Lesson 308
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When Idols Fall
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES

CH 29 THE AWAKENING
VIII. THE LINGERING ILLUSION

43 Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth and not to seek for it outside yourself. 
 
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WHAT IS THE SECOND COMING?

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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* Example MP3
 
   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. 
 
    ~ Original Hand Script  
 
  
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L e s s o n 308
This instant is the only time there is.


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   I have conceived of time in such a way
   that I defeat my aim. If I elect
   to reach past time to timelessness, I must
   change my perception of what time is for.
   Time's purpose cannot be to keep the past
   and future one. The only interval
   in which I can be saved from time is now.
   For in this instant has forgiveness come
   to set me free. The birth of Christ is now,
   without a past or future. He has come
   to give His present blessing to the world,
   restoring it to timelessness and love.
   And love is ever present, here and now.
 
    Thanks for this instant, Father. It is now
    I am redeemed. This instant is the time
    You have appointed for Your Son's release,
    and for salvation of the world in him.
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 308
This instant is the only time there is.

Sarah's Commentary:    

The Course seems to talk to us where we think we are---in duality; but it is a non-dualistic teaching, which says there is only reality. In other words, truth is true and nothing else is true. Anything that is not of the infinite, formless, changeless, and eternal cannot be true. This physical world we think is real has none of these characteristics and is therefore just an illusion, a dream. Everything here changes. We have made it real by imposing on it the idea of space and time. We think in terms of a past, present, and future where there is a passing of events in time and space. "I have conceived of time in such a way that I defeat my aim." (W.308.1.1) If our aim is to wake up by reaching "past time to timelessness," (W.308.1.2) it is incumbent on us to use time only for the healing of the mind so we can experience the fact that the only reality is love.
 
Reality is perfect Oneness. There is nothing outside of this Oneness. In fact, there is nothing outside of us. All is mind. Even the body is a reflection of the mind and is not outside the mind. It is no different than the rocks or trees except we identify with the body and so we think it is what we are. The body is on the screen of this world and is just a projection of our thought, and yet it all happens within mind, which is all there is. 
 
God did not make this world. It is made as a place to hide from God. The world is a reflection of our ego thoughts, where we "keep the past and future as one" (W.308.1.3) by our investment in sin (which is in the past), guilt (which is the false present, where we are still attached to the belief in sin and so feel the guilt of what we have done), and fear (which reflects our imagined future kept alive through our belief that we must atone for sins of the past, heal the guilt in the present, and expect to be punished for our misdeeds in the future). The only way out of this cycle of sin, guilt, and fear is through forgiveness. When we forgive, we are set free of our belief in sin and guilt and are restored to "timelessness and love." (W.308.1.7) This is the true present. It is the eternal moment-the NOW. In this eternal present, there is no body. The body only exists in the past and future.
 
" Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you." (T.5.V.4.1) (ACIM OE T.5.VII.63) As we let go of the past, we recognize it had no reality. It was all made of our false associations and interpretations. Of course, the ego will chastise us for this and tell us we have a lot to feel guilty about so it reminds us we need to feel guilty and keep punishing ourselves. "If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought." (T.5.V.3.5-7) (ACIM OE T.5.VII.61) In fact, to the ego, for us to feel guilt is holy. Declaring ourselves as sinners is noble. Our responsibility, if we want to know who we are, is to choose not to listen to this inner voice of fear and to let it all go. We are called to accept the truth of who we are as innocent now and to recognize that we have just been mistaken. We have simply forgotten who we are, which is not a sin to be punished but a mistake to be corrected.
 
" The ego cannot oppose the laws of God anymore than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, 'What do you want?' must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual. Its effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed." (T.5.V.6.6.1-4) (ACIM OE T.5.VII.66) What is beautiful is there are only two choices available to us, "The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you." (T.5.V.6.8) (ACIM OE T.5.VII.67) It makes it simple for us.
 
