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There are no messages which speak of what lies underneath, for it is not the body that could speak of this. Its eyes perceive it not; its senses remain quite unaware of it; its tongue cannot relay its messages. Yet God can bring you there if you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon you and leave you there. For it is not His purpose to frighten you, but only yours. You are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear, but He would lead you safely through and far beyond.

"The Delusional Thought System"
Workbook for Students
Part I ~ Review VI
1 For this review, we take but one idea each day and practice it as often as is possible. Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than 15 minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage and invite the memory of God to come again.

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Workbook for Students
Review VI ~ Lesson 210
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

[190] I choose the joy of God instead of pain.

1 Pain is my own idea. It is not a thought of God, but one I thought apart from Him and from His Will. His Will is joy and only joy for His beloved Son. And that I choose instead of what I made.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

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Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Chapter 18
 The Dream and the Reality

X. The Delusional Thought System
 par 84-94
84 You have been told to bring the darkness to the light and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate, which the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping and needs no guide. Yet this wild and delusional thought needs help because in its delusions it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.

85 This is the little part of you you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven. Heaven has not lost it, but you have lost sight of Heaven. Let the Holy Spirit remove it from the withered kingdom in which you set it off, surrounded by darkness, guarded by attack, and reinforced by hate. Within its barricades is still a tiny segment of the Son of God, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what you think surrounds it. Be you not separate, for the One Who does surround it has brought union to you, returning your little offering of darkness to the eternal Light.

86 How is this done? It is extremely simple, being based on what this little kingdom really is. The barren sands, the darkness and the lifelessness are seen only through the body's eyes. Its vision is distorted, and the messages it transmits to you who made it to limit your awareness are little and limited and so fragmented they are meaningless. From the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind which made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true. For you sent forth these messengers to bring this back to you.

87 Everything these messages relay to you is quite external. There are no messages which speak of what lies underneath, for it is not the body that could speak of this. Its eyes perceive it not; its senses remain quite unaware of it; its tongue cannot relay its messages. Yet God can bring you there if you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon you and leave you there. For it is not His purpose to frighten you, but only yours. You are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear, but He would lead you safely through and far beyond.

88 The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all the illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, vengeance, and betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place, so that the world could rise from it and keep it hidden. Its shadow rises to the surface, enough to hold its most external manifestations in darkness and to bring despair and loneliness to it and keep it joyless. Yet its intensity is veiled by its heavy coverings and kept apart from what was made to keep it hidden. The body cannot see this, for the body arose from this for its protection, which must always depend on keeping it not seen. The body's eyes will never look on it. Yet they will see what it dictates.

89 The body will remain guilt's messenger and will act as it directs as long as you believe that guilt is real. For the reality of guilt is the illusion which seems to make it heavy and opaque, impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego's thought system. Its thinness and transparency are not apparent until you see the light behind it. And then you see it as a fragile veil before the light.

90 This heavy-seeming barrier, this artificial floor which looks like rock, is like a bank of low dark clouds that seems to be a solid wall before the sun. Its impenetrable appearance is wholly an illusion. It gives way softly to the mountain tops which rise above it and has no power at all to hold back anyone willing to climb above it and see the sun. It is not strong enough to stop a button's fall nor hold a feather. [Nothing can rest upon it, for it is but an illusion of a foundation.] Try but to touch it and it disappears; attempt to grasp it and your hands hold nothing.

91 Yet in this cloud bank, it is easy to see a whole world rising. A solid mountain range, a lake, a city, all rise in your imagination, and from the clouds the messengers of your perception return to you, assuring you that it is all there. Figures stand out and move about, actions seem real, and forms appear and shift from loveliness to the grotesque. And back and forth they go, as long as you would play the game of children's make-believe. Yet however long you play it, and regardless of how much imagination you bring to it, you do not confuse it with the world below, nor seek to make it real.

92 So should it be with the dark clouds of guilt, no more impenetrable and no more substantial. You will not bruise yourself against them in traveling through. Let your Guide teach you their unsubstantial nature as He leads you past them, for beneath them is a world of light whereon they cast no shadows. Their shadows lie upon the world beyond them, still further from the light. Yet from them to the light their shadows cannot fall.

93 This world of light, this circle of brightness, is the real world where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it. Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you had laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome. Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by and gently replaced by purity and love.

94 Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love and not its Source. Here you are led that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with love, letting it be itself. A step beyond this holy place [of forgiveness], a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. Here is the Source of light—nothing perceived, forgiven, nor transformed, but merely known.

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Sarah's Reflections
Review VI ~ Lesson 210

