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

The Forgiveness of Illusions

IV. The Reward of Teaching

21 You have taught well, and yet you have not learned how to accept the comfort of your teaching. If you will consider what you have taught and how alien it is to what you thought you knew, you will be compelled to recognize that your Teacher came from beyond your thought system and so could look upon it fairly and perceive it was untrue. And He must have done so from the basis of a very different thought system and one with nothing in common with yours. For certainly what He has taught, and what you have taught through Him, have nothing in common with what you taught before He came. And the results have been to bring peace where there was pain, and suffering has disappeared, to be replaced by joy.

22 You have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to be free. We once said, "By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves." For it is certain that you judge yourself according to your teaching. The ego's teaching produces immediate results because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly. Cause and effect are very clear in the ego's thought system because all your learning has been directed towards establishing the relationship between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted in choosing its witnesses and in avoiding those which spoke for the cause of truth and its effects.

23 Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came from yourself . And yet, this Self you clearly do not know and do not recognize It even though It functions. What functions must be there. And it is only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its Presence.

24 This is a course in how to know yourself. You have taught what you are but have not let what you are teach you . You have been very careful to avoid the obvious and not to see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent. Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not learned it? It must be this that is really outside yourself, not by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this that you have taken in that is not you. What you accept into your minds does not really change them. Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusion can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from truth.

25 Your teaching has already done this, for the Holy Spirit is part of you . Created by God, He left neither God nor His creation. He is both God and you, as you are God and Him together. For God's answer to the separation added more to you than you tried to take away. He protected both your creations and you together, keeping one with you what you would exclude. And they will take the place of what you took in to replace them. They are quite real as part of the Self you do not know. And they communicate to you through the Holy Spirit, and their power and gratitude to you for their creation they offer gladly to your teaching of yourself, who is their home. You who are host to God are also host to them. For nothing real has ever left the mind of its creator. And what is not real was never there .

26 You are not two selves in conflict. What is beyond God? If you who hold Him and whom He holds are the universe, all else must be outside , where nothing is. You have taught this, and from far off in the universe, yet not beyond yourself, the witnesses to your teaching have gathered to help you learn. Their gratitude has joined with yours and God's to strengthen your faith in what you taught. For what you taught is true. Alone you stand outside your teaching and apart from it. But with them you must learn that you but taught yourself and learned from the conviction you shared with them.

27 This year you will begin to learn and make learning commensurate with teaching. You have chosen this by your own willingness to teach. Though you seemed to suffer for it, the joy of teaching will yet be yours. For the joy of teaching is in the learner , who offers it to the teacher in gratitude and shares it with him. As you learn, your gratitude to your Self, Who teaches you what He is, will grow and help you honor Him. And you will learn His power and strength and purity, and love Him as His Father does. His Kingdom has no limits and no end, and there is nothing in Him that is not perfect and eternal. All this is you , and nothing outside of this is you.

28 To your most holy Self, all praise is due for what you are and for what He is Who created you as you are. Sooner or later must everyone bridge the gap which he imagines exists between his selves. Each one builds this bridge which carries him across the gap as soon as he is willing to expend some little effort on behalf of bridging it. His little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the strength of Heaven and by the united will of all who make Heaven what it is, being joined within it. And so the one who would cross over is literally transported there.

29 Your bridge is builded stronger than you think, and your foot is planted firmly on it. Have no fear that the attraction of those who stand on the other side and wait for you will not draw you safely across. For you will come where you would be and where your Self awaits you.

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A Course in Miracles

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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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 180

God is but Love,
and therefore so am I.

[169] By grace I live. By grace I am released.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

[170] There is no cruelty in God and none in me.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 180
Review V ~ Lesson 169 and Lesson 170

