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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 31 THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION
V. SELF CONCEPT VERSUS SELF
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.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
~ Original Hand Script
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.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 330
I will not hurt myself again today.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Let us this day accept forgiveness as
our only function. Why should we attack
our minds, and give them images of pain?
Why should we teach them they are powerless,
when God holds out His power and His Love,
and bids them take what is already theirs?
The mind that is made willing to accept
God's gifts has been restored to Spirit, and
extends its freedom and its joy, as is
the Will of God, united with its own.
The Self Which God created cannot sin,
and therefore cannot suffer. Let us choose
today that He be our Identity,
and thus escape forever from all things
the dream of fear appears to offer us
Father, Your Son can not be hurt. And if
we think we suffer, we but fail to know
our one Identity we share with You.
We would return to It today, to be
made free forever from all our mistakes,
and to be saved from what we thought we were.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I will not hurt myself again today.
Today, I will comment on the Lesson line by line. The overall message in the Lesson is for us to be aware of how we hurt ourselves when we attack, hold grievances, focus on our specialness, on our pleasures, and on our perceived needs. We suffer when we want something, and we suffer when we get it because then we fear losing it. Jesus reminds us, we are not the victims of anything in this world, and that we choose to suffer. Our suffering is the "proof" we exist as separate, individual identities and can make others responsible for our pain. We insist people and events outside us are the cause of our pain. To invite pain into our lives, which may be under the guise of pleasure, is a way to establish that we exist as bodies in the world. We set up defenses against aging, disease, decay, and death, as we try to maintain our separate existence. Jesus reminds us, "Truth cannot deal with errors that you want." (T.3.IV.7.2)
(ACIM OE T.3.VI.48 -> "Truth cannot deal with unwilling error because it does not will to be blocked out.")
In other words,
while we want to hang onto our separate self, our defenses, and our belief that we are victims of the world, there can be no correction. We must want the Atonement to receive it. We must be willing to release the blocks we hold against the truth if we want to know our reality.
"Let us this day accept forgiveness as our only function."
(W.330.1.1) Jesus is reminding us that the only way to escape the pain of our lives is to accept forgiveness as our only function. To refuse to forgive is one way we hurt ourselves, as forgiveness is only for ourselves. In Lesson 328, Jesus said, by choosing our own independent will, we bring about sickness, suffering, loss, and death. Our independent will reflects the desire to gain at someone's expense. By bringing our unloving thoughts to the light of truth, we see our brothers as guiltless. This is salvation's simple formula, because when we see our brother as innocent, we will know our own innocence and thus our own divine nature that has never left our Source.
"Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain?"
(W.330.1.2) This raises the question of how we attack our minds. Every time I attack someone, defend myself, make a judgment, make myself better or more righteous, hold onto anger, hold grievances, hurt anyone, blame anyone, or obsess about my fears and expectations, I am attacking my mind. The Course is clear that anything I do to my brother I am doing to myself. If I hurt you in any way, I am hurting myself. If I expect or demand anything from you, I am seeing myself as lacking. Our attacks on our brothers reflect the guilt in our own minds. When we attack, we believe we deserve punishment in return. If we clearly saw this was the case, would we want to continue to attack?
"The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream."
(T.27.VIII.10.1-6) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.86)
"Why should we teach them
[our minds] they are powerless, when God holds out His power and His Love, and bids them take what is already theirs?" (W.330.1.3) Jesus reminds us again in Lesson 329, we are already One with God. We can't change our reality as His Son, but we can remain unaware of who we really are. We have chosen to forget. Our minds are as powerful as God's. What we have done is made a choice for the ego and interposed a second will as powerful as God's. God can't overpower our will. His gift to us is our freedom to do as we want. We are the ones who made our bodies to suffer and die to prove we really aren't the unlimited, powerful, eternal beings God says we are. Who is right---God or the ego?
Jesus tells us, the only source of happiness is to know our own true will. When we attack, we feel guilty, and guilt demands a punishment we believe we deserve. Thus, we fear the future. The ego has set up a cycle of sin, guilt, and fear. In this loop, we are never free. We never experience the present moment. We feel powerless and victimized by the seeming reality of the human condition. We feel at the mercy of the world, but it all starts in our own minds. We are the only ones who can choose to break this cycle. Jesus is inviting us to do just that, by realizing we are not the characters in this dream who seem to suffer and die. We are, in fact, the dreamer of the dream. We can take responsibility for everything that seems to happen to us, recognizing it all starts in our own minds. Now we have a choice. We can choose to see with the ego or with the Holy Spirit. We can allow the ego to interpret events for us, or we can choose to turn to the Holy Spirit for His interpretation. When we release our mistaken perceptions given to us by the ego and give them over to the Holy Spirit, our minds are healed. The world has not hurt us. All our suffering comes only from our own wrong choices in the mind.
