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32 While you believe that your reality or your brother's is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious. For the belief that bodies limit mind leads to a perception of the world in which the proof of separation seems to be everywhere. And God and His creation seem to be split apart and overthrown. For sin would prove what God created holy could not prevail against it nor remain itself before the power of sin. Sin is perceived as mightier than God, before which God Himself must bow and offer His creation to its conqueror. Is this humility or madness?

"The Unreality of Sin"
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 216
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

[196] It can be but myself I crucify.

1 All that I do, I do unto myself. If I attack, I suffer. But if I forgive, salvation will be given me.

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 19
 Beyond the Body

IV. The Unreality of Sin
 par 25-39
25 The attraction of guilt is found in sin, not error. Sin will be repeated because of this attraction. Fear can become so acute that the sin is denied the acting out, but while the guilt remains attractive the mind will suffer and not let go of the idea of sin. For guilt still calls to it, and the mind hears it and yearns for it, making itself a willing captive to its sick appeal. Sin is an idea of evil that cannot be corrected and will be forever desirable. As an essential part of what the ego thinks you are, you will always want it. And only an avenger with a mind unlike your own could stamp it out through fear.

26 The ego does not think it possible that love, not fear, is really called upon by sin and always answers. For the ego brings sin to fear, demanding punishment. Yet punishment is but another form of guilt's protection, for what is deserving punishment must have been really done. Punishment is always the great preserver of sin, treating it with respect and honoring its enormity. [What must be punished must be true. And what is true must be eternal and will be repeated endlessly.] For what you think is real you want and will not let it go. An error, on the other hand, is not attractive. What you see clearly as a mistake you want corrected.

27 Sometimes a sin can be repeated over and over with obviously distressing results but without the loss of its appeal. And suddenly you change its status from a sin to a mistake. Now you will not repeat it; you will merely stop and let it go unless the guilt remains. For then you will but change the form of sin, granting that it was an error but keeping it uncorrectable. This is not really a change in your perception, for it is sin that calls for punishment, not error. The Holy Spirit cannot punish sin. Mistakes He recognizes and would correct them all as God entrusted Him to do. But sin He knows not, nor can He recognize mistakes which cannot be corrected. For a mistake which cannot be corrected is meaningless to Him.

28 Mistakes are for correction, and they call for nothing else. What calls for punishment must call for nothing. Every mistake must be a call for love. What, then, is sin? What could it be but a mistake you would keep hidden—a call for help that you would keep unheard and thus unanswered? In time the Holy Spirit clearly sees the Son of God can make mistakes. On this you share His vision. Yet you do not share His recognition of the difference between time and eternity. And when correction is completed, time is eternity.

29 Time is like a downward spiral which seems to travel down from a long, unbroken line along another plane but which in no way breaks the line or interferes with its smooth continuousness. Along the spiral, it seems as if the line must have been broken. Yet at the line, its wholeness is apparent. Everything seen from the spiral is misperceived, but as you approach the line, you realize that it was not affected by the drop into another plane at all. Yet from the plane, the line seems discontinuous. And this is but an error in perception which can be easily corrected in the mind, although the body's eyes will see no change. The eyes see many things the mind corrects, and you respond, not to the eyes' illusions, but to the mind's corrections.

30 You see the line as broken, and as you shift to different aspects of the spiral, the line looks different. Yet in your mind is One Who knows it is unbroken and forever changeless. This One can teach you how to look on time differently and see beyond it, but not while you believe in sin. In error, yes; for this can be corrected by the mind. But sin is the belief that your perception is unchangeable and that the mind must accept as true what it is told through it. If it does not obey, the mind is judged insane. The only power which could change perception is thus kept impotent, held to the body by the fear of changed perception which its teacher, who is one with it, would bring.

