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"Being a perfect accomplishment, the Sonship can only accomplish perfectly, extending the joy in which it was created and identifying itself with both its Creator and its creations, knowing they are one. "

Workbook for Students
Review II
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.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 83
1 Today let us review these ideas:

[65] My only function is the one God gave me.

2 I have no function but the one God gave me. This recognition releases me from all conflict because it means I cannot have conflicting goals. With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say, and what to think. All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me.

3 More specific applications of this idea might take these forms:

4 My perception of this does not change my function. This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me. Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give to me.

[66] My happiness and my function are one.

5 All things that come from God are one. They come from Oneness and must be received as one. Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source. And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy if I would find happiness.

6 Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are:

7 This cannot separate my happiness from my function. The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this. Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function.

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Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Chapter 7
 The Consistency of the Kingdom

VII. From Vigilance to Peace
 par 54-69
54 Although you can love the Sonship only as one, you can perceive it as fragmented. It is impossible, however, for you to see something in part of it that you will not attribute to all of it. That is why attack is never discrete and why attack must be relinquished entirely. If it is not relinquished entirely, it is not relinquished at all. Fear and love are equally reciprocal. They make or create, depending on whether the ego or the Holy Spirit begets or inspires them, but they will return to the mind of the thinker, and they will affect his total perception. That includes his perception of God, of His creations, and of his own. He will not appreciate any of them if he regards them fearfully. He will appreciate all of them if he regards them with love.

55 The mind that accepts attack cannot love. That is because it believes that it can destroy love and therefore does not understand what love is. If it does not understand what love is, it cannot perceive itself as loving. This loses the awareness of being, induces feelings of unreality, and results in utter confusion. Your own thinking has done this because of its power, but your own thinking can also save you from this because its power is not of your making. Your ability to direct your thinking as you will is part of its power. If you do not believe you can do this, you have denied the power of your thought and thus rendered it powerless in your belief.

56 The ingeniousness of the ego to preserve itself is enormous, but it stems from the power of the mind, which the ego denies. This means that the ego attacks what is preserving it, and this must be a source of extreme anxiety. That is why the ego never knows what it is doing. It is perfectly logical but clearly insane. The ego draws upon the one source which is totally inimical to its existence for its existence. Fearful of perceiving the power of this source, it is forced to depreciate it. This threatens its own existence, a state which it finds intolerable.

57 Remaining logical but still insane, the ego resolves this completely insane dilemma in a completely insane way. It does not perceive its existence as threatened by projecting the threat onto you and perceiving your being as nonexistent. This ensures its continuance if you side with it by guaranteeing that you will not know your own safety. The ego cannot afford to know anything. Knowledge is total, and the ego does not believe in totality. This unbelief is its origin and, while the ego does not love you, it is faithful to its own antecedents, begetting as it was begotten.

58 Mind always reproduces as it was produced. Produced by fear, the ego reproduces fear. This is its allegiance, and this allegiance makes it treacherous to love, because you are love. Love is your power, which the ego must deny. It must also deny everything which this power gives you because it gives you everything. No one who has everything wants the ego. Its own maker, then, does not want it. Rejection is therefore the only decision which the ego could possibly encounter, if the mind which made it knew itself. And if it recognized any part of the Sonship, it would know itself.

59 The ego therefore opposes all appreciation, all recognition, all sane perception, and all knowledge. It perceives their threat as total because it senses the fact that all commitments the mind makes are total. Forced, therefore, to detach itself from you who are mind, it is willing to attach itself to anything else. But there is nothing else. It does not follow that the mind cannot make illusions, but it does follow that if it makes illusions it will believe in them, because that is how it made them.

60 The Holy Spirit undoes illusions without attacking them merely because He cannot perceive them at all. They therefore do not exist for Him. He resolves the apparent conflict which they engender by perceiving conflict as meaningless. We said before that the Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is, and it is meaningless. The Holy Spirit does not want you to understand conflict; He wants you to realize that, because conflict is meaningless, it cannot be understood. We have already said that understanding brings appreciation, and appreciation brings love. Nothing else can be understood because nothing else is real, and therefore nothing else has meaning.

