Lesson 322
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Desire Healing
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 30 THE NEW BEGINNING
IX. CHANGELESS REALITY

92 Reality is changeless. Miracles but show what you have interposed between reality and your awareness is unreal and does not interfere at all. The cost of the belief there must be some appearances beyond the hope of change is that the miracle cannot come forth from you consistently. For you have asked it be withheld from power to heal all dreams. There is no miracle you cannot have when you desire healing. But there is no miracle that can be given you unless you want it. Choose what you would heal, and He Who gives all miracles has not been given freedom to bestow His gifts upon God's Son. When he is tempted, he denies reality. And he becomes the willing slave of what he chose instead. 
   
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
What is Creation
WHAT IS CREATION?

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   Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts,
   in number infinite, and everywhere
   without all limit. Only Love creates,
   and only like Itself. There was no time
   when all that It created was not there.
   Nor will there be a time when anything
   that It created suffers any change.
   Forever and forever are God's Thoughts
   exactly as They were and as They are,
   unchanged through time and after time is done.
 
   God's Thoughts are given all the power that
   Their own Creator has. For He would add
   to Love by Its extension. Thus His Son
   shares in creation, and must therefore share
   in power to create. What God has willed
   to be forever one will still be one
   when time is over; and will not be changed
   throughout the course of time, remaining as
   it was before the thought of time began.
 
   Creation is the opposite of all
   illusions, for Creation is the truth.
   Creation is the holy Son of God,
   for in Creation is His Will complete
   in every aspect, making every part
   container of the whole. Its oneness is
   forever guaranteed inviolate;
   forever held within His holy Will
   beyond all possibility of harm,
   of separation, imperfection and
   of any spot upon its sinlessness.
 
   We are creation; we the Sons of God.
   We seem to be discrete and unaware
   of our eternal unity with Him.
   Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears,
   there still is certainty. For Love remains
   with all Its Thoughts, Its sureness being Theirs.
   God's memory is in our holy minds,
   which know their oneness, and their unity
   with their Creator. Let our function be
   only to let this memory return,
   only to let God's Will be done on earth,
   only to be restored to sanity,
   and to be but as God created us.
 
   Our Father calls to us. We hear His Voice,
   and we forgive creation in the Name
   of its Creator, Holiness Itself,
   Whose holiness His own creation shares;
   Whose holiness is still a part of us.
 
    ~ Original Hand Script  
 
  
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
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L e s s o n 322
I can give up but what was never real.


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   I sacrifice illusions; nothing more.
   And as illusions go I find the gifts
   illusions tried to hide, awaiting me
   in shining welcome, and in readiness
   to give God's ancient messages to me.
   His memory abides in every gift
   that I receive of Him. And every dream
   serves only to conceal the Self Which is
   God's only Son, the likeness of Himself,
   the Holy One Who still abides in Him
   forever, as He still abides in me.
 
    Father, to You all sacrifice remains
    forever inconceivable. And so
    I cannot sacrifice except in dreams.
    As You created me, I can give up
    nothing You gave me. What You did not give
    has no reality. What loss can I
    anticipate except the loss of fear,
    and the return of Love into my mind?
 
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM     
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 322
I can give up but what was never real.

Sarah's Commentary:  

While to God ". . . all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable," (W.322.2.1) to us, surrender feels like we are giving up something we still value. We don't see that all we are giving up is fear. Our fear is of giving up our control. Since the ego has told us we stole our individuality from God, our fear is that it will now be payback time. He will make demands of us that will hurt us, and so, we set up defenses to protect ourselves from what we have made of Him---an angry God.
 
A core aspect of the ego thought system is based on the notion that for me to get what I want, sacrifice is required. The origin of the thought system of sacrifice came with the belief that for our individual self to exist God had to be sacrificed because individuality and Oneness can't both exist. It is a case of one or the other; God or me. This thought system is now in the mind and played out in the world of form where for us to get what we want, someone must lose. Thus, a world of competition was set up where our gain is someone's loss, and this shows up in our relationships, which are ones of bargaining. I give you something, but I expect something back, and if you don't give it to me, I will hold you guilty.
 
To surrender to God, we fear we will have to sacrifice everything we hold as important to us in this world. Our fear is that we will have to give up our pleasures, our special relationships, our money, our comforts, and everything else we value. Jesus assures us, we give up nothing of value because what we put a value on are the things that bring us suffering. What we are struggling to hold onto are the things that keep us imprisoned and in pain. Holding onto what has no value is the source of all our pain. Do we want to forgo ". . . a resting place so still no sound except a hymn to Heaven rises up to gladden God the Father and the Son?" (T.29.V.1.3) (ACIM OE T.29.VI.31) Is there anything more valuable than this kind of peace that can only come from giving up what was never real so we can remember who we are?
 
