"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles

The Correction of Error

I. Introduction

1 The alertness of the ego to the errors which other egos make is not the kind of vigilance the Holy Spirit would have you maintain. Egos are critical in terms of the kind of "sense" they stand for. They understand this kind of sense because it is sensible to them. To the Holy Spirit, it makes no sense at all. To the ego, it is kind and right and good to point out errors and "correct" them. This makes perfect sense to the ego, which is totally unaware of what errors are and what correction is .

2 Errors are of the ego, and correction of errors of any kind lies solely in the relinquishment of the ego. When you correct a brother, you are telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that if he is speaking from the ego, he will be making no sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right . You do not tell him this verbally if he is speaking foolishly because he needs correction at another level, since his error is at another level. He is still right because he is a Son of God. His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.

3 If you point out the errors of your brother's ego, you must be seeing through yours , because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors. This must be true if there is no communication at all between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego makes no sense, and the Holy Spirit does not attempt to understand anything that arises from it. Since He does not understand it, He does not judge it, knowing that nothing it engenders means anything.

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A Course in Miracles

The Correction of Error

II. Sanity and Perception

4 When you react at all to errors, you are not listening to the Holy Spirit. He has merely disregarded them, and if you attend to them, you are not hearing Him. If you do not hear Him, you are listening to your ego and making as little sense as the brother whose errors you perceive. This cannot be correction. Yet it is more than merely lack of correction for him. It is the giving up of correction in yourself .

5 When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours . If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone . How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong, you are condemning yourself.

6 You cannot correct yourself . Is it possible, then, for you to correct another? Yet you can see him truly because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change him but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours. His errors cannot change this and can have no effect at all on the truth in you . To perceive errors in anyone and to react to them as if they were real is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you are being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will lose your way.

7 Your brother's errors are not of him any more than yours are of you . Accept his errors as real, and you have attacked yourself . If you would find your way and keep it, see only truth beside you, for you walk together. The Holy Spirit in you forgives all things in you and in your brother. His errors are forgiven with yours. Atonement is no more separate than love. Atonement cannot be separate because it comes from love. Any attempt you make to correct a brother means that you believe correction by you is possible, and this can only be the arrogance of the ego. Correction is of God, Who does not know of arrogance. The Holy Spirit forgives everything because God created everything.

8 Do not undertake His function, or you will forget yours . Accept only the function of healing in time because that is what time is for . God gave you the function to create in eternity. You do not need to learn this, but you do need to learn to want this, and for this all learning was made. This is the Holy Spirit's good use of an ability which you do not need , but which you have made. Give it to Him! You do not know how to use it. He will teach you how to see yourself without condemnation by learning how to look on everything without it. Condemnation will then not be real to you, and all your errors will be forgiven.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 101
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.

1 Today we will continue with the theme of happiness. This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. You still believe it asks for suffering as penance for your "sins." This is not so. Yet you must think it so while you believe that sin is real and that God's Son can sin. If sin is real, then punishment is just and cannot be escaped. Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering.

2 If sin is real then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true. The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for, for they know it waits for them and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form which evens the account they owe to God. They would escape Him in their fear. And yet He will pursue, and they cannot escape.

3 If sin is real, salvation must be pain. Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering can never be escaped if sin is real. Salvation must be feared, for it will kill but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.

4 Who would seek out such savage punishment? Who would not flee salvation and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice Which offers it to him? Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering? If sin is real, its offering is death and meted out in cruel form to match the vicious wishes in which sin is born. If sin is real, salvation has become your bitter enemy, the curse of God upon you who have crucified His Son.

5 You need the practice periods today. The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God's Son.

6 There is no sin. We practice with this thought as often as we can today because it is the basis for today's idea. God's Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless. Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself.

7 Fear not the Will of God. But turn to it in confidence that it will set you free from all the consequences sin has wrought in feverish imagination. Say:

8 God's Will for me is perfect happiness. There is no sin; it has no consequence.

9 So should you start your practice periods, and then attempt again to find the joy these thoughts will introduce into your mind. Give these five minutes gladly to remove the heavy load you laid upon yourself with the insane belief that sin is real.

10 Today escape from madness. You are set on freedom's road, and now today's idea brings wings to speed you on and hope to go still faster to the waiting goal of peace. There is no sin. Remember this today, and tell yourself as often as you can:

11 God's Will for me is perfect happiness. This is the truth because there is no sin.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 101
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.