61 If you will keep in mind what the Holy Spirit offers you, you cannot be vigilant for anything but God and His Kingdom. The only reason you find this difficult is because you think there is something else. Belief does not require vigilance unless it is conflicted. If it is, there are conflicting components within it which have engendered a state of war, and vigilance therefore has become essential. Vigilance has no place at all in peace. It is necessary against beliefs which are not true and would never have been called upon by the Holy Spirit if you had not believed the untrue. You cannot deny that, when you believe something, you have made it true for you.

62 When you believe what God does not know, your thought seems to contradict His, and this makes it appear as if you are attacking Him. We have repeatedly emphasized that the ego does believe it can attack God and tries to persuade you that you have done this. If the mind cannot attack, the ego proceeds perfectly logically to the position that you cannot be mind. By not seeing you as you are, it can see itself as it wants to be. Aware of its weakness, the ego wants your allegiance, but not as you really are. The ego therefore wants to engage your mind in its own delusional system, because otherwise the light of your understanding would dispel it.

63 The ego wants no part of truth because the truth is that the ego is not true. If truth is total, the untrue cannot exist. Commitment to either must be total, since they cannot coexist in your minds without splitting them. If they cannot coexist in peace and if you want peace, you must give up the idea of conflict entirely and for all time. [This requires vigilance only as long as you do not recognize what is true.] While you believe that two totally contradictory thought systems share truth, your need for vigilance is apparent. Your minds are dividing their allegiance between two kingdoms, and you are totally committed to neither.

64 Your identification with the Kingdom is totally beyond question, except by you when you are thinking insanely. What you are is not established by your perception and is not influenced by it at all. All perceived problems in identification at any level are not problems of fact. They are problems of understanding, since they mean that you believe what you can understand is up to you to decide. The ego believes this totally, being fully committed to it. It is not true. The ego therefore is totally committed to untruth, perceiving in total contradiction to the Holy Spirit and to the knowledge of God.

65 You can be perceived with meaning only by the Holy Spirit because your being is the knowledge of God. Any belief that you accept which is apart from this will obscure God's Voice in you and will therefore obscure God to you. Unless you perceive His creation truly, you cannot know the Creator, since God and His creation are not separate. The Oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity, and your limitless power. This limitless power is God's gift to you, because it is what you are. If you dissociate your mind from it, you are perceiving the most powerful force in the universe [of thought] as if it were weak because you do not believe you are part of it.

66 Perceived without your part in it, God's creation is perceived as weak, and those who see themselves as weakened do attack. The attack must be blind, however, because there is nothing to attack. Therefore, they make up images, perceive them as unworthy, and attack them for their unworthiness. That is all the world of the ego is— nothing. It has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it, because if you do you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify it, and it cannot be justified. You cannot make the meaningless meaningful. This can only be an insane attempt.

67 Allowing insanity to enter your minds means that you have not judged sanity as wholly desirable. If you want something else, you will make something else, but because it is something else, it will attack your thought system and divide your allegiance. You cannot create in this divided state, and you must be vigilant against this divided state, because only peace can be extended. Your divided minds are blocking the extension of the Kingdom, and its extension is your joy. If you do not extend the Kingdom, you are not thinking with your Creator and creating as He created.

68 In this depressing state, the Holy Spirit reminds you gently that you are sad because you are not fulfilling your function as co-creators with God and are therefore depriving yourselves of joy. This is not God's Will but yours. If your will is out of accord with God's, you are willing without meaning. Yet because God's Will is unchangeable, no real conflict of will is possible. This is the Holy Spirit's perfectly consistent teaching.

