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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?

CHAPTER 23: THE WAR
AGAINST YOURSELF
V. THE FEAR OF LIFE
Workbook for Students
Part II
What is Sin?
1 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 grasp? What would they sense at all? To sense is not to know. And truth can be but filled with knowledge and with nothing else.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 257
Let me remember
what my purpose is.
1 If I forget my goal, I can be but confused, unsure of what I am and thus conflicted in my actions. No one can serve contradicting goals and serve them well. Nor can he function without deep distress and great depression. Let us therefore be determined to remember what we want today that we may unify our thoughts and actions meaningfully and achieve only what God would have us do today.

2 Father, forgiveness is Your chosen means for our salvation. Let us not forget that we can have no will but Yours today. And thus our purpose must be Yours as well if we would reach the peace You will for us.
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VIDEO L257 Video

Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Text
Chapter 23
 The War Against Yourself

IV. Salvation Without Compromise
par 41-46
[TEXT READING PAUSED FOR WEEKEND]
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 be understood?

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 still 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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Text
Chapter 23
 The War Against Yourself

V. The Fear of Live
par 47-55
[TEXT READING PAUSED FOR WEEKEND]
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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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 257
Let me remember
what my purpose is.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
What is our purpose? Why are we here? What do we give our attention to? Is it about getting what we want in the world? Is it about striving for material things, recognition, relationships, specialness and power, or is it for healing our minds through forgiveness? The Course teaches over and over that the purpose of our time here, if it is to be used well, is only for forgiveness. It is our function, our purpose, and our reason for being here. The only purpose is to wake up from this dream, to remember who we really are, and to know peace and joy.
 
Our true purpose is already in the mind. It is the truth we have chosen to forget. The truth is fully present all the time, but while we are invested in focusing on meeting our perceived needs, we will be conflicted. Part of us wants to know the truth, and part of us wants to stay invested in the material world. When our focus is entirely on our worldly existence, we experience depression, deep distress, despair, and suffering. Even though we try to do everything we can to avoid suffering and to seek for ways to mitigate it, all this does is distract us from our feelings. None of our strategies to find happiness in the world will work because the problem is not in the world and neither is the solution. The only thing that brings distress is our identification with the ego, and the only answer is to remember who we are. When we hold grievances, we suffer. When we use the world as a classroom for helping us to learn to forgive, we are using it for the purpose of waking up to the truth.
 
 Our focus is now on the idols we have substituted in place of our reality. Jesus describes idols as, "Be it a body or a thing, a place, a situation or a circumstance, an object owned or wanted, or a right demanded or achieved, it is the same." (T.29.VIII.1.9) (ACIM OE T.29.IX.52) Further, he says, "For i dols are unrecognized as such, and never seen for what they really are." (T.29.VIII.1.3) (ACIM OE T.29.IX.52) This is the only power they have. If we saw that the idols we pursue will never deliver the happiness we seek through them, we certainly would not pursue them. We would pursue happiness where it truly lies, which is in liberating ourselves from this dream. Idols simply affirm our false identity. They prop up who we think we are, and "In some way, you believe they will   complete your little self, for safety in a world perceived as dangerous, with forces massed against your confidence and peace of mind." (T.29.VIII.2.3) (ACIM OE T.29.IX.53)
 
Our goal is mixed between wanting to pursue the truth on one hand and wanting to pursue our idols on the other. This creates conflict in our minds, as we try to walk both the path of the ego and the path of the Holy Spirit. Another way to look at this conflict is that we want to hold onto a grievance against someone and justify our upsets, yet we still want to know God and to be at peace. This is a reflection of our split minds. Until we step fully into our purpose, we will be in conflict. An example in my life is that I look after my mother who is 102 and has lots of care needs that occupy a lot of my time. While I see it as an opportunity for forgiveness, there are times when I feel imposed upon and resentful that it is all up to me. My sister lives some distance away and is rarely here to visit. Recently, she came to visit and I perceived that she questioned some of my decisions. I perceived that she thought there was more I should be doing. Not only did I express my anger to her, but I also tried to build an alliance against her with my other sister by sharing my story with her and further justifying my anger.
 
On reflection, I realized that I had set all of this up by not hearing my sister's cry for love. Clearly, she was expressing her concern for our mother's care, but I was choosing only to hear criticism coming at me. Jesus says, "If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him." (T.11.V.18.9) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.58) Instead of hearing her call for love and seeing that "What you thought your brother did to you has not occurred," (W.P11.Q1.1.1) I made the error real. I took her comments personally. The criticism would not have found a place to land if I was not judging myself for not being sufficiently available to my mother.
 
Jesus reminds us that to forgive something we have made real is called, "Forgiveness to destroy." Real forgiveness shows us that nothing real has happened. If I see what she did as real and true, I cannot forgive it. Now I need to bring my illusions to the truth and let the Holy Spirit give me His interpretation of the situation. This means that I must admit that I was wrong in the way I interpreted her behavior. When I remember that my mind is the cause of it all, I can change my mind about the way I see every situation. It is all my own projection of my own self-attack. Can you see how the ego gets absolutely outraged by this? It insists that what we see is a fact, rather than an interpretation. If we listen to the ego, we stay in hell. That is why our focus today is, "Let me remember what my purpose is." (W.257)
 
Jesus says that only forgiveness can bring us happiness. This is our only purpose. If I am experiencing unhappiness today, it is because I have chosen with the ego. Only I can make myself unhappy. If we were suffering in any way today, Jesus reminds us the suffering is just hiding an unforgiving thought. (W.98) There is no form of pain forgiveness cannot heal. We need to recognize that any unhappiness that we experience today can be healed through forgiveness. It is the only way we can reclaim who we really are. Trying to be loving only obscures this function. We cannot overlay lovingness onto thoughts of worry, anxiety, distress, "dis-ease," anger, and frustration. Trying to be positive in the face of these kinds of feelings simply overlays the problem with a spiritual veneer. Instead, we need to look honestly and courageously at these unforgiving thoughts, accept responsibility for them, and be willing to turn them over to the Holy Spirit.
 
