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

CHAPTER 21
The Inner Picture

V. The Fear to Look Within

41 The Holy Spirit will never teach you that you are sinful. Errors He will correct, but this makes no one fearful. You are indeed afraid to look within and see the sin you think is there. This you would not be fearful to admit. Fear in association with sin the ego deems quite appropriate and smiles approvingly. It has no fear to let you feel ashamed. It doubts not your belief and faith in sin. Its temples do not shake because of this. Your faith that sin is there but witnesses to your desire that it be there to see. This merely seems to be the source of fear.

42 Remember that the ego is not alone. Its rule is tempered, and its unknown "enemy," Whom it cannot even see, it fears. Loudly the ego tells you not to look inward, for if you do, your eyes will light on sin, and God will strike you blind. This you believe, and so you do not look. Yet this is not the ego's hidden fear, nor yours who serve it. Loudly indeed the ego claims it is— too loudly and too often. For underneath this constant shout and frantic proclamation, the ego is not certain it is so. Beneath your fear to look within because of sin is yet another fear and one which makes the ego tremble.

43 What if you looked within and saw no sin? This "fearful" question is one the ego never asks. And you who ask it now are threatening the ego's whole defensive system too seriously for it to bother to pretend it is your friend. Those who have joined their brothers have detached themselves from their belief that their identity lies in the ego. A holy relationship is one in which you join with what is part of you in truth . And your belief in sin has been already shaken, nor are you now entirely unwilling to look within and see it not.

44 Your liberation still is only partial—still limited and incomplete, yet born within you. Not wholly mad, you have been willing to look on much of your insanity and recognize its madness. Your faith is moving inward, past insanity and on to reason. And what your reason tells you now, the ego would not hear. The Holy Spirit's purpose was accepted by the part of your mind the ego knows not of. No more did you . And yet this part with which you now identify is not afraid to look upon itself. It knows no sin. How, otherwise, could it have been willing to see the Holy Spirit's purpose as its own?

45 This part has seen your brother and recognized him perfectly since time began. And it desired nothing but to join with him and to be free again, as once it was. It has been waiting for the birth of freedom, the acceptance of release to come to you. And now you recognize that it was not the ego that joined the Holy Spirit's purpose, and so there must be something else. Think not that this is madness. For this your reason tells you, and it follows perfectly from what you have already learned.

46 There is no inconsistency in what the Holy Spirit teaches. This is the reasoning of the sane . You have perceived the ego's madness and not been made afraid because you did not choose to share in it. At times it still deceives you. Yet in your saner moments, its ranting strikes no terror in your hearts. For you have realized that all the gifts it would withdraw from you in rage at your "presumptuous" wish to look within, you do not want . A few remaining trinkets still seem to shine and catch your eye. Yet you would not "sell" Heaven to have them.

47 And now the ego is afraid. Yet what it hears in terror, the other part hears as the sweetest music—the song it longed to hear since first the ego came into your minds. The ego's weakness is its strength. The song of freedom, which sings the praises of another world, brings to it hope of peace. For it remembers Heaven, and now it sees that Heaven has come to earth at last, from which the ego's rule has kept it out so long. Heaven has come because it found a home in your relationship on earth. And earth can hold no longer what has been given Heaven as its own.

48 Look gently on each other and remember the ego's weakness is revealed in both your sight. What it would keep apart has met and joined, and looks upon the ego unafraid. Little children, innocent of sin, follow in gladness the way to certainty. Be not held back by fear's insane insistence that sureness lies in doubt. This has no meaning. What matters it to you how loudly it is proclaimed? The senseless is not made meaningful by repetition and by clamor. The quiet way is open. Follow it happily and question not what must be so.

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Lesson 239
The glory of my Father is my own.

1 Let not the truth about ourselves today be hidden by a false humility. Let us instead be thankful for the gifts our Father gave us. Can we see in those with whom He shares His glory any trace of sin and guilt? And can it be that we are not among them when He loves His Son forever and with perfect constancy, knowing he is as He created him?

2 We thank You, Father, for the light that shines forever in us. And we honor it because You share it with us. We are one, united in this light, and one with You, at peace with all creation and ourselves.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 239
The glory of my Father is my own.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
This is a beautiful reminder of who we are and who are brothers are as One with us. "Can we see in those with whom He shares His glory any trace of sin and guilt?" (W.239.1.3) We do see sin and guilt in others, but it is not the truth of who they are. Certainly, we are unaware of this truth because we have bought into the ego story that we have sinned and are now guilty and deserve to be punished. We see ourselves as body identities and hide out from God because of our unconscious belief that He is the ultimate judge of our sin. Jesus urges us not to let, "the truth about ourselves today be hidden by a false humility." (W.239.1.1) To the ego, accepting ourselves as guilty sinners is humble, but Jesus tells us this is arrogance. In this arrogance, we defy "the gifts our Father gave us" (W.239.1.2) when we decide we are guilty sinners, instead of accepting His gifts in gratitude. "A major tenet in the ego’s insane religion is that sin is not error but truth, and it is innocence that would deceive. Purity is seen as arrogance, and the acceptance of the self as sinful is perceived as holiness." (T.19.II.4.1-2) (ACIM OE T.19.III.20) We insist that we are right about the terrible things we have done and that we must continue to punish ourselves for our sins.
 
