"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
Beyond the Body
IV. The Unreality of Sin
The attraction of guilt is found in sin, not error. Sin will be repeated because of this attraction. Fear can become so acute that the sin is denied the acting out, but while the guilt remains attractive the mind will suffer and not let go of the idea of sin. For guilt still calls to it, and the mind hears it and yearns for it, making itself a willing captive to its sick appeal. Sin is an idea of evil that cannot be corrected and will be forever desirable. As an essential part of what the ego thinks you are, you will always want it. And only an avenger with a mind unlike your own could stamp it out through fear.
The ego does not think it possible that love, not fear, is really called upon by sin and always
. For the ego brings sin to
, demanding punishment. Yet punishment is but another form of guilt's protection, for what is deserving punishment must have been really done. Punishment is always the great preserver of sin, treating it with respect and honoring its enormity. [What must be punished
must be true
. And what is true
be eternal and
be repeated endlessly.] For what you think is real you want and will not let it go. An error, on the other hand, is not attractive. What you see clearly as a mistake you want corrected.
Sometimes a sin can be repeated over and over with obviously distressing results but without the loss of its appeal. And suddenly you change its status from a sin to a mistake. Now you will not repeat it; you will merely stop and let it go unless the guilt remains. For then you will but change the form of sin, granting that it was an error but keeping it uncorrectable. This is not really a change in your perception, for it is sin that calls for punishment, not error. The Holy Spirit cannot punish sin. Mistakes He recognizes and would correct them all as God entrusted Him to do. But sin He knows not, nor can He recognize mistakes which cannot be corrected. For a mistake which cannot be corrected is meaningless to Him.
correction, and they call for nothing else. What calls for punishment must call for nothing. Every mistake
be a call for love. What, then, is sin? What could it be but a mistake you would keep hidden—a call for help that you would keep unheard and thus unanswered? In time the Holy Spirit clearly sees the Son of God can make mistakes. On this you share His vision. Yet you do not share His recognition of the difference between time and eternity. And when correction is completed, time is eternity.
Time is like a downward spiral which seems to travel down from a long, unbroken line along another plane but which in no way breaks the line or interferes with its smooth continuousness. Along the spiral, it seems as if the line must have been broken. Yet at the line, its wholeness is apparent. Everything seen from the spiral is misperceived, but as you approach the line, you realize that it was not affected by the drop into another plane at all. Yet from the plane, the line seems discontinuous. And this is but an error in perception which can be easily corrected in the mind, although the body's eyes will see no change. The eyes see many things the mind corrects, and you respond, not to the eyes' illusions, but to the mind's corrections.
You see the line as broken, and as you shift to different aspects of the spiral, the line looks different. Yet in your mind is One Who knows it is unbroken and forever changeless. This One can teach you how to look on time differently and see beyond it, but not while you believe in sin. In error, yes; for this can be corrected by the mind. But sin is the belief that your perception is unchangeable and that the mind must accept as true what it is told through it. If it does not obey, the mind is judged insane. The only power which could change perception is thus kept impotent, held to the body by the
of changed perception which its teacher, who is one with it, would bring.
When you are tempted to believe that sin is real, remember this: If sin is real, both God and you are not. If creation is extension, the Creator must have extended Himself, and it is impossible that what is part of Him is totally unlike the rest. If sin is real, God must be at war with Himself. He must be split and torn between good and evil—partly sane and partially insane. For He must have created what wills to destroy Him and has the
to do so. Is it not easier to believe that you have been mistaken than to believe in this?
While you believe that your reality or your brother's is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious. For the belief that bodies limit mind leads to a perception of the world in which the proof of separation seems to be everywhere. And God and His creation seem to be split apart and overthrown. For sin would prove what God created holy could not prevail against it nor remain itself before the power of sin. Sin is perceived as
than God, before which God Himself must bow and offer His creation to its conqueror. Is this humility or madness?
