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

Bringing Illusions to Truth

I. Introduction

1 Unless you are guiltless, you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognize Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand. You made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.

2 Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you . You who have thrown your selves away and valued God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourselves. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare and nothing you have ever felt, apart from Him, that resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever and Who knows of nothing except giving?

3 The Children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to the mind which has denied it and thus denied Heaven to itself. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, Who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours . If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him and therefore in you.

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A Course in Miracles

Bringing Illusions to Truth

II. Guilt and Guiltlessness

4 The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making them unable to communicate because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.

5 The only part of your mind that has reality is the part which links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God's Love, to share with all the lonely ones who denied Him with you? God makes this possible . Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. This is forever changeless. Accept, then, the immutable. Leave the world of death behind, and return quietly to Heaven. There is nothing of value here and everything of value there. Listen to the Holy Spirit and to God through Him. He speaks of you to you . There is no guilt in you, for God is blessed in His Son as the Son is blessed in Him.

6 Each one of you has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each to share is always the same— God's Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy.

7 Blessed Son of a wholly blessing Father, joy was created for you. Who can condemn whom God has blessed? There is nothing in the Mind of God that does not share His shining innocence. Creation is the natural extension of perfect purity. Your only calling here is to devote yourself with active willingness to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand . The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. Deny them not what is their due, for you will not withhold it from them alone.

8 The inheritance of the Kingdom is the right of God's Son, given him in his creation. Do not try to steal it from him, or you will ask for guilt and will experience it. Protect his purity from every thought that would steal it away and keep it from his sight. Bring innocence to light in answer to the call of the Atonement. Never allow purity to remain hidden, but shine away the heavy veils of guilt within which the Son of God has hidden himself from his own sight. We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son.

9 The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness which must have been denied to produce need of healing. Do not withhold this glad acknowledgment, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange his guilt for innocence nor realize that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.

10 Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this. There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to this points straight to Heaven and to the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching and guarantees its limitless results.

11 Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this. You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God's creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt, you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in what is for all in everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.

12 Peace, then, be unto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgment of perfect purity from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it as teachers of Atonement, not of guilt.

13 Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us but of our Father. In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father's power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him by teaching him his innocence.

14 The crucifixion has no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty, you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego's aim. It sees as guilty, and by its condemnation, it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness, He would release from fear and reestablish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.

15 Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without , you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for this is what he seeks, along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace, which is for all of us, united as one within the cause of peace.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 156
I walk with God in perfect holiness.

1 Today's idea but states the simple truth that makes the thought of sin impossible. It promises there is no cause for guilt, and being causeless it does not exist. It follows surely from the basic thought so often mentioned in the text—ideas leave not their source. If this be true, how can you be apart from God? How could you walk the world alone and separate from your Source?

2 We are not inconsistent in the thoughts that we present in our curriculum. Truth must be true throughout if it be true. It cannot contradict itself nor be in parts uncertain and in others sure. You cannot walk the world apart from God because you could not be without Him. He is what your life is. Where you are, He is. There is one Life. That Life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live.

3 Yet where He is there must be holiness as well as life. No attribute of His remains unshared by everything that lives. What lives is holy as Himself because what shares His life is part of Holiness and could no more be sinful than the sun could choose to be of ice, the sea elect to be apart from water, or the grass to grow with roots suspended in the air.

4 There is a Light in you Which cannot die, Whose Presence is so holy that the world is sanctified because of you. All things that live bring gifts to you and offer them in gratitude and gladness at your feet. The scent of flowers is their gift to you. The waves bow down before you, and the trees extend their arms to shield you from the heat and lay their leaves before you on the ground that you may walk in softness, while the wind sinks to a whisper round your holy head.

5 The Light in you is what the universe longs to behold. All living things are still before you, for they recognize Who walks with you. The light you carry is their own, and thus they see in you their holiness, saluting you as savior and as God. Accept their reverence, for it is due to Holiness itself Which walks with you, transforming in Its gentle Light all things into Its likeness and Its purity.

6 This is the way salvation works. As you step back, the Light in you steps forward and encompasses the world. It heralds not the end of sin in punishment and death. In lightness and in laughter is it gone, because its quaint absurdity is seen. It is a foolish thought, a silly dream, not frightening, ridiculous perhaps, but who would waste an instant in approach to God Himself for such a senseless whim?

7 Yet you have wasted many, many years on just this foolish thought. The past is gone with all its fantasies. They keep you bound no longer. The approach to God is near. And in the little interval of doubt which still remains, you may perhaps lose sight of your Companion, and mistake Him for the senseless, ancient dream that now is past.

8 " Who walks with me?" This question should be asked a thousand times a day, till certainty has ended doubting and established peace. Today let doubting cease. God speaks for you in answering your question with these words:

9 I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world, I light my mind and all the minds which God created one with me.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 156
I walk with God in perfect holiness.

