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"78 The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted entirely to release you from fear. The part of your thought which you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs."

Workbook for Students
Lesson 61
I am the light of the world.
1 Who is the light of the world except God's Son? This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself. It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth.

2 To the ego, today's idea is the epitome of self-glorification. But the ego does not understand humility, mistaking it for self-debasement. Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other. It is not humility to insist that you cannot be the light of the world if that is the function God assigned to you. It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego.

3 True humility requires that you accept today's idea because it is God's Voice Which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.

4 You will want to think about this idea as often as possible today. It is the perfect answer to all illusions and therefore to all temptation. It brings all the images you have made about yourself to the truth and helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose.

5 As many practice periods as possible should be undertaken today, although each one need not exceed a minute or two. They should begin with telling yourself:

6 I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here.

7 Then think about these statements for a short while, preferably with your eyes closed if the situation permits. Let a few related thoughts come to you, and repeat the idea to yourself if your mind wanders away from the central thought.

8 Be sure both to begin and end the day with a practice period. Thus you will awaken with an acknowledgment of the truth about yourself, reinforce it throughout the day, and turn to sleep as you reaffirm your function and your only purpose here. These two practice periods may be longer than the rest if you find them helpful and want to extend them.

9 Today's idea goes far beyond the ego's petty views of what you are and what your purpose is. As a bringer of salvation, this is obviously necessary. This is the first of a number of giant steps we will take in the next few weeks. Try today to begin to build a firm foundation for these advances.
10 You are the light of the world. God has built His plan for the salvation of His Son on you.

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 Healing and Wholeness

VIII. Time and Eternity par 70-82
70 The continuing will to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings. We have said this before, but we did not emphasize the destructive results of this decision at that time. Any decision of the mind will affect both behavior and experience. What you will, you expect. This is not delusional. Your mind does create your future, and it can turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also turn back to full creation the instant it has done so. Having given up its thought disorder, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent.

71 God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just as you are waiting for theirs. Delay does not matter in eternity, but it is tragic in time. You have elected to be in time rather than eternity and have therefore changed your belief in your status. Yet your election is both free and alterable. You do not belong in time. Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever.

72 Guilt feelings are the preservers of time. They induce fears of future retaliation or abandonment and thus ensure that the future will remain like the past. This is the ego's continuity and gives it a false sense of security through the belief that you cannot escape from it. But you can and must. God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange guilt for joy, viciousness for love, and pain for peace. My role is only to unchain your will and make it free. Your ego cannot accept this freedom and will oppose your free decision at every possible moment and in every possible way. And as its maker, you recognize what it can do because you gave it the power to do it.

73 The mind does indeed know its power because the mind does indeed know God. Remember the Kingdom always, and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost. The mind that was in me is in you, for God creates with perfect fairness. Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers. How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you? What you do not understand is that the two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously, or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made, and speaking itself was unnecessary before the ego was made.

74 The ego speaks in judgment and the Holy Spirit reverses its decisions, much as the Supreme Court has the power to reverse the lower courts' decisions about the laws of this world. The ego's decisions are always wrong because they are based on a complete fallacy which they were made to uphold. Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does it cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing to the ego because of its prejudiced judgment. Perceiving it as fearful, it interprets it fearfully. Having made you afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgment would be against you.

75 We need cite only a few examples to see how the ego's interpretations have misled you. A favorite ego quotation is "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." Another is "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." Still another is "I will visit the sins of the father unto the third and fourth generation," and also "The wicked shall perish." There are many others, but if you will let the Holy Spirit reinterpret these in His own light, they will suffice.

76 "As ye sow, so shall ye reap" merely means that what you believe to be worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you. "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" is easily explained if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. This quotation therefore emphasizes the fact that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.

