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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 24 SPECIALNESS AND SEPARATION
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
The body is a fence the Son of God
imagines he has built to separate
parts of his Self from other parts. It is
within this fence he thinks he lives, to die
as it decays and crumbles. For within
this fence he thinks that he is safe from love.
Identifying with <its safety>, he
regards himself as <what his safety is>.
How else could he be certain he remains
within the body, keeping love outside?
The body will not stay. Yet this he sees
as double safety. For the Son of God's
impermanence is "proof" his fences work,
and do the task his mind [assigned] to them.
For if his oneness still remained untouched,
who could attack and who could be attacked?
Who could be victor? Who could be his prey?
Who could be victim? Who the murderer?
And if he did not die, what proof is there
that God's eternal Son [has] been destroyed?
The body is a dream. Like other dreams,
it sometimes seems to picture happiness,
but can quite suddenly revert to fear,
where every dream is born. For only love
creates in truth, and truth can never fear.
Made to be fearful, must the body serve
the purpose given it. But we can change
the purpose [which] the body will obey
by changing what we think that it is for.
The body is the means by which God's Son
returns to sanity. Though it was made
to fence him into hell without escape,
yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged
for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God
extends his hand to reach his brother, and
to help him walk along the road with him.
Now is the body holy. Now it serves
to heal the mind that it was made to kill.
You will identify with what you think
will make you safe. Whatever it may be,
you will believe that it is one with you.
Your safety lies in truth and not in lies.
Love is your safety. Fear does not exist.
Identify with love, and you are safe.
Identify with love, and you are home.
Identify with love, and find your Self.
L e s s o n 264
I am surrounded by the Love of God.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Father, You stand before me and behind,
beside me, in the place I see myself,
and everywhere I go. You are in all
the things I look upon, the sounds I hear,
and every hand that reaches for my own.
In You time disappears, and place becomes
a meaningless belief. For what surrounds
Your Son and keeps him safe is Love Itself.
There is no Source but This, and nothing is
that does not share Its holiness; that stands
beyond Your one creation, or without
the Love which holds all things within Itself.
Father, Your Son is like Yourself. We come
to You in Your own Name today, to be
at peace within Your everlasting Love.
My brothers, join with me in this today.
This is salvation's prayer. Must we not join
in what will save the world along with us?
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I am surrounded by the Love of God.
This Lesson is a beautiful prayer where Jesus is asking us to join with him. "My brothers, join with me in this today. This is salvation's prayer." (W.264.2.1-2) So the question is: Will we join him today in this prayer, using it to start our morning and end our day? Yet as important is to remind ourselves all day, "I am surrounded by the love of God?" It raises the questions in my mind: What is it I really and truly want? What is the prayer of my heart? Do I want to know the love I am and nothing else?
As I read and reflect on this prayer, I realize how we are being asked to forget all things except His Love. When everything disappears from my mind and I experience being surrounded by His Love, it is an experience of the holy instant. This is where we have an instant of recognition that our reality is not in this body, with all its needs, fears and issues. Nor are we confined to time and space. It is a deeply touching experience to feel surrounded by such Love. The image crumbles in His Presence and what is left is a field of awareness where boundaries and limitations are no more.
What keeps us from this experience? It is our investment in our thoughts. It is our investment in our stories. It is our focus on our worries, our plans, our problems, and anticipated solutions. The mind gets invested in all of the inner chatter where there is no peace. When we no longer give it all our attention and we lose interest in its stories, its worries, and its problems, it will become still, not by force but by the lack of interest. It is like when we are watching television and a TV commercial comes on. It can be blaring, but if we have no interest in it, we simply ignore it.
As long as we think we know something, we won't be open to being shown the truth of who we are. Our own perceptions will stand in the way. What I think I know is what I have made up in my thinking mind. We are reluctant to release what we think we know because we think we can find safety and security in our own thoughts. We think they protect us. We rely on being in control. Letting go and trusting Him seems like a sacrifice of all we rely on, but we are invited to consider where our safety truly lies. We don't know our own best interests. We can't know where our happiness truly lies. Our own thinking only brings us more suffering.
Today, we focus on connecting to the stillness behind our thoughts. Resistance comes up because we fear the light. We want to be right about who we think we are. We want to hold onto our image of ourselves, our self-concepts, our belief in the body, and our personality, but this is not who we are. Only by our willingness to release all our control and to surrender our way can the miracle show up. Yet this requires a kind of vulnerability that we protect ourselves against by managing time and space for our purposes, as we see them. Thus, we fear the miracle. Yet only through the miracle can we experience a new perception, where there is a recognition we are not these characters in the dream that we thought we were. We are not our body, our personality, our self-concepts, our values, our beliefs, or any thoughts we hold.
