see him through the body's eyes or let him be revealed to you through vision? How this decision leads to its effects is not your problem. But what you want to see must be your choice. This is a course in cause and not effect.

78 Consider carefully your answer to the last question you have left unanswered still. And let your reason tell you that it must be answered and is answered in the other three. And then it will be clear to you that, as you look on the effects of sin in any form, all you need do is simply ask yourself,

79 Is this what I would see? Do I want this?

80 This is your one decision; this the condition for what occurs. It is irrelevant to how it happens but not to why. You have control of this. And if you choose to see a world without an enemy in which you are not helpless, the means to see it will be given you.

81 Why is the final question so important? Reason will tell you why. It is the same as are the other three except in time. The others are decisions which can be made and then unmade and made again. But truth is constant and implies a state where vacillations are impossible. You can desire a world you rule which rules you not, and change your mind. You can desire to exchange your helplessness for power, and lose this same desire as a little glint of sin attracts you. And you can want to see a sinless world and let an "enemy" tempt you to use the body's eyes and change what you desire.

82 In content, all the questions are the same. For each one asks if you are willing to exchange the world of sin for what the Holy Spirit sees, since it is this the world of sin denies. And therefore those who look on sin are seeing the denial of the real world. Yet the last question adds the wish for constancy in your desire to see the real world, so the desire becomes the only one you have. By answering the final question "yes," you add sincerity to the decisions you have already made to all the rest. For only then have you renounced the option to change your mind again. When it is this you do not want, the rest are wholly answered.

83 Why do you think you are unsure the others have been answered? Could it be necessary they be asked so often, if they had? Until the last decision has been made, the answer is both "yes" and "no." For you have answered "yes" without perceiving that "yes" must mean "not no." No one decides against his happiness, but he may do so if he does not see he does it. And if he sees his happiness as ever changing, now this, now that, and now an elusive shadow attached to nothing, he does decide against it.

84 Elusive happiness, or happiness in changing form that shifts with time and place, is an illusion which has no meaning. Happiness must be constant because it is attained by giving up the wish for the inconstant. Joy cannot be perceived except through constant vision. And constant vision can be given only those who wish for constancy. The power of the Son of God's desire remains the proof that he is wrong who sees himself as helpless. Desire what you will, and you will look on it and think it real. No thought but has the power to release or kill. And none can leave the thinker's mind or leave him unaffected.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 244
I am in danger nowhere
in the world.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
As we watch the news reports coming from different parts of the world and see the devastation and havoc being created by wars and natural disasters, we can truly wonder about a Lesson that says, "I am in danger nowhere in the world." (W.244) It seems that we can suffer, be endangered, and experience feelings of vulnerability. It does look like storms can indeed come to threaten us, whether physically or psychologically. Yet today, we are assured that this is not the case. "Your Son is safe wherever we may be." (W.244.1.1) Who is it that is safe? In our seeming reality as a body and personality, we are vulnerable to attack, but our invulnerability is what we are as the Son of God.
 
Jesus reminds us that we are still with God. While in the dream, we can be hurt, although Jesus reminds us that we are not here at all. Our reality is outside of time and space, and when we look from above this battleground, or experience the holy instant, we recognize that we are the dreamer of our experiences and our problems and concerns have no reality.
 
What gave rise to the body in the first place was the belief that we attacked God. Thus, our biggest fear is of God, Whom we see as our enemy. We now believe that He will punish us for the attack the ego said we made on Him. Our fear of His retribution is the final obstacle we must overcome to know peace. It is our fear that we will be punished for having left our home in God. We see the world and our body as a place to hide from Him.
 
We use our experience in the world of being a victim of people and events to proclaim that we are not responsible for our condition. Instead, we blame our parents, teachers, partners, external conditions, and anything else in our story as responsible for our suffering. We now see ourselves as the innocent victim of an uncaring world. Jesus asks us to be wary of the temptation to see ourselves unfairly treated. We hold a desire to be hurt and betrayed because it allows us to proclaim our innocence at the expense of those whom we hold responsible; but it is a false innocence, purchased by holding others guilty.
 
The belief that we did great harm to Creation is a myth, playing out in the mind. It is a story made up by the ego and is not the truth. Our reality is invulnerable, and God is our loving Father with no ax to grind. The guilt in the mind is the result of buying into the myth that we could separate from His Love. The guilt held in the mind is projected out and now seen in the world. It is a world where we now feel vulnerable, alone, and separate from love. The world is not the cause of these feelings, but only the effect of what is in the mind. The reality is that we are eternally safe. We can know this when the belief in our limited, vulnerable, and separate self is undone.
 
When we believe that we are in danger, we employ all kinds of ways to try to keep ourselves safe. We ultimately know that it is a losing battle, but we tend to avoid this fact and do everything in our power to keep ourselves physically and psychologically safe. It takes a tremendous toll on us, and eventually, we succumb to the ravages of time. To be freed of this thought system of guilt and fear is to recognize that our reality is beyond this dream. Nothing can endanger what we are. The peace of God is in our minds. When we connect to the peace within, we bring a new awareness into the dream. We seem to be the same as everyone else, yet we reflect a peace and joy that is palpable to others. Thus, we become a demonstration of the decision that we have made for healing.
 
