"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
The Purpose of Time
IV. Littleness Versus Magnitude
Be not content with littleness, but be sure you understand what littleness is and why you could never be content with it. Littleness is the offering you gave
. You offered this in place of magnitude, and you
it. Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness in the strange belief that littleness can content you. When you strive for anything in this world with the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory. Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the
of the other.
Yet what you do not realize each time you choose is that your choice is your evaluation of
. Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it. And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you. It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can
content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.
There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one which you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson will seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realize that it is true and constitutes a tribute to your power. You who have sought and found littleness, remember this: Every decision which you make stems from what you think you
and represents the value that you
upon yourself. Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself, you will not be satisfied. For your function is
little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.
There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit
what it is. There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him
Magnitude. You do not have to strive for it because you
it. All your striving must be directed
littleness, for it
require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world. To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake. Yet it is asked of you in tribute to your magnitude and
your littleness. Nor is it asked of you alone.
The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son. Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power. God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than His Father has given him. We asked you once before, "Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God?" Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit in you every time you make a decision. For every decision you make
answer this and invites sorrow or joy accordingly.
When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude and make His Son hostage to the ego cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell and will bring you awareness of what you decided
. The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your minds, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you. But for this, you cannot side
Him in what He wills for you.
Decide for God through Him. For littleness and the belief that you can be content with littleness are the decisions you have made about yourself. The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little and have deceived themselves into believing that littleness can be blown up by them into a sense of magnitude that can content them. Neither give littleness, nor accept it. All honor is due the host of God. Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you and in Whom you dwell. Touch no one, then, with littleness, in the name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.
In this season (Christmas), which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me, who decided for holiness for
. It is our task
to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed for Himself. It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but
. For God would give Himself
you. He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son's creations, but without leaving you. Far beyond your little world but still in you, He extends forever. Yet He brings all his extensions to you as host to Him.
Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind and wander not in vain? It is not sacrifice to wake to glory. But it
a sacrifice to accept anything
than glory. Learn that you
be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honor of Him Whose host you are. You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to be able to understand its magnitude. Love is
little, and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him. Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you have given slip into nothingness. Holy Child of God, when will you learn that
holiness can content you and give you peace?
Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did. It is
I learned for you that you can learn of me. I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. My birth in you is your awakening to grandeur. Welcome me not into a manger but into the altar to holiness, where holiness abides in perfect peace. My Kingdom is not of this world because it is in
And you are of your Father. Let us join in honoring you, who must remain forever beyond littleness.
Decide with me, who have decided to abide with you. I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with Itself. You will be content with nothing
His Will. Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours. What my Father loves, I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not than He can. And no more can
. When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourselves, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept
for yourself. But you will gladly give,
received. The host of God need not seek to find anything.
If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be
you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His. Rather, join with me in His that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him. Thus will we let no one forget what
would remember. And thus will you remember it.
Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would help your brother be, there will you think
are. Hear not his call for hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness. Forget not that his call is yours, and answer him with me. God's power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells. Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven because of what is given it.
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A Course in Miracles
I am entrusted with the gifts of God.
All things are given you. God's trust in you is limitless. He knows His Son. He gives without exception, holding nothing back that can contribute to your happiness. And yet unless your will is one with His, His gifts are not received. But what would make you think there is another will than His?
Here is the paradox that underlies the making of the world. This world is not the Will of God, and so it is not real. Yet those who think it real must still believe there is another will, and one that leads to opposite effects from those He wills. Impossible indeed, but every mind that looks upon the world and judges it as certain, solid, trustworthy, and true believes in two creators or in one, himself alone. But never in one God.
The gifts of God are not acceptable to anyone who holds such strange beliefs. He must believe that, to accept God's gifts, however evident they may become, however urgently he may be called to claim them as his own, is being pressed to treachery against himself. He must deny their presence, contradict the truth, and suffer to preserve the world he made.
Here is the only home he thinks he knows. Here is the only safety he believes that he can find. Without the world he made is he an outcast, homeless and afraid. He does not realize that it is here he is afraid indeed and homeless too—an outcast wandering so far from home, so long away, he does not realize he has forgotten where he came from, where he goes, and even who he really is.
