Lesson 332
Deathless Spirit
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67 Are you a spirit, deathless and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of your trust; a happy place to rest in for a while, where nothing need be feared but only loved. Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent? Your will be done, you holy Child of God. It does not matter if you think you are in earth or Heaven. What your Father wills for you can never change. The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as Love Itself. And you are worthy that your will be done!
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What is the Ego

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

   The ego is idolatry; the sign
   of limited and separated self,
   born in a body, doomed to suffer and
   to end its life in death. It is the will
   that sees the Will of God as enemy,
   and takes a form in which It is denied.
   The ego is the "proof" that strength is weak
   and love is fearful, life is really death,
   and what opposes God alone is true.
   The ego is insane. In fear it stands
   beyond the Everywhere, apart from All,
   in separation from the Infinite.
   In its insanity, it thinks it has
   become a victor over God Himself,
   and in its terrible autonomy
   it "sees" the Will of God has been destroyed.
   It dreams of punishment, and trembles at
   the figures in its dreams, its "enemies"
   who seek to murder it before it can
   ensure its safety by attacking them.
   The Son of God is egoless. What can
   he know of madness and the death of God,
   when he abides in Him? What can he know
   of sorrow and of suffering, when he
   lives in eternal joy? What can he know
   of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt,
   of hatred and attack, when all there is
   surrounding him is everlasting peace,
   forever conflict-free and undisturbed,
   in deepest silence and tranquility?
   To know Reality is not to know
   the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts,
   its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes,
   its plans for its salvation, and the cost
   belief in it entails. In suffering,
   the price for faith in it is so immense
   that crucifixion of the Son of God
   is offered daily at its darkened shrine,
   and blood must flow before the altar where
   its sickly followers prepare to die.
   Yet will one lily of forgiveness change
   the darkness into light; the altar to
   illusions to the shrine of Life Itself.
   And peace will be restored forever to
   the holy minds which God created as
   His Son, His dwelling-place, His joy, His love,
   completely His, completely one with Him.
    ~ Original Hand Script  
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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 332
Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
   The ego makes illusions. Truth undoes
   its evil dreams by shining them away.
   Truth never makes attack. It merely is.
   And by its Presence is the mind recalled
   from fantasies, awaking to the Real.
   Forgiveness bids this Presence enter in,
   and take its rightful place within the mind.
   Without forgiveness is the mind in chains,
   believing in its own futility.
   Yet with forgiveness does the light shine through
   the dream of darkness, offering it hope,
   and giving it the means to realize
   the freedom that is its inheritance.
    We would not bind the world again today.
    Fear holds it prisoner. And yet Your Love
    has given us the means to set it free.
    Father, we would release it now. For as
    we offer freedom, it is given us.
    And we would not remain as prisoners,
    while You hold out our freedom unto us.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.

Sarah's Commentary:

