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CH 23 "THE WAR AGAINST YOURSELF"
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
6 Nothing around you but is part of you. Look on it lovingly, and see the light of Heaven in it. So will you come to understand all that is given you. In kind forgiveness will the world sparkle and shine and everything you once thought sinful now will be reinterpreted as part of Heaven. How beautiful it is to walk clean and redeemed and happy through a world in bitter need of the redemption that your innocence bestows upon it! What can you value more than this? For here is your salvation and your freedom. And it must be complete if you would recognize it.
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 249
Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Forgiveness paints a picture of a world
where suffering is over, loss becomes
impossible and anger makes no sense.
Attack is gone, and madness has an end.
What suffering is now conceivable?
What loss can be sustained? The world becomes
a place of joy, abundance, charity
and endless giving. It is now so like
to Heaven that it quickly is transformed
into the Light which it reflects. And so
the journey which the Son of God began
has ended in the Light from Which he came.
Father, we would return our minds to You.
We have betrayed them; held them in a vise
of bitterness, and frightened them with thoughts
of violence and death. Now would we rest
again in You, as You created us.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.
When I read this lesson I think about Jesus and how those who witnessed the crucifixion experienced great suffering and loss. Yet Jesus did not see it that way. He saw it as an opportunity to teach forgiveness, as well as to demonstrate that he knew he was not a body in the same way as he teaches that we are not bodies. "I said before that the message of the crucifixion was, 'Teach only love, for that is what you are'." (T.6.III.2.4) (ACIM OE T.6.II.18) Through his demonstration, he offered us a symbol of a world where suffering is over and "loss becomes impossible." (W.249.1.1) He also showed us "anger makes no sense." (W249.1.1) When he was attacked, he showed nothing but love in return, which is why he asks us to take him as our model for learning. And the reason this was possible for him, according to what he taught, is that he could see the world from outside this dream, knowing his reality was not that of a figure in the dream, but an eternal being of light and love. The crucifixion was an extreme example for the world, and yet he says, "You are not asked to be crucified, which was part of my own teaching contribution. You are merely asked to follow my example in the face of much less extreme temptations to misperceive, and not to accept them as false justifications for anger." (T.6.I.6.6) (ACIM OE T.6.II.9)
The world we seem to live in is one where we see suffering and loss all around us and in our own lives. We hold the belief that anger and attack are a way to get what we think we want. It is a world defined by winners and losers. Attack and defense define our relationships in which we try to win at the expense of others. Because we recognize others want the same thing as we want and are committed to the same strategy, we now see ourselves being attacked, and so we put up all kinds of defenses. It is a world of pain, where suffering abounds, but we can only experience it in this way when we see ourselves as figures in this dream.
Forgiveness offers us the means to step outside of the illusion to above this battleground and observe the unreality of the drama of this world. What we see in the world is all just a projection of the attack thoughts in our own minds. The origin of these attack thoughts came with our attack on God, which resulted in having gained our separate selves. By gaining at God's expense, we now perceive attack can get us what we want, and thus we think it benefits us. Our attack thoughts are now projected onto the world. It appears to us that ideas have left their source in our own minds. Now, rather than seeing attack originating in our own minds, we see it in the world as a result of our projections. We prefer to see it this way so we don't have to take responsibility for the attack as coming from our own minds and can, instead, claim victimhood and see ourselves as unfairly treated by the world. Forgiveness shows us that when we bring awareness to our thoughts of attack and we become willing to be totally accountable for them, they are transformed by the Holy Spirit.
The attack thoughts we hold in the mind are the cause of
suffering and loss, yet the ego tells us to attack to get what we want and to defend ourselves as a way to alleviate our suffering. All that does is maintain the suffering. Jesus tells us that all our suffering is unforgiveness, even though we may attribute it to something else.
When we hold grievances, it is because we want something in the world to be different than it is. When our rules for how life should be are broken, grievances arise and with them come thoughts of attack. To free ourselves from this cycle of attack and defense, we need to bring every grievance, every thought of attack, every judgment, all conflict, and all blame to the Holy Spirit. It is important we take back our projections so we can know our own true power.
