Lesson 281
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Cause and Effect are One
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 26 THE TRANSITION
VIII. REVIEW OF PRINCIPLES

60 Cause and effect are one, not separate. God wills you learn what always has been true---that He created you as part of Him, and this must still be true because ideas leave not their source. Such is creation's law---that each idea the mind conceives but adds to its abundance, never takes away. This is as true of what is idly wished as what is truly willed, because the mind can wish to be deceived but cannot make it be what it is not. And to believe ideas can leave their source is to invite illusions to be true, without success. For never will success be possible in trying to deceive the Son of God.  
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
What is the Holy Spirit
WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* Example MP3
 
   The Holy Spirit mediates between
   illusions and the truth. As He must bridge
   the gap between reality and dreams,
   perception leads to knowledge through the grace
   that God has given Him, to be His gift
   to everyone who turns to Him for truth.
   Across the bridge that He provides, are dreams
   all carried to the truth, to be dispelled
   before the light of knowledge. There are sights
   and sounds forever laid aside. And where
   they were perceived before, forgiveness has
   made possible perception's tranquil end.
 
   The goal the Holy Spirit's teaching sets
   is just this end of dreams. For sights and sounds
   must be translated from the witnesses
   of fear to those of love. And when this is
   entirely accomplished, learning has
   achieved the only goal it has in truth.
   For learning, as the Holy Spirit guides
   it to the outcome He perceives for it,
   becomes the means to go beyond itself,
   to be replaced by the Eternal Truth.
 
   If you but knew how much your Father yearns
   to have you recognize your sinlessness,
   you would not let His Voice appeal in vain,
   nor turn away from His replacement for
   the fearful images and dreams you made.
   The Holy Spirit understands the means
   you made, by which you would attain what is
   forever unattainable. And if
   you offer them to Him, He will employ
   the means you made for exile to restore
   your mind to where it truly is at home.
 
   From knowledge, where He has been placed by God,
   the Holy Spirit calls to you, to let
   forgiveness rest upon your dreams, and be
   restored to sanity and peace of mind.
   Without forgiveness will your dreams remain
   to terrify you. And the memory
   of all your Father's Love will not return
   to signify the end of dreams has come.
 
   Accept your Father's gift. It is a call
   from Love to Love, that It be but Itself.
   The Holy Spirit is His gift, by Which
   the quietness of Heaven is restored
   to God's beloved Son. Would you refuse
   to take the function of completing God,
   when all He wills is that you be complete.

    ~ Original Hand Script  
 
  
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DAILY LESSON
SonShip Workbook
 L e s s o n 281
I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.


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    Father, Your Son is perfect. When he thinks
    that he is hurt in any way, it is
    because he has forgotten who he is.
    And that he is as You created him.
    Your Thoughts can only bring me happiness.
    If ever I am sad or hurt or ill,
    I have forgotten what You think, and put
    my little, meaningless ideas in place
    of where Your Thoughts belong, and where They are.
    I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.
    The Thoughts I think with You can only bless.
    The Thoughts I think with You alone are true.
 
   I will not hurt myself today. For I
   am far beyond all pain. My Father placed
   me safe in Heaven, watching over me.
   And I would not attack the Son He loves,
   for what He loves is mine to love, as well.
 
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM December 1, 1970   
  
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA

LESSON 281
I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts?

Sarah's Commentary:  
  
We are now reading and reflecting on the question, "What is the Holy Spirit?" (W.PII.Q7) The Holy Spirit is the aspect of God's Love taken into the dream. He is in our right minds where sanity and truth prevail. He is the Correction for the separation, so when we make the choice to forgive, we call on this part of the mind. Each time we bring our misperceptions to the truth, we experience more peace and joy until this becomes our only reality.
 
The Holy Spirit is the mediator between illusions and the truth. Our part is to bring our illusions to Him so the truth can shine through us. But how do we do that? We do it by looking at what is coming up in our minds that is blocking the love we are. We do it by not judging whatever comes up in our awareness, but looking at it with honesty, courage, and simple acceptance. We have come to identify with the ego thought system, but it is not who we are. When we are sad, angry, feel betrayed, feel frustrated, worried, depressed, anxious, needy, wanting to get something, or experience anything not peaceful, it is important to recognize the feeling or the thought (it doesn't matter which because it is the same) and take responsibility for it. While it seems to us that others are the cause of our upsets by what they do or say, nothing comes from anything outside of our own mind. It is our own mind that is the source of our upsets. It is the wrong-minded choice for the ego and with it comes guilt and fear as a result of our belief that we have separated from God. Now the ego has told us we had better hide from God's retribution, and so we live in a state of fear. We distract ourselves from the fear, but we must come to see that it is not real and has no power.
 
