"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
The Correction of Error
III. Atonement as a Lesson in Sharing
Atonement is for all, because it is the way to
the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to
. Look, then,
error, and do not let your perception rest
it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother
if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is
, and you cannot know what you are
you see him falsely. Remember always that your identity is shared and that sharing
You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement
beyond you. You do not know how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to think either that you do
make them or that you can correct them
a Guide to correction. And if you do not
this Guide, your errors will
be corrected. The plan is not yours
of your limited ideas of what you are. This limitation is where
errors arise. The way to undo them, therefore, is not
The Atonement is a lesson in sharing which is given you because
you have forgotten how to do it
. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of what is your natural ability. By reinterpreting the ability to attack, which you
make, into the ability to
, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this
Him, you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego or you will judge them as
does. All their harmfulness lies in its judgment. All their helpfulness lies in the judgment of the Holy Spirit.
The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are
for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego's plan, of course,
makes no sense
will not work
. By following it, you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation to which the ego
leads you. The ego's plan is to have you see error clearly
overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you
made it real and
This is where the ego is forced to appeal to "mysteries" and begins to insist that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make
sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were because they speak of ideas which are eternal. Forgiveness that is learned of me does
use fear to
fear. Nor does it make real the
and then destroy it.
Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning and thus
it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your minds
, or you will also believe that
must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit, the effects of error are
non-existent. By steadily and consistently canceling out
respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and
it. Follow His teaching in forgiveness then, because forgiveness
His function, and He knows how to fulfill it perfectly. That is what we meant when we once said that miracles are
, and when they do
occur, something has gone wrong.
Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit's plan of salvation in recognition of the fact that you do
know what it is. His work is
your function, and unless you accept this, you cannot learn what
function is. The confusion of functions is so typical of the ego that you should be quite familiar with it by now. The ego believes that
functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they
. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity
confusion which makes it likely that the ego will attack anyone and anything for no reason at all. This is exactly what the ego
. It is
unpredictable in its responses because it has no idea of
If one has no idea of what is happening, how appropriately can you
him to react? You might still ask yourself, regardless of how you can
for the reactions, whether they place the ego in a very sound position as the guide for
. It seems absurd to have to emphasize repeatedly that the ego's qualifications as a guide are singularly unfortunate and that it is a remarkably poor choice as a teacher of salvation. Yet this question, ridiculous as it seems, is really the crucial issue in the whole separation fantasy. Anyone who elects a totally insane guide
be totally insane himself.
It is not true that you do not know the guide is insane.
know it because
know it, and you
judged it by the same standard as I have. The ego literally lives on borrowed time, and its days are numbered. Do not fear the Last Judgment, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego's time is borrowed from
the Second Coming, which was made
you as the First was created. The Second Coming is merely the return of
. Can this
What can be fearful but fantasy, and no one turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality. Yet it is certain that he will
find satisfaction in fantasy, so that his only hope is to
change his mind about reality
. Only if the decision that reality is fearful is
can God be right. And I assure you that God
right. Be glad, then, that you
been wrong, but this was only because you did not know who you were. Had you remembered, you could no more have been wrong than God can. The impossible can happen
in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies, you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of
you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them. They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven.
Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful, pretty or ugly, but no one calls them
. Children may believe them, and so for a while the tales
true for them. Yet when reality dawns, the fantasies are gone.
has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the
of reality, not its
. Behold, my children, reality is here. It belongs to you and me and God and is perfectly satisfying to all of us.
this awareness heals because it is the awareness of truth.
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A Course in Miracles
I share God's Will for happiness for me.
You do not want to suffer. You may think it buys you something and may still believe a little that it buys you what you want. Yet this belief is surely shaken now, at least enough to let you question it and to suspect it really makes no sense. It has not gone as yet but lacks the roots that once secured it tightly to the dark and hidden secret places of your mind.
Today we try to loose its weakened hold still further. And to realize that pain is purposeless, without a cause, and with no power to accomplish anything. It cannot purchase anything at all. It offers nothing and does not exist. And everything you think it offers you is lacking in existence like itself. You have been slave to nothing. Be you free today to join the happy Will of God.
