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

CHAPTER 15
The Purpose of Time

VIII. The Holy Instant and Communication

65 Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship and always obscured by it is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. This is the only love that is fully given and fully returned. Being complete, it asks nothing. Being wholly pure, everyone joined in it has everything. This is not the basis for any relationship in which the ego enters. For every relationship on which the ego embarks is special. The ego establishes relationships only to get something. And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt.

66 It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends. This is not its statement, but it is its purpose. For the ego really believes that it can get and keep by making guilty . This is its one attraction; an attraction so weak that it would have no hold at all, except that no one recognizes it. For the ego always seems to attract through love and has no attraction at all to anyone who perceives that it attracts through guilt.

67 The sick attraction of guilt must be recognized for what it is . For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in it, to learn to let it go. No one would choose to let go what he believes has value. Yet the attraction of guilt has value to you only because you have not looked at what it is and have judged it completely in the dark. As we bring it to light, your only question will be why it was you ever wanted it. You have nothing to lose by looking open-eyed at this, for ugliness such as this belongs not in your holy mind. The host of God can have no real investment here.

68 We said before that the ego attempts to maintain and increase guilt, but in such a way that you do not recognize what it would do to you . For it is the ego's fundamental doctrine that what you do to others, you have escaped. The ego wishes no one well. Yet its survival depends on your belief that you are exempt from its evil intentions. It counsels, therefore, that if you are host to it , it will enable you to direct the anger that it holds outward, thus protecting you. And thus it embarks on an endless, unrewarding chain of special relationships, forged out of anger and dedicated to but one insane belief—that the more anger you invest outside yourself, the safer you become.

69 It is this chain that binds the Son of God to guilt, and it is this chain the Holy Spirit would remove from his holy mind. For the chain of savagery belongs not around the chosen host of God, who cannot make himself host to the ego. In the name of his release, and in the name of Him Who would release him, let us look more closely at the relationships which the ego contrives, and let the Holy Spirit judge them truly. For it is certain that, if you will look at them, you will offer them gladly to Him. What He can make of them, you do not know, but you will become willing to find out if you are willing, first, to perceive what you have made of them.

70 In one way or another, every relationship which the ego makes is based on the idea that by sacrificing itself, it becomes bigger . The "sacrifice," which it regards as purification, is actually the root of its bitter resentment. For it would much prefer to attack directly and avoid delaying what it really wants. Yet the ego acknowledges "reality" as it sees it and recognizes that no one could interpret direct attack as love. Yet to make guilty is direct attack but does not seem to be. For the guilty expect attack, and having asked for it, they are attracted to it.

71 In these insane relationships, the attraction of what you do not want seems to be much stronger than the attraction of what you do. For each one thinks that he has sacrificed something to the other and hates him for it. Yet this is what he thinks he wants . He is not in love with the other at all. He merely believes he is in love with sacrifice. And for this sacrifice, which he demanded of himself , he demands the other accept the guilt and sacrifice himself as well. Forgiveness becomes impossible, for the ego believes that to forgive another is to lose him. For it is only by attack without forgiveness that the ego can ensure the guilt which holds all its relationships together.

72 Yet they only seem to be together. For relationships, to the ego, mean only that bodies are together. It is always physical closeness that the ego demands, and it does not object where the mind goes or what it thinks, for this seems unimportant. As long as the body is there to receive its sacrifice, it is content. To the ego, the mind is private, and only the body can be shared. Ideas are basically of no concern, except as they draw the body of another closer or farther. And it is in these terms that it evaluates ideas as good or bad. What makes another guilty and holds him through guilt is "good." What releases him from guilt is "bad," because he would no longer believe that bodies communicate, and so he would be "gone."

73 Suffering and sacrifice are the gifts with which the ego would "bless" all unions. And those who are united at its altar accept suffering and sacrifice as the price of union. In their angry alliances, born of the fear of loneliness and yet dedicated to the continuance of loneliness, they seek relief from guilt by increasing it in the other . For they believe that this decreases it in them . The other seems always to be attacking and wounding them , perhaps in little ways, perhaps "unconsciously," yet never without demand of sacrifice. The fury of those joined at the ego's altar far exceeds your awareness of it. For what the ego really wants, you do not realize.

74 Whenever you are angry, you can be sure that you have formed a special relationship which the ego has "blessed," for anger is its blessing. Anger takes many forms, but it cannot long deceive those who will learn that love brings no guilt at all, and what brings guilt cannot be love and must be anger. All anger is nothing more than an attempt to make someone feel guilty, and this attempt is the only basis which the ego accepts for special relationships. Guilt is the only need the ego has, and as long as you identify with it, guilt will remain attractive to you.

