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

CHAPTER 19
Beyond the Body

V. Obstacles to Peace
The Lifting of the Veil

97 Forget not that you came this far together. And it was surely not the ego that led you here. No obstacle to peace can be surmounted through its help. It does not open up its secrets and bid you look on them and go beyond them. It would not have you see its weakness and learn it has no power to keep you from the truth. The Guide Who brought you here remains with you, and when you raise your eyes, you will be ready to look on terror with no fear at all. But first lift up your eyes and look upon each other in innocence born of complete forgiveness of each other's illusions and through the eyes of faith, which sees them not.

98 No one can look upon the fear of God unterrified unless he has accepted the Atonement and learned illusions are not real. No one can stand before this obstacle alone, for he could not have reached thus far unless his brother walked beside him. And no one would dare to look on it without complete forgiveness of his brother in his heart. Stand you here a while and tremble not. You will be ready. Let us join together in a holy instant, here in this place where the purpose given in a holy instant has led you. And let us join in faith that He Who brought us here together will offer you the innocence you need and that you will accept it for my love and His.

99 Nor is it possible to look on this too soon. This is the place to which everyone must come when he is ready. Once he has found his brother, he is ready. Yet merely to reach the place is not enough. A journey without a purpose is still meaningless, and even when it is over, it seems to make no sense. How can you know that it is over unless you realize its purpose is accomplished? Here, with the journey's end before you, you see its purpose. And it is here you choose whether to look upon it or wander on, only to return and make the choice again.

100 To look upon the fear of God does need some preparation. Only the sane can look on stark insanity and raving madness with pity and compassion but not with fear. For only if they share in it does it seem fearful, and you do share in it until you look upon each other with perfect faith and love and tenderness. Before complete forgiveness, you still stand unforgiving. You are afraid of God because you fear each other. Those you do not forgive you fear . And no one reaches love with fear beside him.

101 This brother who stands beside you still seems to be a stranger. You do not know him, and your interpretation of him is very fearful. And you attack him still, to keep what seems to be yourself unharmed. Yet in his hands is your salvation. You see his madness, which you hate because you share it. And all the pity and forgiveness that would heal it gives way to fear. Brothers, you need forgiveness of each other, for you will share in madness or in Heaven together. And you will raise your eyes in faith together or not at all.

102 Beside each of you is one who offers you the chalice of Atonement, for the Holy Spirit is in him. Would you hold his sins against him or accept his gift to you? Is this giver of salvation your friend or enemy? Choose which he is, remembering that you will receive of him according to your choice. He has in him the power to forgive your sins, as you for him. Neither can give it to himself alone. And yet your savior stands beside each one. Let him be what he is and seek not to make of love an enemy.

103 Behold your Friend, the Christ Who stands beside you. How holy and how beautiful He is! You thought He sinned because you cast the veil of sin upon Him to hide His loveliness. Yet still He holds forgiveness out to you to share His holiness. This "enemy," this "stranger" still offers you salvation as His Friend. The "enemies" of Christ, the worshipers of sin, know not Whom they attack. This is your brother, crucified by sin, and waiting for release from pain. Would you not offer him forgiveness, when only he can offer it to you? For his redemption, he will give you yours as surely as God created every living thing and loves it. And he will give it truly, for it will be both offered and received.

104 There is no grace of Heaven that you cannot offer to each other and receive from your most holy Friend. Let him withhold it not, for by receiving it you offer it to him. [For he will receive of you what you received of him.] Redemption has been given you to give each other, and thus receive it. Whom you forgive is free, and what you give you share. Forgive the sins your brother thinks he has committed and all the guilt you think you see in him.

105 Here is the holy place of resurrection to which we come again; to which we will return until redemption is accomplished and received. Think who your brother is before you would condemn him. And offer thanks to God that he is holy and has been given the gift of holiness for you. Join him in gladness and remove all trace of guilt from his disturbed and tortured mind. Help him to lift the heavy burden of sin you laid upon him and he accepted as his own, and toss it lightly and with happy laughter away from him. Press it not like thorns against his brow, nor nail him to it unredeemed and hopeless.