69 Creation, not separation, is your will because it is God's, and nothing that opposes this means anything at all. Being a perfect accomplishment, the Sonship can only accomplish perfectly, extending the joy in which it was created and identifying itself with both its Creator and its creations, knowing they are one.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 83 ~ Review II
[Review Lessons 65-66]
In the introduction to this review, we are again reminded that we must be determined not to be sidetracked in applying these Lessons to the people and situations in our lives. We have the power of decision so that it is up to us to make a choice to give up the ego by being vigilant in watching the mind for thoughts of guilt and fear. When we notice such thoughts, we turn them over to the Holy Spirit. His light will shine them away. There is nothing more for us to do. Indeed, there is nothing more we can do. Our part is to bring awareness to our fearful thoughts and take responsibility for them. Our minds are powerful. When we give power to our fearful thoughts, they keep us in misery.
We believe that we have sinned in choosing separation and now we must escape from God and hide in the body and the world where we will be safe from His wrath. We bought into the belief that we could leave God and with this belief came a load of guilt. We believe we have done something so horrendous that we could no longer return to our pristine home in God. We have made Him into a punishing God, and we fear His punishment. Not only do we feel that we have done something terribly wrong, but we are wrong in our very being. With this thought comes all of suffering and feelings of unworthiness, shame, depression, anxiety, lack, abandonment, stress, frustration, worry, resentment, and disappointment. Who of us doesn’t experience these kinds of feelings? Yet none of them reflect the truth of who we are.
Now we are choosing to listen to the appeal Jesus makes to us in the Course. He asks us to see what havoc and suffering have come to our lives as a result of the choice we made to believe we are separate from love and thus guilty. Jesus is showing us how the ego has led us to believe that we could find some level of happiness in the world, and we should continue to seek outside ourselves for that happiness. What the ego does not want us to see is the true source of happiness that can only come by choosing against its counsel. Its whole focus is to lead us away from our true power, which is in our right minds.
We can never find lasting happiness in the things of this world. As long as we look for our completion in the world, instead of turning within, we will never find what we are looking for. "The freedom to leave behind everything that hurts you and humbles you and frightens you cannot be thrust upon you, but it can be offered you through the grace of God." (T.11.VI.6.3) (ACIM OE T.10.VII.64) No one is going to hurl us into Heaven. ". . . you have no commander except yourself," (T.6.IV.9.4) (ACIM OE T.6.V.53) but we have a mighty Guide whenever we are ready to turn to Him for help. He will take us as quickly or slowly as our fear will allow. We are in charge of our salvation. No one is coming to save you except your Self. It is the Holy Spirit in your mind that you can always turn to.
In this Lesson, Jesus is telling us that our only function is the one God gave us, and that function is to forgive. We have many and varied functions in the world related to goals we have for our lives and for our daily activities. These goals are about achieving happiness by managing and controlling external events. If they go our way, we feel a level of satisfaction. When they fail to meet our needs, we suffer. This morning I had many goals for myself to get some things done, including this commentary. However, a friend called and asked for some of my time. When we met, she asked me to do some errands for her. I felt some distress, thinking about the amount of time this would all take and about the goals I had set for myself. However, I felt the prompt to respond to her call; so I chose to release my investment in what I deemed important to get done. The ego reminded me of my many tasks, but I chose not to listen, though initially there was a sense of anxiety. Yet in choosing to go with my friend, I felt the peace and joy that came with spending time with her. I notice life becomes much clearer and sweeter when I live in the moment and release the future and my own plans. So often, the things we feel we need to accomplish just fall away or their importance is no longer there.
Having said that, if we respond to a request because we are trying to be nice or "people-pleasing," it is not an authentic response but a response based on guilt. We always need to be very discerning as to whether we are listening to the ego or to the Holy Spirit when we choose to say "yes" to a request. This is not always easy to see. The important thing is to reflect on what we are feeling. If I say yes and mean no, there will be a grievance and resentment. On the other hand, sometimes I ask myself if my salvation depends on saying "no." Jesus reminds us to do what our brother asks as long as it does not hurt us or our brother. "His very insistence should tell you that he believes salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it." (T.12.III.2.2‑3) (ACIM OE T.11.IV.25) "Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself." (T.8.III.4.7) (ACIM OE T.8.IV.19) It is all about discernment, which takes a lot of practice and vigilance in watching our thoughts and feelings. If we are not at peace with our decision, we need to recognize there are conflicting wishes in the mind. We may be doing one thing behaviorally, but our thoughts are not consistent with our behavior.
