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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 6 "ATTACK AND FEAR"
V. THE ONLY ANSWER
50 Hear then the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions which the ego raises. You are a Child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists, and only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real, and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him because you will be awake. Your dreams have contained many of the ego's symbols, and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you awake, you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 66
My happiness and my function are one.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 You have surely noticed an emphasis throughout our recent lessons on the connection between fulfilling your function and achieving happiness. This is because you do not really see the connection. Yet there is more than just a connection between them; they are the same. Their forms are different, but their content is completely one.
2 The ego does constant battle with the Holy Spirit on the fundamental question of what your function is. So does it do constant battle with the Holy Spirit about what your happiness is. It is not a two-way battle. The ego attacks and the Holy Spirit does not respond. He knows what your function is. He knows that it is your happiness.
3 Today we will try to go past this wholly meaningless battle and arrive at the truth about your function. We will not engage in ceaseless arguments about what it is. We will not become hopelessly involved in defining happiness and determining the means for achieving it. We will not indulge the ego by listening to its attacks on truth. We will merely be glad that we can find out what truth is.
4 Our longer practice period today has as its purpose your acceptance of the fact that not only is there a very real connection between the function God gave you and your happiness, but that they are actually identical. God gives you only happiness. Therefore the function He gave you must be happiness, even if it appears to be different. Today's exercises are an attempt to go beyond these differences in appearance, and recognize a common content where it exists in truth.
5 Begin the ten- to 15-minute practice period by reviewing these thoughts:
God gives me only happiness.
7 Try to see the logic in this sequence, even if you do not yet accept the conclusion. It is only if the first two thoughts are wrong that the conclusion could be false. Let us, then, think about the premises for a while, as we are practicing.
8 The first premise is that God gives you only happiness. This could be false, of course, but in order to be false it is necessary to define God as something He is not. Love cannot give evil, and what is not happiness is evil. God cannot give what He does not have, and He cannot have what He is not. Unless God gives you only happiness, He must be evil. And it is this definition of Him which you are believing if you do not accept the first premise.
9 The second premise is that God has given you your function. We have seen that there are only two parts of your mind. One is ruled by the ego and is made up of illusions. The other is the home of the Holy Spirit, where truth abides. There are no other guides but these to choose between and no other outcomes possible as a result of your choice but the fear which the ego always engenders and the love which the Holy Spirit always offers to replace it.
10 Thus it must be that your function is established by God through His Voice or is made by the ego which you have made to replace Him. Which is true? Unless God gave your function to you, it must be the gift of the ego. Does the ego really have gifts to give, being itself an illusion and offering only the illusion of gifts?
11 Think about this during the longer practice period today. Think also about the many forms which the illusion of your function has taken in your mind and the many ways in which you try to find salvation under the ego's guidance. Did you find it? Were you happy? Did they bring you peace?
12 We need great honesty today. Remember the outcomes fairly, and consider also whether it was ever reasonable to expect happiness from anything the ego has ever proposed. Yet the ego is the only alternative to the Holy Spirit's Voice. You will listen to madness or hear the truth. Try to make this choice as you think about the premises on which our conclusion rests. We can share in this conclusion, but in no other. For God Himself shares it with us.
13 Today's idea is another giant stride in the perception of the same as the same and the different as different. On one side stand all illusions. All truth stands on the other. Let us try today to realize that only the truth is true.
14 In the shorter practice periods, which would be most helpful today if undertaken twice an hour, this form of the application is suggested:
My happiness and function are one
16 It will not take more than a minute, and probably less, to repeat these words slowly and think about them a little as you say them.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
My happiness and my function are one.
Jesus tells us, "Today's idea is another giant stride. . . " (W.66.10.5) We heard the same thing in Lesson 61. He said that to accept our function of forgiveness allows us to know the truth about ourselves as God's Son and to be a light in this world. This will take us ". . . far beyond the ego's petty views of what you are and what your purpose is." (W.61.7.1) This phrase is also used in Lessons 94 and Lesson 135. Jesus is encouraging us to really commit to our function of forgiveness on behalf of our own happiness. These Lessons are building a strong foundation for our advancement.