The world is a place where we have come to escape from God, Who we believe is intent on punishing us for choosing to leave His love. We are like the Prodigal Son, who seemingly ran away from his Father and now is afraid to return home. Yet this is all just a dream, which we have come to accept as the truth. None of this has happened. This is the foundation for the statement in Chapter 10: "You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality." (T.10.I.2.1) (ACIM OE T.9.VIII.65) In Chapter 4, Jesus asks us an interesting question. "Who is the 'you' who are living in this world?" (T.4.II.11.8) (ACIM OE T.4.VII.81)
 
When we found this Course, or some would say, when the Course found us, we had a sense that there was Something in us that responded to this Call and this Something recognizes truth when it is heard. It is the Self, which knows and resonates with the truth. This is the Self Jesus is addressing. He is not speaking to the character in the dream. He is speaking to our sleeping mind, calling us to choose again. The ego rides along as well on this journey, although it is threatened by it. Now two interpretations are available in every situation and every circumstance. One is given by the ego, which always speaks first and tells us how we should see the situation. The other is the Holy Spirit, Who reinterprets what the ego tells us.
 
"Do not interpret against God's Love, for you have many witnesses that speak of it so clearly that only the blind and deaf could fail to see and hear them." (T.16.II.8.1) (ACIM OE T.16.III.18) "Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything. There is no greater love than to accept this and be glad. For love asks only that you be happy, and will give you everything that makes for happiness." (T.16.II.8.6-8) (ACIM OE T.16.III.19) This happiness is not something we can give to ourselves, much as we try. When we listen to our own voice, which is the one that always gives us the first interpretation of everything, it will always be wrong. What we offer ourselves that we think will make us happy, always brings us pain instead of the happiness we seek. Something in us knows this. The ephemeral will never bring us happiness, and everything we choose in the world will not meet the conditions of the eternal, which is unending joy and peace. Our release from suffering comes with our refusal to listen to the ego's perspective on everything.
 
We have mostly accepted this world as our reality. We may say it is all a dream, and we are at home with God, but until we experience this, we only hold it as a concept. Our experience is of an individual in a body, living in a world of form. Yet Jesus teaches that separation is impossible and has never been achieved at all. How do we experience what this Lesson teaches? ---"This instant is the only time there is." (W.308)
 
Jesus tells us, we need the experience of the holy instant as a way to connect with the present moment as the only time there is. "The only interval in which I can be saved from time is now." (W.308.1.4) This is what restores us to timelessness and love. We can't know this if we are dragging in the past with us. When we hold grievances, and feel shame and guilt, it is all related to the past. Even something someone said five seconds ago, which concerns us or preoccupies our mind, must be released. "Now" is the only time there is. Forgiveness is the means to come to this truth. It also means letting go of future plans and dreams and leaning on the Holy Spirit to guide us. We must learn to trust in His support. Imagine that only "now," this very moment, is all there is, and you can quickly see how nothing of the past or what is yet to come, matters. In the stillness of this moment, there is instant release.
 
I remember when I knew for certain (or so it seemed at the time) the last moment of my life. I was driving to my office and a car was coming full speed at me, failing to stop at a stop sign. There was no escaping what was about to happen. In that instant, time stood still. Everything went quiet in my mind and I approached this moment, which to me seemed like the end of my bodily existence, with complete calm and peace. I'm still here and was not meant to leave this classroom yet, but I will never forget the impact of that moment.
 
The Course has led us to this place where we can learn to enter the eternal moment of now. Jesus assures us that if we are not feeling the release, we should just practice the mechanics of it until the experience comes. In Chapter 15, Jesus talks of the uses of time where he describes, in some detail, the practice of the holy instant. He says, time is for the learning what we are, and nothing else. "Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more." (T.15.I.1.1-2) (ACIM OE T.15.I.1)
 
"This lesson takes no time. For what is time without a past and future? It has taken time to misguide you so completely, but it takes no time at all to be what you are." (T.15.I.9.1-3) (ACIM OE T.15.II.10) Later he says "Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time." (T.15.I.9.5-7) (ACIM OE T.15.II.10)
 
In practicing the holy instant as described, we connect with the Self and can come back into this seeming world of time with our fear diminished. Why? The fear is lessened because we have had a taste of our reality and have had the experience that we are not these bodies. We don't begin with birth and end with death; and with each experience of the holy instant, where we leave the world of time, we develop more trust in the truth of our eternal nature.
 
