Lesson 326
You Choose how better to deceive
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40 There is a choice which you have power to make when you have seen the real alternatives. Until that point is reached, you have no choice, and you can but decide how you would choose the better to deceive yourself again. This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. All choices in the world depend on this---you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when the lesson's purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost and what he gains is what is given you.    
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CHAPTER 31 IV, 33-42
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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 326
I am forever an effect of God.
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    Father, I was created in Your Mind,
    a holy Thought that never left its home.
    I am forever Your Effect, and You
    forever and forever are my Cause.
    As You created me I have remained.
    Where You established me I still abide,
    and all Your attributes abide in me,
    because it is Your Will to have a Son
    so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect
    are indistinguishable. Let me know
    that I am an Effect of God, and so
    I have the power to create like Him.
    And as it is in Heaven, so on earth.
    His plan I follow here, and at the end
    I know that God will gather His Effects
    into the tranquil Heaven of His Love,
    where earth will disappear, and separate things
    unite in glory as the Son of God.
   Let us today behold earth disappear,
   at first transformed, and then, forgiven, fade
   entirely into God's holy Will.
        ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
I am forever an Effect of God.

Sarah's Commentary:  

This Lesson reminds us that we, as a holy Thought in God's Mind, have never left our holy home. We are forever His Effect. We are His Creation. "Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit." (W.PII.Q11.What is Creation?1.1) "As You created me I have remained." (W.326.1.3) We have all His characteristics. Nothing about what we are is unlike God except whatever we have conjured up in our own imagination that we think we are instead.The body and personality with which we identify are not what we are.
When we release our mistaken ideas about ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we experience a reflection of our true Self as created by God. It requires acceptance of the Correction (Atonement). Despite what we may think of ourselves, the truth is that there is nothing we can do or have done to change God's creation. In other words, we have not changed the truth about ourselves because we can't change what God created. It is very reassuring to know that we are still the pristine, pure, holy, and divine Sons of God. There is nothing we have done that has changed the truth no matter how we think we have screwed up or what mistakes we have made. We have not made ourselves into "something else." We need not hold onto guilt and self-punishment for what we believe we have done. We need only take responsibility for the error, but only for the Correction. Our innocence is here now.
We watched a beautiful movie called Sun Chaser, which illustrates how guilt from the past drove a young doctor to close his heart and take on a self-concept that reflected self-hate. His journey was about forgiving himself as he journeyed through his darkness. It required great honesty where he came to express his anger, which had been held contained in his persona that he reflected to the world.
Today's Lesson is very much like Lesson 67, "Love created me like Itself" a statement of what we are that is described as "complete and accurate. This is why you are the light of the world." (W.67.1.1-2) Jesus says that this is why our reality and our nature is wholly unchanged and unchangeable. We are asked to release everything we have accepted about ourselves that blocks this truth. Everything that we have come to think we are is false. We are not what we call ourselves. We are not our bodies. We are not our thoughts. We are not our personalities, nor the concepts and beliefs we hold about ourselves. We cannot suffer and die. Our minds are simply preoccupied with false thoughts, beliefs, concepts, and images that we have chosen to believe.
In Chapter 7, in Section I, "The Last Step," (T.7.I) (ACIM OE T.7.I."Introduction") Jesus reminds us that we all see ourselves as outside of the Kingdom, so it is hard for us to imagine we have never left our home with God. How can we, as a Thought in the mind of God, ever leave our Source? It would mean that this thought would have to be released from God's Mind. We need the experience of the holy instant so we can have a glimpse of our wholeness. It is an instant of transcendence where we recognize that the ego is not who we are. You may want to check out Chapter 15.IV that speaks of practicing the holy instant where specific instructions are given us by Jesus on how we can be released from littleness.
Jesus reminds us that we are too afraid of God---too afraid of Love---so our awakening to reality is preceded by the happy dream. All our practice of the Lessons is to experience the miracle and thus to facilitate awakening from the dream. The miracle shifts our perception from fearful dreams to gentle dreams. With each experience, our motivation increases until, at the end, we can have the confidence and assurance that "You will gather Your effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love." (W.326.1.8). This is such a beautiful image of our homecoming after having wandered off from the tranquility of our home in God.
