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

Forgiveness and Healing

VIII. The Need for Faith

65 There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve. There is no shift in any aspect of the problem but will make solution impossible. For if you shift part of the problem elsewhere, the meaning of the problem must be lost, and the solution to the problem is inherent in its meaning. Is it not possible that all your problems have been solved, but you have removed yourself from the solution? Yet faith must be where something has been done and where you see it done. A situation is a relationship, being the joining of thoughts. If problems are perceived, it is because the thoughts are judged to be in conflict. But if the goal is truth, this is impossible. Some idea of bodies must have entered, for minds cannot attack.

66 The thought of bodies is the sign of faithlessness, for bodies cannot solve anything. And it is their intrusion on the relationship, an error in your thoughts about the situation, which then becomes the justification for your lack of faith. You will make this error, but be not at all concerned with that. The error does not matter. Faithlessness brought to faith will never interfere with truth. But faithlessness used against truth will always destroy faith. If you lack faith, ask that it be restored where it was lost and seek not to have it made up to you elsewhere as if you had been unjustly deprived of it.

67 Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation. But remember this: the goal of holiness was set for your relationship and not by you. You did not set it because holiness cannot be seen except through faith, and your relationship was not holy because your faith in one another was so limited and little. Your faith must grow to meet the goal that has been set. The goal's reality will call this forth, for you will see that peace and faith will not come separately. What situation can you be in without faith and remain faithful to each other?

68 Every situation in which you find yourself is but a means to meet the purpose set for your relationship. See it as something else, and you are faithless. Use not your faithlessness. Let it enter and look upon it calmly, but do not use it. Faithlessness is the servant of illusion and wholly faithful to its master. Use it and it will carry you straight to illusions. Be tempted not by what it offers you. It interferes not with the goal, but with the value of the goal to you. Accept not the illusion of peace it offers, but look upon its offering and recognize it is illusion.

69 The goal of illusion is as closely tied to faithlessness as faith to truth. If you lack faith in anyone to fulfill, and perfectly, his part in any situation dedicated in advance to truth, your dedication is divided. And so you have been faithless to each other and used your faithlessness against each other. No relationship is holy unless its holiness goes with it everywhere. As holiness and faith go hand in hand, so must its faith go everywhere with it. The goal's reality will call forth and accomplish every miracle needed for its fulfillment. Nothing too small or too enormous, too weak or too compelling, but will be gently turned to its use and purpose. The universe will serve it gladly, as it serves the universe. But do not interfere.

70 The power set in you in whom the Holy Spirit's goal has been established is so far beyond your little conception of the infinite that you have no idea how great the strength that goes with you. And you can use this in perfect safety. Yet for all its might, so great it reaches past the stars and to the universe that lies beyond them, your little faithlessness can make it useless if you would use the faithlessness instead.

71 Yet think on this, and learn the cause of faithlessness: You think you hold against the other what he has done to you. But what you really blame him for is what you did to him . It is not his past but yours you hold against him. And you lack faith in him because of what you were. Yet you are as innocent of what you were as he is. What never was is causeless and is not there to interfere with truth. There is no cause for faithlessness, but there is a Cause for faith. That Cause has entered any situation which shares Its purpose. The light of truth shines from the center of the situation and touches everyone to whom the situation's purpose calls. It calls to everyone. There is no situation which does not involve your whole relationship in every aspect and complete in every part. You can leave nothing of yourself outside it and keep the situation holy. For it shares the purpose of your whole relationship and derives its meaning from it.

72 Enter each situation with the faith that you give to each other, or you are faithless to your own relationship. Your faith will call the others to share your purpose, as this same purpose called forth the faith in you. And you will see the means you once employed to lead you to illusions transformed to means for truth. [Truth calls for faith, and faith makes room for truth .] When the Holy Spirit changed the purpose of your relationship by exchanging yours for His, the goal He placed there was extended to every situation in which you enter or will ever enter. And every situation was thus made free of the past, which would have made it purposeless.

73 You call for faith because of Him Who walks with you in every situation. You are no longer wholly insane, nor no longer alone. For loneliness in God must be a dream. You whose relationship shares the Holy Spirit's goal are set apart from loneliness because the truth has come. Its call for faith is strong. Use not your faithlessness against it, for it calls you to salvation and to peace.

