Lesson 83
Grace is Natural
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108 Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.        
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ACIM Workbook Review II
 Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio  

1 We are now ready for another review. We will begin where our last review left off and cover two ideas each day. The earlier part of each day will be devoted to one of these ideas, and the latter part of the day to the other. We will have one longer exercise period and frequent shorter ones in which we practice each of them. 
2 The longer practice periods will follow this general form: take about 15 minutes for each of them, and begin by thinking about the idea and the comments which are included in the assignments. Devote about three or four minutes to reading them over slowly, several times if you wish, and then close your eyes and listen. Repeat the first phase if you find your mind wandering, but try to spend the major part of the practice period listening quietly but attentively. 
3 There is a message waiting for you. Be confident that you will receive it. Remember that it belongs to you and that you want it. Do not allow your intent to waver in the face of distracting thoughts. Realize that, whatever form they take, they have no meaning and no power. Replace them with your determination to succeed. Do not forget that your will has power over all fantasies and dreams. Trust it to see you through and carry you beyond them all. 
4 Regard these practice periods as dedications to the way, the truth, and the life. Refuse to be side-tracked into detours, illusions, and thoughts of death. You are dedicated to salvation. Be determined each day not to leave your function unfulfilled.  
5 Reaffirm your determination in the shorter practice periods as well, using the original form of the idea for general application and a more specific form when needed. Some specific forms will be included in the comments. These, however, are merely suggestions. It is not the particular words you use that matter.
     ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM   
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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  83 ~ Review II
[Review Lesson 65 and Lesson 66]

 Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio  

1 Today let us review these ideas: 
[65] My only function is the one God gave me.
2 I have no function but the one God gave me. This recognition releases me from all conflict because it means I cannot have conflicting goals. With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say, and what to think. All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me. 
3 More specific applications of this idea might take these forms: 
4 My perception of this does not change my function.
 This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me.
 Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give to me.
[66] My happiness and my function are one.
5 All things that come from God are one. They come from Oneness and must be received as one. Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source. And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy if I would find happiness. 
6 Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are: 
7 This cannot separate my happiness from my function.
 The oneness of my happiness and my function
 remains wholly unaffected by this.
 Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness
 apart from my function.
    ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM   
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
Review II ~ Lesson 65 and Lesson 66
Sarah's Commentary:
In the introduction to this review, we are again reminded that we must be determined not to be sidetracked in applying these Lessons to the people and situations in our lives. We have the power of decision so that it is up to us to make a choice to give up the ego by being vigilant in watching the mind for thoughts of guilt and fear. When we notice such thoughts, we turn them over to the Holy Spirit. His light will shine them away. There is nothing more for us to do. Indeed, there is nothing more we can do. Our part is to bring awareness to our fearful thoughts and take responsibility for them. Our minds are powerful. When we give power to our fearful thoughts, they keep us in misery.
We believe that we have sinned in choosing separation and now we must escape from God and hide in the body and the world where we will be safe from His wrath. We bought into the belief that we could leave God and with this belief came a load of guilt. We believe we have done something so horrendous that we could no longer return to our pristine home in God. We have made Him into a punishing God, and we fear His punishment. Not only do we feel that we have done something terribly wrong, but we are wrong in our very being. With this thought comes all of suffering and feelings of unworthiness, shame, depression, anxiety, lack, abandonment, stress, frustration, worry, resentment, and disappointment. Who of us doesn't experience these kinds of feelings? Yet none of them reflect the truth of who we are.
Now we are choosing to listen to the appeal Jesus makes to us in the Course. He asks us to see what havoc and suffering have come to our lives as a result of the choice we made to believe we are separate from love and thus guilty. Jesus is showing us how the ego has led us to believe that we could find some level of happiness in the world, and we should continue to seek outside ourselves for that happiness. What the ego does not want us to see is the true source of happiness that can only come by choosing against its counsel. Its whole focus is to lead us away from our true power, which is in our right minds.
We can never find lasting happiness in the things of this world. As long as we look for our completion in the world, instead of turning within, we will never find what we are looking for. "The freedom to leave behind everything that hurts you and humbles you and frightens you cannot be thrust upon you, but it can be offered you through the grace of God." (T.11.VI.6.3) (ACIM OE T.10.VII.64) No one is going to hurl us into Heaven. ". . . you have no commander except yourself," (T.6.IV.9.4) (ACIM OE T.6.V.53) but we have a mighty Guide whenever we are ready to turn to Him for help. He will take us as quickly or slowly as our fear will allow. We are in charge of our salvation. No one is coming to save you except your Self. It is the Holy Spirit in your mind that you can always turn to.
In this Lesson, Jesus is telling us that our only function is the one God gave us, and that function is to forgive. We have many and varied functions in the world related to goals we have for our lives and for our daily activities. These goals are about achieving happiness by managing and controlling external events. If they go our way, we feel a level of satisfaction. When they fail to meet our needs, we suffer. This morning I had many goals for myself to get some things done, including this commentary. However, a friend called and asked for some of my time. When we met, she asked me to do some errands for her. I felt some distress, thinking about the amount of time this would all take and about the goals I had set for myself. However, I felt the prompt to respond to her call; so I chose to release my investment in what I deemed important to get done. The ego reminded me of my many tasks, but I chose not to listen, though initially there was a sense of anxiety. Yet in choosing to go with my friend, I felt the peace and joy that came with spending time with her. I notice life becomes much clearer and sweeter when I live in the moment and release the future and my own plans. So often, the things we feel we need to accomplish just fall away or their importance is no longer there.
Having said that, if we respond to a request because we are trying to be nice or "people-pleasing," it is not an authentic response but a response based on guilt. We always need to be very discerning as to whether we are listening to the ego or to the Holy Spirit when we choose to say "yes" to a request. This is not always easy to see. The important thing is to reflect on what we are feeling. If I say yes and mean no, there will be a grievance and resentment. On the other hand, sometimes I ask myself if my salvation depends on saying "no." Jesus reminds us to do what our brother asks as long as it does not hurt us or our brother. "His very insistence should tell you that he believes salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it." (T.12.III.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.11.IV.25) "Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself." (T.8.III.4.7) (ACIM OE T.8.IV.19) It is all about discernment, which takes a lot of practice and vigilance in watching our thoughts and feelings. If we are not at peace with our decision, we need to recognize there are conflicting wishes in the mind. We may be doing one thing behaviorally, but our thoughts are not consistent with our behavior.
Our only goal is to be happy, peaceful, content, and totally unaffected by events, plans, and intentions. How much does my happiness depend on whether I do my shopping, write my commentary, do my income tax, or any number of tasks on my list today? Does my salvation depend on these things? Remembering my one important function releases me from making all these goals the reason for my life. It is not that we don't have things we need to attend to in our lives. What I find for myself is that I just need to use every situation as an opportunity to learn to be at peace. Now peace becomes the priority in all things, and I remember my only function is the one God gave me. This is where my happiness lies. When I was not accomplishing what I thought was important to get done this morning, I needed to let go of my idea of what was important and instead, act on what my heart was calling me to do.
Happiness is truly a choice I can make in any moment when I am choosing with the Holy Spirit. Unhappiness is also a decision based on needing to be right about my story with regard to any situation. When we ask for guidance about where we are to go and what we are to do, we are no longer relying on our own judgments. Instead, we rely on the Holy Spirit, rather than our own idle wishes. When we listen to the ego, we are doing things out of guilt. Now we are called to take responsibility for our own lack of peace, rather than making someone else responsible for how we feel.
We may think we can resolve our conflicts by making a decision about which of our goals have priority, and then we think the conflict will dissipate. However, we will still feel the stress of all of the remaining goals that are left undone. Jesus urges us to remember that it is not about reducing conflict in our lives but releasing it all by remembering our true purpose in this world. If our only purpose is to forgive, love, choose happiness and peace in every moment, and to follow the prompts of the Holy Spirit, our doubts and fears disappear.
When we have conflicting goals, we are torn in many directions. We've all experienced this. The more fundamental these goals are, the more painful the situation becomes. Jesus says it causes all kinds of problems for us. We become uncertain in what to say and what to do. We are filled with doubt, and we become distressed. The conflict comes from whether we choose God's way or the ego's way. This is the fundamental, divided condition of our minds. When the conflict in our minds becomes acute, our motivation to choose the function God has given us increases because we recognize that this is where our happiness lies. It lies in our decision to forgive.
If I have an argument of any kind, I would rather lose the argument and win at choosing peace. Thus, it is about choosing our divinity over winning at the urging of the ego. With the ego, we choose to attack, blame, and hold a grievance. When we blame and hold grievances, we just gather more guilt, which keeps us further invested in the illusion. That is what our attraction to guilt is about. The choice for peace seems like the obvious choice until we are in the battle. When we are, it seems to us that happiness lies in winning the battle and getting our way. That is why it is important to prepare our minds with the specific application of the idea for the day. Otherwise, we will be tempted to forget our function.
"My happiness and my function are one." (W.83.3.1) My only function is an internal change of mind and change of teacher, choosing no longer to listen to the ego and turning instead to the Holy Spirit. The ego tells us our happiness comes from things going well in the world. Clinging to anything external that we want to go our way will never work and will keep us in the conflict. The external world has only one helpful purpose, which is to be a reflection of what is going on in our own minds. Now we can see where healing is needed so we can bring our dark thoughts to light. Our happiness comes only through forgiveness. Does this mean we give up things we think we want in the world? No. We are only asked to look internally to see what our thoughts are about any situation.
The Course is about applying this teaching to every situation in our lives. Jesus is helping us understand that even though we might get some pleasure in the world, it is transitory. The only true pleasure is found in our choice for peace. When something is disturbing our peace, we are asked to apply the Lesson. We will increasingly see that true happiness comes from letting go of guilt. Our guilt is what must be undone. The things outside ourselves that seem to have power over us are illusions that we have given power to. We react to these things as if they were real, and we give them the power to make us unhappy. Whatever form of upset we experience, we need to recognize that it has no power to impact our happiness. These Lessons are showing me where my happiness truly lies. "And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness." (W.83.3.5) The only thing that can make us happy is to forgive.
The belief in the power of our minds to choose forgiveness, to choose to release the belief in the illusion, and to bring us the happiness we seek, is something we are not completely ready for. We still cling to things that we seek in the world for our happiness and still work to strategize how to acquire happiness through the events and people we manipulate in the world. Sometimes it will work temporarily for us, but this happiness is neither consistent nor reliable, changing from moment to moment and situation to situation. The idea here is not that we should give up anything we think we want, but to see that the Course is offering us hope for real happiness. When we see that, we become increasingly motivated to turn over our way for His way.
Today, as we go through our day, we are asked to stay vigilant with regard to anything that seems to make us unhappy or brings upset to our minds. When we do the work daily by applying our Lessons, we remind ourselves, "Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function." (W.83.4.4) Today, let forgiveness lead you to the happiness within. The peace of God is waiting for your acceptance, which means anything that gets in the way is another opportunity to release how the ego would have you see it. We need to be happy learners, which for me means staying vigilant, being patient with myself, and being willing to accept every opportunity that shows up to learn forgiveness.

