Lesson 268
The Special Function
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46 Such is the Holy Spirit's kind perception of specialness---His use of what you made, to heal instead of harm. To each He gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill---a part for only him. Nor is the plan complete until he finds his special function and fulfills the part assigned to him to make himself complete within a world where incompletion rules. 

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CHAPTER 25 VI-VII, 37-49
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What is the Body
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   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.
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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 268
Let all things be exactly as they are.
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    Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today,
    and judge against You. Let me not attempt
    to interfere [in] Your creation, and
    distort it into sickly forms. Let me
    be willing to withdraw my wishes from
    its unity, and thus to let it be
    as You created it. For thus will I
    be able, too, to recognize my Self
    as You created me. In Love was I
    created, and in Love will I remain
    forever. What can frighten me when I
    let all things be exactly as they are?
   Let not our sight be blasphemous today,
   nor let our ears attend to lying tongues.
   Only reality is free of pain.
   Only reality is free of loss.
   Only reality is wholly safe.
   And it is only this we seek today.
         ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Let all things be exactly as they are.

Sarah's Commentary:  
"Let all things be exactly as they are" (W.268) seems like a lesson in a kind of acceptance of everything as it is. What if someone were to attack us or attack others? Are we required to accept this? Should we accept that nothing can be changed? Actually, this Lesson is not about acceptance of the forms of this world. We may see an event or situation as not kind or helpful, but we don't have to be upset about it because it is not the truth. If you attack me, it is not right and I don't need to accept the attack, but I don't need to become distressed and disturbed by it because it is not anything real. In other words, I can overlook the error. Who you are as the Son of God, divine and perfect, is what is real, not the person I see in front of me in the attacking body. Letting things be exactly as they are is to accept the truth and to accept that only truth is true. It is to see the truth about our brother as one with us, rather than what our body's eyes show us about him. The ego has tried to make illusion the truth and reality the illusion.
Kirsten Buxton, in her book, I Married a Mystic, writes about differentiating between what is true and what is not. We believe in orders of difficulty, with some things in our lives being more complex and difficult than others. Yet Jesus says, "What the body's eyes behold is only conflict. Look not to them for peace and understanding." (Manual for Teachers.8.1.6-7) There is only one answer to illusions, and it is to recognize that only love is real. In her book, Kirsten describes how the Holy Spirit asked her to put everything into opposing categories, true or false, real or unreal. She continues with this message from the Holy Spirit. "The body's eyes may report differences in shape, size, and actions, and these are put in the false or unreal category. The experience of the present moment-seeing the Christ, feeling the connection of love between you and your brother-is put in the true or real category." She used this message all day: walking outside, looking at trees and seeing them as big and tall and causing her happiness, she put them all in the category of false. The only thing she put in the category of true was being in the moment. We are called to accept that only truth is true and nothing else is true. "Salvation is the recognition that the truth is true, and nothing else is true." (W.152.3.1) Both parts of this sentence must be accepted. What is true is true is true, and what is false is false.
When someone attacks us or there are difficult situations in our lives, we generally experience upset. When this is the case, we need not feel guilty and chastise ourselves for not being good spiritual students. On the contrary, we can accept it as another opportunity to look at your own unconscious guilt, being brought to awareness now through this situation so it can be healed. This is what everything that shows up in our lives is for. This is why the world is a perfect classroom for our healing. Behind all form is unity. When we don't impose our own wishes on this unified field, there is no more suffering. We distort the unity behind all form when our wish is for others to suffer for what they have seemingly done to us. The unity of God's love does not recognize anything but innocence.
When the "tiny, mad idea" (T.27.VIII.6.2) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.82) crept into the mind of the Son of God, there was a thought that there was something better than Oneness. We wanted to be God, and thus the world of form was made. God did not create these earthly forms. The forms came about because, in our choice for the ego thought system, the unity of reality became distorted. Part of the Christ mind had to fall asleep in order to experience this dream. Now time and space entered into this construct, and the world of form became a place where we could play out our desires and hide from God. It is important to see that this does not make us bad. We came here to experience ourselves as separate from God and so we pursued what we came to do. We took the role of God ourselves, where we could choose whatever we thought would bring us happiness. We believe we actually succeeded in breaking away from Him, which is not possible. We hid from Him in this illusory world. Of course, we don't think of it as an illusion. Our sleeping mind has fooled itself into believing that this world is our reality. That is how we judge against God, by trying to prove Him wrong, which is to be His critic. Every time we criticize our brother for his wrongdoings, we are judging against God, Who affirms the perfection of our brothers and ourselves.