There are many spiritual paths and wonderful spiritual teachers, but I don't know any teaching that has laid out a path as specifically as the Course has done in helping us remember who we are. It does a wonderful job of providing us with a step-by-step process and a spiritual technology that transforms our lives. It literally changes our perspective on everything, but we have to let this door be opened.
"You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself."
(T.6.IV.9.4) (ACIM OE T.6. V.53) "The door is not barred, and it is impossible that you cannot enter the place where God would have you be. But love yourself with the Love of Christ, for so does your Father love you. You can refuse to enter, but you cannot bar the door that Christ holds open. Come unto me [says the Christ] who hold it open for you, for while I live it cannot be shut, and I live forever. God is my life and yours, and nothing is denied by God to His Son." (T.11.IV.6.3-7) (ACIM OE T.10.V.36)
In this Lesson, we are being asked to see the connection between our function and our happiness. We increasingly recognize that fulfilling our function of forgiveness leads us to happiness. In fact, forgiveness is the only way to happiness. When we release thoughts of guilt, hate, pain, grievances, distress, grief, condemnation, needing to be right, worry of any kind and all the false beliefs and concepts we hold, what remains is happiness. Any illusion we hold in our minds that we are not willing to bring to awareness for the purpose of healing holds us in bondage to the ego and the world. It is not about indulging our emotions, but it is about bringing awareness and expression to them so that they are no longer hidden and can be healed.
The ego has no power except the power we give it. As long as we do give it power, it has a strong hold on us. The beautiful thing is that behind every problem there is a miracle, but we need to clear all that blocks it. When our minds are clouded with our own thoughts, there is no space made for the miracle. It takes willingness on our part to bring discipline to our minds through the practices that are offered in these Lessons. Sometimes we hold thoughts that we are simply unwilling to release. We justify why we need to hold onto them. For example, we believe that if we don't hold onto our grievance about someone who has wronged us, we are "letting them off the hook." Or we believe that if we don't hold onto our grief, it means that we have stopped loving the person who died. We give ourselves all kinds of reasons for holding onto the thoughts that keep us from our happiness. Now we are called to forgive these thoughts so happiness can be revealed to us. As long as we stubbornly hold onto whatever thoughts are more important than our happiness, we will be keeping it at bay.
I was recently upset when a friend, whom I trusted with some confidences, seemed to betray me by sharing what I had said. I wanted to be right about the way I saw this, and we went back and forth in our emails defending our positions, needing to be right about the way we saw this situation. Did I want to be right or did I want peace? I realized that, in the end, there is only one ego. We all lie. We all betray confidences. We all want to be right, but in defending and needing to be right, there can be no peace and no happiness. It is in being willing to be wrong and recognizing we are all the same that we can let it all go. When we are willing to ask for help to see the innocence in our brother, we take a step in letting go of our position. It means we want peace more than we want to be right. The Holy Spirit knows how this situation can be used for the highest good for all. I just need to entrust everything to His care; and in that, there is immediate relief, as attack thoughts fall away and peace prevails. It is such a gift to ourselves. It is how our function is fulfilled.
Why do we stubbornly resist our function of forgiveness? It is because we resist and fear God's love. Crazy as it sounds, in the end, we are afraid of losing ourselves. That is why we prefer our own thoughts, even if they bring us pain because that is how we hold onto our separate identity. It is the reason that "The ego does constant battle with the Holy Spirit on the fundamental question of what your function is." (W.66.2.1) To the ego, it is all about its survival separate from God. Holding onto attack and condemnation ensures its survival. We make others responsible for our condition. "If your brothers are part of you and you blame them for your deprivation, you are blaming yourself. And you cannot blame yourself without blaming them. That is why blame must be undone, not seen elsewhere." (T.11.IV.5.1-3) (ACIM OE T.10.V.35)
We battle God though He does not engage in this war but simply waits for us to change our minds. We stage our battle with Him by blaming Him for our unhappiness, asking questions like, "God, how could you let this happen?" Or we may believe He brings us hard Lessons to test our character. Or we feel we deserve the punishment we are experiencing in our lives because of our past sins. Yet our battle with God is not a two-way battle. The ego attacks and the Holy Spirit does not respond. To the Holy Spirit, there is no opposing force because the ego is nothing so there is nothing there to attack. It is illusory. It does not even exist! It is literally just a thought in our minds. It only has the power we give it. However, to us it does seem to be a battle between what the ego tells us will make us happy and what is being offered by the Holy Spirit.
