Lesson 254
All the Lights of Heaven
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V. THE FEAR OF LIFE          
52 When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When it occurs, leave not your place on high but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.      
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CHAPTER 23 V 47-55
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What is Sin
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   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?
         ~ Original Hand Script  
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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 254
Let every voice but God's be still in me.
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    Father, today I would but hear Your Voice.
    In deepest silence I would come to You,
    to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word.
    I have no prayer but this: I come to You
    to ask You for the truth. And truth is but
    Your Will, which I would share with You today.
   Today we let no ego thoughts direct
   our words or actions. When such thoughts occur,
   we quietly step back and look at them,
   and then we let them go. We do not want
   what they would bring with them. And so we do
   not choose to keep them. They are silent now.
   And in the stillness, hallowed by His Love,
   God speaks to us and tells us of our will,
   as we have chosen to remember Him.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Let every voice but God's be still in me.

Sarah's Commentary:  
If we are to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit, we have to look past the constantly jabbering voice of the ego that does not tell us anything true. We have to choose to no longer listen to it or pursue its goals and plans for achieving them, as they don't serve us. The ego is constantly sending us on a search for happiness and peace that can't be found in the world. Only when we turn to the quiet Voice within, which is the Voice of Truth, will we find the peace and joy within us. It is the Voice of our true will.
It is not about trying to silence our distracting thoughts as much as noticing them and choosing to turn away from them. The ego demands retaliation, defense, attack, revenge, and anything that will accumulate more guilt and more suffering. When we see what the ego is up to, we will voluntarily choose to no longer listen to its demands. When we want above all else to return to sanity and peace, our motivation to apply forgiveness to every situation is enhanced. Forgiveness is the only way to sanity. It is to recognize that nothing here has meaning, nothing here is real, and therefore, what we believe our brother has done to us has not really happened, and so we are called to overlook it. It is all a dream of our own making. Everyone who has been called into our lives is simply playing out the roles we have assigned to them.
When I am angry or upset about something my brother seems to have done to me, I can choose to see the situation differently. I have interpreted it incorrectly if I am not at peace. When I give my thoughts to the Holy Spirit, He shows me another way of seeing. He shows me that everything is either love or an expression of a deep call for love. There is nothing else. If I see my brother as guilty, I am making his error real. I am seeing something not there. When I realize forgiveness is all I want because guilt only brings me more suffering, I turn to the quiet Voice within for His help.
If we fight our ego thoughts or try very hard to silence the ego, we will meet with frustration. Instead, we can distance ourselves from these thoughts when we look at them and realize that we can ask for help in recognizing that these thoughts need not be taken seriously. The first step in this process is to watch the thoughts, inquire more deeply into their origin in the mind, and be willing to place them on the inner altar. This is where the Holy Spirit replaces them for us when we give them over to Him. It is how our minds are shifted from the grievance to the miracle. Our part is to look at our anger and pain and accept our own thought system as the cause of all our suffering. No one has done anything to hurt us. When we see it this way, we can give our pain over to the Holy Spirit. He substitutes peace for the pain and suffering that we give over to Him. This is the choice we make when we decide that we no longer want to turn to the ego as our guide. We no longer want its offerings.
We spend our days attending to all kinds of pursuits we think will meet our needs. The hopes, needs, wants, and desires that I think I have are just ego distortions of my real desire, which is to know my Christ Self and to know God's Love in me. All of the frenetic activity comes from thoughts in my monkey mind. These thoughts can be replaced with stillness when I give them over to the Holy Spirit. By now, we know this takes a great amount of practice.
Silence is a rare commodity in the rush of events in our lives. When I was in Sedona, in the year 2000, studying the Course and spending lots of time in nature, climbing mountains, and meditating, it seemed easier to be still. I did not engage in as many distractions as in my daily life in Edmonton. After becoming acclimatized to the quiet meditative experience of living in Sedona, I took a trip to Scottsdale and went to a busy mall with a friend, something I had not done for the previous six months. It was such an assault on my senses that I couldn't wait to return to the quiet of Sedona. Later, on my return to Edmonton, I initially felt overwhelmed by the demands of life. I was amazed at how quickly I acclimatized to the frenetic pace of daily life. The contrast was very apparent. Having said that, I realized that peace can be available in any situation and is not dependent on outside circumstances. However, to connect deeply to the peace within, withdrawing from the frenetic pace as much as we can is essential.
Taking time for stillness can seem like just one more demand to add to the day. Yet it is important to withdraw from the world and find time for stillness and to connect with the quiet place within. It is to connect with the Child in us. "It is this Child in you your Father knows as His Own Son. It is this Child Who knows His Father. He desires to go home so deeply, so unceasingly, His voice cries unto you to let Him rest a while. He does not ask for more than just a few instants of respite; just an interval in which He can return to breathe again the holy air that fills His Father's house. You are His home as well. He will return. But give Him just a little time to be Himself, within the peace that is His home, resting in silence and in peace and love." (W.182.5.1-7)
A couple of days ago I was waiting for Don to finish what he was doing so we could go home. I started to notice thoughts of impatience in my mind when he was delayed. "Why was he taking so long?" "I have lots to do." "There are groceries to get." "We have company for dinner." "My time is important!" Then I was reminded of the Lesson and asked for help to use this time to turn away from the ego and take advantage of the opportunity to be still and listen within. I realized the time spent waiting could be a gift if I were willing to no longer listen to the ego and turn within. No one but me is responsible for how I choose to feel in any situation. It takes a lot of mind training. I reminded myself that the happiness I experience, or not, has nothing to do with anything outside of my own mind. It has only to do with my decision to let the ego, or the Holy Spirit, be my guide. I find this kind of positive self-talk helpful. It motivates me to turn away from the ego on behalf of my own happiness.
In turning our thoughts over to the Holy Spirit, we are simply agreeing that they don't make us happy. We are seeing our own minds as the cause and the world as the effect, not the other way around. We are seeing that no one can take our peace away from us. If we don't have it, we have chosen to throw it away. When we are willing to have our thoughts reinterpreted from a higher source, we experience a touch of Heaven. "The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone; your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgment to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear." (T.30.IN.1.2-5) (ACIM OE T.20.I.1)
In finding our way to stillness, through forgiveness, we are reminded that our will is not separate from God's Will. Today, I commit not to engage in thoughts that disturb my peace, but simply to step back, look at these thoughts, be willing to have them replaced, and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest. Yes, it does take a willingness to do the practice. We need to be gentle yet firm with ourselves in this process. The ego will retaliate because it does not want us to give up our dependence on it. It sets things up so that we would stay dedicated to its demands and requirements. We can all be grateful that we have been given this spiritual groundwork to take us home to our Self. We need to be gentle and patient with ourselves and put our trust in the process. It is a gradual process and requires commitment, dedication, and desire.
"Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. We do not want what they would bring with them. And so we do not choose to keep them. They are silent now." (W.254.2.1-5) Our minds never stop the chatter, and when we get upset, our obsessive thoughts really dig in, creating such a seemingly deep rut in the mind that we find it hard to disengage. Yet with mind training, we can enhance our ability to catch our thoughts. The sooner we do this the better. Otherwise, the story becomes a drama and then it is harder to unwind from it. So as the thoughts arise, instead of judging them or turning them into a story that justifies our anger, we can simply remember to stop, step back, and release our thoughts and beliefs to the Holy Spirit. He will do the rest. We can't change ourselves. We need His help to bring about the miracle.
Stepping back means we look at these thoughts from the perspective of a non-attached observer. We don't judge. We don't evaluate. We don't examine the thoughts, nor analyze them. We merely, quietly step back and look. We identify the cause and "then let go, so that it can be replaced." (W.23.5.2). This can seem difficult when we are obsessing about a situation. It is all about the willingness to detach from the thoughts. Our willingness to do so is based on our decision that we don't want what these thoughts bring with them. In other words, we don't want to experience the guilt and suffering that result when we hold onto these thoughts.
The work is all about releasing thoughts in whatever form they arise. We think we like some thoughts, but it is just the way the ego keeps us engaged in the world. The world of the ego is not where we will ever know the deep peace and joy that comes from connecting with the holy Child within. We need to get honest with ourselves as to whether we want our idea of what will bring us happiness or whether we are willing to release our own ideas and allow God to work in our lives through the Voice of the Holy Spirit.
When we invest in ego thoughts, they direct our words and our actions. When we step back from the thoughts, look at them, and realize that we don't want the effects of these thoughts, then we can let them go instead of expressing them or taking some kind of action based on those thoughts. The Truth is in our right minds. God's Will is not an alien will, but, in fact, it is our own. While it may seem threatening to us because it is not in keeping with our personal choices, it serves our best interests. Our own choices never do. So today, we do not let our ego thoughts guide our actions. We affirm, "I do not want this thought." "Let every voice but God's be still in me." (W.254)