77 "I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation," as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It is used, in fact, as an attempt to guarantee its survival beyond itself. Actually, all the quotation means is that the Holy Spirit in later generations retains the power to interpret correctly what former generations have thought and thus release their thoughts from the ability to produce fear anywhere in the Sonship. "The wicked shall perish" is merely a statement of fact if the word "perish" is properly understood. Every loveless thought must be undone. Even the word "undone" is fearful to the ego, which interprets "I am undone" as "I am destroyed."

78 The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted entirely to release you from fear. The part of your thought which you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs. The ego is a form of arrest, but arrest is merely delay. It does not involve the concept of punishment, although the ego welcomes that interpretation. You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of assault into it.

79 When I said, "I am come as a light into the world," I surely came to share the light with you. Remember the symbolic reference we made before to the ego's dark glass, and remember also that we said, "Do not look there." It is still true that "where you look to find yourself is up to you." The Higher Court will not condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you. There can be no case against a Child of God, and every witness to guilt in Gods creations is bearing false witness to God Himself.

80 Appeal everything you believe gladly to God's own Higher Court because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly. It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it. The case may be foolproof, but it is not God-proof. The Voice for God will not hear it at all because He can only witness truly. His verdict will always be "Thine is the Kingdom" because He was given you to remind you of what you are.

81 Your patience with each other is your patience with yourselves. Is not a Child of God worth patience? I have shown you infinite patience because my will is that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience. His Voice was in me as it is in you, speaking for patience towards the Sonship in the name of its Creator. What you need to learn now is that only infinite patience can produce immediate effects. This is the way in which time is exchanged for eternity. Infinite patience calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now, it renders time unnecessary.

82 To say that time is temporary is merely redundant. We have repeatedly said that time is a learning device which will be abolished when it is no longer useful. The Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God in time, also knows that time is meaningless. He reminds you of this in every passing moment of time because it is His special function to return you to eternity and remain to bless your creations there. He is the only blessing you can truly give because He is so truly blessed, and because He has been given you so freely by God, you must give Him as you received Him.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 61
I am the light of the world.
This is the first of the seven "giant stride" (W.61.3.3) Lessons in the Workbook. The suggestion is that if we get these Lessons, we can make significant progress by using them ". . . to build a firm foundation." (W.61.7.4)
 
Here, we are already two months into the year for those of us who started the Lessons on January 1. You may recognize more resistance coming up as the Lessons take you deeper and deeper into the mind because the ego starts to recognize that its days are numbered. Conflict may now increase because we are more and more aware of the right-minded thought system. There are two choices in every situation---the choice for the ego or the choice for the Spirit. Jesus talks about this in describing the first Lesson of the Holy Spirit, where he says, "This step may appear to exacerbate conflict rather than resolve it, because it is the beginning step in reversing your perception and turning it right-side up. This conflicts with the upside-down perception you have not yet abandoned, or the change in direction would not have been necessary. Some remain at this step for a long time, experiencing very acute conflict." (T.6.V.A.6.4-6) (ACIM OE T.6.V.a.69)
 
While you may notice the resistance, perhaps determination has also increased as benefits are noted and you experience more witnesses to the miracle. We can increasingly see it is ourselves we crucify when we project our guilt, blame, and attack. Why would we want to continue to hurt ourselves when we can see we have the power in our own minds to make a better choice?
 
With this first review that we have now completed, we have been helped with the integration of the thought system. We have been encouraged to let our minds come up with related thoughts. The Lessons have taken on a deeper meaning, and we increasingly recognize that the thoughts presented in the Lessons are already in our right minds. "Yet as long as you prefer to be something else, or would attempt to be nothing else and something else together, you will not remember the language of communication, which you know perfectly." (T.15.VI.7.8) (ACIM OE T.15.VII.63) This is the language we know because it comes from what we are as God created us. It is our first language and it is perfectly shared by us all. This is the language that reflects the real thoughts in our right minds. That is why we recognize the truth even if there is still resistance and interference. The resistance is simply our fear of love. It is our fear of who we really are. We have taught ourselves a foreign language, and now believe we have made something else of ourselves other than what we truly are.
 
