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

CHAPTER 21
The Inner Picture

IX. The Inner Shift

 85 Are thoughts then dangerous? To bodies, yes ! The thoughts that seem to kill are those which teach the thinker that he can be killed. And so he dies because of what he learned. He goes from life to death, the final proof he valued the inconstant more than constancy. Surely he thought he wanted happiness. Yet he did not desire it because it was the truth and therefore must be constant.

86 The constancy of joy is a condition quite alien to your understanding. Yet if you could even imagine what it must be, you would desire it although you understand it not.

87 The constancy of happiness has no exceptions—no change of any kind. It is unshakable as is the love of God for His creation. Sure in its vision as its Creator is in what He knows, it looks on everything and sees it is the same. It sees not the ephemeral, for it desires that everything be like itself and sees it so. Nothing has power to confound its constancy because its own desire cannot be shaken. It comes as surely unto those who see the final question is necessary to the rest, as peace must come to those who choose to heal and not to judge.

88 Reason will tell you that you cannot ask for happiness inconstantly. For if what you desire you receive and happiness is constant, then you need ask for it but once to have it always . And if you do not have it always, being what it is, you did not ask for it. For no one fails to ask for his desire of something he believes holds out some promise of the power of giving it. He may be wrong in what he asks, where, and of what. Yet he will ask because desire is a request, an asking for, and made by one whom God Himself will never fail to answer. God has already given him all that he really wants. Yet what he is uncertain of, God cannot give. For he does not desire it while he remains uncertain, and God's giving must be incomplete unless it is received.

89 You who complete God's Will and are His happiness, whose will is powerful as His, a power that is not lost in your illusions, think carefully why it should be you have not yet decided how you would answer the final question. Your answer to the others has made it possible to help you be but partially insane. And yet it is the final one that really asks if you are willing to be wholly sane.

90 What is the holy instant but God's appeal to you to recognize what He has given you? Here is the great appeal to reason; the awareness of what is always there to see, the happiness that could be always yours. Here is the constant peace you could experience forever. Here is what denial has denied revealed to you. For here the final question is already answered and what you ask for given. Here is the future now , for time is powerless because of your desire for what will never change. For you have asked that nothing stand between the holiness of your relationship and your awareness of its holiness.

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Lesson 244
I am in danger nowhere in the world.

1 Your Son is safe wherever he may be, for You are there with him. He need but call upon Your Name, and he will recollect his safety and Your Love, for they are one. How can he fear or doubt or fail to know he cannot suffer, be endangered, or experience unhappiness when he belongs to You, beloved and loving, in the safety of Your Fatherly embrace?

2 And there we are in truth. No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God are we secure. For what can come to threaten God Himself or make afraid what will forever be a part of Him?

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 244
I am in danger nowhere in the world.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
As we watch the news reports coming from different parts of the world and see the devastation and havoc being created by wars and natural disasters, we can truly wonder about a Lesson that says, "I am in danger nowhere in the world." (W.244) It seems that we can suffer, be endangered, and experience feelings of vulnerability. It does look like storms can indeed come to threaten us, whether physically or psychologically. Yet today, we are assured that this is not the case. "Your Son is safe wherever we may be." (W.244.1.1) Who is it that is safe? In our seeming reality as a body and personality, we are vulnerable to attack, but our invulnerability is what we are as the Son of God.
 
Jesus reminds us that we are still with God. While in the dream, we can be hurt, although Jesus reminds us that we are not here at all. Our reality is outside of time and space, and when we look from above this battleground, or experience the holy instant, we recognize that we are the dreamer of our experiences and our problems and concerns have no reality.
 
What gave rise to the body in the first place was the belief that we attacked God. Thus, our biggest fear is of God, Whom we see as our enemy. We now believe that He will punish us for the attack the ego said we made on Him. Our fear of His retribution is the final obstacle we must overcome to know peace. It is our fear that we will be punished for having left our home in God. We see the world and our body as a place to hide from Him.
 
We use our experience in the world of being a victim of people and events to proclaim that we are not responsible for our condition. Instead, we blame our parents, teachers, partners, external conditions, and anything else in our story as responsible for our suffering. We now see ourselves as the innocent victim of an uncaring world. Jesus asks us to be wary of the temptation to see ourselves unfairly treated. We hold a desire to be hurt and betrayed because it allows us to proclaim our innocence at the expense of those whom we hold responsible; but it is a false innocence, purchased by holding others guilty.
 
The belief that we did great harm to Creation is a myth, playing out in the mind. It is a story made up by the ego and is not the truth. Our reality is invulnerable, and God is our loving Father with no ax to grind. The guilt in the mind is the result of buying into the myth that we could separate from His Love. The guilt held in the mind is projected out and now seen in the world. It is a world where we now feel vulnerable, alone, and separate from love. The world is not the cause of these feelings, but only the effect of what is in the mind. The reality is that we are eternally safe. We can know this when the belief in our limited, vulnerable, and separate self is undone.
 