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A Course in Miracles

Part I
Introduction to Lessons 181 - 200

1 Our next few lessons make a special point of firming up your willingness to make your weak commitment strong, your scattered goals blend into one intent. You are not asked for total dedication all the time, as yet. But you are asked to practice now in order to attain the sense of peace such unified commitment will bestow, if only intermittently. It is experiencing this which makes it sure that you will give your total willingness to following the way the course sets forth.

2 Our lessons now are geared specifically to widening horizons and direct approaches to the special blocks which keep your vision narrow and too limited to let you see the value of our goal. We are attempting now to lift these blocks, however briefly. Words alone can not convey the sense of liberation which their lifting brings. But the experience of freedom and of peace that comes as you give up your tight control of what you see speaks for itself. Your motivation will be so intensified that words become of little consequence. You will be sure of what you want and what is valueless.

3 And so we start our journey beyond words by concentrating first on what impedes our progress still. Experience of what exists beyond defensiveness remains beyond achievement while it is denied. It may be there, but you cannot accept its presence. So we now attempt to go past all defenses for a little while each day. No more than this is asked because no more than this is needed. It will be enough to guarantee the rest will come.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 195
Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

1 Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss. The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others. And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they. How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts! For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause, and who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more? Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.

2 It is insane to offer thanks because of suffering. But it is equally insane to fail in gratitude to One Who offers you the certain means whereby all pain is healed and suffering replaced with laughter and with happiness. Nor could the even partly sane refuse to take the steps which He directs and follow in the way He sets before them to escape a prison that they thought contained no door to the deliverance they now perceive.

3 Your brother is your "enemy" because you see in him the rival for your peace, a plunderer who takes his joy from you and leaves you nothing but a black despair so bitter and relentless that there is no hope remaining. Now is vengeance all there is to wish for. Now can you but try to bring him down to lie in death with you, as useless as yourself, as little left within his grasping fingers as in yours.

4 You do not offer God your gratitude because your brother is more slave than you, nor could you sanely be enraged if he seems freer. Love makes no comparisons. And gratitude can only be sincere if it is joined to love. We offer thanks to God our Father that in us all things will find their freedom. It will never be that some are loosed while others still are bound, for who can bargain in the name of love?

5 Therefore give thanks, but in sincerity. And let your gratitude make room for all who will escape with you—the sick, the weak, the needy and afraid, and those who mourn a seeming loss or feel apparent pain, who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk the way of hatred and the path of death. All these go with you. Let us not compare ourselves with them, for thus we split them off in our awareness from the unity we share with them, as they must share with us.

6 We thank our Father for one thing alone—that we are separate from no living thing and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions ever can be made which would reduce our wholeness nor impair or change our function to complete the One Who is Himself completion. We give thanks for every living thing, for otherwise we offer thanks for nothing and we fail to recognize the gifts of God to us.

7 Then let our brothers lean their tired heads against our shoulders as they rest a while. We offer thanks for them. For if we can direct them to the peace that we would find, the way is opening at last to us. An ancient door is swinging free again; a long forgotten Word re-echoes in our memory and gathers clarity as we are willing once again to hear.

8 Walk then in gratitude, the way of love. For hatred is forgotten when we lay comparisons aside. What more remains as obstacles to peace? The fear of God is now undone at last, and we forgive without comparing. Thus we cannot choose to overlook some things and yet retain some other things still locked away as sins. When your forgiveness is complete, you will have total gratitude, for you will see that everything has earned the right to love by being loving, even as your Self.

9 Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice, and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness and to a self-perception which regards us in a place of merciless pursuit where we are badgered ceaselessly and pushed about without a thought or care for us or for our future. Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions. God has cared for us and calls us Son. Can there be more than this?

10 Our gratitude will pave the way to Him and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of. Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is, the other must be found. For gratitude is but an aspect of the love which is the Source of all creation. God gives thanks to you, His Son, for being what you are—His own completion and the source of love, along with Him. Your gratitude to Him is one with His to you. For love can walk no road except the way of gratitude, and thus we go who walk the way to God.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 195
Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

