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

From Perception to Knowledge

III. The Shadow of Guilt

11 Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son. The guilty always condemn, and having done so, they will condemn, linking the future to the past as is the ego's law. Fidelity unto this law lets no light in, for it demands fidelity to darkness and forbids awakening. The ego's laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty, and so they must condemn. Between the future and the past, the laws of God must intervene if you would free yourselves. Atonement stands between them like a lamp that shines so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you bound yourselves will disappear.

12 Release from guilt is the ego's whole undoing. Make no one fearful , for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego's harsh commandments, you bring its condemnation of yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith makes the power of belief, and where it is invested determines its reward. For faith is always given what is treasured, and what is treasured is returned to you.

13 The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in. Be faithful unto darkness and you will not see, because your faith will be rewarded as you gave it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past, the future will be like it. Whatever you hold as dear, you think is yours. The power of your valuing will make it so.

14 Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your minds without distinction. Therefore, you cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true for you as innocence. You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past and see him not. When you condemn a brother, you are saying, "I who was guilty choose to remain so." You have denied his freedom, and by so doing you have denied the witness unto yours. You could as easily have freed him from the past and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it. And in his freedom would have been your own.

15 Lay not his guilt upon him, for his guilt lies in his secret that he thinks that he has done this unto you . Would you, then, teach him that he is right in his delusion? The idea that the guiltless Son of God can attack himself and make himself guilty is insane. In any form, in anyone , believe this not . For sin and condemnation are the same, and the belief in one is faith in the other, calling for punishment instead of love. Nothing can justify insanity, and to call for punishment upon yourself must be insane.

16 See no one, then, as guilty, and you will affirm the truth of guiltlessness unto yourself . In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you . Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part . Those whom you see as guilty become the witnesses to guilt in you , and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your own mind, which has condemned itself . Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt, great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.

17 Guilt makes you blind, for while you see one spot of guilt within you, you will not see the light. And by projecting it, the world seems dark and shrouded in your guilt. You throw a dark veil over it and cannot see it because you cannot look within. You are afraid of what you would see there, but it is not there. The thing you fear is gone . If you would look within, you would see only the Atonement, shining in quiet and in peace upon the altar to your Father.

18 Do not be afraid to look within. The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you and bids you not to look. Instead, it bids you look upon your brothers and see the guilt in them. Yet this you cannot do without remaining blind. For those who see their brothers in the dark, and guilty in the dark in which they shroud them, are too afraid to look upon the light within. Within you is not what you believe is there and what you put your faith in.

19 Within you is the holy sign of perfect faith your Father has in you. He does not value you as you do. He knows Himself and knows the truth in you. He knows there is no difference , for He knows not of differences. Can you see guilt where God knows there is perfect innocence? You can deny His knowledge, but you cannot change it. Look, then, upon the light He placed within you and learn that what you feared was there has been replaced with love.

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A Course in Miracles

Part I
Review IV

1 Now we review again, this time aware we are preparing for the second part of learning how the truth can be applied. Today we will begin to concentrate on readiness for what will follow next. Such is our aim for this review and for the lessons following. Thus we review the recent lessons and their central thoughts in such a way as will facilitate the readiness which we would now achieve.

2 There is a central theme that unifies each step in the review we undertake, which can be simply stated in these words:

3 My mind holds only what I think with God.

4 This is a fact and represents the truth of what you are and what your Father is. It is this thought by which the Father gave creation to the Son, establishing the Son as co-creator with Himself. It is this thought which fully guarantees salvation to the Son. For in his mind no thoughts can dwell but those his Father shares. Lack of forgiveness blocks this thought from his awareness. Yet it is forever true.

5 Let us begin our preparation with some understanding of the many forms in which the lack of true forgiveness may be carefully concealed. Because they are illusions, they are not perceived to be but what they are—defenses which protect your unforgiving thoughts from being seen and recognized. Their purpose is to show you something else and hold correction off through self-deceptions made to take its place.

6 And yet your mind holds only what you think with God. Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth. No more than can a child who throws a stick into the ocean change the coming and the going of the tides, the warming of the water by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night. So do we start each practice period in this review with readying our minds to understand the lessons that we read and see the meaning which they offer us.

7 Begin each day with time devoted to the preparation of your mind to learn what each idea you will review that day can offer you in freedom and in peace. Open your mind and clear it of all thoughts that would deceive, and let this thought alone engage it fully and remove the rest:

8 My mind holds only what I think with God.

9 Five minutes with this thought will be enough to set the day along the lines which God appointed and to place His Mind in charge of all the thoughts you will receive that day. They will not come from you alone, for they will all be shared with Him. And so each one will bring the message of His Love to you, returning messages of yours to Him. So will communion with the Lord of Hosts be yours, as He Himself has willed it be. And as His own completion joins with Him, so will He join with you who are complete as you unite with Him and He with you.

