Lesson 343
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ACIM Original Edition
 A COURSE IN MIRACLES
   MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
#9. ARE CHANGES REQUIRED IN THE LIFE SITUATIONS OF GOD'S TEACHERS?
 
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.    
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MANUAL #8, #9
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSON
WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
ACIM What is a Miracle
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<VIDEO>

*IAMBIC PENTAMETER*
WHAT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER?
 
   A miracle is a correction. It
   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.
 
    ~ Original Hand Script  
 
 
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSON
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 343
I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God. 
 
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    The end of suffering can not be loss.
    The gift of everything can but be gain.
    You only give. You never take away.
    And You created me to be like You,
    so sacrifice becomes impossible
    for me as well as You. I, too, must give,
    and so all things are given unto me
    forever and forever. As I was
    created, I remain. Your Son can make
    no sacrifice, for he must be complete,
    having the function of completing You.
    I am complete because I am Your Son.
    I cannot lose, for I can only give,
    and everything is mine eternally.
 
   The mercy and the peace of God is free.
   Salvation has no cost. It is a gift
   that must be freely given and received.
   And it is this that we would learn today.
 
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 343
I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

  
Sarah's Commentary:  
 
Christmas is fast approaching and so is the end of this year of Lessons. It has been wonderful to witness the release from fear, healing, miracles, holy instants, peace, joy, willingness, and readiness to forgive. With each miracle that shows up for anyone, we are all blessed as One Self. "The new beginning now becomes the focus of the curriculum. The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone; your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgment to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear. They are not new to you, but they are more ideas than rules of thought to you as yet. So now we need to practice them awhile, until they are the rules by which you live. We seek to make them habits now, so you will have them ready for whatever need." (T.30.IN.1-8) (ACIM OE T.30.I.1)
 
While there is still fear and resistance as we approach the threshold of the gate to Heaven, there is also growing confidence and trust. What is the fear about? This Lesson speaks about fear of loss and the belief we hold that we will have to sacrifice our own self-interests and desires for the peace of God. Jesus assures us that God has given us everything and never takes anything away. He is everything, as are we, and thus, there is nothing to be sacrificed except suffering and lack that are part of the human condition. If He can only give and never take away, sacrifice cannot be required. Yet to us, there is fear that God will take something from us when we decide for Him, and thus we fear that we will lose what we value.
 
" It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give. What can the sacrifice of nothing mean?" (Manual for Teachers.13.2.1-2)
 
" God's teachers can have no regret on giving up the pleasures of the world. Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? Does an adult resent the giving up of children's toys? Does one whose vision has already glimpsed the face of Christ look back with longing on a slaughterhouse?" (M.13.4.1-3)
 
He goes on to say that what we sacrifice when we identify with the false self is peace, freedom, hope of Heaven, and remembrance of God's Love. "Who in his sane mind chooses nothing as a substitute for everything?" (M.13.4.10)
 
We believe that to receive we must pay, and then we will suffer. We think we will have to sacrifice perceived pleasures. What we increasingly have come to realize is that these perceived pleasures are the source of pain. The only real joy is to connect to the truth of what we are. When we experience the connection to the Divine within, nothing can substitute for the joy of that experience. Jesus wants us to recognize that we have already given up what has infinite value, which is our eternal Self. Of course, it is not something that is possible for us to give up, but we became unaware of our reality when we chose to separate and follow the dictates of the ego.
 
Jesus is helping us to see that the world we have come to is "a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?5.1) We blame God for the suffering that we experience in the world where everything ends in death. We cry out to Him as if He were responsible for our condition. We cry out to Him asking why He is putting us through this suffering. We believe that He has something to do with it, like a giant puppeteer in the sky, pulling our strings and bringing us hard lessons for our own good; but Jesus reminds us that it is our choice to be here and everything that seems to happen to us is by our own request. We have set up the drama of our existence here. When we are ready to return to sanity and to know our true Self is our choice to make. This is generally when we come to a place of disillusionment, finding that nothing in this world works to bring a sense of deep contentment. "An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit." (T.2.III.3.4-5) (ACIM OE T.2.II.48)We have been given the help we need from outside our own limited thinking to release our imprisoned will. We have been shown the means for undoing all that brings us pain.
 
