Lesson 283
Now is Eternity...
Graphic by Suzette Boulais  


76 Be not content with future happiness. It has no meaning and is not your just reward. For you have cause for freedom now. What profits freedom in a prisoner's form? Why should deliverance be disguised as death? Delay is senseless, and the "reasoning" which would maintain effects of present cause must be delayed until a future time is merely a denial of the fact that consequence and cause must come as one. Look not to time but to the little space between you still to be delivered from. And do not let it be disguised as time and so preserved because its form is changed and what it is cannot be recognized. The Holy Spirit's purpose now is yours. Should not His happiness be yours as well?  
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What is the Holy Spirit

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   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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SonShip Workbook
 L e s s o n 283
My true Identity abides in You.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio 
    Father, I made an image of myself,
    and it is this I call the Son of God.
    Yet is creation as it always was,
    for Your creation is unchangeable.
    Let me not worship idols. I am He
    my Father loves. His holiness remains
    the light of Heaven and the Love of God.
    Is not what is beloved of God secure?
    Is not the light of Heaven infinite?
    Is not God's Son my true Identity,
    when He created everything that is?
   Now are we one in shared Identity,
   with God our Father as our only Source,
   and everything created part of us.
   And so we offer blessing to all things,
   uniting lovingly with all the world
   which our forgiveness has made one with us.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM    
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA

My true Identity abides in You.

