Lesson 336
ACIM Original Edition

* Trust

3 This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfill their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a Power Which is in them but not of them. It is this Power that keeps all things safe. It is through this Power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.
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MANUAL #4, 1-10
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What is the Ego
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   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 336
Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.
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   Forgiveness is the means appointed for
   perception's ending. Knowledge is restored
   after perception first is changed, and then
   gives way entirely to what remains
   forever past its highest reach. For sights
   and sounds, at best, can serve but to recall
   the memory that lies beyond them all.
   Forgiveness sweeps away distortions, and
   opens the hidden altar to the truth.
   Its lilies shine into the mind, and call
   it to return and look within, to find
   what it has vainly sought without. For here,
   and only here, is peace of mind restored,
   for this the dwelling-place of God Himself.
    In quiet may forgiveness wipe away
    my dreams of separation and of sin.
    Then let me, Father, look within and find
    Your promise of my sinlessness is kept,
    Your Word remains unchanged within my mind,
    Your Love is still abiding in my heart.
        ~ Original Handscript of ACIM  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.

Sarah's Commentary:  
Our misperceptions keep our minds separate. In truth, we are One and our minds are joined. We recognize this when we forgive because only then are the blocks to love released. Forgiveness wipes away the belief in sin. Sin is just another name for the separation. It came with the belief that we had done such an awful thing to leave God. To leave God is to think we left who we really are in truth---the eternal Son. The reality is that it is impossible to leave our Source, as we are a thought in the Mind of God. There can be no separation because we are One with Him. All minds are joined in the Oneness we are. Sin and separation simply are not real. What is required is a willingness and a desire to shift our perception from what is false to that which is true. The means for this is forgiveness, which ultimately takes us to the end of perception. Knowledge is then restored and the illusion is no more.
Our perceptions, by their very nature, are distortions. We need the Holy Spirit to help shift these perceptions from what is false and restore them to the truth. Perceptions are rife with judgments. These distorted perceptions are healed through forgiveness, which "opens the hidden altar to the truth." (W.336.1.4) This altar is in the mind, where the choice for separation was originally made. When our unhealed perceptions of our brothers are healed and our body has served its purpose as a vehicle for joining, then perception disappears, and all that is left is the truth of what we are as one eternal Christ Self.
We are called to let the mind "return and look within, to find what it has vainly sought without." (W.336.1.5) This reminds me of what Eckhart Tolle tells us when he says, "Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love-you have the treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world has to offer." Jesus also taught that the kingdom of God is within. To search outside ourselves is to search in vain. We are called to release all the thoughts that keep us separate and keep us feeling very much alone. They are our judgments, comparisons, needs, specialness, jealousies, expectations, fears, competition, demands, anger, misunderstandings, hurts, grievances, conflicts, hates, defenses, and on and on. Such thoughts keep us in the clutches of the ego and separate from each other.
We all have stories of victimization. While they appear to have different forms, the content is all the same-an emphasis on our innocence, the reason we protest it, claiming it was not our fault, and our justification on why we need to attack and defend. We may have believed we were not adequately loved or were rejected outright. "It is not my fault" is the mantra of the ego. Sickness is by far the most evident reason to prove that it is not our fault. We believe sickness proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not our fault since it is caused by viruses and bacteria. We do not see that only guilt is the cause of our suffering. "Of one thing you were sure: Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them. " (T.27.VII.7.4) (ACIM OE T.27.88)
Our goal is to see that we are the same Christ Self. Jesus describes what happens when we are joined in a holy relationship as follows: "For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your mind and your brother's are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact, and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. For when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realize that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same." (T. 22.VI.14.2-7) (ACIM OE T.22.VII.64) In essence, it only takes one willing person to heal any relationship. My partner will experience what I am thinking. While this may bring fear, it is powerful to recognize that as we take responsibility for our ego-driven perceptions, we invite the miracle. The miracle removes the barriers that keep us separate and allows the holy light to infuse the dark places we hold against a brother.
When we perceive our brother through the lens of the ego, we can't know him. What we do is put our false distortions on him. We see him through our projected biases and our own self-judgments. Forgiveness is about having our perception of our brother changed from one of sinfulness to one of sinlessness. Our part is to bring our distorted perceptions to the Holy Spirit, who is always there, consistently and patiently, waiting for us to bring our misperceptions to Him. He is not outside of our minds. He is the light of truth shining within the mind. Changing perception from the wrong mind to the right mind is a precondition to knowledge. "Knowledge is restored after perception first is changed, and then gives way entirely to what remains forever past its highest reach." (W.336.1.2)
Forgiveness, from a Course perspective, is based on the fact that nothing real has happened. It is all a dream. If I had truly sinned, I could not "look within, and find Your promise of my sinlessness is kept; Your Word remains unchanged within my mind, Your Love is still abiding in my heart." (W.336.2.2)
If this were not so, it would mean that we really had changed ourselves. It would mean that our character traits and our personality is, for the most part, fixed. It would mean that we have sinned and deserve punishment, and that what we think about ourselves is the truth. Forgiveness is based on the fact that nothing we think about ourselves is true, despite what we have done in the dream. We have not sinned. This harkens back to the Atonement Principle that says, no matter what we think about ourselves, the reality is that we cannot and have not changed ourselves. Our purity is guaranteed by God in our creation.
We see ourselves as sinful, which is why we need forgiveness to sweep away our misperceptions of our brothers and ourselves. We need to look at our unforgiving thoughts and ask for help of the Holy Spirit to shine them away. This is a process of acknowledging our upsets and seeing that they are just our inner call for healing. When conflict shows up in our lives, we generally see it as something someone has done to us. Yet Jesus invites us to see that all conflict comes from within our own minds and healing is about taking responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. We are not the victims of the world we see. We have set up a pattern of behavior to defend ourselves against the pain of unmet past needs. We have developed strategies to protect ourselves, which can never work. Now we are given a process to release the pain of past associations and bring them to the truth. This is how forgiveness works. Our part is to bring awareness to the patterns played out in our lives that keep us from peace. The Holy Spirit does the rest.
Because we think our inner altar has been defiled, we are afraid to look within. We think that what we will see is vile and will lead us to want to kill ourselves. Yet when "Its lilies [of forgiveness] shine into the mind," (W.336.1.5) we find what we have "vainly sought without." (W.336.1.5) There is no peace of mind found by looking outside ourselves for anything in this world. Looking within may seem frightening; yet through the process of forgiveness, we come to recognize the good and pure and divine Self we are. We recognize our intrinsic worth. Now we are less afraid to approach the altar within---the holy place where the truth about us shines forth.
"In quiet may forgiveness wipe away my dreams of separation and of sin. Then let me, Father, look within, and find Your promise of my sinlessness is kept; Your Word remains unchanged within my mind, Your Love is still abiding in my heart." (W.336.2.1-2)
We know we need to forgive when we are not at peace. When we want peace more than we want to be right about how we see things, we invite the Holy Spirit to look with us at our misperceptions. Our views are based on what the ego tells us, and it always speaks first and is always wrong. Now we are invited to turn to the Holy Spirit and ask how He would have us see this situation. He will reinterpret what the ego insists is the truth if we are willing to be wrong.
When we are willing to look at our fears, our judgments, our self-attacks, and our distress together with the Holy Spirit/Jesus, He shows us the unreality of it all. Thus, we can see our wrong-minded perspectives while not judging ourselves for them. As we look at the darkness, despite our feelings of pain, anxiety, unworthiness, anger, guilt or doubt, we open to receive healing through the miracle in this instant. We look with Spirit past ego appearances and accept the Atonement.
Ultimately, the way I see anyone is the way I see myself. Today, we reclaim responsibility for our projections onto others and recognize that we are only affected by our interpretations. With forgiveness, our mind can be healed so we see everything that seems to be happening to us as an expression of love or a call for love. Thus, we come to know ourselves as the love we are and always have been. We have simply forgotten. The reality of awakening is certain because it is guaranteed by God.
Nouk Sanchez offers a beautiful prayer to Spirit within that fits so well with this process:
" Spirit, I accept your Atonement. I accept your divine correction of error in my mind, and I allow your healing to flow through my mind. I accept that you have already healed both the cause and symptoms (effects) of this problem; the decision and its shadow. If the problem's 'appearance' continues, or if there are continuing 'symptoms' (appearances) that cause me to doubt, I then offer these doubts to you as well, to correct in my mind. I remember in any holy instant that as I sincerely accept Atonement, it is done! To continue to be concerned after I have forgiven and accepted Atonement is to doubt your Love and prolong the illusion of time and suffering. Remember: Love without trust is impossible; doubt and trust cannot coexist. I remember this and I have gratitude that Spirit has already healed my mind and I accept with this, the healing of all symptoms (effects). It is done! "
Love and blessings, Sarah