Yet in his lonely, senseless wanderings, God's gifts go with him, all unknown to him. He cannot lose them. But he will not look at what is given him. He wanders on, aware of the futility he sees about him everywhere, perceiving how his little lot but dwindles as he goes ahead to nowhere. Still he wanders on in misery and poverty, alone though God is with him, and a treasure his so great that everything the world contains is valueless before its magnitude.
He seems a sorry figure—weary, worn, in threadbare clothing, and with feet that bleed a little from the rocky road he walks. No one but has identified with him, for everyone who comes here has pursued the path he follows and has felt defeat and hopelessness as he is feeling them. Yet is he really tragic when you see that he is following the way he chose and needs but realize Who walks with him and open up his treasures to be free?
This is your chosen self, the one you made as a replacement for reality. This is the self you savagely defend against all reason, every evidence, and all the witnesses with proof to show this is not you. You heed them not. You go on your appointed way, with eyes cast down lest you might catch a glimpse of truth and be released from self-deception and set free.
You cower fearfully lest you should feel Christ's touch upon your shoulder and perceive His gentle hand directing you to look upon your gifts. How could you then proclaim your poverty in exile? He would make you laugh at this perception of yourself. Where is self-pity then? And what becomes of all the tragedy you sought to make for him whom God intended only joy?
Your ancient fear has come upon you now, and justice has caught up with you at last. Christ's hand has touched your shoulder, and you feel that you are not alone. You even think the miserable self you thought was you may not be your identity. Perhaps God's Word is truer than your own. Perhaps His gifts to you are real. Perhaps He has not wholly been outwitted by your plan to keep His Son in deep oblivion and go the way you chose without your Self.
God's Will does not oppose. It merely is. It is not God you have imprisoned in your plan to lose your Self. He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will. There was a need He did not understand, to which He gave an Answer. That is all. And you who have this Answer given you have need no more of anything but this.
Now do we live, for now we cannot die. The wish for death is answered, and the sight that looked upon it now has been replaced by vision which perceives that you are not what you pretend to be. One walks with you Who gently answers all your fears with this one merciful reply: "It is not so." He points to all the gifts you have each time the thought of poverty oppresses you and speaks of His companionship when you perceive yourself as lonely and afraid.
Yet He reminds you still of one thing more you had forgotten. For His touch on you has made you like Himself. The gifts you have are not for you alone. What He has come to offer you, you now must learn to give. This is the lesson that His giving holds, for He has saved you from the solitude you sought to make in which to hide from God. He has reminded you of all the gifts that God has given you. He speaks as well of what becomes your will when you accept these gifts and recognize they are your own.
The gifts are yours, entrusted to your care to give to all who chose the lonely road you have escaped. They do not understand they but pursue their wishes. It is you who teach them now. For you have learned of Christ there is another way for them to walk. Teach them by showing them the happiness that comes to those who feel the touch of Christ and recognize God's gifts. Let sorrow not tempt you to be unfaithful to your trust.
Your sighs will now betray the hopes of those who look to you for their release. Your tears are theirs. If you are sick, you but withhold their healing. What you fear but teaches them their fears are justified. Your hand becomes the giver of Christ's touch; your change of mind becomes the proof that who accepts God's gifts can never suffer anything. You are entrusted with the world's release from pain.
Betray it not. Become the living proof of what Christ's touch can offer everyone. God has entrusted all His gifts to you. Be witness in your happiness to how transformed the mind becomes which chooses to accept His gifts and feel the touch of Christ. Such is your mission now. For God entrusts the giving of His gifts to all who have received them. He has shared His joy with you. And now you go to share it with the world.
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I am entrusted with the gifts of God.
