Lesson 259
You Are Not Beyond Salvation
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  39 Do not defend this senseless dream in which God is bereft of what He loves and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world which has no meaning in reality: when peace is not with you entirely and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it. And thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his "enemy" and yours as well.

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CHAPTER 24 V-VI, 34-48
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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 259
Let me remember that there is no sin.
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Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
   Sin is the only thought that makes the goal
   of God seem unattainable. What else
   could blind us to the obvious, and make
   the strange and the distorted seem more clear?
   What else but sin engenders our attacks?
   What else but sin could be the source of guilt,
   demanding suffering and punishment?
   And what but guilt could be the source of fear,
   obscuring God's creation; giving love
   the attributes of fear and of attack?
    Father, I would not be insane today.
    I would not be afraid of love, nor seek
    for refuge in its opposite. For love
    can have no opposite. You are the Source
    of everything that is. And everything
    that is remains with You and You with it.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Let me remember that there is no sin.

Sarah's Commentary:  
This Lesson says, "Sin is the only thought that makes the goal of God seem unattainable." (W.259.1.1) What is that thought? It is the thought that I have done something so horrendous that I could never attain my innocence again. It is the thought that I am lost forever because of the "badness" of my being for which I have to suffer. How could I go to God when I have so much to undo? Not only do we hold this belief in our unconscious minds, but we believe that we have killed God in order to exist. While this is an unconscious belief, on a conscious level, we believe the things we have thought and done have altered who we are. Now it seems to us that it will be a very long and arduous journey that will take many years, if not lifetimes, to undo our many wrong doings.
We have become blinded to the truth, and therefore, it appears that the "strange and the distorted seem more clear." (W.259.1.2) In other words, the seeming reality of this world seems more clear and obvious than the truth. All the problems and issues are seen as if they are what is real and true. We see our own wrongdoings, and it seems obvious to us that there must be consequences for what we have done. In this view, the bigger the sin is the more we must pay. Our strange and distorted thought system of sin and guilt has projected out a strange and distorted world, staring back at us. It all seems so real, and so we believe we have to protect and defend ourselves from perceived attack. We think we deserve the punishment the world seems to deliver because of what we believe we have coming to us. If Jesus tells us that we have done nothing and we remain innocent, why do we insist on holding onto the belief in sin and guilt except that it protects us from God's Love? The only reason we want this protection is that we still value the separation. We still prefer to hold onto our own thoughts, and thus "Sin is the only thought makes the goal of God seem unattainable." (W.259.1.1)
This cycle of guilt, punishment, suffering, and more guilt keeps us in a state of fear. We believe we deserve punishment because we are guilty and are therefore unworthy of joy, health, abundance, and happiness. These are the thoughts we live with, believing there is something we have done wrong, even though we don't completely know what it is. And this brings a feeling of not being OK, of not being worthy, of always trying to improve ourselves, and of feeling that there is something lacking in us. Only when we fully accept our innocence can the door to abundance and wholeness be open to us. It is not something we need to attain; our innocence is assured. We are already complete, whole, and guiltless, but we block this truth about ourselves because we actually prefer to hold onto the belief that we are guilty. This attraction to guilt is actually our attraction to our separate and seemingly independent selves that we cherish. Yet when we hold onto the separate self, we live in a state of fear, and we don't believe we are deserving of happiness, abundance, joy, and peace.
The movie, The Words, exemplifies a lifelong process of self-punishment and self-judgment because of guilt. The ego approves of this. In fact, Jesus says that the ego considers this holy. Yet Jesus says, "You whose mind is darkened by doubt and guilt, remember this: God gave the Holy Spirit to you, and gave Him the mission to remove all doubt and every trace of guilt that His dear Son has laid upon himself." (T.13.XI.5.1) (ACIM OE T.13.V.39) He asks that we not feel guilty "because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him." (T.5.VII.6.10) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.96) Yet when we don't allow this for ourselves, we live with a lot of suffering. It is not necessary.