We have become comfortable with the separate self and with the thoughts we hold that are familiar to us, regardless of the pain and suffering we experience. Yet Jesus assures us, tolerance for pain is not without limit. "Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way." (T.2.III.3.5-6) (ACIM OE T.2.II.48) We are learning to see more and more that we can never find the happiness we are seeking in the things of the world. Jesus keeps asking us why would we want to continue to hurt ourselves when peace and happiness are available behind every problem we perceive. Increasingly, we become more aware that no matter what pleasures we seek in the world, we are ultimately seeking more pain and experiencing more guilt and fear.
 
There is still confusion in our minds because of the two thought systems we hold. "You speak two languages at once, and this must lead to unintelligibility," (T.14.VI.7.5) (ACIM OE T.14.III.22) but increasingly, we will learn to discern the difference between the language of the Holy Spirit and the ego.
 
This is a very important Lesson, as "This is the first of a number of giant steps we will take in the next few weeks. Try today to begin to build a firm foundation for these advances." (W.61.7.3-4) Each Lesson contributes to letting go of ". . . the ego's petty views of what you are and what your purpose is." (W.61.7.1) With each Lesson, we are taking steps daily to undo the concept we have made of ourselves and building instead a new concept that reflects the truth. The steps we take are gently laid out. There is nothing to fear. Jesus holds our hands throughout and never leaves us on our own when we call on him. We do not need to go alone into the darkness of our false beliefs but can take him with us.
 
Jesus says you are the light of the world as God’s Son, which "is merely a statement of truth about yourself." (W.61.1.2) Here arrogance is redefined. If we do not accept that we are the light of the world, Jesus says, "It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego." (W.61.2.5) God assigned us this function. If God tells us we are the light of the world, our response should not be, "Sorry God. You must be wrong because I am a miserable sinner." The reason His statement is true is that we are God's Son, which is a fact, and as such, our nature is light. This light shines through us to the world through our Being and is experienced every time we let go of the dark thoughts of the ego. By radiating this light, we are fulfilling our function. We are extending this light through our Being, which is reflected in our behaviors and our words. No matter what else we might be doing in this world, it is only a backdrop for our true function, which is to forgive our dark thoughts and heal our minds. The light of our Being cannot shine through us unless the darkness in our minds is released.
 
The ego is entirely about self-glorification. This Lesson says it is not humility to insist you can't be the light of the world. Indeed, it is arrogance. We are saying, we are right about the way we have defined ourselves and that God is wrong. Arrogance is about claiming something for yourself that is not really yours. It is arrogant for me to think I know better than God. To be humble is to admit, no matter what I think is right about me, I do not know. I submit that only God knows. We are told here that we are the light of the world. This must be so, but what does this really mean? It means God is with us because He is in our minds, and we are in Him. The light of the world is the light of Christ, shining in our minds.
 
Humility requires that we accept the truth of this because of Who it comes from. It is not this self I define as me---the one that thinks it is a body and personality---that is the light that shines on everything. It is my Being, which is covered over by the personality and my identity with the body. God is the Source of my Being. All my self-concepts, all my personality characteristics, and all the ways I describe and define myself are wrong. To be the light of the world ". . . does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth." (W.61.1.4-7)
 
From the perspective of the ego mind, this thought seems grandiose; and it is grandiose if we take this idea and use it for our own spiritual aggrandizement by thinking we are more important for the salvation of the world than anyone else, and believing we are more advanced, with special characteristics others don't have. That is just another way the ego glorifies itself. This is not a special characteristic about Sarah, or Jack, or Joe. It gives us no special status. It is what God has given to everyone. It is like the sun that shines on everyone equally. It is the truth about all of us. To take it for myself and think my special little self can bring you the gift of light you don’t have, is only spiritual arrogance. This light can only be reflected through me when that which blocks it is addressed. Thus, the main function I have and the reason for being here is to learn to forgive.
 