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

[190] I choose the joy of God
instead of pain.
Sarah's Commentary:
According to the Course, we are actively choosing pain when we use anything in the world to try to gain happiness. While we think we are taking a road to happiness, Jesus describes it as a road to nowhere. Yes, we might experience moments of "pleasure," but they ultimately bring pain. The Course is clear---some of what we perceive as our biggest setbacks may actually offer our biggest gains on this spiritual path. We just do not know the difference.
"What pleasures could there be that will endure? Are not the frail entitled to believe that every stolen scrap of pleasure is their righteous payment for their little lives? Their death will pay the price for all of them, if they enjoy their benefits or not. The end of life must come, whatever way that life be spent. And so take pleasure in the quickly passing and ephemeral." (T27.I.7.4-8) (ACIM OE T.27.II.8) "These are not sins, but witnesses unto the strange belief that sin and death are real, and innocence and sin will end alike within the termination of the grave. If this were true, there would be reason to remain content to seek for passing joys and cherish little pleasures where you can." (T27.I.8.1-2) (ACIM OE T.27.II.9)
In other words, we feel justified in finding whatever pleasure we can in the world. We say we owe it to ourselves. We deserve it. We justify a hedonistic lifestyle with the idea that life is short and then we die, so why not eat, drink, and be merry? Whichever we choose, we will still die, yet our idea of pleasure is actually bringing us more pain. This is kept hidden from our awareness, which is why it needs to be exposed. There are many references in the Course to the confusion of pleasure with pain.
"It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain." (T.19.IV.B.12.1) (ACIM OE T.19.V.b.71)
"While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain." (T.19.IV.A.17.11) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.57)
"It will share the pain of all illusions, and the illusion of pleasure will be the same as pain." (T.19.IV.B.12.7) (ACIM OE T.19.b.71)
"And to convince you this is possible, it bids the body search for pain in attack upon another, calling it pleasure and offering it to you as freedom from attack." (T.19.IV.B.15.4) (ACIM OE T.19.IV.b.74)
"Ruled by this perception the body becomes the servant of pain, seeking it dutifully and obeying the idea that pain is pleasure." (T.19.IV.B.13.4) (ACIM OE T.19.IV.b.72)
"Think on the many offerings made for its pleasure, and remember all these were made to make seem lovely what you hate." (T.20.II.1) (ACIM OE T.20.III.5)
"What pleasures could there be that will endure?"
(T.27.I.7.4) (ACIM OE T.27.II.8)
Having said this, it is important to remember that we need not feel guilty when we do choose what we think will bring pleasure. It is not helpful nor should we judge ourselves for our pursuits in the world. When we judge ourselves, the ego is in the forefront, once again, in its attempts to make us guilty. This Lesson is only about recognizing that the source of pleasure is not where we think it is, and, in fact, ultimately brings more pain. Thus, whatever we might wish to pursue, it is helpful to ask---What it is for? What is the purpose of this endeavor?
Once I understand that "Pain is my own idea" (W.210.1.2) and is something I actively choose on my own, believing it will bring pleasure, I can make another choice. This is when I recognize that my interests can only be served by doing God’s Will. I change my mind about the mistaken idea that I can find happiness in the world. Those of us on this path have some glimmer of awareness that our independence, our reliance on our small self, and our seeking for pleasure in fame, recognition, money, and relationships in the world has brought us pain. Anything we seek through the body is to seek more pain. Today, we affirm again that our reality is not a body, and true joy comes only from staying focused on our purpose and our function of forgiveness.
It seems like it takes a lot of learning to realize that our choices in the world bring us pain. We are confused about what brings joy. We are so certain that we know what we need. We believe that if we had more money, a special person in our lives, or the right job, we would know joy. We believe that our bodies can give us pleasure. On the other hand, we worry about the things in the world that we believe will bring us pain. This Lesson is clear that pain is our own idea. It is an invention in our minds---an imaginary idea. Pain comes from thinking that the body and the world are real and can offer us something of value. It seems to take great learning to loosen our beliefs about this. As Jesus reminds us, "It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give." (Manual for Teachers.13.2.1) The choice for God is the choice to know the love that we are. Our only other choice is painful and unreal, which makes it not much of a choice. It is why Jesus tells us that choice is really an illusion too. Indeed, there are not two alternatives to choose between, but only one real alternative, which is to know consistent peace. To choose anything else is to choose nothing at all.
Anything I think I want in this world is my own idea, apart from God. I seek and seek for happiness where it does not exist. It is the ego's mantra. "'Seek but do not find' remains this world's stern decree, and no one who pursues the world's goals can do otherwise." (M.13.5.8) This keeps us on the merry-go-round of this world and completely distracted from the true joy that God offers us, which is found in the quiet within and in recognizing the Oneness with all our brothers. We have taught ourselves that we are separate from each other and from God and that we have to figure our own way through this world. Jesus teaches that when we try to go on our own, we rely on the ego as our guide. To rely on the direction given by the ego is to garner more pain. When we turn to the Holy Spirit and ask with humility to see everything differently, we are given a new interpretation. It takes great desire, willingness, and radical self-honesty to move in a new direction. "Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter." (T.18.IV.1-3) (ACIM OE T.18.V.33)
We are now halfway through our Review Lessons, and I just want to reinforce the importance of the central idea, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me." Lessons 94, 110, 162 and 199 all repeat the same thought. There is great importance put on the idea that God, as our Cause, has the only power over our identity. Everything we think we have done, or seem to have done, has had no real effect. None of it can, or has, changed the truth of who we are. We think we have the power to affect who we are, but we are being liberated from this false idea, as we apply these Lessons. We are not enslaved by our bodies or their evil deeds, nor are we prisoners to the body's instincts, vulnerabilities, infirmities, or illnesses. Jesus really wants us to get this so we can be free of all the limitations of the body. He wants us to recognize that our reality is outside the body. Now, we immerse ourselves in these reviews so that our current way of thinking can be undone. When we approach the practice with investment, willingness, and sincerity, we receive the gifts of grace.
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Love and blessings, Sarah


Allen Watson's
Workbook Commentaries
Allen 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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