Sarah's Commentary:  
We might feel like we are being attacked when anyone says, "Who do you think you are?" Yet that is exactly what Jesus is asking us to question all the time. It is to question who we think we are. He tells us, "Take not the judgment of the world as answer to the question, 'What am I'?" (T.20.III.6.7) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.21) Yet that is precisely what we have done. We think we have made ourselves by what others have said about us and by our own self-assessments. When we speak, we say, "I am this, and I think that." We are talking about ourselves as we know ourselves to be, reflecting all of our values, self-concepts, and ideas we hold that we think define us. This self we talk about includes our personality, our body, our history, our status, our roles, our beliefs, our desires, what we value, and all of the thoughts we hold. They are all changeable, unstable aspects that fluctuate over time. They are subject to all kinds of situational influences that seem to cause many emotional highs and lows.
Our self-image is a false identity, which we are constantly trying to fix, change, and defend because it seems to be so very fragile. All it takes is: for something to go wrong in our lives, as we judge it, and we are thrown into a panic, or for someone to say something unkind about us, and we crumble, or for someone to leave us and we fall apart. What crumbles and gets hurt is this unstable character in the dream. It is not our true Self behind this character that is the dreamer of this dream. The Self we are is serene and unchangeable, always in a state of peace, and One with God. When we are not experiencing that state, we are listening, instead, to the voice of the false self.
Jesus says when just one word, just a whisper of what someone might have said about us, upsets our world and hurls us into chaos, it is because of this made-up identity that has no real foundation. It is simply not the truth about us. Yet he says, "It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos." (T.24.III.3.1) (ACIM OE T.24.IV.28) It is in a vulnerable state because it has no foundation. "Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son [our true Identity] is safe, resting on Him." (T.24.III.4.1-3) (ACIM OE T.24.IV.29) Our true Identity is not vulnerable at all.
"Father, I made an image of myself, and it is this I call the Son of God." (W.283.1.1) This image is what we identify with and what we think is our reality. It is an idol, which seems to have taken the place of our divinity. "There is a stranger in him, who wandered carelessly into the home of truth and who will wander off." (T.20.III.7.2) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.22) Our divinity is holy, infinite, unchangeable, and beloved of the Father. Our true Identity simply cannot be changed, no matter what we think we have done. Our true Self is completely invulnerable to the vicissitudes of this world.
From our true reality, blessings flow through us to all things, ". . . uniting lovingly with all the world, which our forgiveness has made one with us." (W.283.2.2) The way back to Oneness, while we are seemingly in this world, is through forgiveness. It is the only way we are given as the means to wake up to who we really are. When thoughts come up today that interfere with our peace---thoughts that bring pain, loss, grief of any kind, anger, impatience, anticipation, or frustration---we remind ourselves that this is not the truth. All thoughts we think apart from God mean we are not thinking at all. We are instead sending forth the appeal of fear and guilt. "Under fear's orders the body will pursue guilt, serving its master whose attraction to guilt maintains the whole illusion of its existence. This, then, is the attraction of pain. Ruled by this perception the body becomes the servant of pain, seeking it dutifully and obeying the idea that pain is pleasure. It is this idea that underlies all the ego's heavy investment in the body." (T.19.IV.Bi.13.2-5) (ACIM OE T.19.Vb.72)
Whenever we are upset it is because of the meaning we are giving to the meaningless. It is all about our interpretations, which are never right. Only the Holy Spirit's interpretation reflects God's love for us. Our part is to bring our thoughts of fear and attack and our thoughts of specialness to the Holy Spirit for healing. It really is that simple. Our egoic mind makes it all appear difficult and complicated. The ego urges us to hold onto our hurts, disappointments, and anger, as well as our dreams, fantasies, and wishes and put our body in their service, but we don't have to listen.
"Where could your peace arise but from forgiveness? The Christ in you looks only on the truth, and sees no condemnation that could need forgiveness. He is at peace because He sees no sin. Identify with Him, and what has He that you have not? He is your eyes, your ears, your hands, your feet. How gently are the sights He sees, the sounds He hears. How beautiful His hand that holds His brother's, and how lovingly He walks beside him, showing him what can be seen and heard, and where he will see nothing and there is no sound to hear." (T.24.V.3.1-7) (ACIM OE T.24.VI.42) Now the body is put to a different purpose. It is put to the purpose of healing, and thus it is made holy. "All things you made have use to Him, for His most holy purpose." (T.14.VI.5.3) (ACIM OE T.14.III.20)
"The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and He leads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. His Holiness shows you Himself in him [every brother] whose hand you hold, and whom you lead to Him. And what you see is like yourself. For what but Christ is there to see and hear and love and follow home? He looked upon you first, but recognized that you were not complete. And so He sought for your completion in each living thing that He beholds and loves. And seeks it still, that each might offer you the Love of God." (T.24.V.6.1-9) (ACIM OE T.24.VI.40)
There are no accidents. Those who show up on our path are precisely here to help us. They are our saviors. They are our way back to the Self we are. They are our saviors simply because they give us another opportunity to see a reflection of our own minds. When we maintain our self-made identities, we don't know who we are. We don't know where we are going. We are filled with fear and feel lost and alone. We see everyone as separate and different from us, and we feel like victims of their attacks from which we feel a need to defend ourselves. Through forgiveness, we see that we all share the same need for truth. Our sameness is a reflection of the Oneness we share. Every attack is simply a call for love and a call for healing. The world is a mirror of everything going on in our minds that we have projected out. "Who would send messages of hatred and attack if he but understood he sends them to himself?" (T.19.IV.Bi.14.11) (ACIM OE T.19.IVb.73)
Positive self-concepts such as always being helpful in every situation can also have a dark side. We may start to see those we are helping as being demanding. We may judge their demands and feel we are being unfairly treated. This too is an opportunity to look at what we are demanding of ourselves when we try to please everyone. We can look at our own resentments. In looking at our self-made concepts, we can see how changeable they really are and therefore how unstable. Healing is about releasing them all, including what we see as positive as well as what we judge as negative, so the truth of who we are can radiate through us. All concepts are like clouds in front of the sun. They block the light of our Being from our awareness.
When we create a space for the Holy Spirit through our determination to release the thoughts that hold us back from the truth of who we are, He brings us the miracle which results in a shift from false perception to true perception. We don't have to understand how the miracle works. That is not something that can be known or understood. "Let His understanding of the miracle be enough for you, and do not turn away from all the witnesses that He has given you to His reality." (T.16.II.5.6) (ACIM OE T.16.III.15)We just need to release the tight grip we hold on our beliefs, values, concepts, and thoughts and be willing to see their falsity. When we step out of the battleground of our thoughts and observe them without judgment, space is made for truth to enter.   
Love and blessings, Sarah
ACIM Original Edition
IX. The Immediacy of Salvation

