Lesson 27
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Innocence Bestows Redemption
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 3 "RETRAINING THE MIND"
III. ATONEMENT WITHOUT SACRIFICE

God Himself is not symbolic; He is fact. The Atonement too is totally without symbolism. It is perfectly clear because it exists in light. Only man's attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to the unwilling and ambiguous to the partly willing. The Atonement itself radiates nothing but truth. It therefore epitomizes harmlessness and sheds only blessing. It could not do this if it arose from anything but perfect innocence. Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, which does not exist. It is, however, perfectly aware of everything that is true.  
         
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
INTRODUCTION
Workbook Introduction
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1 A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
 
2 The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
 
3 The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
 
4 Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
 
5 Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
    
    ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM       

 
  CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY 

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 27
Above all else I want to see.


< AUDIO ><VIDEO>
 Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 
 
1 Today's idea expresses something stronger than mere determination. It gives vision priority among your desires. You may feel hesitant about using the idea on the ground that you are not sure you really mean it. This does not matter. The purpose of today's exercises is to bring the time when the idea will be wholly true a little nearer. 
 
2 There may be a great temptation to believe that some sort of sacrifice is being asked of you when you say you want to see above all else. If you become uneasy about the lack of reservation involved, add: 
 
3 Vision has no cost to anyone.
 
4 If fear of loss still persists, add further:  
 
5 It can only bless.
 
6 The idea for today needs many repetitions for maximum benefit. It should be used at least every half hour, and more often if possible. You might try for every 15 or 20 minutes. It is recommended that you set a definite time interval for using the idea when you wake or shortly afterwards and attempt to adhere to it throughout the day. It will not be difficult to do this, even if you are engaged in conversation or otherwise occupied at the time. You can still repeat one short sentence to yourself without disturbing anything that is going on. 
 
7 The real question is how often will you remember? How much do you want today's idea to be true? Answer one of these questions, and you have answered the other. You will probably miss several applications and perhaps quite a number. Do not be disturbed by this, but do try to keep on your schedule from then on. If only once during the day you feel that you were perfectly sincere while you were repeating today's idea, you can be sure that you have saved yourself many years of effort.

    ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM   
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 27
  Above all else I want to see .  

Sarah's Commentary:

In Lesson 20, we proclaimed, "I am determined to see." (W.20) Today, we are expressing something stronger. "Above all else I want to see." (W.27) With this, we are saying that having vision is more important than our worldly attachments. It makes waking up from this dream and remembering who we are our primary goal. It means recognizing that we no longer wish to put the ego in charge of our lives. It puts our desire for awakening from this dream in first place. "It gives vision priority among your desires." (W.27.1.2)
 
Clearly, we still have other desires, and Jesus has no intention in making us feel guilty about them. In fact, he says that it does not matter if this is not the absolute truth for us. He acknowledges that he does not expect that we are entirely sincere yet in affirming our desire for vision. "The purpose of today's exercises is to bring the time when the idea will be wholly true a little nearer." (W.27.1.5) Our motivation is not yet sufficiently strong. We are still defended against the truth. "There may be a great temptation to believe that some sort of sacrifice is being asked of you when you say you want to see above all else." (W.27.2.1) We still believe that we have to pay for our sins, atone for our mistakes, give up something we value, and become such serious students that we give up our idea of happiness and what we deem as our best interests. We really believe that God demands something from us, and so we keep Him out of parts of our lives, even if that brings more suffering. Until we see that God's Will for us is only happiness and we recognize that the ego is attached to suffering, we will resist these Lessons. Jesus wants happiness for us.
 
He is trying to motivate us to see that our happiness depends on vision, not on reliance on the ego. Happiness is mentioned in the Course almost as many times as forgiveness so it is literally synonymous. It is our own thinking and analyzing that keep us locked into the ego. Doing these Lessons is about surrendering our ideas and letting the thoughts presented here wash over us. It is about opening our minds and our hearts to the truth that is already in us. There is nothing to seek, only to allow.
 
