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

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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A Course in Miracles

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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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 209
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

[189] I feel the Love of God within me now.

1 The Love of God is what created me. The Love of God is everything I am. The Love of God proclaimed me as His Son. The Love of God within me sets me free.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 209 Review VI
[189] I feel the Love of God within me now.

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

The Introduction to this Review tells us to remind ourselves hourly, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me." A "deep relinquishment" (W.RVI.IN.3.8) is called for "of everything that clutters up the mind, and makes it deaf to reason, sanity and simple truth." (W.RVI.IN.3.8) What clutters up your mind today? What are the beliefs, worries, concerns, or distractions in the way of the love you are? These are thoughts that block love from our awareness. When this happens, we are not able to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Introduction to the Review proposes that "When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation, as you say: This thought I do not want. I choose instead ---[Today’s Lesson] I feel the Love of God within me now." (W.RVI.IN.6.2-3) I am as God created me. I am love, not this false self that I have come to believe I am. Today, I start my day by determining the kind of day I want. I remember that "Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation." (T.30.VI 1-2) (ACIM OE T.30.VII.70) Whenever I am tempted to become angry or to attack, I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit that I might experience peace throughout the day.
Today, we claim the power to create, which we can do when we "become vigilant only for God and His Kingdom." (T.7.I.2.8) (ACIM OE T.7.I.2) Jesus tells us, "To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained." (T.7.I.3.3-4) (ACIM OE T.7.I.3) God's love created us because His love cannot be contained. It keeps flowing outward, and when we accept ourselves as love, we cannot help but extend love because it too cannot be contained. "The ego, on the other hand, always demands reciprocal rights, because it is competitive rather than loving. It is always willing to strike a bargain, but it cannot understand that to be like another means that no bargains are possible." (T.7.I.4.1-2) (ACIM OE T.7.II.4) When we bargain, we lose sight of our reality. It is all about trying to get something we believe is lacking in ourselves, but Jesus reminds us that "To gain you must give, not bargain," (T.7.I.4.3) (ACIM OE T.7.II.4) because in giving, you but give to yourself.
Jesus is our example of a healed mind. He gave only love to the Kingdom. He said this was because he knew his reality only as God's Son. We don't believe that we are only love. We believe we are love some of the time, but also bodies and personalities with variable moods. We believe we are two selves in conflict. Yet Jesus has come to remind us of who we really are in truth. He has given us a spiritual technology, through this Course, which, when applied, brings us home to our Self.
We are only one Self. "What you believe you are determines your gifts, and if God created you by extending Himself as you, you can only extend yourself as He did." (T.7.I.5.2) (ACIM OE T.7.II.5) The ego has no gifts to give, as it is only about taking for itself, though pretending to be kind and loving. It puts on a pretense in order to get what it wants, knowing it must give something in order to get.
To undo the ego is to undo our false beliefs about ourselves. Any belief, any self-concept, any concern, or any issue we grapple with today is what blocks awareness of our true Self. By turning over our misguided perceptions to the Holy Spirit, the truth shines through us. Today, we are asked to remain vigilant for the Kingdom by watching our thoughts. The truth is in us in the silence of our right minds. We are created by God, and as such, we have all His attributes. As we connect to our Source, we extend love, and in this extension, we create in the same way God created us.
I was aware, yesterday, of how much I wanted to be "left alone." It was not a happy state, and there was no peace. I looked at the thoughts of wanting space from my brothers. I have had a pattern of wanting to escape whenever I feel conflict or tension in a relationship. I recognize how much I still value the little gap between myself and my brother because I still see love as treacherous. I feel safety in my aloneness.
Our fear of love reflects our fear of God. It is "The greatest obstacle that peace must flow across. . ." (T.29.I.3.2) (ACIM OE T.29.I.3) It reflects the fear of God's punishment, that we hold in the mind, for our perceived sins. Jesus reminds us that we keep our brothers at a distance because "A cautious friendship, and limited in scope and carefully restricted in amount, became the treaty you had made with him. Thus you and your brother but shared a qualified entente, in which a clause of separation was a point you both agreed to keep intact." (T.29.I.3.8-9) (ACIM OE T.29.I.3) "It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer, and separate till you and he elect to meet again." (T.29.I.4.3) (ACIM OE T.29.II.4) "The body saves you, for it gets away from total sacrifice and gives to you the time in which to build again your separate self, which you truly believe diminishes as you and your brother meet." (T. 29.I.4.7) (ACIM OE T.29.II.4) Though we made this agreement with our brother, we made a more binding agreement with our Father to return to Him.
The gap we value between ourselves and our brothers is the same gap we want to maintain with God. While I can profess that I am not a body and that I feel the love within me now, I need to do the work of releasing the fears that maintain the desire to escape. This is where vigilance in watching our thoughts becomes so important. When we state, "I want my space," or "I need to establish boundaries," we are really affirming separateness. Too much closeness can start to feel threatening, demanding, invasive, and smothering. We value our independence. For me, it has been a lifelong process of establishing my independence and my fear of being controlled. Being controlled felt dangerous and made me feel vulnerable. Getting in touch with these fears allows for the healing. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge.
When we look at the darkness, with the light of Jesus beside us, these fears lose their power. Thus, the ego program can be exposed. The ego is nothing but thoughts we hold to be true. The ego is nothing, and it is nowhere. However, when we identify with our thoughts, we become what we are thinking. If I hold beliefs that I am stupid, unworthy, or bad, these beliefs become my identity, but they do not constitute the truth of what I am. Therefore, we can safely look at these beliefs as they do not define us. Who is it that does the looking anyway? The mind that is the observer of our thoughts is where sanity resides. Yes, it takes courage, honesty, and vigilance because our vulnerability is exposed, but the result is greater freedom and lightness. We experience more joy and peace until the final doubt-thought can be released and only awareness shines forth. The love we are, which illuminates our minds and brings freedom, no longer has to be defended or demanded. It simply is.
Today, use the Lesson to remind yourself of the truth and try to remember to use it in any situation where you feel tempted to judge or attack. The truth is that we are not different. We are both set free when one of us remembers there is only God's love and nothing else is true about anyone. "The Love of God is what created me. The Love of God is everything I am. The Love of God proclaimed me as His Son. The Love of God within me sets me free." (W.209.1.2-5)
We continue to do our daily practice with morning and evening meditations of fifteen minutes, repeating the Lesson and then spending time in silence, being attentive to guidance from the Holy Spirit throughout the day. We continue hourly practice, reminding ourselves of the thought for the day and expressing gratitude to the Holy Spirit for His presence in our minds. We continue to bring awareness to the thoughts that block the truth about ourselves. We listen for guidance and bring the Lesson to our minds as often as possible throughout the day. If anything tempts you to lose your peace throughout the day, use it as another opportunity to apply the Lesson in a form that addresses the issue. As an example, you might choose to say, "The Love of God within me sets me free from this difficult situation that I seem to be facing."

Love and blessings, Sarah


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