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77 Think but how holy you must be from whom the Voice for God calls lovingly unto your brother, that you may awake in him the Voice that answers to your call! And think how holy he must be when in him sleeps your own salvation with his freedom joined! However much you wish he be condemned, God is in him. And never will you know He is in you as well, while you attack His chosen home and battle with His host. Regard him gently. Look with loving eyes on him who carries Christ within him, that you may behold His glory and rejoice that Heaven is not separate from you.

CHAPTER 26: THE TRANSITION
X. FOR THEY HAVE COME
Workbook for Students
Part II
What is the Holy Spirit?
1The 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.

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Lesson 284
I can elect to change
all thoughts that hurt.
1 Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. Such is the truth—at first to be but said and then repeated many times and next to be accepted as but partly true with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth. I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. And I would go beyond these words today, go past all reservations, and arrive at full acceptance of the truth in them.

2 Father, what You have given cannot hurt, and grief and pain must be impossible. Let me not fail to trust in You today, accepting but the joyous as Your gifts, accepting but the joyous as the truth.
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Course in Miracles
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Text
Chapter 26
 The Transition

X. For They Have Come
par 77-84
77 Think but how holy you must be from whom the Voice for God calls lovingly unto your brother, that you may awake in him the Voice that answers to your call! And think how holy he must be when in him sleeps your own salvation with his freedom joined! However much you wish he be condemned, God is in him. And never will you know He is in you as well, while you attack His chosen home and battle with His host. Regard him gently. Look with loving eyes on him who carries Christ within him, that you may behold His glory and rejoice that Heaven is not separate from you.

78 Is it too much to ask a little trust for him who carries Christ to you, that you may be forgiven all your sins and left without a single one you cherish still? Forget not that a shadow held between your brother and yourself obscures the face of Christ and memory of God. And would you trade Them for an ancient hate? The ground whereon you stand is holy ground because of Them Who, standing there with you, have blessed it with Their innocence and peace.

79 The blood of hatred fades to let the grass grow green again and let the flowers be all white and sparkling in the summer sun. What was a place of death has now become a living temple in a world of light. Because of Them. It is Their Presence which has lifted holiness again to take its ancient place upon an ancient throne. Because of Them have miracles sprung up as grass and flowers on the barren ground which hate had scorched and rendered desolate. What hate has wrought have They undone. And now you stand on ground so holy Heaven leans to join with it and make it like itself. The shadow of an ancient hate has gone, and all the blight and withering have passed forever from the land where They have come.

80 What is a hundred or a thousand years to Them, or tens of thousands? When They come, time's purpose is fulfilled. What never was passes to nothingness when They have come. What hatred claimed is given up to love, and freedom lights up every living thing and lifts it into Heaven, where the lights grow ever brighter as each one comes home. The incomplete is made complete again, and Heaven's joy has been increased because what is its own has been restored to it. The bloodied earth is cleansed, and the insane have shed their garments of insanity to join Them on the ground whereon you stand.

81 Heaven is grateful for this gift of what has been withheld so long. For They have come to gather in Their Own. What has been locked is opened; what was held apart from light is given up, that light may shine on it, and leave no space nor distance lingering between the light of Heaven and the world.

82 The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love. And They come quickly to the living temple, where a home for Them has been set up. There is no place in Heaven holier. And They have come to dwell within the temple offered them, to be Their resting-place as well as yours. What hatred has released to love becomes the brightest light in Heaven's radiance. And all the lights in Heaven brighter grow, in gratitude for what has been restored.

83 Around you angels hover lovingly, to keep away all darkened thoughts of sin and keep the light where it has entered in. Your footprints lighten up the world, for where you walk forgiveness gladly goes with you. No one on earth but offers thanks to one who has restored his home and sheltered him from bitter winter and the freezing cold. And shall the Lord of Heaven and His Son give less in gratitude for so much more?

84 Now is the temple of the Living God rebuilt as host again to Him by Whom it was created. Where He dwells, His Son dwells with Him, never separate. And They give thanks that They are welcome made at last. Where stood a cross stands now the risen Christ, and ancient scars are healed within His sight. An ancient miracle has come to bless and to replace an ancient enmity that came to kill. In gentle gratitude do God the Father and the Son return to what is Theirs and will forever be. Now is the Holy Spirit's purpose done. For They have come! For They have come at last!

