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

CHAPTER 20
The Promise of the Resurrection

IV. Sin as an Adjustment

16 The belief in sin is an adjustment. And an adjustment is a change; a shift in perception or a belief that what was so before has been made different. Every adjustment is therefore a distortion and calls upon defenses to uphold it against reality. Knowledge requires no adjustment and in fact is lost if any shift or change is undertaken. For this reduces it at once to mere perception—a way of looking in which certainty is lost and doubt has entered. To this impaired condition are adjustments necessary because they are not true. Who need adjust to truth, which calls on only what he is, to understand?

17 Adjustments of any kind are of the ego. For it is the ego's fixed belief that all relationships depend upon adjustments to make of them what it would have them be. Direct relationships, in which there are no interferences, are always seen as dangerous. The ego is the self-appointed mediator of all relationships, making whatever adjustments it deems necessary and interposing them between those who would meet to keep them separate and prevent their union. It is this studied interference which makes it difficult for you to recognize your holy relationship for what it is.

18 The holy do not interfere with truth. They are not afraid of it, for it is within the truth they recognized their holiness and rejoiced at what they saw. They looked on it directly, without attempting to adjust themselves to it or it to them. And so they saw that it was in them, not deciding first where they would have it be. Their looking merely asked a question, and it was what they saw that answered them. You make the world and then adjust to it, and it to you. Nor is there any difference between yourself and it in your perception, which made them both .

19 A simple question yet remains and needs an answer. Do you like what you have made—a world of murder and attack through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear? You made this up . It is a picture of what you think you are, of how you see yourself. A murderer is frightened, and those who kill fear death. All these are but the fearful thoughts of those who would adjust themselves to a world made fearful by their adjustments. And they look out in sorrow from what is sad within and see the sadness there.

20 Have you not wondered what the world is really like; how it would look through happy eyes? The world you see is but a judgment on yourself. It is not there at all. Yet judgment lays a sentence on it, justifies it, and makes it real . Such is the world you see—a judgment on yourself and made by you. This sickly picture of yourself is carefully preserved by the ego, whose image it is and which it loves, and placed outside you in the world. And to this world must you adjust, as long as you believe this picture is outside and has you at its mercy. This world is merciless, and were it outside you, you should indeed be fearful. Yet it was you who made it merciless, and now if mercilessness seems to look back at you, it can be corrected .

21 Who in a holy relationship can long remain unholy? The world the holy see is one with them, just as the world the ego looks upon is like itself. The world the holy see is beautiful because they see their innocence in it. They did not tell it what it was; they did not make adjustments to fit their orders. They gently questioned it and whispered, "What are you?" And He Who watches over all perception answered. Take not the judgment of the world as answer to the question, "What am I?"

22 The world believes in sin, but the belief that made it as you see it is not outside you. Seek not to make the Son of God >adjust to his insanity. There is a stranger in him who wandered carelessly into the home of truth, and who will wander off. He came without a purpose, but he will not remain before the shining light the Holy Spirit offered and you accepted. For there the stranger is made homeless and you are welcome.

23 Ask not this transient stranger, "What am I?" He is the only thing in all the universe that does not know. Yet it is he you asked, and it is to his answer that you would adjust. This one wild thought, fierce in its arrogance and yet so tiny and so meaningless it slips unnoticed through the universe of truth, becomes your guide. To it you turn to ask the meaning of the universe. And of the one blind thing in all the seeing universe of truth you ask, "How shall I look upon the Son of God?"

24 Does one ask judgment of what is totally bereft of judgment? And if you have, would you believe the answer and adjust to it as if it were the truth? The world you look on is the answer that it gave you, and you have given it power to adjust the world to make its answer true. You asked this puff of madness for the meaning of your unholy relationship and adjusted it according to its insane answer. How happy did it make you? Did you meet with joy to bless the Son of God and give him thanks for all the happiness which he held out to you? Did you recognize each other as the eternal gift of God to you? Did you see the holiness that shone in both of you to bless the other? That is the purpose of your holy relationship. Ask not the means of its attainment of the one thing that still would have it be unholy. Give it no power to adjust the means and end.

25 Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is . You groped but feebly in the dust and found each other's hand, uncertain whether to let it go or to take hold on life so long forgotten. Strengthen your hold and raise your eyes unto your strong companion, in whom the meaning of your freedom lies. He seemed to be crucified beside you. And yet his holiness remained untouched and perfect, and with him beside you, you shall this day enter with him to Paradise and know the peace of God.

26 Such is my will for both of you and for each of you for one another and for himself. Here there is only holiness and joining without limit. For what is Heaven but union, direct and perfect, and without the veil of fear upon it? Here are we one, looking with perfect gentleness upon each other and on ourselves. Here all thoughts of any separation between us become impossible. You who were prisoners in separation are now made free in Paradise. And here would I unite with you, my friends, my brothers, and my Self. Your gift unto each other has given me the certainty our union will be soon.

