Lesson 93
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Use Body To Reach Brother
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
  CH 8 "THE JOURNEY BACK"
VIII. THE BODY AS MEANS OR END       
 
79 The Holy Spirit teaches you to use your body only to reach your brothers, so He can teach His message through you. This will heal them and therefore heal you. Everything used in accordance with its function as the Holy Spirit sees it cannot be sick. Everything used otherwise is. Do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind. Do not let it be an image of your own perception of littleness. Do not let it reflect your will to attack. Health is the natural state of anything whose interpretation is left to the Holy Spirit, Who perceives no attack on anything. Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly. Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself.      
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
DAILY LESSONS
SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  93
Light and joy and peace abide in me.

 
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1 You think you are the home of evil, darkness, and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible. 
 
2 These are beliefs so firmly fixed that it is difficult to help you see that they are based on nothing. That you have made mistakes is obvious. That you have sought salvation in strange ways-have been deceived, deceiving, and afraid of foolish fantasies and savage dreams and have bowed down to idols made of dust-all this is true by what you now believe. 
 
3 Today we question this, not from the point of view of what you think, but from a very different reference point from which such idle thoughts are meaningless. These thoughts are not according to God's Will. These weird beliefs He does not share with you. This is enough to prove that they are wrong, but you do not perceive that this is so. 
 
4 Why would you not be overjoyed to be assured that all the evil that you think you did was never done, that all your "sins" are nothing, that you are as pure and holy as you were created, and that light and joy and peace abide in you? Your image of yourself cannot withstand the Will of God. You think that this is death, but it is life. You think you are destroyed, but you are saved. 
 
5 The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal and nothing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess when it would contradict the Will of God? 
 
6 Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Over and over this must be repeated until it is accepted. It is true. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Nothing can touch it nor can change what God created as eternal. The self you made, evil and full of sin, is meaningless. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God, and light and joy and peace abide in you. 
 
7 Salvation requires the acceptance of but one thought-you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself. Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as God created you. Whatever mistakes you made, the truth about you is unchanged. Creation is eternal and unalterable. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. You are and will forever be exactly as you were created. Light and joy and peace abide in you because God put them there. 
 
8 In our longer exercise periods today, which would be most profitable if done for the first five minutes of every waking hour, we will begin by stating the truth about our creation: 
 
9 Light and joy and peace abide in me.
My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.
 
10 Then put away your foolish self-images and spend the rest of the practice period in trying to experience what God has given you in place of what you have decreed for yourself. 
 
11 You are what God created or what you made. One Self is true; the other is not there. Try to experience the unity of your One Self. Try to appreciate its holiness and the love from which it was created. Try not to interfere with the Self which God created as you by hiding its majesty behind the tiny idols of evil and sinfulness you have made to replace it. Let it come into its own. Here you are. This is you. And light and joy and peace abide in you because this is so. 
 
12 You may not be willing or even able to use the first five minutes of each hour for these exercises. Try, however, to do so when you can. At least remember to repeat these thoughts each hour: 
 
13 Light and joy and peace abide in me.
 My sinlessness is guaranteed by God.
 
14 Then try to devote at least a minute or so to closing your eyes and realizing that this is a statement of the truth about you. 
 
15 If a situation arises that seems to be disturbing, quickly dispel the illusion of fear by repeating these thoughts again. Should you be tempted to become angry with someone, tell him silently: 
 
16 Light and joy and peace abide in you.
 Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God.
 
17 You can do much for the world's salvation today. You can do much today to bring you closer to the part in salvation which God has assigned to you. And you can do much today to bring the conviction to your mind that the idea for the day is true indeed.
    
    ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM   
          
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
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LESSON 93
Light and joy and peace abide in me.
 
Sarah's Commentary:

The idea given here that "You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin," (W.93.1.1) feels very dark and may not be something we consciously think is true for us. Sin is a belief that we have destroyed God so we could exist. "You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake." (W.93.1.2) Clearly, this is not anything I consciously perceive about myself. I don't recognize the depth of guilt in me described in this Lesson. My image of myself does not include this although there may be a shadow in us of what we don't want to see. Jesus says we achieved our individual self through the death of God. We built our self-concept at the cost of His death because we can't exist if He does. It has to be one or the other because both can't be true.
 
