Lesson 302
When Gap is gone - Peace Eternal
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9 Yet all that happens when the gap is gone is peace eternal. Nothing more than that, and nothing less. Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His love? Would you allow the body to say "no" to Heaven's calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your Self be lost by being found?    
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CHAPTER 29 I-II, 1-9
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   Christ's Second Coming, which is sure as God,
   is merely the correction of mistakes
   and the return of sanity. It is
   a part of the condition which restores
   the never-lost, and re-establishes
   what is forever and forever true.
   It is the invitation to God's Word
   to take illusion's place; the willingness
   to let forgiveness rest upon all things
   without exceptions and without reserve.
   It is this all-inclusive nature of
   Christ's Second Coming that permits it to
   embrace the world, and hold you safe within
   its gentle advent, which encompasses
   all living things with you. There is no end
   to the release the Second Coming brings,
   as God's creation must be limitless.
   Forgiveness lights the Second Coming's way
   because it shines on everyone as well.
  *And thus is oneness recognized at last.
   *this line is not in Notes
   The Second Coming ends the lessons which
   the Holy Spirit teaches, making way
   for the Last Judgment, in which learning ends
   in one last summary which will extend
   beyond itself, and reaching up to God.
   The Second Coming is the time in which
   all minds are given to the hands of Christ,
   to be returned to Spirit in the Name
   of true creation and the Will of God.
   The Second Coming is the one event
   in time which time itself can not affect.
   For everyone who ever came to die,
   or yet will come or who is present now,
   is equally released from what he made.
   In this equality is Christ restored
   as one Identity, in Which all Sons
   of God acknowledge that they all are one.
   And God the Father smiles upon His Son,
   His one creation and His only joy.
   Pray that this Second Coming will be soon,
   but do not rest with that. It needs your eyes
   and ears and hands and feet. It needs your voice,
   and most of all it needs your willingness.
   Let us rejoice that we can do God's Will,
   and join together in Its holy light.
   Behold, the Son of God is one in us,
   and we can reach our Father's Love through him.
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L e s s o n 302
Where darkness was, I look upon the light.
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    Father, our eyes are opening at last.
    Your holy world awaits us, as our sight
    is finally restored, and we can see.
    We thought we suffered, but we had forgot
    the Son whom You created. Now we know
    that darkness is our own imagining,
    and light is there for us to look upon.
    Christ's vision changes darkness into light,
    for fear must disappear when love has come.
    Let me forgive Your holy world today,
    that I may look upon its holiness
    and understand it but reflects my own.
   Our Love awaits us as we walk to Him,
   and walks beside us, showing us the way.
   He fails in nothing. He the end we seek,
   and He the means by which we go to Him.
        ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Where darkness was, I look upon the light.

Sarah's Commentary:  
When we experience a miracle, our perception is shifted. We no longer see things quite the way we saw them before. Jesus said that the reason for his bringing the Course to the world when he did was to facilitate a "celestial speedup." We are part of this speedup as we engage in the process of awakening. A celestial speedup is the recognition that there is no time and nothing has happened. It is all a dream. Now he says that "our eyes are opening at last."(W.302.1.1) Now there is more light in our life. Enlightenment is the opening up to the light and to the truth of what we are and always have been, and the Second Coming is the Correction of our mistakes and the return to sanity. This is the restoration of our true Self, which was never lost. We just forgot because we experienced the temporary insanity of the separation. Temporary? Yes. "Only an instant does this world endure." (W.300) Our release is just a thought away "from what we made." (W.184.15.7)
"Now we see that darkness is our own imagining, and light is there for us to look upon." (W.302.1.5) We made up the stories of our life. We gave the events of our life our own meaning and our own interpretation. We saw attack where love, or a call for love, was all there ever was. We experience fear, yet "fear must disappear when love has come." (W.302.1.6) The only way out of the darkness is by bringing awareness to our fears and being totally willing to release them. There is nothing more than that to be done. In fact, if we try to undertake to do anything more, we are getting in the way by putting the ego in charge of its own undoing, and that will never work.
If we accept everything in our life, including the things that seem dark, and recognize that they are all a part of the classroom to help us learn to forgive, we can become happy learners. What this means is that when our purpose is to awaken, we can be happy about everything that shows up because it is all for the purpose of releasing the darkness so the light that we are can shine through. It is always there behind the dark clouds of our own thoughts. Our thoughts are just hallucinations. As Nouk Sanchez says in her blog, "Contrary to what the ego teaches, the people and things that trigger us are indeed the very gifts that hasten our return to Love, to our Holy Self, and to the immense safety of our Being. However, through the ego filter, we not only reject these gifts, but we fiercely defend our (ego) self from this valuable portal to liberation."
