"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
From Perception to Knowledge
VIII. The Decision For Guiltlessness
Seek not to appraise the worth of God's Son, whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge
Him. And you
feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. God's Spirit teaches only that the "sin" of self-replacement on the throne of God is
a source of guilt. What cannot happen can have
effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but
your reality. Never forget the love of God, Who
remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from His loving Mind wherein he was created and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.
Say to the Holy Spirit only, "Decide for me," and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God
about you, and in this light, error of
kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all that you
know when all knowledge lies behind every decision which the Holy Spirit makes
you? Learn of His wisdom and His love and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them
How gracious is it to decide all things through Him Whose equal love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one
you. And so He gives you what is yours because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone
be. Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring
good to everyone? Would you
You taught yourselves the most unnatural habit of
communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with Him and with everything that is within Him, as it is within yourself.
isolation through His loving guidance and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.
Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His Presence in you and tell yourself this and
He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not. Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn. And so I trust Him to communicate to me all that He knows for me.
Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is
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From Perception to Knowledge
IX. The Way of Salvation
When you accept a brother's guiltlessness, you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him, you make it
see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother's guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there.
Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered
to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First, there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third and nothing
You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it
. This state, and only this, must
attain with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can feel His Presence next to you but
know that you are one with Him. This need not be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens
When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you and stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be and therefore cannot be given. Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to
and restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to them that
it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you
feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfill your function in God's Mind with all of
. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfill your function here? You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers; neither did He
release them, they are gone. God will not fail nor ever has in anything.
Decide that God is right and
are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself but still within Him. He
what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not
but instead offer to God
His blameless Son. For this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.
Before you make
decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided
your function in Heaven and consider carefully whether you
to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide
deciding what you want in recognition that you do not
How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God and for your function as He
it. So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt, which cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and awaking gladly to His love and holiness, which join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.
When you have learned how to decide
God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried along a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay at all in answering your
question what to do. He
. And He will
you and then do it
you. You who are tired might consider whether this is not more restful than sleep. For you can bring your guilt into sleeping but not into this.
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I will step back and let Him lead the way.
There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also and believe that you are like them as you were before.
The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions and avoid their own reality. Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way. What other choice is really theirs to make? To let illusion walk ahead of truth is madness, but to let illusion sink behind the truth and let the truth stand forth as what it is, is simple sanity.
This is the simple choice we make today. The mad illusion will remain awhile in evidence for those to look upon who chose to come and have not yet rejoiced to find they were mistaken in the choice. They cannot learn directly from the truth, because they have denied that it is so. And so they need a teacher who perceives their madness, but who still can look beyond illusion to the simple truth in them.
If truth demanded they give up the world, it would appear to them as if it asked the sacrifice of something that is real. Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality, and they have suffered from a sense of loss and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.
Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. You walk this path as others walk, nor do you seem to be distinct from them although you are indeed. Thus can you serve them while you serve yourself and set their footsteps on the way which God has opened up to you, and them through you.
Illusion still appears to cling to you that you may reach them. Yet it has stepped back, and it is not illusion that they hear you speak of nor illusion which you bring their eyes to look on and their minds to grasp. Now can the truth, which walks ahead of you, speak to them through illusion, for the road leads past illusion now, while on the way you call to them that they may follow you.
All roads will lead to this one in the end. For sacrifice and deprivation are paths which lead nowhere, choices for defeat, and aims which will remain impossible. All this steps back as truth comes forth in you to lead your brothers from the ways of death and set them on the way to happiness. Their suffering is but illusion. Yet they need a guide to lead them out of it, for they mistake illusion for the truth.
Such is salvation's call, and nothing more. It asks that you accept the truth, and let it go before you, lighting up the path of ransom from illusion. It is not a ransom with a price. There is no cost, but only gain. Illusion can but seem to hold in chains the holy Son of God. It is but from illusions he is saved. As they step back, he finds himself again.
Walk safely now, yet carefully, because this path is new to you. And you may find that you are tempted still to walk ahead of truth and let illusions be your guide. Your holy brothers have been given you to follow in your footsteps as you walk with certainty of purpose to the truth. It goes before you now, that they may see something with which they can identify, something they understand to lead the way.