Today, we are invited to set our intention to remember our purpose throughout the day. It is to accept the Atonement for ourselves (the recognition of our guiltlessness), by being willing to accept His Correction so that the obstacles that stand in the way of peace and joy can be removed. When we forget our goal, we get conflicted in our actions and start focusing on our own ideas of what we think will make us happy, but this can only result in further conflict. (W.257.1.1) We cannot "serve contradicting goals and serve them well." (W.257.1.2) When we try, it just leads to "distress and great depression." (W.257.1.3)
 
How determined are you to stay on purpose and remember your function? What would God have you do today? Yesterday's Lesson reminded us that the only way we will hear guidance is through the means given to us to hear His Voice. We each have a curriculum set up by the mind in this world. This is our script. It offers us myriad opportunities for forgiveness with the characters given us in our script. Whatever is coming in your face today, stand back and look at it as an opportunity for healing the guilt in our minds. If everything that seemingly happens is just a projection of our own minds, the movie of our lives is just what we need to see to reclaim our innocence.
 
If we are not living our lives on purpose, we will be confused and unsure of what we are. "If you are to be conflict-free yourself, you must learn only from the Holy Spirit and teach only by Him." (T.6.III.2.2) (ACIM OE T.6.IV.41) As we step on this path and let the Holy Spirit in, there will be increased conflict. "This step may appear to exacerbate conflict rather than resolve it, because it is the beginning step in reversing your perception and turning it right-side up." (T.6.VA.6.4) (ACIM OE T.6.Va.69) The reason for this is that we now have conflicting goals and are trying to walk on two different paths. We want what the ego has to offer---our separate identity and its seeming pleasures---while also wanting to awaken from this dream. This can be very painful. When we are split between our spiritual focus and the goals of the ego, confusion reigns. Not only that, Jesus says that we will experience "deep distress and great depression." (W.257.1.3)
 
If in one minute we are in a state of bliss, peace, and spiritual joy and in the next minute we are gossiping, angry, or attacking, we will suffer. This is an example of pursuing two paths. It is not a happy experience until we learn to step on one side more and more consistently. It is in this state of conflict, between two thought systems, that we currently live. The answer is to watch our minds constantly and apply God's chosen means for our salvation. As our awareness increases and we can see more clearly how our minds are split, we will be less and less tolerant in following the ego's religion. This means that we will be much quicker in asking for help to release our grievances and will be more willing to step back from our investment in our thoughts. The only way out is to use everything that comes up in our day for forgiveness and peace.
 
In Chapter 30, in the Section called "The Only Purpose,"  Jesus reminds us that the only purpose of the world is forgiveness. Now, "The world becomes a place of hope, because its only purpose is to be a place where hope of happiness can be fulfilled." (T.30.V.2.7) (ACIM OE T.30.VI.58) When we see it this way, there is nothing bad happening. It is all for the undoing of our conditioned minds so we can wake up to who we really are. Everything is orchestrated by our own minds for our healing. It is all hopeful because, as we detach from the drama, watch our thoughts, and recognize ourselves as the dreamers of this dream, rather than the figures in the dream, we exert the power to choose how we see our purpose here.
 
We are assured that we will go beyond our function of forgiveness in this world and experience perfect happiness. This is the real world where we experience Heaven on earth. We will still see the idols, but we will have no interest in them and no longer want them. You may be noticing this more and more in your own life, where the things that seemed to hold a lot of interest for you at one time are simply falling away. I no longer have the same kinds of attachments as I have had in the past. It is not because I have given them up, but simply because they have just fallen away. These transitions are mostly gentle because, at some level of the mind, we are ready for them. We go at our own pace when we are ready to take the next step without fear. We take each step in joining with each other and releasing our separate interests.
 
"An ancient hate is passing from the world. And with it goes all hatred and all fear. Look back no longer, for what lies ahead is all you ever wanted in your heart. Give up the world! But not to sacrifice. You never wanted it. What happiness have you sought here that did not bring you pain? What moment of content has not been bought at fearful price in coins of suffering? Joy has no cost." (T.30.V.9.1-9) (ACIM OE T.30.VI.65)
 
There is an interesting piece I was reading by Byron Katie, which relates to this Lesson. She says that when we hurt, we are actually, mentally out of our business. It is important to recognize there are only three kinds of business in the universe: God's, yours, and mine. Whose business is it if an earthquake happens? God's business (Not that God created it, but it is beyond our business). Whose business is it if your neighbor down the street has an ugly lawn? Your neighbor's business. Whose business is it if you are angry at your neighbor down the street because he has an ugly lawn? Your business. So now it is in our purview to heal our judgments.
 
Life is simple---it is internal. Thus, if my sister has judgments of my caregiving, it is none of my business. Only if it upsets me is it necessary for me to heal my own mind.
 
Check your thoughts as you go through your day and see whose business is being attended to. Maintain vigilance over your mind, and observe how quickly you judge, give advice, look for alliances, cling to grievances, and hold onto everything that ultimately brings more suffering. Our responsibility is to mind our own minds and use what comes up in our minds for forgiveness, reminding ourselves always that our will is one with God's Will, and when we choose Him as our goal, we will increasingly release the goals keeping us invested in the illusion. We will recognize that when we give up our goals, we actually give up nothing to gain everything. What goals do you hold today in competition with your only goal for God? Can you feel the tension this creates in your life? Now, we have a choice. It is to get back to our only purpose.
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:




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