Lesson 316
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Unchangeable Star
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
 
CH 30 THE NEW BEGINNING 
IV. BEYOND ALL IDOLS

45 The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its light grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.
 
46 Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky which holds it safe, forever lifted up, and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time which keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know this star is there.
 
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
The Last Judgment
WHAT IS THE LAST JUDGMENT?

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<VIDEO>   
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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER* Example MP3
 
   Christ's Second Coming gives the Son of God
   the gift to hear the Voice for God proclaim
   that what is false is false, and what is true
   has never changed. And this the judgment is
   in which perception ends. At first you see
   a world which has accepted this as true,
   projected from a now corrected mind.
   And with this holy sight, perception gives
   a silent blessing and then disappears,
   its goal accomplished and its mission done.
 
   The final judgment on the world contains
   no condemnation. For it sees the world
   as totally forgiven, without sin,
   and wholly purposeless. Without a cause,
   and now without a function in Christ's sight,
   it merely slips away to nothingness.
   There it was born, and there it ends as well.
   And all the figures in the dream in which
   the world began go with it. Bodies now
   are useless, and will therefore fade away,
   because the Son of God is limitless.
 
   You who believed that Gods last judgment would
   condemn the world to hell along with you,
   accept this holy truth: God's judgment is
   the gift of the Correction He bestowed
   on all your errors, freeing you from them,
   and all effects they ever seemed to have.
   To fear His saving grace is but to fear
   complete release from suffering, return
   to peace, security and happiness,
   and union with your own Identity.
 
   God's final judgment is as merciful
   as every step in His appointed plan
   to save His Son, and call Him to return
   to the eternal peace He shares with him.
   Be not afraid of Love. For It alone
   can heal all sorrow, wipe away all tears,
   and gently waken from his dreams of pain
   the Son whom God acknowledges as His.
   Be not afraid of this. Salvation asks
   you give it welcome. And the world awaits
   your glad acceptance, which will set it free.
 
   This is God's final judgment: "You are still
   My holy Son, forever innocent,
   forever loving and forever loved,
   as limitless as Your Creator, and
   completely changeless and forever pure.
   Therefore awaken and return to Me.
   I am Your Father, and you are My Son.
 
    ~ Original Hand Script  
 
  
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 316
All gifts I give my brothers are my own.


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   As every gift my brothers give is mine,
   so every gift I give belongs to me.
   Each one allows a past mistake to go,
   and leave no shadow on the holy mind
   my Father loves. His grace is given me
   in every gift a brother has received
   throughout all time and past all time as well.
   My treasure-house is full, and angels watch
   its open doors, that not one gift is lost,
   and only more are added. Let me come
   to where my treasures are, and enter in
   where I am truly welcome and at home,
   among the gifts that God has given me.
 
   Father, I would accept Your gifts today.
    I do not recognize them. Yet I trust
    that You Who gave them will provide the means
    by which I can behold them, see their worth,
    and cherish only them as what I want.
 
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM     
  
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 316
All gifts I give my brothers are my own.

Sarah's Commentary:  

This Lesson follows on the Lesson 315 for yesterday, "All gifts my brothers give belong to me." Now we are told, "All gifts I give my brothers are my own." (W.316) We are one with all our brothers. All the gifts of forgiveness my brothers give, I receive, and all the gifts I give, I also receive. There is only One Mind we share. Gifts come through us as blessings when we forgive. And what is forgiveness but the clearing away of egoic thoughts that block the light in us. When we connect with that light, we become a channel for God's love and experience the blessing of recognizing our sameness. As the thoughts keeping us in darkness are released, the mind recognizes its own inner light. Who we are and who our brothers are is recognized when we forgive them for what they did not do. Now, instead of seeing them through our judgments as guilty, we see their innocence and accept it as our own.
 
"Each one [gift of forgiveness] allows a past mistake to go, and leave no shadow on the holy mind my Father loves." (W.316.1.2) This is important because as we read in Lesson 314, our past mistakes are what we drag into the future and carry the burden of guilt. We want to be free of the mistakes that weigh us down with feelings of guilt and shame. The means given us for the release of past mistakes is to bring the gift of forgiveness. With each gift we give, a past mistake will go. Therefore, every time we let a grievance go, we release ourselves from our past mistakes. The shadows that haunt us as a result of these mistakes will then be lifted from our holy minds. All that is required is our willingness to take our brothers off the cross and release them so we too can be released and come to know our only Source is love.
 