I had a situation in my life where I felt very guilty for judging a friend. I realized, in talking with Don, that I was still holding this against myself, feeling the guilt and shame for something I had done about 35 years ago. Don reminded me that nothing real had happened. I could forgive myself for what never happened except in my mind. Yet I was still carrying this situation because I felt I still needed to do something to make up for my guilt that was still there. The question is---how long does it take to release oneself from the cross? I found I was actively keeping my innocence from awareness. I had made many attempts with my friend to try to rectify the situation but she still kept her distance. There was no answer in form that I could undertake, and so I finally surrendered and gave it all over to the Holy Spirit and put the situation in His Hands. And not surprisingly, she crossed my path recently after a long period of absence of about ten years. There was a beautiful joining. I was reminded once again---no problem can be solved by our own actions. The only answer is from the Holy Spirit. "He is swift to utilize whatever you offer Him on behalf of this (truth)." (T.15.VIII.1.4) (ACIM OE T.15.IX.79) So let us not put ourselves in charge of our own issues. "Refuse not the awareness of your completion, and seek not to restore it to yourself." (T.15.VIII.3.3) (ACIM OE T.15.IX.81)
The restoration of our completion comes with the realization that we can ' t awaken ourselves. We can only allow ourselves to be awakened. I had tried for years to do something, but nothing worked until I got out of the way and realized that I am not the one who is in charge of getting out of this dream. That is what we have the Holy Spirit for. Our part is simply to surrender our way and to resign as our own teacher. We can't possibly know how to get out of this dream with its complexity and entanglements created by the ego. All that is needed is that we constantly turn to the Holy Spirit for His guidance. When I let go of my ideas about how to solve this situation, it was all done for me.
Jesus is calling us to recognize that "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." (W.PII.Q4.4.2-4) Thank goodness despite what we think we have done we have not been able to change our reality. Thank God that He knows nothing we can do or have done can change Creation. All we are doing is holding our "return to Heaven back" (W.PII.Q4.5.7) by holding onto our misguided thoughts.
Just like the Prodigal Son, we believe we cannot return to our home until we clean up our act and become "good." Yet when the Prodigal Son returned home and told his father, "I have sinned against you and before Heaven, I am no longer worthy to be called your son," the father does not agree with the son's evaluation of himself. He does not acknowledge any wrong doing. He does not say, "Yes, you have done wrong, but I, as a good man, will forgive you." Instead, he puts a gold ring on his son's finger, puts a cloak around him and sandals on his feet and arranges a celebration for the son who was lost and is now found. Where he went and what had happened, did not matter. The level of illusion we get caught in does not matter. The only thing that matters is that we turn in the direction of the Holy Spirit, Who reminds us of our innocence, our happiness, and our peace.
Jesus urges us to think about what we are doing and how long we want to maintain our game of sin. It is up to us. It is our choice. Nothing we have ever done is beyond correction. It is about our readiness "to put away these sharp-edged children's toys." (W.PII.Q4.5.2) When will the time be? "How long, O holy Son of God, how long?" (W.PII.Q4.5.8) When will we be ready to return to the home we believe we had to leave because we had done something so bad that God would never forgive us?
God assures us that He loves us and is waiting for our return. We, on the other hand, think that because of what we have done, we cannot go back home. We have run away from our home. Our Father is calling us back, but we feel so guilty and terrible about the things we have done that we feel we cannot return. Yet we keep asking God---how long do we have to be here and why doesn't He bring us back? We may wonder why this all-powerful God does not just take us back home. We get so discouraged when this spiritual journey home seems to be taking such a long time, and we just want out of here. What are we waiting for? We are waiting only for ourselves. We still don't realize that we are playing the game of sin. We are believing in a story that is not true. Until we give up our silly game of self-attack and punishment and guilt, we will continue to hold Heaven back, while all the time God is there in our minds, welcoming us home. We want to hold onto our identity and our specialness and make believe we can make ourselves safe in our little kingdom, separate from God. Now we are called to surrender all these false beliefs. Bring them to the feet of Jesus. Don't ask Jesus to come into the dream to fix what you see as your problems. Go to where he is.
This Lesson is calling on us to remember that no matter what we think we have done, have not done, or have failed to do, we are still innocent. The condemnation we have laid on our own heads is what is keeping us in the cycle of sin, guilt, and fear. Our belief in sin leads to guilt, and guilt demands punishment. This brings fear, and fear leads to self-defense. Yes, we did those awful things in the dream, but the dream is not real. Does this mean we can attack with impunity? Of course not. Jesus makes it clear that attack and anger are never justified. As long as we attack, we will feel guilty, and we will expect punishment. Our attack thoughts will keep us from knowing our true innocence.
