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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 7 "THE CONSISTENCY OF THE KINGDOM"
VII. FROM VIGILANCE TO PEACE
61 If you will keep in mind what the Holy Spirit offers you, you cannot be vigilant for anything but God and His Kingdom. The only reason you find this difficult is because you think there is something else. Belief does not require vigilance unless it is conflicted. If it is, there are conflicting components within it which have engendered a state of war, and vigilance therefore has become essential. Vigilance has no place at all in peace. It is necessary against beliefs which are not true and would never have been called upon by the Holy Spirit if you had not believed the untrue. You cannot deny that, when you believe something, you have made it true for you.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 79
Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is. Even if it is really solved already, you will still have the problem because you cannot recognize that it has been solved. This is the situation of the world. The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved. But the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized.
2 Everyone in this world seems to have his own special problems. Yet they are all the same and must be recognized as one if the one solution which solves them all is to be accepted. Who can see that a problem has been solved if he thinks the problem is something else? Even if he is given the answer, he cannot see its relevance.
3 That is the position in which you find yourself now. You have the answer, but you are still uncertain about what the problem is. A long series of different problems seems to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise. There seems to be no end to them. There is no time in which you feel completely free of problems and at peace.
4 The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved. The world seems to present you with a vast number of problems, each requiring a different answer. This perception places you in a position in which your problem solving must be inadequate and failure must be inevitable.
5 No one could solve all the problems the world appears to hold. They seem to be on so many levels, in such varying forms, and with such varied content that they confront you with an impossible situation. Dismay and depression are inevitable as you regard them. Some spring up unexpectedly, just as you think you have resolved the previous ones. Others remain unsolved under a cloud of denial and rise to haunt you from time to time, only to be hidden again but still unsolved.
6 All this complexity is but a desperate attempt not to recognize the problem and therefore not to let it be resolved. If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter what form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance. Perceiving the underlying constancy in all the problems which confront you, you would understand that you have the means to solve them all. And you would use the means because you recognize the problem.
7 In our longer practice periods today, we will ask what the problem is and what is the answer to it. We will not assume that we already know. We will try to free our minds of all the many different kinds of problems that we think we have. We will try to realize that we have only one problem, which we have failed to recognize. We will ask what it is and wait for the answer. We will be told
. Then we will ask for the solution to it. And we will be told.
8 Our exercises for today will be successful to the extent to which we do not insist on defining the problem. Perhaps we will not succeed in letting all our preconceived notions go, but that is not necessary. All that is necessary is to entertain some doubt about the reality of our version of what our problems are. We are trying to recognize that we have been given the answer by recognizing the problem, so that the problem and the answer can be brought together, and we can be at peace.
9 The shorter practice periods for today will not be set by time but by need. You will see many problems today, each one calling for an answer. Our efforts will be directed toward recognizing that there is only one problem and one answer. In this recognition are all problems resolved. In this recognition there is peace.
10Be not deceived by the form of problems today. Whenever any difficulty seems to rise, tell yourself quickly:
12 Then try to suspend all judgment about what the problem is. If possible, close your eyes for a moment and ask what it is. You will be heard and you will be answered.
Let me recognize this problem so it can be solved.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.
Jesus tells us that no matter how we experience our many and varied problems, "Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution that solves them all is to be accepted." (W.79.2.2) To us, problems seem very different from each other. Some seem large and others small; some seem to need one kind of approach, while others need to be solved in other ways. "A long series of different problems seems to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise. There seems to be no end to them." (W.79.3.3-4) Our lives here are an endless series of problems, both physical and psychological. We are constantly attending to our bodily needs, health, safety, security, as well as addressing our interpersonal issues. These problems create a continual distraction for us. From our perspective, "There is no time in which you feel completely free of problems and at peace." (W.79.3.5)
Jesus says something quite startling right off the bat in this Lesson, when we read, "A problem cannot be solved if you don't know what it is." (W.79.1.1) We think we do know what our problems are. We have no difficulty listing a long series of problems confronting us at this moment, so how do we interpret what he is telling us? Clearly, we see our problems as external. They seem to be caused by people, events, and circumstances in the world, and that is where we put our attention. Regardless of the problem we have, there is always someone or something to blame. Jesus tells us, "Even if it is really solved already you will still have the problem, because you will not recognize that it has been solved." (W.79.1.2) We still have the problem because it is not external to us, even though we see it that way. Every problem has a cause in the mind. The only problem we have is that we have made a decision to separate from love. With that decision, we made a body and a world to distract us from the one and only real problem we have, which is the belief in sin and guilt that come with the choice for separation. That guilt says we deserve punishment, and it is delivered via our many problems and difficulties in the world.