This Lesson follows on the heels of yesterday's discussion about conflict. From this discussion, we can conclude that there is no conflict between the truth and illusions. This Lesson makes it perfectly clear, "Truth undoes its evil dreams by shining them away. Truth never makes attack. It merely is." (W.332.1.2-4) Truth merely awaits on our invitation and imposes nothing on us. It enters in when we make space for it through forgiveness. Until we make space for truth, it merely waits patiently for our readiness. Nothing is forced on us. It is our choice. Thus, we can conclude that truth is in the stillness. "It [the miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.1.3) There is no coercion, there are no demands, and there are no requirements. It is only our decision to release all that is false. "The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation, but prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are." (T.29.VII.4.6) (ACIM OE T.29.VIII.46)
James Twyman, in his writings, said we should not get comfortable in the world.
"What other path is there to walk but this path, the one where you have stood without moving while an entire Universe passes around you? Grow uncomfortable in your skin, for it is not your home. See what it is like to stretch free from these chains, then embrace the whole world. It is there for you now, if only you would choose to receive. Grow uncomfortable in this world, even this universe, that every world and every universe may be yours. Do not become comfortable with anything other than the truth, which does not move and does not change. You are the heart of that truth, beating constantly and without end."
What we have become comfortable with is fear. We generally don't think fear is our friend, yet while we are comfortable in the world, we are being held willing prisoners to fear. We look to fear to protect us. Our bodies are an embodiment of fear. Just think about it. Everything we do in the world reflects fear. We constantly protect the body and the psyche against all kinds of potential attacks, whether it be the weather, viruses, accidents, or verbal and physical assaults. We protect against our fear by locking the house, putting on a seat belt, buying life insurance, saving money for the "future", protecting our assets, exercising, eating right, joining the right groups, competing, and any number of defenses. There is nothing wrong with any of these. It is not that we should feel guilty that we build defenses against potential catastrophes, nor is there a requirement to stop doing any of these things.
It is not about changing our behaviors. Rather, we are called to watch our thoughts about the situations we encounter in our lives and to recognize how much of an investment we have in our fear-driven strategies. These behaviors remind us over and over how vulnerable we are when we think our reality is the body. The Course is not about changing behavior but about changing our minds. We are simply being invited to look at the fear thoughts behind the behaviors and bring them to awareness. As the mind is healed, some of these behaviors will naturally fall away, but that is not what is important. What is important is what is in the mind. Clearly, it is not about exercising, buying insurance, or locking our doors, but it is about what thoughts motivate the behaviors. They are all about our vulnerability as bodies living in the world. Certainly, there is value in taking care of the body while we still believe we are a body, as it can be put to a holy purpose. Everything can be used for watching our thoughts. The goal is for the ego to die before the body does.
I have a friend who is afraid of food. She lives in fear of eating the wrong food and getting sick. There is no joy in sharing a meal with her because all the discussion is about pesticides, genetically modified food, the dangers of eating meat, the problems with dairy, and so on. There is nothing wrong with healthy eating. Her choices in food may well be the best choices to make for the well-being of her body, but what needs to be looked at is the extent of the fear in the mind. I recently had a discussion with a salesperson about buying life insurance. I noticed how much fear came up in my mind when I listened to the sales pitch. I realize buying insurance would be based entirely on my fear of leaving difficult financial challenges for my family. I am not saying this comes up for everyone who buys insurance, but I noticed my own fear thoughts.
I want to trust my future by placing it in the Hands of God. There are those in my life who are a shining example of this for me and live without fear of financial insecurity. This is not about denying there are certain responsibilities we have in the world. We must follow our own prompts, but we don't need to participate mindlessly in the thought system of the world. We all must engage in the illusion to some extent, but we can do so while still maintaining a state of peace. It is not what we are doing but what mindset are we using.
Sometimes, when we are in this place of discomfort and a sense of displacement in the world, we get very distressed. "What is wrong with me?" we ask. "Why does everyone else seem to be so content, while I am feeling like I don't fit in and don't belong here?" You might consider that this is a more powerful place to be than "happily" lost in the illusion of your "evil dreams." (W.332.1.2) Further, there is no one on this planet who does not share in this sense of discomfort and displacement, no matter what it may look like. That sense of displacement and discomfort only changes when we join with God's Will for us.
Truth is available to any one of us at any moment we open to it, meaning---when the fear that binds us to the world is released through forgiveness. It is through forgiveness that truth shines away the fantasies that keep us bound and in chains. These chains may appear to us to have some pleasant aspects to them when they serve our specialness as we see it. We are willing prisoners to our special relationships of bargaining and reciprocity; and we call this love. Yet it is a picture of fear and guilt. These thoughts in our own minds that we have accepted as true are all illusory. When truth dawns on our minds, we awaken to what is real. And thus, ". . . by its presence is the mind recalled from fantasies, awaking to the real." (W.332.1.5)
We will never be coerced by truth. It will come only to the extent the fear is released. We are always in control of how quickly we agree to release illusions. It is how we "realize the freedom" (W.332.1.8) that is our inheritance. How much do you want freedom from fear? The offer is always there. Freedom is continually being held out for us to receive. We free ourselves only as we bring awareness to our fear thoughts. Forgiveness is about looking at all our defenses and everything we hold dear and bringing it all to the light of truth. With forgiveness, the chains that seem to bind us are loosened.
We take our brothers with us in this process as there is just One Self. Forgiveness is what allows truth to enter in and to free us from this seemingly hopeless situation. Why does it feel hopeless? It feels hopeless because, with our investment in the ego thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, there is no way out. It is a never-ending loop---What I think, I see. What I see, I experience, and what I experience, I think. It is a dream of darkness, all based on our wrong-minded thoughts. It is a world bound by fear because it is based on the thought of fear. Only through forgiveness are we freed from this loop. When our thought of fear is replaced by the thought of love, we still see the illusion, but we no longer participate in the thought system of this world. We are free of its hold on us.
We don't generally think all fear is unforgiveness. Fear comes from our belief that we have destroyed reality, and now we fear God's punishment, which is why we have escaped into the body and the world. Forgiveness undoes the guilt and fear of this avenging God. We are now called to take responsibility for the guilt we project onto those whom we see as responsible for our condition. When we are willing to look at our guilt with honesty and courage, but without judgment, we are set free by the Holy Spirit. Only when we stubbornly justify our anger do we stay in hell. Jesus says, "If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him." (T.11.V.18.6) (ACIM OE T.10.IV.58) In other words, if I am not willing to see the Christ in him, no matter what he seems to have done, I am seeing him wrongly. It all starts with my own mind.
The beautiful thing is that we do not have to fight against our anger and our fear. In fact, to do so would be counterproductive. We do not have to manifest anything, shout down the ego with affirmations, or try to stay positive. All we need to do is allow the light of truth to shine away our fears. All we need to do is bring every thought of guilt and fear to awareness and be willing to question and release it. It is not about doing anything different in the world. It is about going from mindlessness to mindfulness. We do that by recognizing we can decide to bring our projections back into the mind, which is the only place where we can choose again to have the Holy Spirit reinterpret them.
Notice when you are in a state of fear, how powerless you feel. Notice how crippling guilt is in your life. We feel small and frail in its presence. Forgiveness offers us the opportunity to see how God's power can really work in our lives. As we recognize this power more and more, we grow in confidence in who we are, as we were created by God. We are not these vulnerable, lost, and weak selves, but truly powerful beings. Freedom is being held out to us in this moment. Are we willing to be released now? Look at the situations you are facing where fear comes up for you. Allow yourself to forgive the people involved in those situations, and affirm that ". . . as we offer freedom, it is given us." (W.332.2.5) "To give and to receive are one in truth." (W.108) 

