Lesson 288
In Quietness Are all things Answered
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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.

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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 288
Let me forget my brother's past today.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

    This is the thought that leads the way to You,
    and brings me to my goal. I cannot come
    to You without my brother. And to know
    my Source, I first must recognize what You
    created one with me. My brother's is
    the hand that leads me on the way to You.
    His sins are in the past along with mine.
    And I am saved because the past is gone.
    Let me not cherish it within my heart,
    or I will lose the way to walk to You.
    My brother is my Saviour. Let me not
    attack the Saviour You have given me,
    but let me honor him who bears Your Name,
    and so remember that It is my own.
   Forgive me, then, today. And you will know
   you have forgiven me if you behold
   your brother in the light of holiness.
   He cannot be less holy than can I,
   and you can not be holier than he.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM    
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
Let me forget my brother's past today.

Sarah's Commentary:

Before commenting on this Lesson, I just want to say how perfect and timely every Lesson is that shows up in our day. Yesterday, we watched the movie, The Words, which was all about believing we must somehow atone for past sins. The movie was helpful in having us look at how we hold the belief in our minds that there are real consequences for what we have done. It was about making the error real, and now we must pay for our sins. The reality is that we are innocent now. Nothing we have done in the past has actually happened.
There was also an amazing scene that brought to my mind the importance of being led by inspiration in what we do in the world. The author of the manuscript had tried and tried to write, but when events in his life conspired to bring about a moment of inspiration, the words literally wrote themselves. When we do anything with the ego, it is such a grind, but following inspiration creates a beautiful flow. It does not matter what we are doing. Life simply moves through us, whether we feel inspired in one moment to clean the house or to write a book. To be inspired is to follow the guidance of Spirit and simply let it come through us, and then everything is done with ease.
In this Lesson, we are reminded that we ". . . cannot come to You without my [our] brother." (W.288.1.2) We are recognizing our Oneness with every brother. We have a shared identity and our salvation lies in this recognition. If the problem is separation, the answer must be joining. And how can we know we are joined if we hold grievances, judgments, and comparisons of any kind and see ourselves different from our brothers? We must let go of the desire to benefit at their expense. Our sense of specialness makes demands of others. From our perspective, our specialness requires others to recognize and acknowledge our needs. Our needs take primacy over those of others. We see ourselves as the center of our universe and everyone must take note. Thus, we use our brothers for the purpose of supporting our fragile egos, rather than for joining and seeing our sameness and our equality. The way we join is through forgiveness of our perceived differences and mistaken perceptions. We forgive our own projections of our sins that we put on our brothers. They become the depositories of our sins, which is why we don't want to be like them. We don't like what we see in them, but what do we see except our own projected sins? They are the shadow side of our self-concepts that we have hidden from ourselves. As these are healed, our relationships are healed and thus space is made to join with our brother as a reflection of the Oneness we share.
Another movie we watched called, Samsara, was about a monk who believed he had to make a choice between the wife and child he loved or his life in the monastery. From a Course perspective, we are not called to sacrifice our relationships. On the contrary, the way given us in this Course is to do our healing through relationships, so such a choice, as presented in the movie, would not be required. Our special relationships, when given over to the Holy Spirit for His use, are transformed to holy relationships and become our greatest opportunity for the healing of our minds. Jesus tells us that the transformation process may initially be very conflicted and tumultuous when the goal for the relationship is changed, but we must continue to trust that this is only a time of transition and the change is for our healing and higher good.
The process is certainly uncomfortable for the ego but delightful to the spirit. I experienced such a situation in my "special" relationship quite a few years ago. And I can say unequivocally, when the goal was changed, I experienced tremendous turmoil, which required a lot of trust in the Holy Spirit that His promises would be kept. "When you have made this joining as the Holy Spirit bids you, and have offered it to Him to use as He sees fit, His natural perception of your gift enables Him to understand it, and you to use His understanding on your behalf." (T.16.II.4.4) (ACIM OE T.16.III.13) We don't need to understand it. We just need to rely on His understanding. What motivates awakening is the pain of our specialness. When we ask for the healing, the goal will be shifted from specialness to holiness. There will be some sense of disillusionment before we will look for a better way. When all of our ego strategies fail, we become much more willing to undertake the healing. Those times of disillusionment in our lives don't seem like gifts to us, but they can be the times of our greatest spiritual progress when we choose to turn to His understanding and not our own. Our part is to be sincere in our willingness.