Forgiveness and miracles pave the way for the Atonement. God has not put us here. We made the decision to separate, and then we promptly forgot we had anything to do with it, and instead, we blamed God for abandoning us to this world of pain and suffering. Yet He offers us only blessings. He only gives. In the world, we think that God gives but to take away. We say that when we die He takes us home. We think that resurrection comes through death. We think that He is the One that chooses who will continue to live and who will die. We believe that life ends when we die, and now we must pay for what we took from Him when we left our home in Heaven. We see this as part of the Last Judgment and as a terrifying process rather than the blessing, which it is.
 
To the world, Jesus was seen to have sacrificed his body for everlasting life. Thus, we see everything that comes from God as requiring some kind of sacrifice. Yet, again and again, we are assured, "Decide for God, and everything is given you at no cost at all. Decide against Him, and you choose nothing at the expense of the awareness of everything." (M.13.8.2-3) When we attack a brother, we have denied our holiness and no longer feel safe.
 
There is no death, only eternal life. "Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? " (M. 27.1.1-2) Yet that is how we think. Now we are called to raise it to question. We take it all as the Will of God, but Jesus tells us that no loving Creator would will this. We are called to exhume from our mind all the false notions we hold of who God is and who we are. We can only do that when we investigate our deeply held beliefs and fears. To think of God as holding our "little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today" (M.27.2.3) is to fear Him.
 
This Lesson tells us that we have not changed ourselves. "As I was created I remain." (W.343.1.8) Because we have the same characteristics as God since we are an extension of Him, we simply can't lose what we have been given. We cannot be incomplete because God is complete. When we feel less than whole, innocent, and peaceful, we know we are listening to untrue thoughts and holding beliefs that are false. Jesus tells us, "Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear, and frightened people can be vicious. Sacrificing in any way is a violation of my injunction that you should be merciful even as your Father in Heaven is merciful." (T.3.I.4.1-3) (ACIM OE T.3.III.21)
 
Nelson Mandela recognized this when he said how fearful were his enemies. He saw that, in their fear, they could do nothing but defend and attack. He called for mercy and in return, through the reconciliation commission, mercy was given because he gave it. It was all about healing the past. When the past is healed, "Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die." (W.PII.Q13.5.1) We are called daily to release our judgments and offer mercy to our brothers so we can know ourselves. This is not a sacrifice, but a gift we give ourselves.
 
We believe we have to suffer when we have made mistakes in our lives and hurt someone, but the miracle "merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.1.3) When we have wronged someone, we believe that we have to do penance rather than choose forgiveness. We demand of ourselves long periods of suffering in order to be sufficiently remorseful. Or, if someone has hurt us, don't we want them to suffer to atone for the sin they have committed against us? Yet this Lesson tells us, "Salvation has no cost," (W.343.2.2) which means that mercy and peace are immediately available. Nothing more is required of us than to accept the Atonement for ourselves; this is to remember who we are. Salvation has no cost. There is nothing to pay. It is not to be reserved for those who are special or deserving. Love is not specific. Love gives all to all. It is universal. It is indifferent. It shines on everyone. No one is more special than anyone else. We are all innocent. We can all choose our innocence now.
 
Let us today be willing to look at our mistakes as mistakes and be merciful to ourselves and to others. Simply through our Being, we are to be the purveyors of peace in the world. We do this in our willingness to be a communication device for the Holy Spirit so His light can shine through us. God makes no demands on us. He only gives. When we crucify ourselves for our anger, our mistakes, our grievances, our losses, or crucify others for theirs, we keep ourselves in hell. God waits on our decision to take ourselves, and others, off the cross. He welcomes us to come home and remember our true identity. There is no cost. There is no sacrifice. There is no demand for penance of any kind. What I give to you, I receive for myself. What a gift!
 
Now, we just need to recognize that our desire will return us home. We must release our fear of what we believe will be demanded of us by the wrathful image of the god we made up. This god was made by the ego to keep us in a state of sacrifice and fear. It is a god that gives life and takes it away. It is a god the ego says is justified in taking back the life we stole from Him. It is not the loving God, Who has given us all things and holds us safe in His embrace, forever and ever.

Love and blessings, Sarah
huemmert@shaw.ca  
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND 
A Course in Miracles
MANUAL for TEACHERS 
ACIM Original Edition
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MANUAL #8, 1-6; #9, 1-2
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#8. How Can the Perception of Order of Difficulties
Be Avoided?
 
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  
 
God's Teachers?
    
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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