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

CHAPTER 21
The Inner Picture

I. Introduction

1 Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but will to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result , not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.

2 Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God. If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him. If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free. There is no choice that lies between these two decisions. And you will see the witness to the choice you made and learn from this to recognize which one you chose. [The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you and to accept as yours . And if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.]

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CHAPTER 21
The Inner Picture

II. The Imagined World

3 Never forget the world the sightless "see" must be imagined, for what it really looks like is unknown to them. They must infer what could be seen from evidence forever indirect and reconstruct their inferences as they stumble and fall because of what they did not recognize, or walk unharmed through open doorways which they thought were closed. And so it is with you. You do not see. Your cues for inference are wrong, and so you stumble and fall down upon the stones you did not recognize, but fail to be aware you can go through the doors you thought were closed but which stand open before unseeing eyes, waiting to welcome you.

4 How foolish it is to attempt to judge what could be seen instead. It is not necessary to imagine what the world must look like. It must be seen before you recognize it for what it is. You can be shown which doors are open, and you can see where safety lies and which way leads to darkness, which to light. Judgment will always give you false directions, but vision shows you where to go. Why should you guess?

5 There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget. It is not this you would deny. Your question is whether the means by which this course is learned will bring to you the joy it promises. If you believed it would, the learning of it would be no problem. You are not happy learners yet because you still remain uncertain that vision gives you more than judgment does, and you have learned that both you cannot have.

6 The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome. And still believing this, they hold those lessons dear and cling to them because they cannot see. They do not understand the lessons keep them blind. This they do not believe. And so they keep the world they learned to "see" in their imagination, believing that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain. And everything they think is in it serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived.

7 Thus they define their life and where they live, adjusting to it as they think they must, afraid to lose the little that they have. And so it is with all who see the body as all they have and all their brothers have. They try to reach each other, and they fail and fail again. And they adjust to loneliness, believing that to keep the body is to save the little that they have. Listen and try to think if you remember what we will speak of now.

8 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. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember from just this little part how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.

9 The notes are nothing. Yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you. You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.

10 Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity, forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.

11 This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well. Here is the sight of him who knows his Father. Here is the memory of what you are—a part of this, with all of it within and joined to all as surely as all is joined in you. Accept the vision which can show you this and not the body. You know the ancient song and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn [of love] the Son of God sings to his Father still.

12 And now the blind can see, for that same song they sing in honor of their Creator gives praise to them as well. The blindness which they made will not withstand the memory of this song. And they will look upon the vision of the Son of God, remembering who he is they sing of. What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in each other, you are remembering for everyone.

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Lesson 234
Father, today I am Your Son again.

1 Today we will anticipate the time when dreams of sin and guilt are gone and we have reached again the holy peace we never left. Merely a tiny instant has elapsed between eternity and timelessness. So brief the interval, there was no lapse in continuity nor break in thoughts which are forever unified as one. Nothing has ever happened to disturb the peace of God the Father and the Son. This we accept as wholly true today.

2 We thank You, Father, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love. We recognize our safety and give thanks for all the gifts You have bestowed on us, for all the loving help we have received, for Your eternal patience, and the Word which You have given us that we are saved.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 234
Father, today I am Your Son again.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
Jesus reminds us today of the importance of gratitude. We thank our Father that we have not lost, and indeed cannot lose, the memory of Him and of His Love. We read in the section, "What is Salvation," (W.PII.Q2) that we took the memory of God into the dream. "The Thought of peace was given to God's Son the instant that his mind had thought of war." (W.PII.Q2.2.1) The peace of God in our right minds was given us the instant the thought of separation entered the mind. And this is why, "Merely a tiny instant has elapsed between eternity and timelessness." (W.234.1.2) Now there is only one decision to be made. "And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?" (T.21.VII.5.14) (ACIM OE T21.VIII.75) We still have resistance to the truth, and this question still seems fearful to us; yet when we come to the place where we want nothing but the truth, it is given in that instant because we already have it in us.
 
While we are asleep in the world of separation, we seem to have lost the memory of God and His Love. However, the Atonement Principle is our assurance that while we can forget the truth about ourselves, we can never change our reality. We still remain as we were created---in the perfect Oneness of the Christ Self. Separation is just illusion. Though the world does seem very real to us, it actually has no reality at all. And though we have lost the awareness of the love of God, we have not lost it in reality because He has ensured us that its place is in our minds.
 
