SATURDAY MARCH 5, 2016
Gethsemane
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 6 "ATTACK AND FEAR"
II. THE MESSAGE OF THE CRUCIFIXION
[continued]  
 
My brothers slept during the so-called "agony" in the garden, but I could not be angry with them because I had learned I could not be abandoned. Peter swore he would never deny me, but he did so three times. He did offer to defend me with the sword, which I naturally refused, not being at all in need of bodily protection. I am sorry when my brothers do not share my decision to hear only one voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. Yet I know that they cannot really betray themselves or me and that it is still on them that I must build my church. 
DAILY LESSON
SonShip Workbook 
 L e s s o n 64
Let me not forget my function. 
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

1 Today's idea is merely another way of saying, "Let me not wander into temptation." The purpose of the world you see is to obscure your function of forgiveness and provide you with a justification for forgetting it. It is the temptation to abandon God and His Son, taking on a physical appearance. It is this which the body's eyes look upon. 
 
2 Nothing the body's eyes seem to see can be anything but a form of temptation, since this was the purpose of the body itself. Yet we have learned that the Holy Spirit has another use for all the illusions you have made, and therefore He sees another purpose in them. To the Holy Spirit, the world is a place where you learn to forgive yourself what you think of as your sins. In this perception, the physical appearance of temptation becomes the spiritual recognition of salvation. 
 
3 To review our last few lessons, your function here is to be the light of the world, a function given you by God. It is only the arrogance of the ego that leads you to question this and only the fear of the ego that induces you to regard yourself as unworthy of the task assigned to you by God Himself. 
 
4 The world's salvation awaits your forgiveness, because through it does the Son of God escape from all illusions and thus from all temptation. The Son of God is you. Only by fulfilling the function given you by God will you be happy. That is because your function is to be happy by using the means by which happiness becomes inevitable. 
 
5 There is no other way. Therefore every time you choose whether or not to fulfill your function, you are really choosing whether to be happy or not. Let us remember this today. Let us remind ourselves of it in the morning and again at night and all through the day as well. 
 
6 Prepare yourself in advance for all the decisions you will make today by remembering that they are all really very simple. Each one will lead to happiness or unhappiness. Can such a simple decision really be difficult to make? Let not the form of the decision deceive you. Complexity of form does not imply complexity of content. It is impossible that any decision on earth can have a content different from just this one simple choice. That is the only choice the Holy Spirit sees. Therefore it is the only choice there is. 
 
7 Today, then, let us practice with these thoughts: 
 
8 Let me not forget my function.
Let me not try to substitute mine for God's.
Let me forgive and be happy.
 
9 At least once devote ten or 15 minutes to reflecting on this with closed eyes. Related thoughts will come to help you if you remember the crucial importance of your function to you and to the world. 
 
10 In the frequent applications of today's idea to be made throughout the day, devote several minutes to reviewing these thoughts and then to thinking about them and about nothing else. This will be difficult at first, particularly since you are not proficient in the mind discipline which it requires. You may need to repeat "Let me not forget my function" quite often, to help you concentrate. 
 
11 Two forms of shorter practice periods are required. At times, do the exercises with your eyes closed, trying to concentrate on the thoughts you are applying. At other times keep your eyes open after reviewing the thoughts and look slowly and unselectively about you, telling yourself: 
 
12 This is the world it is my function to save.
 
          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM   
  
  
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
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Lesson 64
Let me not forget my function.    
 
Sarah's Commentary:  
  
Is this a happy day for you? If not, can you look at what appears to be interfering with your happiness? Are you angry at someone? Is something happening that seems to be justifying unhappiness? Do you believe someone or something is causing you grief? Do you believe someone has wronged you? Is there some expectation you have you believe has not been met? Do you have a relationship that seems to be off track? Or maybe there is something in the news you don't like or something that seems to be happening somewhere in the world? Are you disappointed about something? Do you feel betrayed or wronged by someone? Are you upset about something you have said or done? Do you feel stressed by the many things you feel must be done today? Are you worried about your future, or about money?
 
This Lesson says anything we use to hide our happiness is a choice we have made to abandon God. Another way to say this is we have made a choice to abandon our Self---the Self we are in truth. The purpose of everything in the world is to defend against the truth. In other words, we are afraid of the love we are. We use all the forms of the world, meaning the circumstances and events in our lives, to justify our unhappiness. That is what all our stories are about. We are tempted to be right about the way we see things. It is the temptation to use the world to maintain our separation. "The purpose of the world you see is to obscure your function of forgiveness, and provide you with a justification for forgetting it." (W.64.1.2) That is why the world was made, so we could project responsibility for our condition onto others.
 
