Lesson 297
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES

CH 28 THE UNDOING OF FEAR  
III. REVERSING EFFECT AND CAUSE
 
16 Without a cause there can be no effects, and yet without effects there is no cause. The cause a cause is made by its effects; the Father is a father by His Son. Effects do not create their cause, but they establish its causation. Thus, the Son gives fatherhood to his Creator and receives the gift that he has given Him. It is because he is God's Son that he must also be a father who creates as God created him. The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and its ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end. 
 
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
What is the Real World
WHAT IS THE REAL WORLD?

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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* Example MP3
 
   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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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 297
Forgiveness is the only gift I give.


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   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.
   And I, who would be saved, would make it mine,
   to be the way I live within a world
   that needs salvation, and that will be saved
   as I accept Atonement for myself.
 
    Father, how certain are Your ways; how sure
    their final outcome, and how faithfully
    is every step in my salvation set
    already, and accomplished by Your grace.
    Thanks be to You for Your eternal gifts,
    and thanks to You for my Identity.
 
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 297
Forgiveness is the only gift I give.

Sarah's Commentary:  
  
Lessons 295, 296 and 297 all remind us, everything we give, we give to ourselves. "This is salvation's simple formula." (W.297.1.3) We are accepting the Atonement for ourselves, which means we are accepting the Correction and healing for our false thoughts and beliefs through forgiveness. Thus, "Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want." (W.297.1.1) Forgiveness is the recognition that what someone has done has had no effect on you. Through forgiveness, the thoughts we hold that block our awareness of our true identity are released. What could we want more than to know who we really are, and what could we want more than the gifts that come with this knowing? They are the gifts of peace, of joy, of abundance, of innocence and of the love we are.
 
In our present state, we carry a lot of guilt. "The certain outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety that you can make that ever will succeed." (T.31.I.7.4-7) (ACIM OE T.31.I.7) There is no joy or hope in this world when we identify with the ego. Yet as we learn to forgive and see only the innocent Son of God in every brother, a world of hope and happiness opens up for us. "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." (T.31.I.8.1) (ACIM OE T.31.I.8)
 
Forgiveness is such a misunderstood concept. "Forgiveness recognizes that what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin." (W.PII.Q1.1.1) This makes no sense unless we see it in the context of the illusory world where behaviors are seen in the dream and have no real effect. Only the interpretations we give to behaviors cause us pain. "It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts." (M.17.4.2) We need to turn to Holy Spirit to ask for His help to see our brothers in a new light. We are given a process to use whenever we are not joyous. It is basically the forgiveness process described in the following.
 
"I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace." (T.5.VII.6.7) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.96) This means I must have decided to see the guilt in my brother that I see in my own mind, so now I am blaming him and not feeling any peace and joy. "I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise." (T.5.VII.6.8) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.96) I can choose to change my thoughts. "I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him." (T.5.VII.6.9-10) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.96) I can let the Holy Spirit undo my unloving perception of my brother. As I take responsibility for the projection of my guilt onto my brother and look at my mistake with the Holy Spirit, my wrong perception is healed. "I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me." (T.5.VII.6.11) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.96) I ask Holy Spirit to let me see my brother through His eyes so I can see my brother's innocence and know my own.
 
When we deeply and sincerely want to choose the Holy Spirit over the ego, we withdraw our investment in guilt by accepting its unreality through forgiveness. We do that, as this Lesson says, by accepting Atonement for ourselves, which is to accept the Correction already in our own minds. The Holy Spirit is the great Corrector. The means offered is through forgiveness, which allows us to see our brothers as they truly are so we can know who we are as the Christ Self. To see our brothers as they truly are is to bring our blocks to the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is such a misunderstood concept because, in the traditional definition, we seem to be forgiving someone else for something real that has happened. The Course definition of forgiveness is about cleaning up our own act by recognizing guilt, judgment, and unworthiness in our own minds and having them healed there. There is no one "else" doing anything to us. All they are showing us is a mirror of what is already in our own minds. We say we want to know our Self as love so we can indeed celebrate the fact we have access to divine transformation through the "gifts" our brothers give us. No, we don't always welcome these gifts when to us they appear as attacks on us. Yet contrary to how the ego sees this, whatever triggers us will bring us closer to the gifts that can be revealed in us if we don't reject what is being shown us about ourselves.
 
Recently, my partner had suggested we spend an evening together at dinner and a movie. Meanwhile, his buddy called to say he had acquired two tickets to the football game. I saw he really wanted to go to the game in spite of his commitment to me. I knew it would be easy to make him feel guilty about the importance of keeping his commitment to me. Yet would I want this, knowing where he would rather choose to be? In my decision to offer him the freedom and even the blessing to be with his friend, I received the gift of happiness. There was no lingering sense of residual blame or recrimination. It felt so freeing. I have had many experiences of using control through guilt in my relationships, which always results in suffering. Yes, we get what we want in behavior, but we lose the love that can only come by extending freedom. Why would we want anyone to be with us when they wished to be elsewhere? Thus, the gift I gave was only to myself. There was no loss but only gain for both.
 
