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CH 22 "SALVATION AND THE HOLY RELATIONSHIP"
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
VI. WEAKNESS AND DEFENSIVENESS
50 Forget not, when you feel the need arise to be defensive about anything, you have identified yourself with an illusion. And therefore feel that you are weak because you are alone. This is the cost of all illusions. Not one but rests on the belief that you are separate. Not one that does not seem to stand, heavy and solid and immovable, between you and your brother. And not one that truth cannot pass over lightly and so easily that you must be convinced, in spite of what you thought it was, that it is nothing. If you forgive each other, this must happen. For it is your unwillingness to overlook what seems to stand between you that makes it look impenetrable and defends the illusion of its immovability.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
WHAT IS THE WORLD
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
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
that 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 that 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.
The world was made as an attack on God.
It symbolizes fear. And what is fear
except love's absence? Thus the world was meant
to be a place where God could enter not,
and where His Son could be apart from Him.
Here was perception born, for knowledge could
not cause such insane thoughts. But eyes deceive,
and ears hear falsely. Now mistakes become
quite possible, for certainty has gone.
The mechanisms of illusion have
been born instead. And now they go to find
what has been given them to seek. Their aim
is to fulfill the purpose which the world
was made to witness and make real. They see
in its illusions but a solid base
where truth exists, upheld apart from lies.
Yet everything which they report is but
illusion which is kept apart from truth.
As sight was made to lead away from truth,
it can be redirected. Sounds become
the call of God. And all perception can
be given a new purpose, by the One
Whom God appointed Saviour to the world.
Follow His light, and see the world as He
beholds it. Hear His Voice alone in all
that speaks to you. And let Him give you peace
and certainty, which you have thrown away,
but Heaven has preserved for you in Him.
Let us not rest content until the world
has joined our changed perception. Let us not
be satisfied until forgiveness has
been made complete. And let us not attempt
to change our function. We must save the world.
For we who made it must behold it through
the eyes of Christ, that what was made to die
can be restored to everlasting life.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 247
Without forgiveness I will still be blind.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Sin is the symbol of attack. Behold
it anywhere, and I will suffer. For
forgiveness is the only means whereby
Christ's vision comes to me. Let me accept
what His sight shows me as the simple truth,
and I am healed completely. Brother, come
and let me look on you. Your loveliness
reflects my own. Your sinlessness is mine.
You stand forgiven, and I stand with you.
So would I look on everyone today.
My brothers are Your Sons. Your Fatherhood
created them, and gave them all to me
as part of You and my own Self as well.
Today I honor You through them, and thus
I hope this day to recognize my Self.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
Without forgiveness I will still be blind.
The Lesson today is about recognizing that if we see sin in anyone, we suffer. Jesus tells us, "Sin is insanity. It is the means by which the mind is driven mad, and seeks to let illusions take the place of truth." (W.PII.Q4.1.1-2) The belief in sin is what has driven us into the illusory world, and in this world of illusion, we experience suffering until we accept the Atonement. We project the sin that we have accepted into our own minds, and now we see it in others and attack it there. When we attack anyone, we are actually excluding ourselves from the kingdom. We are excluding ourselves from the love we are. We are blocking it from our awareness with our attacks, and thus we remain blind to Christ's vision, which sees and knows only innocence.
Today is a day for watching our thoughts as is our practice every day. If we are serious about wanting to wake up from this dream, we truly cannot harbor any thoughts of judgment, comparison, disapproval, anger, or specialness. Those thoughts will arise and yet we must be willing to let them go. When we recognize that we are responsible for our thoughts and they alone are the cause of all suffering, we will willingly let them go. Any feelings of unworthiness, sadness, fear, worry, and self-judgment are all thoughts of self-attack. It doesn't matter whether I direct these thoughts and feelings to others or to myself. They are the same. If I truly want correction for these thoughts and feelings, I have to first recognize them.
