Lesson 4
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SonShip is Sum of All Souls
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 1 "THE INTRODUCTION TO MIRACLES"
I. PRINCIPLES OF MIRACLES
 
19. 19 Miracles make minds one in God. They depend on cooperation because the Sonship is the sum of all the Souls God created. Miracles therefore rest on the laws of eternity, not of time.     
    
 ACIM.OE.TX.CH1.19
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
INTRODUCTION
Workbook Introduction
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1 A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
 
2 The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
 
3 The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
 
4 Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
 
5 Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
    
    ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM       

 
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 4
These thoughts do not mean anything.
They are like the things I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place].


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Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

1Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. Then apply the idea to them. If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are "bad." You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called "good" or "bad." This is why they do not mean anything.
 
2 In selecting the subjects for the application of today's idea, the usual specificity is required. Do not be afraid to use "good" thoughts as well as "bad." None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. The "good" ones of which you are aware are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. The "bad" ones are blocks to sight and make seeing impossible. You do not want either.
 
3 This is a major exercise and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you and the meaningful within. It is also the beginning of training your mind to recognize what is the same and what is different. In using your thoughts for application of the idea for today, identify each thought by the central figure or event it contains. For example:
 
4 This thought about _____ does not mean anything. It is like the things I see in this room [or wherever you are].
 
5You can also use the idea for a particular thought which you recognize as harmful. This practice is useful, but is not a substitute for the more random procedures to be followed for the exercises. Do not, however, examine your mind for more than a minute or so. You are too inexperienced as yet to avoid a tendency to become pointlessly preoccupied. Further, since these exercises are the first of their kind, you may find the suspension of judgment in connection with thoughts particularly difficult. Do not repeat these exercises more than three or four times during the day. We will return to them later.
 
 
         ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM  


          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 4   
These thoughts do not mean anything.
They are like the things I see in this room

[on this street, from this window, in this place
].         

Sarah's Commentary:

 
It is initially challenging to watch our thoughts, yet that is precisely what we are being asked to do. We are generally not aware of the myriad thoughts that play on the surface of our minds. The mind is very noisy, but we are not used to paying attention to what our thoughts are about. Now we come to the end of our day and feel depressed and disheartened, and we don't know why because we have not tuned into what we have been telling ourselves all day. Our thoughts dictate our feelings, and thus, our feelings can be a good gateway to the beliefs we hold about ourselves and others. Because our feelings come from the thoughts, beliefs, values, and concepts we hold, it is important to watch what we are thinking.
 
When we lament, "I can't help it. That is just the way I feel," we are assuming that we are at the mercy of something outside of us. Thus, we feel the world is the cause, and we are the effect of outside events and circumstances. We are learning that the events that seem to have an impact on us are actually neutral. It is the meaning we choose to give these events that determines how we feel. The inner and outer are the same. We are being shown that ultimately our thoughts have no meaning, just like the forms we see have no meaning. The only meaning they have is the meaning we give them. Our thoughts are not different from the forms we perceive and give meaning to. "They are like the things I see in this room." (W.4) It is not about good thoughts or bad thoughts. We judge our thoughts as good or bad, but we are being told they are simply not real. The only reality is Oneness. Nothing outside of that is real. The problem is, we give what is "outside" meaning. The meaning we give it is all based on past learning. Jesus says that what we are seeing is an ". . . outside picture of our inward condition." (T.21.IN.1.5) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1) We give the picture meaning. It serves the ego, which wants us to see value in the world and stay focused on what is outside of our own minds so we will stay invested in the world.
 
When we start to look at our thoughts and pay more attention to them, we can see how they are all over the place, rapidly changing from one thing to another. Noting the thoughts crossing our minds is not an easy exercise for us. We have not been trained to look at our thoughts. In looking at our thoughts today, we are told, "Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are 'bad'. You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called 'good' or 'bad'. That is why they do not mean anything." (W.4.1.5-7) What we want to consider today is that they are neither good nor bad but that they simply don't mean anything. What we are trying to get to here is that underneath the thoughts we think we are thinking are our real thoughts, of which we are not aware. To become aware of our real thoughts, we need to look at our meaningless thoughts and see them for what they really are---nothing.
 
This begs the question of what are our real thoughts. They are a reflection of the truth. They are thoughts that spring forth from the eternal Self and are thoughts of joy, love, and the Oneness of our being. The truth of who we are is behind these meaningless thoughts we are thinking. Our thinking mind has covered over the truth because the ego has us focused on the seeming reality of this world. As we apply these Lessons, the thought system of the ego is being exposed.
 
This is just the start of our mind training, and we may find ourselves judging and reacting to the exercises, but it does not matter. What is important in doing these exercises is not to require some kind of perfection of ourselves, nor is it helpful to strain in doing them. To strain is to put the ego in charge of the undoing. Remember, all that is required is our willingness to look at our thoughts. Our part is to bring these thoughts to the light and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Our part is not about undoing our egoic thought system because the ego will not undo itself. The Holy Spirit in our right minds is the true strength and power in us that brings the correction. Thus, our part is not difficult. We are not the ones to change ourselves. All we do is bring awareness to our thoughts and the desire to know ourselves. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
 
It is not helpful to drive yourself crazy trying to catch all your thoughts. Do the exercise only as long as you don't feel strain, and try to suspend your judgment about all of this. Recognize in this process that the ego may get threatened and resist the exercise. It does this because it is at risk of being undone by the power of our right minds. Our true Self remains unified as the love we already are. There is nothing we need to achieve. Our part is simply to bring our attention to our thoughts.
 