The guilt is such a heavy burden to us, which is why we prefer instead to see it in others. We see people we describe as evil, sinful, and even deserving death. We conceal and cover up the guilt in us, but we see it instead in those we perceive to be deserving of it. We can't afford to see it in ourselves because Jesus says, "You think that if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand." (W.93.1.3) He says that to continue to live after seeing this in ourselves would be impossible. This is the picture we defend against because we don't want to see the sin and guilt in our own minds. This is what we think we would recognize in ourselves if our defenses were instantly shattered.
 
We are invested in our separate self and cherish it. This separate self is described in the Psychotherapy Pamphlet as, "This self he sees as being acted on, reacting to external forces as they demand, and helpless midst the power of the world." (P.1.3.6)
 
We can certainly relate to that sense of powerlessness in this world of war, disease, and many forces beyond our control, whether on a world stage or in our personal lives. How do we deal with all that goes on in the world since we are certainly not happy in this powerless state? What we do is to seek out ways to be more in control, defend against what we see as attacks, and find allies who will support us. We work to build up confidence that will give us a sense of stability and power to win our war with the world. We try to achieve a measure of self-esteem. We try to gather as much power as we can to handle what the world appears to be throwing our way.
 
We inflate the self we think we are in order to hide our insecurity and fear and cover up the little self; but the real culprit is our belief in sin and guilt. Jesus tells us that all moods that are less than joyous come from guilt. We tend to attribute our moods to all kinds of other things going on in our lives. Jesus keeps reminding us that only the guilt in our minds is the cause of our angst, and only our grievances are the source of our problems. Therefore, the only way through this dilemma is to go within and bring our dark thoughts to the light. This requires watching the mind and being willing to investigate what is really behind our distress.
 
"When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. In every case you have thought wrongly about some brother God created, and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass."  (T.4.IV.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.4.V.57)
 
"When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the 'sins' of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be." (T.4.IV.5.1-6) (ACIM OE T.4.V.61)
 
In other words, when we are less than loving to anyone in any situation, we feel guilty; but it is only the ego that can experience guilt, and we are not the ego. Basically, we made up a self-concept, and then we made up a world that supports our self-concept and seems to validate it, which gives us the illusion that we have created ourselves. However, our self-concept bears no likeness to our Christ Self. In fact, it is a replacement for this Self. "A concept of the self is made by you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God." (T.31.V.2.1-3) (ACIM OE T.31.V.44)
 
The self-concept, which we made up along with all the thoughts and beliefs associated with it, is "based on nothing." (W.93.2.1) What I think I am and everything I believe about myself is simply not the truth. This is quite a statement if we really think about it. Everything we say about ourselves must, therefore, be untrue and based on nothing. Yet we tenaciously hold onto our thoughts and beliefs because they define the image we have made of ourselves, and we value and defend this image or persona. That is why Jesus is so gentle with us as we go through the undoing process. Our investment in this illusory self is very strong. As we go through the process of questioning everything about ourselves, a great deal of fear and resistance shows up. First of all, we really don't want to look at the darkness that we think may be in us; and secondly, we are even more afraid of the deep love that we have for God that lies behind the darkness.
 
To uproot our self-image, we really need to look honestly at the darkness that we hold in our minds. Jesus is encouraging us in this process by reminding us that we are not guilty. The only thing we have done is to hold beliefs based on nothing. "These are beliefs so firmly fixed that it is difficult to help you see that they are based on nothing. That you have made mistakes is obvious." (W.93.2.1-2) In other words, while he says that he knows we think we are the home of evil and darkness, it is not the truth. He knows "That you have sought salvation in strange ways; have been deceived, deceiving and afraid of foolish fantasies and savage dreams; and have bowed down to idols made of dust." (W.93.2.3) He knows us in our foolishness, but he also knows the truth about us! In order to accept how secure, lofty, sinless, glorious, and totally perfect our true Self is, he says that we must question what we think about ourselves; but we can't question what we think from our own reference point. We need to look at our darkness from his perspective, which is to look without judgment at ourselves from above the battleground. (T.23.IV) (ACIM OE T.23.V) In other words, it is to look from the perspective of the observer, which is a place of no judgment.
 
