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27. What Is Death?

1 Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it still more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as "the way of nature," not to be raised to question but to be accepted as the "natural" law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure, the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path—all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.
ACIM OE MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
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Our Final Lessons
1 Our final lessons will be left as free of words as possible. We use them but at the beginning of our practicing and only to remind us that we seek to go beyond them. Let us turn to Him Who leads the way and makes our footsteps sure. To Him we leave these lessons, as to Him we give our lives henceforth. For we would not return again to the belief in sin, which made the world seem ugly and unsafe, attacking and destroying, dangerous in all its ways, and treacherous beyond the hope of trust and the escape from pain.

2 His is the only way to find the peace that God has given us. It is His way that everyone must travel in the end, because it is this ending God Himself appointed. In the dream of time, it seems to be far off. And yet in truth, it is already here, already serving us as gracious guidance in the way to go. Let us together follow in this way that truth points out to us. And let us be the leaders of our many brothers who are seeking for the way but find it not.

3 And to this purpose let us dedicate our minds, directing all our thoughts to serve the function of salvation. Unto us the aim is given to forgive the world. It is the goal that God has given us. It is His ending to the dream we seek, and not our own. For all that we forgive we will not fail to recognize as part of God Himself. And thus His memory is given back completely and complete.

4 It is our function to remember Him on earth, as it is given us to be His own completion in reality. So let us not forget our goal is shared. For it is that remembrance which contains the memory of God and points the way to Him and to the Heaven of His peace. And shall we not forgive our brother who can offer this to us? He is the way, the truth, and life that show the way to us. In him resides salvation, offered us through our forgiveness given unto him.

5 We will not end this year without the gift our Father promised to His holy Son. We are forgiven now. And we are saved from all the wrath we thought belonged to God and found it was a dream. We are restored to sanity in which we understand that anger is insane, attack is mad, and vengeance merely foolish fantasy. We have been saved from wrath because we learned we were mistaken. Nothing more than that. And is a Father angry at His Son because he failed to understand the truth?

6 We come in honesty to Him and say we did not understand and ask Him to help us to learn His lessons through the Voice of His own Teacher. Would He hurt His Son? Or would He rush to answer him and say, "This is My Son, and all I have is his"? Be certain He will answer thus, for these are His own Words to you. And more than that can no one ever have, for in these Words is all there is and all that there will be throughout all time and in eternity.
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Part 2
Lesson 361-365
This holy instant
would I give to You.
Be You in charge.
For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction
gives me peace.
1 And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me because He speaks for God, my Father, and His holy Son.
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26. Can God Be Reached Directly?
par 1-4
1 God indeed can be reached directly, for there is no distance between Him and His Son. His awareness is in everyone's memory, and His Word is written on everyone's heart. Yet this awareness and this memory can arise across the threshold of the unconscious only where all barriers to truth have been removed. In how many is this the case? Here then is the role of God's teachers. They too have not attained the necessary understanding as yet, but they have joined with others. This is what sets them apart from the world. And it is this that enables others to leave the world with them. Alone they are nothing. But in their joining is the Power of God.

2 There are those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly. These might be called the teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon. And they will appear when and where it is helpful for them to do so. To those to whom such appearances would be frightening, they give their ideas. No one can call on them in vain. Nor is there anyone of whom they are unaware. All needs are known to them, and all mistakes are recognized and overlooked by them. The time will come when this is understood. And meanwhile they give all their gifts to the teachers of God who look to them for help, asking all things in their name and in no other.

3 Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication and then be maintained for most of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained. Those who have laid the body down merely to extend their helpfulness to those remaining behind are few indeed. And they need helpers who are still in bondage and still asleep, so that by their awakening can God's Voice be heard.

4 Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them. If you would be heard by those who suffer, you must speak their language. If you would be saviors, you must understand what needs to be escaped. Salvation is not theoretical. Behold the problem, ask for the answer, and then accept it when it comes. Nor will its coming be long delayed. All the help you can accept will be provided, and not one need you have will not be met. Let us not, then, be too concerned with goals for which you are not ready. God takes you where you are and welcomes you. What more could you desire, when this is all you need?
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27. What is Death?
par 1-7
1 Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it still more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as "the way of nature," not to be raised to question but to be accepted as the "natural" law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure, the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path—all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.

2 In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would not be possible to think of Him as loving. For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair could but be feared. He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today. Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain. Who loves such a god knows not of love because he has denied that life is real. Death has become life's symbol. His world is now a battleground where contradiction reigns, and opposites make endless war. Where there is death is peace impossible.

3 Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held to obscure the sun. The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot co-exist with God. It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is "laid to rest" in devastation's arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction. Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly. And so do all things live because of death. Devouring is nature's "law of life." God is insane, and fear alone is real.

4 The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life, but if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God's teachers because not one could be acceptable to God. He did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.

5 The "reality" of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God's Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident. Death is indeed the death of God if He is Love. And now His own creation must stand in fear of Him. He is not Father but destroyer. He is not Creator but avenger. Terrible His Thoughts and fearful His image. To look on His creations is to die.

6 "And the last to be overcome will be death." Of course! Without the idea of death, there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation's final goal, the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die? The inconsistencies, the compromises, and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless. God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal. Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

7 Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: accept no compromise in which death plays a part. Do not believe in cruelty nor let attack conceal the truth from you. What seems to die has but been misperceived and carried to illusion. Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be brought to the truth. Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the "reality" of any changing form. Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution. And what is the end of death? Nothing but this: the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this.
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Sarah's Reflections
Part 2

Lesson 361-365
This holy instant
would I give to You.
Be You in charge.
For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction
gives me peace.
Sarah's Commentary:

We end the year with these final words and use them to guide our practice for five days starting on December 27 and ending on December 31. "This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow you, certain that Your direction gives me peace." (W.361-365) This Lesson reminds us that the peace that is already ours is the only peace there is, given us by God. We won’t find it outside ourselves. It is not dependent on circumstances or situations that show up in our lives, although it seems that way to us. The reason for this is that we have reversed cause and effect. Now we are learning that the cause of how we feel starts in our own mind.

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Love and blessings, Sarah

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Allen Watson's
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Allen Watson joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:

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