Yet at the journey's ending there will be no gap, no distance between truth and you. And all illusions walking in the way you travelled will be gone from you as well, with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God's completion, holy as Himself. Step back in faith, and let truth lead the way. You know not where you go, but One Who knows goes with you. Let Him lead you with the rest.
When dreams are over, time has closed the door on all the things that pass, and miracles are purposeless, the holy Son of God will make no journeys. There will be no wish to be illusion rather than the truth. And we step forth toward this as we progress along the way that truth points out to us. This is our final journey, which we make for everyone. We must not lose our way. For as truth goes before us, so it goes before our brothers who will follow us.
We walk to God. Pause and reflect on this. Could any way be holier or more deserving of your effort, of your love, and of your full intent? What way could give you more than everything or offer less and still content the holy Son of God? We walk to God. The truth that walks before us now is one with Him and leads us to where He has always been. What way but this could be a path that you would choose instead?
Your feet are safely set upon the road which leads the world to God. Look not to ways that seem to lead you elsewhere. Dreams are not a worthy guide for you who are God's Son. Forget not He has placed His hand in yours and given you your brothers in His trust that you are worthy of His trust in you. He cannot be deceived. His trust has made your pathway certain and your goal secure. You will not fail your brothers nor your Self.
And now He asks but that you think of Him a while each day that He may speak to you and tell you of His Love, reminding you how great His trust, how limitless His Love. In your name and His own, which are the same, we practice gladly with this thought today:
I will step back and let Him lead the way, for I would walk along the road to Him.
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I will step back and let Him lead the way.
"I will step back and let Him lead the way."
(W.155) This is a favorite Lesson for many, including myself. It is a way of living where we are in tune with Spirit, where the ego is out of the way, and we are in the flow of divine guidance. The burden of making it on our own has been lifted, even though it may be only for the moment. Clearly, making decisions and determining what to do is a burden as we are always deciding on the basis of very limited information. When I feel in the flow, when I experience holy encounters, and meet anger and frustration with peace, then I know I am in sync with Him and have stepped back and followed His way. Just knowing there is nothing we have to do and nowhere we have to be, and all is perfect as a classroom for our healing, allows us to accept everything that shows up. All our brothers and sisters we are to meet, and those in our lives now, are perfect mirrors for our awakening.
"Forget not He has placed His Hand in yours, and given you your brothers in His trust that you are worthy of His trust in you."
(W.155.13.4) When we realize whose Hand we hold, our pathway is certain and our goal secure.
And what does He ask of us?
"And now He asks but that you think of Him a while each day, that He may speak to you and tell you of His Love, reminding you how great His trust; how limitless His Love."
(W.155.14.1) Can you imagine not taking the time to listen to someone who wants to let you know how absolutely perfect and loved you are? Yet we do just that! We get so involved in the distractions of the world that we ignore the song of love we can only hear when we take the time to still our minds. The resistance, still there, is what keeps us from taking the time for doing the practices laid out in these Lessons. We may still find ourselves compartmentalizing our lives into all of the things that are keeping us occupied: family, friends, recreation, job, finances, body, health, children, and general interests. And then we add another compartment called spirituality. In other words, we are bringing God to the illusion, rather than the illusion to God, when we put a priority on the forms of this world. Our part is to go where the truth resides in the right mind, rather than trying to bring truth into the illusion. It is not about giving up on our other activities but more about looking at what the purpose is for what we are doing. When everything in our day becomes a backdrop for forgiveness, the world becomes a classroom for undoing our wrong-minded perceptions.
Jesus is not saying that we should give up this world; And if he were, we would see it as a sacrifice because we still value it. No sacrifice is being asked of us,
"For sacrifice and deprivation are paths that lead nowhere, choices for defeat, and aims that will remain impossible."
(W.155.7.2) Jesus wants us to understand that when we follow the direction the ego takes us, we will go nowhere. When we listen to what it tells us about what we need for our happiness, it always ends in defeat. He is not asking us to renounce the world
"while still believing its reality."