This prayer affirms there is not a God separate from my Self. "In You time disappears, and place becomes a meaningless belief." (W264.1.3) There is only love and nothing else. There is no me, no you, only ". . . the Love which holds all things within itself." (W264.1.5) Thus, we can ". . . be at peace within Your everlasting Love." (W264.1.7) Only truth is true. Everything else is a construct in my mind, and when I identify with all of the constructs of time and space, where I think I am, who I think I am, and what seems to be going on in my life, I keep the truth at bay.
This prayer reminds us of the truth of who we are. The love of God that surrounds us is what we really are and not the construct we have made of who we think we are. We are the One Self, the Son of God, living in the experience of God.
To know the Self requires that we bring everything we are not to the healing light of truth, where our self-concepts are dissolved in the light. What we project onto the world is a false self, but all of our projections can be valuable when we learn to look at them with the Holy Spirit and realize they are all hallucinations of our minds. When we see the world as a classroom for healing, all things that need to be healed will be pulled to the surface. Why be unhappy about anything we experience here when, instead, we could see it is all valuable for undoing the ego mind, and for this, we can be grateful.
We have not yet come to see our wholeness as having more value than the "comfort" we see provided by the ego. It is all about what makes us feel comfortable and safe. When our comfort is threatened in any way, we think we are having a bad day. If my car breaks down while I am on my way to an appointment, grievances come up. Now I may throw my peace away because of what has happened. Yet this event can teach me that peace is available in my mind as a constant. Whatever comes up for healing in our day is a perfect opportunity to learn who we are and that we are not guilty if we fail to learn the lesson. It will simply come up again and again until we are ready to get it.
Everything in our day has a holy purpose when used for healing. How easily can grace heal all things with our willingness, our welcome, and our recognition that we truly are supported in all things! It may not be the ego's idea of what support looks like, but if the ego had its way, true transformation would be impossible. We would forever feel vulnerable to the vagaries of the world and the weakness of these bodies. "Love is your safety." (W.PII.Q5.5.4) Only in the recognition of who we are can we be safe, and to recognize this is to know again what we have always known.
"Is it not strange that you should cherish still some hope of satisfaction from the world you see? In no respect, at any time or place, has anything but fear and guilt been your reward. How long is needed for you to realize the chance of change in this respect is hardly worth delaying change that might result in better outcome? For one thing is sure; the way you see, and long have seen, gives no support to base your future hopes, and no suggestions of success at all. To place your hopes where no hope lies must make you hopeless. Yet is this hopelessness your choice, while you would seek for hope where none is ever found."
(T.25.II.2.1-6) (ACIM OE T.25.III.13)
The only blocks there are to love are those we put there. It is the only reason love seems unavailable to us. When we seem to be having all kinds of problems and are not doing well, we are actually rebelling against Love. The rebel is behind every single problem we have in this world. It is the deepest part of the ego mind that needs to be healed. Our authority problem with God is the basis of our seeming separation. We have made it real by our beliefs when, in fact, it is all illusion. We can now choose to give over our false beliefs and have them replaced for us. All that is required is that we ask the Holy Spirit in everything, "How would you have me see this situation, this person, this event?"
When we focus on our specialness, on our dark stories, and on the idols that we think we need, and when we indulge our emotional tantrums on how things should be for us to be happy, we are actually choosing to give up God's peace, joy, and love that surrounds us. When we go for ego gratification, this maintains the separation from each other and from God and continues our self-defeating patterns. Being willing to look at them is what allows us to open to God's Love. It is the only real safety there is for us. All the ego thought system does is seemingly "protect" us from love, and it does so by telling us we are safer in the body and in the world than we would be in God's presence.
Today, pray the prayer by joining with Jesus who is in our minds, standing with us as a symbol of God's love, as he reminds us this is salvation's prayer. He wants us to experience the perfect safety of God's embrace, even if it is just for the moment. He is the All in all. He is where we stand. There is nothing else but God. Time and space are illusions. When we go into the silence with this prayer, acknowledging the Love that surrounds us always, we can experience His everlasting love. This is the truth, and it is where our peace is. Whatever shows up today that is unlike this peace, we can bring it to awareness and be willing to release it all to the light of truth.
Love and blessings, Sarah
62 How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! His wish is law unto him, and he obeys. Nothing his specialness demands does he withhold. Nothing it needs does he deny to what he loves. And while it calls to him, he hears no other Voice. No effort is too great, no cost too much, no price too dear to save his specialness from the least slight, the tiniest attack, the whispered doubt, the hint of threat, or anything but deepest reverence. This is your son, beloved of you as you are to your Father. Yet it stands in place of your creations, who
are son to you, that you might
share the Fatherhood of God, not snatch it from Him. What is this son that you have made to be your strength? What is this child of earth on whom such love is lavished? What is this parody of God's creation that takes the place of yours? And where are
they, now that the host of God has found another son which he prefers to them?