"My treasure house is full, and angels watch its open doors that not one gift is lost, and only more are added." (W.316.1.4) There are many references to our treasure and the treasure house in the Course. Our treasure house is the right mind and it is always full of God's gifts! The answer to everything that troubles us is within us waiting to be claimed. Behind every cloud is the sun waiting for our acknowledgment. Until we recognize this, we look for treasures in the world, where they don't exist. When we realize where our real treasures lie, we will be motivated to give our brothers the gifts of forgiveness in every situation where we encounter difficulties. The treasures we seek in the world will no longer hold our interest or attention. We no longer see them as the source of our happiness. We see there is only one Source and that is God. This is where our freedom and happiness can be found.
 
There is no real safety or security in anything we seek in the world. Our only security is in knowing ourselves as we were created. While we are still seeking treasures in the world, we are just asked to notice our attachments to these things, and not to make ourselves more guilty for pursuing what we think will bring happiness. God has given us the freedom to make these decisions for ourselves. It is only when we come to recognize there is no happiness, safety, nor security in anything in the world, that we will we choose to turn our attention more and more to returning to our true Source of happiness and peace that lies within our own minds.
 
"Nothing you give is lost to you or anyone, but cherished and preserved in Heaven, where all of the treasures given to God's Son are kept for him, and offered anyone who but holds out his hand in willingness they be received." (T.25.IX.2.4) (ACIM OE T.25.X.79)
 
"Each time today you tell your frantic mind salvation comes from your one Self, you lay another treasure in your growing store." (W.P.I.96.12.1) (ACIM OE W.PI.96.17)
 
"Every time you spend five minutes of the hour seeking Him Who joins your mind and Self, you offer Him another treasure to be kept for you . " (W.PI.96.11.5) (ACIM
OE W.PI.96.16)
 
The gifts are always there and can't be lost even if we are not aware of them. The treasure house is where Christ dwells within us, and through forgiveness, we recognize that the truth has always been there, waiting for our acknowledgment. As long as we keep seeking the "treasures" of this world, we will not be aware that we already have everything. Through forgiveness, we realize where the real treasure is.
 
Even though we may not be aware of the treasures in our right minds, Jesus assures us this makes no difference. They are still there whether we are aware of them or not. Imagine how different our lives would be if we were aware of all these treasures in our storehouse. Would we ever feel deprived again? Would there be any reason for loneliness, self-recrimination, sadness, jealousy, anger, loss, or distress of any kind? Would we ever feel superior to anyone? If we knew how rich we really were in God's abundant love and support for us, we would only know a deep abiding peace and joy that does not depend on anything outside us. It is all available to us and only a decision away. If we don't experience these gifts, it is only because we have chosen to rely on our limited ideas of ourselves, on the decision to be right about who we think we are, and on who our brother is.
 
We are like the homeless person who believes he must beg for money to support himself and all the while he is dragging a bag full of treasures behind him. He has chosen to forget about his abundance, refusing to see what is there, has always has been there, and has always been available to him. We won't look if we tenaciously hold onto our false beliefs about ourselves. Jesus tells us we need not live with this sense of loneliness and lack. We can take hold of the gifts in our treasure house when we are willing to open our minds and let go of our false beliefs. The Holy Spirit has laid these gifts in our treasure house, and "Here the door is never locked, and no one is denied his least request or his most urgent need." (W.159.6.4) Nothing in this world can offer us any real satisfaction, any true happiness, or anything of lasting value. When our lives are devoted to forgiveness, we receive the miracles we give. The world is now seen as a classroom for the undoing of that which is false. Thus, even events we judge as difficult and painful offer us the perfect teaching-learning opportunities to let go of what is holding us back. We can only be imprisoned by our own thoughts.
 