We are not these discrete and limited beings. We are One with God. "We seem to be discrete, and unaware of our eternal unity with Him." (W.PII.Q11.4.2) Yet we can become aware of what we are as we take the steps laid out for us. We have been given a step-by-step process to go past all our doubts and fears, moment by moment, to experience peace and joy and be restored to sanity. Certainty is of God. In this world, nothing is certain. Our notion of what love is can turn to anger and hate in an instant. The closest reflection of love in this world is forgiveness.
With each forgiving thought, we recognize that we are not separate. When we forgive, we recognize the innocence of our brother, and thus, we recognize our own. "Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love." (T.13.VI.I0.3-4) (ACIM OE T.12.VI.54) It is encouraging to know that love, innocence, and joy are already in us. As we extend them to our brothers, we know we have them in us to give. It is a decision to step back from our reactive inclination to attack and make a choice instead to forgive our misperceptions and turn to the Holy Spirit to ask for His interpretation in place of our own. This does take discipline of the mind. It means to have constant vigilance on behalf of God and the Kingdom and to step away from the ego mind, which counsels us against our own best interests.
Even the thought in my mind that someone has done something wrong and that they are guilty must be seen as an attack. Even the thought in my mind that something outside of me is the reason for how I am feeling needs correction. For example, we are currently renovating our bathroom. There are many decisions to be made such as determining which tiles to pick along with all the other decisions. I was starting to get frustrated and overwhelmed with the process and angry about having to take responsibility for all these decisions. I noticed how much I was making this a problem instead of an opportunity. I became aware of my thoughts and stepped back and asked the Holy Spirit to please make this easy for me. At the very next tile store, along came an angel, who beautifully guided us through the process, and all was made truly easy. Such events help me to recognize the constant presence of Help, always there. We just need to pay attention and follow the joy. We are not an effect of the ego. We truly are an effect of God. What that means is there need not be any anxiety or worry. We can rest in the knowledge that everything is unfolding perfectly for our highest good.
With each prayer, we make a personal appeal to our own decision-making minds to open to the experience of God's power, and that power is simply the power to extend love here on earth. How do we manifest this power? We extend love and blessings to everyone we meet---not by our own volition, but with the willingness and desire to know their innocence. We see that we are the same with every brother. We choose to see the innocence and beauty in everyone. We see the Christ, but that is not something that can be manufactured. We are often triggered by circumstances, people, and events in our lives, and we may react with anger, frustration, and judgment. Since this world is a classroom for healing, we have a choice to either act on those feelings that are triggered in us or become aware of our unhealed pain and ask for help. This is an opportunity to investigate the beliefs we hold that do not serve us. It is not to judge ourselves, but simply to notice.
Isn't it reassuring to know that we can't determine what we are? God is the Cause, and we are His effect. Nothing can change that. Nothing we have done makes any difference to the truth. The truth simply shines forth, waiting for us to acknowledge that this is so. "Cause and its effects are indistinguishable," (W.326.1.5) meaning we simply cannot be distinguished from our Source. We have all of God's attributes. We are divine beings with the power to create the same as His power to create. When I join with a brother or sister and connect at a deep level, experiencing the joy, peace, and compassion of true joining, I know that it is not Sarah's personality, the dream figure, that can do anything. It is the truth of the Self, shining through this body and used by Spirit as a communication device. This requires me to surrender my way, my control, and my defenses. The connection between two souls is truly the power of divinity shining through the eyes. The awareness that sees through you is the same awareness that sees through my eyes.
In our experience on this earth, we can be clear mirrors, reflecting Heaven. "Your plan I follow here, and at the end I know that You will gather Your effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love, where earth will vanish, and all separate thoughts unite in glory as the Son of God." (W.326.1.8) While we seem to be here, we have just one function, which is forgiveness, until we come to true perception and the real world. In the end, there will be no more need to be in this earthly classroom any longer, and we will then disappear into God. "Let us today behold earth disappear, at first transformed, and then forgiven, fade entirely into God's holy Will." (W.326.2.1) In other words, when we come to the end of our journey here, our experience is transformed into the happy dream because our mind is now the clear reflection of God's Love. We are then lifted up to Heaven as God takes the Last Step. That is the case when our unhealed thoughts are all brought to truth. Now our worldly classroom is no longer needed.