The truth is that we are completely innocent because the world is not real and our game of sin and guilt is being played out in a dream that we are dreaming. Whatever we have done in the dream did not actually happen. Therefore, sin cannot be real. The only reason the ego convinced the mind that sin is real is so that we would be convinced that our seeming rupture with God is permanent. The world arose from this thought and is a smokescreen for keeping the ego thought system in place.
Notice how no one ever admits thatthey attack because they want to. Oprah once spoke of a survey where people were asked about how prevalent rudeness is in society. Most said rudeness was rampant in society, but when asked if they themselves were ever rude, 99% said they were not. They justified their behavior as a defense against the rudeness of others. Isn't that how it is with us? We think our attacks are justified. We make excuses for them. It is always about what someone else has done to us first. We need to take responsibility for our attacks, release the regrets and judgments we hold against ourselves, and recognize that they have not changed our nature. We are innocent and so are all our brothers. My sole responsibility is to accept the Atonement for myself and thus extend this same innocence to all of my brothers.
Today, each time you are tempted to get angry or upset about anything, realize that you have simply made a wrong choice. The ego will always try to justify our upsets with a story. Be willing to release the story. Be willing to recognize that you are wrong in the way you see it. Ask the Teacher, Who is already in your right mind, how to see the situation.
Ask yourself today, "Do I want to act on my judgments, or do I want to find a new interpretation of the situation so I can appropriately answer the call for love from my brother?" I need to be open to acknowledging that the attack thoughts in my mind are not what I want. I can take a moment and step aside from the situation and agree to let these thoughts go. When I realize that this is how I am holding Heaven back and keeping myself from my joy and peace, I will be motivated to choose again. As I turn my thoughts over to the Holy Spirit, I trust His healing will allow them to dissipate. If it is a persistent thought, it may come back. This is only because I have not totally given it over, but I can keep giving it over until the healing is accepted by my mind.
This is all about readiness and willingness. I ask for the holy instant in which to remember, "Whoever is saner at the time the threat is perceived should remember how deep is his indebtedness to the other and how much gratitude is due him, and be glad that he can pay his debt by bringing happiness to both." (T.18.V.7.1) (ACIM OE T.18.VI.47) I remind myself that there is only one mind. When the person who is saner at the time extends forgiveness, the other always receives it at some level. "And so I choose this instant as the one to offer to the Holy Spirit that His blessing may descend on us, and keep us both in peace." (T.18.V.7.6) (ACIM OE T.18.VI.48)
Love and blessings, Sarah 
A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty Four

Specialness and Separation
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CHAPTER 25 V-VI, 34-48
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V. Specialness and Salvation  

34 Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy---feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction, it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt's attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself.
35 What could the purpose of the body be but specialness? And it is this that makes it frail and helpless in its own defense. It was conceived to make you frail and helpless. The goal of separation is its curse. Yet bodies have no goal. Purpose is of the mind. And minds can change as they desire. What they are and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself the body can do nothing. See it as means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as means to heal, and it is healed.
36 You can but hurt yourself. This has been oft repeated but is difficult to grasp as yet. To minds intent on specialness, it is impossible. Yet to those who wish to heal and not attack, it is quite obvious. The purpose of attack is in the mind, and its effects are felt but where it is. Nor is mind limited; so must it be that harmful purpose hurts the mind as one. Nothing could make less sense to specialness. Nothing could make more sense to miracles. For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing.
37 This shift in purpose does "endanger" specialness but only in the sense that all illusions are "threatened" by the truth. They will not stand before it. Yet what comfort has ever been in them that you would keep the gift your Father asks from Him and give it there instead? Given to Him, the universe is yours. Offered to them, no gifts can be returned. What you have given specialness has left you bankrupt and your treasure house barren and empty with an open door inviting everything that would disturb your peace to enter and destroy.
38 Long ago we said consider not the means by which salvation is attained nor how to reach it. But do consider, and consider well, whether it is your wish that you might see your brother sinless. To specialness the answer must be "no." A sinless brother is its enemy, while sin, if it were possible, would be its friend. Your brother's sins would justify itself and give it meaning that the truth denies. All that is real proclaims his sinlessness. All that is false proclaims his sins as real. If he is sinful, then is your reality not real but just a dream of specialness which lasts an instant, crumbling into dust.