Everything that seems to happen has come with our own invitation. We are not victims of any circumstance. "The day you want you offer to the world, for it will be what you have asked for, and will reinforce the rule of your adviser in the world." (T.30.I.16.7) (ACIM OE T.30.II.31) Our adviser is always the result of the choice between the ego and the Holy Spirit, and whom we turn to determines what we receive. "You choose God's peace, or you have asked for dreams." (W.PI.185.9.4) It is all our choice. Nothing happens by accident. "Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you." (T.10.IN.2.6) (ACIM OE T.9.VIII.60) What we receive is what we want.
 
"Let me come to where my treasures are, and enter in where I am truly welcome and at home, among the gifts that God has given me." (W.316.1.5) As we extend forgiveness to our brothers, it is a gift to ourselves as our own minds are thus released from self-condemnation. This is how we become acquainted with our own holiness. We see evidence of the beauty of who we are when it is reflected back to us through our brothers. By releasing our judgments, our opinions, our comparisons, our unworthiness, or our sense of superiority, we recognize we are not alone and separate but one with all there is.
 
The only way we can access the treasures in our minds is to be willing to look at the blocks that keep the treasures from our awareness. We can only know ourselves as the love we are when that love is extended through us and reflected back to us. Yet we must acknowledge how we are the ones who are holding the love back. To the ego, it is all about what we can get from someone, but Jesus reminds us, "You learn first that having rests on giving, and not on getting." (T.6.V.C.6.1) (ACIM OE T.6.Vc.90) Special relationships are all based on bargaining, while "To bargain is to limit giving, and this is not God's Will." (T.7.I.4.4) (ACIM OE T.7.II.4)
 
What would this look like in our lives? It is easy to be loving and gentle with those with whom we are in an easy and loving relationship. But those very same people, who are our special relationships, are the ones who often bring the most pain into our lives. When I feel unjustly accused or treated badly as I judge this to be, I feel justified in responding in an unloving and attacking way in return. "How dare he say those things to me?" Precisely in those moments, when we are tempted to respond with an attack, we are called to stop and recognize that we are choosing to close the door to our treasure house.
 
This can be very challenging. The voice of the ego tells me he deserves to be attacked for his bad behavior, but Jesus is teaching us that when we blame our brother, we are trying to purchase our innocence at the cost of his guilt. This is false innocence and does not mirror the innocence of God, which is our true innocence waiting to be claimed. We can't claim it when we attack a brother by blaming him and projecting our guilt onto him. This is what the ego counsels us to do all the time. When we listen to the ego, we happily blame our brothers without realizing that we are locking ourselves into the prison.
 
Yesterday, as I struggled with these thoughts of retaliation in my mind, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I could choose peace. He reminded me that the power of this choice was in my own mind. He reminded me that the gift of peace was my choice to give and thus to receive at the same time. It meant that I must choose not to listen to the obsessive thoughts of the ego to make my brother guilty. I had to choose to release my perspective on the situation and see I was wrong in the way I was perceiving my brother. Did I really want to see it my way or was peace more important to me? Did I want to continue to chew on the hatred and the judgments? Was this more valuable to me than peace? This should be an easy decision, yet we struggle with it because of our stubborn investment in the separate self. What a joy to experience the miracle when we choose the willingness to change our minds! When we do, it affirms to us the gentleness of God's love is ever-present and simply hidden by our thoughts.
 
Daily we choose to turn away from love in the face of betrayal, conflict, and attack, but this does not make us guilty. If we beat up on ourselves when we experience issues in our lives, we will not be available to heal our misperceptions. The ego relishes our guilt, which keeps itself in business. Instead, we are invited to welcome all of these situations as further opportunities for healing. Because we have invited the healing, the perfect people and situations show up for that purpose. Welcome it all. We make mistakes and we choose to forget, but we can always choose again.
 
The prayers in these Lessons invite us to enter fully into the spirit of the Lesson, appealing to our Father to help us, relying on His treasure placed in our right minds and trusting that we cannot fail. When we step out in trust, releasing the ego cycle of defense, attack, and retaliation, and instead choose to let go of our thoughts, recognizing we are always wrong, then blessings, miracles, peace, and love emerge in our awareness. All it takes is our willingness. We can't lose when we let go of our perspectives. Everyone gains.
 
