Lesson 291
BODY Hero of the Dream
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79 The body's serial adventures from the time of birth to dying is the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The "hero" of this dream will never change nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its "hero" finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect and cannot be its cause.  
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CHAPTER 27 IX, 77-90
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What is the Real World
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   The real world is a symbol, like the rest
   of what perception offers. Yet it stands
   for what is opposite to what you made.
   Your world is seen through eyes of fear, and brings
   the witnesses of terror to your mind.
   The real world cannot be perceived except
   through eyes forgiveness blesses, so they see
   a world where terror is impossible,
   and witnesses to fear can not be found.
   The real world holds a counterpart for each
   unhappy thought reflected in your world;
   a sure correction for the sights of fear
   and sounds of battle which your world contains.
   The real world shows a world seen differently,
   through quiet eyes and with a mind at peace.
   Nothing but rest is here. There are no cries
   of pain and sorrow heard, for nothing here
   remains outside forgiveness. And the sights
   are gentle. Only happy sights and sounds
   can reach the mind that has forgiven itself.
   What need has such a mind for thoughts of death,
   attack and murder? What can it perceive
   surrounding it but safety, love and joy?
   What is there it would choose to be condemned,
   and what is there that it would judge against?
   The world it sees arises from a mind
   at peace within itself. No danger lurks
   in anything it sees, for it is kind
   and only kindness does it look upon.
   The real world is the symbol that the dream
   of sin and guilt is over, and God's Son
   no longer sleeps. His waking eyes perceive
   the sure reflection of his Father's Love;
   the certain promise that he is redeemed.
   The real world signifies the end of time,
   for this perception makes time purposeless.
   The Holy Spirit has no need of time
   when it has served His purpose. Now He waits
   but that one instant more for God to take
   His final step, and time has disappeared,
   taking perception with it as it goes,
   and leaving but the Truth to be Itself.
   That instant is our goal, for it contains
   the memory of God. And as we look
   upon a world forgiven, it is He
   Who calls to us and comes to take us home,
   reminding us of our Identity
   Which our forgiveness has restored to us.
    ~ Original Hand Script  
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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 291
This is a day of stillness and of peace.
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   Christ's vision looks through me today. His sight
   shows me all things forgiven and at peace,
   and offers this same vision to the world.
   And I accept this vision in its name,
   both for myself and for the world as well.
   What loveliness we look upon today!
   What holiness we see surrounding us!
   And it is given us to recognize
   it is a holiness in which we share;
   it is the Holiness of God Himself.
   This day my mind is quiet, to receive
    the Thoughts You offer me. And I accept
    what comes from You instead of from myself.
    I do not know the way to You. But You
    are wholly certain. Father, guide Your Son
    along the quiet path that leads to You.
    Let my forgiveness be complete, and let
    the memory of You return to me.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
This is a day of stillness and of peace.

Sarah's Commentary:  
In this Section, "What is the Real World?" (W.PII.Q8), Jesus says, "The real world is a symbol, like the rest of what perception offers. Yet it stands for what is opposite to what you made." (W.PII.Q8.1.1-2) In other words, true perception is not reality, but it reflects reality in the same way that forgiveness reflects perfect love, joining, and Oneness. The real world is a state of mind, which is a reflection of the truth of what we are. It is not truth itself, but it is the closest we can come to it in the world of perception.
The real world is the culmination of our journey when we choose to follow only the Voice of the Holy Spirit in the right mind. Thus, the real world is right-minded perception where we see behind appearances to the light beyond them. As Jesus says, "There can be no appearance that cannot be overlooked." (T.30.VI.5.4) (ACIM OE T.30.VII.74) No matter how brutal events might appear to be, there is a Call within to see with the eyes of love (vision) to the truth beyond all appearances. "Be not deceived about the meaning of a fixed belief that some appearances are harder to look past than others are." (T.30.VI.6.4) (ACIM OE T.30.VII.75) If we do, we are making the error real and seeing a hierarchy among illusions. All illusions are equally untrue no matter the apparent size or degree of magnitude.
The real world is the result of undoing the belief in separation. It is the recognition that the Son of God is guiltless. The work of forgiveness is now complete. The past has been released and the voice of the ego that has tried to define who we are is now undone. The real world is not yet Heaven, but it is a reflection of Heaven. It is the symbol of the awakened state. It is a world that "holds a counterpart for each unhappy thought reflected in your world; a sure correction for the sights of fear and sounds of battle which your world contains." (W.PII.Q8.2.1) All that is left is the blessed residue which is the beauty that has been saved for us.