Our fear in following this path is related to the idea of renunciation, which shows up in many religious traditions. Traditional religion is all about sacrifice where suffering proves we are worthy of God's love. We know of stories of great spiritual beings who have sacrificed for an anticipated reward in Heaven. Helen Schucman had this to say about renunciation: "You are not asked to sacrifice the good or the desirable in any way. You are asked only to renounce all things that destroy your peace. For God is Love. Center your thoughts on Him, and you will see He gives you everything, with neither more nor less conceivable from this time forth, and on to the eternal. Sorrow is inaccurate perception; pain is but a sad mistake. Renounce but this, and you call unto Christ to pardon and renew."
 
"Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand. (W.155.4.2-4)
 
"Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. You walk this path as others walk, nor do you seem to be distinct from them, although you are indeed. Thus can you serve them while you serve yourself, and set their footsteps on the way that God has opened up to you, and them through you. (W.155.5.1-4)
 
"Illusion still appears to cling to you, that you may reach them. Yet it has stepped back. And it is not illusion that they hear you speak of, nor illusion that you bring their eyes to look on and their minds to grasp. Nor can the truth, which walks ahead of you, speak to them through illusions, for the road leads past illusion now, while on the way you call to them, that they may follow you. (W.155.6.1-4)
 
"All roads will lead to this one in the end. For sacrifice and deprivation are paths that lead nowhere, choices for defeat, and aims that will remain impossible. All this steps back as truth comes forth in you, to lead your brothers from the ways of death, and set them on the way to happiness." (W.155.7.1-3)
 
I remember asking my boss, a minister in the legislative assembly, what he liked about his job. He said it was the adrenaline high he got from it. The world's " pleasures " are like that. They give us a thrill, another conquest, another momentary gain, another accomplishment, and an adrenaline rush, but how long does it last and how deeply satisfying is it? That is what we are asked to look at when we look at the idea of sacrifice.
 
As we go about our day today, we can look at what we want. If we ask this in everything, we will start to see what is important to us. We can investigate what we are holding onto as important and to question its value to us. Does it bring me the freedom I am looking for? Is it deeply satisfying? Is going out to shop for another piece of clothing bringing me a deep sense of peace and joy? Is that vacation in the sun the answer to my deep need for peace? Are we called to give it up for God? No, that would feel like sacrifice as long as we still want it and believe it has value for us. We are being asked to recognize real value, which is to know the Self we are, as created by God. This illusory world is where we came to forget our reality and to hide from the truth. "And every dream serves only to conceal the Self Which is God's only Son, the likeness of Himself, the Holy One Who still abides in Him forever, as He still abides in me." (W.322.1.4) Jesus is telling us, in giving up our investment in illusion, we are sacrificing nothing but the fear thoughts we hold in mind. When we recognize this, there is no sacrifice. What is valueless simply falls away.
 
"And as illusions go I find the gifts illusions tried to hide, awaiting me in shining welcome, and in readiness to give God's ancient messages to me." (W.322.1.2) Jesus is trying to help us see that the spiritual life is not about someone taking our toys away or requiring us to give up what we still find valuable and what we think is making us happy. He is instead trying to help us see that these things will never make us happy and only bring a deeper sense of loss. When we truly see that our attachments to them bring only suffering and loss, we will no longer look to them for our happiness. Everything can be put to a holy purpose. The question to ask ourselves in everything is, "What is it for?" It is either to wake us up to what we are or to keep us invested in the illusory world.
 
We are being asked to look at our world honestly and to look at our experience in it and evaluate it truly. In Chapter 19, "The Obstacles to Peace," we are reminded, "It is impossible to seek pleasure through the body and not find pain." (T.19.IVB.12.1) (ACIM OE T.19.Vb.71)
 
In Chapter 27 VI, "The Witnesses to Sin," (ACIM OE 27 VII) pain and pleasure are shown to have only one purpose---to make the body real. Even those things we think will give us pleasure in the world just give us temporary relief or a temporary " high, " which fades quickly, and we soon start looking for the next " fix. " We talk of these " pleasurable " events as " good memories. " Sometimes, I revisit pictures of family gatherings, vacations I have taken, events I have enjoyed, and situations I have excelled at, only to note them as a momentary satisfaction with no real staying power. In other words, these so-called pleasures quickly fade from our experience, and when we think about them honestly, we see that all pleasures are tinged with pain because what seemed to give us pleasure is transitory. The ego continually seeks but never finds. It is like the thrill seeker who needs bigger and bigger thrills to get the "kick" he is looking for.
 
Now, Jesus contrasts these "substitutes" with the real thing--- the experience of God's Love and the experience of His peace and joy. He keeps assuring us that we give up nothing when we give up our illusions. When we look honestly at our lives, which is what he asks us to do, we will see that "Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it, until you see a different purpose there. The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none." (W.128.2.1-3) Only what is eternal has value and anything that is not eternal is valueless and brings us more pain and guilt.
 
