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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.

Workbook for Students
Lesson 97
I am Spirit.
1 Today's idea identifies you with your One Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.

2 We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God who rests in you, whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the Spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father's love and peace and joy. You are the Spirit which completes Himself and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him.

3 Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time but is not ruled by it. Salvation is a miracle, the first and last; the first that is the last, for it is one.

4 You are the Spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time which has no length and which has no end. Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count on Him Who promised to lay timelessness beside them. He will offer all His strength to every little effort which you make.

5 Give Him the minutes which He needs today to help you understand with Him you are the Spirit that abides in Him, and Which calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth.

6The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands and carry them around this aching world, where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gift they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome. And they will increase in healing power each time someone accepts them as his thoughts and uses them to heal.

7 Thus will your gift to Him be multiplied a thousand-fold and tens of thousands more. And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncertain moment, and goes out. Yet will the steady brilliance of this light remain and lead you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again.

8 Begin these happy exercises with the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you, and let them echo round the world through Him:

9 Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole,
free to forgive, and free to save the world.

10 Expressed through you, the Holy Spirit will accept this gift which you received of Him, increase its power, and give it back to you.

11 Offer each practice period today gladly to Him. And He will speak to you, reminding you that you are Spirit, one with Him and God, your brothers and your Self. Listen for His assurance every time you speak the words He offers you today, and let Him tell your mind that they are true.

12 Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. The Holy Spirit gives you peace today. Receive His words, and offer them to Him.

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Course in Miracles
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Chapter 8
 The Journey Back

VIII. The Body as Means or End
 par 69-79
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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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 97
I am Spirit.
"I am Spirit." (W.97) This statement is totally uncompromising. It flatly states the truth of who we are: not a body, not a personality, none of the self-concepts we hold, only Spirit. That is what I am. That is the truth. When this Lesson says that just practicing this truth "will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace," (W.97.1.4) it becomes very compelling. Who of us is not motivated to find such quiet fields of peace? Who of us is not motivated to release the constant conflict of competing ego goals and the pain and uncertainty of our lives? We are only Spirit. We are not a body/mind, as it is so often heard in the world today in new age circles. We can't be both because these two different orders of reality are completely irreconcilable.
 
Any worry, annoyance, expectation, or anxiety we have is a temptation to believe we are other than Spirit. This is because we are holding thoughts about ourselves that are not true and believing these thoughts. When we notice our false beliefs, it is an opportunity to ask for help and receive the miracle. The miracle is outside of time and space and reflects the love in our right minds. To receive it, we must be willing to see that we have been wrong about ourselves. Let us be willing today to surrender our mistaken perceptions to the truth so the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them for us.
 
This process requires our agreement to reach out for His help. His help will not be imposed on us. The love of our elder brother Jesus waits patiently for our decision to bring to the light the darkness that we are tenaciously holding onto in the mind. He loves us too much to impose himself on us. He reminds us that we made the fear, and it is up to us to decide when we will choose to bring it to the light. Our will is as strong as his. Our will is as strong as his. It is up to us to choose when we will give up our own way and ask for his help. Only then can the miracle show up. Only when we make space for it can grace be brought to every problem we think we have. The light has come, but we will stay in darkness until we accept responsibility for our part and ask for help to release the blocks we hold up before the light. Ask yourself, who is it that is holding onto these blocks? These blocks are all our misperceptions of ourselves for which we blame others.
 
There is no conflict in Spirit. There are not two selves in conflict. Spirit is One. The memory in the mind of the Self we are comes forth through forgiveness. The miracle shows up when our dark thoughts are brought to awareness. We have resistance to this healing because we still defend the point of view taken by the separate self. It takes discipline and willingness to admit that we are wrong about everything. We resist this idea because we still value our specialness and individuality.
 
Why is it that I experience myself as a body, a personality, and a self that experiences needs, lacks, and problems if this is all a dream and not who I am? I am choosing to identify with the false self, an aspect of the wrong mind that seemed to split off from Heaven. Jesus reminds us that there can be no split from our Father. "We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you, whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the Spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father's Love and peace and joy." (W.97.2.1-2) We have not split off from our true reality as Spirit, but we only seemed to leave the part of the mind that knows itself. We wandered off into this far country where we feel lost, alone, and separate; but this is no more real than if I am having a dream where I have turned myself into someone I am not. In this dream, I seem to have taken on this character, and now it seems to be who I think I am. Yes, it all seems very real, but it is just thoughts held in the mind that I have come to believe are the truth. What if all my beliefs about myself were just made-up? What if I gave up all those beliefs and were willing to see everything from a different perspective---from the perspective of the Holy Spirit?
 
I can only do that if I stop expending my energy on denying the truth. I deny the truth each time I see anyone responsible for taking my joy and peace from me. No one can take our peace away from us unless we willingly give them that power. In other words, it has been my decision to throw away my peace. The ego wants to blame others because in that way someone else is guilty for causing our pain and that allows us to wear the face of innocence and not be responsible for the guilt. We thus buy this false innocence at their expense. It is a projection of the guilt in our minds onto others. We prefer to see it in them rather than in ourselves. This is precisely how we keep the cycle of guilt going, thus we keep ourselves bound to the prison of our own self-imposed condition.
 
The Lesson makes very clear that this is a world of misery and suffering, and surely we can attest to that from our own experience. We live in a state of panic, underlying anxiety, and lack almost all the time. Yes, it seems there are periods of respite when we distract ourselves and find friends, allies, and special love partners to guard us against this state; but the panic and anxiety quickly return in our nightmares and we feel sad, sick, and alone. We are given an answer that heals this state of mind. The miracle is available to us when we are ready to accept it. However, we are very stubborn and resistant. We expend a lot of energy in denying the truth. Why? We deny truth because our existence, as a separate individual self that we still give value to, depends on it.
 
