Lesson 293
Body As Hero
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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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What is the Real World

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   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 293
All fear is past, and only love is here.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   All fear is past because its source is gone,
   and all its thoughts went with it. Love remains
   the only present state, whose Source is here
   forever and forever. Can the world
   seem bright and clear and safe and welcoming,
   with all my past mistakes oppressing it,
   and showing me distorted forms of pain?
   Yet in the present love is obvious,
   and its effects apparent. All the world
   shines in reflection of its holy light,
   and I perceive a world forgiven at last.
    Father, let not Your holy world escape
    my sight today. Nor let my ears be deaf
    to all the hymns of gratitude the world
    is singing underneath the sounds of fear.
    There is a real world which the present holds
    safe from all past mistakes. And I would see
    only this world before my eyes today.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM    
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
All fear is past, and only love is here.

Sarah's Commentary:  
The real world is described as ". . . bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun. Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven and there are no fantasies to hide the truth. The bridge between that world and this is so little and so easy to cross, that you could not believe it is the meeting place of worlds so different. Yet this little bridge is the strongest thing that touches on this world at all. This little step, so small it has escaped your notice, is a stride through time into eternity, beyond all ugliness into beauty that will enchant you, and will never cease to cause you wonderment at its perfection." (T.17.II.2.2-6) (ACIM OE T.17.III.8)
Jesus assures us we can cross over the bridge into the real world anytime. He tells us it is so easy to cross. It is just a change of mind from grievances to miracles. It is about letting go of our fears, especially our unconscious fear of God. A friend called me last night to tell me two of her AA sponsors deserted her and she wondered if this were an indication God wanted to punish her. The question startled me because it seemed laughable that anyone could have a thought like that. Yet ultimately, we all hold the belief that whatever is going wrong in our lives has something to do with God. We often wonder aloud how God could allow this (whatever the concern is about) to happen.
Jesus speaks of the simplicity of salvation in crossing this bridge to the real world ". . . simply by the forgiveness of the old." (T.17.II.5.1) (ACIM OE T.17.III.11) And what is the old? The old is the world of form---a world seen without forgiveness. It is a world of "one or the other," of attack, betrayal, and all the other distorted forms of fear. It is our old, conditioned thoughts that keep us going around and around on this hamster wheel. As Regina Akers has said, it is a hamster wheel of thoughts that go nowhere. We start with a thought, "I can't do anything right." Now we see evidence in the world of this thought and we experience failure. As a result of this experience, it affirms for us our original belief that we can't do anything right. It is a self-defeating cycle that needs to be released if we are to know who we are. It is all based on unconscious guilt, which results in the belief there is something wrong with us, and with this belief, we experience self-hatred. This self-hatred is expressed as self-attack. The self-attack comes in many forms, whether they are sickness, problems with money, addictions, relationships, or in the form of accidents and attacks from others. The world becomes the delivery system for the punishment our guilt demands.
Jesus says to forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten. We are asked to forgive our brother for what he did not do. "Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real." (W.PII.Q1.1.1-2) This is the only way we can understand why forgiveness can be so complete because, in this dream, nothing real has happened. Nothing we have done has any effects. All of it is a dream. We have not sinned and there is thus no cause for guilt. "The major difficulty that you find in genuine forgiveness on your part is that you still believe you must forgive the truth, and not illusions." (W.134.3.1) Forgiveness too is an illusion, but it is an illusion that ends illusions. "Forgiveness, then, is an illusion, but because of its purpose, which is the Holy Spirit's, it has one difference. Unlike all other illusions it leads away from error and not towards it." (Clarification of Terms 3.1.3-4) "Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give I give myself. This is salvation's simple formula." (W.297.1.1-3)
No matter how long we have studied this Course or how well we think we understand the material, we still stubbornly hang onto this world, our thoughts, and our dramas. While we are in this world and believe in sin, guilt, and fear, we must continually be willing to bring our dark thoughts to the Holy Spirit. On this side of the bridge, we are all insane. We don't know our true Self. When we choose to let go of our alien well ". . . only joy can be the final outcome found in everything. Yet it is up to us when this is reached;" (W.292.1.2-3)
In this Lesson, Jesus tells us our mistakes pursue us. They are the source of our fear. When the source of the fear is gone, which is a belief in our past mistakes, there is only peace. Fear comes from the belief we will be punished for the mistakes of the past. We replay our past mistakes in our memories and this brings up feelings of guilt and shame. Notice the fear that comes up when they come to mind. When we feel guilty over these past mistakes, we expect punishment and live in fear of the consequences of what we have done. Now the world feels oppressive and dangerous to us rather than bright and welcoming. In this Lesson, Jesus assures us, "Love remains the only present state, whose Source is here forever and forever," (W.293.1.2) and love and fear are mutually exclusive. We can only experience love when fear is gone. "Can the world seem bright and clear and safe and welcoming, with all my past mistakes oppressing it, and showing me distorted forms of fear?" (W.293.1.3)
What do we do with this guilt? We hate the guilt. We can't handle it in our minds, so the ego has given us an answer, which is to project it onto others. We project it onto situations and circumstances and people and now see guilt " out there. " There are many targets for our guilt, but projecting it solves nothing since this is how we keep it. Yet the ego does not want us to see its strategy for keeping us in guilt. The guilt in our minds is what makes us think we deserve punishment. The world becomes the delivery system for that punishment. No wonder we expect conflict, difficulties, attacks, disappointments, betrayals, and all kinds of problems and issues in our lives. They are all manifestations that come about as a result of our own guilt. Jesus is showing us how all this was set up so we will willingly take responsibility for our guilt and bring it to the Holy Spirit.