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

[169] By grace I live. By grace I am released.
[170] There is no cruelty in God and none in me.
Are you challenged by the external circumstances in your life and wonder why your work with the Course is not bringing more harmony into your life? In fact, things may even seem to be more difficult for you than when you started with this spiritual program. For some, this is indeed the case. So what’s up? Generally, it is about the unhealed aspects of the unconscious mind getting flushed up. The feelings that are coming up have been there, but they have not been in our awareness because we were so defended against them. We were not prepared to look at them while our defenses were strong. When we do not look at what we are defending, we project all our subconscious issues onto others and see our secret sins there. The practice we have undertaken with the Workbook is now flushing up the issues stored in the mind. It is a good thing, as it is only in this way that healing can be brought to our unconscious beliefs.
To do the healing work on our own minds, it is important to bring our projections back to the mind and take responsibility for them. "The little problems that you keep and hide become your secret sins, because you did not choose to let them be removed for you." (T.25.IX.9.1) (ACIM OE T.25.X.86) Our part is simply to look at them without judgment. The deepest layers of guilt in the mind are seen most clearly in our difficult relationships. These relationships can be a source of great healing, provided we are willing to see that everything that is brought to the surface through these relationships is in our own minds. It is an outward picture of our own inner condition. It is a mirror for us where there are unhealed beliefs in the mind, which can now be seen and for which we can be grateful.
Whatever is showing up in our lives at any moment is another opportunity for healing. We don't know why certain things go the way they do in our lives. "What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?" (W.135.18.1) We do not know our own best interests. What seem like our greatest setbacks may, in fact, offer us the most opportunity for real gain. We just do not know, and it is not helpful to try to figure it out or analyze the situation or our part in it. The important thing is to get out of our own way and not judge what is happening in our lives as good or bad. Remember that this Course is all about undoing the blocks to love so uncomfortable feelings will get flushed up for healing. This is not a time for discouragement. The undoing of these blocks provides us with an opportunity to wash away that which keeps us from the awareness of the truth, and the truth is that we are innocent, divine Beings.
We may be under the delusion that if we just get everything right spiritually, all else in the world would become absolutely blissful and peaceful for us, which is the case when our minds are in that state. But until we reach that state, the world will continue as a necessary classroom for undoing what still needs healing in the mind. As the mind is healed more and more, the events of this world will not necessarily change, but what will change is our interpretation of these events. When we have given over our judgments for healing, we will see everything simply as it is, with no emotional impact on us. In other words, our peace will not be affected by what we observe in the world. The condition of detachment is quite an advanced spiritual state. However, it is not a cold detachment but one of deep compassion. It is important not to deny the reactions and judgments we have to events in our lives, as this would simply constitute a spiritual bypass. We must be honest with ourselves and have the courage to look behind our defenses. When we get triggered and react to circumstances and events, it is a valuable gateway to healing.
The events and circumstances of this world continue to offer us great opportunities for healing. Every circumstance, every problem, and every difficult relationship is perfectly designed for that purpose. We are not victims, as we are the ones who have conceived of these situations which constitute our script. We are the ones who have dreamed them into our lives for our healing. Everything is purposeful when used for undoing the blocks to love. We may wonder how we could be truly peaceful when so many things seem to challenge us. Yet every challenge provides us with another opportunity to choose forgiveness and peace in the face of the temptation to get upset.
Jesus reminds us to "Concentrate only on this, [the little willingness] and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came." (T.18.IV.2.4-5) (ACIM OE T.18.V.33) In the Manual for Teachers, Jesus asks us not to despair because of limitations. "It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them." (M.26.4.2) In other words, we need not be disturbed that we still get rattled by our issues and need to continue to work to overcome our judgments and negative reactions. Being born in a body in this physical world is a limitation in itself. "Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it." (W.PII.Q5.What is the Body?3.4) Yet we can change the purpose the body will obey by changing what we think it is for. When used as a communication device by the Holy Spirit, the body has a holy purpose and its health will be assured. Remember that the definition of health in the Course is inner peace.
Sometimes, Course students chastise each other for making judgments, but this is just an attack on a brother, judging him for making judgments. It is not helpful. We all make judgments, which is not the real problem. The only problem is when we are not willing to bring those judgments to the Holy Spirit Who will then shine them away. It is not our job to try to fix ourselves but to do our best not to judge. It is more honest to recognize that we have judged and to take responsibility for those judgments. "I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see." (W.51.[2].5)
When things seem to go wrong in our lives, we may respond with frustration, disappointment, anxiety, and anger. Jesus reminds us when we look at how we are responding and take responsibility for our projections by turning them over to the Holy Sprit, they will be healed. When Jesus asks us to "Make this year different by making it all the same," (T.15.XI.10.11) (ACIM OE T.15.XI.112) he means that we can respond to every situation, no matter what it is, with peace. We don't have to seek for it since it is already in our right minds. We are simply blocking with our judgments the peace that is already there. Everything that goes on in our lives carries the same lesson, which is to see every seeming problem for what it is---just a shadow and not the truth. We do not react to it as something bad, and we do not give anything or anyone the power to disturb our peace and happiness.