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Chapter 26
 The Transition

XI. The Remaining Task
par 85-91
85 What then remains to be undone for you to realize Their Presence? Only this—you have a differential view of when attack is justified and when you think it is unfair and not to be allowed. When you perceive it as unfair, you think that a response of anger now is just. And thus you see what is the same as different. Confusion is not limited. If it occurs at all, it will be total. And its presence, in whatever form, will hide Their Presence. They are known with clarity or not at all. Confused perception will block knowledge. It is not a question of the size of the confusion or how much it interferes. Its simple presence shuts the door to Theirs and keeps Them there unknown.

86 What does it mean if you perceive attack in certain forms to be unfair to you? It means that there must be some forms in which you think it fair. For otherwise, how could some be evaluated as unfair? Some then are given meaning and perceived as sensible. And only some are seen as meaningless. And this denies the fact that all are senseless—equally without a cause or consequence and cannot have effects of any kind. Their Presence is obscured by any veil which stands between Their shining innocence and your awareness it is your own and equally belongs to every living thing along with you. God limits not. And what is limited can not be Heaven. So it must be hell.

87 Unfairness and attack are one mistake, so firmly joined that where one is perceived, the other must be seen. You cannot be unfairly treated. The belief you are is but another form of the idea you are deprived by someone not yourself. Projection of the cause of sacrifice is at the root of everything perceived to be unfair and not your just deserts. Yet it is you who ask this of yourself in deep injustice to the Son of God. You have no enemy except yourself, and you are enemy indeed to him because you do not know him as yourself. What could be more unjust than that he be deprived of what he is, denied the right to be himself, and asked to sacrifice his Father's love and yours as not his due?

88 Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated. In this view, you seek to find an innocence which is not Theirs but yours alone and at the cost of someone else's guilt. Can innocence be purchased by the giving of your guilt to someone else? And is this innocence which your attack on him attempts to get? Is it not retribution for your own attack upon the Son of God you seek? Is it not safer to believe that you are innocent of this and victimized despite your innocence? Whatever way the game of guilt is played, there must be loss. Someone must lose his innocence that someone else can take it from him, making it his own.

89 You think your brother is unfair to you because you think that one must be unfair to make the other innocent. And in this game do you perceive one purpose for your whole relationship. And this you seek to add unto the purpose given it. The Holy Spirit's purpose is to let the Presence of your holy Guests be known to you. And to this purpose, nothing can be added, for the world is purposeless except for this. To add or take away from this one goal is but to take away all purpose from the world and from yourself. And each unfairness that the world appears to lay upon you, you have laid on it by rendering it purposeless, without the function that the Holy Spirit sees. And simple justice has been thus denied to every living thing upon the earth.

90 What this injustice does to you who judge unfairly and who see as you have judged, you cannot calculate. The world grows dim and threatening, and not a trace of all the happy sparkle that salvation brought can you perceive to lighten up your way. And so you see yourself deprived of light, abandoned to the dark, unfairly left without a purpose in a futile world. The world is fair because the Holy Spirit has brought injustice to the light within, and there has all unfairness been resolved and been replaced with justice and with love. If you perceive injustice anywhere, you need but say:

91 By this do I deny the Presence of the Father and the Son. And I would rather know of Them than see injustice, which Their Presence shines away.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 284
I can elect to change
all thoughts that hurt.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
I accept that I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt, yet so often my mind seems to want to justify all kinds of reasons for the hurt that I am feeling and to hold onto grievances. There is always some kind of payoff or "juice" we get from our suffering. For example, suffering can be used to project guilt onto others for what they have seemingly done to us. This brings a kind of "pleasure," which is not something we readily want to admit, nor are we always consciously aware that this is what we are doing. "The 'reasoning' by which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this: ' You are the cause of what I do. Your presence justifies my wrath, and you exist and think apart from me. While you attack I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack.'" (T.27.VII.3.1-4) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.64) We are clearly making the case that the world is hurting us and that there is a certain underlying glee in making others responsible for our condition.
 
Yet the cause of our problems and their solutions is never outside of ourselves, but in our own minds. Yet we stubbornly protest, "I have been hurt by what you did!" Well, if that is the case, it means that we have given meaning and power to a situation that is, in itself, neutral. We are hurt and betrayed because that is what we want. Why would we want it? We want it because it proves that the cause of our problems is outside of our own minds. It proves that the world is real, we are victims of what it has done to us, and this is what we want. Identifying with the ego is the wish to prove God wrong and insist on the correctness of our perception. This is our tantrum against God, in which we insist that we are who we say we are, and therefore God is wrong about us.
 