We do not currently share the perception Jesus has of us that we are pure and holy, and that light, joy, and peace abide in us. "Why would you not be overjoyed to be assured that all the evil that you think you did was never done, that all your sins are nothing." (W.93.4.1) We are not overjoyed because we value our individual self and resist the message that, "These thoughts are not according to God's Will." (W.93.3.2) Only when we look at our fear and realize how much misery and suffering it has brought to our lives do we become more willing to question our self-concepts and beliefs and recognize how much we have misperceived ourselves and others and the world.
 
This self we think we are has no foundation. It is a character in this dream, an image that "cannot withstand the Will of God," (W.93.4.2) Jesus says, "And anything it [this image] seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good." (W.93.5.3-4) The end of this identity seems to us to be death, but Jesus assures us, "it is life. You think you are destroyed, but you are saved." (W.93.4.3-4)
 
Jesus tells us that whatever we think we have done has no effect because the world is illusory. We simply cannot and have not made ourselves unworthy because we have not done "battle with the Son of God." (W.93.5.6) We have not changed ourselves. Nothing real has happened. We have not sinned, nor have we changed who we are. "What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God." (W.93.5.9) This is a statement of the Atonement principle, which says that we absolutely do not have the power to change what we are. We can obliterate our awareness of the truth, but he tells us, "Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God!" (W.93.6.1) This is fact! "Over and over this must be repeated, until it is accepted," (W.93.6.2) which means we must bring our misperceptions of who we are, our dark and hateful thoughts and our judgments, to the truth. It means, when we hold thoughts that are not true, we need to become willing to recognize them and bring them to the Holy Spirit. These are beliefs that we are unworthy, abandoned, bad, and ultimately guilty. The only true thing is that we are sinless. It reminds me of Miracle Principle 14, which says miracles arise from conviction. To me, this means we can stand in truth and not invest in what does not exist. Our hateful, angry, and distressing thoughts have no substance and no reality. They are truly all meaningless. They have no impact on the truth. We can dismiss them as the lies of the ego and simply refuse to listen, but we must stand on conviction for the miracle to be revealed.
 
We need to apply these Lessons in order to be released from the hold the ego seems to have on us because we have over-learned the ego's program. In order to experience the truth about ourselves, we need to let go of the guilt. We do this by taking responsibility for our projections and bringing them to the Holy Spirit. We have developed defenses to protect our self-image, but now we are asked to question everything we think we are and everything we believe about ourselves. I did not make myself. Any thought of what "I" made of myself must be questioned and be given over to the Holy Spirit. Light and joy and peace abide in my mind because I am part of God.
 
Will these affirmations change our minds about who we are? No, they are not enough. We must do the work of excavating the ego. On this journey with the Course, there can be a tendency to take on a "spiritual ego" or self-image that denies the darkness in the mind. It comes from an intellectual understanding of the Course where we have not yet done the work of undoing the guilt. What we must recognize is the importance of undoing the ego, rather than trying to make a better, nicer, or more spiritual ego.
 
Real change will only come when we do the work of releasing the false self. To do the work of releasing the blocks to the awareness of the truth requires going through the darkness. There is no way around this. For me, it has been important to learn how this was all set up, how there is no world, and how much I am loved. This has allowed me to look at the darkness in my mind while recognizing it is not who I am. Thus, I have been able to become more honest with myself in the realization that the guilt is not mine and does not belong to me. The only truth is that we are the Christ Self and not what we have made of ourselves.
 
When I was identifying myself totally with the ego, trying to keep my image intact, raising my self-esteem, and focusing on my best interests as I defined them, I wasn't even aware that there was any other option available to me. I did not conceive of a Self beyond this persona that I valued. I didn't know there was a choice to be made. Becoming aware of this choice is the source of our power. It takes courage and great honesty to look at our dark thoughts and take responsibility for them. Reminding myself of the truth of who I really am gives me the courage to look at the dark thoughts, knowing they are not mine. Jesus keeps reminding us that there is a Self apart from the ego, and it is what we are. While affirmations won't change our ego identity because the ego won't be shouted down, they are helpful in reminding us of the truth.
 