We believe what we see with our eyes, and what we attend to with our ears is the truth. Jesus says this is blasphemous to God (W.268.2.1) because it is a judgment against the truth. This is how we have attempted to interfere with His creation and "distort it into sickly forms." (W.268.1.2) As we look on bodies, we see sickly forms and not the truth of who anyone is, including ourselves. Oneness now seems to be shattered into billions of fragments, with some we like and some we dislike. But now we are called to give up our judgments and accept the truth of our brothers so we can know it for ourselves. This means that whenever we judge our brother, we recognize that those judgments are based on our unconscious guilt, and we are called to put our judgments on the inner altar to be washed away. Another way to approach this is to look with Jesus, who looks with us without judgment. The ego does not allow us to look. Instead, it demands that we defend our perspectives. Ken Wapnick says the principle of defense is not to look because to look is undoing. "It [the Miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3) "Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone, and judges not." (W.352.1.1) When we give everything over to the Holy Spirit, He will reinterpret it all for us and remind us who we are and who our brothers are.
Of course, we could never be successful in shattering reality. If we really could change what God created as eternal, we truly would be lost, and sin and the sickly forms of this world would indeed be real. While we feel guilt over what we believe we have done to reality, Jesus assures us over and over that we have done nothing, and thus, there is no need for guilt. We cannot change what God created, but we will not know this until we awaken from the dream. Through the teaching of this Course, Jesus is helping us to awaken to who we are. When we are willing to withdraw our wishes from the world, and "thus to let it be as You created it," (W.268.1.3) we will recognize and know our Self as we are and as we have always been in creation. Until then, we have drawn a veil over reality because of our wish to see something other than unity. We are simply refusing to accept what is forever true.
When we know the truth about the Self as we were created without all the constructs and images of separate bodies that seem to be in competition with each other, then "What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?" (W.268.1.6) In other words, what can assail truth? What can hurt love? What can damage the eternal? What can interfere with Oneness? What can frighten us when we let all things be exactly as they are? All of our fear comes from the belief that we have changed creation and have separated from God's Love. There is no fear in Oneness. Fear comes from the denial of Oneness. We deny Oneness every time we choose to see a brother guilty, every time we attack anyone, or even when we are sad, angry, worried, or distressed. We are, in effect, using these situations to prove that we are right in our perceptions, and God is wrong. This is the time to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. "Holy Spirit, help me to forgive myself for using (this brother, this event, or this situation) as a way to keep myself separate from Your Love."
If you feel you are being attacked by anyone today, remind yourself that you don't need to accept the attack as real. "Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do." (T.17.III.1.5) (ACIM OE T.17.IV.14) To let things be exactly as they are is to see the truth of who our brothers are---the One Son of God. We remind ourselves that to overcome illusions is to accept the world of form as not really there at all. We do not simply acquiesce to things not right because that is not real peace. It is only a kind of resignation. Real peace comes from seeing that sickly forms have no impact. They are not real. There is nothing about them that we need to accept. Yet if we are to see beyond them to the truth, we must first acknowledge how we are misperceiving what we see and bring our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit so He can reinterpret them for us.
"How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality." (T.22.V.1.1-3)(ACIM OE T.22.VI.45) "Reality opposes nothing. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none." (T.22.V.1.6-7) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45) "You are the strong one in this seeming conflict. And you need no defense." (T.22.V.1.10-11) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45)
As we watch our minds, we can see that there are many ways we want things to be different than they are. We have hopes and wishes of how things should be, and in this, we are listening to the ego. We follow what the ego's dictates, which is, "I want it thus!" (T.18.II.4.1) (ACIM OE T.18.III.17) Yet when we experience difficulties in our lives, how can we not want things to be different? How can those who are sick and suffering not want things to be different than they are? Are we really being asked to accept all this? " All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen." (T.27.VII.2.2-5) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.63) In other words, all problems can be used to lead us back to the mind, which takes us to the only problem to be addressed---the belief in separation. In other words, you think you are alone and forget what you are and Who walks with you. Whatever problem we think we have, we must realize we can never solve it on our own. Trust in the presence and power, which is always available and where the only answer lies. Listen, follow, and trust.
Jesus teaches that none of the heavy clouds of complication in our lives are real. All the problems and all the suffering we see around us is not real. It is all the sickly forms that reflect our unhealed minds and show us projections of our own unconscious guilt. But it is not helpful to deny what we see. If our misperceptions, based on our unconscious guilt, are to be healed, they need to be brought to light. In other words, we need to acknowledge what we are misperceiving and our judgments about them, and then bring them to the Holy Spirit. He cannot heal what we don't give to Him.
He reminds us, "Only reality is free of pain", (W.268.2.2) and "Only reality is free of loss." (W.268.2.3) If anything seems to be bringing pain into our lives, Jesus calls it blasphemy. In other words, we are experiencing something that is truly not real. None of it came from God since it is of our own making through our refusal to accept the holiness of what God created.