As Jesus says in the introduction to the Workbook, it does not matter if we currently do not accept these thoughts. We don't need to believe the ideas nor accept or welcome them for the Lessons to have value for us. In fact, he says that we may even resist them; but he says, that will not decrease their efficacy. Practicing them and applying them will bring us closer to the day when this is completely true for us.
 
The purpose of this Lesson is to strengthen our motivation and our desire for the truth. We have to want to learn what Jesus is teaching us, at least to some extent, or his efforts will fail. It is all about readiness and willingness to learn. Jesus is helping us with this by showing us that our way has not brought the happiness that we have longed for. When we see that our own strategies don't work to bring us the peace and joy we had hoped for, we become more motivated to learn the Lessons that Jesus gives us. However, he knows we have resistance to his teaching, so he keeps reminding us that the reason to learn what he is teaching us is that it will make us blissfully happy.
Jesus tells us, "The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished. You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognize that you are miserable and not happy. The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery is happiness. This has so confused you that you have undertaken to learn to do what you can never do, believing that unless you learn it you will not be happy." (T.14.II.1.1-4) (ACIM OE T.13.VII.54) It is a process. We will not immediately take this to heart. We still think that we will be sacrificing our own best interests, as we define them, and we still need to be convinced that this journey entails only gain, not loss for us.
 
We still experience fear in the belief that if we learn his Lessons, we will have to give up something we value. We don't yet recognize that there is nothing in the illusion to value because it is nothing. "Nothing real can be threatened." (T.IN.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.IN.4) If fear comes up and resistance is strong, don't fight yourself. We can simply remind ourselves, "Vision has no cost to anyone." (W.27.2.3) And if that is not enough to allay our fears, we are reminded, "It can only bless." (W.27.2.5)
 
Today, we affirm that vision is a gift that will allow us to see beyond the forms of this world to the holiness that is forever shining there as a reflection of the holiness in our minds. "The desire and the willingness to let it [the holy instant] come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more." (T.18.IV.1.3-5) (ACIM OE T.18.V.32) All that is asked is that we practice the Lesson with some degree of willingness and as much sincerity as possible at least every half hour.
 
Set your intention on the frequency of practice for yourself so that the pressures and demands of the day don't just wash out the Lesson from your awareness. We want to do the practice to the extent that we want vision. Set your goal so that you have a way of assessing the extent of your resistance. Jesus knows that we will likely not stick entirely to our intention, and he does not want us to feel guilty about that. He does not chastise us for forgetting because he already knows we probably will. Beating up on ourselves is not helpful and will probably result in our giving up on the Course. It can also just serve to increase our guilt, which is the last thing we need. Be gentle, but be firm with yourself in the practice. Looking at how much we stayed with our intention is helpful to assess our level of resistance. "The real question is, how often will you remember? How much do you want today's idea to be true?" (W.27.4.1-2)

Love and blessings, Sarah  
A Course in Miracles
TEXT
ACIM Original Edition
III. Atonement Without Sacrifice  
  
11 There is another point which must be perfectly clear before any residual fear which may still be associated with miracles becomes entirely groundless. The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement. The resurrection did. This is a point which many very sincere Christians have misunderstood. No one who is free of the scarcity-error could possibly make this mistake. If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it does appear as if God permitted and even encouraged one of his Sons to suffer because he was good. Many ministers preach this every day.

12 This particularly unfortunate interpretation, which arose out of the combined misprojections of a large number of my would-be followers, has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God. This particularly anti-religious concept enters into many religions, and this is neither by chance nor by coincidence. Yet the real Christian would have to pause and ask, "How could this be?" Is it likely that God Himself would be capable of the kind of thinking which His own words have clearly stated is unworthy of man?

13 The best defense, as always, is not to attack another's position but rather to protect the truth. It is unwise to accept any concept if you have to turn a whole frame of reference around in order to justify it. This procedure is painful in its minor applications and genuinely tragic on a mass basis. Persecution is a frequent result, undertaken to justify the terrible misperception that God Himself persecuted His own Son on behalf of salvation. The very words are meaningless.

