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CH 23 "THE WAR AGAINST YOURSELF"
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
III. THE LAWS OF CHAOS
40 Brothers, take not one step in the descent to hell. For having taken one, you will not recognize the rest for what they are. And they will follow. Attack in any form has placed your foot upon the twisted stairway that leads from Heaven. Yet any instant it is possible to have all this undone. How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel? Is peace in your awareness? Are you certain which way you go? And are you sure the goal of Heaven can be reached? If not, you walk alone. Ask, then, your Friend to join with you and give you certainty of where you go.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WHAT IS SIN?
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Sin is insanity. It is the means
by which the mind is driven mad, and seeks
to let illusions take the place of truth.
And being mad, it sees illusions where
the truth should be, and where it really is.
Sin gave the body eyes, for what is there
the sinless would behold? What need have they
of sights or sounds or touch? What would they hear
or reach to touch? What would they sense at all?
To sense is not to know. And truth can be
but filled with knowledge, and with nothing else.
The body is the instrument the mind
made in its striving to deceive itself.
Its purpose is to strive. Yet can the goal
of striving change. And now the body serves
a different aim for striving. What it seeks
for now is chosen by the aim the mind
has taken as replacement for the goal
of self-deception. Truth can be its aim
as well as lies. The senses then will seek
instead the witnesses to what is true.
Sin is the home of all illusions, which
but stand for things imagined, issuing
from thoughts which are untrue. They are the "proof"
that what has no reality is real.
Sin "proves" God's Son is evil; timelessness
must have an end; Eternal Life must die.
And God Himself has lost the Son He loves,
with but corruption to complete Himself,
His Will forever overcome by death,
love slain by hate, and peace to be no more.
A madman's dreams are frightening, and sin
appears indeed to terrify. And yet
what sin perceives is but a childish game.
The Son of God may play he has become
a body, prey to evil and to guilt,
with but a little life that ends in death.
But all the while his Father shines on him,
and loves him with an Everlasting Love
which his pretenses cannot change at all.
How long, oh Son of God, would you maintain
the game of sin? Shall we not put away
these sharp-edged children's toys? How soon will you
be ready to come home? Perhaps today?
There is no sin. Creation is unchanged.
Would you still hold return to Heaven back?
How long, oh holy Son of God, how long?
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 253
My Self is ruler of the universe.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
It is impossible that anything
should come to me unbidden by myself.
Even in this world it is I who rule
my destiny. What happens is what I
desire. What does not occur is what
I do not want to happen. This must I
accept. For thus am I led past this world
to my creations, children of my Will,
in Heaven where my holy Self abides
with them, and Him Who has created me.
You are the Self Whom You created Son,
creating like Yourself and one with You.
My Self, Which rules the universe, is but
Your Will in perfect union with my own,
Which can but offer glad assent to Yours,
that It may be extended to Itself.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
My Self is ruler of the universe.
The Self that is the ruler of the universe is the Christ Self, and the universe is that of the spirit, not the physical universe. But, "Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny." (W.253.1.2) This is because the world reflects what I hold in my mind. What this looks like is that, at some level, we have invited everything that happens. It is all part of the script, all for our learning, and thus, all helpful. We might wonder why we would invite abuse, betrayal, or judgment in our dream? The reason is so we can see our projections and thus see the false self. We project onto others the self-attacking thoughts we hold in our own minds. We prefer to see others guilty and blame them, instead of taking responsibility for our own attack thoughts. The problem is that projection never works. We think we are getting rid of our guilt, but what we are seeing are the judgments we hold against ourselves reflected back at us. By projecting them onto others, we think we can stay safe and protected. We think we can claim our innocence while proclaiming others guilty.
We have chosen everything that seems to be happening to us. When we refuse to take responsibility, we conveniently blame everyone and everything outside of ourselves. The problem with this is that we are now helpless in the face of what seems to be done to us. When we accept responsibility, we realize that we are the ones who have the power within us to change the way we see things. When we are willing to take responsibility for our judgments, our unworthiness, and our lack of trust and acceptance of ourselves, the healing process can start. It is very empowering to come to recognize that we are the creators of our world. We resist this idea only because we have falsely learned that we are the victims of outside circumstances. The fact is, no one but ourselves is responsible for our happiness, or unhappiness. It all comes from the choice that we make in our own minds to perceive with the ego, or the Holy Spirit. Will I choose to see what seems to be happening, as an opportunity for healing my mind, or decide to blame and to crucify? This is always the choice in front of us.
