Lesson 324
A Way You Go Together
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23 Forgive your brother all appearances, which are but ancient lessons that you taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead, would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey's goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning's outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.  
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CHAPTER 31 II, 13-25
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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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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 324
I merely follow, for I would not lead.
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    Father, You are the One Who gave the plan
    for my salvation to me. You have set
    the way I am to go, the role to take,
    and every step in my appointed path.
    I cannot lose the way. I can but choose
    to wander off a while, and then return.
    Your loving Voice will always call me back,
    and guide my feet aright. My brothers all
    can follow in the way I lead them. Yet
    I merely follow on the way to You,
    as You direct me and would have me go.
   So let us follow One Who knows the way.
   We need not tarry, and we cannot stray
   except an instant from His loving hand.
   We walk together, for we follow Him.
   And it is He Who makes the ending sure,
   and guarantees a safe returning home.
        ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
I merely follow, for I would not lead.

Sarah's Commentary:  
There is a beautiful paragraph in Lesson 135 that says, "What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life." (W.135.18.1-4)
When we "choose to wander off" (W.324.1.4) our appointed path, when we follow our dictates, and when we listen to the voice of the ego, we tarry and stray, yet we are assured that this is no cause for concern because we will return. "Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright." (W.324.1.5) We find many ways to delay, to follow our own will, to try to solve problems in our lives our way, to become involved in the events of the world based on what we believe needs to be done, to take sides in a debate whose purpose is to conquer, and to divert ourselves with distractions from the path. Thus, we wander off, sometimes for short intervals and sometimes for a long time, perhaps even lifetimes, yet we are told that we will be called back to this path of awakening and to the Christ Self.
Have you had that experience where you left your spiritual discipline for a time, and something called you to come back? I know it has happened to me where I seemed to be highly motivated and very committed and then had become involved in distractions and had fallen away from my daily practice. I invariably returned to the Lessons when my life started to feel very unsatisfying, or a major challenge showed up. My desire for help strengthened my commitment, dedication, and motivation to get back on the path.
At some point, we come to the realization that God is our only goal. Increasingly, we see that there is no reason for involvement in dramas that are going on around us. It is easy to get caught up in the world, yet increasingly we see that there is a better way. "In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can be no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible, and to ensure no answer will be plain. A problem set in conflict has no answer, for it is seen in different ways." (T.27.IV.1-3) (ACIM OE T.27.V.36)
Our way always brings pain. The longer we are with this teaching, the more irrelevant the distractions of the world become and the more miserable we feel when we stray from the path. Everything becomes stressful and difficult, and we feel victimized by events, forgetting that our mind is the cause of everything that seems to happen to us. Then, we look for those who will support our perspectives, and we get deeper and deeper into distress.
There are things to be done in the world, but it is important to understand that regardless what occupies our time and attention, our primary function here is the healing of our mind so that we can be a demonstration of His love in the world. Thus, we must accept Atonement for ourselves, so we can become a clear channel of God's love as we go about our busy doings. It is about following in the way appointed us because when we think that we know what to do by listening to the guidance of the ego, we contribute to the problem. We can be grateful there is Someone in our mind Who is in charge, and thus, we choose to take the second place to gain the first. As long as we want to be number one, we push God out and try to take charge ourselves; but we have seen that the ego only leads us further into pain.
Jesus tells us, the only way to heal is to be healed. "The miracle extends without your help, but you are needed that it can begin. Accept the miracle of healing, and it will go forth because of what it is. It is its nature to extend itself the instant it is born. And it is born the instant it is offered and received. No one can ask another to be healed. But he can let himself be healed, and thus offer the other what he has received." (T.27.V.1.2-7) (ACIM OE T.27.VI.44) That is our responsibility here---to do the healing so the miracle can extend through us. Healing in this world is always about surrendering our beliefs, our perspectives, our values, our fears, and our control and being willing to follow His guidance. When we come to see that all our interpretations are wrong, we willingly turn to the Holy Spirit to give us His interpretation.
"You may wonder how you can be at peace when, while you are in time, there is so much that must be done before the way to peace is open. Perhaps that seems impossible to you. But ask yourself if it is possible that God would have a plan for your salvation that does not work. Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill. As that was given you, so will its fulfillment be. God's guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency. It rests on you. And what can be more certain than a Son of God." (T.20.IV.8.1-12) (ACIM OE T.20.V.36)
