"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 147
My Mind holds only what I think with God.

[133] I will not value what is valueless.

[134] Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 147
My mind holds only what I think with God.
Review IV ~ Lesson 133 - 134

What is it that I give value to? What bodily concerns do I have that seem important to my well-being, my safety, and my image? What do I believe will bring satisfaction? Today, we not only evaluate such things in our lives, but we also evaluate what draws our attention. Why we do what we are doing? What is the purpose? How are we choosing to use our time? What do we strive for? What do we really want? What do we believe will make us happy? Where are our attachments? What do we deem important? Most of all, what is it all for?
These and other questions are part of how we examine our lives when we are not on autopilot, simply putting one foot in front of the other and never asking about the purpose behind anything and everything. It is our questions that got us on this path in the first place. It is our searching that motivated us to question what is valuable and what is valueless to our awakening. Everything can be used to contribute to our awakening. Our disappointments, hurts, and heartbreaks contribute to our journey as much or perhaps even more than our deemed successes. Jesus teaches that we don't know the difference between what is helpful and what sets us back. We think our heartaches are defeats when, in fact, they can offer the greatest gains in our spiritual advancement. Acceptance of it all can alleviate our suffering. Only the ego insists, "I want it thus!" (T.18.II.4.1) (ACIM OE T.18.III.17) Everything that serves the ego's purposes can be used by the Holy Spirit when we choose to turn it over to Him for healing.
How many trivial things are occupying your mind today? Jesus says that being drawn into the things of this world is asking for sorrow. We ask for too little of life. We are not asked to sacrifice what we value but only to realize that it is indeed valueless. There can never be satisfaction in seeking the valueless. The power we have is in the choices we make, but there are not many choices to be made. There are only two choices. We choose the valuable or the valueless with each decision we make. We choose everything or nothing. Everything offers us the eternal where no one loses, there is no compromise, and there is no guilt. Guilt is the measure by which we can tell what we have chosen. When we gain at our brother's expense, we too feel that we should have nothing. We give loss and get loss for ourselves. We receive what we give because we always only give to ourselves.
We now have criteria, where we can apply these four tests and ask, "What purpose does it serve?" (W.133.8.4) Is my goal to know the Eternal Self where I have everything with no guilt, or for the world of the ego where guilt is reinforced? This choice is there for us in every situation. Do I want to know my Eternal Self and ensure benefit for all my brothers, or do I want to look only for my personal benefit, which is always at the expense of my brothers. It is important to look honestly at our motives as we may be deceived about them in our effort to maintain an image of innocence.
Jesus asks us to consider carefully why the choice we make has value to us and what attracts our minds to it? What purpose does it serve? Unless we are able to really look at these questions honestly, we will be deceived. The ego is devious. We do everything we can in order to look innocent and pretend that our intentions are noble and honest when, indeed, they are anything but when guided by the ego. The guilt in our minds is protected by our projections. Thus, we blame others for our lack of peace that we ourselves have chosen to throw away. Though we threw the peace away ourselves, we blame others for taking it from us.
We are cautioned by Jesus not to make mistakes into sins, but just to notice that ". . . the one who is deceived will not perceive that he has merely failed to gain" (W.133.9.3) by the choice he has made for the ego. The ego is maintained through guilt, which leads to our punishing ourselves, accepting ourselves as unworthy, and attacking ourselves and others. Thus, the cycle of guilt and fear is continued. Jesus reminds us that nothing real has happened, and thus, there is no cause for guilt. Each time we choose attack, we have merely failed to gain. It is just a mistake. The ego wants us to condemn ourselves and feel guilty, but Jesus asks us to be gentle with ourselves and simply notice our mistakes and correct them. When we recognize that our plans for our happiness will always fail, we are ready to turn to the Holy Spirit to be taught the nature of true happiness. "How could this readiness be reached save through the sight of all your misery, and the awareness that your plan has failed, and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind?" (T.24.II.14.2) (ACIM OE T.24.III.25)
Through forgiveness, Jesus teaches that all thoughts not of God can be undone. This involves looking at the ego without judgment and recognizing the cost to us in holding onto what it tells us to think and feel. They are thoughts of fear, guilt, anxiety, depression, hate, special love, anger, upset, vulnerability, and anything that keeps us separate from the love we are. Any blame we project onto others for how we are feeling is an indication that we are not prepared to take responsibility for our own minds as the cause of our distress, whatever form it takes. Forgiveness requires that we look at the thoughts that show up in our experience without judging ourselves for them. When we are willing to recognize, "I am never upset for the reason I think." (W.5) we are shown that all our upsets originate with ourselves. Behind any upset is some kind of wound. Radical inquiry is helpful in uncovering the wound. To inquire is to look beyond the surface of the story of our upset, recognize that a healed mind would not be upset, and wonder what thoughts, beliefs, self-concepts, and values are being held in the mind that are creating the upset. When the beliefs are uncovered, they can be questioned and released.
