Lesson 323
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
 
CH 31 "THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION"
I. INTRODUCTION 
 
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.    
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CHAPTER 31 I, 1-12
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSON
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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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSON
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L e s s o n 323
I gladly make the "sacrifice" of fear.
 
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    Here is the only 'sacrifice' You ask
    of Your beloved Son; You ask him to
    give up all suffering, all sense of loss
    and sadness, all anxiety and doubt,
    and freely let Your Love come streaming in
    to his awareness, healing him of pain,
    and giving him Your own eternal joy.
    Such is the 'sacrifice' You ask of me,
    and one I gladly make; the only 'cost'
    of restoration of Your memory
    to me, for the salvation of the world.
 
   And as we pay the debt we owe to truth
   a debt which merely is the letting-go
   of self-deceptions and of images
   we worshiped falsely truth returns to us
   in wholeness and in joy. We are deceived
   no longer. Love has now returned to our
   awareness. And we are at peace again,
   for fear has gone, and only Love remains.
 
        ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 323
I gladly make the "sacrifice" of fear.

  
Sarah's Commentary:  
 
What do we give up when we release guilt and fear? Jesus says that we give up suffering, sadness, a sense of loss, anxiety, and doubt. Is that a sacrifice? Would we not willingly want to release the pain and suffering that we experience in our lives? Yes, we certainly would if we recognized that guilt and fear are at the core of all our dreams. Until we do, we are deceived. We think that we are giving up something valuable. We are giving up being right about who we are and what the world is. What stops us is that we want to be in control. We like to be in charge of our lives, even at the cost of our peace and happiness.
 
We have not understood what makes us free "nor where to look to find it." (W.321.1.1) We think we know what we need to make us feel safe and happy. Jesus tells us that fear is at the core of all our dreams in this world. When we start to recognize that this is the case, we realize that it is all a mistake, but to get to this point, we must look at the thought system that has given rise to the separation. We must look at all the beliefs and values we hold and the self-concepts we cling to. We must start to realize that we have bought into a story that is not true. This process of undoing is not readily achieved because it means letting go of our attachment to everything in this world, including our own identity. It is just an image that contains a name with which we identify and a body we think is ourselves, separate from others, limited, needy, constantly seeking, constantly afraid, and thus highly defended.
 
How willing are we to recognize that holding onto judgments, opinions, values, our specialness, our defenses, and even our anger brings us pain? Perhaps to some extent we do. We judge some of our thoughts as "bad" and hurtful, but we also believe that we have a lot of "good" thoughts that we value highly. We think that we are right about our opinions, and we defend what we think. We justify our perspectives and give evidence for our positions, but anything based on a desire for separateness, specialness, exclusion, or aloneness is not of God.
 
Jesus recognizes that it can be fearful for us to learn that all we base our lives on does not exist. That is why there is so much resistance to this teaching. But we are in charge of our own journey and do not have to fear that we will be hurled into Heaven. Our progress is under our own control. We will go as quickly or slowly as our fear will allow. Jesus is simply helping us to see the cost of holding onto our fear. He reminds us, "It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give. What can the sacrifice of nothing mean?" (Manual for Teachers.13.2.1-2)
 
In our identification with our bodies and personalities, our lives are ruled by fear. Until we become aware of who we really are and remember that we have been given everything, there will be fear. Fear obscures the love that is there all the time. Why are we so frightened of abundance, of success, of joy, of greatness, or of intimacy? We are afraid because we feel unworthy of love. We judge ourselves as not deserving. Our belief in guilt and punishment takes precedence, and our biggest fear is the loss of the self that we have accepted as what we are. We have come to accept our lives of loss, failure, suffering, scarcity, and finally death. "How lovely do the laws of fear make death appear." (T.23.II.15.7) (ACIM OE T.23.III.33) For all of us, there is an attraction to death, lurking behind our fears that makes death seem like a lovely option because we associate it with peace.
 
Fear keeps us from being playful, intimate, joyful, open, and loving. We hide behind the images that we have made, which we think keep us safe. We keep our secrets hidden lest we be judged. We hide "shameful" thoughts, believing they are the truth about us. We keep ourselves small and afraid of moving to a new level. With each step we take to bring the darkness into the light, our confidence is renewed that there truly is nothing to fear. As the internal conflict in our minds is brought to healing, we get external evidence in our lives of more peace. It is not because things change in the world, but we change our mind about them. We no longer engage in the conflict. We look out from a place of greater peace, and the world witnesses that peace back to us. That is what forgiveness is all about. That is what brings more flow and greater giftedness to our lives.
 
This Lesson can really make us wonder at the insanity of the ego. How can we want to hold onto suffering? And yet we do. We choose to hold onto our sense of loss, sadness, anxieties, worries, and any number of forms of fear. Why? For one thing, we think that it is thrust upon us, and there is nothing we can do about it. We believe that we are the victims of what others have done to us. For another, we believe that we deserve to suffer for what we perceive we have done. And finally, we find something of value in it. Otherwise, we would let it go because we have the power to do so. "Look upon it, open-eyed, and you will nevermore believe that you are at the mercy of things beyond you, forces you cannot control, and thoughts that come to you against your will." (T.19.IV.D.7.4) (ACIM OE T.19.V.d.96) Everything we hold onto is in our own mind.
 