Our minds are the cause and the world is the effect, and not the other way around. A good beginning to understanding this Lesson is provided to us in Chapter 21.II.2.3-5 (ACIM OE CH. 21.III.15) "Responsibility for Sight." Jesus tells us that we need to affirm: "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." This reflects what he tells us in this Lesson, "What happens is what I desire." (W.253.1.3) How can this be, we may wonder? Is it really possible that I have brought about everything that seems to be happening to me?
It is not an easy concept for us to embrace. It is because the idea of victimhood is so firmly held in our minds. Jesus says, "Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you." (T.21.II.2.6) (ACIM OE T.21. III.16) "It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. 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. 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. Be happy and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you." (T.21.II.3.1-6) (ACIM OE T.21.III.17)
It is all about our choice in accepting that there is no cause outside of our own minds. While the script for our lives has already been written and the circumstances that show up have already happened, how we respond to them is now up to us. Now our only choice is to ask, "Which teacher will I follow today?" "Will I let the ego be my guide today, or will I choose the Holy Spirit, Who knows how to exchange separation for salvation?" What we see depends on our interpretation, and our interpretation depends on which teacher we choose---the ego or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows us that every brother is all brothers. We are all the same. He shows us that everything we see in the world is love, or a call for love. When we fight what we perceive in the world, we suffer. With acceptance and appreciation of the fact that we are dreaming this dream and all of it is coming from our own consciousness, the dream can now be given another interpretation. Clearly, Jesus reminds us that we have the power to dominate all things and are not at the mercy of outside circumstances.
I am one with my brother. If I look to prove otherwise, I am denying my own reality. We do this constantly when we prefer to see differences and see ourselves as innocent, while seeing our brothers as the guilty ones. I am not, nor is my brother, independent of our Source. The Self that is the ruler of the universe is the Self I am in truth, one with my Creator, and one that shares His Will. It has nothing to do with the little self I identify with as a body living in this world.
Our minds are powerful, and we can indeed manifest what we think we want in the world. However, manifesting anything from the ego will not bring us true peace and happiness. Yes, we may achieve temporary happiness, but because we don't know our own best interests, we can't know what serves our highest good. Using the power of the mind by manifesting what we think we want, as discussed in "The Secret," can be an important stepping-stone in bringing to us the awareness that we do have the power to manifest. As Jesus says, "Why is it strange to you that faith can move mountains? This is indeed a little feat for such a power." (T.21.III.3) (ACIM OE T.21.IV.31)
Only by choosing with the Holy Spirit will any real and lasting happiness be available to us. To choose with the Holy Spirit is to ask in everything, "How would you have me see this situation?" "What would you have me do?" "What would you have me say, and to whom?" Today, instead of seeking that which continues to keep us bound to the world, we can choose to turn to the truth within. This is where we can hear the loving and gentle Voice for God remind us of His Love. We make a decision for Heaven, or for hell, in every moment, in every decision, and in every circumstance.
When I have a disagreement with anyone, I notice how I go through a process in my own mind as to whether I will choose to join with my brother, or to punish him for his indiscretions as I perceive them. When I think he "deserves" punishment and my anger is justified, I find it challenging to choose forgiveness. Only by doing so can I know the truth of who I am. As long as I choose the ego, I stay stuck in my anger and grievances.
What keeps me there and keeps me from my happiness? Only my own decision! In that moment, I am literally refusing to accept the healing power of the Holy Spirit in my mind. It is up to me whether I choose to suffer, or choose happiness. Is that really a choice? Every step we take to join with a brother, and every decision we make with the Holy Spirit, is a decision against our exile as separate egos, separate personalities, and separate selves. This seeming existence is not the truth of our reality. We are an extension of God. "My Self is holy beyond all thoughts of holiness of which I now conceive." (W.252.1) In other words, any idea of holiness does not match the shimmering, perfect purity, far beyond the brilliant light and limitless love that we are. Yet this can only be experienced, and the experience comes when we commit to forgiveness.