(W.155.4.2) He is not asking us to give up the things we are currently undertaking that we still value, but only to turn our minds to the Holy Spirit for guidance rather than listening to the ego.
To renounce something is to believe it is real. When the body is seen as sinful, it is made real. If we give up things that we still believe would bring us happiness, as spiritual to do so, then it would feel like a sacrifice. Thus, if the pleasures we still enjoy in the world are seen as wrong and bad, rather than as leading us nowhere, we will feel that sacrifice is being asked of us. We would feel like we are giving up something real and still important to us.
"If truth demanded they give up the world, it would appear to them as if it asked the sacrifice of something that is real."
(W.155.4.1) God asks no sacrifice of us. We are not asked to fight ourselves. "It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin.
(T.18.VII.4.7) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.66)
It is interesting to hear that the sense of loss is even deeper for those who have
"chosen nothing but the world."
(W.155.4.4) When the world is seen as a wonderful place, and we make our lives a substitute for Heaven on Earth, at some point, it will end. Yes, for a while everything might look perfect, and we experience happiness, but it can’t be counted on because it won’t last. All things here change. Furthermore, if what we truly value in the world is taken away or lost, there is an immense feeling of deprivation, pain, and deep disappointment. These substitutes for love, where we seek for our salvation in this world and in our special relationships, can never deliver the deep peace and happiness we seek in them. As Jesus says,
"The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither joy nor pain. It is a means, and not an end. It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it. Only the mind can set a purpose, and only the mind can see the means for its accomplishment, and justify its use."
(T.19.IV.B.i.10.4-8) (ACIM OE T.19.V.b.69)
The way appointed for us is the path of moderation. It stands between the paths of renunciation of the world and that of seeing the world as a wonderful place. On the path of moderation, the body is simply regarded as a tool for the mind's chosen purpose. It is neither an object of pleasure nor pain, but simply a communication tool. The world is seen as a classroom for waking up from this dream, where the body is simply the means to this end, as is everything in the world. It becomes a problem when we make the body the focus of all our activity. Jesus asks,
"What plans do you make that do not involve its comfort or protection or enjoyment in some way? "
(T.18.VII 1.2) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.63)
He asks us to
"make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention."
(T.18.VII.7.7) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.69)
Jesus says that we came to this illusory world to avoid our reality and to reinforce our concept as a body. "Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way.
(W.155.2.3) It is the only choice to be made because he says, "To let illusions walk ahead of truth is madness.
(W.155.2.5) It is a decision for our happiness and thus the only choice to make. While it is a simple choice, it does seem to take us a while to come to the place where we decide for God as our only goal, and thus, it is a process for us. As we forgive more and more and experience the results, we are more and more willing to make this decision. We are not being hurled into Heaven, where the fear would be overwhelming. While
"The mad illusion will remain awhile in evidence,"
(W.155.3.2) eventually, with practice and vigilance, we will willingly release all that no longer serves us. It will all drop away naturally.
As we read in the Lesson yesterday, we are being called to be among the ministers of God, but not in the traditional sense. This Lesson elaborates this further by saying,
"There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be."
(W.155.1.1) It is knowing that the world is nothing but a dream and that our reality is outside of this dream. Jesus tells us it is neither about outward appearances, as reflected in many spiritual paths and religions, nor is it about behavior. It is about an inner change where there is recognition that nothing in this world need be taken seriously. We appear "normal" and fit in, rather than stand out. We have no need to call special attention to ourselves. Our lifestyle is one of looking like everyone else. We have no outward appearances that signal to others that we are walking a spiritual path. While the content of our minds is one that reflects the truth, what we do in the world of form only becomes a backdrop for the expression of that content. The difference is all inward. We trust more, manage less, worry less, plan less, let go of trying to control all aspects of our lives, and give it over for His guidance. We believe we are where we are supposed to be, and people in our lives are brought to us. We have less interest in the things of the world, and we increasingly know that we can be at peace and need not be in fear, regardless of what the circumstances of our lives look like.
