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CH 27 "THE BODY AND THE DREAM"
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
VIII. THE ILLUSION OF SUFFERING
74 Rest in the Holy Spirit and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death. He brings forgiving dreams in which the choice is not who is the murderer and who shall be the victim. In the dreams He brings, there is no murder and there is no death. The dream of guilt is fading from your sight, although your eyes are closed. A smile has come to lighten up your sleeping face. The sleep is peaceful now, for these are happy dreams.
CHAPTER 27 VIII, 62-76
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
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.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 290
My present happiness is all I see.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Unless I look upon what is not there,
my present happiness is all I see.
Eyes that begin to open see at last.
And I would have Christ's vision come to me
this very day. What I behold without
God's own correction for the sight I made
is frightening and painful to behold.
Yet I would not allow my mind to be
deceived by the belief the dream I made
is real an instant longer. This the day
I seek my present happiness, and look
on nothing else except the thing I seek.
With this resolve I come to You, and ask
Your strength to hold me up today, while I
but seek to do Your Will. You cannot fail
to hear me, Father. What I ask have You
already given me, and I am sure
that I will see my happiness today.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
My present happiness is all I see.
Happiness is our natural inheritance and always available in each moment no matter what seems to be happening. It is what we have been given by God and therefore reflects our true identity as His Son. So, if this is the case, why don't we experience the peace and happiness that is ours all the time? According to this lesson, it is because we are blocking it by seeing what is not there. "Unless I look upon what is not there, my present happiness is all I see." (W.290.1) Unless that is all we see, we are not seeing at all. What we are doing is hallucinating! We are no different than someone who is insane! We are projecting the thoughts in our mind and seeing them outside of ourselves and believing in their reality. And these thoughts are frightening and painful to us. Yet they all originate in our own mind. It is an outward picture of our painful inward condition.
Our perceptions are all based on past associations. We hold a thought system in our mind based on guilt from the past and now we fear punishment in the future, and thus we don't experience the eternal present, which is where happiness is. So, we need to connect with the Holy Spirit in the right mind to remember the truth, where the past and future do not exist. We do our part by bringing our wrong-minded thinking to awareness and asking for His interpretation to substitute for our own. As our minds are healed, we see with Christ's vision rather than believing what our eyes show us. The eyes were made by the ego to bring back evidence that reinforces our belief in the reality of this world. We made this dream, but we can decide not to be misled by it "an instant longer." (W.290.1.5)
"What I perceive without God's Own Correction for the sight I made is frightening and painful to behold."
(W.290.1.4) We see a world that is frightening and painful when we see it from the perspective of the ego. It is a world of suffering and pain sickness, and death. It consists of all the thoughts we "think we think" reflected back at us. They are our dreams, our fantasies, our judgments, our wishes, our worries, and our individual stories and dramas. To free ourselves from this nightmare of despair and depression, based on the stories we tell ourselves, we must first recognize we are not deeply happy nor are we consistently at peace. When we recognize this, we become willing to seek another way. We start to question our lives and wonder what has happened and where have we gone off track.
With readiness, willingness, and desire, everything we think we know can be translated by the Holy Spirit and seen differently. He translates it all for us, so what we saw as painful and distressing, we now see beyond the limitations of our own perception and reconnect with the truth in our right minds. In essence, we stop investing in our own thinking mind. In other words, we lose interest in what the ego has to say. We simply stop listening to its take on everything. We stop justifying its version of events. Instead, we turn within to the Holy Spirit, and in the silence, we connect to truth. Instead of seeing others as sinful for their apparent attacks, we can now see in them the call for love, which is our own call. "This day I seek my present happiness, and look on nothing else except the thing I seek." (W.290.1.6) We overlook what someone is saying or doing and recognize that we are all innocent.