To know God requires the undoing of the self we think we are, and that is where the resistance comes in. We value our individuality, uniqueness, and specialness. It comes from the choice we made for separation from God when we ran away into the body and the world. Now we want to preserve this separate self, even though it hurts. The cost to us is that we no longer know who we truly are as the Christ Self. The dissolution of the ego through forgiveness, and with it the recognition of our true identity as Spirit, leads us out of separation, but it is a process which brings fear and thus resistance into our minds.
In this state of separation, we see minds as private, alone, and locked away in bodies---separate from each other. In this condition of separation, we believe we have attacked the Oneness of our Self and the Creator of reality---God. With the idea that attack has accomplished something we wanted (our separation from God), we attack each other through our competitiveness and our judgments. We keep our distance from each other and project the guilt onto those we blame for our condition. The idea behind this is so that others will be seen as guilty. What we are actually doing, which is kept hidden from our awareness, is projecting our guilt onto them so we can see ourselves innocent by comparison. It is a false innocence, because when we project guilt onto others, we keep it. We can never attain Heaven at someone else's expense. We must go together with our brothers side by side. "Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one." (T.6.II.13.5) (ACIM OE T.6.III.38)
Daily, we see crimes, acts of violence, and misbehaviors, but with the healing of our own guilt, we will increasingly see all such behaviors as deep calls for love and understanding. Until then, all we are called to do is take responsibility for our desire to see the guilt in our brothers and recognize it is our own guilt we are putting on them. Each time we are willing to take responsibility for our own projections and ask for the healing, the separation is being undone, and we will recognize more and more that minds truly are joined.
Jesus says separateness is the source of ". . . your strange uneasiness, your sense of being disconnected, and your haunting fear of lack of meaning in yourself." (T.22.I.1.6) (ACIM OE T.22.II.5) As this Lesson reminds us, we need to do the healing work with our brothers so we will see there are no differences, and we are One. When forgiveness is complete, we will realize this disconnection we feel with everyone is a defense against the truth of who we are. When our defenses are released, we will see "My brother's is the hand that leads me on the way to You." (W.288.1.4) We do this, according to Jesus, by recognizing our sameness, rather than comparing ourselves with others and seeing ourselves as superior. Sameness is just a reflection of Oneness. We come to that experience when we give up our judgments.
For years, I had a difficult relationship with my sister, who is eleven months younger than me. Our animosity continued for most of our lives. Jesus says it takes only one of us to heal a relationship since, in reality, there is only one of us. When I was in Sedona, I worked on releasing my grievances. One day at Interfaith Service, we sang the words: "I cannot go without you, for you're a part of me. So take my hand, my sister. And go to God with me." As I sang these words, the tears flowed, and I knew the years of struggle between us were dissolved. I had let go of the past by turning over my grievances to the Holy Spirit. There was no longer a past. There was only this beautiful present moment of joining. There was only the power of now, as Eckhart Tolle would say. And in this present moment, through the holy instant, salvation was given. The past was gone! It truly was a miracle.
"A dream of judgment came into the mind that God created perfect as Himself. And in that dream was Heaven changed to hell, and God made enemy unto His Son. How can God's Son awaken from the dream? It is a dream of judgment. So must he judge not, and he will waken." (T.29.IX.2.1-5) (ACIM OE T.29.X.61) It was my addiction to judgment, based on my stories of the past, that kept this relationship stuck in separation. The ego was preserving the story of our relationship as a means of trapping me in time.
In Chapter 16, Jesus explains how we use every special relationship in our lives for the purpose of taking vengeance on the past. In fact, we use these relationships to try to restore our wounded self-esteem and make someone else atone for perceived past injustices we believe we have suffered. Today's Lesson reminds us that our healing requires we forget our brother's past today and join in a holy instant. If we cherish the past, we will ". . . lose the way to walk to You." (W.288.1.6)
"The past is the ego's chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquired methods for meeting them on your own terms." (T. 15.V.2.1) (ACIM OE T.15.VI.46) In the past, we decided as separate beings that certain people could make us feel more special than others. Once we learned that some made us "happier" than others, we sought out those kinds of people. Those people remind us of past sources of love and are, as the Course calls them, our "shadow figures" or fantasy images in our minds. They remind us of someone from the past who continues to live in our minds. In fact, we continue to have mental dialogues with them.