I write these commentaries only as a reminder to my own mind of what I truly want. When I let the truth of this teaching enter deeply into my mind, I convince my resistant mind to apply what the Lesson asks me to do. Step by step, day-by-day, year by year, the mind becomes more focused, committed, and disciplined, and the results of applying the teachings are evidenced in more harmony in my relationships and more peace in my experience. In other words, it works! It just takes constant willingness and dedication. If we are not ready, we are nevertheless innocent. The truth of that can never change.

Love and blessings, Sarah  
ACIM Original Edition
IV. Beyond All Idols
           
38 Idols are quite specific. But your will is universal, being limitless. And so it has no form nor is content for its expression in the terms of form. Idols are limits. They are the belief that there are forms which will bring happiness and that, by limiting, is all attained. It is as if you said, "I have no need of everything. This little thing I want, and it will be as everything to me." And this must fail to satisfy because it is your will that everything be yours. Decide for idols, and you ask for loss. Decide for truth, and everything is yours.
 
39 It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Father's love? What form can take the place of all the love in the divinity of God the Son? What idol can make two of what is one? And can the limitless be limited? You do not want an idol. It is not your will to have one. It will not bestow on you the gift you seek. When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose. So you see your will within the idol, thus reducing it to a specific form. Yet this could never be your will because what shares in all creation cannot be content with small ideas and little things.
 
40 Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete can only mean that you believe some form is missing. And by finding this, you will achieve completion in a form you like. This is the purpose of an idol-that you will not look beyond it to the source of the belief that you are incomplete. Only if you had sinned could this be so. For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.
 
41 It never is the idol that you want. But what you think it offers you, you want indeed and have the right to ask for. Nor could it be possible it be denied. Your will to be complete is but God's will, and this is given you by being His. God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms which have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms made but to fill a gap which is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God. What idol can be called upon to give the Son of God what he already has?
 
42 Completion is the function of God's Son. He has no need to seek for it at all. Beyond all idols stands his holy will to be but what he is. For more than whole is meaningless. If there were change in him, if he could be reduced to any form and limited to what is not in him, he would not be as God created him. What idol can he need to be himself? For can he give a part of him away? What is not whole cannot make whole. But what is really asked for cannot be denied. Your will is granted. Not in any form that would content you not, but in the whole completely lovely Thought God holds of you.
 
43 Nothing that God knows not exists. And what He knows exists forever, changelessly. For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them. And in the Mind of God there is no ending nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change. Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind Which thought of you. And so there are no separate parts in what exists within God's Mind. It is forever one, eternally united and at peace.
 
44 Thoughts seem to come and go. Yet all this means is that you are sometimes aware of them and sometimes not. An unremembered thought is born again to you when it returns to your awareness. Yet it did not die when you forgot it. It was always there, but you were unaware of it. The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot.
 
45 The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its light grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.
 
46 Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky which holds it safe, forever lifted up, and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time which keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know this star is there.
 
47 Beyond all idols is the Thought God holds of you. Completely unaffected by the turmoil and the terror of the world, the dreams of birth and death that here are dreamed, the myriad of forms that fear can take; quite undisturbed, the Thought God holds of you remains exactly as it always was. Surrounded by a stillness so complete no sound of battle comes remotely near, it rests in certainty and perfect peace. Here is your one reality kept safe, completely unaware of all the world that worships idols and that knows not God. In perfect sureness of its changelessness and of its rest in its eternal home, the Thought God holds of you has never left the Mind of its Creator Whom it knows, as its Creator knows that it is there.
 
48 Where could the Thought God holds of you exist but where you are? Is your reality a thing apart from you and in a world which your reality knows nothing of? Outside you there is no eternal sky, no changeless star, and no reality. The Mind of Heaven's Son in Heaven is, for there the Mind of Father and Son joined in creation which can have no end. You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one. An idol or the Thought God holds of you is your reality. Forget not, then, that idols must keep hidden what you are, not from the Mind of God, but from your own. The star shines still; the sky has never changed. But you, the holy Son of God Himself, are unaware of your reality.

   
 
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