10 After your preparation, merely read each of the two ideas assigned to you to be reviewed that day. Then close your eyes and say them slowly to yourself. There is no hurry now, for you are using time for its intended purpose. Let each word shine with the meaning God has given it as it was given to you through His Voice. Let each idea that you review that day give you the gift which He has laid in it for you to have of Him. And we will use no format for our practicing but this:

11 Each hour of the day bring to your mind the thought with which the day began and spend a quiet moment with it. Then repeat the two ideas you practice for the day unhurriedly, with time enough to see the gifts which they contain for you, and let them be received where they were meant to be. We add no other thoughts, but let them be the messages they are. We need no more than this to give us happiness and rest and endless quiet, perfect certainty, and all our Father wills that we receive as the inheritance we have of Him.

12 Each day of practicing, as we review, we close as we began, repeating first the thought that made the day a special time of blessing and of happiness for us and through our faithfulness restored the world from darkness to the light, from grief to joy, from pain to peace, from sin to holiness. God offers thanks to you who practice thus the keeping of His Word. And as you give your mind to the ideas for the day again before you sleep, His gratitude surrounds you in the peace wherein He wills you be forever and are learning now to claim again as your inheritance.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 145
My Mind holds only what I think with God.

[129] Beyond this world there is a world I want.

[130] It is impossible to see two worlds.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 145
My mind holds only what I think with God.
Review IV ~ Lesson 129 - 130

