Lesson 248
Because They Are the Same
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64 This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your minds are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. For when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realize that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same. Joy is unlimited because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself. There is no difference anywhere in it, for every thought is like itself.   
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What is the World
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   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  

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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 248
Whatever suffers is not part of me.
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   I have disowned the truth. Now let me be
   as faithful in disowning falsity.
   Whatever suffers is not part of me.
   What grieves is not myself. What is in pain
   is but illusion in my mind. What dies
   was never living in reality,
   and did but mock the truth about myself.
   Now I disown self-concepts and deceits
   and lies about the holy Son of God.
   Now am I ready to accept him back
   as God created him, and as he is.
    Father, my ancient love for You returns,
    and lets me love Your Son again as well.
    Father, I am as You created me.
    Now is Your Love remembered, and my own.
    Now do I understand that they are one.  
          ~ Original Handscript of ACIM   
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Whatever suffers is not part of me.

Sarah's Commentary:  
We believe that we have committed a dreadful sin in having separated from God, and so we had to run away from His punishment for our perceived sin. We made our escape into the body and the world where God could not enter, and we are now in competition with all other bodies, trying to get our needs met. We have bought into the deception of the ego, which gives rise to all desiring and manifesting. Yet what I see as myself is not of God's creation but a false self, consisting of nothing more than long-held beliefs and concepts that I hold as true. They all come from past conditioning that has not been fully investigated and questioned. Jesus asks that we bring these concepts and beliefs that we hold in the mind to reason. He says that "The introduction of reason into the ego ' s thought system is the beginning of its undoing, for reason and the ego are contradictory." (T.22.III.1.1) (ACIM OE T.22.IV.29) He goes on to say that reason is the beginning of vision, which has nothing to do with the body's eyes that were made to focus all our attention outside of ourselves. Who I think I am is a mistaken identity. It consists of thoughts, values, concepts, and beliefs that have not been brought to reason. When these false concepts of ourselves are released, then "reason and the ego separate, to go their separate ways." (T22.III.1.10) (ACIM OE T.22.IV.29)
The ego has taken up residence in our holy pristine minds. Jesus describes it as the stranger who has walked into our holy home with our full permission! "There is a stranger in him, who wandered carelessly into the home of truth and who will wander off." (T.20.III.7.2) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.22) We have made adjustments to its demands, but it is a cruel master. This is good news because we won't tolerate the ego when we see how it keeps us from true peace and joy. Listen to how it speaks to you, berating you for all your mistakes, crucifying you for not doing things right, and obsessively driving you to distraction with its chatter.
Yet we are the ones who give it permission to enter our minds, so we are the ones who can make it unwelcome and can ask it to leave. Until we do, this stranger seems to have a powerful hold on us because we have invested belief in it, thinking it is what we are. "Ask not this transient stranger, 'What am I'?" (T.20.III.7.5) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.23) The stranger does not know. What it does know is that it has an "enemy." This "enemy" threatens it because it is the one who can withdraw support and investment in it. It is the decision-making mind. We will surely choose to dismiss this stranger (the ego) when we see it is the basis for all our suffering. Jesus reminds us that faith can move mountains, but it is nothing compared to the power we have used to imprison ourselves by identifying with this stranger. We can now use this power to release the stranger, reclaim our holy home, and free the holy Self that we have imprisoned.
We all want happiness, peace, and love. This desire has kept us searching, but we have been searching where peace is not to be found. We have been searching outside ourselves in the things of this world. We had hoped to find it in our special relationships, a new job, a new house, prestige, and power in the world, or in our accomplishments. It keeps us constantly asking, "What's the next thing?" Achieving what we think we want in the world will give us temporary pleasure and moments of satisfaction, but ultimately, it all leads to suffering. We suffer because pleasure can't last, and we end up chasing more and greater pleasures until we recognize the cost to us. Pleasure seeking is what the ego would have us pursue endlessly to keep us rooted in this illusion. We seek things outside ourselves in order to feel complete. Because we believe we are lacking, we try to fill the sense of lack we feel with whatever we can.
The ego has an agenda, kept from our awareness, which is: "Seek but do not find." (T.16.V.6.5) (ACIM OE T.16.VI.48) I had so many hopes and dreams in my youth of what a happy life would look like, yet everything I tried to do ended the same way-in disillusionment. No matter what success I found, I was not feeling the peace and joy I was seeking. Yes, in the eyes of the world, I had many reasons to be happy, but I never experienced the deep peace that can only come from getting in touch with the truth within. It has been such a gift to open up to the truth within. Oh, yes, it has been painful along the way to discovering the truth of my Self. To learn that special relationships start out beautifully but lose their luster and attractiveness was a hard and painful lesson, but it is all part of this spiritual journey. Everything has served perfectly to bring me to where we I currently am. When life brings us to our knees, or at least some level of disillusionment, we are more motivated and ready to listen to another Voice.