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

The War Against Yourself  
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CHAPTER 23 V 47-55
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
V. The Fear of Life 
47 The fear of God is fear of life and not of death. Yet He remains the only place of safety. In Him is no attack, and no illusion in any form stalks Heaven. Heaven is wholly true. No difference enters, and what is all the same cannot conflict. You are not asked to fight against your wish to murder. But you are asked to realize the form it takes conceals the same intent. And it is this you fear and not the form. What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack. Every illusion is an assault on truth, and every one does violence to the idea of love because it seems to be of equal truth.
48 What can be equal to the truth yet different? Murder and love are incompatible. Yet if they both are true, then must they be the same and indistinguishable from one another. So will they be to those who see God's Son a body. For it is not the body that is like the Son's Creator. And what is lifeless cannot be the Son of Life. How can a body be extended to hold the universe? Can it create and be what it creates? And can it offer its creations all that it is and never suffer loss?
49 God does not share His function with a body. He gave the function to create unto His Son because it is His own. It is not sinful to believe the function of the Son is murder, but it is insanity. What is the same can have no different function. Creation is the means for God's extension, and what is His must be His Son's as well. Either the Father and the Son are murderers or neither is. Life makes not death, creating like itself.
50 The lovely light of your relationship is like the love of God. It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of one another is not complete as yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation. Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognize for what it is limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all. Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty. Also He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part-to realize that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.
51 Be lifted up and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realize it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognized if murder is your choice?
52 When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When it occurs, leave not your place on high but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.
53 See no one from the battleground, for there you look on him from nowhere. You have no reference-point from where to look, where meaning can be given what you see. For only bodies could attack and murder, and if this is your purpose, then you must be one with them. Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one. The body has no purpose and must be solitary. From below, it cannot be surmounted. From above, the limits it exerts on those in battle still are gone and not perceived. The body stands between the Father and the Heaven He created for His Son because it has no purpose.
54 Think what is given those who share their Father's purpose and who know that it is theirs! They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. Only the light they love is in awareness, and only love shines upon them forever. It is their past, their present, and their future always the same, eternally complete, and wholly shared. They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. Perhaps you think the battleground can offer something that you can win. Can it be anything that offers you a perfect calmness and a sense of love so deep and quiet that no touch of doubt can ever mar your certainty? And that will last forever?
55 Those with the strength of God in their awareness could never think of battle. What could they gain but loss of their perfection? For everything fought for on the battleground is of the body-something it seems to offer or to own. No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body's offerings. The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground. What can conflict with everything? And what is there that offers less, yet could be wanted more? Who with the love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?
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