If sin were real, it would forever be beyond the hope of healing. For there would be a power beyond God's, capable of making another will which could attack His Will and
it and give His Son a will apart from His and
. And each part of God's fragmented creation would have a different will, opposed to His and in eternal opposition to Him and to each other. Your holy relationship has as its purpose now the goal of proving this is impossible. Heaven has smiled upon it, and the belief in sin has been uprooted in its smile of love. You see it still because you do not realize that its foundation has gone. Its source has been removed, and so it can be cherished but a little while before it vanishes. Only the habit of looking for it still remains.
And yet you look with Heaven's smile upon your lips and Heaven's blessing on your sight. You will not see it long. For in the new perception, the mind corrects it when it seems to be seen, and it becomes invisible. And errors are quickly recognized and quickly given to correction to be healed, not hidden. You will be healed of sin and all its ravages the instant that you give it no power over each other. And you will help each other overcome mistakes by joyously releasing one another from the belief in sin.
In the holy instant, you will see the smile of heaven shining on both of you. And you will shine upon each other in glad acknowledgment of the grace that has been given you. For sin will not prevail against a union Heaven has smiled upon. Your perception was healed in the holy instant Heaven gave you. Forget what you have seen and raise your eyes in faith to what you now can see. The barriers to heaven will disappear before your holy sight, for you who were sightless have been given vision, and you can see. Look not for what has been removed but for the glory that has been restored for you to see.
Look upon your Redeemer and behold what He would show you in each other, and let not sin arise again to blind your eyes. For sin would keep you separate, but your Redeemer would have you look upon each other as yourself. Your relationship is now a temple of healing—a place where all the weary ones can come and find rest. Here is the rest that waits for all after the journey. And it is brought nearer to all by your relationship.
As this peace extends from deep inside yourselves to embrace all the Sonship and give it rest, it will encounter many obstacles. Some of them you will try to impose. Others will seem to arise from elsewhere—from your brothers and from various aspects of the world outside. Yet peace will gently cover them, extending past completely unhindered. The extension of the Holy Spirit's purpose from your relationship to others to bring them gently in [has already begun. This is the way in which He will bring means and goal in line. The peace He laid deep within
of you] will quietly extend to every aspect of your lives, surrounding both of you with glowing happiness and the calm awareness of complete protection. And you will carry its message of love and safety and freedom to everyone who draws nigh unto your temple, where healing waits for him.
You will not wait to give him this, for you will call to him and he will answer you, recognizing in your call the Call of God. And you will draw him in and give him rest, as it was given you. All this will you do. Yet the peace which already lies deeply within must first expand and flow across the obstacles you placed before it. This will you do, for nothing undertaken with the Holy Spirit remains unfinished. You can indeed be sure of nothing you see outside you, but of this you
be sure: the Holy Spirit asks that you offer Him a resting-place where you will rest in Him. He answered you and entered your relationship. Would you not now return His graciousness and enter into a relationship with Him? For it is He Who offered your relationship the gift of holiness, without which it would have been forever impossible to appreciate each other.
The gratitude you owe to Him He asks but that you receive for Him. And when you look with gentle graciousness upon each other, you
beholding Him. For you are looking where He
and not apart from Him. You cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can see your brothers truly. And the light in them will show you all that you need to see. When the peace in you has been extended to encompass everyone, the Holy Spirit's function here will be accomplished. What need is there for seeing then? When God has taken the last step Himself, the Holy Spirit will gather all your thanks and gratitude which you have offered Him and lay them gently before His Creator in the name of His most holy Son. And the Father will accept them in His Name. What need is there of seeing in the presence of His gratitude?
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A Course in Miracles
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.
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.
These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. It is this:
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
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.
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.
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.
When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation as you say:
This thought I do not want. I choose instead….
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.
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
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
 I place the future in the hands of God.
The past is gone; the future is not yet. Now am I freed from both. For what God gives can only be for good. And I accept but what He gives as what belongs to me.
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Lesson 214 Review VI
 I place the future in the Hands* of God.
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
Chapter 18 VI (ACIM OE VII) describes the ego strategy very clearly, telling us that the ego made up a story that we had sinned and that it was so horrific we had to flee into the body to try to escape from what we have done.
