Lesson 344
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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?
 
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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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 344
Today I learn the law of love; that what I give
my brother is my gift to me. 
 
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    This is Your law, my Father, not my own.
    I have not understood what giving means,
    and thought to save what I desired for
    myself alone. And as I looked upon
    the treasure that I thought I had, I found
    an empty place where nothing ever was,
    or is or will be. Who can share a dream?
    And what can an illusion offer me?
    Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts
    beyond the worth of anything on earth.
    Let my forgiven brothers fill my store
    with Heaven's treasures, which alone are real.
    Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus
    Your Son arises and returns to You.
 
   How near we are to one another, as
   we go to God. How near is He to us.
   How close the ending of the dream of sin,
   and the redemption of the Son of God.
 
     ~ Original Handscript of ACIM
 
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 344
Today I learn the law of love; that what I give my brother is my gift to me.

  
Sarah's Commentary:  
 
The law of love is that giving and receiving are the same, mentioned very often in A Course in Miracles. "What I give my brother is my gift to me." (W.344) This law works in the ego framework as well as in the realm of the Holy Spirit. In the ego thought system, when we think we are giving guilt to our brothers, we are actually keeping it; and when we give attack, we receive the attack we think we are giving. It is not hard to see that when I get angry at my brother the anger is still in me. I think I am giving it to him, yet it is right back at me.
 
In the thought system of the Holy Spirit, when we give love or forgiveness, we receive it for ourselves. When we see innocence in our brother, we know our own innocence. The law works the same in the world of hate as in the world of love. Giving and receiving are the same. The ego has sold us a bill of goods, telling us that we can safely blame others and get rid of guilt in the process. In this way of thinking, when I attack my brother, I believe that I have safely given the guilt to him while holding onto innocence for myself.
 
It is true that, in the world of form, what I give to you, I no longer have, or what I take from you, you no longer have, but behind all form is thought. Thought determines what I am giving or receiving. If my thought is to give a gift in form as an expression of the love I feel for you with no expectations of getting anything back from you, I experience that same love for myself. I still have what the form represents. We have all experienced this when we have given someone a gift that is perfect for them and reflects our deep love for them. If the giving is accompanied by expectations that they must reciprocate in some way, then what I give them is not a gift of love but one of guilt. And when this is the case, what I receive for myself is more guilt. The gift now has strings attached, and they owe me something in return.
 
In the world, I accumulate treasures, which I see as mine. I think of all the things I have as belonging to me alone. I think my house belongs to me alone. I think my car is mine alone. Yet this lesson states, "And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me?" (W.344.1.3-5) In other words, Jesus helps us to see that what we accumulate in the world is nothing at all. It can't be shared and it can't offer us anything of value. Only ideas can be shared, and behind all form is an idea. If things are just ideas, what I appear to be giving in form is still just a gift to myself. The joy we feel when we give someone a gift and feel our hearts expand with love and generosity is true giving and receiving.
 
At some level, we know things really have no meaning except when we give them. We say things like, "You can't take it with you." For me, as I get older, this has more meaning. I used to collect heirlooms like old dolls and collector plates until I asked myself, "What is this for?" I used to keep photo albums of all my trips until I had many shelves full of them and I started to deeply question their value for me. Many things, that I just had to have, fell away over time as I incorporated the Course teachings into my life. I came to the place in my life where more and more I questioned what anything was for. I couldn't find satisfactory answers to keep accumulating more stuff. There is nothing at all wrong with material things, and we are not guilty for having stuff. As Jesus says, they are nothing---not good, not bad, merely nothing. Yet if we use what we have for a holy purpose, it becomes meaningful. It means we allow the Holy Spirit to decide for us. Where should my money go? What purpose can my home be put to? What purpose is there that reflects the law of love? What if I really knew that what I give away will be the only thing left in the end, and what I hold onto for myself alone will be lost?
 
Jesus reminds us that the law of love he speaks of is not ours. "This is Your law, my Father, not my own." (W.344.1.1) In other words, we believe we lose what we give away. There is a part of us that holds back in everything, whether in the money we give, what we give or hold back in a relationship, what we consider our own self-interest that we protect, or what we allow ourselves to give to God. In other words, we protect some aspects of our individuality and our self-interest. In this world, we still live according to laws that protect our interests as we see them, but we are invited to increasingly question where we put our attention. We can increasingly look at what we give that is a real gift---when we give it, we keep it. As we learn to give more and look at the places we hold back, we can learn about God's law and see how we apply it in our own lives.
 
"Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth." (W.344.1.6) Haven't we all experienced the shift that happens when we bring attack thoughts and grievances to the Holy Spirit and space is made for love? It is a joyful experience. When we attack, we are only hurting ourselves. What we give truly, we receive for ourselves and our hearts swell with joy. When we release our angry thoughts, our fearful thoughts, our grievances, our judgments, our expectations of how others should be, our needs, and our belief in lack, we know the fullness of Self and the radiance of Being, which is a gift beyond measure. "Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You." (W.344.1.8-9)
 
That is what this journey is about. It is not about how much we acquire and hold onto. It is about releasing, loving, being, and sharing. It is about joining with each other, so we can know, "How near we are to one another, as we go to God." (W.344.2.1) Thus, we experience "How near is He to us." (W.344.2.2) Clearly, Jesus understands this is a process for us. We are not yet ready to give all to all. He knows that we are still holding back, but we are taking steps up the ladder. "How close the ending of the dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God." (W.344.2.3) We are coming to a deeper realization that we are One and that our brother's call for love is our own. We unite in remembering that our only purpose here is to remember who we are and that we can only do that as we give what we most want for ourselves.

Love and blessings, Sarah
huemmert@shaw.ca  
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND 
A Course in Miracles
MANUAL for TEACHERS 
ACIM Original Edition
Play Audio
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
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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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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