Lesson 287
God will fill what you leave vacant
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32 An empty space which is not seen as filled, an unused interval of time not seen as spent and fully occupied, becomes a silent invitation to the truth to enter and to make itself at home. No preparation can be made that would enhance the invitation's real appeal. For what you leave as vacant, God will fill, and where He is, there
must the truth abide. Unweakened power with no opposite is what creation
is. For this there are no symbols. Nothing points beyond the truth, for what can stand for more than everything? Yet true undoing must be kind. And so the first replacement for your picture is another picture of another kind.
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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 287
You are my goal, my Father.
Only You.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   Where would I go but Heaven? What could be
   substitute for happiness? What gift
   could I prefer before the peace of God?
   What treasure would I seek and find and keep
   that can compare with my Identity?
   And would I rather live with fear than love?
    You are my goal, my Father. What but You
    could I desire to have? What path but that
    which leads to You could I desire to walk?
    And what except the memory of You
    could signify to me the end of dreams
    and futile substitutions for the truth?
    You are my only goal. Your Son would be
    as You created Him. How else but this
    could I expect to recognize my Self,
    and be at one with my Identity?
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM    
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
You are my goal, my Father. Only You.

Sarah's Commentary:

The peace of God, true happiness, and love instead of fear, are set before us when we make God our goal. When I think of the ways I spend my life, and see all the distractions that divert me from this goal, I know I cannot truly and honestly say my goal is only God. Yet when I experience shifts, miracles, and holy instants, where I enter His presence and feel the distractions fade away, I redouble my efforts and put more of my attention on God until the time He becomes my only goal.
When anger, frustration, financial concerns, expectations, hopes, dreams, material requirements, various pleasures, and daydreams occupy my thoughts, I recognize how I am choosing this small self as my reality. There are no rewards in this choice, though it does seem to the character in this dream as if the things that occupy my mind are important. They keep me invested in a never-ending series of options. A friend calls these options, "Selections from the pain buffet line." We can choose as many as we like, but they will never satisfy, and ultimately, they bring pain. They glitter with the possibility of bringing us the happiness we seek, but they only deliver disappointment and more suffering.
We try to convince ourselves that these things, which Jesus calls "idols," are where our happiness lies. Yet, increasingly, we see this is not the case. The only choice, which brings rewards, is the choice for the deep peace and joy that comes from the inner knowing that we are forever one with God. When I keep my focus on my purpose to know my Self, then no matter what tribulations and challenges seem to confront me in my day, they are all opportunities for undoing the ego. I recognize I cannot judge anything as good or bad. All things truly do work together for our awakening when we use them for undoing the guilt in our minds. The temptations of the ego that divert our focus on God are there to keep us from true peace.
Why do we choose these temptations and distractions? Why do anger and judgment, for example, seem so compelling to us? We justify these feelings by saying someone or something is responsible for how we feel, but the real motivation for choosing anger and judgment is as a defense against the truth. Anger maintains separation by keeping our focus on forces outside of our own minds as the cause of our distress. We believe what someone has said, or what someone has done or not done is what upsets us, but the truth is that we have decided how to interpret what we are seeing. We are responsible for throwing our peace away in the face of a situation with no power to take it from us.
Taking responsibility for our minds as the cause of our distress, rather than anything outside of ourselves, puts the ego in jeopardy because we can choose against it. It needs our allegiance for its existence because its existence depends on the power of belief that we invest in it. Our allegiance to it requires that we see the cause of how we feel as coming from outside of our own minds. When we justify our anger and tell stories of why we feel the way we do, we are making others responsible. This is a reversal of cause and effect, which is how the ego has set it up. We see ourselves as the victim of the world. When we get too close to love, we actually invite conflict. We will choose a fight as a way to maintain the separation. We don't want love to threaten our establishments---our chosen identity. Anger serves the ego's goal of maintaining the separation, as does sickness, judgment, and all the other ego strategies that keep us in the illusion.
We think we know what happiness is, but it is a fleeting experience in the world of the ego. There is no substitute in this world for the happiness and peace of God. The gifts we think we prefer and the treasures we seek in the world cannot begin to compare with the gifts of knowing the Self and the confidence this brings. Ego existence is one of fear. Everything in our lives is tinged with fear until we realize that our identity is not that of a body and personality. Our belief that we are the body, the personality, and the little self we call the "I" and "me," keeps us safe from God. Now we are opening to the possibility that who we think we are is not the truth. As long as we identify with the body and the personality, we will keep chasing the illusory forms of this world, all the while hoping that finally, we have found the answer to our unhappiness. The ego will never reveal to us that this is all a lie. We have been duped. Now Jesus reveals to us exactly how the ego has set it up so we can make another choice and make God our goal. The means have been given us for this goal for God to become our reality. It requires watching our thoughts and forgiving our misperceptions.
We are as God created us, which is Spirit. When we accept this, what would there be to fear? All of the attention we give to keeping ourselves happy simply delays the dawning of the real world on our minds. This is a world where everything is seen through the eyes of love. We become a clear and spotless mirror reflecting God's love in this world.
Should we feel guilty that we have other goals? The answer is no because guilt is the ego's game to keep us feeling bad about ourselves. All we are being asked to do is to recognize our goals will never bring peace and happiness. It does not make our pursuits wrong. We can still go shopping, have special relationships, take vacations, yet we can still put our focus on watching our thoughts and using every situation for healing. What is important is not what we are doing in the world, but what every situation is for. We can use it to keep us invested in the ego or for waking up. It is all about our purpose. The world was made to distract us with problems. As long as we are focusing on the screen (the world) and trying to fix things "out there," we will be playing the ego's game.
Let us focus on making today about our true happiness and not look to futile substitutions for happiness. It is not about sacrificing what we think we still want. My experience is that these things increasingly lose their value. My interest and attachment to these idols diminish as I do this work. They no longer hold the value they once did. They no longer hold the hope of happiness. Instead, I increasingly recognize true peace can only come from recognizing the Self I really am. There is a deep yearning in us all for the hush of Heaven, to rest in God, and to have peace that "passeth" all understanding.
But yearning is not enough. We say we want this peace, but we must look at how we resist doing the work. A clear path has been laid out for us in this Course, but do we follow it? Forgiveness has been given us as the means for undoing the ego thought system, but how often do we persist in holding onto our grievances? If the means that we have been given to reach the goal are not accepted, the goal cannot be achieved. If we truly are serious about the goal, we must be serious about being helped to reach it. I have a friend who prays very sincerely for God to show him the way, yet he says he does not have the interest or patience to do the Lessons. The Lessons are there so we can find the way to God because the ego mind will never undo itself. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and our mighty companions every step of the way. We need the safety to express of all that stands in our way so we can clearly see and release the ego strategies.
Speak these words in confidence and remind yourself of the goal often today. Even if we accept this statement as partly true with many reservations, eventually we will consider it more and more seriously until it is finally accepted as the truth. (W.P.II.284) We speak these words as honestly as possible for ourselves, even if they are not yet totally true for us. These words are a true expression of the Christ Self that we are in truth. No "gifts" in this world can substitute for happiness. "What gift could I prefer before the peace of God? What treasure would I seek and find and keep that can compare with my Identity. And would I rather live with fear than love?" (W.287.1.3-5)
Today is a day to stay vigilant in watching for the temptation to get angry and judge. When these temptations arise, be willing to ask for the correction. The Holy Spirit will always give us another way to see every situation. The answers are all within.
Love and blessings, Sarah
ACIM Original Edition
IV. The Symbol of the Impossible