"And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize. You have displaced your guilt to your body from your mind. Yet a body cannot be guilty, for it can do nothing of itself."
(T.18.VI.2.4-6) (ACIM OE T.18.VII.50) The guilt comes from the belief that we have sinned. So now we try to protect the mind from this thought, which is why the guilt in the mind is projected onto the body and the world. It is all part of a carefully contrived strategy to confuse us about what we are, making us believe that we are a body and not an eternal Child of God. The ego does not want us to remember our identity as Christ because that would be its demise since we would no longer give it any power. We would then claim our true identity as the eternal, unlimited Self.
Presently, we think the body is the problem. It is not good enough, not smart enough, not healthy enough, and seems to make demands on us, gets sick, ages, and dies; but it is not what we are. It was made to put all our attention outside the mind and onto the body and the world, which now seems to be solid and real. The body was given senses to prove that there is a world out there that is external to us and has no reality. Only mind has reality. What we experience in the body and the world is all a dream. We see ourselves as victims of events beyond our control, over which we have no power. The story of sin and guilt, which the ego made up, is kept hidden by our decision not to look at its source in the mind. We can exercise choice, once we become aware of the ego's strategy.
In Chapter 18 VII (ACIM OE 18 VIII)
"I Need Do Nothing,"
we are told that we still have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. All our plans, in one way or another, involve the body, its comfort, its protection, and its enjoyment. Much time and attention goes into taking care of the body, washing it, feeding it, pampering it, exercising it, resting it, and pleasuring it. It becomes the focus of all our attention. In this way, the body becomes an end in itself and not the means to awaken from this dream. It becomes the entire focus of our existence, instead of a useful tool for communicating love. What is startling to remember is that the body does not exist at all in the present moment. It is always remembered or anticipated. It is why, when we enter the present, the NOW, the body is forgotten. It is nothing and nowhere. In the experience of the holy instant, we have a glimpse of the eternal formless Self that is our reality.
In Chapter 18 VIII (ACIM OE T.18 IX), Jesus tells us that the body is a limit on love. The belief in limited love was the origin of the body. It was made to limit the unlimited.
"The body is a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and complete idea."
(T.18.VIII.2.5) (ACIM OE T.18.IX.72) In the experience of the holy instant, there is an experience of the expansive unlimited Self where the body is forgotten.
What keeps us from this experience? We say we want it, yet there is resistance, but Jesus tells us,
"Release is given you the instant you desire it."
(T.18.VII.4.3) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.66) It is thus our desire that determines our release.
"Now you must learn that only infinite patience produces immediate effects."
(T.5.VI.12.1) (ACIM OE T.5.VIII.81) It is not something we need to strive for. The truth is that we are, at this very moment, in a state of infinite bliss and love, and the reason we need do nothing is that there is nothing we
do to change the truth about ourselves. Who we are is always with us as our reality. We have just forgotten, but we are now preparing our minds to remember. We do so by removing the blocks to love, which is about bringing all our misperceptions to awareness and taking responsibility for them without judging ourselves.
"In silence and in true humility I seek God's glory, to behold it in the Son whom He created as my Self."
(W.211.1.2) Humility means that we let go of our plans and our intentions on how to achieve the holy instant. We don't know, and that is a relief. We can leave it all in God's Hands. As Jesus reminds us,
"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."
(T.18.IV.4.3-4) (ACIM OE T.18.V.35)
"To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention."
(T.18.VII.7.7) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.69) It is a
"quiet center of the storm."
(T.18.VII.8.2) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.70) It is a place free of thoughts, free of guilt, and free of projection. It is where we simply rest in God. There is such sweet release in that moment from the demands we have placed on ourselves and such sweet release from the relentless, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts of the ego.
Think about what keeps you from peace. For me, it is these relentless thoughts that go around and around, regurgitating past events, focusing on events that keep me feeling guilty, planning for future events, gnawing on what has seemingly happened or should happen, and strategizing and fantasizing on how I want things to be. It is not a peaceful state. It produces stress as a result of the mind being obsessively occupied. To pray for peace of mind is not helpful in this kind of situation. What I find helpful is to leave the turmoil and go to where the peace is in the mind. It is to step away from the ego and rest in God.