Assaults and attacks will come, not because we are on the wrong path, but they will come as part of our liberation. Mooji says that we conquer them not by fighting them but by remaining in the heart of truth. We witness what seems to be happening, but we don't identify with the forces that detract us.
We can choose to be grateful for the valleys that we go through in which some of our greatest insights can take place. These times can feel like battles in our life, but all we are battling is our perception, which keeps joy out of our awareness. Joy is always there, but the battle that seems to be going on in our mind is actually between what the ego tells us and the truth. It seems like two wills are battling, yet the Holy Spirit is still and does not do battle. He simply waits patiently for us to change our mind.
We think we need or want something to be different than it is. Thus, we suffer because wanting things to be different than they are makes us unhappy. Now we must learn to surrender everything wholly to Spirit and trust that all is for our good. "Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success." (T.18.V.1.6) (ACIM OE T.18.VI.41) Our judgment of what is good or bad brings suffering. Our job is simply to look at our darkness and be willing for it to be shifted. The result is always peace. We allow the valleys to be what they are so we can experience the hilltop when we are ready. It does not matter how much time this takes. Time is our friend when our desire is to use everything in our life for awakening.
There were times in my life when everything seemed hopeless and dark. Yet even without the deep resolve and devotion I have now, there was a part of my mind that knew there was value in these dark valleys, even as I was in the midst of them. I found myself watching the experience and recognized the "tenderizing" effect it had on me. I find that there is a callousness or lack of compassion that we can develop when everything is going our way. We are not being deeply challenged or humbled by events in our life. I suppose it is a kind of arrogance when everything in our life seems to be working. It is a kind of egocentric focus, where we can become insensitive to others. Falling into the dark pit of despair can teach us more compassion for ourself and others and in the process, though we seem to be diverted from our divinity, we can recognize the gift that comes with it.
The experience of having the heart broken open can bring a deeper level of awareness and empathy. Through each of these experiences, I found I was able to look deeper at the caverns in my mind where the openings had been shut to the light. Looking into these dark places always brought new awareness and beauty for which I felt grateful in the end. No, it is not fun nor easy to go there, but when we become the observer of the experience, we can move through it with a greater degree of detachment. There is no way to get to the love without going through the fear.
When we become the observer of our experiences, we come from a place of awareness from above the battleground. We distance ourself from the dream and become the observer of the experience, with the love of Jesus holding our hands and hearts as we go through these dark places in our mind. I have found, even in the midst of the darkness of the distress and pain, there can still be a realization that we are not the experience of the distress and pain. We are the one observing it. Now we can experience it as if it were happening to someone else, like a character in a play with whom we identify, but we know we are not this character. It is like watching a movie and identifying with the characters, but knowing we are the watcher and not the characters in the movie. Thus, there is some detachment. Jesus says that we can actually watch what is happening while smiling at the idea that there is anything real going on.
Everywhere we go, our Love, "walks beside us showing us the way." (W.302.2.1) When we enter these dark and dismal places, Spirit is walking with us. It reminds me of the Lesson where we are told, "He is my Source of life, the life within, the air I breathe, the food by which I am sustained, the water which renews and cleanses me." (W.222.1.2) Or, as he says in Lesson 125, "He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as He." (W.125.7.2-4) We never go alone. "He fails in nothing." (W.302.2.2) What a beautiful reminder! "Where darkness was I look upon the light." (W.302)
We are not these dense beings. Where we think we are, there is only light, but there is no way around the darkness of our thoughts. Covering them over, trying to stay positive, or trying to dismiss them is simply a spiritual bypass or a denial of our experience. This will never work, as the darkness is still there, just covered over. Thus, courage and willingness are called for to look with honesty and dedication behind our defenses. It is the only way through to the light. Instead of bracing ourself against our feelings, we surrender into them, feel them, accept them, examine the beliefs behind them, and keep looking at them with Spirit.