75 Yet remember this—to be with a body is not communication. And if you think it is, you will feel guilty about communication and will be afraid to hear the Holy Spirit, recognizing in His voice your own need to communicate. The Holy Spirit cannot teach through fear. And how can He communicate with you while you believe that to communicate is to make yourself alone ? It is clearly insane to believe that by communicating you will be abandoned. And yet you do believe it. For you think that your minds must be kept private or you will lose them, and if your bodies are together your minds remain your own. The union of bodies thus becomes the way in which you would keep minds apart. For bodies cannot forgive. They can only do as the mind directs.

76 The illusion of the autonomy of the body and its ability to overcome loneliness is but the working of the ego's plan to establish its own autonomy. As long as you believe that to be with a body is companionship, you will be compelled to attempt to keep your brother in his body, held there by guilt. And you will see safety in guilt and danger in communication. For the ego will always teach that loneliness is solved by guilt and that communication is the cause of loneliness. And despite the evident insanity of this lesson, you have learned it.

77 Forgiveness lies in communication as surely as damnation lies in guilt. It is the Holy Spirit's teaching function to instruct those who believe that communication is damnation that communication is salvation . And He will do so, for the power of God in Him and you is joined in real relationship, so holy and so strong that it can overcome even this without fear. It is through the holy instant that what seems impossible is accomplished , making it evident that it is not impossible. In the holy instant, guilt holds no attraction, since communication has been restored. And guilt, whose only purpose is to disrupt communication, has no function here.

78 Here there is no concealment and no private thoughts. The willingness to communicate attracts communication to it and overcomes loneliness completely. There is complete forgiveness here, for there is no desire to exclude anyone from your completion in sudden recognition of the value of his part in it. In the protection of your wholeness, all are invited and made welcome. And you understand that your completion is God's, Whose only need is to have you be complete. For your completion makes you His in your awareness. And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created and as you are .

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Part I
Review V

1 We now review again. This time we are ready to give more effort and more time to what we undertake. We recognize we are preparing for another phase of understanding. We would take this step completely, that we may go on again more certain, more sincere, with faith upheld more surely. Our footsteps have not been unwavering, and doubts have made us walk uncertainly and slowly on the road this course sets forth. But now we hasten on, for we approach a greater certainty, a firmer purpose and a surer goal.

2 Steady our feet, our Father; let our doubts be quiet and our holy minds be still, and speak to us. We have no words to give to You. We would but listen to Your Word and make it ours. Lead our practicing as does a father lead a little child along a way he does not understand. Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe because his father leads the way for him.

3 So do we bring our practicing to You. And if we stumble, You will raise us up. If we forget the way, we count upon Your sure remembering. We wander off, but You will not forget to call us back. Quicken our footsteps now, that we may walk more certainly and quickly unto You. And we accept the Word You offer us to unify our practicing, as we review the thoughts that You have given us.

4 This is the thought which should precede the thoughts that we review. Each one but clarifies some aspect of this thought or helps it be more meaningful, more personal and true, and more descriptive of the holy Self we share and now prepare to know again:

5 God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

6 This Self alone knows love. This Self alone is perfectly consistent in Its thoughts, knows Its Creator, understands Itself, is perfect in Its knowledge and Its love, and never changes from Its constant state of union with Its Father and Itself.

7 And it is This that waits to meet us at the journey's ending. Every step we take brings us a little nearer. This review will shorten time immeasurably if we keep in mind that This remains our goal, and as we practice, it is This to which we are approaching. Let us raise our hearts from dust to life as we remember This is promised us, and that this course was sent to open up the path of light to us, and teach us, step by step, how to return to the eternal Self we thought we lost.

8 I take the journey with you. For I share your doubts and fears a little while, that you may come to me who recognize the road by which all fears and doubts are overcome. We walk together. I must understand uncertainty and pain, although I know they have no meaning. Yet a savior must remain with those he teaches, seeing what they see, but still retaining in his mind the way that led him out and now will lead you out with him. God's Son is crucified until you walk along the road with me.

9 My resurrection comes again each time I lead a brother safely to the place at which the journey ends and is forgot. I am renewed each time a brother learns there is a way from misery and pain. I am reborn each time a brother's mind turns to the light in him and looks for me. I have forgotten no one. Help me now to lead you back to where the journey was begun, to make another choice with me.

10 Release me as you practice once again the thoughts I brought to you from Him Who sees your bitter need and knows the answer God has given Him. Together we review these thoughts. Together we devote our time and effort to them. And together we will teach them to our brothers. God would not have Heaven incomplete. It waits for you as I do. I am incomplete without your part in me. And as I am made whole, we go together to our ancient home, prepared for us before time was and kept unchanged by time, immaculate and safe, as it will be at last, when time is done.

