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

The Promise of the Resurrection

VII. The Temple of the Holy Spirit

45 The meaning of the Son of God lies solely in his relationship with his Creator. If it were elsewhere, it would rest upon contingency, but there is nothing else. And this is wholly loving and forever. Yet has the Son of God invented an unholy relationship between him and his Father. His real relationship is one of perfect union and unbroken continuity. The one he made is partial, self-centered, broken into fragments, and full of fear. The one created by his Father is wholly self-encompassing and self-extending. The one he made is wholly self-destructive and self-limiting.

46 Nothing can show the contrast better than the experience of both a holy and an unholy relationship. The first is based on love and rests on it, serene and undisturbed. The body does not intrude upon it. Any relationship in which the body enters is based not on love, but on idolatry. Love wishes to be known, completely understood, and shared. It has no secrets; nothing that it would keep apart and hide. It walks in sunlight, open-eyed and calm, in smiling welcome and in sincerity so simple and so obvious it cannot be misunderstood. But idols do not share.

47 Idols accept, but never make return. They can be loved, but cannot love. They do not understand what they are offered, and any relationship in which they enter has lost its meaning. They live in secrecy, hating the sunlight and happy in the body's darkness where they can hide and keep their secrets hidden along with them. And they have no relationships, for no one else is welcome there. They smile on no one, and those who smile on them they do not see.

48 Love has no darkened temples where mysteries are kept obscure and hidden from the sun. It does not seek for power, but for relationships. The body is the ego's chosen weapon for seeking power through relationships. And its relationships must be unholy, for what they are, it does not even see. It wants them solely for the offerings on which its idols thrive. The rest it merely throws away, for all that it could offer is seen as valueless. Homeless, the ego seeks as many bodies as it can collect to place its idols in and so establish them as temples to itself.

49 The Holy Spirit's temple is not a body, but a relationship. The body is an isolated speck of darkness; a hidden secret room, a tiny spot of senseless mystery, a meaningless enclosure carefully protected, yet hiding nothing. Here the unholy relationship escapes reality and seeks for crumbs to keep itself alive. Here it would drag its brothers, holding them here in its idolatry. Here it is "safe," for here love cannot enter. The Holy Spirit does not build His temples where love can never be. Would He Who sees the face of Christ choose as His home the only place in all the universe where it can not be seen?

50 You cannot make the body the Holy Spirit's temple, and it will never be the seat of love. It is the home of the idolater and of love's condemnation. For here is love made fearful and hope abandoned. Even the idols that are worshiped here are shrouded in mystery and kept apart from those who worship them. This is the temple dedicated to no relationships and no return. Here is the "mystery" of separation perceived in awe and held in reverence. What God would have not be is here kept "safe" from Him. But what you do not realize is what you fear within your brother and would not see in him is what makes God seem fearful to you and kept unknown.

51 Idolaters will always be afraid of love, for nothing so severely threatens them as love's approach. Let love draw near them and overlook the body, as it will surely do, and they retreat in fear, feeling the seeming firm foundation of their temple begin to shake and loosen. Brothers, you tremble with them. Yet what you fear is but the herald of escape. This place of darkness is not your home. Your temple is not threatened. You are idolaters no longer. The Holy Spirit's purpose lies safe in your relationship and not your bodies. You have escaped the body. Where you are the body cannot enter, for the Holy Spirit has set His temple there.

52 There is no order in relationships. They either are or not. An unholy relationship is no relationship. It is a state of isolation which seems to be what it is not. No more than that. The instant that the mad idea of making your relationship with God unholy seemed to be possible, all your relationships were made meaningless. In that unholy instant, time was born and bodies made to house the mad idea and give it the illusion of reality. And so it seemed to have a home that held together for a little while in time and vanished. For what could house this mad idea against reality but for an instant?

53 Idols must disappear and leave no trace behind their going. The unholy instant of their seeming power is frail as is a snowflake, but without its loveliness. Is this the substitute you want for the eternal blessing of the holy instant and its unlimited beneficence? Is the malevolence of the unholy relationship, so seeming powerful and so bitterly misunderstood and so invested in a false attraction, your preference to the holy instant which offers you peace and understanding? Then lay aside the body and quietly transcend it, rising to welcome what you really want. And from His holy temple, look you not back on what you have awakened from. For no illusions can attract the minds that have transcended them and left them far behind.

54 The holy relationship reflects the true relationship the Son of God has with his Father in reality. The Holy Spirit rests within it in the certainty it will endure forever. Its firm foundation is eternally upheld by truth, and love shines on it with the gentle smile and tender blessing it offers to its own. Here the unholy instant is exchanged in gladness for the holy one of safe return. Here is the way to true relationships held gently open, through which you walk together, leaving the body thankfully behind and resting in the Everlasting Arms. Love's arms are open to receive you and give you peace forever.