The truth is that the cause of everything that we experience and the solution to our situation are both in our own minds and nowhere else. This is actually good news. If the power is outside of our own minds, we are then caught in victimhood with no escape. Of course, that is exactly how the ego has set it up, but it has kept its program from our awareness. The ego's purpose is always to keep us invested in this illusory world. This world is ruled by the Laws of Chaos where God is one of the characters in the dream which makes it impossible to turn to Him. "For now He has become the ‘enemy’ Who caused it, to Whom appeal is useless." (T.23.II.7.3) (ACIM OE T.23.III.25) Jesus shows us exactly how the ego has set everything up and what it has made is foolproof and very ingenious to keep us locked in its matrix. But Jesus shows us the matrix and how it works and asks us to look at it calmly rather than be upset by it. Once we are able to see it, we can be released from it. He shows us that we can now make another choice. We are being shown that everything starts in our own minds, where our power is. We can actually step out of this circus and enter the quietness of the meadow, which is our own right mind outside of the matrix.
 
Regina Dawn Akers writes, in The Teachings of Inner Ramana, that the thinking mind is very active. "If you watch it, you will see it is much like acrobats in a circus. It is always jumping this way and that, bending and turning, and it has some very amazing moves." She goes on to say what it does is distract us from reality. If we continue to focus on the circus, we will not notice reality, but we can choose to lose interest in our thoughts. Yes, she acknowledges, it is very tempting to pay attention to them, but our deep desire is to settle in the quietness of the meadow. Now we must learn to see our addiction to the hype of the circus. It will continue to be there, but what we lose is our attachment to it. Grief and suffering are based on our investment in the reality of this world. When we enter the meadow, we will smile gently at the idea that we are at the mercy of forces outside of ourselves.
 
"Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible." (W.284.1.1) Jesus says that we are mistaken in the way we see things and what we have come to believe. To us, loss and pain are part of our experience here. We have a big investment in suffering, and we get very invested in empathizing with the suffering of others. It proves to us, indeed, that loss, pain, grief, and suffering are very real. It proves that our existence as bodies is real and that we can be sick and die. It makes what God says about us, as eternal beings, wrong. But again, Jesus tells us that there is another way of seeing. When loss is perceived properly, we no longer see it as a loss. We see that it has all been made up, but it is not something we will see right away. It is a process we go through in loosening our mind from our wrong perceptions of ourselves and of the world. All that is required is willingness and openness to accept the truth of what we are being taught.
 
Early in my years with the Course, my husband died suddenly. We were traveling in Europe and he was flown from Germany to London, England for emergency surgery. Many angels showed up on my trip home, which showed me I was truly being supported in miraculous ways. Yet the pain of loss and grief were very evident. I kept turning to the Course for solace. Its words soothed me and brought me peace, but there were many moments of tears and sadness. I was alone one evening, in bed, late at night, sobbing, when a very gentle loving voice spoke to me with the question, "How much longer do you need to cry?" I was startled by the question, but I felt it deserved an answer. I replied, saying perhaps I would be willing to give up my tears after another ten minutes. My response felt so silly that I could not continue to cry. Instead, I burst out laughing. Why ten minutes, I wondered? Why not thirty, sixty, or the rest of my life? I was not being admonished for crying. I felt that I was being supported by this gentle voice in whatever I needed to experience. However, it became very clear that I could make a choice. I was not a victim. I did not know what anything was for. How could I know why my husband had died? How could I possibly know what was in my best interests? All things truly do work together for good.
 
This did not mean that I never again felt the grief of this loss. I had many more meltdowns, yet increasingly, I could experience the grief while still remain the observer of it from outside of the dream and not judge myself for it. The loving presence was there, supporting me as I cried. I could experience the deep longing and sadness as long as I wanted to, all the time knowing the power of decision was my own, and the willingness to do the healing was very strong. The healer was Divine Love, and it was in my mind. Whenever I aligned with the Divine within and whenever I chose to leave the circus and enter the meadow, the healing and joy that came with it were immediate. I realized that not one single thought of grief and loss was true. Freedom was in the releasing my attachments to my story of loss and victimhood.
 
Grief, pain, hurt, loss, and suffering are impossible because God would not hurt us and there is no other Source. If He gives us only peace and joy, anything else we experience must come from what we are making up and not from Him. If I suffer, I am believing a thought that something should be different than it is. When we accept what is, without the stories we tell about the situation, we experience the freedom of our Being. What we have made has no real source except in the wrong mind. If I am experiencing pain, I alone am the one choosing these hurtful thoughts. They are nothing but a dream. When we wake up, we realize the nothingness of it all. This is not unlike our nighttime dreams.
 
