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

CHAPTER 18
The Dream and the Reality

V. The Little Willingness

32 The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer . The desire and the willingness to let it come precedes its coming. You prepare your minds for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego unto Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.

33 Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them, you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.

34 Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness, which comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling-place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you , but only from His Will.

35 The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God's Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself and then expect one to be made for you?

36 You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer it, but merely receive the answer as it is given. In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God's. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:

37 I who am host to God am worthy of Him. He Who established His dwelling-place in me created it as He would have it be. It is not needful that I make it ready for Him, but only that I do not interfere with His plan to restore to me my own awareness of my readiness, which is eternal. I need add nothing to His plan. But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute my own in place of it.

38 And that is all. Add more and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement to it and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourselves to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part and how great is His.

39 It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do. [You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little to receive so much.] And it is very hard for you to realize that it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit's are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing that you cannot give right now .

40 Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. What you believe to be impossible will be if God so wills it, but you will remain quite unaware of it. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your minds, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.

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Part I
Review VI

1 For this review, we take but one idea each day and practice it as often as is possible. Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than 15 minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage and invite the memory of God to come again.

2 With this in mind, we start our practicing in which we carefully review the thoughts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us in our last 20 lessons. Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day. One is enough. But for that one, there must be no exceptions made. And so we need to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole we learn.

3 These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. It is this:

4 I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

5 The day begins and ends with this. And we repeat it every time the hour strikes or we remember in between we have a function that transcends the world we see. Beyond this and a repetition of the special thought we practice for the day, no form of exercise is urged except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind and makes it deaf to reason, sanity, and simple truth.

6 We will attempt to get beyond all words and special forms of practicing for this review. For we attempt this time to reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God. We merely close our eyes and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. For thus is freedom given us from all we did not know and failed to understand.

7 There is but one exception to this lack of structuring. Permit no idle thought to go unchallenged. If you notice one, deny its hold and hasten to assure your mind that this is not what it would have. Then gently let the thought which you denied be given up in sure and quick exchange for the idea you practice for the day.

8 When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation as you say:

9 This thought I do not want. I choose instead….

10 And then repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you thought. Beyond such special applications of each day's idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid your practicing. Instead we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.

11 To Him I offer this review for you. I place you in His charge and let Him teach you what to do and say and think each time you turn to Him. He will not fail to be available to you each time you call to Him to help you. Let us offer Him the whole review we now begin, and let us also not forget to Whom it has been given as we practice day by day, advancing toward the goal He set for us, allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of freedom to the world.

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Lesson 203
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

[183] I call upon God's Name and on my own.

1 The Name of God is my deliverance from every thought of evil and of sin, because it is my own as well as His.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 203 Review VI
[183] I call upon God's Name and on my own.

I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

Each of our last twenty Lessons includes the whole curriculum. When we have an experience of the holy instant/miracle as a result of the application of any one of these Lessons, it is generalized to all Lessons. Each Lesson contributes to remind us who we are as a mind-spirit and not a body.
 
When we observe the conditioned mind that has been deceived into believing it is separate from others and living in a body, we become more and more aware of the values, beliefs, and concepts we hold about ourselves. We have come to accept what our parents, teachers, and friends have told us about ourselves. While there are some aspects of what they have told us that we have discarded, there are other things that are still playing in our subconscious minds. By looking at the thoughts, beliefs, and self-concepts we hold, we can begin to question their reality. As Byron Katie asks, "Is this the truth?" "Can you absolutely know it is the truth?" "How do you feel when you think this about yourself?" "Who would you be without that thought?"
 
We believe that there is a world we came to at our birth. We are convinced that we live in this world of form and that it continues to define us. We identify with the body and believe that we are lacking and need to pursue things in the world to make us happy. Since we feel we are at the mercy of events and circumstances outside of ourselves, we feel victimized and betrayed by the world. As we become aware of these thoughts, we accept responsibility for them and recognize that we have the power within to choose to let them go. It is the power of the Holy Spirit within the mind. Our part is to be vigilant of our thoughts and to bring them to awareness, realizing we are responsible for the way we interpret every event and circumstance. Now we can bring our interpretations and perceptions to the Holy Spirit, realizing we are wrong about everything we see and willing to be shown another way.
 
I am finding it very helpful to work daily with the Rules for Decision . (T.30.I) (ACIM OE T.30.II) The day starts by affirming, "Today I will make no decisions by myself." (T.30.I.2.2) "But think about the kind of day you want, and tell yourself there is a way in which this very day can happen just like that." (T.30.I.1.8) (ACIM OE T.30.II.2) The fact is that we can’t make decisions by ourselves. They are always made with the ego or the Holy Spirit. When we choose the Holy Spirit as our Guide throughout the day, we give up our own ideas and our judgments about what we should do. It also means "you will not judge the situations where you will be called upon to make response. For if you judge them, you have set the rules for how you should react to them."  (T.30.I.2.4-5) (ACIM OE T.30.II.5) The problem, according to Jesus, is that "You still make up your mind, and then decide to ask what you should do."  (T.30.I.3.2) (ACIM OE T.30.II.6) "Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience, and say: If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me. " (T.30.I.4.1-2) (ACIM OE T.30.II.7-8)
 
As we call upon God's Name and remember our union with Him, it opens the way to the surrender all of our own plans and decisions and to rest in Him, relying on His Voice to guide us throughout the day. In the Manual for Teachers, Jesus tells us that the power, fame, money, physical pleasure, and all the things we pursue in the world mean a lot to the body, but what would a mind need from all of this? The mind only strives for these things if it confuses itself with the body. When we put our investment into our bodily existence, we lose sight of our reality as the Christ Self. This Lesson affirms our reality as an extension of God.
 
As we bring our thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear forward, we can release them to the Name of God and only then can we have an experience of our true identity. Today, we take the thoughts that hurt us and place them on the inner altar where healing happens. We are not our own healers. We simply rely on the healing power of the Holy Spirit within. If healing does not happen, it is only because our willingness to release the painful thoughts is weak. We may still be holding onto the thoughts and beliefs, rather than truly giving them over; or we may willingly put them on the altar, but then take them back as the mind starts, once again, to obsess about a difficult situation. It does not matter. The practice we employ is to give over the thoughts again and again, as they come up.
 
Today, we look at every opportunity that shows up for us in the events and activities of the day. They are all important to our practice of forgiveness. We apply the teaching given us in each of these Lessons to specific experiences in our lives. All of these events in our day serve the Holy Spirit’s curriculum, which is for the healing of the mind. "The Holy Spirit teaches you to use what the ego has made, to teach the opposite of what the ego has ‘learned’." (T.7.IV.3.3) (ACIM OE T.7.IV.22) It can be said that nothing is happening to us, as it is all for us. What can be more important in our day than to shift the mind to what the Holy Spirit would have us recognize? Paying attention to the activity of the mind, where we judge, defend and attack, is essential. We stay focused on watching the mind and giving over everything we have learned to the Holy Spirit.
 
Today, we put our attention on the quiet center in our minds. This is where the experience of God and Oneness resides. Now we can have a respite from this world if only for an instant, as a result of a moment of deliverance from the seeming demands of the tyrant within.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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