Lesson 84
Joy to you is pain to ego
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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.         
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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  84 ~ Review II
[Review Lesson 67 and Lesson 68]

 Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio  

1 These are the ideas for today's review: 
[67] Love created me like Itself.
2 I am in the likeness of my Creator. I cannot suffer, I cannot experience loss, and I cannot die. I am not a body. I would recognize my reality today. I will worship no idols nor raise my own self-concepts to replace my Self. I am in the likeness of my Creator. Love created me like Itself. 
3 You might find these specific forms helpful in applying the idea: 
4 Let me not see an illusion of myself in this
  As I look on this, let me remember my Creator.
  My Creator did not create this as I see it.
[68] Love holds no grievances.
5 Grievances are completely alien to love. Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure. If I hold grievances I am attacking love and therefore attacking my Self. My Self thus becomes alien to me. I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember who I am. 
6 These specific forms for applying this idea would be helpful: 
7 This is no justification for denying my Self.
I will not use this to attack love.
Let this not tempt me to attack myself.
    ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM   
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
Review II ~ Lesson 67 and Lesson 68
Sarah's Commentary:
We are so invested in the reality of the body that our entire identity is based on the belief that it defines us. We therefore also believe that we die when the body dies. The truth is, "I am in the likeness of my Creator. I cannot suffer, I cannot experience loss and I cannot die." (W.84.1.2-3) We see death all around us and look on it as a certainty, but we are not what we think we are. My body is not my reality. We have the same characteristics as our Creator. We are love, eternal, formless, unlimited, and forever as we were created. We experience a glimpse of this truth in the holy instant---a moment outside of time and space. It comes when we accept forgiveness into our minds and experience miracles that are our natural inheritance. When forgiveness is complete and the ego's offerings that substitute for the truth are finally released, we have true perception or what is called the real world. Jesus tells us that this is what awaits us when forgiveness is complete.
We believe Jesus suffered on the cross because we have projected our ideas about ourselves as bodies onto him as a body. A healed mind feels no pain because there is no guilt in the mind to project onto the body. When guilt is no longer projected onto the body, it is not sick or in pain. When the guilt in our minds is healed, we will know the truth of our reality as the Christ Self.
We remind ourselves of the truth through these Lessons, but the only way to experience this is through forgiveness. Thus, we must continually bring our misperceptions to the truth. We bring our self-concepts, which include all the beliefs about who we think we are, both the "good" and the "bad," to the light of truth. Any concepts we hold about ourselves do not define us. "I will worship no idols, nor raise my own self-concept to replace my Self." (W.84.1.6) When we are willing to empty our minds of past learning, no longer attempt to control life, and do not grasp for certainty, we remember our Creator. Whatever is troubling us today, we affirm "My Creator did not create this as I see it." (W.84.2.4) That can only mean that it was of our own making.
"Love created me like Itself." (W.84.1.1) I will not lean on my own understanding, but turn to Him. Fundamental to this process is trust. Radical trust emerges only when we get out of the way and let Him lead. It means giving up our fixed ideas about everything and asking to be shown how to respond in truly helpful ways.
We still don't completely understand what forgiveness is, but when we use the world as our classroom, everything that shows up is for the undoing of the illusion of ourselves. "Let me not see an illusion of myself in this." (W.84.2.2) It is important that we understand we can know our reality only when we are ready to choose it. Choosing depends on diminishing our fear of the Atonement by recognizing the false as false and the true as true and letting go of all the rest. The love we are seeking is what we are, but we have been living with what is false for so long that we have come to think it is true. Forgiveness is about removing the interference to the love we are. It is our fear of love that keeps us in resistance. Resistance keeps us defending what is false and keeps us invested in the illusion. It is the guilt in the mind that keeps us invested in the body and the world, yet what we feel guilty about has no basis in truth. Once the false is released, the love in us can come to the fore. What keeps us from this love is when we attack, judge, evaluate, blame, accuse, and defend.
Simply affirming the truth has limited value if we don't apply this teaching to the experiences of the day where we see ourselves victimized by what someone has said or done. The Course is ultimately practical, and when we apply the Lessons, the results show up in our experience. We are called to apply forgiveness to any situation that makes us feel vulnerable, anything that seems to hurt us psychologically or physically, anything that makes us feel angry or afraid, or even anything that makes us feel excited with anticipation. The idea is that in any of these circumstances, we are giving our power to what is outside our own minds. We have forgotten we must first have chosen to see ourselves as vulnerable and as an effect of things outside of the mind. We have allowed our peace to be affected by outside circumstances. When we have reactions to what seems to be going on around us, the idea is to use them as opportunities for forgiveness.
When we hold grievances, we are saying no to the love we are and denying our reality. "This is no justification for denying my Self." (W. 84.4.2)We are seeing in our brothers and sisters our own lack of love and accusing them of taking it from us. Jesus urges us to, "Let him [our brother] be what he is, and seek not to make of love an enemy." (T.19.IV.D.13.8) (ACIM OE T.19.V.d.102) What an important line that is! Every time we attack a brother or hold a grievance against him, we are making him an enemy, and we become blind to the love. "I will not use this to attack love." (W.84.4.3) When I attack my brother I no longer know what I am. "My Self thus becomes alien to me." (W.84.3.5)
