MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
#8. HOW CAN THE PERCEPTION OF ORDER OF DIFFICULTIES BE AVOIDED?
The body's eyes will continue to see differences, but the mind which has let itself be healed will no longer acknowledge them. There will be those who seem to be "sicker" than others, and the body's eyes will report their changed appearances as before. But the mind will put them all in one category---they are unreal. This is the gift of its Teacher---the understanding that only two categories are meaningful in sorting out the messages the mind receives from what appears to be the outside world. And of these two, but one is real. Just as reality is wholly real, apart from size and shape and time and place---for differences cannot exist within it---so too are illusions without distinction. The one answer to sickness of any kind is healing. The one answer to all illusions is truth.
MANUAL #8, #9
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
WHAT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER?
A miracle is a correction. It
~ Original Hand Script
does not create, nor really change at all.
It merely looks on devastation, and
reminds the mind that what it sees is false.
It undoes error, but does not attempt
to go beyond perception, nor exceed
the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays
within time's limits. Yet it paves the way
for the return of timelessness and love's
awakening, for fear must slip away
under the gentle remedy it gives.
A miracle contains the gift of grace,
for it is given and received as one.
And thus it illustrates the law of truth
the world does not obey, because it fails
entirely to understand its ways.
A miracle inverts perception, which
was upside-down before, and thus it ends
the strange distortions that were manifest.
Now is perception open to the truth.
Now is forgiveness fully justified.
Forgiveness is the home of miracles.
The eyes of Christ delivers them to all
they look upon in mercy and in love.
Perception stands corrected in His sight,
and what was meant to curse has come to bless.
Each lily of forgiveness offers all
the world the silent miracle of love.
And each is laid before the Word of God
upon the universal altar to
Creator and creation, in the Light
of perfect purity and endless peace.
The miracle is taken first on faith,
because to ask for it implies the mind
has been made ready to conceive of what
it cannot see and does not understand.
Yet faith will bring its witnesses, to show
that what it rested on is really there.
And thus the miracle will justify your faith
in it, and show it rested on a world
more real than what you saw before;
a world redeemed from what you thought you saw.
Miracles fall like drops of healing rain
from Heaven on a dry and dusty world,
where starved and thirsty creatures came to die.
Now have they water. Now the world is green.
And everywhere the signs of life spring up,
to show that what is born can never die,
for what has life has immortality.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 342
I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
I thank You, Father, for Your plan to save
me from the hell I made. It is not real.
And You have given me the means to prove
its unreality to me. The key
is in my hand, and I have reached the door
beyond which lies the end of dreams. I stand
before the gate of Heaven, wondering
if I should enter in and be at home.
Let me not wait again today. Let me
forgive all things, and let creation be
as You would have it be, and as it is.
Let me remember that I am Your Son,
and opening the door at last, forget
illusions in the blazing Light of Truth,
as memory of You returns to me.
Brother, forgive me now. I come to you
to take you home with me. And as we go,
the world goes with us on the way to God.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.
This Lesson seems to capture the entire Course teaching. We live in a world that is not real. It is a dream that we have invested with meaning. Now we have been given "the means to prove its unreality," (W.342.1.3) but it is up to us. "The key is in my hand. . ." (W.342.1.4) It is up to me to withdraw the meaning I have given to the world. No one will do this for me. I can't ask Jesus to take away my fear, my pain, and my suffering. He calls us from outside the dream to come to where he is. I have to be the one to identify my judgments, take complete and total responsibility for them, recognize that I am the one choosing them, and be willing to release them. I have to be willing to release my investment in my story. I have to be willing to give up my attachments, my values, and my beliefs. I have to be willing to forgive. No one is coming to save me.
"Forgiveness is the key to happiness."
And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them? Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at is the source of fear, and you are beginning to learn that fear is not real.
(T.11.V.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.40)
Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen. Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light must dispel it.
(T.11.V.2.8-9) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.41) Thus, healing is no different than a miracle, forgiveness, or Atonement. It is all about releasing guilt, and the way we do this is simply to look at everything that we have put in the way of the love that we are.
The interesting thing is that we are not seriously disturbed about being unhappy. Our desire is mostly to be right about the way we see things. We put a lot of value on our worldview and tenaciously hold onto it. To listen with an open mind and take in what Jesus tells us means that everything we think and believe is wrong. No wonder we have resistance! Jesus says it is really frightening for us to conceive of the fact that "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." (T.31.V.17.7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60) We are wrong about everything we believe, including who we think we are. This feels like an insult to our intelligence and threatens our sense of what we perceive as real.