We see this world through "quiet eyes and with a mind at peace." (W.PII.Q8.2.2) This is a state of mind outside of the world of hate, attack, pain, sorrow, and death. In other words, it is a state of mind outside the dream of this world. In the dream, Jesus says that the mind is asleep, dreaming of exile from our state of perfect Oneness. It seems that this state of Oneness has been broken into billions of fragments, which are all the forms of this world. They all seem to be different from each other. In this state of separation, we are all competing with each other, doing our best to serve our own self-interests. This is a state of conflict where there is no peace.
The problems of this world seem to be never-ending, but there is actually only one problem. The only problem we have is the belief in separation. "Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favorite ego devices for impeding learning progress." (T.4.V.6.6) (ACIM OE T.4.VI.77) Isn't that what occupies most of our attention? We seem to solve one problem and then three others show up. It is a never-ending cycle of constantly trying to solve the myriad problems confronting us. The answer to all of our problems is to recognize their purpose, which is to keep us distracted from the truth of what we are. When we turn to the Holy Spirit, He "will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific." (T.11.VIII.5.5) (ACIM OE T.10.VIII.80) Trust and faith are called for, so when a problem shows up, if we immediately turn to Him rather than the ego for the answer, problems get addressed in miraculous ways. "All bring their different problems to its healing light, and all their problems find but healing there." (T.14.IX.7.4) (ACIM OE T.14.V.44) The real world is a world of peace and is removed from the seeming conflict and problems of this world with only happy sights and sounds seen and heard.
Within the dream, death and attack have reality because we have given them reality. The body seems real as does the world, which is a projection of guilt that arose as a result of the attack on God. For the separate, individual self to seemingly have any reality, God could not exist. It is either me or God, one or the other because our perceived state of individuality and the state of Oneness cannot both be true. If we think our individual separate self is real and true, God must be non-existent. The thought system of "one or the other," God or me, has been made real in our mind and continues to be enacted in the world. To add the idea of God to the ego is to try to combine two realities. Now, God becomes another character in the dream when in fact He is outside of the dream. Love cannot be brought into fear and since it is a world of fear, love must remain outside of it. But to return to this state of love, we replace attack with forgiveness so we can experience peace.
When we recognize that this life does not serve us and does not bring the peace and joy we yearn for, we are ready to commit to this path. "Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point." (T.2.III.3.6-7) (ACIM OE T.2.II.48) Until then, we do everything we can to adjust to the world and strive for the idols we think will bring us happiness; but when we seek for happiness in the things of this world, it will always elude us.
We see the reflection in the world of what is in the mind. If there is only kindness in the mind, only kindness can be seen and with it there is nothing to condemn or judge. When we show kindness, we recognize our Source as being kind because we cannot be separate from our Source. When the mind is totally kind, all thoughts and perceptions are kind because they are all products of the mind. Now, "Only happy sights and sounds can reach the mind that has forgiven itself." (W.PII.Q8.2.6)
The real world signifies the end of time, as time has now served its purpose. Time was made to reinforce guilt, but when used by the Holy Spirit, time is given us for healing guilt. Thus, while time for us has been used for a hurtful purpose, the Holy Spirit uses it to help us awaken to the truth of who we are. This requires that we bring our grievances, attack thoughts, and in fact all dark thoughts to the light. If we hold onto grievances, we are saying that we don't want to return home. We need to become very vigilant of our judgments and attack thoughts because they are simply decisions to stay in the dream and choose to see ourselves as separate and alone. "The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished. You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognize that you are miserable and not happy. The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery is happiness." (T.14.II.1.1-3) (ACIM OE T.13.VII.54)
This Lesson comes each year to me on my birthday. I take it as a gift from the Holy Spirit every year to devote this day to stillness and peace. It is a gift we can accept anytime we choose because it is already in us. There is nothing for us to seek. The loveliness of this day depends on what we have chosen within. "Spiritual vision looks within and recognizes immediately that the altar has been defiled and needs to be repaired and protected. Perfectly aware of the right defense it passes over all others, looking past error to truth. Because of the strength of its vision, it brings the mind into its service. This re-establishes the power of the mind and makes it increasingly unable to tolerate delay, realizing that it only adds unnecessary pain." (T.2.III.4.3-6) (ACIM OE T.2.II.49)
We delay our homecoming when we stubbornly resist the Correction and choose instead to hold onto our version of events and use them to justify our lack of peace. When we recognize that this only brings more pain, we become motivated in our refusal to tolerate delay. The time between the event and our decision to accept healing into the mind is considerably shortened as we apply these Lessons. Where it seemed to take us months to get over something painful, it gets reduced to weeks, then days, then minutes, and finally seconds. We increasingly find that it becomes much too painful to hold onto grievances.
