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

CHAPTER 18
The Dream and the Reality

X. The Delusional Thought System

84 You have been told to bring the darkness to the light and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate, which the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping and needs no guide. Yet this wild and delusional thought needs help because in its delusions it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.

85 This is the little part of you you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven. Heaven has not lost it, but you have lost sight of Heaven. Let the Holy Spirit remove it from the withered kingdom in which you set it off, surrounded by darkness, guarded by attack, and reinforced by hate. Within its barricades is still a tiny segment of the Son of God, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what you think surrounds it. Be you not separate, for the One Who does surround it has brought union to you, returning your little offering of darkness to the eternal Light.

86 How is this done? It is extremely simple, being based on what this little kingdom really is. The barren sands, the darkness and the lifelessness are seen only through the body's eyes. Its vision is distorted, and the messages it transmits to you who made it to limit your awareness are little and limited and so fragmented they are meaningless. From the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind which made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true. For you sent forth these messengers to bring this back to you.

87 Everything these messages relay to you is quite external. There are no messages which speak of what lies underneath, for it is not the body that could speak of this. Its eyes perceive it not; its senses remain quite unaware of it; its tongue cannot relay its messages. Yet God can bring you there if you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon you and leave you there. For it is not His purpose to frighten you, but only yours. You are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear, but He would lead you safely through and far beyond.

88 The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all the illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, vengeance, and betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place, so that the world could rise from it and keep it hidden. Its shadow rises to the surface, enough to hold its most external manifestations in darkness and to bring despair and loneliness to it and keep it joyless. Yet its intensity is veiled by its heavy coverings and kept apart from what was made to keep it hidden. The body cannot see this, for the body arose from this for its protection, which must always depend on keeping it not seen. The body's eyes will never look on it. Yet they will see what it dictates.

89 The body will remain guilt's messenger and will act as it directs as long as you believe that guilt is real. For the reality of guilt is the illusion which seems to make it heavy and opaque, impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego's thought system. Its thinness and transparency are not apparent until you see the light behind it. And then you see it as a fragile veil before the light.

90 This heavy-seeming barrier, this artificial floor which looks like rock, is like a bank of low dark clouds that seems to be a solid wall before the sun. Its impenetrable appearance is wholly an illusion. It gives way softly to the mountain tops which rise above it and has no power at all to hold back anyone willing to climb above it and see the sun. It is not strong enough to stop a button's fall nor hold a feather. [Nothing can rest upon it, for it is but an illusion of a foundation.] Try but to touch it and it disappears; attempt to grasp it and your hands hold nothing.

91 Yet in this cloud bank, it is easy to see a whole world rising. A solid mountain range, a lake, a city, all rise in your imagination, and from the clouds the messengers of your perception return to you, assuring you that it is all there. Figures stand out and move about, actions seem real, and forms appear and shift from loveliness to the grotesque. And back and forth they go, as long as you would play the game of children's make-believe. Yet however long you play it, and regardless of how much imagination you bring to it, you do not confuse it with the world below, nor seek to make it real.

92 So should it be with the dark clouds of guilt, no more impenetrable and no more substantial. You will not bruise yourself against them in traveling through. Let your Guide teach you their unsubstantial nature as He leads you past them, for beneath them is a world of light whereon they cast no shadows. Their shadows lie upon the world beyond them, still further from the light. Yet from them to the light their shadows cannot fall.

93 This world of light, this circle of brightness, is the real world where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it. Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you had laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome. Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by and gently replaced by purity and love.

94 Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love and not its Source. Here you are led that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with love, letting it be itself. A step beyond this holy place [of forgiveness], a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. Here is the Source of light—nothing perceived, forgiven, nor transformed, but merely known .

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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 208
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

[188] The peace of God is shining in me now..

1 I will be still and let the earth be still along with me. And in that stillness, we will find the peace of God. It is within my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

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Lesson 208 Review VI
[188] The peace of God is shining in me now.