We accept reality as we have determined it to be, and we argue for the correctness of our perception. We don't want to see ourselves as responsible for our condition. We prefer to see ourselves as a victim of circumstances over which we have no control. After all, we did not ask to be born...or did we? We justify our anger and frustration, pointing our finger at others. "If it weren't for them," we claim, "I would be happy." This is the reason that at a deeper level we want to suffer and want to be betrayed so we can make someone else responsible for our suffering. We prefer to suffer as long as we can assure ourselves that someone else is held responsible, and thus guilty, for our condition. It seems worth paying the price in suffering in order to be right and to secretly delight in their guilt.
We want to be right because then we don't have to look at the fact that we chose separation and specialness, which is the real cause of all our pain---the choice we made for the ego. We agreed to accept the myth that we stole our existence from God, and with the horror of that belief in our minds, we chose to escape into the body and the world. It is a place where the ego tells us that we can hide from God and escape His wrath. This is not a conscious thought, but deep down we feel that we have done something dreadfully wrong although we don't know what it is. At our core, we believe we are bad, but Jesus urges us to see that we are innocent and have done nothing wrong. This is all just a dream we are having. By showing us how and why we made it up, he invites us to see that it is not real; but we resist because for us to withdraw our belief in the ego is to withdraw our investment in our separate self and in the world. We hang on because we think there is still some value in the world.
To forgive is to let go of our wrong-minded thinking. It is to let go of the belief that something real is happening that is the cause of our pain. "Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred." (W.PII.Q1.What is Forgiveness?1.1) Yet this can only make sense if the world is illusory. To us, it seems as if real damage has been done, but Jesus assures us, nothing real has happened because it is just a dream. Now we are invited to look at everything that seems to happen to us as an opportunity to turn our judgments over to be transformed by the miracle. "It [the miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3) The happiness that is already in us can only be known when we are willing to let go of our stories, which means letting go of being right about how we see things.
When someone says or does something that seems to take away my peace, I need to recognize that peace is a condition in me and that no one can take it away. Only I can choose to throw my peace away in the face of a challenging situation. Instead, I can turn to the Holy Spirit to help me withdraw blame from someone for taking my peace. The Holy Spirit reminds me of my brother's innocence so I can know my own. This Lesson reminds us again that what we give, we receive.
I recently saw a movie about Nelson Mandela's life called, Long Walk to Freedom. It is such a beautiful example of forgiveness, love, and reconciliation in the face of dreadful circumstances. He spent 27 years in jail. As I watched the movie, I noticed how everyone played their part so perfectly to allow reconciliation and forgiveness to shine forth. Mandela's influence was based entirely on his example of grace and forgiveness. I thought of my day and the irritants that I made real. The movie reminded me of the message Jesus teaches us---that we are here to be a demonstration of the love we are. All attack is a call for forgiveness and peace. If we see attack in any other way, we are using it as a justification for anger. Jesus saw his crucifixion as a justification for forgiveness, as did Nelson Mandela. They are beautiful symbols for us of what is possible in our own lives. "Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all." (T.10.I.2.4) (ACIM OE T.9.VIII.65)
On our own, we do not know how to respond to any situation. When we think that we know, we are turning to the ego as our teacher. Jesus asks us to resign as our own teacher, acknowledge that we don't know, step back, and turn to the Holy Spirit in every situation. That is what he means when he asks us not to make decisions by ourselves. On our own, we will always be wrong. The ego speaks first, meaning our first thought about how to respond in any situation is ego-driven. When we ask to see another way, we make space for guidance. This simply requires us to be willing to let go of our way and be open to receiving a new perception. "Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with Him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you." (T.II.VI.3.7-8) (ACIM OE T.10.VII.61) I find that for guidance to come I must take the time to step away from a difficult situation rather than reacting to it. When I take the time to be still and do nothing, the answer always comes; and the answer is always to let go of my way. An insight then comes to me that would not have been there if I had relied on my own thinking. Life is then lived in a state of inspiration, rather than trying to figure things out on my own. When I get out of the way by giving over my interpretations and judgments, the channels are cleared for His Love to come through.
Each time we are willing to recognize that all our sense of lack and deprivation is a choice we make in our own minds and is not caused by anything outside of our mind, we choose with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego, and thus, we experience more love in our lives. This is not dependent on the things going on in our external circumstances, as Nelson Mandela illustrated so beautifully. The good news is that if our own mind is the source of all our unhappiness, so too is it the source of all our happiness. It is all within our power to choose. We have both the thought system of the ego and the thought system of the Holy Spirit in us to choose between. The script is written and it is the script we chose. Now, in each situation and every decision we make in our script, we choose Heaven or hell. We choose to judge or to extend love.