To forgive is to undo what we have made when we chose to separate from love. Forgiveness is all about undoing our own specialness and all the fear that comes with it. It is about undoing the comparisons we make with others, about making everything about us, about competition with our brothers, and about bargaining to get what we think we want and need. It requires daring to look more deeply at what is showing up in our own minds. When we listen to the ego, we defend against what is being triggered in us and unknowingly continue to attract what we don't want. We feel justified in our defense, but the cost to us is that our guilt remains hidden and the gift of what could be seen and healed is lost. Though the opportunity is missed in the moment, Jesus reminds us "Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn, presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought you." (T.31.VIII.3.1) (ACIM OE T.31.VIII.87)
 
We think our identity is of a body in the world for a short time. We feel our lives are impermanent, ending in death. We experience all kinds of challenges and conflicts in the world. Try as we might, happiness seems elusive to us. We feel alone and separate from other bodies also wandering in the world, looking for scraps of pleasure and ways to feel special. The world does not seem to have much purpose until we take up our special function, which is always to forgive. The backdrop for our function is based on our abilities and talents. When given over to the Holy Spirit for His purposes, the content of our function, regardless of what it looks like in the world, is forgiveness. The form of our function in the world varies from person to person, but the content is all the same. The form then just becomes the backdrop for learning forgiveness, which is the healing of our false perceptions.
 
In this world, we think we can give our guilt away and thus escape from it. In truth, when we blame another, we are only hurting ourselves by accumulating more guilt, since giving and receiving are the same. The Holy Spirit reminds us the same principle is reflected in salvation's simple formula in that forgiveness is always for ourselves. It may appear we are forgiving another, but we are forgiving and releasing only our own thoughts about them. And in that release, we are set free from the guilt in our own mind.
 
We have such an investment in seeing others guilty and ensuring we hold them bound to punishment for their "crimes and misdemeanors." Yet the Holy Spirit shows us a loving God Who sees everyone worthy of salvation, regardless of what they appear to have done. We are all innocent. We experience our innocence as we extend forgiveness to our brothers and thus come to know our own innocence. As we extend miracles we receive miracles. The only reason we don't receive miracles is when we have decided someone else is not deserving of them.
 
Only our own thoughts are the source of our pain. We are not the victims. We have created our reality. That is the message of the movie, What the Bleep Do We Know, which clearly articulates how we become addicted to our emotions (the ego) that leads to our experience and reflects beliefs we hold. We keep playing out the same scenarios in our lives over and over in various forms until we decide to choose another way. It is a loop we seem to live in where our false beliefs just keep getting reinforced over and over. The loop starts with a belief. For example, I may believe for me to feel loved others have to agree with me. When they don't, I feel betrayed. Now their betrayal affirms my belief in my unworthiness. What I have done is set up rules for my relationships. Instead of freeing my brothers to have their own thoughts and opinions, I have bound them to my rules, based on my beliefs. Thus, my grievances are all based on my beliefs about myself and how others are supposed to be around me. By healing my own mind, I free my brothers and myself.
 
Jesus tells us, "No one can be unjust to you, unless you have decided first to be unjust." (T.25.IX.7.7) (ACIM OE T.25.X.84) Any problems we have are there by our own election, challenging as that is for us to accept. The decision to be unjust means we wanted someone to lose while we benefited from their loss. Then we feel guilty and guilt demands punishment. Now we need to dream punishment into our lives in the form of problems. Because of the guilt coming from our own attacks, we think we deserve to be punished. Thus, guilt is at the core of every problem we have. As we turn our misguided thoughts over to the Holy Spirit and see there truly is another way to see everything and everyone, we will experience the miracle, which shifts our perception from guilt to innocence. Through this, we will experience the happiness and innocence always there behind our misguided thoughts and perceptions.
 
The question is, why don't we choose it? Why do we stubbornly hold onto our perspectives, our grievances, our judgments, our anger, and our worries? Isn't it because we feel it is justified by what someone has seemingly done to us and we refuse to release our perceptions of the situation? Yet in this process, we are simply hurting ourselves. What would our lives be like if we saw clearly what we do to anyone we are doing to ourselves? How would our lives look if we knew in a deep and clear way that to gain at anyone's expense is to hurt ourselves?
 
Every step we take in forgiveness is a step closer to the recognition of the truth of who we are. "Father, how certain are Your ways; how sure their final outcome, and how faithfully is every step in my salvation set already, and accomplished by Your grace." (W.297.2.1) Today, we can be grateful our salvation is available to us through our acceptance of forgiveness as our way back to our Selves. We have wandered from our home, but we have not been left without an Answer. We just need to do our part, which is to bring our misperceptions to the Answer and experience the miracle.
 