As soon as the problem of separation seemed to have arisen, the Answer was given in the same instant. The Answer is the Holy Spirit in our right minds. The Holy Spirit is the memory of God we took into the dream when we seemed to fall asleep to who we really are. Thus, "The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved." (W.79.1.4) We won't realize this is the case while we stay asleep in the dream and are still uncertain of what the real problem is. We still have a hard time believing there is only one real problem we need to address when we feel inundated with a variety of problems. We still resist the idea there is only one problem, and that it has already been solved. "You have the answer, but you are still uncertain about what the problem is." (W.79.3.2) Our uncertainty is the resistance we have to the truth. We resist this teaching because we think we know what our problems are and we are reluctant to admit we don't know. The mind that thinks it knows will not be open to the truth. We believe we know better than what Jesus is telling us. It is the 'yes but' thought that keeps us in a state of doubt. We reflect on the problems confronting us and conclude he just does not understand our situation.
Problems have a purpose in our lives, which is to keep us invested in the world with our attention constantly focused outside. They keep us very invested in the dream. If the answer is the miracle, what is required is to take whatever we see as a problem, whether loss, lack, jealousy, or sickness, back into the mind and put it on the inner altar for healing. This is the only place where the Answer is and thus the only place the problem can be solved. As long as we keep trying to address our problems by thinking we can solve them through our own efforts and see them as outside of ourselves, we reinforce the belief that we are the victims of circumstances beyond our control. That is what the ego is invested in having us see because it keeps the separation going.
The ego would have us see the cause of our distress as outside our own minds; so we never go back into our minds where the real problem is. Now cause and effect are separate. When we accept that the only cause of any problem we have is the guilt in our minds, we recognize where the solution is as well. The truth regarding any problem we seem to have is that nothing real has occurred. We need not take anything seriously. Yes, you will experience situations you deem to be problems, but "You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything." (T.6.IV.3.1) (ACIM OE T.6.V.47) Its version of events is always wrong because it always looks to the world as cause and yourself as the effect. It is invested in seeing that we remain victims of the world we see.
The ego's existence depends on keeping us in the dark about the nature of the true source of our problems---the guilt in our minds. The belief that we have sinned and therefore should feel guilty came as a result of our belief that we could separate from God. We have bought into this myth of the ego. Now its existence depends on keeping our focus on the screen of this world, which keeps us from recognizing the truth about ourselves. When we finally accept the Atonement [healing] for ourselves, the ego game is over. With our investment in the world, we believe in the drama of our lives. We have taken various events and woven them together into a story, which we think explains who we are. We keep this story of our lives going until we recognize that we have given meaning to the meaningless.
Jesus tells us that the "problem" must be recognized exactly as it is [in the mind] and not as it seems to be [specific in form]. All spiritual practice aims at this one recognition. Linear time was made to deny this one simple recognition that the only reality is the eternal now where peace resides. Problems invite us to throw away the peace that is always available to us because it is already in us. Difficult situations in our lives become the excuse we give for our lack of peace. The truth is that we can have peace regardless of what is going on around us.
Even though the problem of separation has already been solved, we don't experience that this is the case. Instead, we see all our myriad problems as special and unique to us. "Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution that solves them all is to be accepted." (W.79.2.2) There is no order of difficulty in the illusion, meaning that there are no big problems and small problems. While we seem to be looking for specific answers to the problems that we have determined need attention, we don't hear the answer from the Holy Spirit because we ask for answers to problems we don't have.