What the Holy Spirit does is bridge the gap between illusions and reality. What He needs from us is simple willingness to allow Him to translate sights and sounds from witnesses of guilt and fear to those of love. (W.PII.Q7.2.2). Basically, this means that everything we have made to hurt ourselves He can use for healing. In this world, our bodies were made for separation, differences, and attack, but when we give them over to the Holy Spirit, they become a vehicle of communication for the purpose of forgiveness, healing, and extension of His love. The same can be said about our special relationships, which can be given over to the Holy Spirit so He can translate what we made to serve our specialness and bring it all up for healing and wholeness.
 
Without the Holy Spirit in our right minds, we would be forever lost in the dream. Now our dreams are ". . . all carried to the truth, to be dispelled before the light of knowledge." (W.PII.Q7.1.3) The ultimate goal is the attainment of the real world, which is the end of dreams. Learning is the means by which illusions are replaced by eternal truth. This learning requires we recognize we have been wrong about everything we think we know because we have been listening to the voice of the ego that has misled us. Now we can learn there is another Voice that can bring us home.
 
When Jesus speaks of God's yearning or God's incompletion, it is a symbol to communicate how deep, unchanging, and eternal is God's Love for us. This kind of symbolic language reflects our own yearning for God. In this world of dreams, we live with fearful images that reflect guilt and attack, which we see all around us in the world. They are not real, but in our current state, they appear very real, dark, and very frightening. When we bring them to the Holy Spirit, He will show us what we see as real and frightening are our own misperceptions of who we are and what the world is. He translates the sights and sounds that frighten us ". . . from the witnesses of fear to those of love." (W.PII.Q7.2.2)
 
The ego uses the sights and sounds of this world to keep us invested in the illusion. To us, the events of our lives all seem very real and solid. We agonize over issues in relationships, money, worthiness, career, future plans, health, and well-being, among other things. To us, they define the content of our lives, and their achievement seems to bring the fulfillment we seek through them. Yet it is always temporary, and ultimately, it ends in pain. It is so very challenging to take what we experience and put it all to question, especially those things we define as pleasure.
 
Jesus calls all of our experiences in the world, "children's toys" that we have given power to. They are our idols that substitute in our minds for God's gifts. "All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him." (T.29.VII.6.1-3) (ACIM OE T.29.VIII.48) Jesus reminds us again that our happiness will never come from these idols, nor from seeking outside of ourselves. We can only know our happiness as we look at all of our misperceptions and bring them to the truth within.
 
Jesus teaches that what we've made as substitutes and are attached to can never bring us happiness. Happiness can only be found in what we have been given by God in our creation. Yet we are not entirely convinced this is true. We continue to look for happiness in idols, but happiness is forever unattainable when we seek for it where it does not exist. Our pleasure soon turns to pain and serving our specialness is always at the expense of others. When we use others for our own purposes, we will hate what we think we have become because it is all based on sin and guilt. In our special relationships, we try to extract love from our brothers to meet our needs. Thus, we try to win at their expense. It is a relationship of bargaining and reciprocity. These relationships are used to try to fill our perceived lacks. We call the relationship special love when our needs are met, but how quickly these relationships become special hate when part of the bargain is not perfectly delivered. It is not actually our brother's bargain, but the one we have put on him with our expectations of what special love must look like for us to be happy.
 
When we recognize the pain brought about through these special relationships, we turn to the Holy Spirit and call on Him for help. His function is to translate everything we have made to harm into His purpose of healing. Through forgiveness, all of our relationships are translated by Him to healing and holiness.
 