31 When you are tempted to believe that sin is real, remember this: If sin is real, both God and you are not. If creation is extension, the Creator must have extended Himself, and it is impossible that what is part of Him is totally unlike the rest. If sin is real, God must be at war with Himself. He must be split and torn between good and evil—partly sane and partially insane. For He must have created what wills to destroy Him and has the power to do so. Is it not easier to believe that you have been mistaken than to believe in this?

32 While you believe that your reality or your brother's is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious. For the belief that bodies limit mind leads to a perception of the world in which the proof of separation seems to be everywhere. And God and His creation seem to be split apart and overthrown. For sin would prove what God created holy could not prevail against it nor remain itself before the power of sin. Sin is perceived as mightier than God, before which God Himself must bow and offer His creation to its conqueror. Is this humility or madness?

33 If sin were real, it would forever be beyond the hope of healing. For there would be a power beyond God's, capable of making another will which could attack His Will and overcome it and give His Son a will apart from His and stronger. And each part of God's fragmented creation would have a different will, opposed to His and in eternal opposition to Him and to each other. Your holy relationship has as its purpose now the goal of proving this is impossible. Heaven has smiled upon it, and the belief in sin has been uprooted in its smile of love. You see it still because you do not realize that its foundation has gone. Its source has been removed, and so it can be cherished but a little while before it vanishes. Only the habit of looking for it still remains.

34 And yet you look with Heaven's smile upon your lips and Heaven's blessing on your sight. You will not see it long. For in the new perception, the mind corrects it when it seems to be seen, and it becomes invisible. And errors are quickly recognized and quickly given to correction to be healed, not hidden. You will be healed of sin and all its ravages the instant that you give it no power over each other. And you will help each other overcome mistakes by joyously releasing one another from the belief in sin.

35 In the holy instant, you will see the smile of heaven shining on both of you. And you will shine upon each other in glad acknowledgment of the grace that has been given you. For sin will not prevail against a union Heaven has smiled upon. Your perception was healed in the holy instant Heaven gave you. Forget what you have seen and raise your eyes in faith to what you now can see. The barriers to heaven will disappear before your holy sight, for you who were sightless have been given vision, and you can see. Look not for what has been removed but for the glory that has been restored for you to see.

36 Look upon your Redeemer and behold what He would show you in each other, and let not sin arise again to blind your eyes. For sin would keep you separate, but your Redeemer would have you look upon each other as yourself. Your relationship is now a temple of healing—a place where all the weary ones can come and find rest. Here is the rest that waits for all after the journey. And it is brought nearer to all by your relationship.

37 As this peace extends from deep inside yourselves to embrace all the Sonship and give it rest, it will encounter many obstacles. Some of them you will try to impose. Others will seem to arise from elsewhere—from your brothers and from various aspects of the world outside. Yet peace will gently cover them, extending past completely unhindered. The extension of the Holy Spirit's purpose from your relationship to others to bring them gently in [has already begun. This is the way in which He will bring means and goal in line. The peace He laid deep within both of you] will quietly extend to every aspect of your lives, surrounding both of you with glowing happiness and the calm awareness of complete protection. And you will carry its message of love and safety and freedom to everyone who draws nigh unto your temple, where healing waits for him.

38 You will not wait to give him this, for you will call to him and he will answer you, recognizing in your call the Call of God. And you will draw him in and give him rest, as it was given you. All this will you do. Yet the peace which already lies deeply within must first expand and flow across the obstacles you placed before it. This will you do, for nothing undertaken with the Holy Spirit remains unfinished. You can indeed be sure of nothing you see outside you, but of this you can be sure: the Holy Spirit asks that you offer Him a resting-place where you will rest in Him. He answered you and entered your relationship. Would you not now return His graciousness and enter into a relationship with Him? For it is He Who offered your relationship the gift of holiness, without which it would have been forever impossible to appreciate each other.

