Lesson 287
Peace Begins with Me
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44 The only way to heal is to be healed. The miracle extends without your help, but you are needed that it can begin. Accept the miracle of healing, and it will go forth because of what it is. It is its nature to extend itself the instant it is born. And it is born the instant it is offered and received. No one can ask another to be healed. But he can let himself be healed and thus offer the other what he has received. Who can bestow upon another what he does not have? And who can share what he denies himself? The Holy Spirit speaks to you. He does not speak to someone else. Yet by your listening, His Voice extends because you have accepted what He says.  
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CHAPTER 27 VI, 44-53
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ACIM What is the Holy Spirit
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   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.
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   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 and will do so until the time when 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, even though it appears to the false self as if the things that occupy the mind are important. They keep the false self 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 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 goal to uncover the deep peace and joy that come 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 that 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 anger by saying someone or something is responsible for how we feel, but the real motivation for choosing anger and judgment is to use them 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 see. We are responsible for throwing our peace away in the face of a situation that has 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 it knows that we can choose against it anytime we want. The ego needs our allegiance for it to continue to exist 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 committed to the dream.
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's Love. But now our minds have been opened 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 are given us for the goal for God to be reached. It requires that we watch our thoughts and forgive our misperceptions.
We are as God created us, which is Spirit. When we accept this, what is there to fear? All the attention and effort we put into keeping ourselves happy in the dream simply delay 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 asked to do is to recognize that our ego goals will never bring peace and happiness. It does not make our pursuits wrong. We can go shopping, have special relationships, and take vacations, yet this can all just be a backdrop for 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 focus on the screen (the world) and try to fix things "out there," we play the ego's game.
Let us focus on making today about true happiness and not look to futile substitutions. 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 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 safe space where we can express all that stands in the way so we can clearly see and release the ego strategies.
"You are my goal, my Father. Only You." (W.287) 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 so that the brain can be rewired. 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 staying alert to the temptation to get angry and judge. When such 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

A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty Seven

The Body and the Dream
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CHAPTER 27 VI, 44-53
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VI. The Healing Example     
44 The only way to heal is to be healed. The miracle extends without your help, but you are needed that it can begin. Accept the miracle of healing, and it will go forth because of what it is. It is its nature to extend itself the instant it is born. And it is born the instant it is offered and received. No one can ask another to be healed. But he can let himself be healed and thus offer the other what he has received. Who can bestow upon another what he does not have? And who can share what he denies himself? The Holy Spirit speaks to you. He does not speak to someone else. Yet by your listening, His Voice extends because you have accepted what He says.
45 Health is the witness unto health. As long as it is unattested, it remains without conviction. Only when demonstrated has it been proved and must compel belief. No one is healed through double messages. If you wish only to be healed, you heal. Your single purpose makes this possible. But if you are afraid of healing, then it cannot come through you. The only thing that is required for a healing is a lack of fear. The fearful are not healed and cannot heal. This does not mean the conflict must be gone forever from your mind. For if it were, there would be no need for healing then. But it does mean, if only for an instant, you love without attack. An instant is sufficient. Miracles wait not on time.
46 The holy instant is the miracle's abiding-place. From there each one is born into this world as witness to a state of mind which has transcended conflict and has reached to peace. It carries comfort from the place of peace into the battleground and demonstrates that war has no effects. For all the hurt that war has sought to bring---the broken bodies and the shattered limbs, the screaming dying and the silent dead---are gently lifted up and comforted. There is no sadness where a miracle has come to heal. And nothing more than just one instant of your love without attack is necessary that all this occur. In that one instant are you healed, and in that single instant is all healing done.
47 What stands apart from you when you accept the blessing that the holy instant brings? Be not afraid of blessing, for the One Who blesses you loves all the world and leaves nothing within the world that could be feared. But if you shrink from blessing will the world indeed seem fearful, for you have withheld its peace and comfort, leaving it to die. Would not a world so bitterly bereft be looked on as a condemnation by the one who could have saved it but stepped back because he was afraid of being healed? The eyes of all the dying bring reproach, and suffering whispers, "What is there to fear?" Consider well its question. It is asked of you on your behalf. A dying world asks only that you rest an instant from attack upon yourself, that it be healed.
48 Come to the holy instant and be healed, for nothing that is there received is left behind on your returning to the world. And being blessed, you will bring blessing. Life is given you to give the dying world. And suffering eyes no longer will accuse, but shine in thanks to you who blessing gave. The holy instant's radiance will light your eyes and give them sight to see beyond all suffering and see Christ's face instead. Healing replaces suffering. Who looks on one cannot perceive the other, for they cannot both be there. And what you see the world will witness, and will witness to.
49 Thus is your healing everything the world requires that it may be healed. It needs one lesson which has perfectly been learned. And then when you forget it will the world remind you gently of what you have taught. No reinforcement will its thanks withhold from you who let yourself be healed that it might live. It will call forth its witnesses to show the face of Christ to you who brought the sight to them by which they witnessed it. The world of accusation is replaced by one in which all eyes look lovingly upon the Friend who brought them their release. And happily your brother will perceive the many friends he thought were enemies.
50 Problems are not specific, but they take specific forms, and these specific shapes make up the world. And no one understands the nature of his problem. If he did, it would be there no more for him to see. Its very nature is that it is not. And thus while he perceives it, he can not perceive it as it is. But healing is apparent in specific instances and generalizes to include them all. This is because they really are the same despite their different forms. All learning aims at transfer, which becomes complete within two situations which are seen as one, for only common elements are there. Yet this can only be attained by One Who does not see the differences you see. The total transfer of your learning is not made by you. But that it has been made in spite of all the differences you see convinces you that they could not be real.
51 Your healing will extend and will be brought to problems that you thought were not your own. And it will also be apparent that your many different problems will be solved as any one of them has been escaped. It cannot be their differences which made this possible, for learning does not jump from situations to their opposites and bring the same results. All healing must proceed in lawful manner in accord with laws which have been properly perceived but never violated. Fear you not the way that you perceive them. You are wrong, but there is One within you Who is right.
52 Leave, then, the transfer of your learning to the One Who really understands its laws and Who will guarantee that they remain unviolated and unlimited. Your part is merely to apply what He has taught you to yourself, and He will do the rest. And thus the power of your learning will be proved to you by all the many different witnesses it finds. Your brother first among them will be seen, but thousands stand behind him, and beyond each one there are a thousand more. Each one may seem to have a problem which is different from the rest. Yet they are solved together. And their common answer shows the questions could not have been separate.
53 Peace be to you whom is healing offered. And you will learn that peace is given you when you accept the healing for yourself. Its total value need not be appraised by you to let you understand that you have benefited from it. What occurred within the instant which love entered in without attack will stay with you forever. Your healing will be one of its effects, as will your brother's. Everywhere you go will you behold its multiplied effects. Yet all the witnesses that you behold will be far less than all there really are. Infinity cannot be understood by merely counting up its separate parts. God thanks you for your healing, for He knows it is a gift of love unto His Son, and therefore is it given unto Him.
*Paragraphs 22, 23, and 24 were in the handscript notes, but did not appear in the final typing of the Original Edition manuscript. This content was restored in the 2009 Revision from an earlier manuscript and numbered 21a, 21b and 21c. However, starting with the 2012 Revision, the paragraph were renumbered and  set off by brackets. Subsequently, all the following paragraphs, through the end of Chapter 27, have been renumbered. -Ed.   
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