Jesus tells us, to be the light of the world is in our original specifications as we were created. It has been determined by God. It is not about how we feel. It is about our reality---who we really are. In the Bible, only Jesus is called the light of the world. In the Bible, in John 8:12, Jesus is said to have declared, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." From this perspective, only Jesus holds that status as the light of the world. He came to illuminate this dark world and came to save everyone, but now he tells us in the Course, "You are the light of the world with me." (T.5.II.10.3) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.28) He says we have the same power and "My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals." (T.5.II.9.1) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.27) He goes on to say it was his decision to listen only to the Voice of the Holy Spirit that gave him this power, and he is now helping us to make ". . . the same decision." (T.5.II.9.3) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.27)
 
This does seem grandiose to us when we think about it. Yet we are told that to accept this ". . . is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others." (W.61.3.4) "Do the Holy Spirit's work, for you share in His function. As your function in Heaven is creation, so your function on earth is healing. God shares His function with you in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit shares His with you on earth. As long as you believe you have other functions, so long will you need correction. For this belief is the destruction of peace, a goal in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit's purpose." (T.12.VII.4.6-10) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.64)
 
We are here to be a savior to our brothers, which can only be accomplished as our minds are healed. As we do the healing, we demonstrate to others that they too can make the same choice we have made. In other words, we become an example of the Atonement. All our self-attacks and misperceptions we hold must be brought to the truth. When you bring ". . . all the images you have made about yourself to the truth," (W.61.4.3) Jesus says, it ". . . helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose." (W.61.4.3) This is the goal of healing. This is the acceptance of the Atonement.
 
Teach only love, for that is what you are. As we teach through demonstration, we will know that the light is in us. That is the only way we can know it, but it requires that we continually do the work of bringing our darkness to the light. Extending love to others is not done by us but through us. It is important that we always remember that it is not these characters in the dream who know anything about bringing salvation to anyone. The light in us extends on its own. That light is of the Holy Spirit, not of us, and it is in everyone.
 
"This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent." (T.18.VII.8.3) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.70) While it is true there is no one out there and the world is an illusion, as long as we believe in its reality, we have a function here. It is not just about our own awakening. There are many busy doings to which we will be called, and it is there the light of our Being can serve and support others. We do the healing so we can be the conduit to extend this light to our brothers and sisters and undertake this as our only function here.
 
It is our ". . . real function on earth." (W.61.3.2) "It is the perfect answer to all illusions, and therefore to all temptation." (W.61.4.2) What is the temptation? It is the temptation to forget our function of forgiveness by holding onto grievances. We are tempted to get caught up in the belief we are here for our own comfort, the goodies of this world, to achieve, get ahead, compete and win at the expense of others, and build our self-esteem. Are these things wrong? Should we feel guilty? No. They are simply a meaningless waste of time and energy. We are still free to engage in them as long as we wish, but we increasingly recognize they are distractions that keep us tied to the illusion. They distract us from the gifts given us by God and waiting for us to claim them. These are the gifts of peace, joy, innocence---all gifts that are eternal.
 
The practice instructions for the Lesson tell us to think about this idea as often as possible. Do as many practice periods as possible today. Set a goal for this. Determine in advance how often you will try to remember the truth that: " I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here ." (W.61.5.3-5)
 
Think about what this statement means, preferably with your eyes closed, and let some related thoughts come to you. Let the thoughts come in such a way that you make the idea your own. Speak to yourself about what it means to you. If your mind wanders, just repeat the idea. Remember, you are taking a giant step here in doing this Lesson.
 
Start the day and end the day with the thought. You may want to take more time for the morning and evening sessions. Affirm the truth about yourself and take the idea into your day and into your sleep, asking the Holy Spirit to walk with you and channel His light into everything you think and do. As you wake, take the idea into the day, and as you go to sleep at night, affirm it again in your mind. With every circumstance, every event, and every person that tempts us to give away our peace, we remind ourselves we must be mistaken in our perceptions and there must be another way of seeing this situation.
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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