It is not helpful to use what he is teaching us as a way to experience more guilt. He is simply bringing to our awareness that there is another option. There is another way of looking at the world, which is what the Holy Spirit can show us. "If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours." (T.10.V.12.5-6) (ACIM OE T.9.XI.104)
While we still believe in the reality of the world and of bodies, we are not asked to ignore our safety and well-being. This Course does not ask us to change our behavior, but only to change our minds. The behavior will follow. The Course is all about the healing of guilt and the recognition that what we think we know, based on past experience, is wrong. When we see the world as a classroom where we take small daily steps in forgiveness, everything serves our awakening. It is not about doing anything to try to change ourselves. Our part is only to accept the perfection of everything that shows up in our lives and to bring our misperceptions to the light. To do more is to try to add the ego to the truth. The ego will never undo itself. "Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two." (T.18.IV.1.6) (ACIM OE T.18.V.32) In other words, we can neither forgive ourselves, nor try to change ourselves. Our part is only to bring awareness to our misperceptions, and the Holy Spirit will do His part.
Do not attend to the voices of the world that tell you that all of this is real. "Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues." (W.268.2.1) We are hearing so much today about the epidemic of disease, about the reality of war, about murders and assassinations, poverty, the environment, politics, and on and on. While it is all part of the relative world, in the absolute truth of God's reality, none of it is real. We are being asked not to attend to the fear and judgments these events bring forth. When fear arises in you today, ask for help in releasing it so you can know the peace behind these blasphemous sights and lying tongues. Rather than resign ourselves to accepting the things of this world as they are, let us today commit, instead, to accept the Divine behind all form. This is a different kind of acceptance.
I was recently at a bankruptcy hearing for someone with whom I had invested money. All the money I had invested was lost, squandered, and misappropriated for which this person spent two years in jail. There were about 200 people at the hearing and a lot of anger was expressed toward this person. He was sitting at the front of the room, flanked by the bankruptcy officials. It reminded me of Jesus on the cross with the crowd calling for his crucifixion, flanked by the two thieves. All in all, it was a magnificent opportunity to look at my own thoughts. Yes, there were twinges with feelings of loss, and yet there was an even stronger desire to see the innocence in my brother. At the end of the hearing, there was a big space between the stage and the audience, and the question in my mind was whether to approach or simply to leave the room. I had moments of anger and judgment but saw how vulnerable he was, sitting there, and I felt deep compassion. Jesus reminded me that I could see him as innocent and thus receive this gift for myself. In the end, I felt nudged to approach him and I open-heartedly embraced this brother. I felt my heart open as I gave him a gift of lilies, instead of the gift of thorns and received the gift for myself. Did this release all of my anger and feelings of betrayal that I felt about this perceived loss? No. Forgiveness is a process, and when fear thoughts creep back into the mind, I see their meaninglessness and choose again.
In each moment, we are asked, "Which will we choose?" The choice we make brings to us whatever it is we give. When I give attack, I receive attack. Let all things be exactly as they are. We are given many opportunities in this classroom to release our brothers and thus ourselves. Which will we choose? What we give, we receive. This is the law of God. It is not about spiritualizing the experience. Rage, judgments, disappointments, and frustrations must be seen for what they are in the process of forgiveness. We are called to look at them all. "It [the Miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3)
Love and blessings, Sarah

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A Course in Miracles
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Chapter Twenty Five

The Remedy 
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CHAPTER 25 VI-VII, 37-49
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VI. The State of Sinlessness  
37 The state of sinlessness is merely this: the whole desire to attack is gone, and so there is no reason to perceive the Son of God as other than he is. The need for guilt is gone because it has no purpose and is meaningless without the goal of sin. Attack and sin are bound as one illusion, each the cause and aim and justifier of the other. Each is meaningless alone, but seems to draw a meaning from the other. Each depends upon the other for whatever sense it seems to have. And no one could believe in one unless the other were the truth, for each attests the other must be true.
38 Attack makes Christ your enemy and God along with Him. Must you not be afraid with "enemies" like these? And must you not be fearful of yourself? For you have hurt yourself and made your Self your "enemy." And now you must believe you are not you but something alien to yourself and "something else," a "something" to be feared instead of loved. Who would attack whatever he perceives as wholly innocent? And who, because he wishes to attack, can fail to think it must be guilty to deserve the wish and leave him innocent? And who would see the Son of God as innocent and wish him dead? Christ stands before you both each time you look on one another. He has not gone because your eyes are closed. But what is there to see by searching for your savior, seeing Him through sightless eyes? 
39 It is not Christ you see by looking thus. It is the "enemy" confused with Christ you look upon. And hate because there is no sin in him for you to see. Nor do you hear his plaintive call, unchanged in content in whatever form the call is made, that you unite with him and join with him in innocence and peace. And yet beneath the ego's senseless shrieks, such is the call that God has given him that you might hear in him His Call to you and answer by returning unto God what is His own.