The ideas that are given here: "What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen," (W.253.1.3-4) can bring about self-recrimination, where we blame ourselves for the state of our lives. This is how the ego turns powerful truth against us. It is just another way the ego tries to keep us trapped in the false identity. When we recognize that it is the interpretation we put on any event that hurts us, rather than the event itself, we will not judge anything that shows up as good or bad. Instead, we will recognize that the Holy Spirit uses all events and circumstances in our lives for healing when we let Him. With desire and willingness, we are "led past this world." (W.253.1.6)
It is important to accept ourselves, regardless of what is currently happening in our lives. It is not helpful to use Lessons such as this to judge ourselves when we are experiencing divorce, financial lack, loneliness, or sickness. We don't know what gift of healing is being presented in every circumstance. The important thing is to be gentle and compassionate with ourselves in this human journey back to the love we are.
We continue to read these Lessons in the context of the teaching, "What is Sin?" We are reminded in this section that we have come to think of ourselves as sinful, evil, and corrupted beings, who have taken the perfection of our creation and made a mockery of it. We feel so guilty about what we have done---that we have come here to hide from God in this illusory world. We are now afraid of God and afraid of our true Self, as an extension of God. And while we identify ourselves as these separate beings, living in the world of illusions, we look for substitutes for happiness, including special relationships, power, prestige, money, and status. Finally, when we realize our happiness is not found in any of these things and disillusionment sets in, we begin the awakening process offered through the Course. Through this journey, we recognize that nothing real has happened. We are still one with God, experiencing a dream of this world. Now we are committed to waking up from this dream, using the experiences of the world to assist us in this process. Thus, nothing is wrong with anything that seems to be happening since we have called it all forth for the purpose of awakening.
What we are seeing in the world is a projection of what is in the mind. Thus, our lives are a perfect reflection of our relationship with ourselves. If we are experiencing a lack in our external world, we are feeling a lack in ourselves. If our relationships are distant, we have a distant relationship with ourselves. Anything that is less than satisfactory in the external experience is another opportunity to look within. There is no need to change anything, but only to recognize that there is power within to transform ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
A Course in Miracles
Chapter Twenty Three
CHAPTER 23 III 32-40
The War Against Yourself
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
III. The Laws of Chaos
32 No one
wants madness, nor does anyone cling to his madness if he sees that this is what it
is. What protects madness is the belief that it is
true. It is the function of insanity to take the
place of truth. It must be seen as truth to be believed. And if it is the truth, then must its opposite, which was the truth before, be madness now. Such a reversal, completely turned around, with madness sanity, illusions true, attack a kindness, hatred love and murder benediction, is the goal the laws of chaos serve. These are the means by which the laws of God appear to be reversed. Here do the laws of sin appear to hold love captive and let sin go free.
33 These do not
seem to be the goals of chaos, for by the great reversal, they appear to be the laws of
order. How could it not be so? Chaos is lawlessness and
has no laws. To be believed, its seeming laws must be perceived as real. Their goal of madness must be seen as sanity. And fear, with ashen lips and sightless eyes, blinded and terrible to look upon, is lifted to the throne of love, its dying conqueror, its substitute, the savior from salvation. How lovely do the laws of fear make death appear! Give thanks unto the hero on love's throne, who saved the Son of God for fear and death!
34 And yet, how can it be that laws like these can be believed? There is a strange device that makes it possible. Nor is it unfamiliar; we have seen how it appears to function many times before. In truth it does
not function, yet in dreams, where only shadows play the major roles, it seems most powerful. No law of chaos could compel belief but for the emphasis on
form and disregard of
content. No one who thinks that one of them is true
sees what it says. Some forms it takes seem to have meaning, and that is all.
35 How can some forms of murder
not mean death? Can an attack in
any form be love? What
form of condemnation is a blessing? Who makes his savior powerless and
finds salvation? Let not the form of the attack on him deceive you. You
cannot seek to harm him and be saved. Who can find safety from attack by turning on himself? How can it matter
what the form this madness takes? It is a judgment that defeats itself, condemning what it says it wants to save. Be not deceived when madness takes a form you think is lovely. What is intent on your destruction is
not your friend.
36 You would maintain and think it true that you do not believe these senseless laws nor act upon them. And when you look at what they
say, they cannot
be believed. Brothers, you
do believe them. For how else could you perceive the form they take with content such as this? Can
any form of this be tenable? Yet you believe them
for the form they take and do not
recognize the content. It never changes. Can you paint rosy lips upon a skeleton, dress it in loveliness, pet it and pamper it, and make it
live? And can you be content with an
illusion that you are living?
is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven, life is illusion. At best, it seems like life; at worst, like death. Yet both are judgments on what is not life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusions stands; senseless, impossible, and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal barrier to Heaven. Illusions
are but forms. Their content is
38 The laws of chaos govern all illusions. Their forms conflict, making it seem quite possible to value some above the others. Yet each one rests as surely on the belief the laws of chaos are the laws of order as do the others. Each one upholds these laws completely, offering a certain witness that these laws are true. The seeming gentler forms of the attack are no less certain in their witnessing or their results. Certain it is illusions will bring fear because of the beliefs that they imply, not for their form. And lack of faith in love in
any form attests to chaos as reality.