We can't do this alone. We need the help of the Holy Spirit---God's Own Correction. Our part is to come to Him with a willingness to ask for His strength to hold us up and have the confidence He will hear and respond to our requests. This means we need to stay vigilant of our thoughts whenever we start rehearsing past issues or future dilemmas and plans. "Learn of His happiness, which is yours. But to accomplish this, all your dark lessons must be brought willingly to truth, and joyously laid down by hands open to receive, not closed to take. Every dark lesson that you bring to Him Who teaches light He will accept from you, because you do not want it." (T.14.XI.4.5-7) (ACIM OE T.14.VII.62)
Some time ago, I received a call from the nurse at the senior's residence that my mother, who recently turned 102, was in great pain and it was imperative I get a certain kind of medication to alleviate the pain. When I called the doctor's office, I was told there was no way I could see him. Since he would not talk with me, I asked his assistant if she would please convey to him the urgency of my request. She did as I asked but then indicated the doctor continued to deny access. My mind immediately went to other ways I might solve this problem. Then I was reminded that the ego can never solve any problem without creating another one. I spent time in the quiet of my mind, releasing my grievance with the doctor. I continued with some daily activities in peace, and when I felt the guidance to check back with my mother, I learned that she had turned a corner and the pain had subsided. It was another opportunity for me to recognize that reacting to perceived problems, without first connecting to peace and receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit, means I am relying on limited information.
Today, we are reminded that our goal is to see everyone through Christ's vision. What does this kind of seeing require? It requires that we take responsibility for our projections and release our judgments to the Holy Spirit. It is important that we don't suppress our shadows, but own them. These may be parts of the self we are most afraid to accept, yet these suppressed feelings need to be faced. We look within and forgive ourselves for our judgments and attacks on ourselves as well as others.
What we don't own, owns us. As Jung stated, we need to make the darkness conscious, which means looking at all we pretend not to be and all that brings shame and embarrassment. What we hate, resist, and disown about ourselves takes on a life of its own. While these feelings and thoughts try to emerge, so often we try to push them back down, believing we need to live up to some kind of spiritual role, rather than being authentic with what is coming up for us. Healing requires that we take responsibility for all parts of ourselves without blame or self-condemnation. Only then can we know happiness. We do not need to seek for it because it is always there, obscured by our own thoughts.
When we no longer see through the past, all we see is our present happiness. With resolve and certainty, we come to Him and ask for His strength to hold us up. When we rely on our own strength, we remain uncertain, confused, and unhappy. As we read in "What is the Holy Spirit?" (W.PII.Q7) He is our bridge to happiness. He is the Call in our minds to allow Heaven to be restored to us. When our minds are restored, we realize the past is no longer there. The world we see has been replaced by the real world, which is our present state, free of sin and guilt. It is the end of our journey, where we have forgiven the world. The real world ends the fear of death because we that see life is all there is or ever was.
A friend, whom I have always admired for his dedication to the Course and who could quote it so impeccably, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He asked the Holy Spirit what this was for? Why was he experiencing this sickness? And for the first time in his many years of study of the Course, he heard, "You are perfectly cared for." In spite of years of study, it was the first time he deeply felt the truth of God's Love that had always been there. He recognized that life was not about the body, but about choosing the experience of the eternal truth of our Being.
This is a time to apply what we are learning and move away from intellectual understanding and concepts toward living this truth. When we see attack, pain, suffering, and specialness, we can't know, in every moment that we are perfectly cared for. Thus, we can't know that our happiness is always available to us and has always been there. But we can resolve to turn to God to help us and ask for His strength to hold us up. "With this resolve I come to You, and ask Your strength to hold me up today, while I but seek to do Your Will. You cannot fail to hear me, Father. What I ask have You already given me. And I am sure that I will see my happiness today." (W.290.2.1-4)
Chapter Twenty Seven
CHAPTER 27 VIII, 62-76
The Body and the Dream
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
VIII. The Purpose of Pain
62 Suffering is an emphasis upon all that the world has done to injure you. Here is the world's demented version of salvation clearly shown. Like to a dream of punishment in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this "something else," a thing outside himself for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself.
63 Now you are being shown you
can escape. All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it
is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem which is very simple but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication which were made to
keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds, the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen. No one has difficulty making up his mind to let a simple problem be resolved if it is
seen as hurting him and also very easily removed.
64 The "reasoning" by which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this: "
You are the cause of what I do. Your presence
justifies my wrath, and you exist and think
apart from me. While you attack, I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack." No one who looks upon this "reasoning" exactly as it is could fail to see it does not follow, and it makes no sense. Yet it seems sensible because it
looks as if the world were hurting you. And so it seems as if there is no need to go beyond the obvious in terms of cause.