When we give over all of our mistaken notions of where our happiness lies and ask for help of the Holy Spirit to show us the real source of happiness within our own minds, the answer is given. "And if you offer them [our mistaken notions] to Him, He will employ the means you made for exile to restore your mind to where it truly is at home." (W.PII.Q7.3.3)
 
"Without forgiveness will your dreams remain to terrify you. And the memory of all your Father's Love will not return to signify the end of dreams has come." (W.PII.Q7.4.2-3) By learning to forgive, we realize no one has harmed or hurt us. We realize the only harm that seems to come to us is from our own interpretation of situations and events. If we are not feeling happy and at peace, it is because we have chosen to disown the happiness and peace in us and to blame it on our brother. Our unhappiness is based on the belief that something is missing in us and we need to find it outside of ourselves. We make others responsible for our happiness, but no one outside of ourselves can ever, or will ever, meet our need for love. All we need is within us, waiting for our invitation because, ultimately, all we need is in who we really are outside of this dream. The Answer to every desire, every need, and every problem is within. God's Love for us is symbolized by the Holy Spirit, Who ". . . calls to you, to let forgiveness rest upon your dreams, and be restored to sanity and peace of mind." (W.PII.Q7.4.1)
 
In this Lesson, Jesus says, "I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts." (W.281) This is truly a powerful idea---that only I have the power to hurt me. The responsibility is mine. If we are thinking with the Holy Spirit, we can only know peace. Whenever we are in pain, sad, hurt, or ill, we are actually producing these reactions with our own thoughts. Thus, the power is available to us to change our minds. We don't always welcome this power because with it comes the responsibility for everything that seems to be happening to us. It means we have called it into our experience and are not the victims of the world we see. The stories we tell ourselves of how we have been victimized are simply not the truth. They justify our situation, where we prefer to blame others rather than see that we are responsible. Now we have an opportunity to choose again. The cause of everything we experience is in our own minds.
 
This is a tough one because, for some, this means they feel they are to blame for their sickness and the things that seem to bring pain into their lives. This is just as counterproductive as it is to blame the world for what is happening. It is more important to simply watch our thoughts and release them to the Holy Spirit. We would be stuck in the illusion forever without His help. Since we see ourselves as caught in the illusion, and we believe in it, we need help from outside of our own thinking minds. The Holy Spirit can work with our false beliefs and concepts if we turn them over to Him. He works with us in this world of illusion while never losing contact with the truth. Our part is to bring our thoughts and perceptions to Him so He can restore us to Knowledge. "In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you. Peace is an attribute in you. You cannot find it outside." (T-2.I.5.6-9) (ACIM OE T.2.I.17)
 
All our pain in this world is caused by the guilt in our minds as a result of our belief that we have separated from Love. We project that guilt onto others and see it in them instead of in ourselves. Clearly, they give us lots of evidence that it is there. However, what we see in others originates in our own minds. They become a mirror for us, reflecting our own sin and guilt. Attacking them for their misbehavior only brings more guilt into our own minds. If we are willing to take responsibility for our own self-hatred, without succumbing to the temptation to blame our brothers, we can know our brothers' innocence, as well as our own. This comes through our willingness to see that we have been wrong in our perceptions and to ask for help from the Holy Spirit to see our brothers differently. To forgive one brother completely is enough because Jesus will generalize this experience for us.
 
The teaching Jesus is offering us through this Course is our way out of the pain of our lives. Today, we can be thankful for each brother who contributes so perfectly to this journey home, as well as to each situation we encounter in our lives. I am thankful for each one on my path, who encourages me, challenges me, supports me, comforts me, blesses me, and loves me. Through each one of my brothers, I am learning to open up to more and more love. As the Lesson we will be reading tomorrow says, to open up to love is to decide not to be insane any longer and to accept ourselves as we were created. We are not just beings who love but we are Love itself! Together, we can affirm this in gratitude. As we reflect on Canadian Thanksgiving, we open our hearts to the blessings and miracles that surround us at every moment.
 