A "day of stillness and of peace" (W.291) talked about in this Lesson is not about anything happening outside of ourselves. Stillness and peace are in fact attributes of our mind. It is our natural state. The experiences we seem to have that create turmoil and distress in our life are not the truth. They are not fact. Jesus says, the fact is that this day is a day of stillness and of peace. How can that be? Which is true? What he says or what I am experiencing? Am I a body living in the world, or am I the Christ? Only one of these realities is true. Which one do I accept? My frame of reference looks like chaos with unpredictable events. I seem to be at their mercy, but this is not the frame of reference of this teaching. Do I open up to the holiness, which is the truth, or do I hold onto my frame of reference?
In Chapter 14, thoughts in the mind are described as having "a weaving, changing pattern that never rests and is never still. It shifts unceasingly across the mirror of your mind, and the reflections of Heaven last but a moment and grow dim, as darkness blots them out." (T.14.X.5.1-2) (ACIM OE T.14.VI.49) This restless mind with all of the thoughts that go around and around creates chaos for us. It is why we are invited to watch our thoughts and release them to the Holy Spirit. It is a discipline that takes time and practice, but it is the only way to uncover what is blocking the truth. The truth is blocked by our restless thoughts. Behind them, and always there, are stillness and peace.
"I rule my mind which I alone must rule." (W.236) The thoughts we hold and the feelings we experience are what block the holiness surrounding us. It is up to us to choose. "The power of decision is my own." (W.132) I can make the choice for a happy day. The movie, Before I Fall, illustrates how a change of mind can result in a wholly different way to live the day. We see in this movie how no matter what we might do to make ourselves happy and adjust to the world, as long as the mind is locked into a static pattern of past and future, there is no hope of sustained happiness. There is nothing more important we can do with our day than to set the intention to use every opportunity to open up more and more to the love that we are. It is the giving up of the "I know mind" that goes to its familiar responses. Difficult events that show up in our lives are there to stir up this familiarity of the mind and thus are very helpful. To see them in this way is to be a happy learner.
To us, salvation is about getting everything done by attending to our stuff. We even get anxious about not understanding the Course perfectly or believing we are not good at meditating! But that is just another way we suffer. It is how the ego thought system is maintained. It is continual noise in the mind, which keeps God away since God is in the quiet mind. One way we keep truth away is by arguing, judging, comparing, holding opinions, wanting to be right, and trying to control everything. This keeps the ego in business. When the temptation is there to jump into the fray, I find that if I remember to step back, take a breath, and ask for help, my mind is set free from the trap the ego has laid for it. Now the Christ Self is in charge and all is well. Nothing can upset this Self.
Until we have the experience of the real world, our world certainly seems real and solid, so it seems it is God's world that is the illusion. This world does seem real and tangible to us, just as all of our problems here seem real and tangible, but as we experience the foreshadowing of the real world with moments of true peace and joy, our faith in His Word increases. As we withdraw our investment in all we have made real, we increasingly see that what seems so real and solid is actually a dream. It is all an illusion we have made up and believe to be reality.
We need do nothing to experience stillness and peace except to bring awareness to the way we block our true Will, which we share with God. What this means is we bring awareness to the thoughts we think we are thinking. At the darkest point of his life, Eckhart Tolle said he could not live with himself any longer. Then, suddenly he became aware of a peculiar thought, "Am I one or two?" he wondered. "If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ' I ' and the ' self ' that ' I ' cannot live with. Maybe only one of them is real." He was so stunned by this realization that all of his thinking stopped, and he was taken to a state of bliss, which lasted for days.
Today, let us resolve to bring awareness to what we are thinking, how we are judging, expectations we have of others, plans we are making against future fears, and grievances we are holding. All of this is keeping us from the real world. We will experience the peace and stillness when the mind goes quiet. In the quiet mind, we connect to our Source. It does not mean there are no thoughts. We simply choose not to listen to them and not to focus on them. It takes a lot of discipline and determined effort. In the beginning stages, which by the way can last a long time, we may find things seem worse because we are uncovering a whole host of thoughts we had never been aware of because they were so well hidden by our conditioned minds. These thoughts constitute the program that runs our life. As they are exposed, we may judge ourselves for them, but this is not helpful. Welcome them, for in this awareness they are brought to light where they will dissipate into the nothingness from which they came.