29 Power cannot oppose. For opposition would weaken it, and weakened power is a contradiction in ideas. Weak strength is meaningless, and power used to weaken is employed to limit. And therefore it must be limited and weak because that is its purpose. Power is unopposed, to be itself. No weakness can intrude on it without changing it into something it is not. To weaken is to limit and impose an opposite that contradicts the concept which it attacks. And by this does it join to the idea a something it is not and make it unintelligible. Who can understand a double concept, such as "weakened-power" or as "hateful-love?"
30 You have decided that your brother is a symbol for a "hateful-love," a "weakened-power," and above all, a "living-death." And so he has no meaning to you, for he stands for what is meaningless. He represents a double thought, where half is cancelled out by the remaining half. Yet even this is quickly contradicted by the half it cancelled out, and so they both are gone. And now he stands for nothing. Symbols which but represent ideas that cannot be must stand for empty space and nothingness. Yet nothingness and empty space can not be interference. What can interfere with the awareness of reality is the belief that there is something there.
31 The picture of your brother that you see means nothing. There is nothing to attack or to deny, love, or hate, or to endow with power or to see as weak. The picture has been wholly cancelled out because it symbolized a contradiction which cancelled out the thought it represents. And thus the picture has no cause at all. Who can perceive effect without a cause? What can the causeless be but nothingness? The picture of your brother that you see is wholly absent and has never been. Let then the empty space it occupies be recognized as vacant, and the time devoted to its seeing be perceived as idly spent, a time unoccupied.
32 An empty space which is not seen as filled, an unused interval of time not seen as spent and fully occupied, becomes a silent invitation to the truth to enter and to make itself at home. No preparation can be made that would enhance the invitation's real appeal. For what you leave as vacant, God will fill, and where He is, there must the truth abide. Unweakened power with no opposite is what creation is. For this there are no symbols. Nothing points beyond the truth, for what can stand for more than everything? Yet true undoing must be kind. And so the first replacement for your picture is another picture of another kind.
33 As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. Forgiveness is not yet a power known as wholly free of limits. Yet it sets no limits you have chosen to impose. Forgiveness is the means by which the truth is represented temporarily. It lets the Holy Spirit make exchange of pictures possible until the time when aids are meaningless and learning done. No learning aid has use which can extend beyond the goal of learning. When its aim has been accomplished, it is functionless. Yet in the learning interval it has a use which now you fear, but yet will love.
34 The picture of your brother given you to occupy the space so lately left unoccupied and vacant will not need defense of any kind. For you will give it overwhelming preference. Nor delay an instant in deciding that it is the only one you want. It does not stand for double concepts. Though it is but half the picture and is incomplete, within itself it is the same. The other half of what it represents remains unknown but is not cancelled out. And thus is God left free to take the final step Himself. [For this you need no pictures and no learning aids.] And what will ultimately take the place of every learning aid will merely be. Forgiveness vanishes and symbols fade, and nothing which the eyes have ever seen, or ears have heard, remains to be perceived.
35 A Power wholly limitless has come, not to destroy, but to receive Its own. There is no choice of function anywhere. The choice you fear to lose you never had. Yet only this appears to interfere with power unlimited and single thoughts, complete and happy, without opposite. You do not know the peace of power which opposes nothing. Yet no other kind can be at all. Give welcome to the Power beyond forgiveness and beyond the world of symbols and of limitations. He would merely be, and so He merely is.