Jesus is assuring us that wherever we go, we "walk" with God because we simply cannot be apart from Him. This Lesson says, "ideas leave not their source." (W.156.1.3) As an idea in the Mind of God, how is it possible we could be separate from Him, or He from us? We are an idea in His Mind and cannot be separate and alone, even if we believed we could be. "Nothing can be apart from Him and live." (W.156.2.9) Why is it that we don't completely realize this? Why don't we feel His presence more? Jesus tells us that it is because of our foolish dreams, which we have come to believe are true. We believe we have sinned and are guilty. Yet sin has no effect. If a thought has no effect, then how could it be the cause of anything? That is why we can look past illusions because they have no real effects. It is all a dream, coming from the mind that is dreaming it. What is not real is not caused by anything. If this is the case, how can there be sin when it is just a story made up by the mind? Only what comes from the mind of God has an effect and is real. Thus, God is the only Cause. Anything else that we believe about ourselves is truly a foolish dream. When we realize this, all illusions will be gone "with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God's completion, holy as Himself." (W.155.10.2)
We frighten ourselves with our thoughts. When we accept our fear and attack thoughts as real, we don't believe God walks with us. We feel alone, abandoned, vulnerable, and totally responsible for figuring out how to live and survive in this world. We think we have a long way to go before we can be holy or innocent, so we put it off to some future time. We don't accept ourselves as we truly are, right at this moment, -—holy and innocent and nothing else. We struggle to keep ourselves from this knowledge to maintain the separate existence of the unique, individual self we hold onto.
There are not two selves in conflict, though it seems that way to us. The ego has no substance and is just a puff of nothingness. It is nothing but a bundle of concepts, thoughts, beliefs, and values that we hold about ourselves, none of which are true. It is the part of the mind that is deceived about itself. There is only the one Self, created by God, in all its innocence and glory. The self we identify with has no existence. It is just a figure in the dream we are dreaming. It is like a character in a movie, playing a role with other characters in supporting roles. The world was made as a defense against the truth of who we really are as the Son of God, but the world has no cause; and as said earlier, when there is no cause, there can be no effect. The world does not exist except as a thought in our own minds.
Jesus assures us, the thoughts presented in this curriculum that he has laid out for us in this Course are not inconsistent. Certainly, if truth is true then, "Truth must be true throughout." (W.156.2.2) There can be no uncertainty in truth and no contradictions. Truth can’t leave the mind and thus is always present, so everything being taught by Jesus in this Course is already in our minds. That is why, when we read and hear this truth, there is a resonance because we already know it. It is our natural language. Though the mind seems to resist and struggle and defend against it, there is nevertheless a recognition of something we have always known. Yet it brings up fear in us because it challenges what we have made and still cling to, which is our existence as we have defined it. Jesus assures us that there is no life apart from Him. What we call our life here is nothing but a dream. It can’t be otherwise, for ideas leave not their Source, and we are an idea in the Mind of God. Thus, if we have not left God, how could we be apart from Him?
Somewhere in us, we know that we do not belong here. We have spent a long time seeking pleasure and defending against the pain in our lives. Along the way, we have come to realize that nothing in the world has brought us the deep peace and happiness we have been seeking. We have responded to the Call within to wake up to our true Selves. As we increasingly become aware of how we block the truth, we experience more and more peace. By placing our misperceptions on the inner altar, space is made for truth to emerge. We are called to look at our misperceptions with great honesty. It means letting go of our defenses and being willing to look at our own darkness. It takes courage to go into the darkness, but when we invite Jesus to go there with us, he assures us that he will bring the light and hold our hand so we know that we don’t go there alone.
Just because we are not aware of the truth of what we are, it does not mean that the truth is not always there in our minds. Ideas leave not their Source. It is impossible that we could have actually left God. Since every one of us yearns to know the truth of our existence, then at the right time and the right place, the decision will be made to find our way to where we never left. It is "The light in you the universe longs to behold." (W.156.5.1) Jesus asks, "How long, O Son of God, will you maintain the game of sin?"  (W.PII. What Is Sin Q4.5.1) He asks us, in the name of our own happiness, to consider that this game of sin is hurting us, and that we could give it up anytime we choose.
The light in us, put there by God in our creation, simply cannot die. The healed mind reflects God's holiness. Others feel this presence in us that is not of us.  "All living things are still before you, for they recognize Who walks with you. The light you carry is their own." (W.156.5.2-3) Thus, others see "in you their holiness, saluting you as savior and as God." (W.156.5.4) Jesus asks us to accept their reverence, though it is not for us personally. It is not for self-aggrandizement because this light is not of us. It is an expression of reverence and gratitude for the love and light experienced by others through us. Thus, we need not be falsely humble but only grateful that the truth is with us and for us as well.