The ego is constantly engaging us in conflict, making sure we keep projecting responsibility onto others for our unhappiness and keeping us invested in the illusion. The ego sends us out to battle and then makes us feel guilty for what it had us do! As long as we continue to project our guilt onto others, it keeps us in the ego's game; and the ego's game is to make sure we don't renege on our decision to maintain allegiance to it as our primary guide. When we choose the Holy Spirit instead by choosing to forgive, the ego lashes out because the power of our minds to choose against it is its biggest threat. Thus, it knows its days are numbered.
We think we know where to look for our happiness, and we do have moments of happiness, yet they are elusive. They don't last because we are constantly casting about wondering what will make us happy. We may think it is a change of job, a new relationship, more money, or a holiday, yet when these things come about, we are still left with our thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, which is the real basis for our unhappiness. Happiness that comes from getting what we want in external circumstances, arranged the way we think we want them, always comes at someone's expense. Happiness comes at the opponent's loss. In the ego world, everyone is an opponent, as the thought system of the ego is based on "one or the other." It comes from our belief in separation and differences. Our needs take precedence in our minds over that of others, but true happiness can never come at anyone else's expense. Jesus says our function of healing is the only thing that makes us truly happy. Any happiness that comes from getting our way will ultimately bring guilt and pain.
Jesus lays out for us a very logical framework in which to look at what God is. He starts by saying, "The first premise is that God gives you only happiness." (W.66.6.1) Clearly, we are ambivalent about this premise. Our greatest obstacle to peace is still the fear of God. We see God as dualistic just as the Bible describes Him where He gives both good and evil, love and destruction. Jesus assures us He is not like that. If He were like that, there would have to be evil in Him as well as love. Is this possible? No. He offers us only His Love. There are no tests, no lessons He brings, and no hoops to jump through. He does not even ask us to worship Him. "God cannot give what He does not have, and He cannot have what He is not." (W.66.6.4) If you accept that Love cannot deliver us evil, then God cannot be the dualistic God of the Bible. If evil did exist, then God would have to be the source of it. Since, "Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them," (T.26.VII.4.7) (ACIM OE T.26.VIII.49) we are an idea in God's Mind and we have never left our Source. Therefore, there can be no evil in us as there is none in God.
Now we have two choices in this world. We either choose the Holy Spirit and with it comes our happiness, or we choose the ego, and then fear, pain, and suffering are the results. It is a simple choice, but in this complex world, nothing seems simple to us. We don't always see how we are choosing against our happiness. The ego has duped us into thinking that if we pursue the things of this world, that is where our happiness is. We have all tried that with little success. This is when disillusionment sets in. Everything we choose to do in pursuing happiness in the world holds the content of fear. When we choose with the Holy Spirit as our Guide, He shows us our true source of happiness. It is when we choose to forgive what stands in the way that peace prevails. It is that simple, no matter how complex the problems that show up for us seem to be. When we choose with the ego, we will always experience pain, even if it initially appears as pleasure.
God created us and the only thing about us that is real is His nature, which is pure peace, joy, and love. He brings no lessons. He offers only His Love. We do not have to sacrifice anything when we choose for God's love because He only wants our happiness. Jesus asks us to give up this meaningless battle and not indulge ourselves in needless efforts to define happiness or indulge the ego in senseless arguments about how to achieve happiness. When the ego guides our search for truth, it makes sure we never find it. Philosophers have debated what truth is and have found no real answers, but Jesus says, "We will merely be glad that we can find out what truth is." (W.66.3.5) It is available to us behind every circumstance and every problem when we are willing to look clearly at the ego. That is all we need to do, which is to see it in operation. We need to stop listening to its lies. We have made it real, but now we need to dispel it by looking at it with the light of truth inside us. It does not love us. In fact, it wants us dead while masquerading as our protector.