This Lesson has a wonderful way of carrying the image like a story. It is a rather sad story of how we have chosen to be outcasts, far from home, homeless and afraid, but we don't remember we made this choice. We try desperately to make this faraway domicile as comfortable as possible. Like a homeless person, we make the best of our circumstances. We go nowhere, feeling very alone. Perhaps you don't identify with this picture, yet this Lesson says,
"No one but has identified with him, for everyone who comes here [to this world]
has pursued the path he follows, and has felt defeat and hopelessness as he is feeling them." (W.166.6.2)
When we are tempted to feel victimized by our situation, Jesus reminds us that we are the ones who chose it.
"Yet is he really tragic, when you see that he is following the way he chose, and need but realize Who walks with him and open up his treasures to be free?" (W.166.6.3) Why would we continue to choose this when we can choose abundance and happiness instead?
"All things are given you. God's trust in you is limitless. He knows His Son. He gives without exception, holding nothing back that can contribute to your happiness." (W.166.1.1-4) If we can choose God's gifts at any time we want, can we be tragic figures or are we just mistaken?
The irony of it all is that while we are wandering alone, miserable, sad, and seemingly without a home for safety and support, God's gifts of infinite value go with us. We are never alone, for God is always there with us. If this is our life, why are we denying His ever-present gifts? We deny these gifts because, as Jesus says, as long as we have allegiance to our will and what we have made of ourselves and the world, we will reject God's gifts.
"He must deny their presence, contradict the truth, and suffer to preserve the world he made." (W.166.3.3) We are instead hanging onto our specialness, uniqueness, individuality, and the world, and we are making ourselves miserable in the process while refusing to look at what God has given us. (W.166.5.3) This treasure is
". . . so great that everything the world contains is valueless before its magnitude." (W.166.5.5) While we are refusing to accept this treasure, we continue in our sorry state. We may not like what we have made, but it is all our own making. Thus, we are committed to it and value it because we made it. But we can change our minds. We can make another decision. Our condition of seeming homelessness is simply a denial of the truth of what we have and what we are.
I recently visited with friends who are coming to the end of their careers and are very frightened by the prospect of what to do with their lives. They are casting about for options of how to spend their time and how to find meaning. The options seem limited to volunteering, traveling, getting future contracts for more work, or entertaining themselves with various pastimes. Their perspective is one of killing time. While there is nothing wrong with any of these activities, there is no joy in them if they simply serve as a distraction from the joy to be discovered within. These activities are all distortions of the real thing that we all look for. It is not contained in the forms of this world, but is the content of our right minds.
Are we devoted to seeking for happiness in the world, which is what the ego counsels, or to awakening from this dream? In other words, do we look at everything with the ego as the teacher, or do we choose the Holy Spirit to reinterpret everything for us? The question is, "What is the purpose of what we choose to do?" Jesus counsels us,
"In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, 'What for?'" (T.4.V.6.7) (ACIM OE T.4.VI.77) Jesus shows us the way out of this futile cycle, where the purpose for the ego is to keep us rooted in the illusory world, constantly looking for peace and happiness where it is not.
Why do we continue to choose to be these tragic figures instead of accepting the gifts that await us? Why not laugh at such foolishness? Is there something noble in victimhood? Is there something special about us if we can suffer what we think others can't withstand? Understand that this is not conscious, although we need to consider this question carefully. When we hold this perception of ourselves and take it seriously, we are not seeing the absurdity of it all.
"He would make you laugh at this perception of yourself." (W.166.8.3) While we live a tragic story, a sad story, or a story of heartbreak, God only wants joy for us. Yet we fear His touch. (W.166.8.1) If we accept the truth about ourselves, we can no longer claim victimhood. Thus, His Presence is a great threat to us, which is why we resist it. We fear our magnitude. We still want to be authors of our own lives, rather than surrender to God. It seems, as Milton wrote, that we would rather rule in hell than serve in Heaven.
Can this be true about us? This Lesson tells us our misery and poverty, in a spiritual sense, are worth it if it means we can be the authors of our own lives. We indulge in our misery, believing no one can understand us, as we feel sorry for ourselves. If we could step back and laugh at the silliness of this notion, Jesus wonders,
"Where is self-pity then?" (W.166.8.4) We are the dreamers of this dream, and we can choose to examine our decision to stay in misery. This is not a decision we make when we forget that the mind and not the world, is the cause of our misery. However, we savagely defend our situation when we see the cause as outside our own minds. This is how we maintain the independent, separate self. Indulging in self-pity points the responsibility for our lack of happiness outside ourselves.