When we are told of our perfection, we may argue and resist the idea and raise arguments to disprove it. The deeper reason for this is because this idea threatens our existence as we see it or as we have made it. If we really accepted the truth about ourselves, it would terrify us because it would turn our world upside down and uproot our frame of reference. It is frightening to think we have been so totally mistaken about ourselves that we don't even know who we are. Our identity in the world has been formed by taking in perceptions of what others think of us. The voices of our parents, teachers, friends, and others have all contributed to making up the image we have adopted. It is terrifying to realize, "I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself." (T.31.V.17.7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60)
 
Today, let us focus on opening to the immensity of "the unity of your one Self. Try to appreciate Its Holiness and the love from which It was created." (W.93.9.3-4) We are asked to "Try not to interfere with the Self which God created as you, by hiding Its majesty behind the tiny idols of evil and sinfulness you have made to replace It." (W.93.9.5)
 
"Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness that comes not of you." (T.18.IV.3.1-2) (ACIM OE T.18.V.34)
 
When we project our guilt onto our brothers, we are saying they took our peace away and thus they are the guilty ones. By doing this, we are hanging onto the belief that we are innocent and others have the power to influence our state of mind. On a deeper level, outside of our awareness, by holding others as the guilty ones, we are making a bargain with God so that He will punish them instead of us. In other words, they are the perpetrators, and we are their victims. It is a false innocence that we are attempting to buy for ourselves at the expense of others. It is easy to do when we look at the atrocities committed in the world. Jesus is helping us to see that there is no need to pretend we are faultless by seeing others guilty. The fact is, we are already innocent. Why not just look at our own darkness instead of projecting it? Why not take responsibility for it so we can know our true innocence and not the innocence we bought at our brothers' expense? Now we can loosen our hold on insisting we are right about our perceptions. When we admit we have been wrong, it is the beginning of real learning.
 
What does it tell me if I find I am not using the first five minutes of every hour to remind myself of the truth? Why would I not be willing? Jesus expects that we will not completely trust the truth he is teaching and will probably actively resist it. Our resistance shows up in other priorities in our day that seem more important to us than focusing on the Lesson. We believe that what we are doing in this world of form is real and essential and more important than our spiritual work. We are invested in preserving and protecting our uniqueness and specialness. This is our fear of the truth. We can now choose to give all of thoughts, fears, and concerns, as well as any resistance, to the Holy Spirit and recognize their nothingness. We can increasingly recognize that there is no need for guilt. We are also asked to respond to any disturbances today by quickly dispelling them with this thought: "Light and joy and peace abide in me. My sinlessness is guaranteed by God." (W.93.10.4-5)
 
Apply these ideas every time you are upset or disturbed about anything today. Apply this thought to anyone you might be tempted to be angry with by saying silently to them: "Light and joy and peace abide in you. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God." (W.93.11.3-4)
 
Jesus is reminding us that extending love and joining with our brothers are the ways we learn who we are, heal our minds, and hear the Voice for God. On the other hand, every time we attack anyone, we are hiding our light, peace, and joy, and our attack then comes back to hurt us. That is why we are being given all these thoughts so we can incorporate them into a way of being in the world where we are given many opportunities to apply these thoughts daily. We are all worth this effort, which is given us to reprogram the software of the ego thought system to another way of thinking and being.

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

The Journey Back  

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VIII. The Body as a Means or End           

69 Attitudes toward the body are attitudes toward attack. The ego's definitions of everything are childish and always based on what it believes a thing is for. This is because it is incapable of true generalizations and equates what it sees with the function it ascribes to it. It does not equate it with what it is. To the ego, the body is to attack with. Equating you with the body, it teaches that you are to attack with, because this is what it believes. The body, then, is not the source of its own health. The body's condition lies solely in your interpretation of its function.
  
70 The reason why definitions in terms of function are inferior is that they may well be inaccurate. Functions are part of being since they arise from it, but the relationship is not reciprocal. The whole does define the part, but the part does not define the whole. This is as true of knowledge as it is of perception. The reason to know in part is to know entirely is because of the fundamental difference between knowledge and perception. In perception the whole is built up of parts, which can separate and reassemble in different constellations. Knowledge never changes, so its constellation is permanent. The only areas in which part-whole relationships have any meaning are those in which change is possible. There is no difference between the whole and the part where change is impossible.
  