27 Share, then, this faith with me and know that it is justified. There is no fear in perfect love because it knows no sin and it must look on others as on itself. Looking with charity within, what can it fear without ? The innocent see safety, and the pure in heart see God within His Son and look unto the Son to lead them to the Father. And where else would they go but where they will to be? Each of you now will lead the other to the Father as surely as God created His Son holy and kept him so. In your brother is the light of God's eternal promise of your immortality. See him as sinless, and there can be no fear in you.

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WORKBOOK

Lesson 226
My home awaits me.
I will hasten there.

1 If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely. It is not death which makes this possible, but it is change of mind about the purpose of the world. If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me. But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me. For I have not sought for illusions to replace the truth.

2 Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your arms are open, and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of broken dreams when Heaven can so easily be mine?

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 226
My home awaits me.
I will hasten there.

 
Sarah's Commentary:
 
We have wandered a seemingly long way along the pathways of the world, looking for safety, peace, love, belonging, nurturing, acceptance, happiness, and love. It is all that we associate with home and happiness, as we long it to be. We have made many substitutes in this world for our true home, which is Heaven. We became disillusioned when we recognized that we do not have any control over the world we made. Things have not turned out as we had hoped. No matter how much we seek in the world, "Yet still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here. Just a persistent feeling, sometimes not more than a tiny throb, at other times hardly remembered, actively dismissed, but surely to return to mind again." (W.182.1.4-6)
 
Who has not longed for the home of his childhood if indeed it was perceived as a place of refuge? "Perhaps you think it is your childhood home that you would find again. The childhood of your body, and its place of shelter, are a memory now so distorted that you merely hold a picture of a past that never happened. Yet there is a Child in you Who seeks His Father's house, and knows that He is alien here." (W.182.4.1-3) We eventually all come to this place where the things of the world can no longer cover over this deep call for home, which is in all of us.
 
"There is a risk of thinking death is peace, because the world equates the body with the Self which God created. Yet a thing can never be its opposite. And death is opposite to peace, because it is the opposite of life. And life is peace. Awaken and forget all thoughts of death, and you will find you have the peace of God." (T.27.VII.10.2-6) (Not in ACIM OE)
 
Death is not what takes us home. Fear of death is one of our basic fears. Jesus puts these questions to us: "What would you see without the fear of death? What would you feel and think if death held no attraction for you?" (T.19.IV.D.1.1-2) (ACIM OE T.19.V.d.90) He is telling us that while we fear death, we have an attraction to it, which we see as a final solution. What we fear is also what we are attracted to; but, we cannot die. Our attraction to death comes from the belief that we have sinned. Sin requires punishment. The sentence of death becomes our final punishment as determined by the ego. It is what we deserve for what we have seemingly done to God. Death is the proof given by the ego that separation is real and that we are not eternal. It is a brilliant defense established by the ego to prove the existence of the separate self.
 
The truth is---we cannot die. We are eternal. There is no death. None of the ego's story is true. Now we can choose to dismiss it by accepting the truth of our reality. Our reality is not a body and the end of the body is not the end of what we are as the Son of God. Our reality is a mind and minds do not die. We were created eternal. Life does not end. When we make separation real, we also believe in the reality of the ego and of death. There is essentially only one death, and it is the death of the ego. Yet all that the ego is is fear and "Fear is really nothing and love is everything." (T.2.VII.5.3) (ACIM OE T.2.V.99)
 
"See how the belief in death would seem to ' save ' you. For if this is gone, what can you fear but life? It is the attraction of death that makes life seem to be ugly, cruel and tyrannical. You are no more afraid of death than of the ego. These are your chosen friends. For in your secret alliance with them you have agreed never to let the fear of God be lifted, so you could look upon the face of Christ and join Him in His Father." (T.19.IV.D.4.1-6) (ACIM OE T.V.d.93)
 
"Every obstacle that peace must flow across is surmounted in just the same way; the fear that raised it yields to the love beneath, and so the fear is gone. And so it is with this." (T.19.IV.D.5.1-2) (ACIM OE T.V.d.94)
 
In reality, we have never been able to accomplish separation from God or from our own reality as the eternal Son of God. There is no punishment. We are completely loved now and forever. So when the fear of God is gone, there is only life. Jesus says it is the attraction of death that makes life "seem to be ugly, cruel and tyrannical." (T.19.IV.D.4.3) (ACIM OE T.V.d.93) Certainly, it is what we experience, as all things here come to an end.
 
