Lesson 216
Attraction of Death
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"The Attraction of Death"   

77 To you in whose special relationship the Holy Spirit entered, it is given to release and be released from the dedication to death. For it was offered you, and you accepted. Yet you must learn still more about this strange devotion, for it contains the third of the obstacles which peace must flow across. No one can die unless he chooses death. What seems to be the fear of death is really its attraction. Guilt, too, is feared and fearful. Yet it could have no hold at all except on those who are attracted to it and seek it out. And so it is with death. Made by the ego, its dark shadow falls across all living things because the ego is the "enemy" of life.


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Review VI
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



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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n  216

Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
It can be but myself I crucify.

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 . 
~ Original Handscript of ACIM

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
LESSON 216 Review VI
[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.

Love and blessings, Sarah 
  A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Nineteen

Beyond the Body
   Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio

V. Obstacles to Peace
  c.  The Third Obstacle: The Attraction of Death         

77 To you in whose special relationship the Holy Spirit entered, it is given to release and be released from the dedication to death. For it was offered you, and you accepted. Yet you must learn still more about this strange devotion, for it contains the third of the obstacles which peace must flow across. No one can die unless he chooses death. What seems to be the fear of death is really its attraction. Guilt, too, is feared and fearful. Yet it could have no hold at all except on those who are attracted to it and seek it out. And so it is with death. Made by the ego, its dark shadow falls across all living things because the ego is the "enemy" of life.
78 And yet a shadow cannot kill. What is a shadow to the living? They but walk past, and it is gone. But what of those whose dedication it is not to live-the black-draped "sinners," the ego's mournful chorus, plodding so heavily away from life, dragging their chains and marching in the slow procession which honors their grim master, lord of death? Touch any one of them with the gentle hands of forgiveness and watch the chains fall away along with yours. See him throw aside the black robe he was wearing to his funeral and hear him laugh at death. The sentence sin would lay upon him he can escape through your forgiveness.
79 This is no arrogance. It is the Will of God. What is impossible to you who chose His Will as yours? What is death to you? Your dedication is not to death nor to its master. When you accepted the Holy Spirit's purpose in place of the ego's, you renounced death, exchanging it for life. We know that an idea leaves not its source. And death is the result of the thought we call the ego as surely as life is the result of the Thought of God.

The Incorruptible Body 

80 From the ego came sin and guilt and death, in opposition to life and innocence and to the Will of God Himself. Where can such opposition lie but in the sick minds of the insane, dedicated to madness and set against the peace of Heaven. One thing is sure-God, Who created neither sin nor death, wills not that you be bound by them. He knows of neither sin nor its results. The shrouded figures in the funeral procession march not in honor of their Creator, Whose Will it is they live. They are not following it; they are opposing it.
81 And what is the black-draped body they would bury? A body which they dedicated to death, a symbol of corruption, a sacrifice to sin, offered to sin to feed upon and keep itself alive-a thing condemned, damned by its maker, and lamented by every mourner who looks upon it as himself. You who believe you have condemned the Son of God to this are arrogant. But you who would release him are but honoring the Will of his Creator. The arrogance of sin, the pride of guilt, the sepulcher of separation-all are part of your unrecognized dedication to death. The glitter of guilt you laid upon the body would kill it. For what the ego loves, it kills for its obedience. But what obeys it not, it cannot kill.
82 You have another dedication which would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose. The body no more dies than it can feel. It does nothing. Of itself, it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing. It is the result of a tiny mad idea of corruption which can be corrected. For God has answered this insane idea with His own, an Answer which left Him not and therefore brings the Creator to the awareness of every mind which heard His Answer and accepted it.
83 You who are dedicated to the incorruptible have been given through your acceptance the power to release from corruption. What better way to teach the first and fundamental principle in a course on miracles than by showing you the one which seems to be the hardest can be accomplished first? The body can but serve your purpose. As you look upon it, so will it seem to be. Death, were it true, would be the final and complete disruption of communication which is the ego's goal.
84 Those who fear death see not how often and how loudly they call to it and bid it come to save them from communication. For death is seen as safety, the great dark savior from the light of truth, the answer to the Answer, the silencer of the Voice that speaks for God. Yet the retreat to death is not the end of conflict. Only God's Answer is its end. The obstacle of your seeming love for death that peace must flow across seems to be very great. For in it lies hidden all the ego's secrets, all its strange devices for deception, all its sick ideas and weird imaginings. Here is the final end of union, the triumph of the ego's making over creation, the victory of lifelessness on Life Itself.
85 Under the dusty edge of its distorted world, the ego would lay the Son of God, slain by its orders, proof in his decay that God Himself is powerless before the ego's might, unable to protect the life that He created against the ego's savage wish to kill. My brothers, children of our Father, this is a dream of death. There is no funeral, no dark altars, no grim commandments nor twisted rituals of condemnation to which the body leads you. Ask not release of it. But free it from the merciless and unrelenting orders you laid upon it and forgive it what you ordered it to do. In its exaltation you commanded it to die, for only death could conquer life. And what but insanity could look upon the defeat of God and think it real?
86 The fear of death will go as its appeal is yielded to love's real attraction. The end of sin, which nestles quietly in the safety of your relationship, protected by your union, ready to grow into a mighty force for God, is very near. The infancy of salvation is carefully guarded by love, preserved from every thought that would attack it and quietly made ready to fulfill the mighty task for which it was given you. Your newborn purpose is nursed by angels, cherished by the Holy Spirit, and protected by God Himself. It needs not your protection; it is yours. For it is deathless, and within it lies the end of death.
87 What danger can assail the wholly innocent? What can attack the guiltless? What fear can enter and disturb the peace of sinlessness? What has been given you, even in its infancy, is in full communication with God and you. In its tiny hands, it holds in perfect safety every miracle you will perform, held out to you. The miracle of life is ageless, born in time but nourished in eternity. Behold this infant to whom you gave a resting-place by your forgiveness of each other, and see in it the Will of God. Here is the babe of Bethlehem reborn. And everyone who gives him shelter will follow him, not to the cross, but to the Resurrection and the Life.
88 When anything seems to you to be a source of fear, when any situation strikes you with terror and makes your body tremble and the cold sweat of fear comes over it, remember it is always for one reason-the ego has perceived it as a symbol of fear, a sign of sin and death. Remember then that neither sign nor symbol should be confused with source, for they must stand for something other than themselves. Their meaning cannot lie in them but must be sought in what they represent. And they may thus mean everything or nothing, according to the truth or falsity of the idea which they reflect. Confronted with such seeming uncertainty of meaning, judge it not. Remember the holy Presence of the One given to you to be the Source of judgment. Give it to Him to judge for you, and say:

89 Take this from me and look upon it, judging it for me.
    Let me not see it as a sign of sin and death
    Nor use it for destruction.
    Teach me how not to make of it an obstacle to peace,
    But let You use it for me to facilitate its coming.

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  To GIVE and to RECEIVE are One in Truth.  Lesson 108

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