Love and blessings, Sarah   
ACIM Original Edition
VI. Recognizing the Spirit

62 You see the flesh or recognize the Spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or Spirit in your own belief. If you choose flesh, you never will escape the body as your own reality, for you have chosen that you want it so. But choose the Spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.
63 Salvation is undoing. If you choose to see the body, you behold a world of separation, unrelated things, and happenings that make no sense at all. This one appears and disappears in death; that one is doomed to suffering and loss. And no one is exactly as he was an instant previous, nor will he be the same as he is now an instant hence. Who could have trust where so much change is seen, for who is worthy if he be but dust? Salvation is undoing of all this. And constancy arises in the sight of those whose eyes salvation has released from looking at the cost of keeping guilt because they chose to let it go instead.
64 Salvation does not ask that you behold the Spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice. For you can see the body without help but do not understand how to behold a world apart from it. It is your world salvation will undo and let you see another world your eyes could never find. Be not concerned how this could ever be. You do not understand how what you see arose to meet your sight. For if you did, it would be gone. The veil of ignorance is drawn across the evil and the good and must be passed that both may disappear, so that perception finds no hiding place. How is this done? It is not done at all. What could there be within the universe which God created that must still be done?
65 Only in arrogance could you conceive that you must make the way to Heaven plain. The means are given you by which to see the world that will replace the one you made. Your will be done! In Heaven as on earth, this is forever true. It matters not where you believe you are nor what you think the truth about yourself must really be. It makes no difference what you look upon nor what you choose to feel or think or wish. For God Himself has said, "Your will be done." And it is done to you accordingly.
66 You who believe that you can choose to see the Son of God as you would have him be, forget not that no concept of yourself will stand against the truth of what you are. Undoing truth would be impossible. But concepts are not difficult to change. One vision, clearly seen, that does not fit the picture as it was perceived before will change the world for eyes that learn to see, because the concept of the self has changed. Are you invulnerable? Then the world is harmless in your sight. Do you forgive? Then is the world forgiving, for you have forgiven it its trespasses and so it looks on you with eyes that see as yours. Are you a body? So is all the world perceived as treacherous and out to kill.
67 Are you a spirit, deathless and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of your trust; a happy place to rest in for a while, where nothing need be feared but only loved. Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent? Your will be done, you holy Child of God. It does not matter if you think you are in earth or Heaven. What your Father wills for you can never change. The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as Love Itself. And you are worthy that your will be done!

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