11 Let this review be then your gift to me. For this alone I need—that you will hear the words I speak and give them to the world. You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands, through which I save the world. The Self from Which I call to you is but your own. To Him we go together. Take your brother's hand, for this is not a way we walk alone. In him I walk with you and you with me. Our Father wills His Son be one with Him. What lives but must not then be one with you?

12 Let this review become a time in which we share a new experience for you, yet one as old as time, and older still. Hallowed your name. Your glory undefiled forever. And your wholeness now complete, as God established it. You are His Son, completing His extension in your own. We practice but an ancient truth we knew before illusion seemed to claim the world. And we remind the world that it is free of all illusions every time we say,

13 God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

14 With this we start each day of our review. With this we start and end each period of practice time. And with this thought we sleep, to waken once again with these same words upon our lips to greet another day. No thought that we review but we surround with it and use the thoughts to hold it up before our minds and keep it clear in our remembrance throughout the day. And thus when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true.

15 Yet are the words but aids and to be used, except at the beginning and the end of practice periods, but to recall the mind as needed to its purpose. We place faith in the experience that comes from practice, not the means we use. We wait for the experience and recognize that it is only here conviction lies. We use the words, and try and try again to go beyond them to their meaning, which is far beyond their sound. The sound grows dim and disappears as we approach the Source of meaning. It is here that we find rest.

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Lesson 172

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

[153] In my defenselessness my safety lies.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

[154] I am among the ministers of God.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 172
Review V ~ Lesson 153 and Lesson 154

Sarah's Commentary:
 
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

[153] In my defenselessness my safety lies.
[154] I am among the ministers of God.
 
If I accept that I am Love, why would I ever need to defend myself? If I feel that I need to defend myself, it is because I am asserting that I am vulnerable and weak, that my reality is this body and personality, and that I can be attacked and hurt. The truth of who I really am is unassailable. Further, if I know myself as Love, I share that experience with the world through my example. What this means is that I must undertake the function of forgiveness so as not to use anyone or anything to attack myself and separate myself from God's Love.
 
As love is extended through me to my brothers, I know it is in me. Do not mistake this for preaching or proselytizing. I am simply being an example of love so others will want to make the same choice I have made. It is not something that we do, but something that comes through us, as the blocks to love are brought to the light. In other words, we simply become channels for His Love. The unifying thought, "God is but Love, and therefore so am I," (W.RV.4.3) reflects the one truth of our reality as God's Son. It is a statement of the Atonement Principle, which is that we haven't changed what we are as God's perfect Son.
 
In the introduction to this review, Jesus appeals to us to take the practice more seriously now by giving more effort and more time, as "We recognize we are preparing for another phase of understanding." (W.RV.1.3) The effectiveness of the second half of the workbook depends on this effort. We are trying to go beyond the words to the meaning. We are awaiting the experience. We place our faith in the power of this practice. When our minds wander, we bring them back with the central thought, "God is but Love, and therefore so am I . " (W.RV.4.3) Jesus is not pushing us. He is inviting us to make this choice on behalf of our own happiness because he knows this is our bitter need---to wake up to the glorious truth of who we are.
 
Our efforts are aimed at reclaiming the knowledge of the Self we thought we had lost. "This Self alone knows Love." (W.RV.4.4) What would it be like to really know that we are love and nothing else? This is not possible in this world, but God's Love can indeed be reflected here through forgiveness.
 
The goal of the Course is to experience the real world of peace and joy. Heaven and the state of knowledge can't be known here, but we come closer to reflecting God's Love when we are willing to accept the sameness in all our brothers. We are all equal. We share the same divinity. Jesus also reminds us of our equality with him. He walks beside us, not ahead nor behind. He is our elder brother, showing us the way home. We are called to do the same with our brothers. We share the same need to remember who we are.
 
Forgiveness is the closest we come to God's Love in this world. When we have the experience of this Love, we increasingly walk in trust. We have a strong sense of our purpose and our function. We recognize that nothing in the world that we have ever sought has brought us joy. We see this world as a classroom where all events and circumstances of our lives are helpful for our awakening. We live by guidance, letting Him lead the way. We recognize that there are no problems except for the one problem of separation. We give freely, recognizing that to give and to receive are the same. Our bodies are seen as vehicles for extending love, and thus they are used for a holy purpose.
 
"This Self alone knows Love." (W.RV.4.4) In other words, it is not the ego that knows love. Though we may try to be loving, the ego's version of love is always to get for itself. Through our special relationships, we try to get our needs met because we feel that we are lacking, and so we look to others to complete us. The Christ Self, however, is consistent and never changes; it only extends love. This is not our consistent experience right now. The personal self is about ever-changing emotions. Our self-esteem seems to rise and fall, depending on each event, circumstance, or person that we encounter. When we take any attack personally, we feel we must defend ourselves, but when we defend ourselves, we are making the attack real in the mind. It means that we have lost sight of our true Source---the Christ Self---and now we see ourselves as our own source. We are seeing ourselves as the authors of our own lives.
 