This passage encourages us and motivates us to turn away from the ego and turn within to the truth. With that kind of promise and commitment from God through the Holy Spirit (the symbol of God's love placed in our right mind), why would we want to delay? Why would we want to go our own way? Where has it taken us? How much peace and joy have we found? Today is a day to recommit ourselves to our practice. Forgiveness is the way home. It is to watch our thoughts for any temptation to see ourselves as victimized. We remember that every gift we give, we only give to ourselves. As Lesson 297 says, "Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give I give myself. This is salvation's simple formula." (W.297.1.1-3) Accepting Atonement for ourselves is the way home. Anything else is truly a useless journey. "So let us follow One Who knows the way." (W.324.2.1) If we do, we cannot lose the way. And for this, we can be truly grateful that we don't need to walk this path alone.
You might want to practice this Lesson by looking at something in your day, perhaps a situation or a relationship where you have an agenda, or you have set expectations of how things should be for you to be happy. When you do, notice that you are following your own guidance. We can be grateful that we are not in charge because our way will never bring us the joy and happiness available to us when we follow His guidance. We resist guidance when we want to be in control, but there is no freedom in our sorry little kingdom. "Would you remain within your tiny kingdom, a sorry king, a bitter ruler of all that he surveys, who looks on nothing yet who would still die to defend it?" (T.18.VIII.7.5) (ACIM OE T.18.IX.77)
Jesus tells us, in Lesson 47, if we are trusting in our own strength, we have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious, and fearful. "What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on?" (W.47.1.2-3) As he says in the Manual for Teachers: "Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?" (M.4.I.2.2) (ACIM OE M.4.4) Why do we stubbornly hold onto our control when such power is within us? "What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?" (W.47.1.5) Clearly, with the ego as our guide, we cannot give this guarantee. All that is guaranteed is that we will experience fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. As Jesus says, we can't put our faith in our weakness and still feel safe. When we turn to God and ask within for what to do, where to go, what to say, or how to see a situation, then we can be confident that the Answer is always given to every seeming problem.
The truth is within. We have a Guide Who will lead us home when we turn to Him. This loving Voice in us will always call us back when we wander off. We are being called to come out of this dream; and we do so by joining in purpose with our brothers and sisters, recognizing we can extend the peace and kindness in us to everyone we meet so we can know that it is in us. Thus, we no longer walk alone, but we walk together with everyone, recognizing we are all the same. Everyone is innocent regardless of what it looks like in the world. Everyone carries the same spark. They may not be aware of it, and thus, they do not realize they have a choice. We can be an example of that choice.
Notice those times when you put yourself in charge today and commit to surrendering your will. Yes, we may get off the path occasionally, but we know the steps we need to take to get back so we can keep moving forward. When you feel strong resistance, ask for help instead of succumbing to it. He is always there and willing to help us with any problem. However, if we are not ready for that, Jesus says that we should not force ourselves when resistance is strong. At such times, the answer may be to just be gentle with ourselves and take a break. The encouraging thing is that Jesus is always gently and lovingly reminding us that we simply cannot lose the way. We can only wander off a while.

Love and blessings, Sarah

A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Thirty One

The Simplicity of Salvation   
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CHAPTER 31 II, 13-25
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II. The Illusion of an Enemy 
13 An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known nor fought against to lose to truth's appeal. There is no battle which must be prepared, no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?
14 Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish, you set two choices to be made each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made that this might be obscured to you.
15 What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.
16 Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader's role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.
17 And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose, you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you, it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost.
But hear the other, and you join with him, and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.
18 Before you answer, pause to think of this:
19 The answer that I give my brother is 
    What I am asking for. And what I learn 
    Of him is what I learn about myself.
20 Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.
21 Because he is your equal in God's love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.
22 Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want and that were never true.
23 Forgive your brother all appearances, which are but ancient lessons that you taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead, would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey's goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning's outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.
24 An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want and needs the same as you. It takes perhaps a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purpose-that you both may learn you love each other with a brother's love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself.
25 Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.
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