Think of the ways in which you are grateful. What are you grateful for today? Are you grateful that you have a place to live, unlike those who find themselves homeless? Are you grateful that you have a job while others don't? Are you grateful that you are healthy, unlike someone who is sick and suffering? Are you grateful that you have a partner, unlike someone who is alone? Or you may feel, "There but for the grace of God go I. At least I am better off than that person."
We may be grateful that God saved us from a car accident, even if others had to lose their lives. We may be grateful when our team wins, although the other team lost. We may be grateful that we beat someone to the front of the line in the grocery store or we beat them to the parking place. In these examples, aren't we basically being grateful that we have gained at someone else's loss? This kind of gratitude depends on seeing ourselves winning when someone is losing. In other words, this kind of gratitude is all about comparison and differences. Jesus says, "It is insane to offer thanks because of suffering," (W.195.2.1) but that is the ego's notion of gratitude, which is based on differences. It is based on the principle of "one or the other."
Specialness always makes comparisons. On our spiritual path, we even compare ourselves to those who are more or less enlightened than we are. We go through our lives with the mantras of "better than" or "worse than" everywhere we look. "The ego literally lives by comparisons." (T.4.II.7.1) (ACIM OE T.4.III.32) We feel superior when we feel better than someone else and angry, diminished, or jealous when we feel worse than someone else. It is truly the disease of the ego, and it is the dark side of the ego's version of gratitude. It is important to bring these dark thoughts to awareness, rather than to deny the thoughts and feelings that arise in us. The reality is that we do make these kinds of judgments. It is an aspect of the separation. Jesus understands that this is our condition when he says, "But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone 'better,' someone incapable of being like what he condemns, 'above' it, sinless by comparison with it." (T.24.I.4.2) (ACIM OE T.24.II.6)
When you see your brother as better than you, then "Your brother is your "enemy" because you see in him the rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you," (W.195.3.1) This goes back to the discussion of special love and special hate relationships in which Jesus says that if we see our brother as having something we don't have, we believe he has something that was actually taken from us. If he is the one winning in this competition between us, "Now is vengeance all there is to wish for." (W.195.3.2) Now, all we want in this rivalry is to see him diminished because he has what we believe we rightly deserve. We may, for example, experience this when those, who seem to have it all, take a fall. We enjoy these moments because we no longer see ourselves as "less than" someone who previously seemed superior. We now see ourselves as taking back what we think we rightly deserve. It is a situation of gaining our happiness at someone else's expense. Of course, we assume the same program is running in their minds too. In the same way, we are upset and angry if someone has more than we do. This is the nature of the ego thought system---it is always "one or the other."
Comparisons are everywhere in this world of separation and competition. Clearly, we see ourselves as better than those who murder and hurt others, but Jesus says, "Love makes no comparisons." (W.195.4.2) "Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see." (T.24.II.1.6) (ACIM OE T.24.III.12) Our specialness depends on seeing the lack in others while purporting the innocence in ourselves. We want to see them as the guilty ones so we can see ourselves in a better light. Yet if we are willing to look at our own minds with great honesty, we will see our own hateful, murderous thoughts and realize that the content of the ego mind is always the same.
Jesus says that the thoughts we have as a result of comparison with others are "pitiful and depreciating." (W.195.1.4) The comparisons we make create a tremendous burden for us. They are a significant obstacle to our peace. Any comparisons made are unloving because the comparison is a way of setting things apart. They are another way to keep the separation going and to see our brothers as different from ourselves. "Let us not compare ourselves with them, for thus we split them off from our awareness of the unity we share with them, as they must share with us." (W.195.5.4) Comparison is a way that we avoid our reality of Oneness with all of our brothers.
We can indeed be grateful that we are given the means to turn these dark thoughts over for healing. We are given the means to escape this prison-house we made. There is "One Who offers you the certain means whereby all pain is healed, and suffering replaced with laughter and with happiness." (W.195.2.2) Pain and suffering are always the result of our investment in specialness, but true gratitude, based on love, can show us the way. When gratitude is joined with love, we recognize our sameness. We share the same thought system that brought us into the experience of this world of duality, but we also share the same One Self. Our sameness reflects the Oneness of our reality. We can be truly grateful that, instead of the bargaining and the reciprocity that are part of the special relationship in which we always try to benefit at the expense of our brother, our freedom can be found in the recognition of the sameness we share. This sameness is a reflection of the Oneness of Heaven. It is recognizing that as we are released, our brothers are as well. While we imprison them with our judgments, we imprison ourselves.