39 The gratitude you owe to Him He asks but that you receive for Him. And when you look with gentle graciousness upon each other, you are beholding Him. For you are looking where He is and not apart from Him. You cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can see your brothers truly. And the light in them will show you all that you need to see. When the peace in you has been extended to encompass everyone, the Holy Spirit's function here will be accomplished. What need is there for seeing then? When God has taken the last step Himself, the Holy Spirit will gather all your thanks and gratitude which you have offered Him and lay them gently before His Creator in the name of His most holy Son. And the Father will accept them in His Name. What need is there of seeing in the presence of His gratitude?

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Sarah's Reflections
Review VI ~ Lesson 216

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

[196] It can be but
myself I crucify.
Sarah's Commentary:
It is not difficult to get that when we attack, we suffer, but it is much more difficult to really live it every day, especially when we experience any kind of perceived attack and feel justified in retaliating. Notice how easy it is to see flaws and what seem to be idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies in others and to use these to judge and criticize. Yet it is precisely what we do not like in ourselves that we condemn in others. The solution is, of course, "If I attack, I suffer. But if I forgive, salvation will be given me." (W.216.2.4) Forgiveness in the Course is always about remembering that the lesson is always our own. Everything comes from our own minds. We are the dreamers of our own dream. We are judging something in a brother that we have not forgiven in ourselves. Our brother can truly be an effective mirror for our own mind if we are willing to take responsibility for what we see in him as a projection of our own perceived deficiencies and self-attacks.
Now, if you look closely at the wording of this Lesson, you will see that it speaks entirely about what we are doing to ourselves. When I get upset with someone, I find it helpful to see that there is no "other." What I am seeing in anyone is entirely in my own mind. I can only be affected by the situations and behaviors of others attacking me if I give them the power to hurt me. Seeing ourselves as victimized by others is the way the ego set it all up so we can justify our attacks and deem ourselves innocent in the face of their attack. When we forgive, by seeing that we are responsible for our own pain, we see that in truth no one has done anything. Yes, in the dream, something seems to have happened. but the cause is only in our own minds.
Others are just playing out the script we have written for them. It is as if they are reading their lines from a teleprompter, and these lines have been determined by us. This probably feels like quite a stretch, but it is very helpful in remembering that their response to us, which may look like an attack, is actually orchestrated by our own minds for our own awakening. We are not the victims of the world we see.
Jesus asks us to be wary of the idea that we can be unfairly treated. "Unfairness and attack are one mistake, so firmly joined that where one is perceived the other must be seen. You cannot be unfairly treated. The belief you are is but another form of the idea you are deprived by someone not yourself." (T.26.X.3.1-3) (ACIM OE T.26.XI.87) Our brothers have simply revealed the pain and unhealed aspects of our own minds. This pain must be brought forth for healing. Because they have revealed it to us, they are actually our saviors. If we forgive, salvation will be given us, and what is salvation but to know our own innocence, joy, and happiness. We cannot know this when we attack.
"What we give, we receive" is a law that works one hundred percent of the time. There are no exceptions to it. I can think I am hurting you and maintaining my innocence, but this is the lie of the ego, which tells us we can get rid of our guilt by projecting it onto others. Anytime we hurt anyone or try to gain at our brother’s expense, we will suffer. We cannot escape the reality that what we do to others we are actually doing to ourselves. The ego tells us that when we project guilt, we are free of it. What it does not tell us is that this is precisely how we keep it.
The golden rule says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In other words, what you give, you receive. It seems like there is a choice of what to give. The choice is to offer love to our brothers, or to withhold it from them. However, there is no wiggle room with this law. What I give, I receive. It is an immutable law. When I cause pain, I will feel pain in return. How it shows up is that I suffer guilt and believe that I deserve punishment, and thus I draw it into my life. The difficult events of our lives are based on the belief that we have them coming to us because of our attacks on others.