It is difficult to accept that we are the ones choosing our own victimhood. Initially, we will probably feel attacked and get defensive at the suggestion that we are making a choice to be a victim. We get extremely defensive at the idea that the circumstances of our lives are not inflicted on us, but chosen by us. We seem to prefer to proclaim our victimhood because we are attached to our story, and thus, we fear Christ's touch because it would change everything.
Our stories of victimhood are designed to make others responsible for our circumstances. This is because we prefer to see ourselves as innocent, while those who perpetrated our situation, as we see it, can then be punished by God for their "crimes" against us, and we can continue to feel exonerated as their innocent victims.
ou cower fearfully lest you should feel Christ's touch upon your shoulder, and perceive His gentle hand directing you to look upon your gifts. How could you then proclaim your poverty in exile?" (W.166.8.1-2) How indeed? We would then have to see the insanity of our attachment to our separate will, and we could no longer hang onto the tragic story of our lives and wallow in self-pity or thoughts of revenge in defiance of the gifts God has given us. The seeming rewards of victimhood trump God's gifts, in our view. It is my will that I want to hold onto, in spite of what it is costing me. It truly is insanity.
The insanity of the ego shows up in obvious ways when we are ready and willing to watch our thoughts, examine our motivations, and clearly see our intentions. For every gift of God, the ego seeks to make a counterfeit form. It is a "substitute" gift, yet it is truly a trap. We trade off the gifts God offers for what the ego offers instead, and these "gifts" offer only pain. Until we see that no substitute for God's gifts could bring us what we seek, we will continue to look to the world for our happiness. It takes courage and willingness to take responsibility for our lives and everything that seems to happen to us. With it comes the realization that we have done all this to ourselves. We are the ones who chose this.
We resist this thought, but now Jesus asks that we look at the irony of our position where we cry about our situation, yet we have deliberately chosen it.
"He would make you laugh at this perception of yourself. Where is self-pity then? And what becomes of all the tragedy you sought to make for him whom God intended only joy?" (W.166.8.3-5) What I take from this is the one thing we might do more of---laugh at the ego. We can only do this when we realize that we are not the character in the dream but, actually, we are the dreamer of the dream. It is our script that we are playing out. We have written the role that we play, as well as the one played by the characters in our script, who play the various parts in our drama.
"You even think the miserable self you thought was you may not be your Identity. Perhaps God's Word is truer than your own. Perhaps His gifts to you are real." (W.166.9.3-4) Just maybe, our plan for our lives is starting to fail and our foolishness is slowly, but surely, becoming more apparent to us. Just maybe, we are not who we have believed we were. Just maybe, with Christ's hand touching our shoulder, we feel not quite so alone anymore and start to believe that maybe these gifts of God are real, and His Word is truer than our own.
This puts us between worlds, where we start to see the possibility that we are not the poor, miserable, and homeless guy. Now your sight is being replaced by vision
". . . which perceives that you are not what you pretend to be." (W.166.11.2) We become aware that maybe our pain does not come from outside us, but as a result of our opposition to the truth of what we are.
"One walks with you Who gently answers all your fears with this one merciful reply, 'It is not so'." (W.166.11.3) He is telling us that everything we think is not the truth.
After my husband died in 1993, I was experiencing what Jesus is talking about in this Lesson. I was feeling very alone, indulging myself in my story of victimhood, loss, and sadness. As I lay in bed, crying, feeling abandoned by love, a gentle voice within asked quietly, "How much longer do you need to cry?" It startled me because now I had a question in my mind that seemed to require an answer. The answer I gave this Voice was perhaps, "ten more minutes." Yet the absurdity of this answer made me smile, and I simply could no longer feel sorry for myself. It was a recognition that I could make a choice in that moment to believe the ego version of events or see there was perhaps another way of seeing this situation. And as the thoughts of sadness and suffering emerged, with each one I heard the response, "It is not so." I could either choose to believe my own thoughts about this situation or trust Jesus, who reminded me that my thoughts were not the truth. The grief lifted after this experience, and I never experienced it again in the same way.