I will share, as briefly as possible, a recent experience of feeling fear. I initially tried to distract myself from it. I was concerned about a family member who seemed to be suffering and in great difficulty in his life. I was gripped with thoughts of fear that were in my mind in which all kinds of tragic scenarios were playing out. I was reminded that our thoughts are nothing but hallucinations. With each thought came a scenario like a movie, playing in the mind, but the scenes were all scenes of devastation and with them came a lot of fear. I kept trying to give over the fear, but it just kept creeping back into my mind. I tried to trace it back to a thought. What was that thought? It became apparent that I believed that the Son of God could suffer and with that thought came evidence of that suffering. I forgot that this is his perfect classroom that he had chosen and that he is not a victim. I was judging the situation and choosing to see it as wrong and giving my mind evidence of ultimate destruction, which brought up a lot of fear. I was reminded of his script, which is playing out as it was chosen by him. I realized my belief in suffering was an error. When I gave over that belief, all the fear was lifted from my mind.
The Lesson is always the same, regardless of the situation: "Forgive, and you will see this differently." (W.193.3.7) It does not matter what the problem is, there is only one lesson to be learned. We are called to trust and to remember again that the world is a classroom and we are called to watch our thoughts and beliefs and keep turning them over for healing. We are always remembering our purpose. When we keep focused on our purpose of healing the mind, everything and everyone that shows up on our path contributes to that purpose.
The Lesson is all about how we have wrongly perceived everything and everyone, based on our own thoughts, values, concepts, and beliefs. Now we are called to forgive our misperceptions so we can see with vision. We are asked to recognize that our unforgiving thoughts are keeping us from the love we are. They reflect the belief that we have sinned, are guilty, and now we expect the world to deliver the punishment we think we deserve.
Today, we pray this prayer to ourself---that we choose another way, realizing we have made a wrong choice. "Our Love awaits us as we go to Him, and walks beside us showing us the way. He fails in nothing. He the End we seek, and He the Means by which we go to Him." (W.302.2.1-3) Through forgiveness, God's love is reflected in this world. He is the End we seek in that our goal is to know who we are as One with God. We already are One with God, but we don't know our own reality. He is the Means because His love is the Source of our comfort along the way we seem to travel. We are not alone. He goes with us wherever we go. We rest in Him. His Love is reflected in specific forms in our life for as long as we need to experience it in that way and as long as we think we are in bodily form.
With the introduction to the question "What is the Second Coming?" (W.PII.Q9), and the coming Section, "What is the Last Judgment?" (W.PII.Q10) I decided to have a look at the Book of Revelation in the Bible. While I am not very familiar with the Bible, the view presented in the Book of Revelation is exactly what is being refuted in the teachings and Lessons that we are currently reading. In fact, in looking at the Book of Revelation, I found the words from the Lesson yesterday, "And God Himself shall wipe away all tears." (W.301) Now it is all being reinterpreted for us in this Course.
The Book of Revelation reiterates the fall of Satan and the doom he and his angels are bound for. We are shown the duties of all creatures and angels of Heaven and the promises of the Saints, who will live forever and ever with Jesus in the New Jerusalem. The Book of Revelation is lavish in colorful descriptions of the visions which proclaim the Last Days before the triumphant return of Jesus as a powerful world ruler, ushering in his kingdom. The Book of Revelation reveals the series of devastations poured out upon the earth such as the mark of the beast "666," the climactic battle of Armageddon, and the binding of Satan. Even though we may not have been schooled in this teaching, it permeates our culture, and there is a sense of fear about the Second Coming and especially about the Last Judgment. This fear seems to be exacerbated daily with discussions of the devastation of the world. Clearly, Jesus takes issue with this in the Course and redefines it entirely.
Instead of reigning terror on the world, the Second Coming "is merely the correction of mistakes, and the return of sanity." (W.PII.Q9.1.1) All that happens is that it "restores the never lost, and re-establishes what is forever and forever true." (W.PII.Q9.1.2) It is an entirely different meaning from the Biblical teachings about fear and punishment. In the Bible, the Second Coming is about Jesus returning to judge the living and the dead. In the Course, Jesus teaches that the Second Coming is about our decision to "let forgiveness rest on all things without exception and without reserve" (W.PII.Q9.1.3) so we can awaken to the truth of who we are. Thus, it is undoing what never happened. It is the recognition that we have been mistaken. The entire world of time and space has been nothing but a dream. Now we are waking up. When all minds have joined in this, the Second Coming will be the total undoing of the dream. Instead of being fearful, it is a beautiful awakening and a remembering of who we are. I heard recently a new interpretation of the dreaded "666." Turned upside down it becomes "999." At one thousand, we are totally in the light and "999" is close to total willingness.