When we don't defend against the guilt but take responsibility for it, we indicate our willingness to be wrong, our willingness to learn another way, and our willingness to be vulnerable, recognizing that is where our strength is. When we defend, we proclaim weakness, demonstrating there is an enemy outside of us. " Who would defend himself unless he thought he were attacked, that the attack were real, and that his own defense could save himself? And herein lies the folly of defense; it gives illusions full reality, and then attempts to handle them as real. It adds illusions to illusions, thus making correction doubly difficult. And it is this you do when you attempt to plan the future, activate the past, or organize the present as you wish. " (W.135.1.1-4)
You might say, "But I don't feel any guilt." Yet if you feel fear, the guilt is there. Our fear is the fear of God's punishment for our belief that we made a decision to separate ourselves from Him. Without belief in sin and guilt, fear would be gone. The sins of the past bring guilt in the present, and this creates fear of punishment for what we have done, which will be delivered in the future. Without the past, there can be no fear. When there is no fear, we only experience the present, where love always abides and has always been here. "Love remains the only present state, whose Source is here forever and forever." (W.293.1.2)
Love is never obvious in form. Why is that? I say I love my son unconditionally, but if there is any fear present, it is not unconditional, total, and pure love. Whenever we focus on form, such as on another body, fear will always be present. Our fear is about loss, danger, sickness, and all kinds of calamities that may come to them. We worry that something may happen to those we say we love. We focus our "unconditional love" on our partner, yet hold in our minds the fear that our partner may leave us, disappoint us, or hurt us in some way. There is always fear attached to our special relationships. "The miracle returns the cause of fear to you who made it." (T.28.II.11.1) (ACIM OE T.28.III.26) That source, of course, is in our own wrong minds, where we hold our mistaken thoughts and beliefs about who we are.
Jesus tells us, "Yet in the present love is obvious, and its effects apparent." (W.293.1.4) It is all about undoing our past mistakes through forgiveness. When we willingly take all our fear thoughts to the Light of Truth---to the Holy Spirit---they are quietly dispelled. We bring these fear thoughts out of the closet, admit them truthfully to the Holy Spirit, and trust Him to bring the miracle. Thus, we shift our perception from a world of separation, where we believe our reality is a body that is impermanent and where fear is a reality, to a world of holiness. This is the real world. Here, "All the world shines in a reflection of its holy light, and I perceive a world forgiven at last." (W.293.1.5)
Our part is to watch the mind for fear thoughts as they arise: anything we worry about, fear of rejection, where we feel vulnerable, anger as it comes up, hopes we are clinging to, expectations we have, judgments and thoughts of hate, belief in unworthiness and anything that detracts from our peace and joy. As we are willing to look at our thoughts with the loving presence of the Holy Spirit, they are released. Behind these thoughts is the truth of who we are. Then we can know, "All fear is past, and only love is here." (W.293)
For me today, thoughts of mice have been swirling in my mind. As the cold weather arrives, mice are looking for a warm place for the winter, and we are seeing evidence of their presence. I have been terrified of these creatures from a young age when we lived in the country and the house was overrun by mice. It has taken me many years not to freak out at their presence. I am much calmer now, but the mind is not at rest at the thought of their appearance. Finally, I decided to undertake a deeper inquiry in the interest of allowing peace to return. I recognized a healed mind would not obsess about mice in the house. We already had taken all matter of prevention and eradication of this problem into account. In my inquiry, I saw the first level of fear was that I was not in control. Under the belief that control is important to me, I uncovered a deep sense of vulnerability. And going deeper I recognized that when I feel vulnerable, there is a deep sense of fear. In the center of my mind, I asked what it is I really want. I affirmed my desire for peace. I gave over this fear to the Holy Spirit that I may have peace.
"The outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it, and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft eternal calling of each part of God's creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings." (T.31.I.8.1-8) (ACIM OE T.31.I.8)
Everything in this world is impermanent. Everything can be threatened. It is all destructible, including our bodies. It is a world of time and space in which pain, sickness, and death prevail. It is a world where we are continually under threat and in a struggle for personal power, hoping for fleeting happiness, and living with expectations that the next thing will bring the happiness we are seeking. We work to maintain our individuality, personality, and self-concepts, believing we are in competition for limited resources, and always feeling under threat of attack.
Yet Jesus tells us right at the beginning of this Course, "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists." (T.IN.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.IN 4) We must conclude that if everything in our seeming world can be threatened, it cannot be real. We might ask, "What is real that can't be threatened?" It is the totality of perfect love, the truth of who we are---perfect, whole, and complete, shining in innocence, peace and joy, completely and totally safe, radiant and eternal. The truth about us can never be changed or threatened, no matter what we currently believe about ourselves. Our reality has nothing to do with the body.
The real world has none of our past mistakes in it. We are currently blind and deaf to the real world because we believe our senses that show us this world of illusion. Behind the fear, we are all joined in singing together a hymn of gratitude to God. We are not limited to a body, with a mind stuck in our brain. In truth, we are unlimited beings surrounded only by God's Love. "Father, let not Your holy world escape my sight today. Nor let my ears be deaf to all the hymns of gratitude the world is singing underneath the sounds of fear. There is a real world which the present holds safe from all past mistakes. And I would see only this world before my eyes today." (W.293.2.1-4)

Love and blessings, Sarah
ACIM Original Edition
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.

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