All correction and all healing are at the level of thought because this is where the problem arose---in the mind. Defenses are what keep us from looking at what we are thinking and feeling. What are we defending except the self-concept we identify with in the dream? The self-concept is the image of myself that I hold as true. When I am willing to look at my egoic thoughts, which are the cause of all of my attachments and all of my suffering, I take responsibility for them and now they can be healed. Jesus helps us see that they are all just mistaken ideas about ourselves and others. He gives us a new interpretation, reminding us that our interpretations are always wrong. The thoughts we hold do not define what we are. On the contrary, they keep us from the truth. They keep us blind. "Without forgiveness I will still be blind." (W.247)
Jesus calls on us to "Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear." (T.21.II.2.6-7) (ACIM OE T.21.III.16) We believe events outside of us "cause" us to have the thoughts and feelings that we do. We absolve ourselves of responsibility, believing that we are at the mercy of the world, but Jesus helps us to recognize that we are responsible for what we think and feel. We think every sane person would react exactly the same way as we have in the face of certain situations. We justify our perspectives and our positions and rationalize the way we feel about what seems to be occurring and what or who has upset us. Yet Jesus is very clear, "It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident." (T.21.II.3.2-3) (ACIM OE T.21.III.17) In other words, what we are experiencing right now, we have chosen and receive as we have asked. The beauty of accepting this fact as true is that it affirms the power that we have within us to make another choice.
There is no chance or accident in what seems to be happening to us. Everything we experience is already in the script of our lives. Everything is perfectly orchestrated as a classroom for our healing. If we accept this, we will not suffer. We do not know our own best interests. When we look back on our lives, we can see the perfection of our journey in bringing us to this place where we have said "yes" to healing our minds and where we have said "yes" to the Holy Spirit. It is all quite perfect, although it is not generally seen that way by the ego. The ego is afraid, but what it fears is music to the Spirit because it is a sign of hope that we are on the road to peace. If we want to release our unforgiving thoughts, we must watch our minds consistently for these thoughts. "No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal." (T.21.II.3.4-5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.17)
We bring pain to ourselves because we hold the idea that we deserve punishment because we believe we have sinned in leaving God and destroying Oneness. Oneness now seems to be out of reach. Instead, we see billions of separate forms in this world. Because of this belief in sin, we made a world of forms where we can now hide from the punishment we think we have coming to us. The good news that Jesus brings us is that we can return to the love buried in our minds. We do it by releasing our brothers from our belief that they are the source of our pain. By releasing them, we save ourselves, and thus we choose our own experience of release. As Jesus reminds us, "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.2.3-5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.15)
This is a very powerful thought, but it is one we are not entirely comfortable with. We would actually prefer to think of ourselves as victims of circumstances that we had nothing to do with. We tell ourselves that we didn't know what we were doing, or that we were oblivious to how this could come about. We tell ourselves that we did not mean to hurt anyone. Yet these excuses keep us from healing the mind. As Jesus tells us, we are actually choosing to be unaware. Everything that seems to happen to us, we have asked for. Why would we decide against our own happiness? Jesus acknowledges that no one would do such a thing unless he does not see what he does, and that is how we keep ourselves blind. Yet when the blinders are removed through forgiveness, we experience a beautiful world, shining with loveliness.
Think of the loveliness that you will see, who walk with Him! And think how beautiful will you and your brother look to the other! How happy you will be to be together, after such a long and lonely journey where you walked alone. The gates of Heaven, open now for you, will you now open to the sorrowful. And none who looks upon the Christ in you but will rejoice. How beautiful the sight you saw beyond the veil, which you will bring to light the tired eyes of those as weary now as once you were. How thankful will they be to see you come among them, offering Christ's forgiveness to dispel their faith in sin."