55 The body is the ego's idol; the belief in sin made flesh and then projected outward. This produces what seems to be a wall of flesh around the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time, beholden unto death and given but an instant in which to sigh and grieve and die in honor of its master. And this unholy instant seems to be life; an instant of despair, a tiny island of dry sand, bereft of water and set uncertainly upon oblivion. Here does the Son of God stop briefly by to offer his devotion to death's idols, and then pass on. And here he is more dead than living. Yet it is also here he makes his choice again between idolatry and love.

56 Here it is given him to choose to spend this instant paying tribute to the body or let himself be given freedom from it. Here he can accept the holy instant, offered him to replace the unholy one he chose before. And here can he learn relationships are his salvation and not his doom. You who are learning this may still be fearful, but you are not immobilized. The holy instant is of greater value now to you than its unholy seeming counterpart, and you have learned you really want but one. This is no time for sadness. Perhaps confusion, but hardly discouragement.

57 You have a real relationship, and it has meaning. It is as like your real relationship with God as equal things are like unto each other. Idolatry is past and meaningless. Perhaps you fear each other a little yet; perhaps a shadow of the fear of God remains with you. Yet what is that to those who have been given one true relationship beyond the body? Can they be long held back from looking on the face of Christ? And can they long withhold the memory of their relationship with their Father from themselves and keep remembrance of His love apart from their awareness?

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 230
Now will I seek and find
the peace of God.

1 In peace I was created. And in peace do I remain. It is not given me to change my Self. How merciful is God my Father, that when He created me He gave me peace forever. Now I ask but to be what I am. And can this be denied me, when it is forever so?

2 Father, I seek the peace You gave as mine in my creation. What was given then must be here now, for my creation was apart from time and still remains beyond all change. The peace in which Your Son was born into Your Mind is shining there unchanged. I am as You created me. I need but call on You to find the peace You gave. It is Your Will that gave it to Your Son.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 230
Now will I seek and find the peace of God.