Jesus explains to us in this Lesson that if sin were indeed real, punishment would be called for and our salvation would require that we suffer for what we have done. I watched an Easter parade somewhere in South America. They were walking without shirts and beating each other on the back, drawing blood as part of their penance, believing that by this act of Atonement, they were demonstrating their love for Jesus and their willingness to suffer on behalf of what they believed he went through. Here Jesus says, "Who would seek out such savage punishment?" (W.101.4.1) Would we ever want to turn to a God who smiled approvingly on such self-sacrifice? Why do we insist on accepting the self-flagellation that we undertake when we crucify ourselves? No, we don't draw blood by physically beating on ourselves, but we do believe that we must be punished for what we have done wrong, and we crucify ourselves unmercifully with our self-attacking thoughts. We judge ourselves harshly for our perceived "sins," and we judge others equally. The ego seems to smile approvingly on such self-punishment, seeing it as appropriate penance for our "sins."

We believe Atonement can only come by satisfying God's need for vengeance. This is not the God Jesus talks about in the Course. This is the god of the ego. When we listen to the voice of the ego, it tells us that we deserve punishment for what we have done in leaving God and stealing His treasure. We are not unlike the Prodigal Son who stole his father’s treasure and was afraid to go home and face him and believed he deserved to be punished for what he did.

We have established our separate self on God's demise. Thus, we believe Oneness has been destroyed, and God has been killed for us to exist. The ego has convinced us that we have committed a horrendous sin, and if we could see the extent of our guilt, we would want to die by our own hand. All who walk this world hold this belief. There is no question in our minds that sin and guilt always call for punishment. Through punishment, we think we are atoning for sin and thus making it all good with God. Basically, we hope the really guilty perpetrators in this world will be the ones severely punished. Now God can see how, in comparison to them, we did our best in a savage world. From this perspective, our salvation must be purchased. We have to pay a dear price in suffering, pain, victimization, and ultimately death. "The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God." (W.101.2.4-5)

To see this clearly, we need to look at our lives. Can you see how our lives are centered on so many experiences of pain and suffering? We attempt to avoid pain and distract from our suffering as much as possible, yet it is impossible for any of us to escape it. Our fear of God's punishment made up the world. We made up this world and the self we identify with in order to hide from God and avoid His punishment. Thus, the world of separation is where we hide from His love because we fear that, in the experience of His love, we will be annihilated. Now we punish ourselves, seeing ourselves as limited and lacking instead, hoping in the end that we will have suffered enough and thus atoned for our sin. Jesus says that God does not want this for us. He wants us to release our fears and our self-attacks by looking at them with him and recognizing we have been mistaken and have done nothing to deserve punishment.

It is important to understand the metaphysics of the Course, because otherwise our ego insanity will never get exposed. Without this teaching, our lives here as bodies and personalities, seemingly living in the world, appear to be very real and solid to us. We do our best to live with the pain and suffering and celebrate our periods of respite. In the end, we hope that we have been good enough and God will punish all those bad people out there, but not us, since we have adequately punished ourselves. We make efforts to be as good as we can be, atoning as much as possible for our mistakes.

Regardless of how much we try, we can't evade the end, which is death. The ego has tried to convince us that we will be safe in the body and in the world, but this is entirely bogus. Why would we not run from God if death were our salvation? We look to death as the assumed bringer of peace. How could we love a God who wills our death, especially a redeeming death full of pain and suffering? Isn't that what we are afraid of? Aren't we afraid that we have to suffer to atone for what we have done wrong? We are called to look at this part of ourselves that believes in the value of sickness and suffering.

"If sin is real, salvation must be pain. " (W.101.3.1) Jesus says, "It is essential that error be not confused with sin, and it is this distinction that makes salvation possible. For error can be corrected, and the wrong made right. But sin, were it possible, would be irreversible." (T.19.II.1.1-3) (ACIM OE T.19.III.17) "Sin calls for punishment as error for correction, and the belief that punishment is correction is clearly insane." (T.19.II.1.6) (ACIM OE T.19.III.17) Sin says that I have done something terrible, and now God is justified in punishing me so I can make it up to Him by my suffering.

