ON LINE: ACIM.OE.TX.CH 19.III
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 19 "BEYOND THE BODY"
III. SIN VERSUS ERROR
22 It can indeed be said the ego made its world on sin. Only in such a world could everything be upside-down. This is the strange illusion which makes the clouds of guilt seem heavy and impenetrable. The solidness this world's foundation seems to have is found in this. For sin has changed creation from an Idea of God to an ideal the ego wants; a world it rules, made up of bodies, mindless and capable of complete corruption and decay. If this is a mistake, it can be undone easily by truth. Any mistake can be corrected, if truth be left to judge it. But if the mistake is given the status of truth, to what can it be brought? The "holiness" of sin is kept in place by just this strange device. As truth it is inviolate, and everything is brought to it for judgment. As a mistake, it must be brought to truth. It is impossible to have faith in sin, for sin is faithlessness. Yet it is possible to have faith that a mistake can be corrected.
AUDIO: TEXT CH 19, III
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
With this review, we take but one idea
each day, and practice it as often as
is possible. Besides the time we give
morning and evening, which should not be less
than fifteen minutes, and the hourly
remembrances we 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 is 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.
With this in mind, we start our practicing
in which we carefully review the thoughts
the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us
in our last twenty lessons. Each contains
the whole curriculum, if understood,
practiced, accepted and applied to all
the seeming happenings throughout the day.
One is enough. But for that one there must
be no exceptions made. And so we need
to use them all, and let them blend as one
as each contributes to the whole we learn.
These practice lessons, like our last review,
are centered round a central theme with which
we start and end each lesson. It is this:
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me."
The day begins and ends with this. And we
repeat it every time the hour strikes,
or we remember, in between, we have
a function that transcends the world we see.
Beyond this and a repetition of
the special thought we practice for the day,
no form of exercise is urged, except
a deep relinquishing of everything
that clutters up your mind, and makes it deaf
to reason, sanity and simple truth.
We will attempt to get beyond all words
and special forms of practicing for this
review. For we attempt this time to reach
a quickened pace along a shorter path
to the serenity and peace of God.
We merely close our eyes, and then forget
all that we thought we saw and understood.
For thus is freedom given us from all
we did not know and failed to understand.
There is but one exception to this lack
of structuring. Permit no idle thought
to go unchallenged. If you notice one,
deny its hold and hasten to assure
your mind that this is not what it would have.
Then gently let the thought which you denied
be given up in sure and quick exchange
for the idea we practice for the day.
When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim
your freedom from temptation, as you say:
This thought I do not want. I choose instead..."
And then repeat the idea for the day,
and let it take the place of what you thought.
Beyond such special applications of
each day's idea, we will add but few
formal expressions for specific thoughts
to aid your practicing. Instead we give
these times of quiet to the Teacher Who
instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives
our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.
To Him I offer this review for you.
I place you in His charge, and let Him teach
you what to do and say and think each time
you turn to Him. He will not fail to be
available to you each time you call
to Him to help you. Let us offer Him
the whole review we now begin, and let
us also not forget to Whom it has
been given, as we practice, day by day,
advancing toward the goal He set for us;
allowing Him to teach us how to go,
and trusting Him completely for the way
each practice period can best become
a loving gift of freedom to the world.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM September 1, 1970
ACIM OE WORKBOOK REVIEW VI
CIRCLE OF ATONEMENT ~ COMMENTARY on INTRODUCTION
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 210
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
 I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
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
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
LESSON 210 Review VI
 I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
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.
Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
A Course in Miracles
Beyond the Body
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
17 It is essential that error be not confused with "sin," and it is this distinction which makes salvation possible. For error can be corrected, and the wrong made right. But sin, were it possible, would be irreversible. The belief in sin is necessarily based on the firm conviction that
minds, not bodies, can attack. And thus the mind is guilty and will forever so remain unless a mind not part of it can give it absolution. Sin calls for punishment as error for correction, and the belief that punishment
is correction is clearly insane.
18 Sin is not an error, for sin entails an arrogance which the idea of error lacks. To sin would be to violate reality and to succeed. Sin is the proclamation that attack is real and guilt is justified. It assumes the Son of God is guilty and has thus succeeded in losing his innocence and making himself what God created not. Thus is creation seen as not eternal, and the Will of God open to opposition and defeat. Sin is the "grand illusion" underlying all the ego's grandiosity. For by it, God Himself is changed and rendered incomplete.
19 The Son of God can be mistaken; he can deceive himself; he can even turn the power of his mind against himself. But he
cannot sin. There is nothing he can do that would really change his reality in any way nor make him really guilty. That is what sin would do, for such is its purpose. Yet for all the wild insanity inherent in the whole idea of sin, it is impossible. For the wages of sin is death, and how can the immortal die?
20 A major tenet in the ego's insane religion is that sin is not error but
truth, and it is
innocence that would deceive. Purity is seen as arrogance, and the acceptance of the self as sinful is perceived as holiness. And it is this doctrine which replaces the reality of the Son of God as his Father created him and willed that he be forever. Is this humility? Or is it, rather, an attempt to wrest creation away from truth and keep it separate?
21 Any attempt to reinterpret sin as error is always indefensible to the ego. The idea of sin is wholly sacrosanct to its thought system and quite unapproachable except through reverence and awe. It is the most "holy" concept in the ego's system---lovely and powerful, wholly true, and necessarily protected with every defense at its disposal. For here lies its "best" defense which all the others serve. Here is its armor, its protection, and the fundamental purpose of the special relationship in its interpretation.
22 It can indeed be said the ego made its world on sin. Only in such a world could everything be upside-down. This is the strange illusion which makes the clouds of guilt seem heavy and impenetrable. The solidness this world's foundation seems to have is found in this. For sin has changed creation from an Idea of God to an ideal the ego wants; a world
it rules, made up of bodies, mindless and capable of complete corruption and decay. If this is a mistake, it can be undone easily by truth. Any mistake can be corrected, if truth be left to judge it. But if the mistake is given the status of truth, to what can it be brought? The "holiness" of sin is kept in place by just this strange device. As truth it is inviolate, and everything is brought to
it for judgment. As a mistake,
it must be brought to truth. It is impossible to have faith in sin, for sin is faithlessness. Yet it
is possible to have faith that a mistake can be corrected.
23 There is no stone in all the ego's embattled citadel more heavily defended than the idea that sin is real-the natural expression of what the Son of God has made himself to be and what he
is. To the ego, this is no mistake. For this
is its reality; this is the "truth" from which escape will always be impossible. This is his past, his present, and his future. For he has somehow managed to corrupt his Father and changed His Mind completely. Mourn, then, the death of God, Whom sin has killed! And this would be the ego's wish, which in its madness it thinks it has accomplished.
24 Would you not rather that all this be nothing more than a mistake, entirely correctable, and so easily escaped from that its whole correction is like walking through a mist into the sun? For that is all it is. Perhaps you would be tempted to agree with the ego that it is far better to be sinful than mistaken. Yet think you carefully before you allow yourself to make this choice. Approach it not lightly, for it
is the choice of hell or Heaven.
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