Difficult events and circumstances in our lives are what bring us to a place of deep inquiry and questioning about the meaning of life. In the questioning, ultimately, the answers are provided. When we think we know, we are not open to a new way of seeing. For some of us, it requires a great deal of pain to come to this place of readiness. Whatever amount of pain it takes to open us to reach out for help is whatever is in our script. Thus, it is all ultimately perfect. No, the ego does not see it this way, but the spirit rejoices.
Throughout this journey, the Holy Spirit is in constant communication with us, but our own voice has been drowning out the quiet Call within. Throughout this Course, we are being told again and again that we are unlimited, have never sinned, and are eternal beings who cannot die. The truth about us is that we are wholly powerful and glorious. The decision-maker in the mind listens to the ego or the Holy Spirit and chooses which it will believe. When we read, "Whatever suffers is not part of me," (W.248) it means that I can withdraw my belief in suffering, grief, and pain, but do I want to? It does seem like a silly question. I think I don't want to suffer, yet if I am suffering, there is some payoff that I am getting from the suffering. I get to be right about my belief that I truly am a victim of the world I see. I can pretend the suffering that I am experiencing comes from outside of me. I can relish the idea that I am unfairly treated and make myself right about the way I see things.
The clearest example of this for me came when my husband died and I was feeling a lot of grief. Then at some point when the pain of grief had been lived for some time, I had the realization that the grief I was experiencing was a decision I was making and I could choose to be done with it. I realized I could choose to be happy in spite of his death. I considered more deeply what Jesus tells us, that outside of this dream there is no death. Death is a mockery of God, proving Him wrong. Yes, the body can die, but who we are cannot. It was quite a revelation for me. I could withdraw my investment in sadness anytime I decided to do so. It felt very empowering to feel the attachment to my husband, to feel the loss, and yet to make a choice to be happy. When I found moments of happiness during this time, the ego would tell me that I should feel guilty about being happy. Its version of events was that if I did not mourn, it was an indication that I did not love him. Yet now I could look at the guilt with the love of Jesus and see it was the trickery of the ego to keep me in despair. The ego gives us so many reasons to maintain our suffering.
Some might say this is denial, and indeed, we are denying that sadness and grief are a part of something true about us, and all that we are disowning is the belief in suffering. We are disowning "self-concepts and deceits and lies about the holy Son of God." (W.248.1.7) We have long denied the truth about our reality as the Son of God. We have denied it by accepting falsity into our minds. We have come to believe that the false is true. Suffering, sadness, grief, worry, jealousy, insecurity, unworthiness, self-judgment, and self-hate are all aspects of something we have come to accept as true and part of the human condition.
We are not asked to deny whatever we are feeling, only to deny that these feelings define us. We are asked to recognize that they are ultimately not the truth about us. Now we look at our feelings and free ourselves by bringing awareness to them. The light of the Holy Spirit will bring us release from them when we willingly bring our concerns to His gentle love.
Not only do the big events in our lives bring about suffering and sadness, but we are told by Jesus, "It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos." (T.24.III.3.1) (ACIM OE T.24.IV.28) Isn't this how it is? Don't we so often suffer, worry, agitate, and obsess about the seemingly small things that come our way? But it does not matter whether they seem big or small. Anything that takes away our peace is the same. All problems are the same. There is no order of difficulty in the illusion. All illusion, no matter how big or small, holds back the light of truth in us when we give it the power to do so.
We are called to "Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom," (T.6.V.C) (ACIM OE T.6.C) and to be as vigilant against the ego as we are for God. Jesus tells us we must be "faithful in disowning falsity." (W.248.1.2) Who we are in truth is not what we have made of ourselves. We have worked very hard to develop a concept of ourselves that is "adjusted to the world's reality." (T.31.V.1.1) (ACIM OE T.31.V.42) In the world, when we do this well, we are considered mature. "The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self, and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach 'maturity' you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands." (T.31.V.1.5-7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.43) Yet now we are working on the undoing of this self-concept as it is a lie about who we really are and aims to keep us deceived by trying to convince us we are something we are not.