Whenever we feel unhappy, worried, distressed, frustrated, and so on., we can know we are thinking incorrectly about something or someone. Bob Newhart satirizes this beautifully in his lovely vignette you can see on YouTube called "Just Stop It!" The longer we delay in watching our misperceptions with great vigilance and choosing to forgive, the longer we stay in hell. As we become aware of the thoughts we think we can then make the choice to let them go. We don't need to turn it into a story and allow the mind go where it may. We can just stop it at the first thought! It is that simple, but not necessarily that easy, so asking for help in this process is essential. If you find yourself unwilling to change your mind, simply ask for willingness to give over your resistance to the power of the Holy Spirit within your mind.
 
If you say you are unhappy with someone in your life, you have judged them and determined they are not meeting your needs. You may feel sad, angry, jealous, disappointed, hurt or even betrayed. Whatever you feel, the point is it has nothing to do with the other person. Your interpretations of the person and situation and your reactions are about you. In each situation, you have a choice to blame, retaliate and accuse, or you could go inward and be willing to see you are the one that set up this situation for your own learning. If you are willing to see this is your classroom for healing your own mind, you can willingly bring any issue to the Holy Spirit and ask for His help so He can reinterpret it for you. This is what forgiveness is about as defined by Jesus. Certainly it is a different definition than described by the world. In the world, it is about forgiving someone who has done something wrong. But in the Course, forgiveness is about undoing our own misperceptions on behalf of our own happiness. It is not about forgiving anyone because there is no problem in the relationship to be fixed. The problem is always with our own interpretation. All events are neutral. It is only the meaning we give them that needs to be released.
 
No one in the world can fix what is unhealed in our own minds. Yes, we can manipulate others to address our needs, which may satisfy us temporarily, but it will never heal the guilt in our minds that we project onto them. Healing requires that we release our grievances so we can experience the truth in our minds. This Lesson says when we forgive, "happiness becomes inevitable." (W.64.4.2) If we don't, we are choosing to remain unhappy. How insane is that? "Therefore, every time you choose whether or not to fulfill your function, you are really choosing whether or not to be happy." (W.64.4.4) Why would we choose against our own happiness? Certainly we would not do it if we really understood how all this works. That is why Jesus is so patient in showing us how the ego has set it all up. When we become aware of how the ego program keeps us in the cycle of sin, guilt and fear, we will be more motivated to be taught how to release it all on behalf of our happiness.
 
The purpose of the world is to ensure we never remember who we are and never take responsibility for the fact that we are the makers of this world and responsible for our condition, which comes from our decision to separate from God. What we do then is hold the belief that events in the world, situations in our lives, and people who bug us all have the power to take away our peace and thus seemingly give us reason to be angry instead of forgiving. We have conveniently forgotten that we threw away peace in the first place, and now we project responsibility for that decision onto our brothers and blame them for taking the peace, joy, and love away from us. Therefore, we justify withholding forgiveness, because the ego gives us a multitude of reasons to be angry.
 
Now our minds can become quite obsessive by going over and over what someone has done. Do you notice how incessant this kind of self-talk can be? The ego is like a dog with a bone, chewing and chewing on what someone has said or done to us, and what we should do in return, but we can choose not to listen to it. I have become quite stern with myself in this regard, telling the ego I am absolutely uninterested in its contribution and absolutely and resolutely refusing to listen to it. This has been working very well for me.
 
This Lesson reminds us again that when we withhold forgiveness, we are actually choosing not to be happy. We have such resistance to letting go of our grievances. Why? Ultimately we have come to believe we are our thoughts, and without them we would lose our identity as we know it, and that frightens us. We also want to feel innocent and our way to that goal is by seeing others as guilty. The ego has designed it that way. It has obscured our function from us by making a world and a body we believe is our reality. All temptation is about seeing ourselves as a body, which will ensure the ego thought system remains untouched. It is a temptation to believe the ego is right about others hurting us and being responsible for our situation, but the ego is clearly wrong. We are now being shown another way.
 