106 Give each other faith, for faith and hope and mercy are yours to give. Into the hands that give the gift is given. Look on your brother, and see in him the gift of God you would receive. It is almost Easter, the time of resurrection. Let us give redemption to each other and share in it that we may rise as one in resurrection and not separate in death. Behold the gift of freedom that I gave the Holy Spirit for both of you. And be you free together, as you offer to the Holy Spirit this same gift. And giving it, receive it of Him in return for what you gave. He leadeth you and me together that we might meet here in this holy place and make the same decision.

107 Free your brother here, as I freed you. Give him the self-same gift, nor look upon him with condemnation of any kind. See him as guiltless as I look on you, and overlook the sins he thinks he sees within himself. Offer each other freedom and complete release from sin here in the garden of seeming agony and death. So will we prepare together the way unto the resurrection of God's Son and let him rise again to glad remembrance of his Father, Who knows no sin, no death, but only life eternal.

108 Together we will disappear into the Presence beyond the veil, not to be lost, but found ; not to be seen, but known . And knowing, nothing in the plan God has established for salvation will be left undone. This is the journey's purpose, without which is the journey meaningless. Here is the peace of God, given to you eternally by Him. Here is the rest and quiet that you seek, the reason for the journey from its beginning. Heaven is the gift you owe each other, the debt of gratitude you offer to the Son of God in thanks for what he is and what his Father created him to be.

109 Think carefully how you would look upon the giver of this gift, for as you look on him, so will the gift itself appear to be. As he is seen as either the giver of guilt or of salvation, so will his offering be seen and so received. The crucified give pain because they are in pain. But the redeemed give joy because they have been healed of pain. Everyone gives as he receives, but he must choose what it will be that he receives. And he will recognize his choice by what he gives and what is given him. Nor is it given anything in hell or Heaven to interfere with his decision.

110 You came this far because the journey was your choice. And no one undertakes to do what he believes is meaningless. What you had faith in still is faithful and watches over you in faith so gentle yet so strong that it would lift you far beyond the veil and place the Son of God safely within the sure protection of his Father. Here is the only purpose that gives this world and the long journey through this world whatever meaning lies in them. Beyond this they are meaningless. You stand together, still without conviction they have a purpose. Yet it is given you to see this purpose in your holy Friend and recognize it is your own.

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Lesson 224
God is my Father,
and He loves His Son.

1 My true identity is so secure, so lofty, sinless, glorious and great, wholly beneficent and free from guilt that Heaven looks to it to give it light. It lights the world as well. It is the gift my Father gave me, and the one as well I give the world. There is no gift but this that can be either given or received. This is reality, and only this. This is illusion's end. It is the Truth.

2 My Name, oh Father, still is known to You. I have forgotten it and do not know where I am going, who I am, or what it is I do. Remind me, Father, now, for I am weary of the world I see. Reveal what You would have me see instead.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 224
God is my Father,
and He loves His Son.

 
Sarah's Commentary:
 
These Lessons are now about waiting in quiet expectancy to enter into His presence. He has made an ancient promise to us and He intends to keep it. It is our decision whether we choose to have this experience. We will go as quickly as our fear will allow. God will not override our will.
 
We have developed an identity of a separate self. Our identity includes our bodies, the many traits and attributes we have, the beliefs and opinions we hold, and the self-concepts we think define us---all of them, untrue. All of this is held in the mind, but it can all be shifted when we accept the miracle. The miracle comes when we forgive our false perceptions so that we can experience a reflection of God's Love. Our identity is so lofty that it is beyond anything we can even imagine, but we can have an experience of it which reflects Heaven here. In His quiet presence, we leave behind the concepts we hold of ourselves. We experience His Love, His gratitude, beneficence and beauty, innocence, and a deep sense of rest. Words cannot express the feelings of release from the grips of the ego. It is about letting go of the image we cling to and defend. With the image come judgments, comparisons, and differences, all contributing to our deep fatigue.
 