If you are wondering if this is true for you, look at some of the ways it is expressed in our daily lives. We may feel something is too good to last; or if we are too happy, we become afraid the "other shoe would drop." Chuck Spezzano, who developed Psychology of Vision based on the Course, used to say in his sessions, "How good can you stand it?" Often, we don't allow the good into our lives. We sabotage ourselves. We stop ourselves from feeling "too happy." Or we may feel guilty if we are happy and someone in our lives is suffering. We feel obligated to join them in their misery, and we call this empathy.

True empathy does not mean joining with someone in his suffering. To do so is the ego's version of empathy. The Holy Spirit would teach us that suffering is not understandable and asks us not to try to join in their pain. We don't lighten it by sharing the delusion of suffering. "Make no mistake about this maneuver; the ego always empathizes to weaken, and to weaken is always to attack." (T.16.I.2.5) (ACIM OE T.16.I.2) To empathize from a place of strength is to ". . . merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you." (T.16.I.2.7) (ACIM OE T.16.I.2) In other words, we really don't know how to help or heal anyone. The only healer is the Holy Spirit. When we get out of the way, His Light shines through us. We will always be doing the loving thing under His guidance and not our own. When we see someone suffer, we are seeing wrongly. We are then called to heal our own misperception of who they are as limited and lacking. We are called to look beyond such appearances to the truth.

We think happiness cannot be a constant state. We believe in suffering. When I worked in juvenile detention, I saw young people mutilate their bodies. They would tell me that the pain was the only thing that made them feel like they were alive. They were so cut off from any kind of joy and were actively choosing pain in order to feel something---anything. And in many ways, we may do the same thing. We mess it up if it gets too good because we get scared. We all have some form of this self-inflicted pain because we believe we deserve punishment. Death is just further proof of God's vengeance on us for what we have done. "An angry father pursues his guilty son. Kill or be killed, for here alone is choice. Beyond this there is none, for what was done cannot be done without. The stain of blood can never be removed, and anyone who bears this stain on him must meet with death." (Manual for Teachers.17.7.10-13)

Aren't we afraid that if there were no sin, people would get away with murder, and without guilt people would do whatever they wanted, with no consequences? There would be no control. We have a strong investment in sin and punishment. There is no question that, within the illusion, controls are necessary. There are consequences for breaking the law, but this Course is not about behavior. It is about healing our mistaken notions of God---our fear of God---which is the final obstacle to peace. Jesus assures us constantly that God is only love. He is our refuge. Why would we be attracted to salvation if it required pain and suffering from us? Jesus keeps reminding us that God's will for us is perfect happiness. He does not want pain for us. We will know this is the case when we accept our innocence. It has always been there. We have not changed ourselves with our ideas of sin. "Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God's Son." (W.101.5.3) Let go of the idea of sin and guilt and recognize that mistakes can all be corrected. All of our misperceptions and mistaken notions of who we are can now be brought to the truth.

We are being asked today to look at how much we cherish sin in ourselves and others. Whether we blame ourselves or others, it is the same, because if we blame our brothers, it is just our self blame and our guilt projected onto them. Forgiveness corrects our belief that sickness and suffering are the answer for us as a way to purchase our innocence, which we believe we have lost. Jesus clearly wants us to question this deeply held belief. Today, we recognize that to forgive others is our road back to forgiveness of God. We recognize that seeking happiness at the expense of our brothers only brings more guilt. Healing requires that we see our interests as the same as our brothers'. We all share the same need to heal our minds. When we see sameness in everyone, it reflects the Oneness of Heaven.

Today in our meditation practice, we go deep into the mind where we connect with the joy and happiness that are constant in us. The ego does not need to be punished and attacked in order to be subdued. Simply be willing to look at it. To resist it just strengthens the ego and makes it real; but when we connect to joy and peace, the ego has no defense. We do that by looking at our thoughts and bringing our false beliefs to the light of truth.

Knowing that God only wants happiness for me strengthens my willingness to continue on this path. I find that my determination, as well as my trust, grows through the dedicated practice of watching the mind and releasing the blocks to love. This is about being willing to take responsibility for my attack thoughts and bringing my projections back to my own mind.

When we have hurt or attacked someone, we don't have to go through a long period of remorse. Yes, we may deeply regret our actions, but instead of crucifying ourselves, we can recognize that what we have done is a mistake and not a sin. We are called to bring our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit. That is what God wills for us. That is the choice we can make. "There is no sin; it has no consequence." (W.101.6.7) Jesus did not die for our sins. He only demonstrated that he did not die, and neither can we.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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