"I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked." (T.21.II.2.3-5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.15) When we recognize our responsibility for the guilt in our minds, we are given an opportunity to make a choice to let the Holy Spirit take our misperceptions and offer us a new interpretation for the ones we have made. He shows us that no one is guilty, including ourselves. He shows u that, in letting go of guilt and blame, peace returns to our minds. Thus, with forgiveness, we are making a choice for our happiness. Now we feel worthy of Heaven's Love. Only this love is true. Our thoughts about everything are false. Holy Spirit, help me to recognize that what I see is always my wrong interpretation. The Son of God is innocent. Nothing he thinks he has done is worthy of condemnation. "Let me perceive forgiveness as it is . " (W.134) To forgive is to not overlook something that is real.
All behavior either reflects love or is a call for love. It is in our own call for understanding that we recognize our sameness. Our brother is our Self. We forgive in order to release ourselves from the judgments we have placed on ourselves and projected onto our brothers. When we project guilt onto our brother, we see our sins in him. It is really just our own self-condemnation that we see. Forgiveness removes the chains we have laid on ourselves. By our willingness to release our brothers, we are freeing ourselves because only our own mind is making it all up. Thus, I ask for help in forgiving myself for projecting my own unconscious guilt onto you, which keeps me from knowing the truth about myself as a being of light and love.
Forgiveness is the only way out of the suffering that is incurred every time we judge something as not the way it should be. When we have expectations of how a situation or an event should be, or how others should meet our requirements, we are railing against our reality as the light and love of God. We are saying that we are right about the way we see things and right about the way we require things to be in order for us to be happy. We are telling God that His Love is not enough, and that there is something else we have established as a requirement for our happiness. It is this we need to bring to mind and see that we are wrong about the way we have judged the situation. Now we have an opportunity to bring our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit and choose to see them differently. When we agree to surrender our way and give over our positions, we have taken an important step in forgiveness.
A friend was speaking to her daughter about an incident that had happened a few years ago when her daughter was much younger. My friend had taken her daughter to a dance rehearsal and judged the teacher for being unnecessarily harsh and domineering with the young students. She chastised the teacher in front of the students. The teacher was very upset and quit her job and told my friend to take over if she felt she could do it better. My friend was not about to take this role and apologized profusely for what she had done. Her daughter expressed how embarrassed she was at what had happened. Recently, they were again recalling this situation. The daughter shared with her mother how much she loved the structure and the discipline, having been raised in a home where there were few restrictions. What came to light was how mistaken my friend was in her perception of the teacher. She was dealing with her own unhealed wound of her own past by trying to change things in form that she believed were hurtful to her daughter. Now she had another opportunity to look at this situation with new awareness. She was able to recognize that she was projecting her own unhealed past onto the present situation.
When we experience uncomfortable feelings, the ego immediately wants us to be rid of them as quickly as possible. If informs us that there is nothing wrong with us, there is something wrong with the other person, and we are being unfairly treated and victimized. We become angry, and so, the ego counsels us to attack the other person and make them the guilty ones. Our wish is that their guilt will result in their willingness to change their behavior so we will feel better. For example, if they will at least apologize to us, it declares their fault, which is what we desire. All the time, though, we know our attack on them is never justified. Thus, it is always a dishonest act on our part. The person we have chosen to attack is actually showing us the guilt and self-attack we are holding in our own minds. Thus, they are doing us a favor!
Forgiveness recognizes that if love is the only reality, anything distressing or disturbing to our minds cannot be real. When we insist on holding onto distressing thoughts and justifying them, we suffer. Yet through our decision to take responsibility for them, we can choose again. Thus, we can see that our self-induced decision to suffer need not be. We can now bring all thoughts that keep us in a state of suffering to the light. Forgiveness makes space for the love that is in us but is being blocked by our choice for the ego.
We continue our practice as before, beginning and ending the day with time devoted to the preparation of our minds to learn what each idea can offer us in freedom and in peace. Let us commit today to raising every judgment, every belief, and every concept we hold, to doubt. Open your mind and clear it of all thoughts that would deceive. Continue with the hourly remembrance and whenever you feel triggered by anything today, do the practice of letting go of the false and remembering the truth.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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