We can never know the truth about ourselves as long as we hold grievances in our minds, see ourselves as separate from others, and hold the belief that our interests are separate. We will only remember who we really are as we release our grievances and recognize our sameness. We do this by acknowledging our ego perspectives and turning our dark thoughts over to the Holy Spirit, not by pretending we are spiritual.
It takes a high level of honesty and courage to take responsibility for everything we perceive as starting in our own minds. Our reluctance to do that is based on our wish to make others responsible for our condition and to declare our innocence at their expense. However, in order to heal, we must see that everything starts in our own minds. Our minds are the cause and the world is the effect. Our problem is that we have reversed cause and effect. Cause and effect are never separate. We see what we project, and what we project are our own self-attacking thoughts. When I see ugliness, lack of love, and evil in my brother, I am seeing the same thing in myself. It all starts in my own mind.
"You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment." (T.3.VI.3.1) (ACIM OE T.3.VIII.63)
"If you but knew the glorious goal that lies beyond forgiveness, you would not keep hold on any thought, however light the touch of evil on it may appear to be. For you would understand how great the cost of holding anything God did not give in minds that can direct the hand to bless, and lead God's Son unto his Father's house." (T.29.V.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.29.VI.35)
The realization that everything we have learned, and have been conditioned to believe is wrong, leads to humility. When we surrender our control over our lives and no longer constantly grasp for certainty, we will learn to lean on Him and follow Him in trust. Yes, we may know much about the ego's world of separation and how to "succeed" here, but what do we know about a lasting joy and peace that is not dependent on anything in this world? As we learn to let go of our way and become willing not to know and to be taught, we allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us out of our dream of separation and back to the awareness of our spiritual reality.
"You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognize this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher." (T.11.VIII.3.1-8) (ACIM OE T.10.VIII.76)
"If you are willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system and open it to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you back to God." (T4.I.4.7) (ACIM OE T.4.II.11)
Temptation is nothing more than a desire to hold onto our way of seeing a situation and to justify our grievances. We must have actively chosen to hold the grievance. When we hold someone else responsible, we are refusing to recognize that everything is a function of our own decision. When we made the decision to throw away our peace and project responsibility for that decision onto someone else, we have descended into a state of conflict. This is what makes us alien to ourselves. "Grievances are completely alien to love." (W.84.3.2) We now think of ourselves as attacking egos instead of spiritual beings, but judging ourselves is not helpful. It is important to look at how we have become entangled and be willing to open our minds to the possibility that our way of seeing is wrong. Now we can turn to the Holy Spirit and ask to be shown how to see our brother.
We have daily opportunities to exercise our willingness to forgive. God has given us many holy ones to help us with this task, and these holy ones are all those whom we think of, who cross our path every day, whom we talk with, and even those we have not yet met. Jesus now appeals to us to use the power of our minds to take responsibility for our decisions and be willing to bring our darkness to the light of truth.
"The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught ." (T.IN.1.6) (ACIM OE T.In.2) It is beyond what can be taught because it is beyond the world entirely. The term "love," when used in this strict sense, does not apply to our earthly lives at all, but it does apply to who we really are---the Son of God, living in joyous communion with our Father in our heavenly home. Although love, as it really is, cannot exist on earth, it can be reflected here, and the form it takes is forgiveness. "It is the reflection of God's Love on earth." (W.60.1.5) Forgiveness is a bridge between the world of illusion and the reality of God's Love. As such, forgiveness itself, unlike love, is an illusion and "might be called a happy fiction." (Clarification of Terms.3.2.1) Yet as an illusion, "Forgiveness is the means by which the truth is represented temporarily." (T.27.III.5.5) (ACIM OE T.27.IV.33) It is "a way in which the unknowing can bridge the gap between their perception and the truth." (C.3.2.1) "Forgiveness is an earthly form of love, which as it is in Heaven has no form." (W.186.14.2) It is a way in which the formless love of Heaven can be expressed in a world of form.
When we talk of loving everyone unconditionally, it might be more correct to talk of forgiving everyone unconditionally. To believe we must love everyone unconditionally will make us feel more guilt because it is not possible in our current state. The result will be a feeling of failure because no one here can love in that way until the ego is released. When we bring our darkness to the light and clear the way for love to shine through, there is no effort involved in reflecting love as it happens through us and not by us. True love awaits us at the top of the ladder. It does not matter what rung of the ladder we are on as long as we are devoted to our awakening.
While teaching the meaning of love is not the aim of the Course, teaching forgiveness is its aim. Jesus goes on to say, "It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance." (T.IN.1.7) (ACIM OE T.In.2) We must be willing to do the work. Forgiveness is the means by which the blocks to the awareness of love's presence are removed. "No one who learns to forgive can fail to remember God. Forgiveness, then, is all that need be taught, because it is all that need be learned. All blocks to the remembrance of God are forms of unforgiveness, and nothing else." (Psychotherapy Pamphlet.2.II.3.1-3)
This path takes us from grievances to forgiveness and then to the remembrance of God's Love in Heaven. "It [Forgiveness] will bring me near enough to Heaven that the Love of God can reach down to me and raise me up to Him." (W.60.1.6) The bottom line is that kindness and gentleness to all people, regardless of their situation, should be our guiding principles in all our encounters.

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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