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

God and the Ego

V. The Inheritance of God's Son

31 Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for the Sonship is your Soul. As God's creation, it is yours, and belonging to you, it is His. Your Soul does not need salvation, but your mind needs to learn what salvation is . You are not saved from anything, but you are saved for glory. Glory is your inheritance, given your Soul by its Creator that you might extend it. Yet if you hate part of your own Soul, all your understanding is lost because you are looking on what God created as yourself without love. And since what He created is part of Him, you are denying Him His place in His own altar.

32 Could you try to make God homeless and know that you are at home? Can the Son deny the Father without believing that the Father has denied him ? God's laws hold only for your protection, and they never hold in vain. What you experience when you deny your Father is still for your protection, for the power of your will cannot be lessened without the intervention of God against it, and any limitation on your power is not the Will of God. Therefore, look only to the power that God gave to save you, remembering that it is yours because it is His, and join with your brothers in His peace.

33 The peace of your Soul lies in its limitlessness. Limit the peace you share, and your own Soul must be unknown to you. Every altar to God is part of your Soul because the light He created is one with Him. Would you cut off a brother from the light that is yours? You would not do so if you realized that you can only darken your own mind. As you bring him back, so will your mind return. That is the law of God for the protection of the wholeness of His Son.

34 Only you can deprive yourself of anything . Do not oppose this realization, for it is truly the beginning of the dawn of light. Remember also that the denial of this simple fact takes many forms, and these you must learn to recognize and to oppose steadfastly and without exception . This is a crucial step in the reawakening. The beginning phases of this reversal are often quite painful for, as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbor it within. It is difficult at first to realize that this is exactly the same thing, for there is no distinction between within and without.

35 If your brothers are part of you and you blame them for your deprivation, you are blaming yourself. And you cannot blame yourself without blaming them. That is why blame must be undone, not re-allocated. Lay it to yourself and you cannot know yourself, for only the ego blames at all. Self-blame is therefore ego identification and as strong an ego defense as blaming others. You cannot enter God's Presence if you attack his Son . When His Son lifts his voice in praise of his Creator, he will hear the Voice of his Father. Yet the Creator cannot be praised without His Son, for their glory is shared, and they are glorified together.

36 Christ is at God's altar, waiting to welcome His Son. But come wholly without condemnation, for otherwise you will believe that the door is barred and you cannot enter. The door is not barred, and it is impossible for you to be unable to enter the place where God would have you be. But love yourself with the love of Christ, for so does your Father love you. You can refuse to enter, but you cannot bar the door which Christ holds open. Come unto me who holds it open for you, for while I live it cannot be shut, and I live forever. God is my life and yours , and nothing is denied by God to His Son.

37 At God's altar Christ waits for the restoration of Himself in you . God knows His Son as wholly blameless as Himself, and He is approached through the appreciation of His Son. Christ waits for your acceptance of Him as yourself and of His wholeness as yours . For Christ is the Son of God who lives in his Creator and shines with His glory. Christ is the extension of the love and the loveliness of God, as perfect as his Creator and at peace with Him.

38 Blessed is the Son of God, whose radiance is of his Father and whose glory he wills to share as his Father shares it with him. There is no condemnation in the Son, for there is no condemnation in the Father. Sharing the perfect love of the Father, the Son must share what belongs to Him, for otherwise he will not know the Father or the Son. Peace be unto you who rest in God and in whom the whole Sonship rests.

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A Course in Miracles

Part I
Review III

1 Our third review begins today. We will review two of the last 20 ideas each day until we have reviewed them all. We will observe a special format for these practice periods which you are urged to follow as closely as you can. We understand, of course, that it may be impossible for you to undertake what is suggested here as optimal each day and every hour of the day.

2 Learning will not be hampered when you miss a practice period because it is impossible at the appointed time. Nor is it necessary that you make excessive efforts to be sure that you catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals are not our aim and would defeat our learning goal.

3 But learning will be hampered when you skip a practice period because you are unwilling to devote the time to it which you are asked to give. Do not deceive yourself in this. Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations which are poorly suited to your practicing from those which you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.

4 Those practice periods which you have lost because you did not want to do them for whatever reason should be done as soon as you have changed your mind about your goal. You are unwilling to cooperate in practicing salvation only if it interferes with goals you hold more dear. When you withdraw the value given them, allow your practice periods to be replacements for your litanies to them. They gave you nothing. But your practice periods offer you everything. Accept their offering and be at peace.

5 The format you should use for these reviews is this: devote five minutes twice a day or longer if you would prefer to contemplating the ideas assigned. Read over the ideas and comments which are written first in each day's exercises. Then begin to think about them quietly, letting your mind relate them to your needs, your seeming problems, and all your concerns.