14 It has been particularly difficult to overcome this because, although the error itself is no harder to overcome than any other error, men were unwilling to give this one up because of its prominent "escape" value. In milder forms a parent says, "This hurts me more than it hurts you," and feels exonerated in beating a child. Can you believe that the Father really thinks this way? It is so essential that all such thinking be dispelled that we must be very sure that nothing of this kind remains in your mind. I was not punished because you were bad. The wholly benign lesson the Atonement teaches is lost if it is tainted with this kind of distortion in any form.

15 "Vengeance is Mine sayeth the Lord," is a strictly karmic viewpoint. It is a real misperception of truth by which man assigns his own "evil" past to God. The "evil conscience" from the past has nothing to do with God. He did not create it, and He does not maintain it. God does not believe in karmic retribution. His Divine Mind does not create that way. He does not hold the evil deeds of a man even against himself. Is it likely, then, that He would hold against anyone the evil that another did?

16 Be very sure that you recognize how utterly impossible this assumption really is and how entirely it arises from misprojection. This kind of error is responsible for a host of related errors including the belief that God rejected man and forced him out of the Garden of Eden. It is also responsible for the fact that you may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you. I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but man is very inventive when it comes to twisting symbols around.

17 God Himself is not symbolic; He is fact. The Atonement too is totally without symbolism. It is perfectly clear because it exists in light. Only man's attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to the unwilling and ambiguous to the partly willing. The Atonement itself radiates nothing but truth. It therefore epitomizes harmlessness and sheds only blessing. It could not do this if it arose from anything but perfect innocence. Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, which does not exist. It is, however, perfectly aware of everything that is true.

18 The Resurrection demonstrated that nothing can destroy truth. Good can withstand any form of evil because light abolishes all forms of darkness. The Atonement is thus the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all of the other lessons which I taught are true. Man is released from all errors if he believes in this. The deductive approach to teaching accepts the generalization which is applicable to all single instances rather than building up the generalization after analyzing numerous single instances separately. If you can accept the one generalization now, there will be no need to learn from many smaller lessons.

19 Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his Spirit into the hands of his Father. By doing this, the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. All sense of separation disappears, and level confusion vanishes. The Son of God is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity itself is One. There is no confusion within its levels because they are of One Mind and One Will. This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God. Yet this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent.

20 Because their hearts are pure, the innocent defend true perception instead of defending themselves against it. Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the will to attack, and therefore they see truly. This is what the Bible means when it says, "When He shall appear (or be perceived) we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

21 Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear. This is particularly unfortunate because frightened people are apt to be vicious. Sacrificing another in any way is a clear cut violation of God's own injunction that man should be merciful even as his Father in Heaven. It has been hard for many Christians to realize that this commandment (or assignment) also applies to themselves. Good teachers never terrorize their students. To terrorize is to attack, and this results in rejection of what the teacher offers. The result is learning failure.

22 I have been correctly referred to as "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world." Those who represent the lamb as blood-stained, an all-too-widespread error, do not understand the meaning of the symbol. Correctly understood, it is a very simple parable which merely speaks of my innocence. The lion and the lamb lying down together refers to the fact that strength and innocence are not in conflict but naturally live in peace. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" is another way of saying the same thing.

23 There has been some human controversy about the nature of seeing in relation to the integrative powers of the brain. Correctly understood, the issue revolves around the question of whether the body or the mind can see (or understand). This is not really open to question at all. The body is not capable of understanding, and only the mind can perceive anything. A pure mind knows the truth, and this is its strength. It cannot attack the body because it recognizes exactly what the body is. This is what "a sane mind in a sane body" really means. It does not confuse destruction with innocence because it associates innocence with strength, not with weakness.

24 Innocence is incapable of sacrificing anything because the innocent mind has everything and strives only to protect its wholeness. This is why it cannot misproject. It can only honor man because honor is the natural greeting of the truly loved to others who are like them. The lamb taketh away the sins of the world only in the sense that the state of innocence, or grace, is one in which the meaning of the Atonement is perfectly apparent. The innocence of God is the true state of mind of His Son. In this state, man's mind does see God, and because he sees Him as he is, he knows that the Atonement, not sacrifice, is the only appropriate gift to his own altar, where nothing except perfection truly belongs. The understanding of the innocent is truth. That is why their altars are truly radiant.
 
          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM       

 
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