For several days we will continue to devote our longer practice periods to exercises planned to help you reach the happiness God's Will has placed in you. Here is your home, and here your safety is. Here is your peace, and here there is no fear. Here is salvation. Here is rest at last.
Begin the longer practice periods today with this acceptance of God's Will for you:
I share God's Will for happiness for me, And I accept it as my function now.
Then seek this function deep within your mind, for it is there, awaiting but your choice. You cannot fail to find it when you learn it is your choice and that you share God's Will.
Be happy, for your only function here is happiness. You have no need to be less loving to God's Son than He Whose Love created him as loving as Himself. Besides these hourly five minute rests, pause frequently today to tell yourself that you have now accepted happiness as your one function. And be sure that you are joining with God's Will in doing this.
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I share God's Will for happiness for me.
This Lesson is a continuation of the previous one. Here our elder brother Jesus continues to address the whole idea of suffering. According to him, we think suffering can buy us something we want.
"You may think it buys you something, and may still believe a little that it buys you what you want."
(W.102.1.2) Now that sounds totally insane, yet, when you think about it, you can see this is true. I remember as a young child all the attention I got when I was sick and the benefits I received from not having to be responsible for anything. There was a huge payoff for me. Of course, I was not conscious that this was my motivation. At a conscious level, I was unhappy with the suffering I endured, yet the payoff of being the victim was there.
You may protest that you don't want the pain and suffering you are experiencing, but he asks us to bring some awareness to the inherent benefits. He asks us to look at what our suffering allows us to do and not to do. The fact is that we do want to suffer because we want the payoff. The payoff is to be the victim. In addition, we get things like attention, control, and the ability to manipulate others to meet our needs. To us, suffering seems like a small price to pay for what we can get from it. Through suffering, we demonstrate that others are responsible for our condition. We make them the guilty ones who will ultimately suffer God's punishment. Now they can pay for our guilt of separating from God, and we can escape from what we fear from Him.
Suffering proves that we are right, and we are justified in our attacks because, "look at what they have done to us." It proves our reality is indeed these fragile bodies and personalities. It proves that God is wrong about who He says we are. Finally, it is a way we punish ourselves for our seeming sin. Now God need not punish us, as we have "atoned" for our sin against Him.
"Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering."
(W.101.2.2) Who would have thought suffering is such a prize to the ego? The ego tells us this is how we purchase salvation. Otherwise, we are doomed!
It is important to remember that this is our dream. We made it up, so we can agree to change it whenever we take to heart what Jesus is saying in this Lesson.
"You do not want to suffer."
(W.102.1.1) Apparently, we still do, but he is appealing to the decision-making part of the mind that can agree to see that there is another choice we can make. We can give the Holy Spirit the sin and guilt in our minds that we think offers us something. When we project it onto others, we believe we can make them responsible for our suffering; but this is how we keep the cycle of guilt and fear going.
We believe grief will bring us a reward. We believe deprivation has some kind of elevated goal, but Jesus says we are now far enough along in our understanding the belief that suffering will buy us something we want has been weakened.
"Yet this belief is surely shaken now, at least enough to let you question it, and to suspect it really makes no sense."
(W.102.1.3) Our beliefs are no longer as firmly established in our thinking as they once were.
While we are still not free of our guilt and suffering, Jesus assures us
"It has not gone yet, but lacks the roots that once secured it tightly to the dark and hidden secret places of your mind."
(W.102.1.4) What this means is Jesus is confident about our ability to change our minds because we have already gone a long way in doing so. Of course, the ego does not want us to look at these dark and hidden secret places because completely releasing these places in the mind means the end of the ego. While it is indeed the end of the ego, we fear it means the end of us. Jesus assures us that he is with us, walking with us through this fear to the extent we are willing to let him in.
Today, we try to
". . . realize that pain is purposeless, without a cause and with no power to accomplish anything."