Jesus wonders why we would still want to waste time in our foolish games when we could simply laugh them away. Within the dream, the events of our lives are painful and seem to have serious consequences. Yet when we realize their unreality, which we do when we look at everything without judgment from outside of the dream, we can overlook them all with lightness and laughter. We can then see how absurd the story of sin is that we have bought into. "It is a foolish thought, a silly dream, not frightening, ridiculous perhaps," (W.156.6.5) but, ultimately, it is a senseless whim, keeping us away from the happiness given us as our inheritance.
From above the battleground of this world, where we look at everything through the eyes of Jesus, we see everything made by the ego as the absurdity that it is. Every difficult situation provides us with another opportunity to choose against the temptation to see that something real is going on. When we take it all seriously, it is all very disturbing to our peace of mind. But it is important not to dismiss it all as an illusion when we are not at peace. Instead, we need to look at our reactions, emotions, and interpretations of our experiences. It is not about denying anything we feel, but instead, being willing to look at everything coming up in our minds and give it over for healing, recognizing that we have a choice as to how to see it. We have the Holy Spirit in our own Right Minds, Who will help us to see every situation differently when we ask for his Help. While it seems like we walk alone with our sins, he asks, today, that we let doubting cease and waste no more time in this fantasy that has kept us bound to our beliefs that we are alone, guilty, and separate.
While we have been at this game for a very long time, having wasted many years, it does not matter because we are here now and "The past is gone, with all its fantasies. They keep you bound no longer." (W.156.7.2-3) There is nothing to keep us from the truth except our own decision. The world has no ability to imprison us. We need not be bound by anything that seems to have happened in the past because the past is over, unless we choose to give it power. The situations in our lives imprison us only to the extent we give them power.
When we think of the past as real and hold onto our stories of what happened, we are giving them the reality that they don't have. The miracle releases us from these stories of pain. The Holy Spirit will reinterpret every story we hold as true, as long as we ask for His help to do so. When we are not at peace, we can be assured that we are listening to our own thoughts about a situation, and those thoughts are not the truth. Truth brings only peace and joy into our minds. When I feel upset about anything, I find that if I ask the Holy Spirit how I should see the situation from His perspective, I immediately recognize my perspective is wrong. He always shows me another way to see it.
When we feel challenged by events in our lives, we may blame ourselves for "manifesting" them. We make ourselves wrong and guilty when everything is, in fact, just an opportunity for releasing the guilt in the mind. Everything is for our healing. It is not helpful to judge ourselves, as this only perpetuates the guilt in our minds. Being willing to look through the eyes of non-judgmental Love is how we heal. Our holiness is guaranteed. We have not left our Source. There is a light in us, which cannot die and truly is a light "the universe longs to behold." (W.156.5.1)
We are not aware of the light of our holiness because we put up all kinds of barriers to the truth of who we are. We look at our lives and believe that we have a long way to go. This is why, today, we ask the question, "'Who walks with me'?" (W.156.8.1) a thousand times. We ask it simply because we need to hear the answer from the Holy Spirit, over and over, that we are holy, we are not alone, and we are protected and loved beyond measure. The Mind, which knows that I and the Father are One, knows Absolute Happiness. Today, as you ask the question over and over, "Who walks with me?" (W.156.8.1) we hear the answer over and over, "I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world, I light my mind and all the minds which God created one with me. " (W.156.8.5-6)
It is our negative thoughts that block our awareness of this love. We need this constant reminder that we walk with God. Be willing today to bring all your mistaken thoughts to the truth by looking at them with Jesus, and thus, they will be corrected. We don't do the correcting. We just need to bring our awareness of these mistaken thoughts about ourselves and allow for His correction. It is not our job to fix ourselves. Our part is only to recognize and accept where we have been mistaken.
Jesus tells us that it is quite an amazing feat to think we can change the Son of God into something so unholy. Now, we need some serious relearning and reprogramming. Thank God we have this teaching and each other for support. It is not easy to do this alone. In fact, one of the easiest ways to recognize our holiness is to see our brothers and sisters with Christ's vision. The gift we give them is one we give to ourselves. In Lesson 154, "I am among the ministers of God," Jesus challenges us not to wait to give the message to our brothers so we can know we have received it. In other words, this Course is about application. It is ultimately practical and profound in showing us how we can use every relationship for healing. Everyone is a mirror for my own mind.
Through the process of forgiveness, we are learning the truth of who we are and who our brothers are. It is only by extending this truth to everyone, with no exception, that we learn it. To give and to receive are one in truth. What we give is what we receive. It is only in our daily practice and application, seeing our lives as a classroom for forgiveness, that the miracle happens where we experience the light in us "the universe longs to behold." (W.156.5.1)
Love and blessings, Sarah


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