 Sarah's Commentary:
It is important to recognize in this Lesson that the state of peace and happiness is not something we need to achieve. Yearning for peace is based on the belief that we do not have it in us now. It denies the reality that the peace and joy we seek have been given us by a merciful God and given us forever. "What was given then must be here now, for my creation was apart from time, and still remains beyond all change." (W.230.2.2)
The Atonement Principle guarantees that we cannot change the truth of what we are. "It is not given me to change my Self." (W.230.1.3) When we do not have peace, we are actually choosing against it. This is the case every time we choose the ego thought system, which is a choice to listen to our specialness and our attack thoughts, rather than the Thought of God. If I am upset, I am actually choosing to be separate from the love that I am. And if I stay upset, then I am stubbornly resisting surrendering my story. It seems insane to choose against our own peace, and it is. Our very identity in this world carries with it the insanity of the ego thought system. It is the belief that the innocent, unlimited Son of God could make of itself a separate, lacking, and limited self. Why do we continue to hold onto our limited beliefs? We hold onto them because we have a fear of God's Will. We abandoned Him, but now we blame Him for abandoning us. In other words, we project onto Him our own self-abandonment. Now we see Him as a punishing God, Who we no longer trust because we believe He wants to extract from us what we value and want to hold onto.
What we value most is our individual will. We think that we will have to sacrifice everything that is ours to this "god" made-up by the ego. The final obstacle to peace is the fear of God. The mind is split and is in conflict between the truth of what we are---always and forever at peace as we were created and remain---and the part of the mind that the ego has taken over. In our minds are both the belief in separation (the ego) and the memory of Oneness (the Holy Spirit). "The ego's goal is as unified as the Holy Spirit's, and it is because of this that their goals can never be reconciled in any way or to any extent. The ego always seeks to divide and separate. The Holy Spirit always seeks to unify and heal." (T.7.IV.5.1-3) (ACIM OE T.7.V.36)
So while we seek peace, we are actually afraid of it. This puts us in conflict with ourselves. Total peace means the end of our specialness, the end of our unique personality, and the end of the body identification to which we are attached. This brings up fear, but we must remember that we are not being hurled into reality. The Course is very practical. It offers us a daily process of undoing the thought system of the ego that keeps us in hell. "The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace." (T.5.III.9.4) (ACIM OE T.5.V.41)
We do whatever we can to fulfill our needs, based on our idea of what will bring us peace and happiness and avoid pain. When we see that this will never bring us what we want, we pursue real peace by following guidance and trusting in the path set out for us. However, while we straddle two separate and distinct thought systems, we will experience conflict. We continue to seek for happiness in the world and yet blame the world for our condition; and at the same time, we try to follow the teachings of Jesus and release our misperceptions about ourselves. The result is inconsistency in the way we experience our day.
We say we want God as our only goal and we want the healing of our minds, yet we stubbornly hold onto our perspectives, argue for our positions, and demand that our needs be met at the expense of others. We cannot stubbornly hold onto our perspectives while still showing up fully in our own lives. The answer is to choose the Holy Spirit more and more consistently so that joy and peace can be more prevalent in our lives. This requires considerable vigilance. Clearly, once on this path, the choice to revert entirely to egoic thinking is no longer possible. Once we have started on this path, it is like we have swallowed the red pill (The Matrix) and have said "yes" to the Call. Now it is impossible to make a total reversal back to the ego dictates. The "red pill" has taken hold in our experience.
When we have an experience of the holy instant, it is an experience of the peace within us. Whenever we choose and value our ego goals instead, we bring this peace to an end. The peace is still in us, but we are blocking it. We are always choosing between the truth in us that brings peace, or the falsity that maintains our suffering. As I look at my concerns, my feelings of being overwhelmed, my excitement over plans I have, and the busyness of my life, I sometimes feel as if life is conspiring against me and actually robbing me of my peace, but it is just the ego's game. When my mind has made a choice for the ego, I become distracted by my thoughts and conflicting goals. It is all a set-up, but it is set up by me! We continue to choose it because we think we know our own best interests and want to maintain the separate self.
Jesus is showing us that we are not victims of external circumstances. He is showing us that all we have to do is learn to recognize the mind's choice by paying very close attention to our feelings and judgments. Every time we feel the loss of peace, whether it is in the form of anger, depression, irritation, anxiety, concern, distress of any kind, excitement, or frustration, we have once again made a decision for separation from love in the mind. By recognizing this, we can become more vigilant about the choice made by the mind to listen to the ego. We must now step away from our story about what we tell ourselves is the cause of our angst, accept our thoughts and feelings, turn them over to the Holy Spirit, and trust Him to do the rest.
It is only by this kind of attentiveness that we can undo our denial and let the Holy Spirit bring us to the truth. This is what salvation is all about---to be saved from our mistaken thoughts. But, like the miracle, salvation does nothing because nothing needs to be done. We are already perfect. We just need to bring our mistaken perceptions to the truth. When we become aware of how painful it is to choose the ego, we get very motivated to choose differently. Without this awareness and recognition, we become very confused about what seems to be coming at us. We feel like helpless victims of the world, but this victimhood is a way of not taking responsibility for our lack of peace. It is not because someone took it from us, but it is only because we have chosen to throw it away and blame our brothers for taking it. We blame and attack because we do not want to be responsible for our own condition. We would rather put the blame on conditions and circumstances that we believe are outside of our own minds, than put it on ourselves.
When we identify with our ego and our specialness, we will always feel guilt, which is inevitably projected in some form of judgment against ourselves and others. This happens very quickly. Because of the mind's speed in forgetting (denial), we do not even notice what we have done. This is why it appears that everything is coming from outside of our own minds. It is why we need to pay attention to our thoughts and become aware of our judgments because they show us that we have once again chosen separation.
We may judge ourselves when we are not at peace. We may feel like poor Course students, who aren't getting it. Yet both the conditions of peace and lack of peace are very valuable experiences for our learning. Through them, we can see how peace feels and how judgments cause us pain. Through these contrasts, we become aware of the choices we are making. When we are not at peace, it is for no other reason than we have chosen the ego. The world is just an outside picture of our inward condition. Thus, it is a reflection of the choice we have made in our minds of which voice we are listening to, the ego or the Holy Spirit. It is not helpful to judge ourselves, but it is helpful to look at our mistaken decisions. Everything can be used by the Holy Spirit. It all has value when used for healing purposes.
And now we conclude our section on "What is forgiveness?" (W.PII.Q1) "Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do, through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success." (W.PII.Q1.5.1) "Now must you share His function, and forgive whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees, and whom He honors as the Son of God." (W.PII.Q1.5.3) We have not changed ourselves as a result of our foolish thoughts of sin. We can only become unaware of who we are. I love the line in Chapter 19 of the Text that says, "What you would still contain behind your little barrier and keep separate from your brother seems mightier than the universe, for it would hold back the universe and its Creator." (T.19.IV.A.3.7) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.42) That is precisely the power we have. It is our decision to choose illusion or the truth.
Through our healed perception, we share His function in the world. We are His manifestation in the world, bringing peace to other minds and offering kindness and gentleness; and by doing so, we know it is in us. It is, in fact, what we are in truth.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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