Lesson 298
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Body is the Gap
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
 
CH 28 "THE UNDOING OF FEAR"
VII. THE SECRET VOWS   

57 The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self and that without it would your self be lost. This is the secret vow which you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him and to attack him in return.
 
58 Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another's secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, "There is no gap between my mind and yours" has kept God's promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.
  
 
  
        
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CHAPTER 28 VI-VII, 47-59
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
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WHAT IS THE REAL WORLD?
What is the Real World
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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER
 
   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.
 
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L e s s o n 298
I love You, Father, and I love Your Son.
 
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   My gratitude permits my love to be  
   accepted without fear. And thus am I
   restored to my Reality at last.
   All that intruded on my holy sight
   forgiveness takes away. And I draw near
   the end of senseless journeys, mad careers,
   and artificial values. I accept
   instead what God establishes as mine,
   sure that in that alone I will be saved;
   sure that I go through fear to meet my Love.
 
    Father, I come to You today, because
    I would not follow any way but Yours.
    You are beside me. Certain is Your way.
    And I am grateful for Your holy gifts
    of certain sanctuary, and escape
    from everything that would obscure my love
    for God my Father and His holy Son.
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 298
I love You, Father, and I love Your Son.

  
Sarah's Commentary:  
   
This Lesson is about the pain and suffering we experience in our daily lives when the love we are is kept from awareness through the many distractions of our lives, which we actually choose as a way to defend against love. The way we are restored to our reality is by allowing love back into our awareness, which can only be done by looking at how we currently block it. Now we can say, "I accept instead what God establishes as mine, sure that in that alone I will be saved." (W.298.1.5) In order to do that, I need to "go through fear to meet my Love." (W.298.1.5) This is why, initially, it feels like things get worse as we journey through this Course. We feel even more guilty as we watch our minds; but only because we are becoming more aware of the thoughts in our minds that were previously obscure to us even though they were always there.
 
This is a Lesson in gratitude. Just as we saw in Lessons 234, 239, and 292, respectively: "We thank You, Father, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love." (W.234.2.1) "We thank you, Father, for the light that shines forever in us." (W.239.2.1) "We thank You, Father, for Your guarantee of only happy outcomes in the end." (W.292.2.1) Only our own interference brings about anything other than happy outcomes. We interfere when we decide how things should be and plan and strategize accordingly, and thus we continue the same old cycle of guilt and fear. We interfere when we try to stay in control instead of being willing to surrender and allow the flow to be what it is. When we hold onto goals that lead us nowhere except on more senseless journeys, mad careers, and artificial values, we are interfering with the flow. We are pursuing goals that deliver nothing. This is so beautifully illustrated in the book I read some time ago called, One Again by Linda Jean McNabb. It is the story of her life---a story of undoing a past of abuse, alcoholism, and prostitution through forgiveness and living a life of trust.
 
Trust is the primary attribute of the Teacher of God as stated in the Manual for Teachers. We have a fear of love because its acceptance puts an end to the ego thought system, which clearly threatens our independent will. Why is gratitude such an important aspect of our restoration? "Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father." (T.4.VI.7.5) (ACIM OE T.4.VII.90) We recognize that we have been wrong, and we are grateful. We are grateful to see that our brother is not as we have defined him, but as our Father tells us he is. In fact, we recognize that we have been wrong about everything we have thought. In this recognition, we welcome being taught.
 
We learn of the importance of a grateful heart and thankful mind as a foundation for remembering God's love. As Jesus reminds us that we need not remain "deaf to all the hymns of gratitude the world is singing underneath the sounds of fear." (W.293.2.2) What is essential to our happiness is to be open to the experience of God's Love, which surrounds us all the time. His Love for us has not wavered. He has given us the Holy Spirit as an inner Call---the light within that we can always turn to. This is the Christ, the true Self, Who has come to search us out. "Today we offer thanks that Christ has come to search the world for what belongs to Him." (W.160.9.1) What belongs to Him is the part of our minds that has never left God and calls to us to return to where we already are. We are not aware of the reality of this Self until the blocks to love are undone.
 