63 The memory of God shines not alone. What is within your brother still contains all of creation, everything created and creating, born and unborn as yet, still in the future or apparently gone by. What is in him is changeless, and your changelessness is recognized in its acknowledgment. The holiness in you belongs to him. And by your seeing it in him, returns to you. All of the tribute you have given specialness belongs to him and thus returns to you. All of the love and care, the strong protection, the thought by day and night, the deep concern, the powerful conviction this is you belong to him. Nothing you gave to specialness but is his due. And nothing due him is not due to you.
64 How can you know your worth while specialness claims you instead? How can you fail to know it is in his holiness? Seek not to make your specialness the truth, for if it were, you would be lost indeed. Be thankful, rather, it is given you to see his holiness
because it is the truth. And what is true in him must be as true in you.
65 Ask yourself this: can
you protect the mind? The body, yes, a little-not from time, but temporarily. And much you think you save, you hurt. What would you save it
for? For in that choice lie both its health and harm. Save it for show, as bait to catch another fish, to house your specialness in better style or weave a frame of loveliness around your hate, and you condemn it to decay and death. And if you see this purpose in your brother's, such is your condemnation of your own. Weave, rather then, a frame of holiness around him that the truth may shine on him and give you safety from decay.
66 The Father keeps what He created safe. You cannot touch it with the false ideas you made because it was created not by you. Let not your foolish fancies frighten you. What is immortal cannot
be attacked; what is but temporal
has no effect. Only the purpose that you see in it has meaning, and if that is true, its safety rests secure. If not, it has no purpose and is means for nothing. Whatever is perceived as means for truth shares in its holiness and rests in light as safely as itself. Nor will that light go out when it is gone. Its holy purpose gave it immortality, setting another light in Heaven, where your creations recognize a gift from you, a sign that you have not forgotten them.
67 The test of everything on earth is simply this: "What is it
for?" The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it according to the purpose which you serve. Here you are but means, along with it. God is a Means as well as End. In Heaven, means and end are one, and one with Him. This is the state of true creation, found not within time, but in eternity. To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given; not till you make again a holy home for your creations is it understood.
68 A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. A perfect being, all-encompassing and all-encompassed, nothing to add and nothing taken from-not born of size nor weight nor time nor held to limits or uncertainties of any kind. Here do the means and end unite as one, nor does this one have any end at all. All this is true, and yet it has no meaning to anyone who still retains one unlearned lesson in his memory, one thought with purpose still uncertain, or one wish with a divided aim.
69 This course makes no attempt to teach what cannot easily be learned. Its scope does not exceed your own, except to say that what is yours will come to you when you are ready. Here are the means and purpose separate because they were so made and so perceived. And therefore do we deal with them as if they were. It is essential it be kept in mind that all perception still is upside down until its purpose has been understood. Perception does not
seem to be a means. And it is this that makes it hard to grasp the whole extent to which it must depend on what you see it
for. Perception seems to
teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what
you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish-an image that you
wanted to be true.
70 Look at yourself, and you will see a body. Look at this body in a different light, and it looks different. And without a light, it seems that it is gone. Yet you are reassured that it is there because you still can feel it with your hands and hear it move. Here is an image that you want to be yourself. It is the means to make your wish come true. It gives the eyes with which you look on it, the hands that feel it, and the ears with which you listened to the sounds it makes. It
proves its own reality to you.
71 Thus is the body made a theory of yourself with no provisions made for evidence beyond itself and no escape within its sight. Its course is sure when seen through its own eyes. It grows and withers, flourishes and dies. And you cannot conceive of you apart from it. You brand it sinful, and you hate its acts, judging it evil. Yet your specialness whispers, "Here is my own beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Thus does the "son" become the means to serve his "father's" purpose. Not identical, not even like, but still a means to offer to the "father" what he
wants. Such is the travesty on God's creation. For as His Son's creation gave
Him joy and witness to His love and shared His purpose, so does the body testify to the idea that made it and speak for its reality and truth.
72 And thus are two sons made, and both appear to walk this earth without a meeting-place and no encounter. One do you see outside yourself, your own beloved son. The other rests within, His Father's Son, within your brother as he is in you. Their difference does not lie in how they look, nor where they go, nor even what they do. They have a different
purpose. It is this that joins them to their like and separates each from all aspects with a different purpose. The Son of God retains His Father's Will. The son of man perceives an alien will and wishes it were so. And thus does his perception serve his wish by giving it appearances of truth. Yet can perception serve another goal. It is not bound to specialness but by your choice. And it
is given you to make a different choice and use perception for a different purpose. And what you see will serve that purpose well and
prove its own reality to you.
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