(T.22.IV.4.1-7) (ACIM OE T.22.V.41)
A Course in Miracles focuses only on the content in our minds, not on form or behavior. This content is either of the ego (sin and guilt) or Holy Spirit (love). Whether you are in a monastery or in a corporate office, it makes no difference. What does make a difference is whether we see our interests as different or the same as those of everyone else. Jesus encourages us to see our life circumstances and settings as a classroom in which we continue to learn the ego's curriculum, which is based on separation, or choose the Holy Spirit's curriculum, which is based on the undoing of separation. He teaches us to think always in terms of purpose. Are we using the world and our relationships to reinforce our belief in separation or to undo it? Thus, the world and the body are not the problem. The way we use them is the problem and it is always as a result of the choice we make in our minds---to be taught by the ego or by Jesus. What would be most helpful in any situation is to ask for help in undoing the specialness usually involved in the decisions we are making. This would go a long way toward removing the doubts and conflicts we experience. The curriculum of the ego and our choice for the ego as our guide keep us blind.
We regain our sight by forgiving our brothers and seeing the Christ in them. By continuing to project guilt, we keep ourselves blind. Forgiveness is the only answer. Through forgiveness, we see our brothers with Christ's vision. We see the loveliness of our brothers when we forgive them. Our blindness to the truth of who they are and who we are is healed. There is a sense of a joyous encounter in the lines, "Brother, come and let me look on you. Your loveliness reflects my own. Your sinlessness is mine. You stand forgiven, and I stand with you." (W.247.1.5-8) There is joy that comes from our eagerness to know the truth of our brother, to honor him, and to see everyone as a friend.
Let us carry this purpose into all of our encounters today. This is not a Lesson for a select few. It is to be applied to everyone with no exceptions. There is no "other." Everyone is me. I am my brother. Everyone I encounter gives me another opportunity to forgive, to see them with tenderness, and to know them intimately as my Self. Their souls shine forth beyond their mistakes when we can step outside of the dream and see with the eyes of Christ.
Our prayer today is to choose to see with the eyes of Christ, rather than our own, so we can look on everyone with love. We commit to waking up from this dream that we may recognize our brother as One with us. We make no exceptions today, being willing to apply this thought to everyone we meet or think about. By honoring our brother, we honor God. "Today I honor You through them, [my brothers] and thus I hope this day to recognize my Self." (W.247.2.4) We choose to remember today that if we are serious about waking up, we cannot crucify God's Son, but when we attack or judge anyone, we can choose the Correction offered by the Holy Spirit. We are not responsible for the error, only for the Correction.
Love and blessings, Sarah
Chapter Twenty Two
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
Salvation and the Holy Relationship
V. The Branching of the Road
38 When you come to the place where the branch in the road is quite apparent, you cannot go ahead. You
must go either one way or the other. For now if you go straight ahead, the way you went before you reached the branch, you will go
nowhere. The whole purpose of coming this far was to decide which branch you will take
now. The way you came no longer matters. It can no longer serve. No one who reaches this far
can make the wrong decision, but he
can delay. And there is no part of the journey that seems more hopeless and futile than standing where the road branches and not deciding on which way to go.
39 It is but the first few steps along the right way that seem hard, for you
have chosen, although you still may think you can go back and make the other choice. This is not so. A choice made with the power of Heaven to uphold it cannot
be undone. Your way
is decided. There will be nothing you will not be told if you acknowledge this.
40 And so you stand, here in this holy place, before the veil of sin that hangs between you and the face of Christ.
Let it be lifted! Raise it together, for it is but a veil that stands between you. Either alone will see it as a solid block, nor realize how thin the drapery that separates you now. Yet it is almost over in your awareness, and peace has reached you even here before the veil. Think what will happen after! The love of Christ will light your faces and shine from them into a darkened world that
needs the light. And from this holy place He will return with you, not leaving it nor you. You will become His messengers, returning Him unto Himself.
41 Think of the loveliness that you will see who walk with Him! And think how beautiful will each of you look to the other! How happy you will be to be together after such a long and lonely journey where you walked alone. The gates of Heaven, open now for you, will you now open to the sorrowful. And none who looks upon the Christ in you but will rejoice. How beautiful the sight you saw beyond the veil which you will bring to light the tired eyes of those as weary now as once you were. How thankful will they be to see you come among them, offering Christ's forgiveness to dispel their faith in sin.