A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
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MANUAL #4, 1-10
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#4. What Are the Characteristics of God's Teachers?
1 The surface traits of God's teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body's eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial "personalities" are quite distinct. Nor at the beginning stages of their functioning as teachers of God have they as yet acquired the deeper characteristics that will establish them as what they are. God gives special gifts to His teachers because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary---set in time as a means of leading out of time. These special gifts, born in the holy relationship toward which the teaching-learning situation is geared, become characteristic of all teachers of God who have advanced in their own learning. In this respect they are all alike.
2 All differences among the Sons of God are temporary. Nevertheless, in time it can be said that the advanced teachers of God have the following characteristics:

* Trust

3 This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfill their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a Power Which is in them but not of them. It is this Power that keeps all things safe. It is through this Power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.
4 When this Power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one's own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him? And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him? What is it that induces them to make the shift?
5 First, they must go through what might be called "a period of undoing." This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light? He is not yet at a point at which he can make the shift entirely internally. And so the plan will sometimes call for changes in what seem to be external circumstances. These changes are always helpful. When the teacher of God has learned that much, he goes on to the second stage.
6 Next, the teacher of God must go through a "period of sorting-out." This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it. He will find that many if not most of the things he valued before will merely hinder his ability to transfer what he has learned to new situations as they arise. Because he has valued what is really valueless, he will not generalize the lesson for fear of loss and sacrifice. It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful. It is only to the extent to which they are helpful that any degree of reality should be accorded them in this world of illusion. The word "value" can apply to nothing else.
7 The third stage through which the teachers of God must go can be called a "period of relinquishment." If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely. There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken. The third step is rarely if ever begun until the second is complete. Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth. He has not realized as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless. Through this he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy light-heartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift bestowed on him.
8 Now comes a "period of settling down." This is a quiet time in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. "Give up what you do not want and keep what you do." How simple is the obvious! And how easy to do! The teacher of God needs this period of respite. He has not yet come as far as he thinks. Yet when he is ready to go on, he goes with mighty companions beside him. Now he rests a while and gathers them before going on. He will not go on from here alone.
9 The next stage is indeed a "period of unsettling." Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless and that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting-out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he had learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgment aside and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed!
10 And finally, there is a "period of achievement." It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before becomes solid gains, to be counted on in all "emergencies" as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result---the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought, and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven's state fully reflected. From here the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would "go" anywhere if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquility for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this?
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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