Love and blessings, Sarah
A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Seven

The Consistency of the Kingdom 

Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio

XI. The Confusion of Strength and Weakness       

101 You no more recognize what is painful than you know what is joyful and are in fact very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit's main function is to teach you to tell them apart. However strange it may seem that this is necessary, it obviously is. The reason is equally obvious. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego and, as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain. This confusion is the cause of the whole idea of sacrifice. Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego. But you will be sacrificing nothing. On the contrary, you will be gaining everything. If you believed this, there would be no conflict.
102 That is why you need to demonstrate the obvious to yourself. It is not obvious to you. You believe that doing the opposite of God's Will can be better for you. You also believe that it is possible to do the opposite of God's Will. Therefore, you believe that an impossible choice is open to you and one which is both very fearful and very desirable. Yet God wills. He does not wish. Your will is as powerful as His because it is His. The ego's wishes do not mean anything, because the ego wishes for the impossible. You can wish for the impossible, but you can will only with God. This is the ego's weakness and your strength.
103 The Holy Spirit always sides with you and with your strength. As long as you avoid His guidance in any way, you want to be weak. Yet weakness is frightening. What else, then, can this decision mean except that you want to be fearful? The Holy Spirit never asks for sacrifice, but the ego always does. When you are confused about this very clear distinction in motivation, it can only be due to projection. Projection of this kind is a confusion in motivation and, given this confusion, trust becomes impossible.
104 No one obeys gladly a guide he does not trust, but this does not mean that the guide is untrustworthy. In this case, it always means that the follower is. However, this too is merely a matter of his own belief. Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him. Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance. Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance and refuses to follow any guidance at all. [If the result of this decision is confusion, this is hardly surprising.] The Holy Spirit is perfectly trustworthy, as you are. God Himself trusts you, and therefore your trustworthiness is beyond question. It will always remain beyond question, however much you may question it.
105 We said before that you are the Will of God. His Will is not an idle wish, and your identification with His Will is not optional, since it is what you are. Sharing His Will with me is not really open to choice, though it may seem to be. The whole separation lies in this fallacy. The only way out of the fallacy is to decide that you do not have to decide anything. Everything has been given you by God's decision. That is His Will, and you can not undo it. Even the relinquishment of your false decision-making prerogative, which the ego guards so jealously, is not accomplished by your wish. It was accomplished for you by the Will of God, Who has not left you comfortless. His Voice will teach you how to distinguish between pain and joy and will lead you out of the confusion which you have made. There is no confusion in the mind of a Son of God whose will must be the Will of the Father because the Father's Will is His Son.
106 Miracles are in accord with the Will of God Whose Will you do not know because you are confused about what you will. This means that you are confused about what you are. If you are God's Will and do not accept His Will, you are denying joy. The miracle is therefore a lesson in what joy is. Being a lesson in sharing, it is a lesson in love, which is joy. Every miracle is thus a lesson in truth, and by offering truth you are learning the difference between pain and joy.

XII. The State of Grace       

The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world and is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God's laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourselves that there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourselves that in your natural state there is no difficulty because it is a state of grace.
108 Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.
109 Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a Child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear and allow him to give always without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it any more than you can make yourselves. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His Children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him, they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything.
110 You who could give the love of God to everything you see and touch and remember are literally denying Heaven to yourselves. I call upon you again to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit, Who wants to teach him everything He knows. When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty.
111 The Majesty of God is there for you to recognize and appreciate and know. Perceiving the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognize His gift in anyone else, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is as easy to perceive as truth. This is the perception which is immediate, clear, and natural. You have trained yourselves not to see it, and this has been very difficult for you. Out of your natural environment, you may well ask, "What is truth?" since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created.
112 You do not know yourselves, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations, because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. We said before that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognizing his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognize, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God, Who created you. You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourselves because you do not know yours.
113 Your creations cannot establish your reality any more than you can establish God's. But you can know both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created to know what they have shared. Without your Father, you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know then the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.

          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM  
 2017 Schedule of Lessons & Text Readings 
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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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