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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 3 "RETRAINING THE MIND"
III. ATONEMENT WITHOUT SACRIFICE
22 I have been correctly referred to as "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world." Those who represent the lamb as blood-stained, an all-too-widespread error, do not understand the meaning of the symbol. Correctly understood, it is a very simple parable which merely speaks of my innocence. The lion and the lamb lying down together refers to the fact that strength and innocence are not in conflict but naturally live in peace. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" is another way of saying the same thing.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 29
God is in everything I see.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 The idea for today explains why you can see all purpose in anything. It explains why nothing is separate, by itself or in itself. And it explains why nothing you see means anything. In fact, it explains every idea we have used thus far and all subsequent ones as well. Today's idea is the whole basis for vision.
2 You will probably find this idea very difficult to grasp at this point. You may find it silly, irreverent, senseless, funny, and even objectionable. Certainly God is not in a table, for example, as you see it. Yet we emphasized yesterday that a table shares the purpose of the universe. And what shares the purpose of the universe shares the purpose of its Creator.
3 Try then today to begin to learn how to look on all things with love, appreciation, and open-mindedness. You do not see them now. Would you know what is in them? Nothing is as it appears to you. Its holy purpose stands beyond your little range. When vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, you will understand today's idea perfectly. And you will not understand how you could ever have found it difficult.
4 Our six two-minute practice periods for today should follow a now familiar pattern: begin with repeating the idea to yourself, and then apply it to randomly chosen subjects about you, naming each one specifically. Try to avoid the tendency toward self-directed selection, which may be particularly tempting in connection with today's idea because of its wholly alien nature. Remember that any order you impose is equally alien to reality.
5 Your list of subjects should therefore be as free of self-selection as possible. For example, a suitable list might include:
7 In addition to the assigned practice periods, repeat the idea for today at least once an hour, looking slowly about you as you say the words unhurriedly to yourself. At least once or twice you should experience a sense of restfulness as you do this.
God is in this coat hanger.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
God is in everything I see
You might feel a high level of resistance with this Lesson because it may feel irreverent, senseless, and even objectionable to think God is in a piece of garbage. How do we know we are in resistance? We may find we "forget" to do the Lesson during the day, or we may think the Course is not for us. Resistance in various forms may go on for a long time because we are not going to give up our investment in the body and the world very readily. It is what we know and where our comfort is, even if we suffer. Resistance reflects our fear of Love and of God, even though we deny this and are not aware this is so. To us, the body and the world seem much more solid and substantial than what we are in our creation. To us, this Self feels much more fleeting and insubstantial, but it is the other way around. The body and the world are ever-changing, and our perceptions are not reliable and solid while what we are in truth is certain, consistent, unchanging, and unchangeable.
To be willing to be taught and stay open to what is being taught without putting your own spin on the Lesson is a challenge any student of the Course will face. However, a direct result of applying these Lessons daily is increasing peace and happiness. The Lessons teach us to become disciplined and are part of the mind training. Our minds are not currently disciplined and best described as "monkey minds," easily distracted, and going in all directions. Part of this training is to help us discern between the thought systems of the ego and of the Holy Spirit. It is to help us pivot from the false self to connect increasingly with the Christ Self where our happiness abides.
This is a good time to go back to the Introduction to the Workbook, which reminds us that we do not need to believe the ideas, accept them, or even welcome them. We can even actively resist them, but "None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy." (W.IN.9.3) It is a time to trust the guidance provided in these Lessons. My approach to the Lessons is to "just do them." The results will be there. Our progress will be as fast or slow as our fear will allow. Whatever your level of progress, it is important not to fight yourself. Make whatever commitment you can, willingly, but not out of a sense of coercion. Remember in the Lesson yesterday, Jesus said we would be making a series of commitments, but at this point, we need not be concerned about whether we will keep them. He only asks for our willingness to take this first step in making a commitment for today. The rest will follow.
When we say, "God is in everything I see," (W.29) it is not about what we see with our eyes. As Jesus says, "Certainly God is not in a table, for example, as you see it," (W.29.2.3) but the way we are seeing now, with the body's eyes, actually obscures God. Our seeing is of the ego. It is designed to make us believe in the reality of the world of form. It is a material world that we have made real. "Try then, today, to begin to learn how to look on all things with love, appreciation and open-mindedness." (W.29.3.1) This is not how we see now. We see forms, which we deem as pretty, ugly, shiny, useful, broken, light, dark, square, round, soft, reflective, steel, wood, glass, dirty, enticing, or disturbing. These forms make up the world we think of as reality. In fact, it is all an illusion. When we look with our eyes, we are not really seeing at all. We are projecting the thought system that is in our mind based on our past experience. We are actually hallucinating. It is all a shadow of the thought system that we hold within.
"The concept of the self stands like a shield, a silent barricade before the truth, and hides it from your sight. All things you see are images, because you look on them as through a barrier that dims your sight and warps your vision, so that you behold nothing with clarity. The light is kept from everything you see. At most, you glimpse a shadow of what lies beyond."
