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

CHAPTER 19
Beyond the Body

V. Obstacles to Peace
a. The First Obstacle: The Desire to Get Rid of It

40 The first obstacle that peace must flow across is your desire to get rid of it. For it cannot extend unless you keep it. You are the center from which it radiates outward to call the others in. You are its home, its tranquil dwelling-place from which it gently reaches out but never leaving you. If you would make it homeless, how can it abide within the Son of God? If it would spread across the whole creation, it must begin with you and from you reach to everyone who calls and bring him rest by joining you.

41 Why would you want peace homeless? What do you think that it must dispossess to dwell with you? What seems to be the cost you are so unwilling to pay? The little barrier of sand still stands between you. Would you reinforce it now ? You are not asked to let it go for yourselves alone. Christ asks it of you for Himself. He would bring peace to everyone, and how can He do this except through you? Would you let a little bank of sand, a wall of dust, a tiny seeming barrier, stand between your brothers and salvation? And yet, it is this little remnant of attack you cherish still against each other that is the first obstacle the peace in you encounters in its going forth. This little wall of hatred would still oppose the Will of God and keep it limited.

42 The Holy Spirit's purpose rests in peace within you. Yet you are still unwilling to let it join you wholly. You still oppose the Will of God, just by a little. And that little is a limit you would place upon the whole. God's Will is One, not many. It has no opposition, for there is none beside it. What you would still contain behind your little barrier and keep separate from each other seems mightier than the universe, for it would hold back the universe and its Creator. This little wall would hide the purpose of Heaven and keep it from Heaven.

43 Would you thrust salvation away from the giver of salvation? For such have you become. Peace could no more depart from you than from God. Fear not this little obstacle. It cannot contain the Will of God. Peace will flow across it and join you without hindrance. Salvation cannot be withheld from you. It is your purpose. You cannot will apart from this. You have no purpose apart from each other nor apart from the one you asked the Holy Spirit to share with you. The little wall will fall away so quietly beneath the wings of peace! For peace will send its messengers from you to all the world. And barriers will fall away before their coming as easily as those which you would interpose will be surmounted.

44 To overcome the world is no more difficult than to surmount your little wall. For in the miracle of your relationship, without this barrier, is every miracle contained. There is no order of difficulty in miracles, for they are all the same. Each is a gentle winning over from the appeal of guilt to the appeal of love. How can this fail to be accomplished, wherever it is undertaken? Guilt can raise no real barriers against it. And all that seems to stand between you must fall away because of the appeal you answered. For from you who answered, He Who answered you would call. His home is in your holy relationship. Do not attempt to stand between Him and His holy purpose, for it is yours. But let Him quietly extend the miracle of your relationship to everyone contained in it, as it was given.

45 There is a hush in Heaven, a happy expectancy, a little pause of gladness in acknowledgment of the journey's end. For Heaven knows you well, as you know Heaven. No illusions stand between you now. Look not upon the little wall of shadows. The sun has risen over it. How can a shadow keep you from the sun? No more can you be kept by shadows from the light in which illusions end. Every miracle is but the end of an illusion. Such was the journey; such its ending. And in the goal of truth which you accepted must all illusions end.

46 The little insane wish to get rid of Him Who you invited in and push Him out must produce conflict. As you look upon the world, this little wish, uprooted and floating aimlessly, can land and settle briefly upon anything, for it has no purpose now. Before the Holy Spirit entered to abide with you, it seemed to have a mighty purpose; the fixed and unchangeable dedication to sin and its results. Now it is aimless, wandering pointlessly, causing no more than tiny interruptions in love's appeal.

47 This feather of a wish, this tiny illusion, this microscopic remnant of the belief in sin, is all that remains of what once seemed to be the world. It is no longer an unrelenting barrier to peace. Its pointless wandering makes its results appear to be more erratic and unpredictable than before. Yet what could be more unstable than a tightly-organized delusional system? Its seeming stability is its pervasive weakness, which extends to everything. The variability which the little remnant induces merely indicates its limited results.