Today, we ask our Father to help us to know that we can never leave Him. Let us use every opportunity to watch our thoughts and challenge them so we don't act on them when they come from anger, judgment, frustration, superiority, worry, and anxiety. We acknowledge and feel the pain of our experiences in the world, but wewillingly give up the idea that trying to change or control anything will bring peace. All this does is cover over the unhealed pain that we are trying to distract ourselves from. Denying and repressing the pain, in the desire to be positive, will not help. It must be investigated so we can uncover the beliefs we are holding and give them over to the Holy Spirit for healing. It is all part of the mind training that brings us back to the Self we are.
Love and blessings, Sarah

A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Thirty One

The Simplicity of Salvation   
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CHAPTER 31 IV, 33-42
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IV. The Real Alternative 
33 There is a tendency to think the world can offer consolation and escape from problems which its purpose is to keep. Why should this be? Because it is a place where choice among illusions seems to be the only choice. And you are in control of outcomes of your choosing. Thus you think within the narrow band from birth to death a little time is given you to use for you alone, a time when everyone conflicts with you, but you can choose which road will lead you out of conflict and away from difficulties which concern you not. Yet they are your concern. How then can you escape from them by leaving them behind? What must go with you, you will take with you whatever road you choose to walk along.
34 Real choice is no illusion. But the world has none to offer. All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness, and death. There is no choice in its alternatives. Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped. Be not deceived by all the different names its roads are given. They have but one end. And each is but the means to gain that end, for it is here that all its roads will lead, however differently they seem to start, however differently they seem to go. Their end is certain, for there is no choice among them. All of them will lead to death. On some you travel gaily for a while before the bleakness enters. And on some the thorns are felt at once. The choice is not what will the ending be but when it comes.
35 There is no choice where every end is sure. Perhaps you would prefer to try them all before you really learn they are but one. The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another. Men have died on seeing this because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point and go beyond it. It is true indeed there is no choice at all within the world. But this is not the lesson in itself. The lesson has a purpose, and in this you come to understand what it is for.
36 Why would you seek to try another road, another person, or another place when you have learned the way the lesson starts but do not yet perceive what it is for? Its purpose is the answer to the search that all must undertake who still believe there is another answer to be found. Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world. But do not judge the lesson which is but begun with this. Seek not another signpost in the world which seems to point to still another road. No longer look for hope where there is none. Make fast your learning now, and understand you but waste time unless you go beyond what you have learned to what is yet to learn. For from this lowest point will learning lead to heights of happiness in which you see the purpose of the lesson shining clear, and perfectly within your learning grasp.
37 Who would be willing to be turned away from all the roadways of the world unless he understood their real futility? Is it not needful that he should begin with this, to seek another way instead? For while he sees a choice where there is none, what power of decision can he use? The great release of power must begin with learning where it really has a use. And what decision has power if it be applied in situations without choice?
38 The learning that the world can offer but one choice, no matter what its form may be, is the beginning of acceptance that there is a real alternative instead. To fight against this step is to defeat your purpose here. You did not come to learn to find a road the world does not contain. The search for different pathways in the world is but the search for different forms of truth. And this would keep the truth from being reached.
39 Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense and cannot be the way. To you who seem to find this course to be too difficult to learn, let me repeat that to achieve a goal you must proceed in its direction, not away from it. And every road that leads the other way will not advance the purpose to be found. If this be difficult to understand, then is this course impossible to learn. But only then. For otherwise, it is a simple teaching in the obvious.
40 There is a choice which you have power to make when you have seen the real alternatives. Until that point is reached, you have no choice, and you can but decide how you would choose the better to deceive yourself again. This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. All choices in the world depend on this---you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when the lesson's purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost and what he gains is what is given you.
41 He has not left His Thoughts! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love. No pathway in the world can lead to Him, nor any worldly goal is one with His. What road in all the world will lead within, when every road was made to separate the journey from the purpose it must have unless it be but futile wandering? All roads that lead away from what you are will lead you to confusion and despair. Yet has He never left His Thoughts to die, without their Source forever in themselves. He has not left His Thoughts! He could no more depart from them than they could keep Him out. In unity with Him do they abide, and in their Oneness both are kept complete.
42 There is no road that leads away from Him. A journey from yourself does not exist. How foolish and insane it is to think that there could be a road with such an aim! Where could it go? And how could you be made to travel on it, walking there without your own reality at one with you? Forgive yourself your madness and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. They have no meaning. You can not escape from what you are. For God is merciful and did not let His Son abandon Him. For what He is, be thankful, for in that is your escape from madness and from death. Nowhere but where He is can you be found. There is no path that does not lead to Him.
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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