40 The Son of God asks only this of you---that you return to him what is his due that you may share in it with him. Alone does neither have it. So must it remain useless to both. Together, it will give to each an equal strength to save the other and save himself along with him. Forgiven by you, your savior offers you salvation. Condemned by you, he offers death to you. In everyone you see but the reflection of what you chose to have him be to you. If you decide against his proper function, the only one he has in truth, you are depriving him of all the joy he would have found if he fulfilled the role God gave to him. But think not Heaven is lost to him alone. Nor can it be regained unless the way is shown to him through you that you may find it, walking by his side.
41 It is no sacrifice that he be saved, for by his freedom will you gain your own. To let his function be fulfilled is but the means to let yours be. And so you walk toward Heaven or toward hell, but not alone. How beautiful his sinlessness will be when you perceive it! And how great will be your joy, when he is free to offer you the gift of sight God gave to him for you! He has no need but this---that you allow him freedom to complete the task God gave to him. Remembering but this---that what he does you do along with him. And as you see him, so do you define the function he will have for you until you see him differently and let him be what God appointed that he be to you.
42 Against the hatred that the Son of God may cherish toward himself is God believed to be without the power to save what He created from the pain of hell. But in the love he shows himself is God made free to let His Will be done. In each of you, you see the picture of your own belief in what the Will of God must be for you. In your forgiveness will you understand His love for you; through your attack believe He hates you, thinking Heaven must be hell. Look once again upon your brother, not without the understanding that he is the way to Heaven or to hell as you perceive him. But forget not this---the role you give to him is given you, and you will walk the way you pointed out to him because it is your judgment on yourself.
VII. The Special Function
43 The grace of God rests gently on forgiving eyes, and everything they look on speaks of Him to the beholder. He can see no evil, nothing in the world to fear, and no one who is different from himself. And as he loves them, so he looks upon himself with love and gentleness. He would no more condemn himself for his mistakes than damn another. He is not an arbiter of vengeance nor a punisher of sin. The kindness of his sight rests on himself with all the tenderness it offers others. For he would only heal and only bless. And being in accord with what God wills, he has the power to heal and bless all those he looks on with the grace of God upon his sight.
44 Eyes become used to darkness, and the light of brilliant day seems painful to the eyes grown long accustomed to the dim effects perceived at twilight. And they turn away from sunlight and the clarity it brings to what they look upon. Dimness seems better-easier to see and better recognized. Somehow, the vague and more obscure seems easier to look upon; less painful to the eyes than what is wholly clear and unambiguous. Yet this is not what eyes are for. And who can say that he prefers the darkness and maintain he wants to see? The wish to see calls down the grace of God upon your eyes and brings the gift of light that makes sight possible.
45 Will you behold your brother? God is glad to have you look on him. He does not will your savior be unrecognized by you. Nor does He will that he remain without the function that He gave to him. Let him no more be lonely, for the lonely ones are those who see no function in the world for them to fill, no place where they are needed, and no aim which only they can perfectly fulfill.
46 Such is the Holy Spirit's kind perception of specialness---His use of what you made, to heal instead of harm. To each He gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill---a part for only him. Nor is the plan complete until he finds his special function and fulfills the part assigned to him to make himself complete within a world where incompletion rules.
47 Here, where the laws of God do not prevail in perfect form, can he yet do one perfect thing and make one perfect choice. And by this act of special faithfulness to one perceived as other than himself, he learns the gift was given to himself, and so they must be one. Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time. It is the means the Holy Spirit uses to translate specialness from sin into salvation. Forgiveness is for all. But when it rests on all, it is complete and every function of this world completed with it. Then is time no more.
48 Yet while in time, there is still much to do. And each must do what is allotted him, for on his part does all the plan depend. He has a special part in time, for so he chose, and choosing it, he made it for himself. His wish was not denied but changed in form to let it serve his brother and himself and thus become a means to save instead of lose. Salvation is no more than a reminder this world is not your home; its laws are not imposed on you; its values are not yours. [And nothing that you think you see in it is really there at all.] And this is seen and understood as each one takes his part in its undoing, as he did in making it. He has the means for either, as he always did. The specialness he chose to hurt himself did God appoint to be the means for his salvation from the very instant that the choice was made. His special sin was made his special grace. His special hate became his special love.
49 The Holy Spirit needs your special function that His may be fulfilled. Think not you lack a special value here. You wanted it, and it is given you. All that you made can serve salvation easily and well. The Son of God can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf and not against himself. Only in darkness does your specialness appear to be attack. In light, you see it as your special function in the plan to save the Son of God from all attack and let him understand that he is safe, as he has always been and will remain in time and in eternity alike. This is the function given each of you for one another. Take it gently then from one another's hand, and let salvation be perfectly fulfilled in both of you. Do this one thing, that everything be given you.

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