" There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: 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.17.6-7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60) Yet when we learn this, it is the beginning of our awakening to the truth about ourselves. "And What you are will tell you of Itself." (T.31.V.17.9) (ACIM OE T.31.V.61) We will come to know, "I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy Sinlessness Itself, for in my purity abides His Own." (W.PII.Q14.1.1-6)
It frightens us to let go of the self-concepts that we have made. Surrendering to love means letting go of who we currently think we are. It is to recognize that we are the observer of the pain and suffering that we experience, and we can choose to withdraw our belief in it. We fear this loss of self, but Jesus assures us that we will not be hurled into reality. It is a process of opening up to the truth as quickly or slowly as our fear will allow. There is no need to rush. In fact, if we think we are not going fast enough, it is a judgment on ourselves that is not helpful. We are in charge of the process. Jesus is our guide and helper. The process begins to loosen the identification we have with the ego and gives welcome to the Self we have disowned. (W.248.1.1) Choosing to suffer blocks our "ancient love" for our Father, (W.248.2.1) which is always there, but not in our awareness. In fact, when we are suffering, sad, or grieving, we blame God. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we make Him responsible for bringing this turmoil into our lives. In this Lesson, we are being reminded that God has never wanted this for us. We chose this for ourselves. We chose to become something we are not. We chose to take on this false identity.
"You are wholly lovely. A perfect shaft of pure light. Before your loveliness, the stars stand transfixed and bow to the power of your will. What do children know of their creation, except what their Creator tells them? You were created above the angels because your role involves creation as well as protection. You who are in the image of the Father need bow only to Him before Whom I [Jesus] kneel with you." [from "Absence from Felicity", pg. 19]
Our love for God is so powerful that we are actually afraid of it. We cover it over with distractions, deceits, and lies. Our fear is of our redemption. [Fear of Redemption T.13.III, ACIM OE T.12.III] The pull of this attraction is so strong in us that it actually takes effort to resist. "For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish." (T.13.III.3.3) (ACIM OE T.12.III.13) But what is required of us is not to hide any suffering from His sight. "Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover." (T.13.III.7.5) (ACIM OE T.12.III.17) Only in this way can He restore us to our magnitude.
I am as I was created, perfect and serene, and whatever suffers is not a part of me. Today, we loosen our minds from identification with lies and deceits about ourselves. Let us feel the power of our ancient love for God and His for us, as we pray: "Father, my ancient love for You returns, and lets me love Your Son again as well. Father, I am as You created me. Now is Your Love remembered, and my own. Now do I understand that they are one." (W.248.2.1-4)
This same love in us is extended to our brothers when the ego blocks are released. We will not recognize what we have received until we share it and extend it. This is the only way to embody in us what we have received.

Love and blessings, Sarah 
A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty Two

Salvation and the Holy Relationship 
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VII. Freedom and the Holy Spirit 
51 Do you want freedom of the body or of the mind? For both you cannot have. Which do you value? Which is your goal? For one you see as means; the other, end. And one must serve the other and lead to its predominance, increasing its importance by diminishing its own. Means serve the end, and as the end is reached, the value of the means decreases, eclipsed entirely when they are recognized as functionless. No one but yearns for freedom and tries to find it. Yet he will seek for it where he believes it is and can be found. He will believe it possible of mind or body, and he will make the other serve his choice as means to find it.
52 Where freedom of the body has been chosen, the mind is used as means whose value lies in its ability to contrive ways to achieve the body's freedom. Yet freedom of the body has no meaning, and so the mind is dedicated to serve illusions. This is a situation so contradictory and so impossible that anyone who chooses this has no idea of what is valuable. Yet even in this confusion, so profound it cannot be described, the Holy Spirit waits in gentle patience, as certain of the outcome as He is sure of His Creator's love. He knows this mad decision was made by one as dear to His Creator as love is to itself.
53 Be not disturbed at all to think how He can change the role of means and end so easily in what God loves and would have free forever. But be you rather grateful that you can be the means to serve His end. This is the only service which leads to freedom. To serve this end, the body must be perceived as sinless because the goal is sinlessness. The lack of contradiction makes the soft transition from means to end as easy as is the shift from hate to gratitude before forgiving eyes. You will be sanctified by one another, using your bodies only to serve the sinless. And it will be impossible for you to hate what serves what you would heal.
54 This holy relationship, lovely in its innocence, mighty in strength, and blazing with a light far brighter than the sun which lights the sky you see, is chosen of your Father as a means for His own plan. Be thankful that it serves yours not at all. Nothing entrusted to it can be misused, and nothing given it but will be used. This holy relationship has the power to heal all pain, regardless of its form. Neither of you alone can serve at all. Only in your joint will does healing lie. For here your healing is and here will you accept Atonement. And in your healing is the Sonship healed because your wills are joined.
55 Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, "This was a mistake." And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given! Each part of Heaven that you bring is given you. And every empty place in Heaven that you fill again with the Eternal Light you bring shines now on you. The means of sinlessness can know no fear because they carry only love with them.