What does it mean to place the future in the Hands of God? What is fundamental to this is trust. In the Manual for Teachers, we are told that trust is the foundation on which our ability to fulfill our function rests. We are told not to trust in the laws the world made up, but to be governed by the power of God's laws. However, we need an experience of this power in order to develop the trust. Once we do, we will no longer rely as readily on our own petty strength.
"Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of the sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?"
(M.4.I.2.2) No matter how impressed we get with our own power to manifest, which reflects our own strong desires to attract what we think we want, it can still never match the power available to us when we join our will with God's Will.
How do we develop this kind of trust? The process that we go through is one of undoing and sorting the valuable from the valueless, and ultimately,
"It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful."
(M.4.I.A.4.5) Does it feel to you in your life that all events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful? Probably not. Some things seem bad and some we label as good. Yet in the Lesson yesterday, we learned that
"All things are lessons God would have me learn."
(W.193) It is the judgments we make about the events of our lives that hurt us. If we turn the judgments over and learn forgiveness is the answer to all trials and tribulations, we will experience the miracle. We will see every experience providing us with an opportunity to heal our thoughts and see that there is a miracle the Holy Spirit offers us in
situation, no matter how it might appear.
In the section called,
"The Test of Truth"
, Chapter 14 XI (ACIM OE T.14.VII), Jesus tells us how we can tell the difference between the ego and the Holy Spirit.
"You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God's lesson, and not your own."
(T.14.XI.5.1-2) (ACIM OE T.14.VII.63) Sometimes we spend hours trying to figure out what some event or circumstance in our lives means. We look for answers for our lives in every corner of our mind. Yet the only answer is peace. The only answer is to surrender into God. Every problem will dissipate, or if not, it will look very different to us from this place of peace and deep release.
"Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what
(M.17.4.1-2) Now, whatever situation is there in front of us, if there is something to be done, we will be guided and will proceed from a place of peace.
As Jesus reminds us,
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it
necessary to seek for what is false."
(T.16.IV.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.16.V.32) It is all about undoing the guilt in the mind. It is all about clearing the dark clouds that obscure the truth about ourselves. We must refuse to teach ourselves, and instead, we must release ourselves from the belief that we know the answers for our awakening.
"You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is."
(T.18.IV.7.5) (ACIM OE T.18.V.39) We must become as little children who don't know and agree to release our own ideas and to be taught. Whenever our peace is threatened, it is helpful to remember,
"I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now."
(T.14.XI.6.7-9) (ACIM OE T.14. VII.65)
We need help to set aside our ego thought system and be willing to ask. In T.18.IV (ACIM OE T.18.V)
"The Little Willingness,"
Jesus is talking about preparing our minds for the Holy Instant.
"You prepare your mind 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 to Him and confuse the two."
(T.18.IV.1.4-6) (ACIM OE T.V.32) We think we need to do more, yet to do more is only to add the ego into the mix.
Today, we look at our insane thought system again, where we believe our sins of the past deserve punishment. Our belief that we deserve suffering is now put to question. As we do the forgiveness work, we are told,
"And you will see by your experience that you have laid the past and present in His Hands as well, because the past will punish you no more, and future dread will now be meaningless."
(W.194.4-6) Our experience will be one of acceptance of whatever shows up in our lives. We will accept this world as a classroom and the events as opportunities for healing. We will welcome these opportunities; if not in the moment, then when we will eventually see their perfection in supporting our goal for peace.
Today, we step back from our beliefs and look at them from outside of this dream and see that they make no sense. If God is love, He gives only love and brings no punishment, nor can death be true. Whenever we are miserable and unhappy, the ego uses that as proof that God is behind it all. The truth is that holding onto misery is simply a defense we use to prove that God is wrong about us. Now we can look at this with the Holy Spirit, question how the ego has set all of this up, and make another choice. This need not be. You can actively choose to be peaceful.
* Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] follows the shorthand notes, which does not capitalize "hands".
Love and blessings, Sarah
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