If the script is already written and everything has already happened, we can become more of the observer of the events from outside the dream, rather than as a dream figure in the dream. When we come to know that this fragile body is not what we are and that we cannot change anything regarding the chosen time of our passing into another realm, all the ways we try to keep ourselves safe will lose their power. Instead of seeing the body and the world as a place of danger, we can choose to see it, instead, as a place of maximum karmic opportunity. In this world, every situation provides us with another opportunity to release all thoughts of guilt and fear that keep us in a state of anxiety. Our only choice in the dream is the interpretation we give to every situation and every event. When we turn to the ego as our teacher to show us the meaning of any event, we experience guilt and fear, but with forgiveness, Jesus shows us that we can find true joy and peace.
 
Why would we choose suffering when we have been given the means to release it? The only thing required of us is honesty and courage to take responsibility for our thoughts and bring them to the truth. The Holy Spirit does the rest. Is it a sacrifice to give up our suffering? As Byron Katie asks, "Who would you be without your anxiety?" Suffering offers us something we want, or we would give it up gladly. It is helpful to inquire how it is serving us. What we still cling to and think we want is, above all, our individuality and our specialness, and that is why guilt still holds an attraction for us.
 
To say that we choose suffering, unhappiness, and distress sounds far-fetched. Yet if we did not receive the payoff of individuality and specialness, we would simply release these feelings. While these thoughts fuel the ego and we still identify with our separate selves, we fear the loss of this self. Thus, we resist releasing our investment in suffering. Have you noticed how the mind holds onto obsessive thoughts? We tell stories of how justified we are in feeling the way we do. We justify our fear and our anger. We try to get others to side with our stories, which, in our minds, simply give more credence to our version of events. Isn't it wonderful that we truly have a choice to bring our awareness to what we are getting from our suffering and to make a different decision? It is that simple, even though it does require discipline and effort on our part. We need to stay vigilant in watching our thoughts and having the desire and willingness to release them to the Holy Spirit, Who will do the rest.
 
As we were reminded in the Lesson yesterday, this process requires great honesty and courage. If we are defending and justifying, we are not being honest. Honesty requires that we take total responsibility. "This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies: I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked." (T.21.II.2.1-5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.14-15)
 
We all have experienced many miracles, and with each shift, we realize that this Course is not about blind faith. We increasingly see that as we apply the Lessons to the day-to-day events, situations, and people in our lives, we experience a shift in how we see things. Sometimes it seems that the changes are little by little, and at other times, a whole new level of awareness rushes in like a wave crashing onto the shore. Regardless of how we see our progress, it does not matter. The reality is, each time we forgive, we are peeling away another layer of false perception.
 
We don't need the other person in a relationship to participate in the healing. It only takes one. As we are told in Chapter 5, "Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur." (T.5.III.2.8) (ACIM OE T.5.V.33) I remember when my ex-husband stood at my door and asked me, apparently out of the blue, if he could hug me and proceeded to tell me what a wonderful job I had done with raising our son. This came years after our divorce when I had released the many grievances I had held against him. The interesting thing is that the shift in the relationship does not come on our timetable or by our request. It comes when there is total openness, willingness, and readiness to receive it. We may think we have done the work, but until we are ready and willing to have healing be the only desire of our heart, the ego will still demand that things be different. Everything in our lives is all quite perfect and in perfect timing for our healing, no matter what it looks like.
 
Miracles are not under our control. All we have to do is our small part. Yes, sometimes it seems to take years. Other times, months or weeks go by before we see this kind of evidence of healing, but time is quite irrelevant to it all. It is not about our timetable, and it is not what shows up in form, but it is the peace that is our gift the instant healing is received. We may never know the impact of our healing on others, but it does not matter. What matters is the choice we are making in each moment, which is the choice for the grievance or for the miracle, for the ego or the Holy Spirit. And with each choice for forgiveness, more healing is brought to the world.
 
We don't need to try to understand it. As Jesus says, "Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit's plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is." (T. 9.IV.6.3) (ACIM OE T.9.III.15) Miracles witness to our healing. It is important we bring our attention and awareness to the miracles, or they may go by unnoticed. "Miracles demonstrate that learning has occurred under the right guidance, for learning is invisible and what has been learned can be recognized only by its results." (T.12.VII.1.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.61)
 
Today, I choose gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me, for His presence goes with me. Let us be grateful for the haven of protection always surrounding us and embracing us. We can be confident that healing is always available to us when we are ready to accept it. We hold that same confidence in our brothers and sisters. They too have the same truth available within them. We are not to judge anyone’s path. It is unique for each of us.
 
When we enable anyone, it is false sympathy, which is never helpful. Our interference may, in fact, be taking their classroom away from them. Our only responsibility is to accept the Atonement (the healing) for ourselves. Yes, we continue to offer support to others as guided, but we do so while still remembering who they are and holding the truth about them in our awareness. Thus, we become a messenger of peace.
 
We remember today to call on God when we experience feelings of fear and vulnerability. We remind ourselves that we cannot be endangered because the truth is, we are already home with God. Calling on God is simply a reminder of the truth within and all around us. Our reality is perfectly safe and protected. Feel His embrace. Nothing can touch you, as your reality is outside of the dream. Set your focus in the morning on being willing to accept the Correction, and remember to go through the day with the Lesson firmly held in your mind. Whenever any kind of fear comes up, any kind of anxiety, nervousness, or frustration where you feel your security threatened in any way, remember to call on God and to feel yourself resting in His embrace, forever safe, loved, and happy. Nothing can reach you or harm you in this place. To call on God is to remember the truth about ourselves. Calling on the ego means we think we know what it is we need in order to save ourselves. All this does is take us further from the truth and keep us rooted in the dream. This is the choice in front of us in each moment.
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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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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