71 The body exists in a world which seems to contain two voices which are fighting for its possession. In this perceived constellation, the body is regarded as capable of shifting its control from one to the other, making the concept of both health and sickness possible. The ego makes a fundamental confusion between means and ends, as it always does. Regarding the body as an end, the ego has no real use for it because it is not an end. You must have noticed an outstanding characteristic of every end that the ego has accepted as its own. When you have achieved it, it has not satisfied you. This is why the ego is forced to shift from one end to another without ceasing, so that you will continue to hope that it can yet offer you something.
  
72 It has been particularly difficult to overcome the ego's belief in the body as an end, because this is synonymous with the belief in attack as an end. The ego has a real investment in sickness. If you are sick, how can you object to the ego's firm belief that you are not invulnerable? This is a particularly appealing argument from the ego's point of view because it obscures the obvious attack which underlies the sickness. If you accepted this and also decided against attack, you could not give this false witness to the ego's stand.
  
73 It is hard to perceive sickness as a false witness because you do not realize that it is entirely out of keeping with what you want. This witness, then, appears to be innocent and trustworthy because you have not seriously cross-examined him. If you did, you would not consider sickness such a strong witness on behalf of the ego's views.
  
74 A more honest statement would be as follows:  Those who want the ego are predisposed to defend it. Therefore, their choice of witnesses should be suspect from the beginning. The ego does not call upon witnesses who would disagree with its case, nor does the Holy Spirit. We have said that judgment is the function of the Holy Spirit and one which He is perfectly equipped to fulfill. The ego as a judge gives anything but an impartial judgment. When the ego calls on a witness, it has already made the witness an ally.
  
75 It is still true that the body has no function of itself, because it is not an end. The ego, however, establishes it as an end because as such it will lose its true function. This is the purpose of everything the ego does. Its sole aim is to lose sight of the function of everything. A sick body does not make any sense. It could not make sense, because sickness is not what the body is for. Sickness is meaningful only if the two basic premises on which the ego's interpretation of the body rests are true. Specifically, these are that the body is for attack and that you are a body. Without these premises, sickness is completely inconceivable.
  
76 Sickness is a way of demonstrating that you can be hurt. It is a witness to your frailty, your vulnerability, and your extreme need to depend on external guidance. The ego uses this as its best argument for your need for its guidance. It dictates endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes. The Holy Spirit, perfectly aware of the same data, does not bother to analyze them at all. If the data are meaningless, there is no point in considering them. The function of truth is to collect data which are true. There is no point in trying to make sense out of meaningless data. Any way you handle them results in nothing. The more complicated the results become, the harder it may be to recognize their nothingness, but it is not necessary to examine all possible outcomes to which premises give rise to judge them truly.
  
77 A learning device is not a teacher. It cannot tell you how you feel. You do not know how you feel because you have accepted the ego's confusion, and you think that a learning device can tell you how you feel. Sickness is merely another example of your insistence on asking the guidance of a teacher who does not know the answer. The ego is incapable of knowing how you feel. When we said that the ego does not know anything, we said the one thing about the ego that is wholly true. But there is a corollary; if knowledge is being and the ego has no knowledge, then the ego has no being.
  
78 You might well ask how the voice of something which does not exist can be so insistent. Have you seriously considered the distorting power of something you want, even if it is not true? You have had many instances of how what you want can distort what you see and hear. No one can doubt the ego's skill in building up false cases. Nor can anyone doubt your willingness to listen until you will not to tolerate anything except truth. When you lay the ego aside, it will be gone. The Holy Spirit's Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen. It cannot be louder without violating your will, which the Holy Spirit seeks to free but never to command.
  
79 The Holy Spirit teaches you to use your body only to reach your brothers, so He can teach His message through you. This will heal them and therefore heal you. Everything used in accordance with its function as the Holy Spirit sees it cannot be sick. Everything used otherwise is. Do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind. Do not let it be an image of your own perception of littleness. Do not let it reflect your will to attack. Health is the natural state of anything whose interpretation is left to the Holy Spirit, Who perceives no attack on anything. Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly. Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself.

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