Our attraction to death is the attraction to our separate identity. Death is a defense against the truth, and as our defenses are slowly undone, we finally come to death as the final defense against the truth of who we are. We need to see the attraction to death that we hold so we can see it is what we are unconsciously choosing. When we see how it operates in our lives, we can choose life which has no opposite in death. Life has nothing to do with the body, which does not exist. The choice we make for life is a moment-by-moment decision. For example, this morning I woke up feeling discomforted and upset. These feelings maintain separation from love. They are a form of death, seemingly killing all feelings of joy, which is my natural state. Holding onto upsets is another way we hold onto death, but we have a choice we can make. We can inquire into these feelings that we are holding by looking at the thoughts and beliefs they cover over. Who is being blamed by how we are feeling? What do we believe we can get for being right? We can then take it a step further and look at our deepest desire. Do I desire separation, or to feel the joy and peace in me? Which is true? I choose to ask for help to release these feelings so the love I am is revealed to me. To indulge these feelings of distress is to keep choosing to align with the ego.
 
What takes us home is the desire to remember the truth about ourselves. Choosing this as the purpose of our lives makes our lives here meaningful. The purpose of the ego is to keep us invested in the dream. Its goal is to keep itself going and to kill us (the host) in the process. In other words, the ego is about the crucifixion of the Son of God. Our joy can only come with the resurrection. When we see what the ego is up to, we will naturally choose against it and align with the truth.
 
The world we see is not a place where we will ever feel at home or find the peace and joy we desperately long for; but when we change our purpose and use time for healing and forgiveness, we are released from the hell we have made, and we experience true joy, peace, and love, which is always there, waiting for us. As Jesus reminds us, "When anything threatens your peace of mind, ask yourself, 'Has God changed His Mind about me ' ?" (T.10.IN.3.9) (ACIM OE T.9.VIII.62) It is we who keep changing our minds about God. When we face challenges, losses, and sickness, we wonder how can God do this to us? Why would He allow this to happen? We lose trust and when we do, we tend to develop our own strategies to prevent the situation from ever occurring again. They are strategies to protect ourselves from pain, but these strategies can only have temporary effects. They will never work to undo the source of the problem. God's love is still there, although it cannot come through because we have chosen to align with the ego. Heaven can be ours this very instant when we turn toward the light and trust in His grace.
 
Jesus speaks of the resurrection as the awakening from the dream of death, a process that occurs in the mind, not the body, since it is the mind alone that sleeps. Jesus gives Helen an explanation of what happened in his resurrection in "Absence from Felicity," written by Ken Wapnick.
 
"This is the message of the crucifixion: There is no order of difficulty in miracles. This is the message of the resurrection: Illusions are illusions. Truth is true. Illusions vanish. Only truth remains. These lessons needed to be taught but once, for when the stone of death is rolled away, what can be seen except an empty tomb? And that is what you see who follow me into the sunlight and away from death, past all illusions, on to Heaven's gate, where God will come Himself to take you home." He reminds us that death is the last illusion to be overcome.
 
It is a poignant reminder that there is no death. Jesus asks us, "Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality and dying in the end?" (Manual for Teachers.27.1.2) We do think this way about our lives here. It seems obvious, as it appears to be such a certainty in this world. Yet Jesus says that we need to consider this belief carefully and raise it to question. He tells us that this is not what a benign Creator has in store for us, or we would not be able to see Him as loving. If we thought that God decreed that "all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair," (M.27.2.2) indeed we would have grounds to fear Him. If indeed, "He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care," (M.27.2.8) we could not possibly love Him. Ultimately, "Where there is death is peace impossible." (M.27.2.8)
 
God did not create bodies. If he had, death would be real. He created us as a pure and loving Mind. The body is a projection of the mind that separated from God. "And the last to be overcome will be death." (M.27.6.1) Jesus demonstrated this in his own example of the crucifixion. "The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless." (M.27.6.9) God created only the eternal. Yes, form does seem to change and people we love do seem to leave us, but it is only an aspect of this dream. When we wake up from this dream, we will know nothing happened. It was all a dream.
 
Our part is now to forgive our misperceptions. Our unforgiving thoughts reinforce the separation and feelings of aloneness in the world. By entering the present moment, the holy instant, we come to the presence of Love. Our Father awaits our return and welcomes us with open arms. We are like the Prodigal Son, who is afraid he will be punished for squandering his Father's treasure, but the Father assures him on his return that he has always been His treasure, and nothing he could ever do would change that.
 
"My home awaits me. I will hasten there." (W.226) How quickly we return depends on how intensely we want to know who we are. It is about the power of our desire. It is how much attachment we still have when we give value to our goals and plans. In the movie, "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter," I was struck by the fact that even with the simplicity of life, with significantly few distractions, and few material possessions, the human struggle is still the same for all of us. We have longings, desires, wants, and wishes that we come into the world to experience. What we still attach value to will hold us to this illusion. We would not be here in this illusory world without this desire for experience. And we will do what we came here to do until we are at the end of our interest, have suffered enough pain, and have realized that we have been pursuing nothing of value.
 
Now it is all about our purpose of awakening from this dream. Today, we remind ourselves, " Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine. " (W.226.2.1-3) Heaven is not reached through death, but through the awareness of truth.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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