Our belief in our unworthiness comes from the belief that we have destroyed our home and stolen our identity from God. Thus, we feel undeserving of His Love. But Jesus reminds us that God created us sinless. We share all of God's attributes. We are divine, eternal, holy Beings of light, and love. In our false humility, we are choosing to decide otherwise. Who is right? Is it God or me? When I believe in my separate identity, I am choosing to be right, and in that choice, I am declaring my arrogance. "Would you not rather that all this is nothing more than a mistake, entirely correctable, and so easily escaped from that its whole correction is like walking through a mist into the sun? For that is all it is. Perhaps you would be tempted to agree with the ego that it is far better to be sinful than mistaken. Yet think you carefully before you allow yourself to make this choice. Approach it not lightly, for it is the choice of hell or Heaven." (T.19.II.8.1-5) (ACIM OE T.19.III.24)
 
We can be truly grateful for the gifts our Father has given us. When we accept the truth about ourselves, we accept the Atonement, which has made it impossible for us to ever change ourselves. In the acceptance of our innocence, there is no more conflict in the mind. "Innocence is strength, and nothing else is strong. The sinless cannot fear, for sin of any kind is weakness." (T.23.IN.1.2-3) (ACIM OE T.23.I.1) As a result of holding the belief in our frailty, we attack, which is a show of strength to cover our weakness, but Jesus assures us, "No one is strong who has an enemy, and no one can attack unless he thinks he has." (T.23.IN.1.5) (ACIM OE T.23.I.1) When we recognize in ourselves the gifts our Father has given us and we are grateful for them, we see only the innocence of our brothers. As we become willing to see their innocence, we strengthen the acceptance of our own sinless state.
 
Our focus continues to be on the promise God made to us---that we would find our way to Him at last. All that is required is our cooperation and our willingness. We need to continue to bring all the doubts, fears, sadness, judgment, guilt, arrogance, specialness, conflict, and sacrifice, as well as feelings of unworthiness, before the feet of Holiness to be dissolved into the nothingness they are. We also need to remember that what we see in our brothers is a projection of the guilt and fear in ourselves. As we take responsibility for our projections and release them to the Holy Spirit, we can indeed experience our own glory.
 
In our daily practice with this Lesson, we continue with the same instruction to read "What is salvation?" and pray the prayer with conviction and sincerity, adding whatever thoughts come up related to this reading. We do what is necessary for this reading to be experienced as deep, sincere, and meaningful. We do the morning and evening meditation and remember to apply forgiveness throughout the day when we are triggered by anything, or anyone. Today, claim your glory and your divine radiance, set aside all false humility, and be willing to see the innocence in everyone you meet, or even think about. Willingness is the key---the willingness to look behind our defenses and realize that we are all united with each other and with God.
 
Remember, the ego wants to elevate itself in any way it can. It will happily set off on the spiritual path because it enjoys the feeling that it is becoming more spiritual. It loves spiritual knowledge and power. It will continue on the path as long as it continues to accumulate more spiritual knowledge and power. In other words, the ego is becoming spiritualized, which is most unhelpful for one who is truly committed to awakening. Our function here is to overcome the ego and not to spiritualize it. The ego loves to affirm that it is God. This Lesson clearly states otherwise. God's glory is given us in our creation. It is His gift to us. It comes in our creation.
 
Nouk Sanchez has written about some signs we might look for as part of the spiritual ego. It includes things like refusing to look honestly at the ego in ourselves, not being willing to be vulnerable and transparent, lacking in self-awareness, taking an intellectual approach to the teachings, becoming spiritually righteous and proud, feeling spiritually superior to others, resistance to feedback from others, maintaining a mask of positivity, engaging in spiritual debates, and lacking in gratitude to others. Are we willing to question who is the one speaking---ego or Spirit? Am I listening deeply to others? Am I joining with my brother in true empathy and humility, or am I waiting to make my point that is already formulated in my own mind?
 
We can only know the answer when we recognize that we have been wrong about everything and are willing to surrender our way, our will, our self-concepts, and our control. How willing are we to let our self-concepts fall apart, to give up our story of who we are and how we got that way, to release our need to be liked, and to not defend who we think we are in the face of something being said about us that we do not like? Instead, can we watch what comes up in the face of seeming attack? Yes, fear will arise, but we have mighty help. Can we stay with the feelings that emerge instead of going into the story? That is what healing is about, and we need to do this work if we are to experience the truth about ourselves.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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