V. The Quiet Answer

36 In quietness are all things answered and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can be no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible and to ensure no answer will be plain. A problem set in conflict has no answer, for it is seen in different ways. And what would be an answer from one point of view is not an answer in another light. You are in conflict. Thus it must be clear you cannot answer anything at all, for conflict has no limited effects. Yet if God gave an answer, there must be a way in which your problems are resolved, for what He wills already has been done.
37 Thus it must be that time is not involved, and every problem can be answered now. Yet it must also be that in your state of mind solution is impossible. Therefore, God must have given you a way of reaching to another state of mind in which the answer is already there. Such is the holy instant. It is here that all your problems should be brought and left. Here they belong, for here their answer is. [And where its answer is, a problem must be simple and be easily resolved.] It must be pointless to attempt to solve a problem where the answer cannot be. Yet just as surely it must be resolved if it is brought to where the answer is.
38 Attempt to solve no problems but within the holy instant's surety. For there the problem will be answered and resolved. Outside there will be no solution, for there is no answer there that could be found. Nowhere outside a single simple question is ever asked. The world can only ask a double question with many answers, none of which will do. It does not ask a question to be answered, but only to restate its point of view. All questions asked within this world are but a way of looking, not a question asked. A question asked in hate cannot be answered, because it is an answer in itself. A double question asks and answers, both attesting the same thing in different form.
39 The world asks but one question. It is this: "Of these illusions, which of them are true? Which ones establish peace and offer joy? And which can bring escape from all the pain of which this world is made?" Whatever form the question takes, its purpose is the same. It asks but to establish sin is real and answers in the form of preference. "Which sin do you prefer? That is the one which you should choose. The others are not true. What can the body get that you would want the most of all? It is your servant and your friend. But tell it what you want, and it will serve you lovingly and well." And this is not a question, for it tells you what you want and where to go for it. It leaves no room to question its beliefs, except that what it states takes question's form.
40 A pseudo-question has no answer. It dictates the answer even as it asks. Thus is all questioning within the world a form of propaganda for itself. Just as the body's witnesses are but the senses from within itself, so are the answers to the questions of the world contained within the questions. Where answers represent the questions, they add nothing new, and nothing has been learned.
41 An honest question is a learning tool which asks for something that you do not know. It does not set conditions for response, but merely asks what the response should be. But no one in a conflict state is free to ask this question, for he does not want an honest answer where the conflict ends. Only within the holy instant can an honest question honestly be asked. And from the meaning of the question does the meaningfulness of the answer come. Here is it possible to separate your wishes from the answer, so it can be given you and also be received. The answer is provided everywhere. Yet it is only here it can be heard.
42 An honest answer asks no sacrifice because it answers questions truly asked. The questions of the world but ask of whom is sacrifice demanded, asking not if sacrifice is meaningful at all. And so unless the answer tells "of whom," it will remain unrecognized, unheard, and thus the question is preserved intact because it gave the answer to itself. The holy instant is the interval in which the mind is still enough to hear an answer which is not entailed within the question asked. It offers something new and different from the question. How could it be answered if it but repeats itself?
43 Therefore, attempt to solve no problems in a world from which the answer has been barred. But bring the problem to the only place which holds the answer lovingly for you. Here are the answers which will solve your problems because they stand apart from them, and see what can be answered---what the question is. Within the world the answers merely raise another question, though they leave the first unanswered. In the holy instant, you can bring the question to the answer and receive the answer that was made for you.
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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