(T.31.VII.7) (ACIM OE T.31.VII.74)
What we see now is a reflection of all our past understandings, which define and give meaning to our perceptions. Our range of seeing is very limited. Jesus reminds us, "Nothing is as it appears to you." (W.29.3.4) We can't see with our eyes. To see, we need vision, which is of the mind. This is where the practice is taking us. With vision, we can perceive beyond the forms. Our sight obscures meaning. This is exactly why, in the very first Lesson in this Course, we are told that "Nothing I see in this room means anything." (W.1) This is because what we see with our eyes is only the physical world that we have made up. The meaning is there, but we currently don't see it because it is obscured by our thoughts that are projected as images. This Lesson makes it clear that there is a whole other way of seeing. There is a whole other world we don't see now but will learn to see with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is a world lit up by holiness! When we see it, we will wonder why we couldn't see it before. We are surrounded by holiness, but we don't know it.
This is an important Lesson because Jesus tells us, "Today's idea is the whole basis for vision." (W.29.1.5) That is quite a statement, isn't it? Yet having said that, he says, "You will probably find this idea very difficult to grasp at this point." (W.29.2.1) What is important here is purpose. If our purpose is to wake up from the dream, then this world and everything in it can be used as a classroom for undoing the separation. "Nothing is as it appears to you. Its holy purpose stands beyond your little range." (W.29.3.4-5) The Holy Spirit's purpose is to use everything we have made that keeps us rooted in the world as an opportunity for learning that there is another way of seeing.
With spiritual sight, we can see God in everything. There is nowhere God is not when we ". . . look on all things with love, appreciation and open-mindedness." (W.18.104.22.168) To say God is in the various forms we see may seem ridiculous to us. The idea behind this exercise is that God is actually not in any of these forms because these forms don't even exist! There is only mind, which is abstract, and nothing else exists.
Everything we see shares the purpose of the universe and that purpose is forgiveness. What this means is that as we look at the meaning we give the various forms of this world and begin to recognize that we made it all up. We become more willing to accept that we may actually be seeing what is not there. It is about recognizing that the thoughts we hold about everything are a block to real vision. Forgiveness is the way to release these thoughts and choose the Holy Spirit, rather than the ego, as our Guide to seeing. Thus, we learn that nothing that we perceive about this world is real. The only reality is God/Love.
There are some forms in the world that we might see as sacred or holy, and we may be inclined to worship these forms. Yet, they too are meaningless forms just like everything else. When we say that God is in form, we remind ourselves that God is everywhere, all the time, and in everything because God is all there is. Jesus reminds us, "The test of everything on earth is simply this; What is it for? The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it, according to the purpose that you serve." (T.24.VII.6.1) (ACIM OE T.24.VIII.67) My mind is projecting these images and giving them reality and thus blocking real vision. The reason I want to see this world and my body as real is because I give it value. All that really counts is God and His purpose, not the stuff around me. Today, with this Lesson, I let the ordinary forms around me remind me of His presence and His purpose. I find it helpful to use this Lesson with hearing and touch as well. God is in every sound I hear and everything I touch.
I have to admit to resistance when I do this Lesson. For me, Lesson 264, "I am surrounded by the Love of God," (W.264) speaks more clearly about His presence where it says, "You are in all the things I look upon, the sounds I hear, and every hand that reaches for my own." (W.264.1.2) Yet each workbook Lesson is designed to undo our perceptions bit by bit, and we are asked simply to trust and do what is asked. Be aware of your reactions as they come up, and be willing to release them and simply cooperate with the process that is carefully laid out for us. It is important to recognize that our resistance is not really to the Lesson, but to leaving this world of illusion that we are invested in. Our investment in the self that we have invented, with its thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and perspectives, is what we still think we want. Jesus is gentle and patient with us. This undoing process invites daily discipline while still being gentle and patient with ourselves.
When resistance comes up, it is good to be aware of it and ask for help. To the extent possible, we are asked to stay open-minded and willing to be taught. Open-mindedness is the tenth characteristic of the Teacher of God talked about in the Manual for Teachers. It is not about being open to everything but only to keep our minds open to the truth.
In the practice periods today, we are asked to do six two-minute practices by repeating the Lesson, then applying it randomly by choosing subjects in our vicinity, naming each one specifically and letting go of our preconceptions of where we think God would be and where he would not be. "Your list of subjects should therefore be as free of self-selection as possible." (W.29.5.1)
There is an additional requirement where we repeat the idea at least once an hour, saying the words unhurriedly to ourselves. As we do this, we should experience a sense of restfulness. If we feel restful in doing this Lesson hourly, it is certainly a blessing.
Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
A Course in Miracles
III. Atonement Without Sacrifice
11 There is another point which must be perfectly clear before any residual fear which may still be associated with miracles becomes entirely groundless. The crucifixion did
not establish the Atonement. The resurrection did. This is a point which many very sincere Christians have misunderstood. No one who is free of the scarcity-error could
possibly make this mistake. If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it
does appear as if God permitted and even encouraged one of his Sons to suffer
because he was good. Many ministers preach this every day.
