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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 31 "THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION"
V. SELF CONCEPT VERSUS SELF
50 A concept of the self is meaningless, for no one here can see what it is for and therefore cannot picture what it is. Yet is all learning which the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world's laws and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realize the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something else. For otherwise you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.
CHAPTER 31 V, 43-61
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WHAT IS CREATION?
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
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
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 327
I need but call and You will answer.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
I am not asked to take salvation on
the basis of an unsupported faith.
For God has promised He will hear my call,
and answer me Himself. Let me but learn
from my experience that this is true,
and faith in Him must surely come to me.
This is the faith that will endure, and take
me farther and still farther on the road
that leads to Him. For thus I will be sure
that He has not abandoned me, and loves
me still, awaiting but my call to give
me all the help I need to come to Him.
Father, I thank You that Your promises
will never fail in my experience,
if I but test them out. Let me attempt
therefore to try them, and to judge them not.
Your Word is one with You. You give the means
whereby conviction comes, and surety
of Your abiding Love is gained at last.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I need but call and You will answer me.
Jesus says, "We have attacked God's plan for salvation without waiting to hear what it is." (W.72.10.10) Well, we might ask: How did we do that? Jesus says, "We have shouted our grievances so loudly that we have not listened to His Voice." (W.72.10.11) He says, "We have used our grievances to close our eyes and stop our ears." (W.72.10.12) While we have done all this, Jesus assures us that despite the fact we still do listen to the ego and express grievances, nevertheless we have heard and answered the Call of the Holy Spirit. The fact that we can choose to release our grievances anytime we choose gives the mind amazing power of decision. Yet we may question, why am I holding onto any grievance in this moment? What do I get to be right about?
It is encouraging to read, "I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith." (W.327.1.1) That idea serves us well. He invites us to test out what he tells us. We learn that this is the truth through our own experience, and with each experience, our trust and faith grows. That is so reassuring and, in my experience, so very true. The more I get out of the way and listen to His answers, without setting limitations on what I need or what I think my problem is, the more I have found that His answers have always shown me that my trust in Him is warranted. Yes, doubts come up when new situations arise, and the temptation is to go back to the ego for the answers, but as trust grows so does my confidence in Him.
Some time ago, I was facing a situation of having to find my way through a maze of long-term care arrangements for my mother in a system that is highly bureaucratic and has a limited supply of open beds. I faced the possibility of her having to go into a difficult transitional situation until a bed could be found. The hospital wanted her out as soon as possible. Fear came up in my mind on how I could possibly address this situation. When this happens, there is always an inclination to rush about, finding answers. Yet I find, when I refuse to allow ego thoughts to take over my mind, with the recognition that no answers are possible in a state of conflict, I allow the fear thoughts to be released, ask for help to maintain a state of peace, and then immediately there is a knowing and deep trust that all would be well. In the end, everything turned out miraculously. I had put my trust in the Holy Spirit and felt His support. I actively refused to listen to the ego that kept nattering in the background. Everything truly does work together for good and if it is not yet good, it is not the end as we learn in the marvelous movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Purification of ego thoughts is necessary for miracles to be experienced. "Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind, or a state of miracle-readiness." (T.1.I.43.1) (ACIM OE T.1.I.71) It is not that we don't act in circumstances that arise, but we stay attentive to Him to guide our actions. Then He can send us on our busy doings from a quiet state of mind. "This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent." (T.18.VII.8.3) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.70) "And now in all your doings be you blessed." (Manual for Teachers.29.8.1) It is about choosing which guide we follow in each moment---the ego or the Holy Spirit.
This path is not one of blind faith where we are asked to give our loyalty and our allegiance blindly to God, hoping that one day He will reward us for our faith. He invites us to test Him, and when we do, we get to experience the benefits of turning to Him. When we look at our lives as a result of our application of these teachings, we can see our peace has increased. Our relationships have been transformed through forgiveness. We have met challenges with more grace and trust, and we have had examples of guidance in situations where we have stepped back and let Him lead the way with happy results. Our minds have shifted with more ease, openness, and trust. Challenges don't go away, but we are ready for them, feeling stronger and more confident with actual evidence that we are supported. I have increasingly become a happier learner. I'm more motivated to do the work of watching my mind and of taking responsibility for my thoughts.