6 Place the ideas within your mind, and let it use them as it chooses. Give it faith that it will use them wisely, being helped in its decisions by the One Who gave the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews, the means the Holy Spirit uses will not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come to your assistance. Give it direction at the start, then lean back in quiet faith, and let it use the ideas you have given it as they were given you.

7 You have been given them in perfect trust, in perfect confidence that you would use them well, in perfect faith that you would understand their messages and use them for yourself. Offer them to your mind in that same trust and confidence and faith. It will not fail. It is the Holy Spirit's chosen means for your salvation. And with His trust merits yours as well.

8 We emphasize the benefits to you if you devote the first five minutes of the day to your review and also give the last five minutes of your waking day to it. If this cannot be done, at least try to divide them so you undertake one in the morning, and the other in the hour just before you go to sleep.

9 The exercises to be done throughout the day are equally important and perhaps of even greater value. You have been inclined to do the exercises and then go on to other things, without applying what you learned to them. As a result, your learning has had little reinforcement, and you have not given it the opportunity to prove its worth to you.

10 Here is another chance to use it well. In these reviews we stress the need to let your learning not lie idly by between your longer practice periods. Attempt to give your daily two ideas a brief but serious review each hour. Use one on the hour and the other one a half an hour later. You need not give more than just a moment to each one.

11 Repeat it, and allow your mind to rest a little time in silence and in peace. Then turn to other things, but try to keep the thought with you and let it serve to help you keep your peace throughout the day. If you are shaken, think of it again. These practice periods are planned to help you form the habit of applying what you learn each day to everything you do.

12 Do not repeat it and then lay it down. Its usefulness is limitless to you. And it is meant to serve you in all ways, all times and places, and whenever you need help of any kind. Try, then, to take it with you in the business of the day and make it holy, worthy of God's Son, acceptable to God and to your Self.

13 Each day's review assignment will conclude with a restatement of the thought to use each hour and the one to be applied on each half hour as well. Forget them not. This second chance with each of these ideas will bring such large advances that we come from these reviews with learning gains so great that we begin again on solid ground.

14 Do not forget how little you have learned. Do not forget how much you can learn now. Do not forget your Father's need of you as you review these thoughts He gave to you.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 117
[Review of Lessons 103-104]

1 For morning and evening review:

[103] God, being Love, is also happiness.

2 Let me remember love is happiness and nothing else brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes for love.

[104] I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

3 Love is my heritage and with it joy. These are the gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is mine in truth.

4 On the hour:

5 God, being Love, is also happiness.

6 On the half hour:

7 I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 117
Review III ~ Lessons 103-104

Happiness is a reflection of God's love in the world. We are happiest when the love we are is extended through us because only then we know it is in us. This was so well illustrated in a movie I saw called About a Boy with Hugh Grant. The main character, Hugh Grant, spent most of his days spending time in distractions that he thought would make him happy. He measured each day in units of time—this many units for exercise, this many for eating out, this many for a favorite TV show, and so on. Time for him was about what some call "killing time" in pursuit of distractions.

Yet it was all ultimately meaningless to him even though he thought this is what would give him the happy life he craved. It was not until he reached out to help a young boy that he felt true happiness. Just like in the movie, we have to get beyond the false ideas of what would bring us happiness. We too are asked to look beyond our ideas of what would make us happy and seek the genuine condition. It means we need to be willing to be taught because we have been misguided. We will always be led astray when we look to ourselves for the answers. We are like the child who receives a toy but prefers the box it comes in and cries when it is taken away. We need help to distinguish what is valuable from what is valueless.

Getting a new car, new house, new computer, new job, new relationship, and whatever else we dream about, will only give us poor substitutes for the peace and love we hope to find in these things. After the initial rush when we receive what we think we want, we often end up feeling empty. The peace and happiness we were seeking through these things escape us. Even though this is the case, to give up what we think will bring us happiness, brings suffering if we believe we are being deprived. Jim Carey wisely said, "I hope you get everything you think you want, so you can see none of it brought you happiness." We are not bad or guilty for seeking the things of this world. However, the sooner we see they are not the source of our happiness, the sooner we will look for happiness where it really is.

New age religion focuses on the power of our minds to manifest what we want for our perceived happiness. When these are material things, superficial desires, and specialness, which are all substitutes for God, they will not make us happy. In fact, they just bring more pain. Again, it does not make us wrong or guilty for pursuing these substitutes. We just need to understand that they are ultimately meaningless and will not satisfy us or bring us true happiness. We do not know our own best interests. Like a child, we do not know what we really want.