If it is a time of sadness and darkness for you, know that behind every problem is a miracle waiting to be revealed. Our part is to be willing to release any pain we perceive and hold in our thoughts to the Holy Spirit, reminding ourselves our true Self cannot be hurt. What I am in truth is ". . . far beyond all pain." (W.281.2.2) Only the self we think we are can be hurt, but only by our own thoughts. "Whatever suffers is not part of me. What grieves is not myself." (W.248 .1.3-4)
 
In any relationship, recognize the perfection of being together because what your partner brings up in you is exactly that which you need to heal within yourself. What one brings to a relationship to be healed, the other has within himself as well. It may be in another form, but it will not be seen in the brother if it does not already exist in our own minds. One may show up as the critic and the other as unworthy, but beneath the critic is the fear of unworthiness and beneath unworthiness is self-judgment. What does self-judgment do? It invites judgment (criticism) from others. Both have the same dynamic going on. The relationship becomes powerful when there is a willingness to really look at our feelings and to look beneath them at the dynamic there. When we are willing to ask the Holy Spirit to shine the light of truth on all of this, it will all be dissolved. This kind of relationship does not always look lovely, but it is very powerful when used by the Holy Spirit for the healing of our minds. It requires a strong measure of honesty and responsibility. We do not like going into these dark places, yet Jesus says he will go there with us. He asks only that we don't judge our experience but simply accept it.
 
Now more and more I am willing to invite the darkness to show up in any form that is helpful because I want to heal it. It is not a bad thing. It is only difficult if there is no way out of it or if I believe it defines me. If there is judgment instead of acceptance and willingness, we will not want to look at our murderous and painful thoughts. When we realize the miracle is right behind our dark thoughts, we are more willing to lift the veil of denial. The miracle is always waiting to shine forth. It is only obscured by darkness. There is no order of difficulty in the illusion. Every problem is the same. None of it is true or real. Every problem brought to the miracle is healed.
 
Next time you feel anger coming up, recognize it is just part of the flow of your life and your only choice is to stay in the experience of pain and suffering or bring it to a higher vibration by accepting the truth behind it. If you want to know the truth, be grateful for the darkness because it gives you an opportunity to know the light. When there is a willingness to look at all of these dark thoughts with acceptance, we are no longer in denial. The ego seems complicated, yet we can be very grateful how simple the truth is.
 
I find that if I just take a moment to stop in the midst of conflict and ask for another way to see my brother, I can transmute what seems dark and difficult into a recognition that it is just a movie. If I think what I am seeing and experiencing is the truth, I suffer. Nothing is ever wrong. Each instant that comes up is absolutely perfect. Our choice is only in how we see it. Why not accept everything that shows up? There really is no other option unless we want to suffer. The reason every moment is perfect is because it shows us exactly what we are thinking and feeling in that moment. Any difficulty is helpful because it shows us what is currently in the mind and offers us another way of seeing. Accept each moment as it is and accept responsibility for everything you see or judge. What happens if I am sad and choose to get upset with my sadness? It simply brings on the next moment. Yet if instead, I accept the sadness instead of judge it, then the next moment is one of a higher vibration. The energy of acceptance is very powerful because it brings us back into our essence.
 
Movies can be very helpful in this regard. Last night I watched the movie "Impossible," which was based on a true story of what a family experienced during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. It was a very difficult movie for me to watch and there is a lot I could say about all of the emotions that came up in me, but, in the interests of brevity, I will only comment on what impacted me the most. We all have been taken in on an intellectual level about how painful the separation from God is, but the movie brought up an experience of the depth of that pain. It brought up such deep angst that I cried and cried. Yes, the separation as a human condition is painful, but for me, it went deeper. It gave me an opportunity to feel how deeply painful is the separation from God.
 
Today, be willing to bring all your pain, anger, and suffering of any kind to the light without defending any of it. Accept your feelings without judging them.
 
"Father, Your Son is perfect. When I think that I am hurt in any way, it is because I have forgotten who I am, and that I am as You created me. Your Thoughts can only bring me happiness. If ever I am sad or hurt or ill, I have forgotten what You think, and put my little meaningless ideas in place of where Your Thoughts belong, and where they are. I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts. The Thoughts I think with You can only bless. The Thoughts I think with You alone are true." (W.281.1.1-7)
    
Love and blessings, Sarah
 
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
ACIM Original Edition
VIII.Review of Principles [continued]

58 Here does the Son of God ask not too much but far too little. He would sacrifice his own identity with everything to find a little treasure of his own. And this he cannot do without a sense of isolation, loss, and loneliness. This is the treasure he has sought to find. And he could only be afraid of it. Is fear a treasure? Can uncertainty be what you want? Or is it a mistake about your will and what you really are? Let us consider what the error is, so it can be corrected, not protected.
 