Our only goal is to be happy, peaceful, content, and totally unaffected by events, plans, and intentions. How much does my happiness depend on whether I do my shopping, write my commentary, do my income tax, or any number of tasks on my list today? Does my salvation depend on these things? Remembering my one important function releases me from making all these goals the reason for my life. It is not that we don't have things we need to attend to in our lives. What I find for myself is that I just need to use every situation as an opportunity to learn to be at peace. Now peace becomes the priority in all things, and I remember my only function is the one God gave me. This is where my happiness lies. When I was not accomplishing what I thought was important to get done this morning, I needed to let go of my idea of what was important and instead, act on what my heart was calling me to do.
Happiness is truly a choice I can make in any moment when I am choosing with the Holy Spirit. Unhappiness is also a decision based on needing to be right about my story with regard to any situation. When we ask for guidance about where we are to go and what we are to do, we are no longer relying on our own judgments. Instead, we rely on the Holy Spirit, rather than our own idle wishes. When we listen to the ego, we are doing things out of guilt. Now we are called to take responsibility for our own lack of peace, rather than making someone else responsible for how we feel.
We may think we can resolve our conflicts by making a decision about which of our goals have priority, and then we think the conflict will dissipate. However, we will still feel the stress of all of the remaining goals that are left undone. Jesus urges us to remember that it is not about reducing conflict in our lives but releasing it all by remembering our true purpose in this world. If our only purpose is to forgive, love, choose happiness and peace in every moment, and to follow the prompts of the Holy Spirit, our doubts and fears disappear.
When we have conflicting goals, we are torn in many directions. We've all experienced this. The more fundamental these goals are, the more painful the situation becomes. Jesus says it causes all kinds of problems for us. We become uncertain in what to say and what to do. We are filled with doubt, and we become distressed. The conflict comes from whether we choose God's way or the ego's way. This is the fundamental, divided condition of our minds. When the conflict in our minds becomes acute, our motivation to choose the function God has given us increases because we recognize that this is where our happiness lies. It lies in our decision to forgive.
If I have an argument of any kind, I would rather lose the argument and win at choosing peace. Thus, it is about choosing our divinity over winning at the urging of the ego. With the ego, we choose to attack, blame, and hold a grievance. When we blame and hold grievances, we just gather more guilt, which keeps us further invested in the illusion. That is what our attraction to guilt is about. The choice for peace seems like the obvious choice until we are in the battle. When we are, it seems to us that happiness lies in winning the battle and getting our way. That is why it is important to prepare our minds with the specific application of the idea for the day. Otherwise, we will be tempted to forget our function.
"My happiness and my function are one." (W.83.3.1) My only function is an internal change of mind and change of teacher, choosing no longer to listen to the ego and turning instead to the Holy Spirit. The ego tells us our happiness comes from things going well in the world. Clinging to anything external that we want to go our way will never work and will keep us in the conflict. The external world has only one helpful purpose, which is to be a reflection of what is going on in our own minds. Now we can see where healing is needed so we can bring our dark thoughts to light. Our happiness comes only through forgiveness. Does this mean we give up things we think we want in the world? No. We are only asked to look internally to see what our thoughts are about any situation.
The Course is about applying this teaching to every situation in our lives. Jesus is helping us understand that even though we might get some pleasure in the world, it is transitory. The only true pleasure is found in our choice for peace. When something is disturbing our peace, we are asked to apply the Lesson. We will increasingly see that true happiness comes from letting go of guilt. Our guilt is what must be undone. The things outside ourselves that seem to have power over us are illusions that we have given power to. We react to these things as if they were real, and we give them the power to make us unhappy. Whatever form of upset we experience, we need to recognize that it has no power to impact our happiness. These Lessons are showing me where my happiness truly lies. "And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness." (W.83.3.5) The only thing that can make us happy is to forgive.
The belief in the power of our minds to choose forgiveness, to choose to release the belief in the illusion, and to bring us the happiness we seek, is something we are not completely ready for. We still cling to things that we seek in the world for our happiness and still work to strategize how to acquire happiness through the events and people we manipulate in the world. Sometimes it will work temporarily for us, but this happiness is neither consistent nor reliable, changing from moment to moment and situation to situation. The idea here is not that we should give up anything we think we want, but to see that the Course is offering us hope for real happiness. When we see that, we become increasingly motivated to turn over our way for His way.
Today, as we go through our day, we are asked to stay vigilant with regard to anything that seems to make us unhappy or brings upset to our minds. When we do the work daily by applying our Lessons, we remind ourselves, "Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function." (W.83.4.4) Today, let forgiveness lead you to the happiness within. The peace of God is waiting for your acceptance, which means anything that gets in the way is another opportunity to release how the ego would have you see it. We need to be happy learners, which for me means staying vigilant, being patient with myself, and being willing to accept every opportunity that shows up to learn forgiveness.

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Love and blessings, Sarah

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