"For His touch on you has made you like Himself." (W.166.12.2)
The Holy Spirit is such a reassuring Presence that is always available to us. We no longer need to continue on this aimless wandering and this feeling of aloneness. We can call on His strength in every turmoil and every uncertainty and know that He will always answer. He assures us that we never walk alone. Ask a thousand times a day, "Who walks with me?"
Having been entrusted with His gifts, we are now called to extend them to our brothers so we can be the one to tap them on the shoulder, as Christ has touched us. We can show them that there is another way they can go, since we have been down those same roads and have learned they lead nowhere but to death.
"For you have learned of Christ there is another way for them to walk." (W.166.13.4) Yet how do we do this? He says,
"Teach them by showing them the happiness that comes to those who feel the touch of Christ, and recognize God's gifts." (W.166.13.5) In other words, we show them, by example, the choice we have made for ourselves and the peace and joy that comes with this choice.
"Your sighs will now betray the hopes of those who look to you for their release. Your tears are theirs.
" (W.166.14.1-2) And when you change your mind,
"Your hand becomes the giver of Christ's touch; your change of mind becomes the proof who accepts God's gifts can never suffer anything. You are entrusted with the world's release from pain." (W.166.14.5-6) It is all about choice.
Last night, I was feeling like a martyr and doing a lot of sighing about how much there was to be done as I took on a job for Don, who was struggling to meet his obligations to a volunteer organization. I let him know how difficult it was for me to help him. I quickly realized how I was exemplifying victimhood and was doing exactly what this Lesson says by showing him he had the power to make me suffer. I had to laugh at my foolishness. Watching my thoughts helped me realize the choice I was making. I could choose to either open my mind to receive God's gifts or be cast back in the self-made role of the homeless person. The decision was up to me. We all have this power within.
Each time we choose to forgive, we extend a blessing to those who don't yet understand that their suffering is coming from their own choice. Our choice requires that we notice the game we are playing and stay vigilant in mind watching.
We demonstrate another way of being in the world by not being of the world. We increasingly recognize that it is no longer the circumstances of our lives that bring us sorrow but only the interpretations we give to every situation. Jesus says that we can't, in fact, tell our advances from our retreats. (T.18.V.1.5) (ACIM OE T.18.VI.41) This reminds me of a wonderful movie called, "The Ultimate Gift." It clearly demonstrates this fact. I have seen this in my own life, where a seeming setback was necessary to show me the miracle hidden there. A friend, who was staying with us, was very frustrated one day when he was trying to arrange to rent a car. He became very angry with the bureaucracy he experienced while dealing with the car rental companies. Later in the day, he was offered a car by a friend for the duration of his time here. He did not know, at the time, that the miracle was awaiting him. It is all about trust and acceptance that everything that seems to be happening is for our good.
In our morning and evening practice, for a minimum of five minutes and up to thirty or more minutes, we spend time bringing our attention to our thoughts, our fears, our investments in our ego, and hearing the response from God,
"It is not so
(T.14.II.5.8) (ACIM OE T.13.VII.60) Jesus pleads with us not to choose what the ego has to offer over the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He means that we have to let go of what we are holding onto so tightly. He means that we have to admit that we are wrong about the way we are seeing and interpreting everything. Jesus reminds us that the meaning we give to everything is not the truth. What we are experiencing is what we have chosen. It is our dream.
We remember today that our interests are not separate from those of our brothers. We are One. What I do to you, I am doing to myself. My happiness cannot be bought at your expense. We are being called to become a living demonstration of His love, seeing our interests as the same as that of every brother. Our shared reality is outside of this dream. Our reality is Oneness.
And today, I am thankful Christ's touch is on my shoulder, and this is not my home.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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