I recognize today, "I do not know the way to You." (W.291.2.3) When I think I know, I put myself in charge of my healing, but this is just the ego thinking that it can clean up its own act and become a spiritual person. Until we admit we don't know and have been wrong in all of our judgments and perceptions, we will not be willing to ask for another way to see everything. It reminds me of the movie, Dark City, where the ego tries to find the way out by looking for a taxi or train to get out of the dark city and go to the beach (Heaven). It wants to believe it can figure its own way, which is one of control, but the ego's way will never work. In the movie, the way to leave the illusory world is to give up all doubt thoughts and surrender. Now the way is opened up. It is the same for us. We basically have to give up our way and our answers and recognize we don't know. We only need the desire to be taught. "Father, guide Your Son along the quiet path that leads to You. Let my forgiveness be complete, and let the memory of You return to me." (W.291.2.5-6)
"How much do you want salvation? It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you. The eagerness of the Holy Spirit to give you this is so intense He would not wait, although He waits in patience. Meet His patience with your impatience at delay in meeting Him. Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer, and walk with Him in trust out of this world and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness." (T.17.II.8.1-5) (ACIM OE T.17.III.13)
Today, I am reminded to "Let my forgiveness be complete, and let the memory of You return to me." (W.291.2.6) I recognize that if I just get this, it would take me all the way home.
"To meet everything and everyone through stillness instead of mental noise is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe. I call it stillness, but it is a jewel with many facets: that stillness is also joy, and it is love."
                                                                                                              ~ Eckhart Tolle
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 IX, 77-90
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IX. The "Hero" of the Dream  
77 The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person, to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern. Its comfort is its guiding rule. It tries to look for pleasure and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.
78 The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself which it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and good. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that they may protect it, and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies which can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.
79 The body's serial adventures from the time of birth to dying is the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The "hero" of this dream will never change nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its "hero" finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect and cannot be its cause.
80 Thus are you not the dreamer but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events which it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are, they have no more effects on him because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.
81 How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do? Then let us merely look upon the dream's beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief.
82 We can remember this if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear. Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny mad idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.
83 A timelessness in which is time made real; a part of God which can attack itself; a separate brother as an enemy; a mind within a body, all are forms of circularity whose ending starts at its beginning, ending at its cause. The world you see depicts exactly what you thought you did. Except that now you think that what you did is being done to you. The guilt for what you thought is being placed outside yourself and on a guilty world which dreams your dreams and thinks your thoughts instead of you. It brings its vengeance, not your own. It keeps you narrowly confined within a body, which it punishes because of all the sinful things the body does within its dream. You have no power to make the body stop its evil deeds because you did not make it and cannot control its actions or its purpose or its fate.
84 The world but demonstrates an ancient truth---you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. But once deluded into blaming them, you will not see the cause of what they do because you want the guilt to rest on them. How childish is this petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself but never letting go! It is not easy to perceive the jest when all around you do your eyes behold its heavy consequences, but without their trifling cause. Without the cause do its effects seem serious and sad indeed. Yet they but follow. And it is their cause which follows nothing and is but a jest.
85 In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause and looks not to effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears, but hear Him say, "My brother, Holy Son of God, behold your idle dream in which this could occur," and you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother's joined with His.
86 The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream. This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, whatever form it takes.
87 The Holy Spirit will repeat this one inclusive lesson of deliverance until it has been learned, regardless of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer takes away the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the single cause of all of them, no matter what their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect the simple statement, 
88 I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo.
89 Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him Who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees no differences where none exist, and He will teach you how each one is caused. None has a different cause from all the rest, and all of them are easily undone by but a single lesson truly learned. Salvation is a secret you have kept but from yourself. The universe proclaims it so. Yet to its witnesses you pay no heed at all. For they attest the thing you do not want to know. They seem to keep it secret from you. Yet you need but learn you choose but not to listen, not to see. How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognized! When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins.
90 This is the obvious---a secret kept from no one but yourself. And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world and kept your brother separate from you. Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other; that they both be true. This is the only secret yet to learn. And it will be no secret you are healed.
*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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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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