"The mind that is made willing to accept God's gifts has been restored to spirit, and extends its freedom and its joy, as is the Will of God united with its own."
(W.330.1.4) Our minds are made willing through forgiveness. Every time we resist the temptation to defend ourselves, every time we resist the temptation to attack, every time we show willingness to release grievances, every time we are willing to extend love and to surrender our way and ask for help, we make our minds ready and willing to accept the gifts God holds out to us. We can't take hold of these gifts while we still justify our anger, see ourselves as victims, and continue to hold onto our judgments.
Every time we bring images of pain back to the mind where another choice can be made, the mind is restored, and we are united with the Will of God. It is all about willingness. Notice how much we resist. Notice how we relish our resentments and even nurture them, and notice how we hurt ourselves in doing so. Studies have shown that people initially experience revenge as sweet. It ignites the same pleasure sensors in our brains as does eating chocolate, but this is only temporary because with it comes more self-attack and more guilt. We hurt ourselves again and again. We are doing it all to ourselves by actively keeping ourselves from the peace and joy that is our inheritance!
"The Self which God created cannot sin, and therefore cannot suffer."
(W.330.1.5) Only in this dream do we believe we have sinned and suffer the consequences. When we accept forgiveness into the mind, we demonstrate that we are not powerless, and there is another way of perceiving. We suffer when we attack. When we accept forgiveness in our minds and experience our own innocence, we connect with the Self behind the image of this seeming body and personality, and our suffering is released. This is the way out of the ego cycle of sin, guilt, and fear. The door is open and Jesus is inviting us to make this choice to enter the sanctuary. The means are offered us in every person and situation we encounter in the classroom of our lives. We always make the choice to condemn or forgive. As we forgive, we are using time for its intended purpose, and now our relationships and the world have new meaning.
"Let us choose today that He
[the Self that God created] be our Identity, and thus escape forever from all things the dream of fear appears to offer us." (W.330.1.6) While we believe we deserve to be hurt because of what we have done, Jesus keeps reminding us that we can escape this dream by making another choice. We don't always want to forgive because we are very invested in our way of seeing. The temptation to attack is very strong in us. We want to gain at the expense of others. While it may look like we have gained at the expense of our brothers, all we have acquired is more pain and more suffering. We think we can buy our innocence by putting our guilt onto others and thus making ourselves feel more righteous or superior. This is our perceived payoff, but it is a false innocence.
Our motivation to forgive must be strengthened through application. The motivation becomes stronger when, through forgiveness, we feel redeemed. Our happiness and our peace are established when our attack thoughts are released. When we choose to forgive, we are choosing the miracle. We are choosing to see with the eyes of Christ. We are choosing to accept the Atonement (the Correction) for ourselves. We are choosing to know the truth of who we are as unlimited, pristine, and divine beings of light and love. We are choosing to know ourselves as the powerful, eternal beings we are and thus we ". . . escape forever from all things the dream of fear appears to offer us." (W.330.1.6)
"Father, Your Son can not be hurt."
(W.330.2.1) The "me" who seemingly can be hurt is simply the identity I know as Sarah---a body, a concept I hold about myself, and a personality that holds a bundle of values and beliefs. What can't be hurt is the eternal Self I have blocked with the images I have made of myself and the mistaken thoughts and beliefs I hang onto. The truth is, we can awaken to the reality of our Self as pure love and one with all that is, forever changeless. Until that time, we need to recognize that by our own decision we are limiting and hurting ourselves. Now we can take responsibility for this decision. We can choose forgiveness. It is a process. We will not be hurled into Heaven. We will only go as slowly or as quickly as our fear will allow.
"And if we think we suffer, we but fail to know our one Identity we share with You. We would return to It today, to be made free forever from all our mistakes, and to be saved from what we thought we were."
Healing requires a willingness to be very honest with ourselves about our hurts and allow whatever feelings there are surrounding them to be brought to awareness. We acknowledge them fully and investigate them without being distracted from them, indulging them, or running away from them. If the charge is still there, there is something to release. It is not enough to manage the feelings that hurt us. We are good at protecting ourselves from pain, but that is how we keep it. What is important is to acknowledge what we are feeling and investigate the thoughts we are holding and the beliefs and values that accompany them. Thus, we can choose to go deeper into the mind each time we are triggered. I acknowledge that I don't know what is best for me. I don't know what anything is for, and I don't know what God's Will for me looks like in this situation. Thus, I see that my attachment to outcomes makes me blind to what is possible, which is always the miracle.
Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
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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