For example, I might be having a problem with my partner because he gets very involved with his work and seems not to give me the attention I want. If I try to change the situation by manipulating him, trying to change him, or throwing guilt at him, I may get a behavioral change, but nothing will have changed in my mind, except now the guilt, sadness, loneliness, and distress that I feel in my separated state never gets solved. Yet when I go within, the answer I get from the Holy Spirit is to recognize that the feelings are mine alone and that this is where the healing must be. When I choose to release my grievances about this problem and thus to join with my brother, I will see his innocence regardless of his behavior. The miracle has now shifted my perception.
There seems to be no end to the different kinds of problems that confront us. Yet Jesus says, "The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved." (W.79.4.1) It seems to us that each problem is unique and requires a different answer. We spend a lot of time figuring out what to do in each situation. With this perception, no wonder our problem solving is "inadequate, and failure is inevitable." (W.79.4.3) In the world, clearly, no one is up to the job of solving all the problems. In fact, it seems that the more our problems seem to get solved in the world, the more complex they become. Thus, we seem to be confronted by an impossible situation, leaving us feeling dismayed and depressed about everything we need to deal with here. Some of these problems seem very apparent and "Others remain unsolved under a cloud of denial, and rise to haunt you from time to time, only to be hidden again but still unsolved." (W.79.5.5) Problems are thus a distraction to keep the game of this world going and keep us from looking at the fundamental questions of our lives---What am I? What is my purpose? Where am I going?
The world was set up so we would always experience inadequacy and failure in solving problems because they are actually unsolvable. They are insolvable because, as said earlier, we don't know what the problem is, and even if we solve some of our perceived problems, they will still be there in another form! That explains why it is so frustrating. We are told that the answer to all of our problems is given us, but we don't see how this can possibly relate to the problems that seem to confront us daily. Until we see that what we really want is to know the truth of who we are as unlimited beings of light and love, we will think that what we want is to solve the problems of our bodily existence in order to be happy. Thus, we will put all our attention there, whether it is to try to get a better job, find the right relationship, or make more money. All these activities are fine, except our peace and happiness are not found there, and ultimately, that is what we are looking for.
When we try to solve problems on our own, we may address the symptoms for the time being, but the real problem is never solved and another problem shows up in its place. Problems in the world are never ending. We generally feel worn down and depleted by the attempts at continual problem solving until we turn inward to where the Answer has always been, waiting for us. When I know that I am safe no matter what is going on in my life, when I humbly surrender my way and turn to Him, and when I look for the peace that is always there within, I can approach every problem and situation in my life from a place of trust. It is a knowing that no matter what seems to be happening, I am safe in the loving embrace in which we are all held. A problem is only a problem if I define it that way. It truly can be seen as a neutral event with no meaning except the one I give it. It is an opportunity to look to the Holy Spirit, rather than to the ego, for the answer. Thus, when we turn to the Holy Spirit, we can receive the answer when we are willing to take responsibility for the grievance that underlies every problem. When we are willing to take responsibility without blaming ourselves, we can then receive the miracle. Since every problem is the same (separation), every solution is the same (Atonement). We are always reminded of the first principle of miracles: "There is no order of difficulty in miracles." (T.1.I.1.1) (ACIM OE T.1.I.1)
Jesus recognizes this is not easy for us to take in. And so, in this Lesson, we are asked to start by simply doubting the way we currently see things. "Perhaps you will not succeed in letting all your preconceived notions go, but that is not necessary. All that is necessary is to entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of what your problems are." (W.79.8.2-3) Later, he says, "Whenever any difficulty seems to rise, tell yourself quickly: Let me recognize this problem so it can be solved. Then try to suspend all judgment about what the problem is." (W.79.10.3) Thus, we are asked to keep an open mind, which is to recognize our judgments are always wrong.