12 This particularly unfortunate interpretation, which arose out of the combined misprojections of a large number of my would-be followers, has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God. This particularly anti-religious concept enters into many religions, and this is neither by chance nor by coincidence. Yet the real Christian would have to pause and ask, "How could this be?" Is it likely that God Himself would be capable of the kind of thinking which His own words have clearly stated is unworthy of man?
13 The best defense, as always, is not to attack another's position but rather to protect the truth. It is unwise to accept
any concept if you have to turn a whole frame of reference around in order to justify it. This procedure is painful in its minor applications and genuinely tragic on a mass basis. Persecution is a frequent result, undertaken to justify the terrible misperception that God Himself persecuted His own Son on behalf of salvation. The very words are meaningless.
14 It has been particularly difficult to overcome this because, although the error itself is no harder to overcome than any other error, men were unwilling to give this one up because of its prominent "escape" value. In milder forms a parent says, "This hurts me more than it hurts you," and feels exonerated in beating a child. Can you believe that the Father
really thinks this way? It is so essential that
all such thinking be dispelled that we must be very sure that
nothing of this kind remains in your mind. I was
not punished because
you were bad. The wholly benign lesson the Atonement teaches is lost if it is tainted with this kind of distortion in
15 "Vengeance is Mine sayeth the Lord," is a strictly karmic viewpoint. It is a real misperception of truth by which man assigns his own "evil" past to God. The "evil conscience" from the past has nothing to do with God. He did not create it, and He does not maintain it. God does
not believe in karmic retribution. His Divine Mind does not create that way.
He does not hold the evil deeds of a man even against himself. Is it likely, then, that He would hold against anyone the evil that
16 Be very sure that you recognize how utterly impossible this assumption really is and how
entirely it arises from misprojection. This kind of error is responsible for a host of related errors including the belief that God rejected man and forced him out of the Garden of Eden. It is also responsible for the fact that you may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you. I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but man is very inventive when it comes to twisting symbols around.
17 God Himself is
not symbolic; He is
fact. The Atonement too is totally without symbolism. It is perfectly clear because it exists in light. Only man's attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to the unwilling and ambiguous to the partly willing. The Atonement itself radiates nothing but truth. It therefore epitomizes harmlessness and sheds
only blessing. It could not do this if it arose from anything but perfect innocence. Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, which does not exist. It is, however,
perfectly aware of
everything that is true.
18 The Resurrection demonstrated that
nothing can destroy truth. Good can withstand
any form of evil because light abolishes
all forms of darkness. The Atonement is thus the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all of the other lessons which I taught are true. Man is released from
all errors if he believes in this. The deductive approach to teaching accepts the generalization which is applicable to
all single instances rather than building up the generalization after analyzing numerous single instances separately. If you can accept the
now, there will be no need to learn from many smaller lessons.
Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his Spirit into the hands of his Father. By doing this, the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. All sense of separation disappears, and level confusion vanishes. The Son of God
is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity itself is
One. There is no confusion within its levels because they are of One Mind and One Will. This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God. Yet this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent.
20 Because their hearts are pure, the innocent defend true perception instead of defending themselves
against it. Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the will to attack, and therefore they see truly. This is what the Bible means when it says, "When He shall appear (or be perceived) we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He
21 Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear. This is particularly unfortunate because frightened people are apt to be vicious. Sacrificing another in
any way is a clear cut violation of God's own injunction that man should be merciful even as his Father in Heaven. It has been hard for many Christians to realize that this commandment (or assignment) also applies to
themselves. Good teachers never terrorize their students. To terrorize is to attack, and this results in rejection of what the teacher offers. The result is learning failure.
22 I have been correctly referred to as "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world." Those who represent the lamb as blood-stained, an all-too-widespread error, do
not understand the meaning of the symbol. Correctly understood, it is a very simple parable which merely speaks of my innocence. The lion and the lamb lying down together refers to the fact that strength and innocence are
not in conflict but naturally live in peace. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" is another way of saying the same thing.
23 There has been some human controversy about the nature of seeing in relation to the integrative powers of the brain. Correctly understood, the issue revolves around the question of whether the body or the mind can see (or understand). This is not really open to question at all. The body is not capable of understanding, and only the mind can perceive
anything. A pure mind knows the truth, and this
is its strength. It cannot attack the body because it recognizes exactly what the body
is. This is what "a sane mind in a sane body" really means. It does
not confuse destruction with innocence because it associates innocence with strength,
not with weakness.
24 Innocence is
incapable of sacrificing anything because the innocent mind
has everything and strives only to
protect its wholeness. This is why it
cannot misproject. It can only honor man because honor is the natural greeting of the truly loved to others who are like them. The lamb taketh away the sins of the world only in the sense that the state of innocence, or grace, is one in which the meaning of the Atonement is perfectly apparent. The innocence of God is the true state of mind of His Son. In this state, man's mind
does see God, and because he sees Him as he is, he knows that the Atonement,
not sacrifice, is the
only appropriate gift to his
own altar, where nothing except perfection truly belongs. The understanding of the innocent is
truth. That is why their altars are truly radiant.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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