A dear friend recently wrote to me about the beliefs he was holding. He said he felt he was beyond forgiveness, beyond redemption, and deserved eternal damnation. He got in touch with his belief that he had taken from God and had murdered Him. Then the belief came to his awareness that the fall from grace and the separation was totally his fault, and with that came great shame and unworthiness, which awakened the self-hatred and compounded the guilt tenfold and thus brought even more self-hatred.
 
While this is painful to experience, with this recognition came great healing because he realized that he was trying to handle his own ego all these years. He was trying to handle the torturer in his own mind, and that can never bring resolution. In that recognition, he turned over his beliefs in scarcity, loss, and death and placed them at the feet of Jesus. As Jesus reminds us in Chapter 4, "Leave the 'sins' of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt." (T.4.IV.5.2-5) (ACIM OE T.4.V.61) Then he says, "This need not be." (T.4.IV.5.2-6) (ACIM OE T.4.V.61)
 
Our thoughts torture us, and in giving over these thoughts, we find the peace within. In accepting the healing into our minds, we can know our innocence. There is nothing outside our minds. In his case, he was grieving a perceived loss---a shattered dream---and lived in the trap of those thoughts. In that process, he could not accept his innocence, but, instead, he was projecting his beliefs in loss, grief, scarcity, and death onto the character in his dream, who seemed to be the cause of how he was feeling.
 
All that is called for is a willingness to claim our innocence. When we hold onto our story, our agendas, and our indulgences, we are not deciding for Heaven. With willingness, we take the hand of Jesus and together we go into the darkness and bring our dark and self-condemning thoughts to the light of truth. We need help. "You can never control the effects of fear yourself, because you made fear, and you believe in what you made." (T.1.VI.4.2) (ACIM OE T.1.I.93) Thus, our part is not to do the healing ourselves because the ego will never undo itself. Our part is simply to be willing to look at our thoughts that are fear-based and bring them to the truth. The rest is in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
 
It seems like a no-brainer to "gladly make the 'sacrifice' of fear," (W.323) which allows God's Love to "come streaming in to his awareness." (W.323.1) However, resistance is strong. We think God asks sacrifice of us. We think we must pay off our debt to Him. We are told in the Bible that God asked His only Son, Jesus, to be sacrificed and to die a horrible death. The image in our minds is that we too must pay off a debt to him. We do that all the time in our relationships, don't we? We think that when we have done something hurtful, we must atone to the one we hurt. We need to find a way to make up for what we did. In the same way, we think that we must do something to atone with God to restore the relationship, but here Jesus says that this is not the case. We have been dreaming, and nothing real has happened. We can simply awaken to the truth of who we are, and to do that, he only asks one thing of us. He only asks that we give up our fear and self- condemnation and accept our innocence. When we do so, we sacrifice nothing that we would want to keep.
 
Do you notice how you hold onto your suffering, sadness, anxiety, worries, doubt thoughts, and any number of fear thoughts? We are the maker of these thoughts, and therefore only we can choose to release them. Holding onto them blocks the love that God wants to have come streaming into our awareness; although, holding onto these painful, distressing thoughts maintains that we are right about the way we see a situation. To maintain our individuality and specialness, we have been willing to pay the price of suffering. It truly makes no sense to keep our fear thoughts when all we are doing is keeping love out. All God asks of us is to give Him our suffering. Is that a sacrifice? We can only benefit ourselves and thus the world.
 
Our entire journey in this world is about the undoing of fear. Then we can accept our innocence, which is an essential part of the Atonement. Where does this fear come from? The Course tells us, "All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God." (T.2.I.4.1) (ACIM OE T.2.I.15) That is the foundation of it all. Of course, it is not something of which we are consciously aware. We have chosen to forget. We fear that we have changed our very nature, disrupted Heaven, and made a self in opposition to God. It is only a fearful dream.
 
Now, we have a choice to make as to how quickly we are ready to release our fearful thoughts and our stories. In other words, how motivated are we? "If a light is suddenly turned on while someone is dreaming a fearful dream, he may initially interpret the light itself as part of his dream and be afraid of it." (T.2.1.4.6) (ACIM OE T.2.I.15) The truth about ourselves is that we are only love and nothing else. Anything else we think we are is only a dream and an illusion about ourselves. "The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death." (T.23.IV.1.2) (ACIM OE T.23.V.47) It is fear of love.
 
This Lesson is powerful and can be applied to any thoughts taking precedence in our mind today. Look at the thoughts you are obsessing about. What is at the core of those thoughts? In other words, what is the content behind them? Is it fear, unworthiness, hate, or frustration? Bring this content to light so that it can be dissolved. It takes great willingness and lots of discipline and practice to do this work, but the only "cost" to you is the "sacrifice" of fear. Notice any resistance to giving up these thoughts and recognize that the resistance is about justifying why you should feel the way you do; it is the story running in your mind. This need not be. We can make a choice today, with every fear thought that crosses our minds, to accept the Atonement (Correction), and thus, the love, peace, and joy that is within can return to our awareness.

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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