"The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace.” (T.3.VI.2.1) (ACIM OE T.3.VIII.61) " When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are. All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished. Yet if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment. You will also regard judgment with fear, believing that it will someday be used against you. This belief can exist only to the extent that you believe in the efficacy of judgment as a weapon of defense for your own authority. " (T.3.VI.5.1-10) (ACIM OE T.3.VIII.65)
 
The place where I think I am is not my home. My true home, my dwelling place, is with God. It is my reality. It is where I belong. No substitutes can satisfy the Son of God. All substitutes turn to ash. They only feel good for the moment. They are temporary pleasures that cannot serve the Son of God. When we choose to release them, without feeling sacrifice, recognizing their lack of value, we are then ready to commit fully to awakening from this dream. Until we do, we are on both sides, experiencing moments of release, and at other times, we are very much holding onto the things of this world. We believe all will be released through death, but this is a false belief. We are released only when our false beliefs are transformed.
 
Today, we remind ourselves of our reality. We give up our illusion of control because, on our own, we don't have a clue! We don't know who we are, where we are going, and what we are doing. "I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself." (T.31.V.17.7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60) Jesus tells us, "There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this" (T.31.V.17.6) (ACIM OE T.31.V.59) because we fear to lose what we think we are and what we have made of ourselves.
 
We have chosen to walk this path because we are tired, we are lost, and we are weary of trying to find peace and happiness where it does not exist. When we turn within, we experience glimpses of the truth. To listen to His Voice is to be reminded of our Identity. It is to hear the forgotten song, calling us back to where we never left. "Listen, ---perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered." (T.21.I.6.1) (ACIM OE T.21II.8)
 
We continue to read "What is Forgiveness?" (W.PII.Q1) daily with each Lesson. Without forgiveness, we cannot know the truth about ourselves. Until our false ideas are released, we keep ourselves bound to our false identity. We maintain our judgments, which Jesus says we "will not raise to doubt" (W.PII.Q1.2.1), although they are not true. The distortions in our minds must be seen if they are to be released. When our minds are closed against the truth, we refuse to question our beliefs, and we refuse to look behind our defenses. We keep our thoughts away from reason and maintain our fixed positions. It is a defense against the truth. We are trying to protect what we have made from what has been given us by God.
 
When the ego demands that we protect and defend our perspectives and our positions, we can stop for a moment and choose instead to step back and ask for another interpretation from the Holy Spirit. When the temptation is there to react to any request, we can take a moment to go within and ask for guidance. When we want to make a point in an argument, we can instead take a moment to reflect whether anything needs to be said. When we get up in the morning, feeling upset, we can recognize we have chosen the ego, and we can do a restorative, as described in Chapter 30, Section I "Rules for Decision." (ACIM OE T.30.II) When we judge a brother, we can ask for help to release our ideas and ask for His interpretation of how to see our brother. Moment by moment, we are choosing Heaven or hell.
 
I was recently sharing about a difficult and painful event experienced by a friend. I described it as challenging and how it triggered a concern in me about her well-being. However, later she revealed she had not only moved on from this experience, but she described it as a wonderful gift. She had taken a journey through seeming crucifixion to an experience of resurrection, such that the painful event had actually taught her an important lesson and one she deeply valued. This was a beautiful demonstration for me that we don't know what anything is for. My thoughts and judgments about the situation were wrong. They were all in the past. All things are truly lessons God would have me learn.
 
Helen was given a message in October 1975 that I found particularly poignant and relevant to this Lesson. While it is rather long, I include it here for you to dwell on because there is so much wisdom to ponder here on how we might go about our lives.
  
Be comforted.
You are not asked to do anything.
There is a time when to step
back is all that is asked of you.
It is a time of rest and not of
strain; a time of peace and
not a time of conflict.
That time is almost here.
It seems fearful
because it is not under your control.
But think a minute; stop and
think honestly about what your control has done;
what it has brought to you. 