65 There is
indeed a need. The world's escape from condemnation is a need which those within the world are joined in sharing. Yet they do not recognize their common need. For each one thinks that if he does his part, the condemnation of the world will rest on him. And it is this that he perceives to
be his part in its deliverance. Vengeance must have a focus. Otherwise is the avenger's knife in his own hand and pointed to himself. And he must see it in another's hand if he would be a victim of attack he did not choose. And thus he suffers from the wounds a knife he does not hold has made upon himself. This is the
purpose of the world he sees. And looked at thus, the world provides the means by which this purpose seems to be fulfilled.
66 The means
attest the purpose but are not themselves a cause. Nor will the cause be changed by seeing it apart from its effects. The cause
produces the effects which then bear witness to the cause and not themselves. Look, then, beyond effects. It is not here the cause of suffering and sin must lie. And dwell not on the suffering and sin, for they are but reflections of their cause.
67 The part you play in salvaging the world from condemnation is your
own escape. Forget not that the witness to the world of evil cannot speak except for what has seen a need for evil in the world. And this is where your guilt was first beheld. In separation from your brother was the first attack upon yourself begun. And it is this the world bears witness to. Seek not another cause nor look among the mighty legions of its witnesses for its undoing. They
support its claim on your allegiance. What conceals the truth is not where you should look to
find the truth. The witnesses to sin all stand within one little space. And it is
here you find the cause of your perspective on the world.
68 Once you were unaware of what the cause of everything the world appeared to thrust upon you, uninvited and unasked, must really be. Of one thing you were sure---of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them. Nor did you in any way request them for yourself. This is how
all illusions come about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is
separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dreams' reality because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.
69 No one can waken from a dream the world is dreaming
for him. He becomes a part of someone else's dream. He cannot choose to waken from a dream he did not make. Helpless he stands, a victim to a dream conceived and cherished by a separate mind. Careless indeed of him this mind must be, as thoughtless of his peace and happiness as is the weather or the time of day. It loves him not but casts him as it will in any role that satisfies its dream. So little is his worth that he is but a dancing shadow, leaping up and down according to a senseless plot conceived within the idle dreaming of the world.
70 This is the only picture you can see, the one alternative that you can choose, the other possibility of cause if you be
not the dreamer of your dreams. And this is what you choose, if you deny the cause of suffering is in
your mind. Be glad indeed it is, for thus are you the
one decider of your destiny in time. The choice is yours to make between a sleeping death and dreams of evil or a happy wakening and joy of life. What could you choose between
but life or death, waking or sleeping, peace or war, your dreams or your reality? Yet if the choice is really given you, then you must see the causes of the things you choose between exactly
as they are and
where they are. What choices can be made between two states, but one of which is clearly recognized? Who could be free to choose between effects when only one is seen as up to him?
71 An honest choice could never be perceived as one in which the choice is split between a tiny you and an enormous world, with different dreams about the truth in you. The gap between reality and dreams lies not between the dreaming of the world and what you dream in secret.
They are one. The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away and saw as if it were its start and ending both. Yet was it started by
your secret dream, which you do not perceive, although it caused the part you see and do not doubt is real. How could you doubt it while you lie asleep and dream in secret that its cause is real?
72 A brother separated from yourself, an ancient enemy, a murderer who stalks you in the night and plots your death, yet plans that it be lingering and slow---of this you dream. Yet underneath this dream is yet another in which you become the murderer, the secret enemy, the scavenger and the destroyer of your brother and the world alike. Here is the
cause of suffering, the space between your dreams and your reality. The little gap you do not even see, the birthplace of illusions and of fear, the time of terror and of ancient hate, the instant of disaster, all are here. Here is the
cause of unreality. And it is here that it will be undone.
You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God's Son and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice that calls with love to waken him. [A gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend.] God willed he waken gently and with joy. And gave him means to waken without fear. Accept the dream He gave instead of yours. It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized.
74 Rest in the Holy Spirit and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death. He brings forgiving dreams in which the choice is not who is the murderer and who shall be the victim. In the dreams He brings, there
is no murder and there
is no death. The dream of guilt is fading from your sight, although your eyes are closed. A smile has come to lighten up your sleeping face. The sleep is peaceful now, for these are happy dreams.
75 Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream, the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother's kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.
76 He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. Brother, He gives but life. Yet what you see as gifts your brother offers represent the gifts you dream your Father gives to you. Let all your brother's gifts be seen in light of charity and kindness offered you. And let no pain disturb your dream of deep appreciation for his gifts to you.
*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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