What do you think you need in order to be happy? Think of the things that you wish for, plan for, and try to manifest in your life that you believe define your happiness: a relationship, a car, a trip, a vacation, money, a new job, better sex, a more confident self-image, special powers, more expertise, better coping tools, more control, a nicer ego, more power, more attention, or more love. We seek for what we think we are lacking, yet God specified our nature, which means that nothing is lacking. He asks us to think of the many ways we have tried to find salvation (happiness) under the ego's guidance. We can obviously fool ourselves into thinking we have found it. That is why we are told, "We need great honesty today," (W.66.9.6) to admit the truth. We do not have to do without any of the things we are currently attached to for our happiness. We are not asked to sacrifice anything. We only need to appreciate that we are truly not free until we awaken to our reality, which is our freedom and our joy. With that, everything will be provided. It requires trust, the first characteristic of the Teacher of God. (Manual for Teachers)
I had a dream that someone had stolen my purse because I had left it unattended. I was extremely unhappy because I was somewhere overseas, far from home, and my airline tickets, cash, credit cards, and everything were gone. Then I had a moment where I said to myself, "This is a dream. Therefore, it is not happening, and I don't have to buy into this scenario" My mind did not completely believe it because I was not yet awake, but the awareness was there that it was a dream, and I could let go of the fear. What a wonderful metaphor for our lives. We feel lost. We experience lack. We feel far from home. We lose hope that we will ever find our way back to our true happiness and peace. Yet Jesus assures us that the outcome is certain for us all. We on the road to awakening, recognizing that this world is a dream too, and our sins have had absolutely no effect.
"On one side stand all illusions. All truth stands on the other."
(W.66.10.6-7) "You will listen to madness or hear the truth."(W.66.10.1) "Let us try today to realize that only the truth is true." (W.66.10.8) We realize only truth is true by becoming more and more vigilant in watching our minds for ego thoughts that block the truth. When they are brought to truth, they dissolve into the nothingness from which they came. We don't need to listen to the false. When we do listen, we are choosing against our happiness.
There are only two guides available to us. One brings fear and the other brings love. How do I know which guide I am following? When I follow the insanity of my ego, I try to control everything about my life. I believe in my separated state, the body, and the world. I see the world as real. I stay busy and focused on my plans and protect myself through projection, attack, and defense. The function I give myself is all about my body, getting what I think I want and need from other bodies. I feel weak, lacking, needy and vulnerable. I let nothing slip past my awareness without my judgment.
We may be experiencing turmoil. We may be faced with a problem. We may feel confused, and then we ask for help and suddenly there is a jolt or nudge of inspiration. We get an idea that seems to come out of the blue. We have a moment of clarity, or someone says something to us that inspires us and connects with something in our own minds, which validates our internal guidance. Or there are synchronicities in terms of events, people, or messages, which show up that take us in new directions. Or we observe some meaningful patterns or common themes that show up that bring some new perspectives. Inspiration may come in meditation, but to hear the Holy Spirit means that the ego must be seen as a lie. "You will listen to madness or hear the truth." (W.66.10.1)
When I met Don, I was not sure about this relationship. I had been widowed for ten years and felt that a single lifestyle was the option that best met my needs. I resisted getting into the relationship and was very confused. I sat down and asked for guidance. What I got from the Holy Spirit was, "I will guide you every step of the way. No one can lose. You have known each other before. Trust. Your uncertainty is an act of faithlessness. All blocks will be removed. You are opening your heart. Love is the only pathway home." It felt like the truth to me and I chose to listen to this message, rather than to my haranguing ego, which gave me all kinds of reasons why this relationship was not for me. I knew I could trust what I was given because my trust was now stronger in the Holy Spirit due to past experiences where His promises were always delivered. I recognize more and more that I don't know my own best interests, but Someone in me does know. This kind of guidance comes to me when I sit down with a pen in hand and go into meditation with a question. The answer comes when I ask and write down what comes to me. I am always intrigued by how loving and helpful it is.