We are not both Spirit and body, nor are we love and hate. These can't be woven together into a semblance of unity. When we remind ourselves of this truth and willingly bring our judgments to the light as often and as sincerely as we can, we will experience the love, joy, and peace that is our inheritance. There is a place in all of us where the Holy Son of God rests, (W.97.2.1) and where sanity resides. Our reality is only Spirit. We are lovingly endowed with all of our Father's love and peace and joy. It feels so absolutely delicious today to really take this in and know we are being called to the experience. We can step aside from whatever storms are brewing in our lives and, just for a moment, take in the joy of our Being. It is truly a beautiful and uplifting thought for today to be accepted as the complete truth of what we are.
 
Take time today to step away from your story, from your concerns, from your hopes and dreams and feel the gratitude that comes from these moments of respite from the world. Yes, we do have things to attend to in the world, but we can address them with an attitude of peace and trust that comes with the miracle, rather than relying on our puny, limited resources. When fear has been brought to love, it is dissolved and truth can reign. Our only function here is to bring awareness to our dark thoughts and be willing to let them go.
 
This world is not our reality. It is just a temporary experience, which can be used by the Holy Spirit for our healing if we allow Him to work with us and teach us how to forgive. Imagine how the world would look to you if you recognized that you are only here for one purpose, which is to experience love and blessings in every moment. Imagine how it would look if everyone you encounter today were there for the purpose of reminding you of your holiness and theirs. Even those who irritate and upset you are helping to bring to the forefront of your awareness what is still unhealed in your mind. We are only here to bless. In releasing grievances, we know nothing has happened because we truly can't suffer any loss or pain. It is impossible if our reality is only Spirit.
 
We have been lost in this dream for a long, long time, but now we are listening to the Holy Spirit, Who has always been there and has never stopped talking to us. We have just not been listening. Today, we allow His loving presence to use everything we have made for our awakening. We work with Him today by being reminded of the truth that we are nothing but Spirit. When we are tempted to get upset, we ask for help to look at every situation from above the battleground and outside time and space, where we step aside from the ego. We are willing to see that we have been wrong about the identity we have made. "Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. " (W.97.3.2)
 
What this suggests to me is that we apparently have been at this for a long, long time. This need not be a discouraging thought because we can wake up at any moment. It is a matter of our willingness. Jesus continually tells us that we should be completely unconcerned about time. After all, time is just an illusion as well, but time is to be used for our benefit. That is its purpose when given to the Holy Spirit for our awakening.
 
This Lesson says that even the few minutes we give to this practice are multiplied over and over. We have no idea of the miracles that spring forth from our minds to bring salvation to the world as we do this practice. "He will offer all His strength to every little effort that you make." (W.97.4.3) It seems so little is being asked of us for so much. We receive the gift, and as we receive it, we give it to the world. What seems to us as a small expression of forgiveness apparently has a huge impact. This is because there is just one mind, and as our mind is brought to peace so is the One Mind of the SonShip.
 
" You are the Spirit in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still; the miracle in which a minute spent in using these ideas becomes a time that has no limit and has no end. " (W.97.4.1) We bring our judgments and grievances to awareness, and then to the Holy Spirit to let them go. This is a choice for the miracle, which is a choice made outside of the dream. It is a moment of timelessness felt in time.
 
Can you imagine the power there is in our practice? "The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. " (W.97.5.1) Just think of the contribution we can make to the Sonship by giving five minutes to Him every hour, using this time to release the blocks by bringing them to the Holy Spirit. So many people look for ways they can contribute to the world, yet they feel hopeless in their efforts to make a difference. Here we are told that the Holy Spirit "will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and He will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome." (W.97.5.2) Our contribution is simply to do our own healing work, and when these gifts are accepted by anyone anywhere, they are increased in their healing power.
 
This is an amazing thought! A moment doing our practice can stop a murder, an assault on someone, or a theft from happening. It seems inconceivable to me that my small contribution through my commitment to my own awakening can bring such power to the healing of the world. When I find more important things to do than to give my five minutes each hour, what am I saying? Am I saying that I don't believe this? Am I saying that my specialness and individuality take priority? Am I saying that I am fearful and resistant to the truth? Becoming aware of our resistance, our priorities in this world, and our idols, can all be helpful in our forgiveness practice. Everything we have made can be given over to truth. Each practice period in which we engage is like the firefly that shines a tiny gleam of light and through the Holy Spirit this gleam is given the radiance of the sun. "And when it is returned to you, it will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes an uncertain moment and goes out. The steady brilliance of this light remains and leads you out of darkness, nor will you be able to forget the way again. " (W.97.6.2-3)
 
We are asked to approach this day and this practice with hopefulness and happiness and to give our time gladly as we listen for His assurance that this is all true. We can only hear that assurance when we stop listening to the perspectives of the ego. It will keep talking, but we don’t have to give it any attention. We are Spirit. We need to tell ourselves this often today. Every time we feel any kind of pain, attack, distress, fatigue, anger, frustration, hunger, or need, we can choose against these distractions. We do not deny what we are experiencing, but we can choose to see their unreality and remind ourselves of the truth that we are Spirit.
 
The song coming to my mind is, "I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky." Dance today. Sing today. Fly today. You are Spirit. I am Spirit. As One Spirit, joined with the Holy Spirit, all things are possible. Have a magnificent, grand, and happy day, practicing the thought: "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world." (W.97.7.2) With each practice period, we bring this reality closer to our awareness. We bring reinforcement to our minds that we can't be the split identity that we currently think we are. He gives us lots of incentive in this Lesson to do the practice.
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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