We all share the same purpose. We all want to escape from this prison-house, but we can't do it when we hold thoughts of specialness. These are thoughts of comparison and differences. In fact, Jesus asks us to question why we would want to hold onto this kind of insanity and turn away from him and the peace and joy that he is offering us. "Nor could the even partly sane refuse to take the steps which He directs, and follow in the way He sets before them, to escape a prison that they thought contained no door to the deliverance they now perceive." (W.195.2.3) It requires for us to ask ourselves how we could possibly trust what we think and feel. To refuse to question our perceptions is to continue in our insanity, relying on our false ideas of who our brothers are.
The ideas presented in this Lesson are that gratitude is not about raising ourselves above anyone but recognizing the unity we share with everyone. Thus, true gratitude is to the Holy Spirit, Who has given us the means to recognize our Oneness. "Faith and belief and vision are the means by which the goal of holiness is reached." (T.21.III.4.1) (ACIM OE T.21.IV.32) Gratitude makes room for "the sick, the weak, the needy and afraid, and those who mourn a seeming loss or feel apparent pain, who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk the way of hatred and the path of death." (W.195.5.2) In other words, to raise ourselves above anyone at all is to keep ourselves separate and alone.
When we are tempted to look at anyone and be grateful that we are not like them, we exclude ourselves from love. We all share the same unity. (W.195.5.3) Only when we experience the inclusiveness of all our brothers is gratitude sincere. Otherwise, we are thankful for nothing but the suffering of others. However, if we extend gratitude to everyone, the way opens up for us to know our Self and be grateful for it. It comes from a recognition that we are not lacking. We already have been given everything. No one can take peace from us. It is in us. "Our gratitude will pave the way to Him, and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of." (W.195.10.1) It goes hand in hand with love.
What is true gratitude? It is gratitude for our Oneness and for being given the means to go home together. We are grateful for all of our brothers with no exceptions! Am I to be grateful to those who push my buttons (which elicits my anger and rage), those who seem to abandon me, or those who hurt me? The answer here is a resounding Yes ! Gratitude for all events, circumstances, and difficulties will move us forward immeasurably; and how could we ever access the guilt in the mind without the help of those who bring it to our awareness? Without them, we could have no way of experiencing it. That is why this supposed enemy is really our savior from hell. When we recognize this, we can actually turn our anger and revenge into a song of gratitude. While it may seem difficult, our part is actually simple. We acknowledge our thoughts and release them to the Holy Spirit. He will do the rest. We can be grateful that we have been given everything. We are not lacking. We have within us what we look for outside of ourselves.
Regine Akers recently wrote a piece that relates beautifully to the gifts our brothers can offer, in which she says: "It is easy to feel enlightened or transformed or spiritual when things seem to be going your way...when people agree with you, when they state how much they like you, when they do as you ask. But if there is a need for these things, the ego will rise again, because the ego is always there. When the ego rises with some type of upset or suffering, you can deny it or explain it away but if this is done, the gift is being missed. There is a great gift in ego appearing from hiding. The gift is finding the path to freedom again. One may need to admit I wasn't as far along as I thought. That is OK. You've found the path again. Yay! Now for those earlier practices of forgiveness, observation, and attachment. Rest, accept, trust. Watch your thoughts and feel your emotions but don't believe them or act on them. Wait and let the storm pass. Do nothing. Just watch. Above all else, blame no one or nothing. Even what seems to be your current pain, be grateful. Be vigilant and grateful. You never really wanted to fool yourself anyway. Thank God you are at home."
Honor is the natural greeting of the truly loved to others who are like them. Jesus says, "Give only honor to the Sons of the living God, and count yourself among them gladly." (T.7.VII.5.8) (ACIM OE T.7.VIII.75) Honor is due everyone because they are as God created them, one with me. Truly, I can be grateful for all of the blessings, as well as for the opportunities these brothers and sisters offer me for my forgiveness and healing. Wow, if only we could keep this at the top of our awareness all through the day today. Today, as I think of each of you, I am truly grateful that you take this journey with me. I am grateful that we all go together. I am grateful for this Course and for the opportunities to release comparisons, specialness, and all thoughts that keep us separate. "Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness, and to a self-perception which regards us in a place of merciless pursuit, where we are badgered ceaselessly, and pushed about without a thought or care for us or for our future. Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions. God has cared for us, and calls us Son. Can there be more than this?" (W.195.9.1-6)
"Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge." (W.195.9.1) In other words, we bring awareness to our ungrateful attitude in which we feel better than others. We uncover this attitude in our own minds so we are not simply doing a spiritual bypass, trying hard to see our brother beyond our own judgments. This will never work. We must face our own darkness and be willing to acknowledge our judgments. We must put them on the inner altar and be grateful for the gift this practice offers us. We need not be grateful for anyone’s behavior but only for the awareness that it brings to our own minds. We can be grateful that we can't change the truth of what we are. We are still One with God. Nothing else is real. Open today to the deep peace that comes from the recognition that no dream can change our reality. Love is the only reality!
Love and blessings, Sarah


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