(W.102.2.1) The purpose of pain is to keep us focused on the body and personality and rooted in the illusion. It keeps us separate from our brothers, feeling all alone with our pain and suffering and separate from God. But pain and suffering offer us nothing of value.
"It cannot purchase anything at all."
(W.102.2.2) It will not purchase our salvation as the ego promises. It accomplishes nothing except to bring more suffering. The idea we should suffer comes from guilt. The original guilt came about as a result of the belief we had separated from God, attacked Him, attacked and destroyed the perfection of our being, and now deserve punishment. Obviously, this is deeply hidden in our subconscious but shows up in our lives when we experience pain, depression, grief, rage, sickness, and suffering of any kind.
Thus, the happiness God has willed for us, which is our natural inheritance, is obscured. This happiness is not something we need to look for. It is already in us. We are not trying to make ourselves happy. We just need to give up the sadness and suffering, so we can connect to the happiness within. It is to
"Step gently aside, and let healing be done for you."
(T.16.I.3.7) (ACIM OE T.16.I.3) Our part is to take responsibility for our feelings by bringing awareness to our unhealed thoughts and turning them over to the Holy Spirit, so healing can take place. It requires letting down our defenses to see what is hidden from our awareness.
Today, we try to realize any pain or distress we feel we have chosen, not because we want pain, but because of what we think it will get us. It appears to pay off our guilt. Jesus tells us,
"And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked."
(T.21.II.2.5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.15) There are no accidents. We are responsible for our experience. Jesus reminds us that there is only God and nothing outside of Him exists. There cannot be God and something else as well if God is all there is. If we choose "something else," we make a choice to be on our own. By this choice, we reject God's Love.
Nothing in this world happens to me outside my will, and my will determines my perception of everything and my response to everything. It is my decision on how I see everything that seems to be happening but also to recognize that nothing real is happening to me at all. In other words, the temporal happenings of this world don't really exist and neither do these separate selves. Unless we include the second point along with the first, we will feel entirely at the mercy of our own mind, and we will wonder, "How in the world did I manifest this?" Then, we feel totally responsible and even victimized by our own minds. However, when we accept that the non-eternal does not even exist, we can step aside from our investment in the dream. This is perhaps one of the hardest things to take in and accept, but God and the ego are irreconcilable beliefs. It is one or the other---truth or illusion. As was said in Lesson 98,
"We take a stand on but one side today."
God already knows us as the perfect Self we are, but we need to experience God as a beneficent and loving Father and not the punishing God that the mind fears. Our final obstacle to peace is the fear of God, but God doesn't understand the belief in sin that we hold in our minds. He asks nothing of us. If He did, it would acknowledge that there is something He needs of us, which is not the case.
When we recognize God's Will for us is perfect happiness and nothing else, we know that the only place where our safety lies is in our home in Him.
"Here is your home, and here your safety is. Here is your peace, and here there is no fear. Here is salvation. Here is rest at last."
(W.102.3.2-5) It is there right now, waiting for our acceptance and acknowledgment. Our part is to simply look at our guilt, which is then dispelled when we look at it without judgment or self condemnation. We simply look and no longer protect the guilt with our defenses, and thus it can no longer thrive in the secret, dark places in the mind.
"Be happy. Your only function here is happiness."
(W.102.5.1) When we give, rather than try to get, we serve our function and experience a deep level of the happiness that is already in us. We then share the joy that emanates from within. When we are unhappy, we use it as our excuse for not being loving. Have you noticed the many excuses we give for being hurtful? It can be anything from, "I have a headache," to "I am tired," to "I don't feel well." From these places where we suffer, we don't extend to others. Our function is now to look honestly at our suffering and what is behind it so the pain we experience can be corrected. Jesus asks us to remind ourselves in our practice today,
"I share God's Will for happiness for me, and I accept it as my function now."
If you are not feeling this way today, just be willing to look at the blocks to love that you are experiencing and choose again, and then just let healing be. You are responsible only for the correction, not the error. You are dearly loved and nothing you are experiencing can change that fact.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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