The important thing about guidance is discernment. The ego can fool us so that, while we may get guidance, the ego will use it to inflate itself with its own specialness or inflate itself with pride or arrogance. It can be a mixed bag until we get better at mind training and discernment. This is where great honesty is called for. It is not always easy to see where the ego has snuck in.
It is all a process. Be gentle with yourself as you sort through the wishes and dreams of the ego and bring awareness to its game of seeking and never finding. The ego is in secret alliance with the body and it is working against us. It is working against our true happiness. The Kingdom of God is truly within, and when we seek outside of ourselves, we will always stay on this hamster wheel. The only way out is to undo the false beliefs and concepts in the mind and release them by acknowledging that we don't know where our happiness lies, and we are now opening our minds and expressing a willingness to learn.
Love and blessings, Sarah
Chapter Six: Attack and Fear
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
45 Remember that the Holy Spirit is the
Answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first because it is capricious and does
not mean its maker well. That is because it believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well, it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad when He has brought you home, and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as
part of you. Herein lies its primary perceptual error, the foundation of its whole thought system.
46 When God created you, He made you part of Him. That is why attack
within the Kingdom is impossible.
You made the ego without love, and so it does not love
you. You could not remain
within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are
without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and
outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raised the first question that was ever asked, but one which it can never answer. That question, "What are you?" was the beginning of doubt.
47 The ego has never answered
any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than
obscure the question because you
have the answer and
the ego is afraid of you. You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand one basic fact that the ego does
not know. The Holy Spirit does not speak first,
but He always answers. Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another
and has been answered. Since the Holy Spirit answers truly, He answers
for all time, which means that everyone has the answer
48 The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it
does believe that part of the same mind that made it is
against it. It interprets this as a justification for
attacking its maker. It believes that the best defense
is attack and
wants you to believe it. Unless you
do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies though
not of brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body,
not the mind, as its ally because the body is
not part of you. This makes the body the ego's friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you
side with this alliance, you
will be afraid because you are siding with an alliance of fear.
49 The ego and the body conspire
against your minds, and because the ego realizes that its "enemy"
can end them both merely by knowing they are
not part of him, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is
not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which
is real, that the mind is its own learning device and that the learning device is more real than
it is. No one in his right mind could
possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind
does believe it.
50 Hear then the
one answer of the Holy Spirit to
all the questions which the ego raises. You are a Child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists, and
only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real, and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him because you
will be awake. Your dreams have contained many of the ego's symbols, and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep
and did not know. When you awake, you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you.
51 Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you because they are beautiful and true. In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt there because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered,
it has never been. Being alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question. The time that was spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity.
You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once quite certain in your minds has become only the
ability for certainty. The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of
uncertainty because abilities are potentials,
not accomplishments. Your abilities are totally useless in the presence of God's accomplishments and also of yours. Accomplishments are results which
have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. You must remember, however, that when you put yourselves in an impossible situation, you believed that the impossible
53 Abilities must be
developed, or you cannot use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kindest solution possible to what
you have made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can
get you out of it. You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no
commander except yourself. This leaves
you in charge of the Kingdom with both a Guide to
find it and a means to
keep it. You have a model to follow who will
strengthen your command and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your perceived enslavement, a fact which
itself demonstrates that you are
54 You are in an impossible situation only because you thought it was possible to be in one. You
would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection and
proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect were inadequate to bring
themselves to the awareness of their perfection and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of "reasoning" which the ego engages in, but God, Who
knows that His creations are perfect, does
not insult them. This would be as impossible as the ego's notion that
it has insulted
55 That is why the Holy Spirit
never commands. To command is to assume
inequality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because
you made them. What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His own certainty? We have frequently stated that what you teach you
are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your sanity, which is the one thing in which you can
find the sanity He gave you.
56 God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack which God
knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego's voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it
yours. God did not blot it out because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer. His Answer is your Teacher.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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