39 From the belief in sin, the faith in chaos
must follow. It is because it follows that it seems to be a logical conclusion-a valid step in ordered thought. The steps to chaos
do follow neatly from their starting point. Each is a different form in the progression of truth's reversal, leading still deeper into terror and away from truth. Think not one step is smaller than another nor that return from one is easier. The whole descent from Heaven lies in each one. And where your thinking starts, there must it end.
40 Brothers, take not one step in the descent to hell. For having taken one, you will not recognize the rest for what they are. And they
will follow. Attack in any form has placed your foot upon the twisted stairway that leads from Heaven. Yet any instant it is possible to have all this undone. How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel? Is peace in your awareness? Are you certain which way you go? And are you sure the goal of Heaven
can be reached? If not, you walk alone. Ask, then, your Friend to join with you and
give you certainty of where you go.
CHAPTER 23 IV 41-46
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
IV. Salvation Without Compromise
41 Is it not true you do not recognize some of the forms attack can take? If it is true attack in any form will hurt you and will do so just as much as in another form which you
do recognize, then it must follow that you do not always recognize the source of pain. Attack in
any form is equally destructive. Its purpose does not change. Its sole intent is murder, and what form of murder serves to cover the massive guilt and frantic fear of punishment the murderer must feel? He may deny he is a murderer and justify his savagery with smiles as he attacks. Yet he will suffer and will look on his intent in nightmares where the smiles are gone and where the purpose rises to meet his horrified awareness and pursue him still. For no one thinks of murder and escapes the guilt the
thought entails. If the intent is death, what matter the form it takes?
42 Is death in any form, however lovely and charitable it may seem to be, a blessing and a sign the Voice for God speaks through you to your brother? The wrapping does not make the gift you give. An empty box, however beautiful and gently given, still contains nothing. And neither the receiver nor the giver is long deceived. Withhold forgiveness from your brother, and you attack him. You give him nothing and receive of him but what you gave.
43 Salvation is no compromise of any kind. To compromise is to accept but part of what you want---to take a little and give up the rest. Salvation gives up nothing. It is complete for everyone. Let the idea of compromise but enter, and the awareness of salvation's purpose is lost because it is not recognized. It is denied where compromise has been accepted, for compromise is the belief salvation is impossible. It would maintain you can attack a little, love a little, and know the
difference. Thus it would teach a little of the same can still be different, and yet the same remain intact as one. Does this make sense? Can it
44 This course is easy just because it makes no compromise. Yet it seems difficult to those who still believe that compromise is possible. They do not see that, if it is, salvation is
attack. Yet it is certain the belief that salvation is impossible cannot uphold a quiet, calm assurance it has come. Forgiveness cannot be withheld a little. Nor is it possible to attack for this and love for that and understand forgiveness. Would you not
want to recognize assault upon your peace in any form, if only thus does it become impossible that
you lose sight of it? It can be kept shining before your vision, forever clear and never out of sight if you defend it not.
45 Those who believe that peace can
be defended and that attack is justified on its behalf cannot perceive it lies within them. How could they know? Could they accept forgiveness side by side with the belief that murder takes some forms by which their peace is saved? Would they be willing to accept the fact their savage purpose is directed against themselves? No one unites with enemies nor is at one with them in purpose. And no one compromises with an enemy but hates him still for what he kept from him.
46 Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is
over. The door is open; you have
left the battleground. You have not lingered there in cowering hope because the guns are stilled an instant and the fear that haunts the place of death is not apparent that it will not return. There
is no safety in a battleground. You can look down on it in safety from above and not be touched. But from within it, you can find
no safety. Not one tree left standing still will shelter you. Not one illusion of protection stands against the faith in murder. Here stands the body, torn between the natural desire to communicate and the unnatural intent to murder and to die. Think you the
form that murder takes can offer safety? Can guilt be
absent from a battlefield? [Do not remain in conflict, for there
is no war without attack.]
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