There is no question that affirmations do work and can manifest what we think we want. The mind is powerful, and when we put our mind and intention to what we think we want, we can certainly realize it. There is nothing wrong with that. Jesus is not trying to make us feel guilty for pursuing any of it. We all came here to find something the world can't deliver. Until we realize this is so, we will pursue these things. However, Jesus is showing us that our peace and happiness can only be found in the eternal and not in the ephemeral. While there is value in recognizing how powerful our minds are and that we can indeed manifest what we think we want in the world, we eventually learn that nothing here brings us anything of value. In fact, it brings us nothing at all.

What is truly valuable is if: what we choose will last forever, it serves the purpose of awakening us from this dream, and everyone benefits from our choice. "When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness." (W.133.2.2) This Lesson says that each choice we make will bring us everything or nothing.

The things of the world that we manifest through our affirmations will not bring us an experience of peace, love, nor recognition of our innocence. Certainly, the Course also contains affirmations but the difference is that they affirm the truth. We remain as God created us. We are love, limitless, whole, and complete. We need do nothing to become what we already are in truth. "When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; 'I need do nothing' ." (T.18.VII.5.7) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.67) In other words, we are affirming what we already have and what we already are. We are not trying to manifest something that is not already ours.

Our goal in applying these Lessons is to ready our minds to accept the Atonement for ourselves. What is the Atonement? It is a correction that leads us to the recognition of the truth about ourselves. We recognize that love is already in us when we extend it. We can’t know it until we give it. In the movie, the character played by Hugh Grant realizes this when he gives the young boy, who comes into his life, the gifts of his time and attention, expecting nothing in return. He is amazed by the infusion of true happiness and well-being he experiences. It is something he has never known. It is the power of giving and receiving that comes through extending. This is how we realize the love that is already in us.

Love is happiness but not in the usual way of this world where we expect something in return. In other words, special love is about giving in order to get. It involves bargaining and reciprocity where we exchange as little as possible to get as much as possible; and this is the ego's definition of love--- we try to get something in return for something of equal or better value for what we gave.

Jesus tells us he is not special but that he is our brother and our equal. We share the same nature with him and with everyone else. Yes, our brothers, as ourselves, will commit many errors, but forgiveness helps us to see beyond their errors to the truth of who they are. Forgiveness is to look beyond appearances because we can't forgive what we have made real. That is why Jesus says, forgive your brother for what he did not do. The reason he says this is because there are no real effects as a result of his behavior. He is showing us that it is what is in our own minds that needs healing.

This is not an easy thing to do, which is why we need to call on the Holy Spirit to help us see the truth in our brothers so we can know it in ourselves. This requires that we look at our own mistakes that we project onto our brothers. "My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors I have made." (W.115.(99).1.2) In other words, what I see in my brothers are only my misperceptions based on my projections of my own self-judgment.

If I am not happy today, "At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now." (T.30.I.8.2) (ACIM OE T.30.II.16) In this Section, "Rules for Decision," we are given a process to help us recognize that perhaps our judgments about our brothers have been wrong and that we are willing at least to admit there may be another way of looking. This thought leaves us open to being a little willing to choose another way of seeing by opening the mind and being willing to be shown. "Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking?" (T.30.I.12.3 4) (ACIM OE 30.II.26) By questioning our way of seeing, we loosen the mind enough to open the way to another perspective. The "I know" mind is closed and is not willing to let go of its perceptions and its judgments. Jesus is asking us for just this little willingness.

The Lesson today reminds us, "Love is my heritage, and with it joy." (W.117.(104).2.2) There is great happiness in opening our hearts to love and great pain in holding it back. When we experience this kind of pain, it is important to recognize that there is indeed another way to look at everything. Moving from stubborn resistance to willingness is a great start. Yes, when we feel great pain, it requires patience to move through it. We can’t rush the process, as this will result in a spiritual bypass. Have the courage just to be with it and allow the feelings to be seen and felt so that they can be burnt in the "holy fire." This requires courage, but we don’t go alone. Rest in the knowledge that you are supported in every step of the way. Let the mind observe the process from above the battleground. Remind yourself that whatever you are feeling, you are still safe in the Arms of Love. Accept the process as part of the journey through the darkness to the light.

We can make a choice for happiness by looking at all the thoughts and beliefs keeping us from being happy, none of which are true. Thus, we come to know that "Love is my heritage and with it joy. These are the gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is mine in truth." (W.117.(104).2.2-4) This is so opposite of the ego's message to us. Its message is that God wants us to suffer and atone for our sins. Forgiveness corrects this belief and constantly reminds us of the gifts awaiting us on the other side of our pain. Our heritage is love and joy.

We apply the Lesson to every concern, problem, situation, or relationship that comes up during the day. We try to remember the Lesson hourly with the morning spent on remembering, "God, being Love, is also happiness," (W.117.(103).1.1) and the afternoon on remembering, "I seek but what belongs to me in truth." (W.117.(104).2.1)

Love and blessings, Sarah


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