68 The one remaining problem that you have is that you see an interval between the time when you forgive and will receive the benefits of trust. This but reflects the little you would keep between yourselves that you might be a little separate. For time and space are one illusion which takes different forms. If it has been projected beyond your minds, you think of it as time. The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.
69 There is a distance you would keep apart from one another, and this space you see as time because you still believe you are external to each other. This makes trust impossible. And you cannot believe that trust would settle every problem now. Thus do you think it safer to remain a little careful and a little watchful of interests perceived as separate. From this perception you cannot conceive of gaining what forgiveness offers now. The interval you think lies in between the giving and receiving of the gift seems to be one in which you sacrifice and suffer loss. You see eventual salvation, not immediate results.
70 Salvation is immediate. Unless you so perceive it, you will be afraid of it, believing that the risk of loss is great between the time its purpose is made yours and its effects will come to you. In this form is the error still obscured that is the source of fear. Salvation would wipe out the space you see between you still and let you instantly become as one. And it is here you fear the loss would lie. Do not project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy that you perceive. Time is as neutral as the body is except in terms of what you see it for. If you would keep a little space between you still, you want a little time in which forgiveness is withheld a little while. This makes the interval between the time in which forgiveness is withheld and given seem dangerous, with terror justified.
71 Yet space between you is apparent now and cannot be perceived in future time. No more can it be overlooked except within the present. Future loss is not your fear. But present joining is your dread. Who can feel desolation except now? A future cause as yet has no effects. And therefore must it be that if you fear, there is a present cause. And it is this that needs correction, not a future state.
72 The plans you make for safety all are laid within the future, where you cannot plan. No purpose has been given it as yet, and what will happen has as yet no cause. Who can predict effects without a cause? And who could fear effects unless he thought they had been caused and judged disastrous now? Belief in sin arouses fear and, like its cause, is looking forward; looking back, but overlooking what is here and now. Yet only here and now its cause must be if its effects already have been judged as fearful. And in overlooking this, is it protected and kept separate from healing. For a miracle is now. It stands already here in present grace, within the only interval of time which sin and fear have overlooked but which is all there is to time. The working out of all correction takes no time at all.
73 Yet the acceptance of the working out can seem to take forever. The change of purpose the Holy Spirit brought to your relationship has in it all effects that you will see. They can be looked at now. Why wait till they unfold in time and fear they may not come, although already there? You have been told that everything brings good that comes from God. And yet it seems as if this is not so. Good in disaster's form is difficult to credit in advance. Nor is there really sense in this idea.
74 Why should the good appear in evil's form? And is it not deception if it does? Its cause is here if it appears at all. Why are not its effects apparent then? Why in the future? And you seek to be content with sighing and with "reasoning" you do not understand it now but will some day. And then its meaning will be clear. This is not reason, for it is unjust and clearly hints at punishment until the time of liberation is at hand. Given a change of purpose for the good, there is no reason for an interval in which disaster strikes, to be perceived as "good" some day but now in form of pain. This is a sacrifice of now, which could not be the cost the Holy Spirit asks for what He gave without a cost at all.
75 Yet this illusion has a cause which, though untrue, must be already in your mind. And this illusion is but one effect which it engenders and one form in which its outcome is perceived. This interval in time, when retribution is perceived to be the form in which the "good" appears, is but one aspect of the little space that lies between you, unforgiven still.
76 Be not content with future happiness. It has no meaning and is not your just reward. For you have cause for freedom now. What profits freedom in a prisoner's form? Why should deliverance be disguised as death? Delay is senseless, and the "reasoning" which would maintain effects of present cause must be delayed until a future time is merely a denial of the fact that consequence and cause must come as one. Look not to time but to the little space between you still to be delivered from. And do not let it be disguised as time and so preserved because its form is changed and what it is cannot be recognized. The Holy Spirit's purpose now is yours. Should not His happiness be yours as well?
*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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