All attack is meant to hurt. We can say we did not mean it, but we are just lying to ourselves. We actually attack because we want to. That is why watching our mind takes discipline, vigilance, and the courage to be very honest with ourselves. It requires we look openly at our intentions and see where we try to get from others, using them for our personal gain. What we are doing in these situations is always hurting ourselves while serving our specialness. I cannot think of anything that undoes the ego more readily than to take this law very seriously and use every opportunity to look at our defenses and take responsibility for our projections. When we are not being kind, forgiveness is called for. We forgive as soon as we see that we have tried to gain at our brother's expense.
Any negative thought we have about anyone can immediately be dispelled by sincerely applying the Lesson. Application of the Lesson must become a habit that we over-learn, as it is not generally our immediate reaction to a difficult situation. "The ego always speaks first" (T.5.VI.3.5) (ACIM OE T.5.VIII.73) means the ego will be the first to give us its interpretation of any situation. Thus, our response today is: "This thought I do not want. I choose instead____," (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) "If I forgive, salvation will be given me." (W.216.1.4) Or, "This thought I do not want. I choose instead___," (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) "It can be but myself I crucify." (W.216.1.1) Or, use a version that works for you so it will be meaningful to you. This is not just rote repetition of these words. Words are powerful, but only when we connect with them deeply and with sincerity and conviction.
If what I am doing brings me suffering, I have another opportunity today to recognize---I can experience peace instead of this. Would you not be highly motivated to change your thoughts and behaviors if you truly believed in this law? You would want to do this out of your own self-interest. If I were thinking of shooting an arrow at you that would land in my own heart, I would be highly motivated not to make that attack on you. Thus, the Lesson affirms that this is exactly what happens, except the forms may change in which of our attacks come back at us.
If I blame you, I may find my car breaks down as my form of self-punishment, or I may lose my job, or I may get sick. We draw all these experiences to ourselves for a purpose. They are all there to remind us that, as we forgive, the world looks more and more benign to us, regardless of what problems seem to be there. We are then able to see beyond the events and accept them as part of our classroom, rather than resist and see them as bringing us punishment and more suffering.
There are many ways we attack our brothers. We may even find ourselves using the metaphysics of the Course to make the other person wrong. We may try to correct them, judge, or critique them in the belief that we are being helpful. Yet when we step aside and place the Holy Spirit in charge, only then is peace possible, but we need to be gentle with ourselves in this process. We have believed for a very long time that the cause of our distress is outside of our own minds. Changing our minds about this belief requires a lot of vigilance and discipline. Jesus is helping us to realize that everything is coming from our minds and not from hostile elements in the world or as a result of the condition of the body. This is all part of the ego's strategy to keep us mindless.
When we discover the murderer is within, it can induce a lot of guilt; and when we feel guilty, we find ways to punish ourselves. "For the ego does want to kill you, and if you identify with it you must believe its goal is yours." (T.13.II.5.6) (ACIM OE T.12.II.5) In Lesson 196, "It can be but myself I crucify," Jesus says that our attacks on others in the name of self-defense lead to our fear of crucifixion at the hands of God and the world. As Lesson 198 reminds us, "Only my condemnation injures me. Only my own forgiveness sets me free." (W.198.9.3-4)
It is helpful to remember in this regard, "Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable. Their interaction is a process that alters both, because they were not made by or with the Unalterable [God] . It is important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical proximity. Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction. There could be no better example that the ego is only an idea and not a fact." (T.4.II.2.1-6) (ACIM OE T.4.III.25)
How does this relate to today's Lesson? Well, we all play the game of separation and the game of hurt. We have called into our experience all the characters that show up in our play, as well as those who play the roles of our friends and enemies. We are like children playing this game, but we have forgotten that it is a silly game and now we take it all seriously. Yet, we can stand back and laugh at it all. Our thoughts about it hurt us when we take it seriously. We can heal this hurt by asking for help to forgive our thoughts, even if we don't do it in a tangible way, or in proximity to those who have seemingly hurt us. We can do it just in our own thoughts alone, and we can do it by forgoing our desire to crucify our brothers, or to try to get for ourselves at their expense. When we forgive, we see we are all the same. We share the same ego, albeit with different life circumstances, and we share One Self.
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Love and blessings, Sarah


Allen Watson's
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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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