At least, I can do that much. I find that if I just step away from how I have defined the problem, loosen my grip on the way I see it, and tell myself I really don't have the foggiest notion of what it is all about, I can let myself consider there might be another way to think about what is in front of me. I realize I have no ability to see all sides of it. My view of any problem is limited by my faulty perceptions. I can then ask the Holy Spirit to help me see differently, and help comes in amazing ways. It comes as prompts, ideas, people showing up, and synchronistic events, all of which reflect a change in my mind. I recognize these symbols of outward conditions reflect the shift in my mind from fear and doubt to trust. All we are doing is taking small steps daily to release the grip that fear has on our minds. One of these steps is to do nothing when there is uncertainty. I have personally lived in a state of not knowing for two years until the answer came. I am grateful I did not push for a decision as the ego seemed to require. Waiting in the state of not knowing and trusting the answer would be given, resulted in great certainty. With the ego, there is never any certainty.
Love and blessings, Sarah
The Consistency of the Kingdom
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
VII. From Vigilance to Peace
Although you can
the Sonship only as one, you can
it as fragmented. It is impossible, however, for you to see something in
of it that you will not attribute to
of it. That is why attack is
discrete and why attack must be relinquished
. If it is
relinquished entirely, it is not relinquished at all. Fear and love are equally reciprocal. They make or create, depending on whether the ego or the Holy Spirit begets or inspires them, but they
return to the mind of the thinker, and they
affect his total perception. That includes his perception of God, of His creations, and of his own. He will not appreciate
of them if he regards them fearfully. He will appreciate
of them if he regards them with love.
55 The mind that accepts attack
cannot love. That is because it believes that it can
destroy love and therefore does not understand what love
is. If it does not understand what love
cannot perceive itself as loving. This loses the awareness of being, induces feelings of unreality, and results in utter confusion. Your own thinking has done this because of its power, but your own thinking can also save you
from this because its power is
not of your making. Your ability to
direct your thinking as you will is
part of its power. If you do not believe you can do this, you have
denied the power of your thought and thus rendered it powerless in your
56 The ingeniousness of the ego to preserve itself is enormous, but it stems from the power of the mind, which the ego
denies. This means that the ego
attacks what is
preserving it, and this
must be a source of extreme anxiety. That is why the ego
never knows what it is doing. It is perfectly logical but clearly insane. The ego draws upon the one source which is totally inimical to its existence
for its existence. Fearful of perceiving the
power of this source, it is forced to depreciate it. This threatens its
own existence, a state which it finds intolerable.
57 Remaining logical but still insane, the ego resolves this completely insane dilemma in a completely insane way. It does not perceive
its existence as threatened by projecting the threat onto
you and perceiving your
being as nonexistent. This ensures
its continuance if you side with it by guaranteeing that you will not know your
own safety. The ego cannot afford to know
anything. Knowledge is total, and the ego does not
believe in totality. This unbelief is its origin and, while the ego does not love
is faithful to its own antecedents, begetting as it was begotten.
always reproduces as it was produced. Produced by fear, the ego reproduces fear. This is its allegiance, and this allegiance makes it treacherous to love,
because you are love. Love is your power, which the ego must deny. It must also deny everything which this power gives you because it gives you
everything. No one who has everything
wants the ego. Its own maker, then, does not want it. Rejection is therefore the only decision which the ego could possibly encounter, if the mind which made it knew
itself. And if it recognized
any part of the Sonship, it
would know itself.
59 The ego therefore opposes
all sane perception, and
all knowledge. It perceives their threat as total because it senses the fact that
all commitments the mind makes
are total. Forced, therefore, to detach itself from you who
are mind, it is willing to attach itself to
anything else. But there
is nothing else. It does not follow that the mind cannot make illusions, but it
does follow that if it makes illusions it will believe in them, because that is
how it made them.