48 How mighty can a little feather be before the great wings of truth? Can it oppose an eagle's flight or hinder the advance of summer? Can it interfere with the effects of summer's sun upon a garden covered by the snow? See but how easily this little wisp is lifted up and carried away, never to return, and part with it in gladness, not regret. For it is nothing in itself and stood for nothing when you had greater faith in its protection. Would you not rather greet the summer sun than fix your gaze upon a disappearing snowflake and shiver in remembrance of the winter's cold?

The Attraction of Guilt

49 The attraction of guilt produces fear of love, for love would never look on guilt at all. It is the nature of love to look upon only the truth, for there it sees itself, with which it would unite in holy union and completion. As love must look past fear, so must fear see love not. For love contains the end of guilt as surely as fear depends on it. [Love is attracted only to love.] Overlooking guilt completely, it sees no fear. Being wholly without attack, it could not be afraid. Fear is attracted to what love sees not, and each believes that what the other looks upon does not exist. Fear looks on guilt with just the same devotion that love looks on itself. And each has messengers which they send forth and which return to them with messages written in the language in which their going forth was asked.

50 Love's messengers are gently sent and return with messages of love and gentleness. The messengers of fear are harshly ordered to seek out guilt and cherish every scrap of evil and of sin which they can find, losing none of them on pain of death and laying them respectfully before their lord and master. Perception cannot obey two masters, each asking for messages of different things in different languages. What fear would feed upon, love overlooks. What fear demands, love cannot even see.

51 The fierce attraction which guilt holds for fear is wholly absent from love's gentle perception. What love would look upon is meaningless to fear and quite invisible. Relationships in this world are the result of how the world is seen. And this depends on which emotion was called on to send its messengers to look upon it and return with word of what they saw. Fear's messengers are trained through terror, and they tremble when their master calls upon them to serve him. For fear is merciless even to its friends. Its messengers steal guiltily away in hungry search of guilt, for they are kept cold and starving and made very vicious by their master, who allows them to feast only upon what they return to him. No little shred of guilt escapes their hungry eyes. And in their savage search for sin, they pounce on any living thing they see and carry it screaming to their master to be devoured.

52 Send not these savage messengers into the world to feast upon it and to prey upon reality. For they will bring you word of bones and skin and flesh. They have been taught to seek for the corruptible and to return with gorges filled with things decayed and rotted. To them such things are beautiful because they seem to allay their savage pangs of hunger. For they are frantic with the pain of fear and would avert the punishment of him who sends them forth by offering him what they hold dear.

53 The Holy Spirit has given you love's messengers to send instead of those you trained through fear. They are as eager to return to you what they hold dear as are the others. If you send them forth, they will see only the blameless and the beautiful, the gentle and the kind. They will be as careful to let no little act of charity, no tiny expression of forgiveness, no little breath of love escape their notice. And they will return with all the happy things they found, to share them lovingly with you. Be not afraid of them . They offer you salvation. Theirs are the messages of safety, for they see the world as kind.

54 If you send forth only the messengers the Holy Spirit gives you, wanting no messages but theirs, you will see fear no more. The world will be transformed before your sight, cleansed of all guilt and softly brushed with beauty. The world contains no fear which you laid not upon it. And none you cannot ask love's messengers to remove from it and see it still. The Holy Spirit has given you His messengers to send to each other and return to each with what love sees. They have been given to replace the hungry dogs of fear you sent instead. And they go forth to signify the end of fear.

55 Love, too, would set a feast before you on a table covered with a spotless cloth, set in a quiet garden where no sound but singing and a softly joyous whispering is ever heard. This is a feast which honors your holy relationship and at which everyone is welcomed as an honored guest. And in a holy instant, grace is said by everyone together as they join in gentleness before the table of communion. And I will join you there, as long ago I promised and promise still. For in your new relationship am I made welcome. And where I am made welcome, there I am .

56 I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me. For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so Atonement is achieved through murder. Salvation is looked upon as a way by which the Son of God was killed instead of you.

57 Yet would I offer you my body, you whom I love, knowing its littleness? Or would I teach that bodies cannot keep us apart? Mine was no greater value than yours; no better means for communication of salvation, but not its Source. No one can die for anyone, and death does not atone for sin. Yet you can live to show it is not real. The body does appear to be the symbol of sin while you believe that it can get you what you want. While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain.

