Lesson 329
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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.
    
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
What is Creation
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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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 329
I have already chosen what You will.


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    Father, I think I wander from Your Will,
    defy It, break Its laws, and interpose
    a second will more powerful than Yours.
    Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will,
    extended and extending. This I am.
    And This will never change. As You are One,
    so am I one with You. And This I chose
    in my creation, where my will became
    forever one with Yours. That choice was made
    for all eternity. It cannot change,
    and be in opposition to itself.
    Father, my will is Yours. And I am safe,
    untroubled and serene, in endless joy,
    because it is Your Will that it be so.
 
   Today we will accept our union with
   each other and our Source. We have no will
   apart from His, and all of us are one
   because His Will is shared by all of us.
   Through It we recognize that we are one.
   Through It we find our way at last to God. 
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 329
I have already chosen what You will.

Sarah's Commentary:

"Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours." (W.329.1.1) It seems we have accomplished the impossible, where we left our Source, separated from Love, and came into this world of illusion. We believe we have made a will separate from God's and more powerful than His. This is the source of our guilt. We believe we have gained our independent separate self at His expense. We believe we have forever shattered our innocence and have made ourselves into what we believe we are, a body living in a world of our own making, where we can successfully hide from God. What happens to the guilt in our minds as a result of what we think we have done? We project it onto others, seeing them as the evil-doers, thus buying our false innocence at their expense. We think that in this way we are getting rid of the guilt in our minds, yet we are simply reinforcing it.
 
We believe we have a will that can defy God's Will, but this Lesson affirms that a separate will is an absolute impossibility no matter how it appears to us. It is just as impossible to make this world real as it is to make our nighttime dreams into reality or to make a movie real by believing we are one of the characters on the screen. We believe what is going on in the world is important and real, and so we give it a lot of credence. The truth is, when we wake up, we will laugh at the silliness of our investment in this dream and the beliefs that accompany it. "Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I, and this will never change." (W.329.1.2-3)
 
It is reassuring to know that nothing we do can change the truth of what we are, where we are, and who we are. What we are is unchangeable. We can't separate from Love, no matter how much we get lost in the dream. It is impossible to destroy our Oneness with God. We can only be unaware of this Oneness. "You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects." (T.28.II.6.5) (ACIM OE T.28.III.21) The cause of the dream we think we are living is the projection of the thoughts in our own minds, not unlike our nighttime dreams that emanate from our own minds.
 
In our creation, we made a vow to be forever one with our Father and extend love as He does. "And this I chose in my creation, where my will became forever one with Yours. That choice was made for all eternity. It cannot change, and be in opposition to itself." (W.329.1.5-7) Yes, time can intrude on eternity and seems to have done so, but it is simply a construct in our minds. We read, in "The Secret Vows," "In his creation did his Father say, 'You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.' His Son remembers not that he replied 'I will,' though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified." (T.28.VI.4-8) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.59) The truth is that we made a promise to God to be as perfect as Him and to never be apart, and that promise is still in effect because we are still the perfect creation of God.
 
Thus, as the Lesson says, "I have already chosen what You Will," (W.329) and yet we remember not that we replied, "I will." We also made a secret agreement with our brother's secret wish to be apart from us, as we would be apart from him. (T.28.VI.5.2) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) "Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, 'there is no gap between my mind and yours' has kept God's promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death." (T.28.VI.5.3-4) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) With that declaration, we make a choice to remember what has already been chosen in our creation. We do it by choosing to do God's Will in accepting ". . . our union with each other and our Source." (W.329.2.1). We do so each time we join with a brother, each time we offer forgiveness, and each time we follow guidance and surrender our will and our way.
 
Isn't it reassuring to be told that no matter what we perceive in this dream, we are constantly and eternally ". . . safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so?" (W.329.1.9) While we may believe in the turmoil of this world, in sickness, and in the problems that we seem to experience, in reality, nothing is happening. It is just a dream from which we will awaken, only to find ourselves safe at home in His loving arms. Thus, our unhappiness, sickness, fantasies, ambitions, stress, addictions, and concerns are only in our imagination, serious as they seem to be in the illusion.
 