Those who are ready to receive the message we have received feel something in us that draws them to us. It is a gentle call they hear through us. As His messengers, we only bring His message of love and acceptance, rather than our own. The choice we have made is a demonstration of the peace and joy available to everyone, and it is recognized.
"And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own."
"We walk to God. Pause and reflect on this. Could any way be holier, or more deserving of your effort, of your love and of your full intent?
" (W.155.12.1-3) We let Love lead the way. It is a time of faith because
"You know not where you go. But One Who knows goes with you. Let Him lead you with the rest.
" (W.155.10.4-6) "The mad illusion will remain awhile in evidence, for those to look upon who chose to come, and have not yet rejoiced to find they were mistaken in their choice." (W.155.3.2) Thus, we are called to be messengers with a ministry. We teach through demonstration of the love and the joy and peace in us; and those who are meant to be in our lives are brought to us, not by God, but through the script that we have chosen.
Jesus recognizes the path is new to us and we will be
"tempted still to walk ahead of truth, and let illusions be your guide."
(W.155.9.2) When temptation arises to listen to the ego and walk with guilt and fear as our companions, we will be called to step back, reevaluate how we feel, and choose again to let Him lead the way. To do this, we must be vigilant when we become aware that we have chosen the ego as our guide. It is a process. We will find that we fall back daily into the ego thought system, as we proceed on this path. It can be very subtle and requires vigilant mind watching to see how we are still tempted to believe that the illusion has something to offer us.
Jesus reminds us that many are looking to us for the guidance and support to
"lead them out of it
[illusion], for they mistake illusion for the truth,
(W.155.7.5) just as we do. Yet we can be an example of having made a choice for the Holy Spirit, which is the same choice available to all our brothers. Our brothers are given to us in trust, as we walk with Him whose Hand we hold. We lead our brothers
"from the ways of death, and set them on the way to happiness."
(W.155.7.3) And this requires we recognize:
"Their suffering is but illusion."
(W.155.7.4) When we are able to see their suffering as not real, we can know this for ourselves. We recognize that we are the same as our brothers, and thus, we maintain equality with them. This recognition of shared interests is a reflection of the Oneness of Heaven. Thus, we can walk together with
"certainty of purpose to the truth."
Jesus challenges us by asking what we would rather do? Is anything else but this worth our effort? Are we willing to give it our full intent? What else would offer us what this path offers? The ego warns us that we have to give up something, pay a ransom, or experience sacrifice to walk this path. Yet all that is sacrificed is the ego's thought system, which has never brought any happiness, only more guilt.
To be an advanced teacher of God is to be far enough along this path to be increasingly unaffected by the events and circumstances of the world. It is to be above the battleground, outside of the dream and seeing the unreality of the world. Jesus asks,
"What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?"
(T.20.VIII.7.3-7) (ACIM.OE T.20.IX.73) The advanced Teachers of God are those whose minds have been mostly healed, but it is not apparent in their appearance. It is those who still appears to be here, but know they are just figures in the dream. It is about still being in the world, but unaffected by the events and circumstances of the world.
I hope you find inspiration in your day as you step back and let Him be your guide today. Remember that practice instructions were given to us in Lesson 153 for these twenty Lessons. We begin each day by giving our attention to the Lesson for as long as possible, for at least five minutes and up to fifteen or longer. And in the evening we again turn to Him in gratitude and joy. We try to remember the Lesson hourly and ask for guidance for the next hour while thanking Him for the gifts of the previous hour.
"Your practicing will now begin to take the earnestness of love, to help you keep your mind from wandering from its intent."
(W.153.20.1) These Lessons are to be a sincere and natural expression of our heart to the extent possible for us. Let us take this step forward in confidence. Jesus asks us to
"Be not afraid or timid
(W.153.20.2) because we simply cannot fail. The end is certain. We will achieve our goal to return home to God.
Practice vigilance today in watching your thoughts so you can see how much the ego thought system rules your day with thoughts of guilt, fear, vulnerability, anger, attack, and specialness. Today, we practice gladly with this thought:
"I will step back and let Him lead the way, for I would walk along the road to Him
Love and blessings, Sarah
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