Jesus tells us this is a major exercise that will be repeated in a different form. "The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful." (W.4.3.2) What thoughts do you cherish? We may cherish memories of good times, but we also cherish grievances, judgments, painful thoughts, and thoughts of unworthiness. Obviously, these are thoughts that hurt us, so why do we keep them? We keep them because they have come to define who we think we are, and thus, there is a pleasure we get, even from thoughts we see as painful. Likewise, the thoughts we think we like come with a hefty price tag because they keep us rooted in the illusion and the illusion always brings suffering.
 
While these thoughts do seem to have power over us, Jesus still tells us to consider that they are meaningless. "It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within." (W.4.3.3) What is meaningless is outside because what is outside is not real. Another way to see this is that behind what we call our minds, with all their random thoughts, is the real or spiritual mind that is still unwavering and all-encompassing. It is blocked by the mind that differentiates and takes pleasure in its own thoughts. We are attached to our own uniqueness and special individual self, even if the experience of that self is full of pain and suffering. We are at the beginning steps of letting go of this self-identity by being the observer of it. It all starts with observing our thoughts.
 
This Lesson is a first small step in realizing that we can start the process of looking at our thoughts and recognize we give them all the power they seem to have. We can learn through this process that we can ultimately be released from the grip they seem to have on our emotions and feelings and ultimately from the ego.
 
We learn early in the text reading, "The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can. Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him." (T.5.V.6.8-16) (ACIM OE.T.5.VII.67)
 
Jesus explains that there are only two emotions: One is love, which is our inheritance, and the other is fear, which we have made. As we learn to uncover our thoughts and are willing to give them over to the Holy Spirit, we make space for the love that we are to come through. Another way of putting it is that when we uncover our ego thoughts, which are in our wrong minds, we make way for miracles. Regardless, the love we are never changes, in spite of our thoughts. No matter how shameful, ugly, or demeaning our thoughts seem to be, they are meaningless because the part of the mind thinking them is also meaningless.
 
In the practice instructions, we are told, "Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. Then apply the idea to them. If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are 'bad'. You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called 'good' or 'bad'. That is why they do not mean anything." (W.4.1.1-7)
 
Then we are told, "This is a major exercise and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form." (W.4.3.1) From this, we get the sense of its importance in our mind training. We learn to recognize that the meaningless is outside and the meaningful is within, but since there is nothing outside of our own minds, nothing in form is meaningful, including our own thoughts. Our thoughts are no different than other forms, like the things in the room, which don't mean anything. The only meaning is in content, not form.
 
Our thoughts have actually put us into a state of mindlessness. Thus, the ego has succeeded in blotting out of our awareness the content of God's Love. Now, we see the world of form, and the content of love is buried beneath the forms (our thoughts). That is why it is important that we learn to look at them and learn that we have a choice and a Mighty Power in the mind to heal all that stands in the way of the truth.

Love and blessings, Sarah  
A Course in Miracles
TEXT
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter One: Introduction to Miracles    

I. Principles of Miracles [continued]

15. 15 Each day should be devoted to miracles. The purpose of time is to enable man to learn to use it constructively. Time is thus a teaching device and a means to an end. It will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning.
 
16. 16 Miracles are teaching devices for demonstrating that it is more blessed to give than to receive. They simultaneously increase the strength of the giver and supply strength to the receiver.
 
17. 17 Miracles are the transcendence of the body. They are sudden shifts into invisibility, away from a sense of lower-order reality. That is why they heal.
 
18. 18 A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service one individual can render another. It is a way of loving your neighbor as yourself. The doer recognizes his own and his neighbor's inestimable worth simultaneously.
 
19. 19 Miracles make minds one in God. They depend on cooperation because the Sonship is the sum of all the Souls God created. Miracles therefore rest on the laws of eternity, not of time.
 
20. 20 Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle.
 
21. 21 Miracles are natural expressions of total forgiveness. Through miracles, man accepts God's forgiveness by extending it to others.
 
22. 22 Miracles are associated with fear only because of the fallacious belief that darkness can hide. Man believes that what he cannot see does not exist, and his physical eyes cannot see in the dark. This is a very primitive solution and has led to a denial of the Spiritual eye. * The escape from darkness involves two stages:
 
A. 23 The recognition that darkness cannot hide. This step usually entails fear.
 
B. 24 The recognition that there is nothing you want to hide, even if you could. This step brings escape from fear.
 
23. 25 Miracles rearrange perception and place the levels of perception in true perspective. This heals at all levels because sickness comes from confusing the levels.
 
26 When you have become willing to hide nothing, you will not only be willing to enter into communion but will also understand peace and joy. Your commitment is not yet total, and that is why you still have more to learn than to teach. When your equilibrium stabilizes, you will be able to teach as much as you learn, which will give you the proper balance. Meanwhile, remember that no effort is wasted, for unless you remember this, you cannot avail yourselves of my efforts, which are limitless. Only eternity is real. Why not use the illusion of time constructively?
 
24. 27 Miracles enable man to heal the sick and raise the dead because he made sickness and death himself and can abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is only your own nightmare and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.
 
25. 28 Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. This process works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.
 
29 I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle unto any of my brothers, you do it unto yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. The purpose of my part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all lacks of love which men could not otherwise correct. The word "sin" should be changed to "lack of love" because "sin" is a man-made word with threat connotations which he made up himself. No real threat is involved anywhere. Nothing is gained by frightening yourselves, and it is very destructive to do so.

* The term "Spiritual eye" is later replaced by the Holy Spirit, and the "physical eye" becomes the ego. The emphasis on the two ways of seeing, however, remains throughout.
   
          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM       


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