58 To think you could be satisfied and happy with so little is to hurt yourself, and to limit the happiness that you would have calls upon pain to fill your meager store and make your lives complete. This is completion, as the ego sees it. For guilt creeps in where happiness has been removed and substitutes for it. Communion is another kind of completion which goes beyond guilt because it goes beyond the body.

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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 215
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

[195] Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

1 The Holy Spirit is my only Guide. He walks with me in love. And I give thanks to Him for showing me the way to go.

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Lesson 215 Review VI
[195] Love is the way I walk in gratitude.

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

We continue today with the importance of building on a foundation of trust, which means we do not rely on our own past experience to guide us because it is a very poor guide. Relying on our own past experience means we can never discern with any certainty what is best for everyone in every situation. Only the Holy Spirit can know that, and so we need to turn to Him. He can show us the way to be helpful in any and every situation.

 "I am here only to be truly helpful.
 I am here to represent Him who sent me.
 I do not have to worry about what to say or what
 to do because He Who sent me will direct me.
 I am content to be wherever He wishes knowing
 He goes there with me.
 I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal."  
(T.2.V.A.18.(8).2-6) (ACIM OE T.4.IX.106)
 
When a brother shows up for me and offers what I perceive as difficult lessons, my job is to look at my own mind, rather than to blame or try to change his. "Only the self-accused condemn. As you prepare to make a choice that will result in different outcomes, there is first one thing that must be overlearned. It must become a habit of response so typical of everything you do that it becomes your first response to all temptation, and to every situation that occurs. Learn this, and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize." (T.31.III.1.1-4) (ACIM OE T.31.III.26)
 
Jesus tells us that we must over-learn that "You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own." (T.31.III.1.5) (ACIM OE T.31.III.26) We believe his sins are actually our own. Thus, we judge ourselves so harshly for how we believe we have sinned that we want to get rid of these perceived sins by seeing them in our brothers. But we can be grateful to our brothers for being a mirror for us to see our sins in them, as only by seeing them can they be forgiven.
 
It is a process. What the process involves is surrender. We cannot wake up from this dream unless we are willing to let go of what we think we know and understand. How does this happen? It happens moment by moment, and it takes a lot of practice. What are we surrendering? We surrender the temptation to make up a story about a situation. We surrender our opinions and our need to be right. We surrender our need to speak when nothing needs to be said. We surrender our need to blame, to attack, to justify, and to explain. We surrender our need to accomplish and achieve, and so much more. How does this look? Perhaps you want to blame someone, and then you choose not to. You step back and look within at what you want to accuse your brother of. Perhaps you already have yelled at your brother, but in a saner moment, you step back. You look within to see what you are accusing your brother of, which is a projection from your own mind. As you take responsibility for it, without judgment of yourself, you ask for help for healing your misperceptions.
 
This can take great willingness. It is a process and it takes discipline. The ego does not give up easily, but with each moment that we take to step back and willingly surrender our way, our views, our thoughts, and our opinions, the ego is slowly being undone. The intent here is not to keep the spiritual journey going. To do so is to take up a new concept of spiritual seeker. Our part is to choose peace in every moment. It is to stay motivated to listen and follow guidance in each moment. Where is peace on your list of priorities? If it is important and you really want it, then you need to apply discipline daily. No teacher, no guru, and no book can accomplish for us what we need to do for ourselves, and we do it by our willingness to listen to the inner Voice of Truth, which is always guiding us. We will hear Him when we set our ego aside.
 
Yesterday, Don said he would wash my car. He had driven some distance and it was covered with bugs. Today, as we were driving, I noted to myself that it was not washed, and I felt a twinge of annoyance that he had not kept his commitment. I thought to say something but Holy Spirit put in my mind to be still and not to correct my brother. The temptation was still there to say something but again the Holy Spirit asked me, "Do you want to be right or do you want peace? " I stayed quiet, moved out of the ego, and joined Spirit and all was well. This may seem insignificant to you, and it is. But it is an example of a moment where a choice is made for war or peace, hell or Heaven, and we are making these kinds of decisions all day long.
 