We can rise above this battleground and be the witness of this play that is acted out on the stage of our lives. From the place of the observer, we see we are the dreamer of this dream and not the figure in the dream. We don't need to get caught up in the drama. Of course, without mind training, we get caught up in the dream. We must learn to ignore the voice of the ego. We can't undo the ego thought system without help from outside the dream, and that is why we need the Holy Spirit, Who is the reflection of the truth of what we are. He is always available in our right minds.
 
Peace and joy do not have to be dependent on anything happening in the events of our lives. Why not choose happiness now? Why make it dependent on anything? If I am going to be happy based only on how things should be, then I am putting off the happiness available in each moment. The ego sees happiness as something in the future. "I will be happy when . . . " Or, "I could be happy if . . . " This is simply the wrong-minded game of the ego to keep us from happiness now. The ego puts happiness outside ourselves and is not threatened as long as we keep seeking for it and never finding it. Thus, it stays in control.
 
We can rest in God, knowing that the truth in us is inviolate. Why not just give up the conflict with everyone in our lives in recognition of our sameness, our one Will, and our one Source? As long as we are still playing out the ego drama as if it were real, we keep God at bay. To know God is to join with our brothers, forgiving them for what they have not done. Through forgiveness, our interpretations of what we deem as good and bad are released. Now all we see are neutral events with no basis in reality. We give these neutral facts meaning only through our interpretations. When we have difficulties or power struggles with anyone, we are called to look at the shadow within where we attack ourselves. This shadow is projected onto our brothers where we prefer to see it rather than in ourselves; but by taking responsibility for our own self-attacks, we can heal the shadow within. We can be grateful our brother has been a perfect mirror for us, reflecting where healing is needed in our own minds. It does not mean we should engage with the people that trigger us, only that we must recognize they are mirrors of something that we need to see within our own minds, and we do the healing there.
 
How much do we want this? How willing are we to choose His Will instead of our own? How stubbornly are we determined to have it our way? How determined are we to continue to hurt ourselves in the belief that somewhere, somehow, and through our own resources, we can find happiness in this world if we try hard enough; but it will never work. Our happiness is in accepting our true will, which is One with God. We will continue to suffer until we release our stubborn insistence on how things should be. We are called to surrender to His Will and give up control over our own lives.
 
We need not act on everything we are feeling. We do not need to press the send button when we are tempted to write a retaliatory email. We can step back from the desire to attack and defend and reflect on what is His Will for us in this moment. In every difficult situation, we can ask for help to see the situation through His eyes. He constantly reminds us of the innocence of our brother as well as our own.
 
"There is no question but one you should ever ask of yourself;--'Do I want to know my Father's Will for me?'" (T.8.VI.8.1) (ACIM OE T.8.VI.49)
 
"Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again." (W.197.5.3)
 
I look at this Lesson as an opportunity to become aware of how I invest in my thoughts, how I hold onto grievances, how I obsess about problems in my life, how much I see myself as the victim of events, how willing I am to attack my brothers, and how much I am invested in my wishes and desires for what I think will make me happy. If we really are sincere in our desire to wake up to what we are, then we must do the work involved in the forgiveness process. Our part is to bring our self-attacking thoughts, and the beliefs we are holding, to awareness and then we leave the rest to the Holy Spirit, who makes the shift for us. When all the blocks to love are healed through our willingness, we will no longer see any separation from a brother. We are One Self.

Love and blessings, Sarah  
   
ACIM Original Edition
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.
 
44 A 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 need defense?
 
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:
 
60 I do not know the thing I am and therefore do not know 
   what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world 
   or on myself.
 
61 Yet in this learning is salvation born. And what you are will tell you of Itself.

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