Our hate scares us so we deny and rationalize it, but Jesus talks about the importance of not denying our hateful thoughts because when we do, we can't bring them to the Holy Spirit to be released. Neither should we feel guilty about them. Rather, we should be grateful that they are showing up. When we look at them dispassionately, we will see that they are meaningless thoughts that do not define us. We need to do the work of forgiveness, or we will continue to suffer and suffering blocks the joy and peace in the mind. Yes, we will experience pain as we go through the process of uncovering the darkness in the unconscious mind. However, Jesus tells us that such pain is unnecessary and is generally part of this experience. Yet when we go through it with his presence next to us, we have the courage to look at our pain.
I had a dream last night that I said something untrue in order to aggrandize myself. The lie was about to be revealed and I suffered immensely, wondering how I could manage to keep this lie under wraps as it was about to be exposed. Waking up, I realized, with relief, that it was all a dream. I thought how interesting it was that I had created my own suffering simply with my meaningless thoughts. Isn't this what we do all the time? It may not seem to us that forgiveness is the answer for all suffering, but we need to recognize that course-based forgiveness is different than what we think of as forgiveness in the world because we are not forgiving anything real.
Jesus tells us that this world is a dream. It is all illusion. Nothing real has happened. Thus, our attacks have no real effects. Just like in my night-time dream, when we wake up, we see that we dreamt the whole experience. In this world too, we are just dream-figures, dreaming our experience here. This can only be seen when all our attack thoughts that are projected onto the world are released. In this context, we can see that anger truly has no justification. Getting angry is not wrong, but we need to see that there is no reason for the anger.
If I am angry at you for what you did in my nighttime dream, you would have to think this is nothing but insanity, since nothing has happened. In the same way, we learn to see what seemed to be done in this worldly dream as an attack on us does not justify our anger. Yes, you may have said something or done something intended to hurt me, but what does that really have to do with me? I don't have to see it as an attack. I don't have to take it personally. I can see it as your call for understanding and love. The fact is that you have expressed your anger at me, but it is a neutral event. Only my interpretation of your expression can upset me. If I do get hurt or feel angry and want to retaliate, it is an opportunity for me to see my own projection of the attack thoughts in my own mind.
When we are unforgiving, we frighten ourselves. Our minds are now in the grip of bitterness, which really is self-torture. This is why we are motivated to ask for help in bringing peace to our minds. When we give up the stories that keep our minds in bitterness, then suffering is replaced with joy, loss with abundance, attack with charity, and lack with endless giving. So with forgiveness, we release feelings of anger and hurt. We release the sense we have that we are not loveable. We release the past. It is only in the present that we can grow, expand, and truly shine. It is through forgiveness that we are truly born again because here we remember ourselves as we were created.
It is not always simple and easy for the twisted mind. We may have to really go deep into our experience and feel the pain, and when we do experience suffering, then calling on the loving support of the Holy Spirit becomes essential. That support is always available, waiting for our willingness and readiness to open ourselves to it. With each release, "The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving." (W249.1.5) It is not that the world actually becomes this, but we see in it a reflection of Heaven when our minds come to peace. And thus, we know ourselves as God created us---perfect and unlimited.
Forgiveness is ultimately about our own self-interest. When someone seems to have offended us, we think we need to defend ourselves, but as Byron Katie says, defense is the first statement of war. Instead, Jesus, our elder brother and teacher, has demonstrated for us that all attack is just a call for forgiveness because they know not what they do. He is not urging us to do something to please God. It is only for our own release that he urges us to follow his counsel, but it is entirely up to us. We are free to do as we choose.
Let us welcome the opportunities that show up in our day to find peace, happiness, abundance, and joy through forgiveness. Let us choose to free our minds from anger and attack by focusing on anyone that seems to be causing us difficulties today, and let us see it as an opportunity to see where healing is needed in our own minds. "Father we would return our minds to You. We have betrayed them, held them in a vise of bitterness, and frightened them with thoughts of violence and death. Now would we rest again in You, as You created us." (W.249.2.1-3)Pray the prayer with the desire to truly return your mind to the holiness within. It is all about releasing our imprisoned will.