We have experienced miracles, but we don't always recognize them, or we may even deny the evidence. The ego will deny our experience, question it, dismiss it, or judge it as just a coincidence or a fluke. Part of the process, in my opinion, is simply to take notice. Stay aware of the events and symbols around you and be grateful for them all. This Lesson invites us not to judge the answers we receive when we ask. In other words, we need to trust that the answer we get is exactly what we need. It may not always be apparent that this is so, especially when it comes in a form other than what we expected, or it comes later where patience is called for. The answer is given immediately, but we are not always ready to receive it. The point is, we are asked to look for evidence of His Love and His Word (His Promise) constantly, and we can trust Him to always have an answer for us. He wants us to come to trust Him so we will not delay our return to our Self. He waits with open arms for us to turn toward Him. "This is the faith that will endure, and take me farther and still farther on the road that leads to Him." (W.327.1.4) We will not fear our return when we know His Love awaits us.
"Let me but learn from my experience that this is true, and faith in Him must surely come to me."
(W.327.1.3) As we grow in faith and trust, we rely more and more on the Holy Spirit until we step entirely out of the conflict that arises when we listen to two different teachers that take diametrically opposed directions. There is no meeting place between the Holy Spirit and the ego. "And thus are two sons made, and both appear to walk the earth without a meeting place and no encounter. One do you perceive outside yourself, your own beloved son. The others rests within, his Father's Son, within your brother as he is in you." (T.24.VII.11.1-3) (ACIM OE T.24.VIII.72)
We must be willing to let go of all littleness. We garner trust when we see our brothers on the path, glowing with the light of His Love. It is truly beautiful to witness changes in those around us who reflect His gifts as they are given and received. Their gifts and their progress are mine as well because we are One. Sharing our experiences is how we encourage each other in testing out the truth of God's promises. It is not about trying to have belief, but about actually experiencing the results of our trust in the Divine Spirit within each of us.
When I started with the Course, my obstacle to embracing it, immediately, was the Christian language. I was motivated to give it a try because of the way it came into my life through a friend for whom I had great respect. Dr. Willis Harmon, then the CEO of the Stanford Research Institute, brought the Course into my life. It was my trust in his recommendation that got me started on this learning path in my early days of study. At that time, I had no belief and faith in God and a lot of resistance to any religious teaching. However, by applying the Lessons to my life, I started to see amazing changes despite limited understanding since I had not yet read the Text. I started to trust more and more that something was working in my mind that was not of me, nor of my limited thinking, and through this, my faith grew.
Interestingly enough, Jesus says, "Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears, there still is certainty." (W.P.II.Q11.What is Creation?4.3) "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." (W.P.II.Q11.4.4-5) While our physical experience in the body seems so real, and our doubts and fears seem to us to be what life is about, behind all of this and deep within our minds, the certainty exists for all of us. We recognize more and more how lost and split off we have felt and how much we have been lacking in the awareness that there is another way of seeing. Jesus assures us that conviction comes through testing out God
s promises to us.
"Father, I thank You that Your promises will never fail in my experience, if I but test them out. Let me attempt therefore to try them, and to judge them not. Your Word is one with You. You give the means whereby conviction comes, and surety of Your abiding Love is gained at last."
We are encouraged by Jesus to keep testing out His promises, so we can know that we have not been abandoned and are truly loved. He is there to give us the help that we need, so we are encouraged to ask in everything and follow the guidance. Remember, when we ask for things of the ego, we ask for nothing but more pain. Ask instead for what is in line with God's Will for us--- healing, happiness, guidance, release from guilt, and to see a situation differently. It is all about the prayer of the heart to open to our divine, holy minds more fully. It is to ask with desire and wait for the answer with confidence. It may not come in the form we expect nor in the timeline we set, but it will come.
Chapter Thirty One
CHAPTER 31 V, 43-61
The Simplicity of Salvation
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
V. Self Concept Versus Self
43 The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self adjusted to the world's reality. It fits it well. For this an image is that suits a world of shadows and illusions. Here it walks at home, where what it sees is one with it. The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is
for. This is its purpose---that you come without a self and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach "maturity," you have perfected it to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands.
concept of the self is made by
you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God. The concept of the self the world would teach is not the thing that it appears to be. For it is made to serve two purposes, but one of which the mind can recognize. The first presents the face of innocence, the aspect acted
on. It is this face that smiles and charms and even seems to love. It searches for companions, and it looks at times with pity on the suffering, and sometimes offers solace. It believes that it is good within an evil world.
45 This aspect can grow angry, for the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good. This aspect never makes the first attack. But every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its innocence, provoking it to irritation and at last to open insult and abuse.
46 The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self-defense, for is it not a well-known fact the world deals harshly with defenseless innocence? No one who makes a picture of himself omits this face, for he has need of it. The other side he does not
want to see. Yet it is here the learning of the world has set its sights, for it is here the world's "reality" is set to see to it the idol lasts.
47 Beneath the face of innocence there is a lesson that the concept of the self was made to teach. It is a lesson in a terrible displacement and a fear so devastating that the face which smiles above it must forever look away, lest it perceive the treachery it hides. The lesson teaches this: "I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am." On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept and those who walk on them will not escape.