As I think of Jesus and his crucifixion, it is not something one would willingly choose, no more than I would choose crucifixion in my life. Yet increasingly, I come to the realization that I cannot judge the events of my life, nor to always be able to see, at the time, what purpose they serve. Difficult and painful circumstances show up for us so we can learn to choose forgiveness and peace, as Jesus demonstrated through his ordeal. Looking back on some of the painful situations in my life, I now see their value.
New age philosophy, with its focus on manifesting more abundance, prosperity, and happiness within this dream, assumes that we know what will make us happy. Certainly, we would not choose to manifest the difficult situations and challenges in our lives. Yet when our purpose is to awaken from this dream, we learn to accept all the events of our lives and increasingly see how they serve the purpose we have chosen for ourselves. It is not about making the illusion more beautiful, although there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying abundance and beauty in our lives. Enjoying and appreciating what shows up in the illusion is wonderful, but we don’t make it our goal or indulge the ego’s idea of what will bring us happiness if our purpose is to awaken.
This reminds me of Jim Carey’s comments where he said: "I hope you get everything you ever dreamed of so you can see this is not where your happiness lies." Some seem to need to "fill their boots" with the things of this world: career, money, power, and prestige, in order to ultimately see that there is no happiness there. Others come to hear the Call through very difficult situations.
Jesus says that he needs us to reach out to others. Everyone in our lives is there for a purpose, however briefly. It reminds me of the movie, The Four Feathers , which takes the main character in the movie, Harry Faversham, on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and, ultimately, trust in his fellow man and trust in God. Harry Faversham, an Englishman, asks Abou, who rescues him on the plains of the Sudan, "Why are you protecting me?" To which Abou responds, "God put you in my way. I have no choice." Harry is astounded, as Abou represents the enemy. He tells Abou he must have done something terrible to offend God that God would put an Englishman and a Christian on his path. It is a matter of destiny. Who has been put in your path to offer you this kind of opportunity to forgive? There are no mistakes in how the world is orchestrated for our healing.
Another movie that carried this theme for me was Whale Rider . It powerfully demonstrates the idea of an ancient calling, compelling us to follow our destiny. The little girl, who is living in a Maori tribe set in New Zealand, feels destiny calling her from birth and is undaunted, despite tremendous obstacles. While she feels a strong pull to be with her father and leave her calling behind, in the end, she cannot stay. She has chosen to be a mapmaker, and she must follow her inner guidance, regardless of the consequences to her. While she is hurt by the actions of her grandfather, who dismisses her because she is a girl and in his view not worthy of a high calling, she moves forward with great resolve, yet with no bitterness, nor rebellion. Nothing will stop her. She is relentless in her determination. It is a deeply inspiring story of a little girl, whose actions transcend and transform her world and thus the perceptions of those around her.
We all have a destiny we are called to that only we can fulfill. But whatever it might be, it is only a backdrop for our true calling, which is to remember who we are. Whatever we seem to be doing in the world, we are doing it for only one purpose. It is to allow everything to be used for the purpose of healing our minds. Sometimes our situation can seem overwhelming. Yet just as in the movie, while we do not always understand it, how willing are we to go forward and trust that we are where we need to be at this moment? If it feels like a difficult and challenging time for you, just be in the experience and trust that all things work together for your highest good. We are being called to be patient and simply live the question until the answer comes. It is not up to us to try to change ourselves but only to look with the light of the Holy Spirit beside us at what the experience is. I am becoming more and more aware that I do not have to plan my life, and in fact, it has always seemed to evolve perfectly, in spite of my plans. It all seems to show up as it is meant to. To resist what is, is to suffer. It is to demand, "I want it thus!"
We have all chosen the teachings of A Course in Miracles as our path, at least for this moment. What the Course does is to simply point to the truth. The truth is already within. We just need to listen. Another movie that demonstrates this beautifully is the Swedish movie, As it is in Heaven . In this movie, the main character is depleted by the events of his life and is determined to find his way back to himself by simply being still and learning to listen and be guided.
We can be grateful we are shown the way through every difficulty. The way is to remember that neither our happiness nor our unhappiness comes from anything outside our own minds. Today, we use these words to focus our attention on the truth: "God is but love, and therefore so am I. " (W.RV.10.8) "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." (W.RV.11.1-3)
Ultimately, the goal is the experience which can only be found in the silent mind. "And thus, when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true." (W.RV.11.5) This means we will know because we will have had the experience of God's Love. No words can substitute for that. It is something that comes through the practice. When and how we come to know is not something that can be explained.
This is the final Lesson in the Review. We are reminded that the experience of grace is to receive in order that we may give. "By grace I live. By grace I am released." (W.180 [169]) It follows on the Review Lesson from yesterday, "Your grace is given me. I claim it now." (W.179 [168]) Today, we focus on our release through grace.
"There is no cruelty in God and none in me." (W.180 [170]) This is a reminder that attacking in self-defense amounts to cruelty. We think that self-defense is what keeps us safe. When we defend, what we are doing is giving the attributes of love to fear, because we think this god of fear is our protector. The ego whispers to us not to be some kind of spiritual wimp by letting our defenses down. It tells us that responding with love will make us vulnerable and our safety will be jeopardized. We think attack has power over others. This Lesson asks us to face this false god of fear and cruelty that speaks to us unceasingly about our need for protection and to recognize that it is powerless. All of our power comes from our Father, God, Who is pure love, with no cruelty in Him and thus there is none in us. That is where our safety lies.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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