Lesson 322
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You Are An Aspect of Infinity
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
 
CH 31 "THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION"
I. INTRODUCTION 
 
9 There is no living thing which does not share the universal will that it be whole and that you do not leave its call unheard. Without your answer is it left to die, as it is saved from death when you have heard its calling as the ancient call to life and understood that it is but your own. The Christ in you remembers God with all the certainty with which He knows His love. But only if His Son is innocent can He be Love. For God were fear indeed if he whom He created innocent could be a slave to guilt. God's perfect Son remembers his creation. But in guilt he has forgotten what he really is.   
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
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WHAT IS CREATION?
What is Creation
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*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
   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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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 give up is fear. We fear giving up control and the identity we have established for ourselves. Since the ego has convinced us that we stole our individuality by killing God, our fear is that it will now be payback time. He will rise up and 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 and you deserve to die as punishment for your sin.
 
This may sound drastic but this is how much we value our specialness. "Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth." (T.24.VI.11.4-5) (ACIM T.24.VII.59)
 
To surrender to God, we fear we will have to sacrifice everything we hold as important in our lives. 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 value on brings suffering. What we struggle 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 we are God's Son?
 
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 that 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 you go about your day today, ask yourself: What do I really want? Will it bring me the deep peace I say I desire? 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? Will going out to shop for another piece of clothing bring me a deep sense of peace and joy? Is that vacation in the sun the answer to my need for peace and happiness?
 
Are we called to give it all up for God? No, that would feel like sacrifice as long as we still want it and still 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 tells us, in giving up our investment in illusion, we are sacrificing nothing but the fearful 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 helping us to 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 will make us happy. He is, instead, helping us to 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 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 after my year-long retreat in Sedona, 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, but only for watching the mind with Holy Spirit.
 
I no longer want to depend on myself to solve problems. I trust what is given to me 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." (Manual for Teachers.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 for Teachers, 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." (M.13.2.1) Every time we make a decision for anything in the world, we sacrifice our real joy. The joy is always there, waiting for us to accept it, but it requires that we see it as 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 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 and look with the Holy Spirit, we see that what we hold onto is hurtful to us. We hold onto an image of the self that does not even exist. We hold onto a world that is not "out there," but only in our own mind. We don't give up the forms of this world, but we use them now for the Holy Spirit's purpose.

Love and blessings, Sarah
huemmert@shaw.ca 

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A Course in Miracles
TEXT
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Thirty One

The Simplicity of Salvation   
 
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CHAPTER 31 I, 1-12
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I. Introduction 

1
How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now and never will be. The impossible has not occurred and can have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is false cannot be true, and what is true cannot be false? You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other and just what to do if you become confused. Why then do you persist in learning not such simple things?
 
2 There is a reason. But confuse it not with difficulty in the simple things salvation asks you learn. It teaches but the very obvious. It merely goes from one apparent lesson to the next in easy steps which lead you gently from one to another with no strain at all. This cannot be confusing, yet you are confused. For somehow you believe that what is totally confused is easier to learn and understand. What you have taught yourselves is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible. But you accomplished it because you wanted to and did not pause in diligence to judge it hard to learn, or too complex to grasp.
 
3 No one who understands what you have learned, how carefully you have learned it, and the pains to which you went to practice and repeat the lessons endlessly in every form you could conceive of them could ever doubt the power of your learning skill. There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by it and even now depends on nothing else. The lessons you have taught yourselves have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you, and even you are someone else.
 
4 Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy? Yet you have learned more than this. You have continued, taking every step, however difficult, without complaint until a world was built that suited you. And every lesson that makes up the world arises from the first accomplishment of learning-an enormity so great the Holy Spirit's Voice seems small and still before its magnitude. The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourselves the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you!
 
5 Learning is an ability you made and gave yourselves. It was not made to do the Will of God but to uphold a wish that It could be opposed, and that a will apart from It was yet more real than It. And this has learning sought to demonstrate, and you have learned what it was made to teach. Now does your ancient overlearning stand implacable before the Voice of truth and teach you that Its lessons are not true, too hard to learn, too difficult to see, and too opposed to what is really true. Yet you will learn them, for their learning is the only purpose for your learning skill the Holy Spirit sees in all the world. His simple lessons in forgiveness have a power mightier than yours because they call from God and from your Self to you.
 
6 Is this a little Voice, so small and still It cannot rise above the senseless noise of sounds which have no meaning? God willed not His Son forget Him. And the power of His Will is in the Voice that speaks for Him. Which lesson will you learn? What outcome is inevitable, sure as God, and far beyond all doubt and question? Can it be your little learning, strange in outcome and incredible in difficulty, will withstand the simple lessons being taught to you in every moment of each day, since time began and learning had been made?
 
7 The lessons to be learned are only two. Each has its outcome in a different world. And each world follows surely from its source. The certain outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety you can make that ever will succeed. There is no joy that you can seek for here and hope to find. Yet this is not the only outcome which your learning can produce. However much you may have overlearned your chosen task, the lesson which reflects the love of God is stronger still. And you will learn God's Son is innocent and see another world.
 
8 The outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft, eternal calling of each part of God's creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.
 
9 There is no living thing which does not share the universal will that it be whole and that you do not leave its call unheard. Without your answer is it left to die, as it is saved from death when you have heard its calling as the ancient call to life and understood that it is but your own. The Christ in you remembers God with all the certainty with which He knows His love. But only if His Son is innocent can He be Love. For God were fear indeed if he whom He created innocent could be a slave to guilt. God's perfect Son remembers his creation. But in guilt he has forgotten what he really is.
 
10 The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God's love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world! You do not understand Who calls to you beyond each form of hate, each call to war. Yet you will recognize Him as you give Him answer in the language that He calls. He will appear when you have answered Him, and you will know in Him that God is Love.
 
11 What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn and have an outcome that you do not want? It is the recognition that it is a state of mind unwanted that becomes the means whereby the choice is reassessed; another outcome seen to be preferred. You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. Hear not the call for this within yourself. But listen, rather, to the deeper call beyond it that appeals for peace and joy. And all the world will give you joy and peace. For as you hear, you answer. And behold! Your answer is the proof of what you learned. Its outcome is the world you look upon.
 
12 Let us be still an instant and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception which we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away. Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do we know him not. But you are free to learn of him and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live, as you are free because an ancient learning passed away and left a place for truth to be reborn.
 
 
 
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