Jesus acknowledges that we may still judge ourselves unworthy of peace and substitute other gifts we think will satisfy us, but he invites us to consider that there are no gifts we give ourselves that will ever bring us peace. "You are free to try as many as you wish, but you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home." (T.15.III.2.5) (ACIM T.15.IV.23) He also acknowledges that this deep responsibility we owe ourselves must be remembered all the time, but that is the hard part. "The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realize that it is true and is but a tribute to your power." (T.15.III.3.2) (ACIM T.15.IV.24)
 
Today, I am grateful that this Course has found me and has taken a hold in my life. I am grateful that I can use every situation for learning, for release, for the miracle, and for the correction of my self-condemning thoughts. I am learning to be increasingly willing to undo the thought system of the ego that has kept me from knowing my true reality. I am even willing to look at where I am unwilling to let go of grievances and to ask for help. There is a better way. I am learning to see my own secret wishes for specialness. Don't we all want everyone in our lives to serve these wishes and the needs we perceive in ourselves? Initially, it can be painful to recognize the way the ego shows up in our lives, but only in this recognition can the release come. We truly do not know our own best interests. In following the ego program, we only invite more pain as we pursue what we think will bring pleasure.
 
We have a Guide we can trust. Our past experiences, no matter how much they have helped us to manage in the world, are still not sufficient to give us perfect judgment. We simply can never know all the variables; but when guidance is sought, and we put the future in the Hands of God, we can walk in perfect trust. Recognizing that we do not know is an important step. How do I know what experience is right for me or for you? How can I judge what is good or what is bad? How can I determine what is the best action to take that will benefit everyone?
 
This morning I was reading Chapter 5.III (ACIM OE T.5.V), "The Guide to Salvation," which again was a reminder that there is a call for love and for understanding in all seeming attacks coming from anyone. Everyone I am seeing is myself reflected back to me. It is my own guilt I put onto others and judge it there when I choose not to take responsibility for it in myself. "See him through the Holy Spirit in his mind, and you will recognize Him in yours. What you acknowledge in your brother you are acknowledging in yourself, and what you share you strengthen." (T.5.III.3.4-5) (ACIM OE T.5.V.34)
 
The reason we need to share it is to strengthen the Voice of the Holy Spirit in us. It is not something we do alone. "It is impossible to hear It [the Voice] in yourself while It is so weak in your mind. It is not weak in Itself, but It is limited by your unwillingness to hear It." (T.5.III.4.4-5) (ACIM OE T.5.V.35) If we want to strengthen our ability to hear guidance, we need to see all seeming attack as a call for love. All guidance comes from the right mind. When we only hear one Voice, we will naturally always be coming from a place of love. We affirm the truth of what we are as Love by seeing the Christ Self in our brother. "If you make the mistake of looking for the Holy Spirit in yourself alone your thoughts will frighten you because, by adopting the ego's viewpoint, you are undertaking an ego-alien journey with the ego as guide. This is bound to produce fear." (T.5.III.4.6-7) (ACIM OE T.5.V.35)
 
If I give my thoughts to the Holy Spirit, He will reinterpret them and bring me out of the guilt of the past and the fear of the future. I just need to be willing to offer my thoughts to Him. "His ability to deal with symbols enables Him to work with the ego's beliefs in its own language." (T.5.III.7.2) (ACIM OE T.5.V.38) He takes us beyond these symbols to show us the light, truth, and magnitude in us. He reminds us of the Self we are, so we can truly walk the path of love in gratitude for His presence in us.
 
No matter how I am feeling and no matter what mistakes I have made, they can all be undone by bringing them to His healing light, which is in me now. As I do, I increasingly trust that "I need do nothing . "  (T.18.VII) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII) I get out of the way and allow His guidance to take me where I need to be, who I need to be with, what to say, and what to do, and to release all investment in the outcome.
 
Today, we affirm, "The Holy Spirit is my only Guide. He walks with me in love. And I give thanks to Him for showing me the way to go." (W.215.1.2-4)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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