Today, we look at the question of how much we really want the real world that is beyond this world we made? How strong is our intent? How much earnestness do we devote to the practice? Rumi says, “Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving, it doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, come again, come.” What a reassuring message. Today is a new day. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past. No need to despair. Start this day as a new day and everything is before you and nothing is behind you. Isn’t that reassuring? We can recommit to be more vigilant in our practice every day. We need not get discouraged if our practice has been inconsistent. We can just start again today.
 In each moment, we are choosing. Every choice reflects the answer to these questions. We can't choose two worlds at once. " You cannot see both worlds , for each of them involves a different kind of seeing, and depends on what you cherish. The sight of one is possible because you have denied the other. Both are not true, yet either one will seem as real to you as the amount to which you hold it dear." (T.13.VII.2.2-4) (ACIM OE T.12.VII.60)
When you get focused on the things you think you want in this world, or when you hold grievances and react with anger instead of choosing forgiveness, you will see that "You do not really want the world you see, for it has disappointed you since time began." (T.13.VII.3.1) (ACIM OE T.12.VII.61) When you choose the ego, you recognize ". . . although you turn in sadness from it, you cannot find in it the road that leads away from it into another world." (T.13.VII.3.7)(ACIM OE T.12.VII.61) Each choice we make is for Heaven or for hell. Separation and unity are mutually exclusive states. When we choose one, the other is not in our awareness. Yet in choosing forgiveness, we experience the beauty of joining and of connection and receive a glimmer of the truth of our true magnificence as the Self we are.
The only way we can know ourselves as we were created, beautiful and holy, is through forgiveness. How willing are you to forgive in the face of seeming attack, anger, disagreement, perceived problems, and distress? That is where the mind training comes in. When we choose to hold onto grievances and attachments to the world, we block the love that we are from our awareness. In other words, we don’t know ourselves. Our joy and happiness are covered over with our dark thoughts. In every moment, the Holy Spirit is there, shining His radiance on us, but we are actively choosing against it by holding attack thoughts. To do so is an act of self-hatred. It is a clear case of not knowing our own best interests. Although we are very familiar with this concept by now, our constant vigilance is still called for. It is still a challenge for us because of our attachment to the separate self. This is where the resistance comes in, but "Love always answers, being unable to deny a call for help, or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it from every part of this strange world you made but do not want." (T.13.VII.4.3) (ACIM OE T.12.VII.62) It simply waits on our welcome. Our only need is to wake up to who we really are.
The things of this world seem so real, and the experiences we have seem so painful. We have all experienced sadness, sorrow, loss, disappointment and yes, exhilaration and pleasure. None of it lasts. Everything passes. There is no lasting love in this world of time because, by the very nature of time, all things will end, as nothing here endures forever, including our bodies. It is a world of instability and loss. A very good movie, which takes us on a journey of all things ending in loss and finally death, is called The Stone Angel . It demonstrates how there is nothing we can hold onto in this world, even though we still cling to the possibility that there is something of value here. We hold out hope that there is something we might still gain.
To be free of the experience of suffering, we must constantly maintain vigilance and remove the blocks to the light, so we can glimpse love's presence in our minds, more and more consistently. "Under His guidance you will travel light and journey lightly, for His sight is ever on the journey's end, which is His goal. God's Son is not a traveller through outer worlds. However holy his perception may become, no world outside himself holds his inheritance. Within himself he has no needs, for light needs nothing but to shine in peace, and from itself to let the rays extend in quiet to infinity." (T.13.VII.13.4‑7) (ACIM OE T.12.VII.71) Thus, we come to know a love that endures forever and a world where hate and vengeance have no meaning.
This world we strive to experience is the real world. In Chapter 30, Section V, the real world is described as a state of mind we experience when we release the guilt in our minds through forgiveness. The real world takes the place of all the idols of this world. There is no more holding dear our special wants and perceived needs. It is important to ask in everything, "What is it for?" Is it for keeping us invested in the illusion or for healing the mind and awakening from the dream? It is important to question our purpose in everything we do. When the real world is experienced, there will be no desire to leave this state of mind. Chapter 17 offers us a beautiful picture of the real world, which is bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun. "Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven and there are no fantasies to hide the truth." (T.17.II.2.3) (ACIM OE T.17.III.8) This is what is experienced in the mind when our attachment to this illusory world is released.
While we continue to believe that there is still something of value in this world of illusion, we will not connect with the place in us where there is this wonderful, open, and loving heart, full of kindness, totally pure, and innocent, shining in acceptance of all. When we connect with the beauty within, we radiate purity and joy, which is compelling, soft, yielding, and welcoming. Yet it is impossible to see two worlds. Until we make a total commitment to truth, we stay divided, hoping to get the best of both our illusory world and the world of spiritual gifts. In other words, we are seeking for the real world while still looking for the perceived benefits of the illusory world. We try to bring spirituality into the illusion so we can hold onto both our illusory dream and God's peace, but this is clearly impossible. We must let go of the ego, if only for an instant, in order to experience a glimpse of the truth. It is an inner shift. It is a change of mind.
Truth and illusion are mutually exclusive. The world is made by fear, and everything we see in it is a projection of the guilt in our minds. Jesus says that we cherish guilt, hug it close, shelter it, and look to it for ". . . its loving protection and alert defense." (Psychotherapy Pamphlet.2.VI.1.3) "Healing occurs as a patient begins to hear the dirge he sings, and questions its validity." (P.VI.1.5) We don't shun guilt but embrace it. The first obstacle to peace is the attraction to guilt: "The attraction of guilt produces fear of love, for love would never look on guilt at all." (T.19.IV.A.i.10.1) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.49) We may wonder why we would be attracted to guilt. This attraction is our investment in our body, our personality, and our individuality. As long as we want this separate self, we will be attracted to guilt, but healing occurs as we start to listen to our thoughts, notice our judgments and our attachments, and question their validity. As Jon Marc Hammer (Jayem), author of The Way of Mastery , says in his blog, "It is a journey of reclaiming all the territory once made to keep light out, now given over completely to serving the incarnation of light. This light must be brought to every nook and cranny of life." The light is our awareness. Our part is to identify the cause of our distress, and once it is seen, we need to be willing to let it go. It will be replaced by the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, "The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. The final one does not. Your images have been replaced. By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so." (W.23.5.3-6) Our part is actually very small. The Holy Spirit in our minds does all the heavy lifting.
 As we learned early in the Course, "Nothing I see in this room means anything." (W.1) Then we go on to recognize, "I have given everything I see all in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] the meaning that it has for me." (W.2) Now we must question the meaning we have put onto everything we see. All our interpretations and understandings are false. It is a time of sorting out the false from the true and the ephemeral from the eternal. God's strength is what will help us make this choice. Our fantasy is that there is still something that the sensory world has to offer us on behalf of our happiness. This is what we need help with in order to loose the world from all we thought it was. Thus, it is our task to seek and find within ourselves the obstacles to the love we are. They are all the fearful and self-attacking thoughts. We all hold a definition of ourselves that includes our preferences and judgments, our values and beliefs, and all the concepts we hold that define us in this dream. Yet Jesus is telling us that none of these concepts define us. All they do is tell us who we are not. They constitute our false self. Thus, we are called to release them so who we truly are can shine through. It is a process of loosening ourselves from our rigid investment in the beliefs that we currently hold.
Love and blessings, Sarah


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