Thus, to love our Father is to love His Son. It is to love everyone with no exceptions. What this means is that when the content of our minds is love, we see that same love in everyone. When we see "others" who we do not love, we are seeing parts of ourselves that we reject. This offers us another forgiveness opportunity, which is to look at these aspects of the unhealed self that we project onto others. When we condemn them and blame them, we are reflecting our own self-condemnation and self-attack. We accuse ourselves of what we see in our brothers and have denied in ourselves. Excluding anyone from love is not to know love. It is important that we look at all the hatred we project onto others, recognize that it is our own self-hatred, and then take full responsibility for it. All this self-hatred intrudes on our holy sight. "All that intruded on my holy sight forgiveness takes away." (W.298.1.3)
 
When any relationship brings up anger and hatred in us, our immediate tendency is to think that our reactions come about because of what the other person appears to be doing to us. We think that if they changed, we would not have to be upset. Jesus reminds us that this is not so. He reminds us, " Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated. " (T.26.X.4.1) (ACIM OE T.26.VI.88) We are simply using the other person to make them responsible for the hateful thoughts that are in our wrong mind. Now we can use any difficult situation or relationship for healing our unhealed guilt. When we are willing to give over these hateful thoughts and be grateful that they have been revealed to us through our relationships, they will be transformed. "My gratitude permits my love to be accepted without fear." (W.298.1.1) I can be truly grateful that my way of seeing has been wrong because now there is a way for me to heal my wrong-minded perspective. "Now hear God speak to you, through Him Who is His Voice and yours as well, reminding you that it is not your will to hate and be a prisoner to fear, a slave to death, a little creature with a little life." (T.30.II.3.3) (ACIM OE T.30.III.35)
 
We can't bypass our fearful thoughts with nice sounding spiritual platitudes. We must look at them. We are fearful of letting go of all that we have made: our constructs, beliefs, self-concepts, expectations, values, uniqueness, and specialness. We are afraid of what we will lose and, most important, we fear the loss of our individual self, so we put up defenses. Yet we are nearing "the end of senseless journeys, mad careers and artificial values." (W.298.1.4) Now we increasingly become more willing to find another way that brings us the certainty, joy, and happiness we seek. As long as we still think that there is something to strive for in this world, we will have our feet in both camps---that of the ego and that of the Holy Spirit. In straddling two thought systems, we experience more and more conflict until our motivation for healing becomes the entire focus of our lives. It is not something that should be forced. Devotion to healing simply becomes a more appealing choice.
 
As we pray, "Father, I come to You today, because I would not follow any way but Yours," (W.298.2.1) we are making a commitment and dedication that reflects our deep desire for the end of suffering. We affirm, once again, that we will not follow any way but His because His way is certain. And being forever grateful for God's holy gifts to us, we can be assured of a certain sanctuary where we are eternally safe. "You are beside me. Certain is Your way. And I am grateful for Your holy gifts of certain sanctuary, and escape from everything that would obscure my love for God my Father and His holy Son." (W.298.2.2-4)
 
Thus, we are called on today to be grateful for our brothers and to express that gratitude so we may no longer keep the love that is our inheritance from our awareness. Fear is how we keep it from awareness. When we express love and gratitude to our brothers, we are expressing it to God. When we offer our brother guilt, we do not experience the love of our Father. In other words, if I love God, it follows that I would be loving toward everyone else. If I don't love everyone else, I must be saying that I don't love God. I can't reach God and hate my brothers. If I say I want peace and attack my brother, I am taking a step away from it.
 
Our fear of being vulnerable with our brothers and joining with them is a fear of God. We fear being vulnerable because our perception of God is that of a big, powerful force outside of our own mind. What will happen to us if we open to the immense love that we are? We fear the end of control. We fear annihilation. As we read in Chapter 13, "You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God's Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness." (T.13.III.4.1) (ACIM OE T.12.III.14) Be grateful that you are wrong.

Love and blessings, Sarah
huemmert@shaw.ca 

A Course in Miracles
TEXT
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty Eight

The Undoing of Fear 
 
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CHAPTER 28 VI-VII, 47-59
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VI. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear 
 
47 What is a sense of sickness but a sense of limitation? Of a splitting off and separating from? A gap perceived between yourselves and what is seen as health? The good is seen outside; the evil, in. And thus is sickness separating off the self from good and keeping evil in. God is the alternate to dreams of fear. Who shares in them can never share in Him. But who withdraws his mind from sharing them is sharing Him. There is no other choice. Except you share it, nothing can exist. And you exist because God shared His Will with you, that His creation might create.
 