Why is it so hard for us to choose the teaching of the Holy Spirit? Because we would rather see sin all around us, but not in ourselves. We would rather blame them than take responsibility for our condition. The ego has made it all very convincing by giving us senses that show us what we are seeing is real. The body's eyes do not see, but we think they do. Yet we see only what the mind tells the body to see. "Nothing the body's eyes seem to see can be anything but a form of temptation, since this was the purpose of the body itself. Yet we have learned that the Holy Spirit has another use for all the illusions you have made, and therefore He sees another purpose in them. To the Holy Spirit, the world is a place where you learn to forgive yourself what you think of as your sins. In this perception, the physical appearance of temptation becomes the spiritual recognition of salvation." (W.64.2.1-4)
 
It can be hard to really accept this because we so identify with our body and with the world. We have come to believe that what our eyes see and what we perceive with our senses is the truth. We believe the world is exactly as we see it. Yet Jesus keeps reminding us the purpose of the world we see is to obscure our function of forgiveness, and further, the whole underlying basis for the world is to provide us with justification for forgetting it. (W.64.1.2) We all experience how difficult it can be to keep our minds on our function, meaning to keep focused on spiritual truth. We all find it easy to forget our function. Forgetting the purpose that is our calling is so easily done as a result of the million distractions confronting us each day. Many things in the world seem to require our attention and our action. They give us all kinds of justifications for forgetting this teaching. This is what wandering into temptation is about. "'Let me not wander into temptation.'" (W.64.1.1) The temptation comes from the focus on our body and its needs and the problems we confront daily.
 
Everything in the world is just another temptation for us to forget our only reason to be here, which is to practice forgiveness. Everyone who comes into our lives and every situation and circumstance we encounter offers us another opportunity to learn that. Let's not forget that today. Let's really make the decision to remember this and "prepare yourself in advance for all the decisions you will make today by remembering they are all really very simple. Each one will lead to happiness or unhappiness." (W.64.5.3-4) If that is the case, how difficult is this decision? Would we really knowingly choose against our own happiness? And yet we do all of the time. Even when I know I am doing this, I will often resist letting the grievance go. After all, I reason, it is "justifiable anger and I don't want you off the hook quite yet!" This is just insanity and keeps us in hell. Jesus tells us anger is never justified. He demonstrated this when his body was being destroyed. He chose forgiveness in the face of attack. Let us keep asking for help in letting go of our perceived grievances and choose to bless our brother rather than crucify him. Let us not work against our own happiness today. Let us remember what makes a decision simple is that we are only making a choice to remember our own Identity.
 
To remember my function today means I have to be vigilant in watching my thoughts. Everything I have made the Holy Spirit can use for His purposes. Any beliefs I hold, that I am not ready yet to forgive, or beliefs that I am not good enough yet, or that I have been betrayed or humiliated, are all the thoughts about which I need to be vigilant. We are now getting quite familiar with what constitutes our ego voice, which keeps us from the love we are, and we can choose to let these thoughts go and choose peace instead. Our choice to forgive leads us to happiness. It leads us to know our own innocence, and that of our brothers. It leads us to remember we are worthy.
 
Jesus tells us to "Prepare yourself in advance for all the decisions you will make today by remembering they are all really very simple." (W.64.5.3) Now it doesn't seem that way to us, does it? We seem to have a variety of complex decisions to make every day and many of them confound us and confuse us as to which way to go and what to do, but he says we should remember they are all very simple. In this world, everything does seem complex, as there do seem to be hundreds of choices. This is just a distraction from the real content, which is simple. The simplicity we need to remember is there is only one choice in every situation. The choice is for the ego or for the Holy Spirit. It is a choice for the grievance or the miracle.
 
"Complexity of form does not imply complexity of content. It is impossible that any decision on earth can have a content different from just this one simple choice." (W.64.5.7-8) There is only one truly important thing---the simple choice for forgiveness. The world of form is just the ego device to distract us from this and thus keep us invested in the world. Today, let us be determined to remember our function, no matter what is in front of us with all of its seeming complexities. We do this by setting our goal to remember our function.
 
I find the prayer at the end of Chapter 5 very helpful when my mind gets focused on ego thoughts. The prayer says:
 
"I must have decided wrongly because I am not at peace."
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me. " (T.5.VII.6.7-11)(ACIM OE T.5.IX.96)
 
We have the power to change our minds. We have the decision-making capacity in our minds. No one, not even God, can override the power of our decision. There are times it does seem herculean to release our bitterness, anger, and disappointments, which is why we need to ask for help of the Holy Spirit, Who is in our right minds. With our invitation and our choice for His guidance, we are freed. Without this help, we would stay on the ego's treadmill forever, having only interludes of seeming peace and respite based on outside circumstances.
 
I notice when I join with others in doing guilt-clearing sessions, the hardest thing for everyone to do is take responsibility for the projections they have put on others. It seems that the evidence we have for someone's misdeeds is so well developed that we want to keep defending our conclusions about them. Therefore, we need to start with a strong desire to change our minds and choose peace and happiness instead of our own perceptions, which are never right. It can be a challenging process, but the outcome is a state of peace and joy unshaken by outside events.

Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
II. The Message of the Crucifixion continued     

10 There can be no justification for the unjustifiable. Do not believe there is, and do not teach that there is. Remember always that what you believe you will teach. Believe with me, and we will become equal as teachers. Your resurrection is your reawakening. I am the model for rebirth, but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your minds of what is already in them. God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever. I believed in it and therefore made it forever true for me. Help me to teach it to our brothers in the name of the Kingdom of God, but first believe that it is true for you, or you will teach amiss.
 
11 My brothers slept during the so-called "agony" in the garden, but I could not be angry with them because I had learned I could not be abandoned. Peter swore he would never deny me, but he did so three times. He did offer to defend me with the sword, which I naturally refused, not being at all in need of bodily protection. I am sorry when my brothers do not share my decision to hear only one voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. Yet I know that they cannot really betray themselves or me and that it is still on them that I must build my church.
 
12 There is no choice in this because only you can be the foundation of God's church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes it a church. Any church which does not inspire love has a hidden altar which is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. I must found His church on you because you who accept me as a model are literally my disciples. Disciples are followers, but if the model they follow has chosen to save them pain in all respects, they are probably unwise not to follow him.
 
13 I elected both for your sake and mine to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault as judged by the ego did not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was perfectly clear that this was only because of the projection of others, because I had not harmed anyone and had healed many. We are still equal as learners, even though we need not have equal experiences. The Holy Spirit is glad when you can learn enough from mine to be re-awakened by them. That was their only purpose, and that is the only way in which I can be perceived as the Way, the Truth, and the Light.
 
14 When you hear only one voice, you are never called on to sacrifice. On the contrary, by enabling yourselves to hear the Holy Spirit in others, you can learn from their experiences and gain from them without experiencing them yourselves. That is because the Holy Spirit is one, and anyone who listens is inevitably led to demonstrate His way for all. You are not persecuted, nor was I. You are not asked to repeat my experiences because the Holy Spirit, Whom we share, makes this unnecessary. To use my experiences constructively, however, you must still follow my example in how to perceive them.
 
15 My brothers and yours are constantly engaged in justifying the unjustifiable. My one lesson, which I must teach as I learned, is that no perception which is out of accord with the judgment of the Holy Spirit can be justified. I undertook to show this was true in a very extreme case merely because it would serve as a good teaching aid to those whose temptations to give in to anger and assault would not be so extreme. I will with God that none of His Sons should suffer.
 
16 Remember that the Holy Spirit is the communication link between God the Father and His separated Sons. If you will listen to His Voice, you will know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves. When you perceive only this need in them and do not respond to any other, you will have learned of me and will be as eager to share your learning as I am. The crucifixion cannot be shared, because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing, because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know its wholeness. Only this is knowledge.
 
17 The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:
 
18 Teach only love, for that is what you are.
 
19 If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it and always for the same reason that makes anyone misunderstand anything. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the "wrath of God" as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their own sense of guilt had made them angry.
 
20 There are two glaring examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, whose whole gospel is only the message of love. These are not like the several slips into impatience which I made. I had learned the Atonement prayer, which I also came to teach, too well to engage in upside-down thinking myself. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, "I come not to bring peace but a sword." This is clearly the exact opposite of everything I taught.
 
21 Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did if they had really understood me. They would have realized I could not have said, "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The "punishment" which I am said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar reversal. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
 
22 I am very grateful to the Apostles for their teaching and fully aware of the extent of their devotion to me. Nevertheless, as you read their teachings, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I emphasize this only because I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is "punished" for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners.
 
23 Any concept of "punishment" involves the projection of blame and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The behavior that results is a lesson in blame, just as all behavior teaches the beliefs which motivate it. The crucifixion was a complex of behaviors arising out of clearly opposed thought systems. As such, it was the perfect symbol of conflict between the ego and the Son of God. The conflict is just as real now, and its lessons, too, have equal reality when they are learned. I do not need gratitude any more than I needed protection, but you need to develop your weakened ability to be grateful, or you cannot appreciate God. He does not need your appreciation, but you do.
 
24 You cannot love what you do not appreciate, and fear makes appreciation impossible. Whenever you are afraid of what you are, you do not appreciate it and will therefore reject it. As a result, you will teach rejection. The power of the Sons of God is operating all the time because they were created as creators. Their influence on each other is without limit and must be used for their joint salvation. Each one must learn to teach that all forms of rejection are utterly meaningless. The separation is the notion of rejection. As long as you teach this, you still believe it. This is not as God thinks, and you must think as He thinks if you are to know Him again.

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