" The world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream's alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream." (T.28.II.12.1-3) (ACIM OE T.28.III.27)
 
Love and blessings, Sarah
 
ACIM Original Edition
III. Reversing Effect and Cause

16 Without a cause there can be no effects, and yet without effects there is no cause. The cause a cause is made by its effects; the Father is a father by His Son. Effects do not create their cause, but they establish its causation. Thus, the Son gives fatherhood to his Creator and receives the gift that he has given Him. It is because he is God's Son that he must also be a father who creates as God created him. The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and its ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end.
 
17 Fatherhood is creation. Love must be extended. Purity is not confined. It is the nature of the innocent to be forever uncontained, without a barrier or limitation. Thus is purity not of the body. Nor can it be found where limitation is. The body can be healed by its effects, which are as limitless as is itself. Yet must all healing come about because the mind is recognized as not within the body, and its innocence is quite apart from it and where all healing is. Where then is healing? Only where its cause is given its effects. For sickness is a meaningless attempt to give effects to causelessness and make it be a cause.
 
18 Always in sickness does the Son of God attempt to make himself his cause and not allow himself to be his Father's Son. For this impossible desire, he does not believe that he is Love's effect and must be cause because of what he is. The cause of healing is the only Cause of everything. It has but one effect. And in that recognition, causelessness is given no effects and none are seen. A mind within a body and a world of other bodies, each with separate minds, are your "creations," you the "other" mind, creating with effects unlike yourself. And as their "father," you must be like them. Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself and but a part of someone else's dream.
 
19 The miracle does not awaken you but merely shows you who the dreamer is. It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. Do you wish for dreams of healing or for dreams of death? A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you. An empty storehouse with an open door holds all your shreds of memories and dreams. Yet if you are the dreamer, you perceive this much at least---that you have caused the dream and can accept another dream as well. But for this change in content of the dream, it must be realized that it is you who dreamed the dreaming that you do not like. It is but an effect which you have caused, and you would not be cause of this effect.
 
20 In dreams of murder and attack are you the victim in a dying body slain. But in forgiving dreams is no one asked to be the victim and the sufferer. These are the happy dreams the miracle exchanges for your own. It does not ask you make another---only that you see you made the one you would exchange for this. This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible and no design exists that could be found and understood.
 
21 What else could be expected from a thing that has no cause? Yet if it has no cause, it has no purpose. You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects. For that would change its cause, and it is this you cannot do. The dreamer of a dream is not awake but does not know he sleeps. He sees illusions of himself as sick or well, depressed or happy, but without a stable cause with guaranteed effects.
 
22 The miracle establishes you dream a dream and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up. The fear was held in place because he did not see that he was author of the dream, and not a figure in the dream. He gives himself the consequences which he dreams he gave his brother. And it is but this the dream has put together and has offered him to show him that his wishes have been done. Thus does he fear his own attack but sees it at another's hands. As victim, he is suffering from its effects but not their cause. He authored not his own attack, and he is innocent of what he caused. The miracle does nothing but to show him that he has done nothing. What he fears is cause without the consequences which would make it cause. And so it never was.
 
23 The separation started with the dream the Father was deprived of His effects and powerless to keep them since He was no longer their Creator. In the dream, the dreamer made himself, but what he made has turned against him, taking on the role of its creator as the dreamer had. And as he hated his Creator, so the figures in the dream have hated him. His body is their slave which they abuse because the motives he has given it have they adopted as their own. And hate it for the vengeance it would offer them. It is their vengeance on the body which appears to prove the dreamer could not be the maker of the dream. Effect and cause are first split off and then reversed, so that effect becomes a cause; the cause, effect.
 
24 This is the separation's final step with which salvation, which proceeds to go the other way, begins. This final step is an effect of what has gone before, appearing as a cause. The miracle is the first step in giving back to cause the function of causation, not effect. For this confusion has produced the dream, and while it lasts, will wakening be feared. Nor will the call to wakening be heard, because it seems to be the call to fear.
 
25 Like every lesson which the Holy Spirit requests you learn, the miracle is clear. It demonstrates what He would have you learn and shows you its effects are what you want. In His forgiving dreams are the effects of yours undone and hated enemies perceived as friends with merciful intent. Their enmity is seen as causeless now, because they did not make it. And you can accept the role of maker of their hate, because you see that it has no effects. Now are you freed from this much of the dream; the world is neutral, and the bodies which still seem to move about as separate things need not be feared. And so they are not sick.
 
26 The miracle returns the cause of fear to you who made it. But it also shows that, having no effects, it is not cause because the function of causation is to have effects. And where effects are gone, there is no cause. Thus is the body healed by miracles because they show the mind made sickness and employed the body to be victim or effect of what it made. Yet half the lesson will not teach the whole. The miracle is useless if you learn but that the body can be healed, for this is not the lesson it was sent to teach. The lesson is the mind was sick that thought the body could be sick; projecting out its guilt caused nothing and had no effects.
 
27 This world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream's alternative, the choice to be the dreamer rather than deny the active role in making up the dream. They are the glad effects of taking back the consequence of sickness to its cause. The body is released because the mind acknowledges "this is not done to me, but I am doing this." And thus the mind is free to make another choice instead. Beginning here, salvation will proceed to change the course of every step in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone.
 
 
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