Last night, I dreamt of someone who died and I was wrapping up the body and feeling the pain of the loss of this person in my life. Where did this thought come from? Obviously, it originated in my own mind and was projected into the dream. It was no more real than my experience in this worldly dream. With this projection came all the feelings of loss and grief, but were they real? Did they have a real source? Or were they just manufactured thoughts with no substance? Where did they go when I woke up? These thoughts are nothing and nowhere and no different than the thoughts I am conjuring up in this moment. They are all thoughts chosen by me. If I am the one holding these thoughts, I can elect to change them.
 
OK, perhaps I can subscribe to that, but there does seem to be pain in my life. I do experience grief and loss, and it does seem these feelings come from real events in my life or in the lives of others. Clearly, Jesus is not asking us to deny our experience. He is only letting us know that in all of us the truth is there and untouched by anything we might be thinking. All we are doing is blocking it with our thoughts. Now he instructs us on how we can come to accept the truth already in us and how to change the thoughts that hurt us.
 
The Lesson is quite explicit and offers us some clear steps to do this. In Lesson 187, Jesus invited our gentle laughter at the idea of sacrifice, which takes many forms such as pain, loss, sickness, grief, poverty, starvation, and death. Is it really a sacrifice to give up all these forms of pain and to see their unreality? Why would we want to hold onto them? He invites our laughter at the idea that pain and suffering are something we would want to keep just to prove that we are right about ourselves and this world of separation. In this Lesson, Jesus lays out five steps to help us recognize how ingrained our thinking is and how much investment we have in the illusion.
 
When we look at the idea, " I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt, " we are told " This is the truth, at first to be but said, and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth. " (W.284.1.5-6) Jesus sees our resistance to having our thoughts changed. To us, it may seem to take a long time. It is a form of cognitive therapy, where we substitute our thoughts for His Thoughts. Jesus has infinite patience with us and will never coerce us. He continues to urge us to be patient and gentle with ourselves. The undoing of our current thought system is a process.
 
Step 1. " This is the truth, at first to be but said... " (W.284.1.5) We are basically just repeating a thought and trying to understand it and considering the possibility that it may be true.
 
Step 2. "… and then repeated many times. " (W.284.1.5) We are now trying to accept the truth of the statements and are still not sure that this is so. We will struggle with Course teachings like, "There is no world," or "I am not a body." These thoughts argue with what we are perceiving. The mind resists these ideas, so we need to be convinced of the truth of them. We may intellectually accept the truth of this thought system, but still not apply it consistently to our lives.
 
Step 3. "…and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reserve-tions. " (W.284.1.5) Sometimes, we will have an experience of the truth presented to us. We may experience a shift and a deeper sense of this idea. Or, we may do the forgiveness practice and receive a miracle. We get an insight where the truth is revealed to us in some "aha" moment of recognition, or we might see innocence in someone in a moment of true joining. While we accept the ideas, we still have many reservations and put forth many arguments and raise many questions.
 
Step 4. " Then to be considered seriously more and more. " (W.284.1.6) Now we have increasing experiences, proven to be true, in which we apply the idea. We are now validating the experience in more and more situations. This builds trust that when we let go of our way of thinking about ourselves and the world and simply try out a new way, the shift happens. With each shift, our confidence that we are being guided in this process grows until we stop relying on our own thinking mind. We have never had answers that got us out of our pain and suffering and brought lasting happiness. As we recognize the truth of this, we are more motivated to turn to the Holy Spirit, Who does have the answers for us.
 
Step 5 "…and finally accepted as the truth. " (W.284.1.6) At this stage, we now see the idea is applied to every situation equally. There is no more order of difficulty seen in miracles and so there are no more reservations and no more exceptions. The transfer of training has been accomplished, so the Lessons are applied to all areas of one’s life.
 
Yes, the process takes effort and practice, determination and choice, commitment and dedication. It takes effort to get to a place of total effortlessness. In the use of the words offered to us, we get in touch with the deeper meaning and recognize the content being offered here, until we go "beyond these words today, and past all reservations and arrive at full acceptance of the truth in them. " (W.284.1.8)
 
These steps actually lay out the whole process of this Course. It applies not only to this Lesson but to the entire teaching. We have all had this experience, where we start by repeating the words and then go deeper with our understanding. We all still have many reservations, though our acceptance of the truth of this teaching is growing, as we apply the lessons and see the results in our lives. It is all a process that for most of us takes place over many years of doing this work until we come to the end of the journey. Our resistance still comes from the fear of giving up our investment in our identity as an individual. We need to recognize how the truth is terrifying to our separated egos. Yet we are gently led through this process of recognizing that what God has given us cannot hurt. Thus, grief and pain must be impossible.

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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:



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