59 Sin is belief attack can be projected outside the mind where the belief arose. Here is the firm conviction that ideas can leave their source made real and meaningful. And from this error does the world of sin and sacrifice arise. This world is an attempt to prove your innocence while cherishing attack. Its failure lies in that you still feel guilty, though without understanding why. Effects are seen as separate from their source and seem to be beyond you to control or to prevent. What is thus kept apart can never join.
 
60 Cause and effect are one, not separate. God wills you learn what always has been true---that He created you as part of Him, and this must still be true because ideas leave not their source. Such is creation's law---that each idea the mind conceives but adds to its abundance, never takes away. This is as true of what is idly wished as what is truly willed, because the mind can wish to be deceived but cannot make it be what it is not. And to believe ideas can leave their source is to invite illusions to be true, without success. For never will success be possible in trying to deceive the Son of God.
 
61 The miracle is possible when cause and consequence are brought together, not kept separate. The healing of effect without the cause can merely shift effects to other forms. And this is not release. God's Son could never be content with less than full salvation and escape from guilt. For otherwise he still demands that he must make some sacrifice and thus denies that everything is his, unlimited by loss of any kind. A tiny sacrifice is just the same in its effects as is the whole idea of sacrifice. If loss in any form is possible, then is God's Son made incomplete and not himself. [Nor will he know himself nor recognize his will.] He has forsworn his Father and himself and made them both his enemies in hate.
 
62 Illusions serve the purpose they were made to serve. And from their purpose, they derive whatever meaning that they seem to have. God gave to all illusions that were made another purpose that would justify a miracle, whatever form they took. In every miracle all healing lies, for God gave answer to them all as one. And what is one to Him must be the same. If you believe what is the same is different, you but deceive yourself. What God calls one will be forever one, not separate. His Kingdom is united---thus it was created, and thus will it ever be.
 
63 The miracle but calls your ancient name, which you will recognize because the truth is in your memory. And to this name, your brother calls for his release and yours. Heaven is shining on the Son of God. Deny him not, that you may be released. Each instant is the Son of God reborn, until he chooses not to die again. In every wish to hurt, he chooses death instead of what his Father wills for him. Yet every instant offers life to him because his Father wills that he should live.
 
64 In crucifixion is redemption laid, for healing is not needed where there is no pain or suffering. Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind. So is attack deprived of its effects, and hate is answered in the name of love. To you to whom it has been given to save the Son of God from crucifixion and from hell and death, all glory be forever. For you have power to save the Son of God because his Father willed that it be so. And in your hands does all salvation lie, to be both offered and received as one.
 
65 To use the power God has given you as He would have it used is natural. It is not arrogant to be as He created you or to make use of what He gave to answer all His Son's mistakes and set him free. But it is arrogant to lay aside the power that He gave and choose a little senseless wish instead of what He wills. The gift of God to you is limitless. There is no circumstance it cannot answer and no problem which is not resolved within its gracious light.
 
66 Abide in peace, where God would have you be, and be the means whereby your brother finds the peace in which your wishes are fulfilled. Let us unite in bringing blessing to the world of sin and death. For what can save each one of us can save us all. There is no difference among the Sons of God. The unity that specialness denies will save them all, for what is one can have no specialness. And everything belongs to each of them. No wishes lie between a brother and his own. To get from one is to deprive them all. And yet to bless but one gives blessing to them all as one.
 
67 Your ancient name belongs to everyone, as theirs to you. Call on your brother's name and God will answer, for on Him you call. Could He refuse to answer when He has already answered all who call on Him? A miracle can make no change at all. But it can make what always has been true be recognized by those who know it not. And by this little gift of truth but let to be itself---the Son of God allowed to be himself and all creation freed to call upon the Name of God as one.
 
 
*Paragraph 36 in Section VI does not appear in the Original Edition manuscript. This content was restored in the 2009 Revision from an earlier manuscript and was numbered 35a. However, starting with the 2012 Revision, paragraph 35a was changed to 36 and therefore all of the following paragraphs, through the end of Chapter 26, have been renumbered. -Ed.  


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