Love and blessings, Sarah
Chapter Twenty Three
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
The War Against Yourself
1 Do you not see the opposite of frailty and weakness is sinlessness? Innocence is strength, and nothing else is strong. The sinless cannot fear, for sin of any kind is weakness. The show of strength attack would use to cover frailty conceals it not, for how can the unreal be hidden? No one is strong who has an enemy, and no one can attack unless he thinks he has. Belief in enemies is therefore the belief in weakness, and what is weak is not the Will of God. Being opposed to it, it is its "enemy." And God is feared as an opposing will.
2 How strange indeed becomes this war against yourself! You will believe that everything you use for sin can hurt you and become your enemy. And you will fight against it and try to weaken it because of this; and you will think that you succeeded and attack again. It is as certain you will fear what you attack as it is sure that you will love what you perceive as sinless. He walks in peace who travels sinlessly along the way love shows him. For love walks with him there, protecting him from fear. And he will see only the sinless, who can not attack.
3 Walk you in glory with your head held high, and fear no evil. The innocent are safe because they share their innocence. Nothing they see is harmful, for their awareness of the truth releases everything from the illusion of harmfulness. And what seemed harmful now stands shining in their innocence, released from sin and fear, and happily returned to love. They share the strength of love
because they looked on innocence. And every error disappeared because they saw it not. Who looks for glory finds it where it
is. Where could it be but in the innocent?
4 Let not the little interferers pull you to littleness. There
can be no attraction of guilt in innocence. Think what a happy world you walk with truth beside you! Do not give up this world of freedom for a little sigh of seeming sin nor for a tiny stirring of guilt's attraction. Would you, for all these meaningless distractions, lay Heaven aside? Your destiny and purpose are far beyond them in the clean place where littleness does not exist. Your purpose is at variance with littleness of any kind. And so it is at variance with sin.
5 Let us not let littleness lead God's Son into temptation. His glory is
beyond it, measureless and timeless as eternity. Do not let time intrude upon your sight of him. Leave him not frightened and alone in his temptation but help him rise above it and perceive the light of which he is a part. Your innocence will light the way to his, and so is yours protected and
kept in your awareness. For who can know his glory and perceive the little and the weak about him? Who can walk trembling in a fearful world and realize that Heaven's glory shines on him?
6 Nothing around you but is part of you. Look on it lovingly, and see the light of Heaven in it. So will you come to understand all that is given you. In kind forgiveness will the world sparkle and shine and everything you once thought sinful now will be reinterpreted as part of Heaven. How beautiful it is to walk clean and redeemed and happy through a world in bitter need of the redemption that your innocence bestows upon it! What can you value more than this? For here is your salvation and your freedom. And it must be complete if
you would recognize it.
II. The Irreconcilable Beliefs
7 The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness. The means of war are not the means of peace, and what the warlike would remember is not love. War is impossible unless belief in victory is cherished. Conflict within you must imply that you believe the ego has the power to
be victorious. Why else would you identify with it? Surely you realize the ego is at war with God. Certain it is it has no enemy. Yet just as certain is its fixed belief it
has an enemy that it must overcome and
8 Do you not realize a war against yourself would
be a war on God? Is victory conceivable? And if it were, is this a victory that you would
want? The death of God, if it were possible, would be
your death. Is this a
victory? The ego
always marches to defeat because it thinks that triumph over you is possible. And God thinks otherwise. This is no war-only the mad belief the Will of God can be attacked and overthrown. You may
identify with this belief, but never will it be more than madness. And fear will reign in madness and will seem to have replaced love there. This is the conflict's
purpose. And to those who think that it is possible, the means seem real.
9 Be certain that it is impossible God and the ego, or yourself and it, will
ever meet. You
seem to meet and make your strange alliances on grounds that have no meaning. For your beliefs converge upon the body, the ego's chosen home, which you believe is
yours. You meet at a mistake-an error in your self-appraisal. The ego joins with an illusion of yourself you
share with it. And yet illusions cannot join. They are the same, and they are nothing. Their joining lies in nothingness; two are as meaningless as one or as a thousand. The ego joins with nothing,
being nothing. The victory it seeks is meaningless as is itself.
