Lesson 339
ACIM Original Edition

* Open-mindedness

24 How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough. 
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MANUAL #4, 18-25
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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 339
I will receive whatever I request.
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   No one desires pain. But he can think
   that pain is pleasure. No one would avoid
   his happiness. But he can think that joy
   is painful, threatening and dangerous.
   Everyone will receive what he requests.
   But he can be confused indeed about
   the things he wants; the state he would attain.
   What can he then request that he would want
   when he receives it? He has asked for what
   will frighten him and bring him suffering.
   Let us resolve today to ask for what
   we really want, and only this, that we
   may spend this day in fearlessness, without
   confusing pain with joy, or fear with love.
    Father, this is Your day. It is a day
    in which I would do nothing by myself,
    but hear Your Voice in everything I do,
    requesting only what You offer me;
    accepting only Thoughts You share with me.
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
I will receive whatever I request.

Sarah's Commentary:  
What does it mean to say that whatever I receive is what I have requested? Are all my difficulties, and all the pain I experience, at my request? We think we are pursuing only what will bring us happiness, but Jesus tells us, even when we think we are pursuing happiness, we are actually pursuing pain. The reason is, we don't know the difference between what is painful and what we think will bring us pleasure. We don't know what will continue to imprison us and what will free us from the bondage of the ego. Jesus often talks to us about this confusion. He says here, "No one desires pain. But he can think that pain is pleasure." (W.339.1.1-2) That is why the whole idea of manifesting can get us into difficulty. We think we know what will bring us happiness, so we attempt to use the power of the mind to manifest that very thing. Yet the ego is always confused and can never be a reliable source for determining what will bring us joy. Whatever we receive, we have requested. It is our dream, and we are the dreamer.
As an example of this confusion, we may be seeking a special relationship, thinking that is what will make us happy. We may be looking for someone who we believe will fulfill us, solve our feelings of loneliness, and be the knight in shining armor to rescue us from despair. We may believe this is the answer to our unhappiness. Yet many of us have experienced the pain and fear that come with special relationships. Or we may be putting our effort into a desire for security and think that working hard and making lots of money will bring us what we want, only to find we are anxious and stressed. We can take many paths, believing they will lead us to find the joy that eludes us, but they will always end up in disillusionment, even when we receive what we think we want. Only the eternal can satisfy God's Son and none of these "gifts," which we pursue in the world, have any eternal value.
However, we need not despair about these pursuits, even if they have ended up in disillusionment. Everything can be used for our highest good. There is an opportunity for healing in every adversity when given over to the Holy Spirit. Everything that seems to happen to us, we have asked for, and it can all be used for our learning and healing. No, we don't always want to accept that we have called it all into our lives. We don't like the idea that we are doing it all to ourselves. Clearly, we are only affected by our own thoughts, as stated in Lesson 338. We prefer to think we are at the mercy of everything that seems to happen to us. Yet Jesus affirms, "The secret of salvation is but this: That you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this is still 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." (T.27.VIII.10.1-4) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.86)
Although resistance to this idea is very strong, think about the power in its acceptance. The power is in the realization that we have it in us to undo all our wrong-minded decisions. There is a miracle behind each difficult situation, waiting to deliver us from it. All the miracle does is to show us what we see is false. "It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3) We are the dreamer of this dream. "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.10.5-6) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.86)
The more we come to the realization that this is all a dream and we are dreaming it, the more we are willing to look at our own minds with the love of Jesus, looking with us and seeing it need not be. Healing happens as we look at everything that seems to happen to us, recognize our projections that are on this screen of the world, and see them as our own thoughts being played back at us. These thoughts are not what we are. We are the Perfection that is the watcher of those thoughts. As soon as we think we are our thoughts, we are in the dream; but when we see that we are the watcher of the thoughts, it is like a lucid dream where we now know we are the dreamer.
So why have we kept this secret of salvation from ourselves? According to Jesus, it is because of the pact we made with the ego, which is not to know our true Self. And why would we not want to know who we are in truth as perfect and innocent? We do not want to know because the ego has convinced us that we should fear God's punishment for having destroyed Him and destroyed our home and squandered His gifts. No, it is not a conscious thought, but we can know that it is what we believe every time we feel bad about ourselves, or feel we are lacking, unworthy, sad, angry, alone in the world, lost, and abandoned, or are upset and worried about our condition, or that of someone else. Those are not thoughts of God. Those are ego-based thoughts that keep us in the dream. This is why we need to take all the thoughts of sadness, suffering, and specialness to the Holy Spirit and be willing to have them dismissed.
Once we realize that we, ourselves, have "asked for what will frighten him [us], and bring him [us] suffering," (W.339.1.8) we can ask for what we really want and only this. But what do we really want? Well, it is clear from this Lesson that if we don't know the answer to that question, then we have to ask Someone Who does know for us. He knows that what we truly want is what He offers us, which are His Thoughts. Our desire is to know our Self; it is to know the truth of what we are.
That is why the prayer says that we should do nothing by ourselves, but learn to hear His Voice in everything we do. What we think with the false self will ultimately bring pain. Only when we turn it all over to God and trust Him will we know peace, joy, and innocence, which is all we ever seek. With every upset and every difficult circumstance in our lives, we can choose to change our minds. We can choose peace. By bringing all that blocks the peace to the Holy Spirit, we are released from the bondage of the ego. He gives us His interpretation of the situation that we have judged as negative. His Answer is always, "Forgive, and you will see this differently." (W.193.3.7) "Madness and reason see the same things, but it is certain that they look upon them differently." (T.21.VI.3.9) (ACIM OE T.21.VII.61)
I recently realized how I had chosen to stay in pain and distress about a situation in my life because I was justifying my reasons for how I was feeling and believed I was right in my assessment of the situation. It was not until I saw that I had chosen this particular situation for my healing that I became willing to give up the "gifts" that came from suffering. What are those gifts, you may wonder? Well, I held the belief that I was right about how I saw it, and I could punish those around me whom I saw as responsible for how I was feeling. I got power from my position and could justify the separation from my brother. Until I realized the cost to me of maintaining this conflict, I was unwilling to see what I was doing. As I became willing to investigate my wrong assumptions about everything, I saw that I wanted peace more than I wanted to be right. It was available to me right now, so why wait? It is so easy to have peace when we are willing to release our story and make space for truth. What is it that you want today?
Love and blessings, Sarah

A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
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MANUAL #4, 18-25
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
#4. What Are the Characteristics of God's Teachers?  

* Generosity

18 The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God's teachers, this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust, no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means "giving away" in the sense of "giving up." To the teachers of God, it means "giving away" in order to keep. This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world's thinking. In the clearest way possible and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.
19 The teacher of God is generous out of self-interest. This does not refer, however, to the self the world speaks of. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.  

* Patience

20 Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown as yet but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes---nothing that did not serve to benefit the world as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.

* Faithfulness

21The extent of the teacher of God's faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God's trust in the Word of God to set all things right---not some but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.
22True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain it is joyous, and being confident, it is tolerant. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God's teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. It is to them that faithfulness in the true sense is always directed. Toward them it looks, seeking until it finds. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on that alone to which all faithfulness is due.

* Open-Mindedness

23 The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognized. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God's Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ's image be projected on him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.
24 How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.
25 You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God's teachers does not include those things which are the Son of God's inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God's teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is "true learning" in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.
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