Jesus asks us to "Be speeded on your way by honesty, and let not your experiences here deceive in retrospect. They were not free from bitter cost and joyless consequence." (T.30.V.9.11-12) (ACIM OE T.30.VI.65)
 
"Do not look back except in honesty. And when an idol tempts you, think of this: There never was a time an idol brought you anything except the 'gift' of guilt. Not one was bought except at cost of pain, nor was it ever paid by you alone." (T.30.V.10.1-4) (ACIM OE T.30.VI.66-67)
 
Nothing will be taken away from us. Nothing happens against our will. We are only invited to contrast what the eternal gifts are with those the world offers. There is nothing we need to give up. In fact, we can give them over for a different purpose. For example, our home, which I once referred to as a gilded cage, is now being used by the Holy Spirit for His purposes. My computer is being used to communicate His messages. My body can be used by Him to give love, as can my car, my money, and everything else I think of as mine. The question is always, "What is it for?" Increasingly, I simply find things of no interest that I once found pleasurable. I no longer find shopping "fun." I don't have the interest I once had in traveling to exotic places. I have lost my interest in concerts and plays, for the most part, and movies and books are no longer used as a distraction, except for watching the mind with Holy Spirit.
 
I no longer want to depend on myself to solve problems. I realize I can know what is given by the Holy Spirit when I turn to Him for answers. My trust in His answers has grown considerably. Are we being asked to give up what we still think we want? Should we feel guilty if we look for an escape in the movies? Absolutely not. It is not helpful to deny ourselves what we still think we want and to feel guilty when we indulge in our worldly " pleasures. " Eventually, we will see, "It is the price that must be paid for the denial of truth." (M.13.5.3) In other words, we pay the price in fear and lack of peace when we deny the truth of what we are. It is the sacrifice of love, ". . . which must be paid by fear." (T.15.X.6.8) (ACIM OE T.15.X.98)
 
There is a wonderful passage in the Manual, Section 13, "What is the Real Meaning of Sacrifice?" In this Section, Jesus acknowledges, "It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give." (Manual.13.2.1) Every time we make a decision for anything in the world, we are sacrificing our real joy. The joy is always there, waiting for us to accept it, but it requires that we see it is the only thing we truly desire. "And as illusions go I find the gifts illusions tried to hide, awaiting me in shining welcome, and in readiness to give God's ancient messages to me." (W.322.1.2) Until we experience this, we will question the truth of it. Jesus continually reminds us of how beautiful this experience of joy is, and tells us, "I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny." (T.11.VI.6) (ACIM OE T.10.VII.61)
 
When we step outside the dream, we will see what we are holding onto is nothing but what is hurtful to us. We are holding onto a self that does not even exist. We don't give up the forms of this world but our thought system behind them based on the purpose they hold for us.

Love and blessings, Sarah  
   
ACIM Original Edition
IX. Changeless Reality

89 Appearances deceive but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearances, you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.
 
90 The miracle is means to demonstrate that all appearances can change because they are appearances and cannot have the changelessness reality entails. The miracle attests salvation from appearances by showing they can change. Your brother has a changelessness in him beyond appearance and deception both. It is obscured by changing views of him which you perceive as his reality. The happy dream about him takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form because it can so easily be changed. This demonstrates that it was never real and could not stem from his reality. For that is changeless and has no effects which anything in Heaven or on earth could ever alter. But appearances are shown to be unreal because they change.
 
91 What is temptation but a wish to make illusions real? It does not seem to be the wish that no reality be so. Yet it is an assertion that some forms of idols have a powerful appeal which makes them harder to resist than those you would not want to have reality. Temptation, then, is nothing more than this-a prayer the miracle touch not some dreams but keep their unreality obscure and give to them reality instead. And Heaven gives no answer to the prayer, nor can a miracle be given you to heal appearances you do not like. You have established limits. What you ask is given you, but not of God Who knows no limits. You have limited yourself.
 
92 Reality is changeless. Miracles but show what you have interposed between reality and your awareness is unreal and does not interfere at all. The cost of the belief there must be some appearances beyond the hope of change is that the miracle cannot come forth from you consistently. For you have asked it be withheld from power to heal all dreams. There is no miracle you cannot have when you desire healing. But there is no miracle that can be given you unless you want it. Choose what you would heal, and He Who gives all miracles has not been given freedom to bestow His gifts upon God's Son. When he is tempted, he denies reality. And he becomes the willing slave of what he chose instead.
 
93 Because reality is changeless is a miracle already there to heal all things that change and offer them to you to see in happy form, devoid of fear. It will be given you to look upon your brother thus. But not while you would have it otherwise in some respects. For this but means you would not have him healed and whole. The Christ in him is perfect. Is it this that you would look upon? Then let there be no dreams about him which you would prefer to seeing this. And you will see the Christ in him because you let Him come to you. And when He has appeared to you, you will be certain you are like Him, for He is the changeless in your brother and in you.
 
94 This will you look upon when you decide there is not one appearance you would hold in place of what your brother really is. Let no temptation to prefer a dream allow uncertainty to enter here. Be not made guilty and afraid when you are tempted by a dream of what he is. But do not give it power to replace the changeless in him in your sight of him. There is no false appearance but will fade if you request a miracle instead. There is no pain from which he is not free if you would have him be but what he is. Why should you fear to see the Christ in him? You but behold your Self in what you see. As he is healed are you made free of guilt, for his appearance is your own to you.

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