We project these shadow figures onto people who are currently in our lives and these people are required somehow to meet our needs that were not adequately met in the past. We also have special hate relationships that work the same way, except now we identify the people we struggle with who are shadow figures of difficult relationships. Of course, in the end, all special relationships are substitutes we have made for real love, and those substitutes serve as receptacles for our guilt, whether they are special love relationships or special hate relationships. "The special love relationship is not perceived as a value in itself, but as a place of safety from which hatred is split off and kept apart. The special love partner is acceptable only as long as he serves this purpose. Hatred can enter, and indeed is welcome in some aspects of the relationship, but it is still held together by the illusion of love." (T.16.IV.3.4-6) (ACIM OE T.16.V.32)
We desperately want to heal the wounds of our past, but the past is gone and cannot be changed. Forgiveness is giving up the wish that the past could have been different than it was. Until we forgive the past, we will continue to try to bring the past into the present so we might re-enact it. This time, however, we think we can change the ending, which we imagine might be a happy one. We are the hero of our own play and try to work the script out so we will get the love and recognition denied us the first time around. The intent behind this play is that all injustices be rectified and all wrongs made right so we can be redeemed. We want to do this in order to demonstrate the shadow figures were wrong about us! This is the process prevalent in all our special relationships, whether we are conscious of it or not. Of course, it cannot work. It is actually our way of trying to take vengeance on the past and strategizing how others can meet, in the present, our unmet needs from the past.
My brother is my savior because I am projecting my past pain and guilt onto him. He helps me because he mirrors what is in my mind and can't readily be seen without this reflection he offers me. As I forgive him, I am realizing salvation for myself. When I forgive my brother's past, I can forgive my own. Thus, I come to know my own innocence. Anything I am holding against him is what I am holding against myself. Any judgment I have against anyone is a judgment I have on myself and project outward. My brother is the mirror of the guilt and fear in my mind, which I can choose to let go with the help of the Holy Spirit. Yet he is also the reflection of the Christ in me, and the reflection of my innocence, which shines forth when my projections are withdrawn and healed. "Let me not attack the savior You have given me. But let me honor him who bears Your Name, and so remember that It is my own." (W.288.1.8-9)
In God's eyes, we are the same. We are all innocent, and each brother, who is given us, offers us one more opportunity to forgive and remember our Oneness. Now we can see him with Christ's vision, totally innocent of all of our sins we had laid on him. I know it does not look this way to us. It looks like he is guilty of many sins and attacks on us, but he is simply perfectly playing out the role for our own awakening, showing us what is unhealed in our own minds and where we are attacking ourselves.
Jesus asks for our forgiveness when he says, "Forgive me, then, today. And you will know you have forgiven me if you behold your brother in the light of holiness. He cannot be less holy than can I, and you cannot be holier than he." (W.288.2.2-3) If we hold a grievance against any brother, we are holding a grievance against Jesus. Our love for any brother is our love for Jesus as we are all One. We all share the same nature of innocence and holiness as Jesus himself, and in our Oneness, no one can be seen as guilty without seeing the whole Sonship as guilty. I find it valuable to try to think of everyone I meet as meeting Jesus in all his many disguises with no one holier than anyone else. We are all the same.
Today, let us remember that anything we perceive in a brother or sister, we are perceiving in ourselves. Any limitations we place on them, we are putting on ourselves. Any doubts we have about their commitment, sincerity, and honesty are doubts we hold first about ourselves. We need to ask ourselves if we want to hurt ourselves in this way. Our goal is to translate all of our special relationships into holy relationships. In fact, they already are, even though, at a conscious level, we don't realize it.
Separate interests lead to competing goals. In order to transcend our separate egos and to join in Oneness, we need to invest in recognizing our common purpose. "Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one." (T.23.IV.7.4) (ACIM OT T.23.V.53) "What shares a common purpose is the same. This is the law of purpose, which unites all those who share in it within itself." (T.27.VI.1.5-6) (T.27.VII.54) Thus, when we commit to waking up, we share this purpose with everyone since there is just one mind. The benefit of our healing will be shared by the entire Sonship.
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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