By the same token, when we receive praise or approval, our false sense of ourselves may feel elevated. Our self-esteem appears to come from the things that seem to happen to us in the world that send us messages about ourselves. It also comes from our own efforts to strengthen those things about us that we believe need to be given our attention. We diet, take courses, engage in training activities, work to create an image, and try to smooth out the rough edges of our personalities, but the Self that Jesus is talking about is not an image of our own making. It is not an image at all and has absolutely nothing to do with the opinions of others. When those opinions find a place to land in us, we know we are holding a judgment against ourselves, and we now have an opportunity to bring it to the light where it is dissolved.
 
Today, in our practice of this Lesson, we remind ourselves that our worth is not established by anything that we believe is necessary such as getting things done on time, doing things perfectly, never making mistakes, never being angry, or whatever else we hold as a virtue. My worth is established by God. As you go through your day, watch your thoughts and be willing to look at them with light of truth and be willing to maintain vigilance over the ego, since "This review will shorten time immeasurably." (W.RV.5.3) We remember today that an untrained mind can accomplish nothing. Our commitment and dedication to the practice are therefore very important if we want to achieve our goal of peace and joy in our lives.
 
We are given the curriculum and the daily practices. All we need to do is be willing to practice watching our thoughts and be willing to take responsibility for them so they can be healed. We do this by recognizing that there is no world outside our own minds. The world is simply an outside picture of our inward condition. This is what makes it such a useful classroom, which reflects the state of our minds and helps us to see our judgments.
 
Even though Jesus sees our wavering, unsteady footsteps on this path, he is encouraging us to move steadily forward and commit to the practice. If we knew that the practice would bring more joy, peace, and happiness until we finally opened in welcoming the Self we are, wouldn’t we commit to doing it more diligently? Yes, there is resistance, and fear still shows up, but it can all be given over to the Holy Spirit Who shows us its unreality.
 
None of us likes the self that feels small and defended, attacks, betrays, suffers, and feels needy and lacking. We all want the experience of the innocent, glorious Self given to us in our creation. It is still with us, having never left our minds. We are not aware of this Self because we have set up blocks to the awareness of what we are in truth. Now we must do the practice in order to undo these blocks and access the truth. This Course was given in order to show us the path of light and provide the means to return to the eternal Self we thought we lost.
 
Jesus says that he takes this journey with us. "For I share your doubts and fears a little while, that you may come to me who recognize the road by which all fears and doubts are overcome." (W.RV.6.2) Some of us are uncomfortable with the idea of Jesus. We may have some shadow figures projected onto him because of our past. This is discussed in The Clarification of Terms, in which Jesus says he is not the only helper. There are others; even if, in reality, they are just one. "Jesus became what all of you must be. He led the way for you to follow him." (C.5.3.1-2) He is leading us from the hell we have made. "Some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world. Forgive him your illusions, and behold how dear a brother he would be to you." (C.5.5.7-8) He offers to share all our pain and fear. He is aware of our fears and our illusions. He is a gentle guide, helper, and elder brother who lovingly leads us out of our hell because he has finished the journey.
 
He says he is renewed each time he leads someone to where the journey ends. This is how we are renewed---as we see anyone "getting it," moving forward, or experiencing a miracle. It enriches us all because there is only One Mind, and we all receive the gift received anywhere in the Kingdom. Jesus needs our participation if we are to be released. He is actually leading us back to the moment when we chose our individuality, but now we can make another choice. "The power of decision is my own." (W.152) Nothing we have chosen is irrevocable.
 
"For you have barely started to allow your first, uncertain steps to be directed up the ladder separation led you down. The miracle alone is your concern at present. Here is where we must begin." (T.28.III.1.2-4) (ACIM OE T.28.IV.28) The Holy Spirit sees "your bitter need," (W.RV.8.1) even though, in reality, we have no needs. Yet He knows that, for us, this world of illusion is real. Jesus, as a symbol of the Love that we are, joins us in our practice. It is a collaborative venture. "Together we review these thoughts. Together we devote our time and effort to them. And together we will teach them to our brothers." (W.RV.8.2‑4) There is no such thing as an "individual" salvation because to be an individual is an illusion. We are One Mind.
 
"Identify with Him, and what has He that you have not? He is your eyes, your ears, your hands, your feet. How gentle are the sights He sees, the sounds He hears. How beautiful His hand that holds His brother's, and how lovingly He walks beside him, showing him what can be seen and heard, and where he will see nothing and there is no sound to hear." (T24.V.3.4-7) (ACIM OE T.24.VI.42)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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