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

Are you feeling peace today? If not, does it seem hard to release the obstacles to peace? Are you feeling sad, guilty, distressed, angry, frustrated, tired, bored, anxious, superior, worried, lacking, wishing, expecting, or desiring? Have you told yourself that it is hard to find peace or that it will take you a very long time? Do you believe that it is hard to release distressing feelings? Whatever we tell ourselves affirms the beliefs and concepts we choose to hold onto, but we can also choose to let them go with the help of the Holy Spirit. Do you notice that sometimes you momentarily let go of these obsessive thoughts and feelings, but then take them back and find them playing in your mind again? Releasing the blocks to love is mostly a process, not an event. We just need to stay focused on our desire to heal and to take accountability for our feelings, rather than blaming anyone for making us feel the way we do.
 
It is true that love can move mountains, and in God's Power, all things are possible. We believe it takes time to heal, it is hard to release our grievances, and we will never get over difficult feelings; but, these are all beliefs held by the wrong mind and thus they are false. Can you see that there is some kind of payoff for holding onto these beliefs? Yes, it does seem odd to think that we actually get "juice" from suffering, yet think about what suffering allows you to do. For example, it may give you the attention you crave, or it may prove that you are right about how you have been wronged, or it may be used to punish someone for what they have seemingly done, or ultimately, it proves your reality is a body, separate from God. Yes, even death is so-called proof that we are real and God is not. Everything we hold onto has a payoff or we would not hold onto it. The ultimate payoff is our desire to keep our individual separate self.
 
We can address this struggle with willingness, openness, and determination to choose the Holy Spirit as our Guide. The mountain of anger, fear, and resistance is the mountain that Love can move. Thus, the miracle shifts our perception from one of form, which is the belief that our reality is a body and personality, to the perception of the truth of who we are, which is eternal Spirit. So today, watch the thoughts and beliefs that come up and be willing to release them to the Holy Spirit. These beliefs are being held to keep you separate from the love you are. Recognize that this is the only purpose for holding onto them, which is to prove you are right about yourself, and thus God is wrong. Be willing to be wrong today. Be willing to look with honesty and courage at everything you are hiding and denying in yourself. For example, we are loath to believe that we attack because we intend to hurt. Our first response is to protect our "face of innocence" and choose to believe that we only attack in self-defense.
 
Today, be willing to bring awareness to these denied aspects of the ego mind that hide behind defenses. Stay with the feelings that arise, rather than run away from them. Simply let these feelings rise up in you without judgment. Allow them to be released without using them to attack anyone. Go on with your day, but keep your attention on what you are thinking and feeling. The more you observe your mind the more the ego cannot hide in the darkness. With the acceptance of what you are feeling, without denying what is coming up, healing can be facilitated. Our part is simply to uncover the feelings. The Holy Spirit does the rest. We just need to surrender our need to fix things and our desire to do anything except to give it over to the Holy Spirit. Put your issues and concerns on the inner altar where the Holy Spirit will do the healing. Allow the miracle to open you up to the truth by taking back your projections and taking full responsibility for them.
 
Become aware of the idle thoughts, the frantic thoughts, the self-attacking thoughts, the concerns, and the wishes for things to be different than they are. All can be brought to awareness without judging ourselves. Look at everything that comes up and let it be released. It is a mistake to believe that you should be beyond such thoughts because you are spiritual. Do not let a current of self-talk carry you through the day. Release it and accept the Peace of God instead. How do we do that? Clearly, we have over-learned the ego program, which rules our experience here in this world. Instructions are given us today for very regular practice throughout the day. A great deal of importance is put on this practice. The words we are given in each of these Lessons can change our experience if we apply them to any distressful situation. Words have importance in the Course only to the extent that they point us to the truth. What is essential is that we take in these words with sincerity and dedication, applying them in our daily lives. A lot of focus is being put on frequency and repetition of the idea throughout the day. It is a reflection of the importance given to the goal.
 
Today, make a firm commitment to the practice of the Lesson. Recognize that the peace of God is in you---now. There is nothing to seek but there are blocks to uncover to peace so the light of our being can shine through us and bring blessing to the world. "I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within my heart, which witnesses to God Himself." (W.208.1.2-4) It is always such a joy when we can be the witness of the light and peace in all those we encounter. We will then feel its radiance shine back on us. This is what fills our treasure house with unlimited blessings and blesses us immeasurably.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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