60 The Holy Spirit undoes illusions without attacking them merely because He cannot perceive them at all. They therefore do not exist for Him. He resolves the
apparent conflict which they engender by perceiving
conflict as meaningless. We said before that the Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is, and it
is meaningless. The Holy Spirit does not want you to
understand conflict; He wants you to realize that
because conflict is meaningless it cannot
be understood. We have already said that understanding brings appreciation, and appreciation brings love. Nothing else
be understood because nothing else is
real, and therefore nothing else
61 If you will keep in mind what the Holy Spirit offers you, you cannot be vigilant for anything
but God and His Kingdom. The only reason you find this difficult is because you think there
is something else. Belief does not require vigilance
unless it is conflicted. If it is, there
are conflicting components within it which have engendered a state of war, and vigilance therefore has become essential. Vigilance has no place at all in peace. It is necessary against beliefs which are
not true and would never have been called upon by the Holy Spirit if you had
not believed the untrue. You cannot deny that, when you believe something, you have
made it true for
62 When you believe what God does not
know, your thought seems to
contradict His, and this makes it appear
as if you are attacking Him. We have repeatedly emphasized that the ego
does believe it can attack God and tries to persuade you that
you have done this. If the mind
cannot attack, the ego proceeds perfectly logically to the position that you cannot
be mind. By not seeing you as you
are, it can see
itself as it
wants to be. Aware of its weakness, the ego wants your allegiance, but not as you really are. The ego therefore wants to engage your mind in its
own delusional system, because otherwise the light of
your understanding would dispel it.
63 The ego wants no part of truth because the truth is that the
ego is not true.
If truth is total, the untrue
cannot exist. Commitment to either must be
total, since they cannot coexist in your minds
without splitting them. If they cannot coexist in peace and if you
want peace, you must give up the idea of conflict
entirely and for
time. [This requires vigilance
only as long as
you do not recognize what is true.] While you believe that two totally contradictory thought systems
share truth, your need for vigilance is apparent. Your minds
are dividing their allegiance between two kingdoms, and you are totally committed to neither.
64 Your identification with the Kingdom is totally beyond question, except by you when you are thinking insanely. What you are is not established by your perception and is not influenced
by it at all. All perceived problems in identification at any level are
not problems of fact. They are problems of
understanding, since they
mean that you believe what you can understand
is up to you to decide. The ego believes this totally, being
fully committed to it. It is not true. The ego therefore is totally committed to untruth, perceiving in total contradiction to the Holy Spirit and to the knowledge of God.
65 You can be perceived with meaning
only by the Holy Spirit because your being
is the knowledge of God. Any belief that you accept which is apart from this will obscure God's Voice in you and will therefore obscure God
to you. Unless you perceive His creation truly, you cannot know the Creator, since God and His creation are not separate. The Oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity, and your limitless power. This limitless power is God's gift to you, because it is what you
are. If you dissociate your mind from it, you are perceiving the most powerful force in the universe as if it were weak because you do not believe
you are part of it.
without your part in it, God's creation
is perceived as weak, and those who see themselves as weakened
do attack. The attack must be blind, however, because there is nothing
to attack. Therefore, they make up images, perceive them as unworthy, and attack them for their unworthiness. That is all the world of the ego is-
nothing. It has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it, because if you do you are believing that it can
be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify it, and it cannot
be justified. You cannot make the meaningless meaningful. This can
only be an insane attempt.
67 Allowing insanity to enter your minds means that you have not judged sanity as
wholly desirable. If you
want something else, you will
make something else, but because it
is something else, it will attack your thought system and divide your allegiance. You cannot create in this divided state, and you must be vigilant
against this divided state, because only peace can
be extended. Your divided minds are blocking the extension of the Kingdom, and its extension
is your joy. If you do not extend the Kingdom, you are not thinking with your Creator and creating as He created.
68 In this depressing state, the Holy Spirit reminds you gently that you are sad because you are not fulfilling your function as co-creators with God and are therefore depriving yourselves of joy. This is not God's Will but
yours. If your will is out of accord with God's, you are willing without meaning. Yet because God's Will is unchangeable, no
real conflict of will is possible. This is the Holy Spirit's perfectly consistent teaching.
not separation, is your will
because it is God's, and nothing that opposes this means anything at all. Being a perfect accomplishment, the Sonship can only accomplish perfectly, extending the joy in which it was created and identifying itself with both its Creator and its creations,
knowing they are one.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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