I will speak more about the Second Coming in later Lessons. It is such a beautiful symbol of the healing of our mind and the Correction of our false beliefs where we are all equally released from the belief in sin and guilt. It is not about our understanding but only our willingness to see that we have been wrong about everything, and now we can be grateful that this is so.

Love and blessings, Sarah

A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty Nine

The Awakening  
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CHAPTER 29 I-II, 1-9
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I. Introduction 
1 There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent. There is nothing to be feared. There is no way in which a gap could be conceived of in the wholeness that is His. The compromise the least and littlest gap would represent in His eternal love is quite impossible. For it would mean His love could harbor just a hint of hate; His gentleness turn sometimes to attack; and His eternal patience sometimes fail. All this do you believe, when you perceive a gap between your brother and yourself. How could you trust Him, then? For He must be deceptive in His Love. Be wary, then; let Him not come too close, and leave a gap between you and His love through which you can escape if there be need for you to flee.
2 Here is the fear of God most plainly seen. For love is treacherous to those who fear, since fear and hate can never be apart. No one who hates but is afraid of love and therefore must he be afraid of God. Certain it is he knows not what love means. He fears to love and loves to hate, and so he thinks that love is fearful-hate is love. This is the consequence the little gap must bring to those who cherish it and think that it is their salvation and their hope.
3 The fear of God! The greatest obstacle that peace must flow across has not yet gone. The rest are past, but this one still remains to block your path and make the way to light seem dark and fearful, perilous and bleak. You had decided that your brother is your enemy. Sometimes a friend, perhaps, provided that your separate interests made your friendship possible a little while. But not without a gap between you, lest he turn again into an enemy. [Let him come close to you, and you jumped back; as you approached, he instantly withdrew.] A cautious friendship, limited in scope and carefully restricted in amount, became the treaty you had made with him. You shared a qualified entente in which a clause of separation was a point on which you both agreed to keep intact. And violating this was thought to be a breach of treaty not to be allowed.  

II. The Closing of the Gap
4 The gap between you is not one of space between two separate bodies. This but seems to be dividing off your separate minds. It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer and separate until you both elect to meet again. And then your bodies seem to get in touch and signify a meeting-place to join. But always is it possible to go your separate ways. Conditional upon the "right" to separate will you agree to meet from time to time and keep apart in intervals of separation, which protect you from the "sacrifice" of love. The body saves you, for it gets away from total sacrifice and gives you time in which to build again your separate selves, which you believe diminish as you meet.
5 The body could not separate your minds unless you wanted it to be a cause of separation and of distance seen between you. Thus do you endow it with a power that lies not within itself. And herein lies its power over you. For now you think that it determines when you meet and limits your ability to make communion with each other's mind. And now it tells you where to go and how to go there, what is feasible for you to undertake, and what you cannot do. It dictates what its health can tolerate and what will tire it and make it sick. And its "inherent" weaknesses set up the limitations on what you would do and keep your purpose limited and weak.
6 The body will accommodate to this if you would have it so. It will allow but limited indulgences in "love," with intervals of hatred in between. And it will take command of when to "love" and when to shrink more safely into fear. It will be sick because you do not know what loving means. And so you must misuse each circumstance and everyone you meet and see in them a purpose not your own.
7 It is not love that asks a sacrifice. But fear demands the sacrifice of love, for in love's presence fear cannot abide. For hate to be maintained love must be feared and only sometimes present, sometimes gone. Thus is love seen as treacherous because it seems to come and go uncertainly and offer no stability to you. You do not see how limited and weak is your allegiance and how frequently you have demanded that love go away and leave you quietly alone in "peace."
8 The body, innocent of any goal, is your excuse for variable goals you hold and force the body to maintain. You do not fear its weakness, but its lack of strength or weakness. Would you recognize that nothing stands between you? Would you know there is no gap behind which you can hide? There is a shock that comes to those who learn their savior is their enemy no more. There is a wariness that is aroused by learning that the body is not real. And there are overtones of seeming fear around the happy message, "God is love."
9 Yet all that happens when the gap is gone is peace eternal. Nothing more than that, and nothing less. Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His love? Would you allow the body to say "no" to Heaven's calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your Self be lost by being found?
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