You have been caught in a trap from which you never could escape.
Conflict, guilt, and fear have come with you and never left your side.
Each one of you has done this differently,
yet each has come to the same place;
the same impasse.
And now it seems to each of you that there is no escape.
For it is true that you cannot escape alone.
Your stories seem to differ,
for they do take different forms.
Yet their one content makes you brothers.
Dwell not upon the differences or you are lost.
It is in recognizing the common content;
the common need, that you are saved! 

The mess that is your lives is an illusion.
What can the form of dreams resolve?
There is no answer to a question not yet asked,
for it would not be recognized.
Ask only this: Will I fulfill the function given me?
What else is there to ask?
Why must I know the form in which the answer comes to me?
God answers, "Yes" and it is done.
No more than this is meaningful to you. 

It is not He Who would withhold the future and leave you fearful.
You could not accept His "yes" in forms you would not understand.
Things still in time unfold as is appointed them,
and many things remain undone as yet.
Plans based upon intangibles cannot be fully shown to you.
And what has not as yet occurred must be intangible.
This phase of learning has a single lesson
for all the forms your problems seem to take. 

To God all things are possible,
but you must ask His answer only of Himself.
Perhaps you think you do,
but be you sure that if you had (did) you would be quiet now
and wholly undismayed by anything.
Do not attempt to guess His Will for you.
Do not assume that you are right
because an answer seems to come from Him.
Be sure you ask, and then be still and let Him speak.
There is no problem He cannot resolve,
for it is never He Who keeps apart
some questions to be solved by someone else.
You cannot share the world with Him
and make half of it His while half belongs to you.
Truth makes no compromise.
To keep apart a little is to keep all separate.
Your life, complete and whole,
belongs to God or none of it is His.
There is no thought in all the world
that seems more terrible.
 
Yet it is only when this thought appears in perfect clarity
that there is hope in peace and safety for the mind so long kept dark and twisted to avoid the light.
This is the light.
Step back
and do not dwell upon the forms that seem to keep you bound.
You will fulfill your function.
And will have whatever you will need.
God does not fail.
But lay no limits on what you would give to Him to be resolved.
For He cannot offer a thousand answers
when but one is all there is.
Accept this one of Him,
and not one question will remain to ask.
 
Do not forget if you attempt to solve a problem,
you have judged it for yourself
and so you have betrayed your proper role.
Grandeur, which comes from God,
establishes that judgment is impossible for you.
But grandiosity insists you judge
and bring to this all problems that you have.
And what is the result?
Look carefully upon your life
and let it speak for you.
 
Is this frail breath and deep uncertainty your choice for you?
Or would you rather rest in surety,
certain you would not fail in your request
to have all problems happily resolved?
Do not mistake the fine disguises you can use to cover judgment.
It appears as charity, as mercy and as love;
as pity, understanding and as care.
And yet you know it is not what it seems
because the problem still remains unsolved
and comes to haunt your mind in evil dreams.
 
What have you kept from God
that you would hide behind your judgment?
What have you concealed
beneath the cloak of kindness and concern?
Use no one for your needs,
for that is "sin,"
and you will pay the penalty in guilt.
 
Remember you need nothing,
but you have an endless store of loving gifts to give.
But teach this lesson only to yourself.
Your brother will not learn it from your words
or from the judgments you have laid on him.
You need not even speak a word to him.
You cannot ask, "What shall I say to him?"
and hear God's answer.
Rather ask instead,
"Help me to see this brother through the eyes of truth
and not of judgment,"
and the help of God and all His angels
will respond.
 
For only here we rest.
We cast away our little judgments and our petty words;
our tiny problems and our false concerns.
We have attempted to be master of our destiny
and thought that peace lay there.
Freedom and judgment is impossible.
But by your side is One
Who knows the way.
Step back for Him
and let Him lead you
to the rest and silence
of the Word of God.
 

Love and blessings, Sarah

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