"Let me forgive all things, and let creation be as You would have it be and as it is. Let me remember that I am Your Son, and opening the door at last, forget illusions in the blazing light of truth, as memory of You returns to me." (W.342.1.7-8)
MANUAL #8, 1-6; #9, 1-2
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
#8. How Can the Perception of Order of Difficulties
1 The belief in order of difficulties is the basis for the world's perception. It rests on differences; on uneven background and shifting foreground, on unequal heights and diverse sizes, on varying degrees of darkness and light, and thousands of contrasts in which each thing seen competes with every other in order to be recognized. A larger object overshadows a smaller one. A brighter thing draws the attention from another with less intensity of appeal. And a more threatening idea or one conceived of as more desirable by the world's standards completely upsets the mental balance. What the body's eyes behold is only conflict. Look not to them for peace and understanding.
2 Illusions are always illusions of differences. How could it be otherwise? By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance but is recognized as being untrue. The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself. Illusions are travesties of creation, attempts to bring truth to lies. Finding truth unacceptable, the mind revolts against truth and gives itself an illusion of victory. Finding health a burden, it retreats into feverish dreams. And in these dreams, the mind is separate, different from other minds, with different interests of its own and able to gratify its needs at the expense of others.
3 Where do all these differences come from? Certainly they seem to be in the world outside. Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold. It is the mind that interprets the eyes' messages and gives them "meaning." And this meaning does not exist in the world outside at all. What is seen as "reality" is simply what the mind prefers. Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body's eyes to find it. The body's eyes will never see except through differences. Yet it is not the messages they bring on which perception rests. Only the mind evaluates their messages, so only the mind is responsible for seeing. It alone decides whether what is seen is real or illusory, desirable or undesirable, pleasurable or painful.
4 It is in the sorting out and categorizing activities of the mind that errors in perception enter. And it is here correction must be made. The mind classifies what the body's eyes bring to it according to its preconceived values, judging where each sense datum fits best. What basis could be faultier than this? Unrecognized by itself, it has itself asked to be given what will fit into these categories. And having done so, it concludes that the categories must be true. On this the judgment of all differences rests because it is on this that judgments of the world depend. Can this confused and senseless "reasoning" be depended on for anything?
5 There can be no order of difficulty in healing merely because all sickness is illusion. Is it harder to dispel the belief of the insane in a larger hallucination as opposed to a smaller one? Will he agree more quickly to the unreality of a louder voice he hears than to that of a softer one? Will he dismiss more easily a whispered demand to kill than a shout? And do the number of pitchforks the devils he sees carrying affect their credibility in his perception? His mind has categorized them as real, and so they are real to him. When he realizes they are all illusions, they will disappear. And so it is with healing. The properties of illusions which seem to make them different are really irrelevant, for their properties are as illusory as they are.
6 The body's eyes will continue to see differences, but the mind which has let itself be healed will no longer acknowledge them. There will be those who seem to be "sicker" than others, and the body's eyes will report their changed appearances as before. But the mind will put them all in one category---they are unreal. This is the gift of its Teacher---the understanding that only two categories are meaningful in sorting out the messages the mind receives from what appears to be the outside world. And of these two, but one is real. Just as reality is wholly real, apart from size and shape and time and place---for differences cannot exist within it---so too are illusions without distinction. The one answer to sickness of any kind is healing. The one answer to all illusions is truth.
#9. Are Changes Required in the Life Situation of
1 Changes are required in the minds of God's teachers. This may or may not involve changes in the external situation. Remember that no one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God's plan. It is most unlikely that changes in his attitudes would not be the first step in the newly-made teacher of God's training. There is however no set pattern, since training is always highly individualized. There are those who are called upon to change their life situation almost immediately, but these are generally special cases. By far the majority are given a slowly-evolving training program in which as many previous mistakes as possible are corrected. Relationships in particular must be properly perceived and all dark cornerstones of unforgiveness removed. Otherwise, the old thought-system still has a basis for return.
2 As the teacher of God advances in his training, he learns one lesson with increasing thoroughness. He does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action. This becomes easier and easier as the teacher of God learns to give up his own judgment. The giving up of judgment, the obvious prerequisite for hearing God's Voice, is usually a fairly slow process, not because it is difficult, but because it is apt to be perceived as personally insulting. The world's training is directed toward achieving a goal in direct opposition to that of our curriculum. The world trains for reliance on one's judgment as the criterion for maturity and strength. Our curriculum trains for the relinquishment of judgment as the necessary condition of salvation.
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