We are told it takes a lot longer to get us to the point of willingness than it does to teach us how to experience the holy instant. Our minds can resist this for a long time, but since time is an illusion, let's just be happy to use it to become willing to do this work on behalf of our own happiness and release. Jesus reminds us, it is never just for us alone. It is for the salvation of the world. In the present, the Christ is known to us as our Self. Now we can give His present blessing to the world, restoring it to timelessness and love.
 
The beauty of it is, we do not have to clean the slate of our past to be restored to timelessness and love. The only way to let go of the burden of the past is through forgiveness and through the practice of meditation and contemplation. He has appointed this instant and every instant for our release. Think of this moment as all the time there is. The past can't reach you here. You are free of your self-condemnation. Let it go and see this instant as an untarnished birth where you can know your innocence. It is a moment of willingness to see no past or future. Indeed, if our aim is to know this state, we must use time as a classroom for the undoing of the ego. "Time's purpose cannot be to keep the past and future one." (W.308.1.3) Isn't that what we do when we keep perpetuating the past by ruminating on our thoughts? If my aim is to know my innocence, I must change my perception of what time is for. How much of my time is used to defeat this aim? That is the question we can ponder today. It can be addressed simply by asking, "What is it that I want?" "What is the desire of my heart?" If I truly want to wake up, then every encounter, every event, and every situation can be used for that purpose.
 
 
Love and blessings, Sarah
 
ACIM Original Edition
VIII. The Lingering Illusion
           
43 Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth and not to seek for it outside yourself.
 
44 No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him, this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not. This is the purpose he bestows upon the body---that it seek for what he lacks and give him what would make himself complete. And thus he wanders aimlessly about in search of something that he cannot find, believing that he is what he is not.
 
45 The lingering illusion will impel him to seek out a thousand idols and to seek beyond them for a thousand more. And each will fail him, all excepting one; for he will die and does not understand the idol that he seeks is but his death. Its form appears to be outside himself. Yet does he seek to kill God's Son within and prove that he is victor over him. This is the purpose every idol has, for this the role that is assigned to it, and this the role that cannot be fulfilled.
 
46 Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body's betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack, and lack is death. To sacrifice is to give up and thus to be without and to have suffered loss. And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation and prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.
 
47 Idols must fall because they have no life, and what is lifeless is a sign of death. You came to die, and what would you expect but to perceive the signs of death you seek? No sadness and no suffering proclaims a message other than an idol found that represents a parody of life which in its lifelessness is really death, conceived as real and given living form. Yet each must fail and crumble and decay because a form of death cannot be life, and what is sacrificed cannot be whole.
 
48 All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself. Let us forget the purpose of the world the past has given it. For otherwise, the future will be like the past and but a series of depressing dreams in which all idols fail you one by one, and you see death and disappointment everywhere.
 
49 To change all this and open up a road of hope and of release in what appeared to be an endless circle of despair, you need but to decide you do not know the purpose of the world. You give it goals it does not have, and thus do you decide what it is for. You try to see in it a place of idols found outside yourself, with power to make complete what is within by splitting what you are between the two. You choose your dreams, for they are what you wish, perceived as if it had been given you. Your idols do what you would have them do and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream because you want their power as your own.
 
50 Yet where are dreams but in a mind asleep? And can a dream succeed in making real the pictures it projects outside itself? Save time, my brothers; learn what time is for. And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy minds are altars unto God, and where He is, no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol which you must protect against the light of truth. And all the world becomes the means by which this idol can be saved. Salvation thus appears to threaten life and offer death.
 
51 It is not so. Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists. The sacrifice of death is nothing lost. An idol cannot take the place of God. Let Him remind you of His love for you, and do not seek to drown His Voice in chants of deep despair to idols of yourself. Seek not outside your Father for your hope. For hope of happiness is not despair.

   
 
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