39 Do not defend this senseless dream in which God is bereft of what He loves and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world which has no meaning in reality: when peace is not with you entirely and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it. And thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his "enemy" and yours as well.

VI. The Resolution of the Dream  
40 The Christ in you is very still. He looks on what He loves and knows it as Himself. And thus does He rejoice at what He sees because He knows that it is one with Him and with His Father. Specialness, too, takes joy in what it sees, although it is not true. Yet what you seek for is a source of joy as you conceive it. What you wish is true for you. Nor is it possible that you can wish for something and lack faith that it is so. Wishing makes real, as surely as does will create. The power of a wish upholds illusions as strongly as does love extend itself, except that one deludes; the other heals.
41 There is no dream of specialness---however hidden or disguised the form, however lovely it may seem to be, however much it delicately offers the hope of peace and the escape from pain---in which you suffer not your condemnation. In dreams, effect and cause are interchanged, for here the maker of the dream believes that what he made is happening to him. He does not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove a picture out of nothing. For the parts do not belong together, and the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.
42 Where could your peace arise but from forgiveness? The Christ in you looks only on the truth and sees no condemnation that could need forgiveness. He is at peace because He sees no sin. Identify with Him, and what has He that you have not? He is your eyes, your ears, your hands, your feet. How gentle are the sights He sees, the sounds He hears. How beautiful His hand that holds His brother's, and how lovingly He walks beside him, showing him what can be seen and heard and where he will see nothing and there is no sound to hear.
43 Yet let your specialness direct his way, and you will follow. And both will walk in danger, each intent, in the dark forest of the sightless, unlit but by the shifting tiny gleams that spark an instant from the fireflies of sin and then go out, to lead the other to a nameless precipice and hurl him over it. For what can specialness delight in but to kill? What does it seek for but the sight of death? Where does it lead but to destruction? Yet think not that it looked upon your brother first, nor hated him before it hated you. The sin its eyes behold in him and love to look upon, it saw in you and looks on still with joy. Yet is it joy to look upon decay and madness and believe this crumbling thing, with flesh already loosened from the bone and sightless holes for eyes, is like yourself?
44 Rejoice you have no eyes with which to see, no ears to listen, and no hands to hold nor feet to guide. Be glad that only Christ can lend you His while you have need of them. They are illusions too, as much as yours. And yet because they serve a different purpose, the strength their purpose holds is given them. And what they see and hear and hold and lead is given light that you may lead as you were led.
45 The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and He leads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way. His love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. His holiness shows you Himself in him whose hand you hold and whom you lead to Him. And what you see is like yourself. For what but Christ is there to see and hear and love and follow home? He looked upon you first but recognized that you were not complete. And so He sought for your completion in each living thing that He beholds and loves. And seeks it still, that each might offer you the love of God.
46 Yet is He quiet, for He knows that love is in you now and safely held in you by that same hand that holds your brother's in your own. Christ's hand holds all His brothers in Himself. He gives them vision for their sightless eyes and sings to them of Heaven that their ears may hear no more the sound of battle and of death. He reaches through them, holding out His hand that everyone may bless all living things and see their holiness. And He rejoices that these sights are yours to look upon with Him and share His joy. His perfect lack of specialness He offers you that you may save all living things from death, receiving from each one the gift of life that your forgiveness offers to your Self. The sight of Christ is all there is to see. The song of Christ is all there is to hear. The hand of Christ is all there is to hold. There is no journey but to walk with Him.
47 You who would be content with specialness and seek salvation in a war with love, consider this: the holy Lord of Heaven has Himself come down to you to offer you your own completion. What is His is yours because in your completion is His Own. He Who willed not to be without His Son could never will that you be brotherless. And would He give a brother unto you except he be as perfect as yourself and just as like to Him in holiness as you must be?
48 There must be doubt before there can be conflict. And every doubt must be about yourself. Christ has no doubt, and from His certainty His quiet comes. He will exchange His certainty for all your doubts if you agree that He is one with you and that this Oneness is endless, timeless, and within your grasp because your hands are His. He is within you, yet He walks beside you and before, leading the way that He must go to find Himself complete. His quietness becomes your certainty. And where is doubt when certainty has come?
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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