48 It is the sharing of the evil dreams of hate and malice, bitterness and death, of sin and suffering and pain and loss, that makes them real. Unshared, they are perceived as meaningless. The fear is gone from them because you did not give them your support. Where fear has gone, there love must come because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one which you accept, because it is the only one you wish to have. You share no evil dreams if you forgive the dreamer and perceive that he is not the dream he made. And so he cannot be a part of yours, from which you both are free. Forgiveness separates the dreamer from the evil dream and thus releases him.
 
49 Remember if you share an evil dream, you will believe you are the dream you share. And fearing it, you will not want to know your own Identity because you think that it is fearful. And you will deny your Self and walk upon an alien ground which your Creator did not make and where you seem to be a something you are not. You will make war upon your Self, which seems to be your enemy, and will attack your brother as a part of what you hate. There is no compromise. You are your Self or an illusion. What can be between illusion and the truth? A middle ground where you can be a thing that is not you must be a dream and cannot be the truth.
 
50 You have conceived a little gap between illusions and the truth to be the place where all your safety lies and where your Self is safely hidden by what you have made. Here is a world established that is sick, and this the world the body's eyes perceive. Here are the sounds it hears---the voices which its ears were made to hear. Yet sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is, what listening is for. It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It cannot think, and so it cannot have effects.
 
51 What is there God created to be sick? And what that He created not can be? Let not your eyes behold a dream, your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made to look upon a world that is not there, to hear the voices that can make no sound. Yet are there other sounds and other sights which can be seen and heard and understood. For eyes and ears are senses without sense, and what they see and hear they but report. It is not they that hear and see, but you, who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make a witness to the world you want. Let not the body's ears and eyes perceive these countless fragments seen within the gap which you imagined, and let them persuade their maker his imaginings are real.
 
52 Creation proves reality because it shares the function all creation shares. It is not made of little bits of glass, a piece of wood, a thread or two perhaps, all put together to attest its truth. Reality does not depend on this. There is no gap which separates the truth from dreams and from illusions. Truth has left no room for them in any place or time. For it fills every place and every time and makes them wholly indivisible.
 
53 You who believe there is a little gap between you, do not understand that it is here that you are kept as prisoners in a world perceived to be existing here. The world you see does not exist because the place where you perceive it is not real. The gap is carefully concealed in fog, and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague, uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever unsubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is nothing. And there are no awesome secrets and no darkened tombs where terror rises from the bones of death. Look at the little gap, and you behold the innocence and emptiness of sin that you will see within yourself when you have lost the fear of recognizing love.

 
VII The Secret Vows 
 
54 Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize because it has no will, no preferences, and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role but does what it is told, without attack.
 
55 It is indeed a senseless point of view to hold responsible for sight a thing that cannot see and blame it for the sounds you do not like, although it cannot hear. It suffers not the punishment you give because it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you want but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set. And if that path is changed, it walks as easily another way. It takes no sides and judges not the road it travels. It perceives no gap because it does not hate. It can be used for hate, but it cannot be hateful made thereby.
 
56 The thing you hate and fear and loathe and want, the body does not know. You send it forth to seek for separation and to be a separate thing. And then you hate it, not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it. You shrink from what it sees and what it hears and hate its frailty and littleness. And you despise its acts but not your own. It sees and acts for you. It hears your voice. And it is frail and little by your wish. It seems to punish you and thus deserve your hatred for the limitations which it brings to you. Yet you have made of it a symbol for the limitations which you want your mind to have and see and keep.
 
57 The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self and that without it would your self be lost. This is the secret vow which you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him and to attack him in return.
 
58 Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another's secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, "There is no gap between my mind and yours" has kept God's promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.
 
59 Let this be your agreement with each one---that you be one with him and not apart. And he will keep the promise that you make with him because it is the one which he has made to God, as God has made to him. God keeps His promises; His Son keeps his. In his creation did his Father say, "You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me." His Son remembers not that he replied "I will," though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick but lets his mind be healed and unified. His secret vows are powerless before the Will of God, Whose promises he shares. And what he substitutes is not his will, who has made promise of himself to God.
    
 
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