56 Children of peace, the light has come to you. The light you bring you do not recognize, and yet you will remember. Who can deny himself the vision that he brings to others? And who would fail to recognize a gift he let be laid in Heaven through himself? The gentle service that you give the Holy Spirit is service to yourself. You who are now His means must love all that He loves. And what you bring is your remembrance of everything that is eternal. No trace of anything in time can long remain in minds that serve the timeless. And no illusion can disturb the peace of a relationship which has become the means of peace.
57 When you have looked upon each other with complete forgiveness from which no error is excluded and nothing kept hidden what mistake can there be anywhere you cannot overlook? What form of suffering could block your sight, preventing you from seeing past it? And what illusion could there be you will not recognize as a mistake-a shadow through which you walk completely undismayed? God would let nothing interfere with those whose wills are His[. And they will recognize their wills are His, because they serve His Will] and serve it willingly. And could remembrance of what they are be long delayed?
58 You will see your value through each other's eyes, and each one is released as he beholds his savior in place of the attacker who he thought was there. Through this releasing is the world released. This is your part in bringing peace. For you have asked what is your function here and have been answered. Seek not to change it nor to substitute another goal. [This one was given you and only this.] Accept this one and serve it willingly, for what the Holy Spirit does with the gifts you give each other, to whom He offers them, and where and when is up to Him. He will bestow them where they are received and welcomed. He will use every one of them for peace. Nor will one little smile or willingness to overlook the tiniest mistake be lost to anyone.
59 What can it be but universal blessing to look on what your Father loves with charity? Extension of forgiveness is the Holy Spirit's function. Leave this to Him. Let your concern be only that you give to Him that which can be extended. Save no dark secrets that He cannot use, but offer Him the tiny gifts He can extend forever. He will take each one and make of it a potent force for peace. He will withhold no blessing from it nor limit it in any way. He will join to it all the power that God has given Him to make each little gift of love a source of healing for everyone. Each little gift you offer to the other lights up the world. Be not concerned with darkness; look away from it and toward each other. And let the darkness be dispelled by Him Who knows the light and lays it gently in each quiet smile of faith and confidence with which you bless each other.
60 On your learning depends the welfare of the world. And it is only arrogance that would deny the power of your will. Think you the Will of God is powerless? Is this humility? You do not see what this belief has done. You see yourself as vulnerable, frail, and easily destroyed and at the mercy of countless attackers more powerful than you. Let us look straight at how this error came about, for here lies buried the heavy anchor that seems to keep the fear of God in place, unmovable and solid as a rock. While this remains, so will it seem to be.
61 Who can attack the Son of God and not attack his Father? How can God's Son be weak and frail and easily destroyed unless his Father is? You do not see that every sin and every condemnation which you perceive and justify is an attack upon your Father. And that is why it has not happened nor could be real. You do not see that this is your attempt because you think the Father and the Son are separate. And you must think that they are separate because of fear. For it seems safer to attack another or yourself than to attack the great Creator of the universe, whose power you know.
62 If you were one with God and recognized this oneness, you would know His power is yours. But you will not remember this while you believe attack of any kind means anything. It is unjustified in any form because it has no meaning. The only way it could be justified is if each one of you were separate from the other, and all were separate from your Creator. For only then would it be possible to attack a part of the creation without the whole, the Son without the Father, and to attack another without yourself or hurt yourself without the other feeling pain. And this belief you want. Yet wherein lies its value except in the desire to attack in safety? Attack is neither safe nor dangerous. It is impossible. And this is so because the universe is one. You would not choose attack on its reality if it were not essential to attack to see it separated from its maker. And thus it seems as if love could attack and become fearful.
63 Only the different can attack. So you conclude because you can attack you must be different. Yet does the Holy Spirit explain this differently. Because you are not different, you cannot attack. Either position is a logical conclusion if only the different can attack. Either could be maintained, but never both. The only question to be answered to decide which must be true is whether you are different. From the position of what you understand, you seem to be and therefore can attack. Of the alternatives, this seems more natural and more in line with your experience. And therefore it is necessary that you have other experiences more in line with truth to teach you what is natural and true.
64 This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your minds are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. For when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realize that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same. Joy is unlimited because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself. There is no difference anywhere in it, for every thought is like itself.
65 The light that joins you shines throughout the universe, and because it joins you, so it makes you one with your Creator. And in Him is all creation joined. Would you regret you cannot fear alone when your relationship can also teach the power of love is there, which makes all fear impossible? Do not attempt to keep a little of the ego with this gift. For it was given you to be used and not obscured. What teaches you you cannot separate, denies the ego. Let truth decide if you be different or the same and teach you which is true.
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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