Today, my three-year-old niece asked her mother, "Mommy, what was there before all of this? What was there where the trees are now? Where did they come from?" They are really profound questions from the mind of a child. It seems she remembers something quite forgotten yet faintly remembered. It is because the memory of "The Forgotten Song" (T.21.I) (ACIM OE T.21.II "The Imagined World") is in us all and that memory continues unabated throughout the dreams of many seeming lifetimes. When we awaken, all of these seeming lifetimes will seem like merely a tiny instant when the Son of God remembered not to laugh at the idea that He could separate from God.
 
"Today we will anticipate the time when dreams of sin and guilt are gone, and we have reached the holy peace we never left." (W.234.1.1) That is our purpose now and the reason we are given time. We now use time for healing so we can reach the holy place within that we have never left. When we come to remember who we are, we will know the peace that is still in us. Everything that happens in our day provides us with another opportunity to come closer to our awakening. We must live our lives as if everything that seems to happen to us was chosen by us for our highest good.
 
Jesus reminds us that we may not be sure we really mean the words of these Lessons, but he tells us, "This does not matter. The purpose of today’s exercises is to bring the time when the idea will be wholly true a little nearer." (W.27.1.4-5)
 
It appears to us that a lot is happening in this seeming reality, as we struggle with the problems we perceive personally and those on the world stage. Yet we are assured that none of this has even happened. Behind all of our perceptions is the peace and stillness of God. It is what we are avoiding with our distractions. The peace in our right minds is totally undisturbed when we identify with the ego thought system, no matter what it looks like to us. The truth about ourselves simply cannot be changed. When we awaken from this dream, we will know that we have never left our home in God. The memory of God is in our minds and cannot be lost. All of our dreams of sin and guilt are just that---dreams. In the holy instant, we connect with the truth and have a glimpse of the fact that we are still God's Son.
 
Yesterday, as I did my meditation, I saw my body as if it were a robot, going through a variety of seeming experiences. It reminded me of the experience of a friend from Montana, who recounted a time when he was driving his car, and all of a sudden, he found his awareness hovering above the car, watching his body driving it, as he was looking down and wondering how this was possible. The body is outside of the mind and simply a projection of the mind, showing up on the screen of this world. Such experiences demonstrate that we are the dreamer of this dream and not the dream figure.
 
Everything is about desire. This world is a projection of the desire to be separate from God. From that desire arose all of our beliefs, our thoughts, our emotions, and our perceptions. When the desire is focused on wanting to know our true Self, everything else aligns with that desire. Desire is where the inner altar is. When our desire is to know God, then everything works in harmony with that desire.
 
By stepping aside from our story, not justifying our anger, and instead, fully investigating our feelings, we come to see what is kept hidden in the unconscious mind. Then, we willingly give it over and trust that healing will happen, which is the nature of forgiveness. Our beliefs, our thoughts, our emotions, and our perceptions are all the effect of our desire.
 
Regardless of our determination to heal, we can be assured that thoughts of guilt and fear will arise and will continue to be part of our experience as the day proceeds until we come into the real world where we recognize this world is unreal. While we will be inclined to judge our brothers and accept our judgments as the truth, our responsibility is always to bring these judgments back to our own minds. They are our projections seen outside of our own minds. It does not mean our brothers do not make mistakes, but our condemnation of them speaks only about what is unhealed in our own minds. It is a projection of our own self-condemnation, which is about our own self-attacking thoughts. We have been called to every situation in our lives for the purpose of forgiveness. Now we can choose again to remember who our brother is and thus to know our own innocence. We remember that all of our brother's mistakes are his call for love and understanding. Healing our mistaken thoughts and our misperceptions is the only way we can know, "Father, today I am Your Son again." (W.234)
 
When a judgment crosses my mind, I can remind myself that this thought is not true. The truth is that I have never left my home in God. When I feel fear about anything today, I can remind myself that there is another way of looking at this. Nothing real is happening. Holy Spirit---Help me to see this through Your eyes. This is how we can quickly do a restorative, replace the programming in our minds that seems to run our day, and reprogram our thoughts with the one true Thought of God. This reprogramming comes as we willingly dedicate ourselves to learning the truth of what Jesus teaches and experiencing his teaching by undoing everything that is not the truth. Thus, the place in our minds where truth abides can shine forth. As Rupert Spira says "When the seeking and resisting, that characterize the apparently separate self, comes to an end, our essential nature of peace and happiness shines as it truly is."
 
Today, we are called to dismiss the thoughts in our minds that are not the truth. We can do this with firmness and gentleness, and without judging ourselves. Only the spiritual ego believes it should be beyond such thoughts. This is just another judgment of ourselves that is not helpful.
 
"Nothing has ever happened to disturb the peace of God the Father and the Son. This we accept as wholly true today." (W.234.1.4-5)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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