10 Brothers, the war against yourself is almost over. The journey's end is at the place of peace. Would you not now accept the peace offered you here? This "enemy" you fought as an intruder on your peace is here transformed before your sight into the giver of your peace. Your "enemy" was God Himself, to Whom all conflict, triumph, and attack of any kind are all unknown. He loves you perfectly, completely, and eternally. The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger and proclaiming that it is part of itself no more.
11 Could nature possibly establish this and make it true? Nor
is it up to you to say what shall be part of you and what is kept apart. The war against yourself was undertaken to teach the Son of God that he is not himself and
not his Father's Son. For this, the memory of his Father
must be forgotten. It
is forgotten in the body's life, and if you think you are a body, you will believe you
have forgotten it. Yet truth can never be forgotten by
itself, and you have
not forgotten what you are. Only a strange illusion of yourself, a wish to triumph over what you are, remembers not.
12 The war against yourself is but the battle of two illusions, struggling to make them different from each other in the belief the one which conquers will be true. There
is no conflict between them and the
are they different from each other. Both are not true. And so it matters not what form they take. What made them is insane, and they remain part of what made them. Madness holds out no menace to reality and has no influence upon it. Illusions
cannot triumph over truth, nor can they threaten it in any way. And the reality which they deny is not a part of them.
is a part of you. For you
must be as God created you. Truth does not fight against illusions, nor do illusions fight against the truth. Illusions battle only with themselves. Being fragmented, they fragment. But truth is indivisible and far beyond their little reach. You will remember what you know when you have learned you cannot
be in conflict. One illusion about yourself can battle with another, yet the war of two illusions is a state where
nothing happens. There is no victor, and there is no victory. And truth stands radiant, apart from conflict, untouched and quiet in the peace of God.
14 Conflict must be between
two forces. It cannot exist between one power and nothingness. There is nothing you could attack that is not part of you. And
by attacking it, you make two illusions of yourself in conflict with each other. And this occurs whenever you look on anything that God created with anything but love. Conflict is fearful, for it is the
birth of fear. Yet what is born of nothing cannot win reality through battle. Why would you fill your world with conflicts with yourself? Let all this madness be undone for you and turn in peace to the remembrance of God, still shining in your quiet mind.
15 See how the conflict of illusions disappears when it is brought to truth! For it seems real only as long as it is seen as war between conflicting
truths, the conqueror to be the truer, the more real, and vanquisher of the illusion that was less real, made an illusion by defeat. Thus, conflict is the choice
between illusions, one to be crowned as real, the other vanquished and despised. Here will the Father
never be remembered. Yet no illusion can invade His home and drive Him out of what He loves forever. And what He loves must be forever quiet and at peace
because it is His home. And you who are beloved of Him are no illusions, being as true and holy as Himself.
16 The stillness of your certainty of Him and of yourself is home to both of you, who dwell as one and not apart. Open the door of His most holy home and let forgiveness sweep away all trace of the belief in sin that keeps God homeless and His Son with Him. You are not strangers in the house of God. Welcome your brother to the home where God has set him in serenity and peace and dwells with him. Illusions have no place where love abides, protecting you from everything that is not true. You dwell in peace as limitless as its Creator, and everything is given those who would remember Him. Over His home the Holy Spirit watches, sure that its peace can never be disturbed.
17 How can the resting-place of God turn on itself and seek to overcome the One Who dwells there? And think what happens when the house of God perceives itself divided. The altar disappears, the light grows dim, the temple of the Holy One becomes a house of sin. And nothing is remembered except illusions. Illusions can conflict because their forms are different. And they do battle only to establish which form is true.
18 Illusion meets illusion; truth, itself. The meeting of illusions leads to war. Peace, looking on itself, extends itself. War is the condition in which fear is born and grows and seeks to dominate. Peace is the state where love abides and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears. So is the memory of God obscured in minds that have become illusion's battleground. Yet far beyond this senseless war it shines, ready to be remembered when you side with peace.
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