42 Every mistake you make the other will gently have corrected for you, for in his sight your loveliness is his salvation which he would protect from harm. And each will be the other's strong protector from everything that seems to rise between you. So shall you walk the world with me, whose message has not yet been given to everyone. For you are here to let it be
received. God's offer still is open, yet it waits acceptance. From you who have accepted it is it received. Into your joined hands is it safely given, for you who share it have become its willing guardians and protectors.
43 To all who share the love of God, the grace is given to be the givers of what they have received. And so they learn that it is theirs forever. All barriers disappear before their coming, as every obstacle was finally surmounted which seemed to rise and block their way before. This veil you lift together opens the way to truth to more than you. Those who would let illusions be lifted from their minds are this world's saviors, walking the world with their Redeemer and carrying His message of hope and freedom and release from suffering to everyone who needs a miracle to save him.
44 How easy is it to offer this miracle to everyone! No one who has received it for himself could find it difficult. For by receiving it, he learned it was not given him alone. Such is the function of a holy relationship-to receive together and give as you received. Standing before the veil, it still seems difficult. But hold out your joined hands and touch this heavy-seeming block, and you will learn how easily your fingers slip through its nothingness. It is no solid wall. And only an illusion stands between you and the holy Self you share.
VI. Weakness and Defensiveness
45 How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they
contradict reality. They go against what must be true. The opposition comes from them and not reality. Reality opposes nothing. What merely
is needs no defense and offers none. Only illusions need defense because of weakness. And how can it be difficult to walk the way of truth when only weakness interferes?
You are the strong ones in this seeming conflict. And you need no defense. Everything that needs defense you do not want, for anything that needs defense will
46 Consider what the ego wants defenses
for-always to justify what goes against the truth, flies in the face of reason, and makes no sense. Can this
be justified? What can this be except an invitation to insanity to save you from the truth? And what would you be saved from but what you fear? Belief in sin needs great defense and at enormous cost. All that the Holy Spirit offers must be defended against and sacrificed. For sin is carved into a block out of your peace and laid between you and its return. Yet how can peace be so fragmented? It is still whole, and nothing has been taken from it.
47 See how the means and the material of evil dreams are nothing. In truth you stand together with nothing in between. God holds your hands, and what can separate whom He has joined as one with Him? It is your Father Whom you would defend against. Yet it remains impossible to keep love out. God rests with you in quiet, undefended and wholly undefending, for in this quiet state alone is strength and power. Here can no weakness enter, for here is no attack and therefore no illusions. Love rests in certainty. Only uncertainty can be defensive. And all uncertainty is doubt about
48 How weak is fear-how little and how meaningless! How insignificant before the quiet strength of those whom love has joined! This is your "enemy"-a frightened mouse that would attack the universe. How likely is it that it will succeed? Can it be difficult to disregard its feeble squeaks that tell of its omnipotence and would drown out the hymn of praise to its Creator which every heart throughout the universe forever sings as one? Which is the stronger? Is it this tiny mouse or everything that God created? You are not joined together by this mouse but by the Will of God. And can a mouse betray whom God has joined?
49 If you but recognized how little stands between you and your awareness of your union! Be not deceived by the illusions it presents of size and thickness, weight, solidity, and firmness of foundation. Yes, to the body's eyes it looks like an enormous solid body, immovable as is a mountain. Yet within you there is a Force which no illusions can resist. This body only seems to be immovable; this Force is irresistible in truth. What, then, must happen when they come together? Can the illusion of immovability be long defended from what is quietly passed through and gone beyond?
50 Forget not, when you feel the need arise to be defensive about anything, you have identified yourself with an illusion. And therefore feel that you are weak because you are alone. This is the cost of
all illusions. Not one but rests on the belief that you are separate. Not one that does not seem to stand, heavy and solid and immovable, between you and your brother. And not one that truth cannot pass over lightly and so easily that you must be convinced, in spite of what you thought it was, that it is nothing. If you forgive each other, this
must happen. For it is your unwillingness to overlook what seems to stand between you that makes it look impenetrable and defends the illusion of its immovability.
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