48 Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become
his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mists below the face of innocence. And in these shrouded vaults are all his sins and yours preserved and kept in darkness where they cannot be perceived as errors, which the light would surely show. You can be neither blamed for what you are, nor can you change the things it makes you do. And you are each the symbol of your sins to one another, silently, and yet with ceaseless urgency condemning still your brother for the hated thing you are.
49 Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning, they do not exist. They are not given, and they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they cannot be used to demonstrate the world is real. For all of them are made within the world, born in its shadow, growing in its ways, and finally "maturing" in its thought. They are ideas of idols painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.
50 A concept of the self is meaningless, for no one here can see what it is
for and therefore cannot picture what it
is. Yet is all learning which the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world's laws and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realize the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something
else. For otherwise you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.
51 Thus are the Holy Spirit's lesson plans arranged in easy steps that though there be some lack of ease at times and some distress, there is no shattering of what was learned, but just a re-translation of what seems to be the evidence on its behalf. Let us consider then what proof there is that you are what your brother made of you. For even though you do not yet perceive that this is what you think, you surely learned by now that you
behave as if it were. Does
he react for
you? And did he know exactly what would happen? Could he see your future and ordain before it came what you should do in every circumstance? He must have made the world as well as you to have such prescience in the things to come.
52 That you are what your brother made of you seems most unlikely. Even if he did, who gave the face of innocence to you? Is this
your contribution? Who is, then, the "you" who made it? And who is deceived by all your goodness and attacks it so? Let us forget the concept's foolishness and merely think of this---there are two parts to what you think yourself to be. If one was generated by your brother, who was there to make the other? And from whom must something be kept hidden? If the world be evil, there is still no need to hide what
you are made of. Who is there to see? And what but is attacked could
53 Perhaps the reason why this concept must be kept in darkness is that in the light the one who would not think it true is
you. And what would happen to the world you know if all its underpinnings were removed? Your concept of the world
depends upon this concept of the self. And both would go if either one were ever raised to doubt. The Holy Spirit does not seek to throw you into panic. So He merely asks if just a
little question might be raised.
54 There are alternatives about the thing that you must be. You might for instance be the thing you chose to have your
brother be. This shifts the concept of the self from what is wholly passive, and at least makes way for active choice and some acknowledgment that interaction must have entered in. There is some understanding that you chose for both of you, and what he represents has meaning that was given it by you. It also shows some glimmering of sight into perception's law that what you see reflects the state of the
perceiver's mind. Yet who was it that did the choosing first? If you are what you chose your brother be, alternatives were there to choose among, and someone must have first decided on the one to choose and let the others go.
55 Although this step has gains, it does not yet approach a basic question. Something must have gone
before these concepts of the self. And something must have done the learning which gave rise to them. Nor can this be explained by either view. The main advantage of the shifting to the second from the first is that
you somehow entered in the choice by your decision. But this gain is paid in almost equal loss, for now
you stand accused of guilt for what your brother is. And you must share his guilt because you chose it for him in the image of your own. While only he was treacherous before, now must you be condemned along with him.
56 The concept of the self has always been the great preoccupation of the world. And everyone believes that he must find the answer to the riddle of himself. Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the
escape from concepts. It does not concern itself with content of the mind, but with the simple statement that it
thinks. And what can think has choice and
can be shown that different thoughts have different consequence. So it can learn that everything it thinks reflects the deep confusion that it feels about how it was made and what it is. And vaguely does the concept of the self appear to answer what it does not know.
57 Seek not your Self in symbols. There can
be no concept that can stand for what you are. What matters it which concept you accept while you perceive a self which interacts with evil and reacts to wicked things? Your concept of yourself will still remain quite meaningless. And you will not perceive that you can interact but with yourself. To see a guilty world is but the sign your learning has been guided by the world, and you behold it as you see yourself. The concept of the self embraces all you look upon, and nothing is outside of this perception. If you can be hurt by anything, you see a picture of your secret wishes. Nothing more than this. And in your suffering of any kind, you see your own concealed desire to kill.
58 You will make many concepts of the self as learning goes along. Each one will show the changes in your own relationships as your perception of yourself is changed. There will be some confusion every time there is a shift, but be you thankful that the learning of the world is loosening its grasp upon your mind. And be you sure and happy in the confidence that it will go at last and leave your mind at peace. The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing
you. Yet have no fear it will not be undone.
59 The world can teach no images of you unless you
want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it
is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question and been recognized as made on no assumptions which would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this:
61 Yet in this learning is salvation born. And what you are will
tell you of Itself.
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