When we believe that we are in danger, we employ all kinds of ways to try to keep ourselves safe. We ultimately know that it is a losing battle, but we tend to avoid this fact and do everything in our power to keep ourselves physically and psychologically safe. It takes a tremendous toll on us, and eventually, we succumb to the ravages of time. To be freed of this thought system of guilt and fear is to recognize that our reality is beyond this dream. Nothing can endanger what we are. The peace of God is in our minds. When we connect to the peace within, we bring a new awareness into the dream. We seem to be the same as everyone else, yet we reflect a peace and joy that is palpable to others. Thus, we become a demonstration of the decision that we have made for healing.
 
If the script is already written and everything has already happened, we can become more of the observer of the events from outside the dream, rather than as a dream figure in the dream. When we come to know that this fragile body is not what we are and that we cannot change anything regarding the chosen time of our passing into another realm, all the ways we try to keep ourselves safe will lose their power. Instead of seeing the body and the world as a place of danger, we can choose to see it, instead, as a place of maximum karmic opportunity. In this world, every situation provides us with another opportunity to release all thoughts of guilt and fear that keep us in a state of anxiety. Our only choice in the dream is the interpretation we give to every situation and every event. When we turn to the ego as our teacher to show us the meaning of any event, we experience guilt and fear, but with forgiveness, Jesus shows us that we can find true joy and peace.
 
Why would we choose suffering when we have been given the means to release it? The only thing required of us is honesty and courage to take responsibility for our thoughts and bring them to the truth. The Holy Spirit does the rest. Is it a sacrifice to give up our suffering? As Byron Katie asks, "Who would you be without your anxiety?" Suffering offers us something we want, or we would give it up gladly. It is helpful to inquire how it is serving us. What we still cling to and think we want is, above all, our individuality and our specialness, and that is why guilt still holds an attraction for us.
 
To say that we choose suffering, unhappiness, and distress sounds far-fetched. Yet if we did not receive the payoff of individuality and specialness, we would simply release these feelings. While these thoughts fuel the ego and we still identify with our separate selves, we fear the loss of this self. Thus, we resist releasing our investment in suffering. Have you noticed how the mind holds onto obsessive thoughts? We tell stories of how justified we are in feeling the way we do. We justify our fear and our anger. We try to get others to side with our stories, which, in our minds, simply give more credence to our version of events. Isn't it wonderful that we truly have a choice to bring our awareness to what we are getting from our suffering and to make a different decision? It is that simple, even though it does require discipline and effort on our part. We need to stay vigilant in watching our thoughts and having the desire and willingness to release them to the Holy Spirit, Who will do the rest.
 
As we were reminded in the Lesson yesterday, this process requires great honesty and courage. If we are defending and justifying, we are not being honest. Honesty requires that we take total responsibility. "This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies: I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked." (T.21.II.2.1-5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.14-15)
 
We all have experienced many miracles, and with each shift, we realize that this Course is not about blind faith. We increasingly see that as we apply the Lessons to the day-to-day events, situations, and people in our lives, we experience a shift in how we see things. Sometimes it seems that the changes are little by little, and at other times, a whole new level of awareness rushes in like a wave crashing onto the shore. Regardless of how we see our progress, it does not matter. The reality is, each time we forgive, we are peeling away another layer of false perception.
 
We don't need the other person in a relationship to participate in the healing. It only takes one. As we are told in Chapter 5, "Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur." (T.5.III.2.8) (ACIM OE T.5.V.33) I remember when my ex-husband stood at my door and asked me, apparently out of the blue, if he could hug me and proceeded to tell me what a wonderful job I had done with raising our son. This came years after our divorce when I had released the many grievances I had held against him. The interesting thing is that the shift in the relationship does not come on our timetable or by our request. It comes when there is total openness, willingness, and readiness to receive it. We may think we have done the work, but until we are ready and willing to have healing be the only desire of our heart, the ego will still demand that things be different. Everything in our lives is all quite perfect and in perfect timing for our healing, no matter what it looks like.
 
Miracles are not under our control. All we have to do is our small part. Yes, sometimes it seems to take years. Other times, months or weeks go by before we see this kind of evidence of healing, but time is quite irrelevant to it all. It is not about our timetable, and it is not what shows up in form, but it is the peace that is our gift the instant healing is received. We may never know the impact of our healing on others, but it does not matter. What matters is the choice we are making in each moment, which is the choice for the grievance or for the miracle, for the ego or the Holy Spirit. And with each choice for forgiveness, more healing is brought to the world.
 
We don't need to try to understand it. As Jesus says, "Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit's plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is." (T. 9.IV.6.3) (ACIM OE T.9.III.15) Miracles witness to our healing. It is important we bring our attention and awareness to the miracles, or they may go by unnoticed. "Miracles demonstrate that learning has occurred under the right guidance, for learning is invisible and what has been learned can be recognized only by its results." (T.12.VII.1.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.61)
 
Today, I choose gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me, for His presence goes with me. Let us be grateful for the haven of protection always surrounding us and embracing us. We can be confident that healing is always available to us when we are ready to accept it. We hold that same confidence in our brothers and sisters. They too have the same truth available within them. We are not to judge anyone’s path. It is unique for each of us.
 
When we enable anyone, it is false sympathy, which is never helpful. Our interference may, in fact, be taking their classroom away from them. Our only responsibility is to accept the Atonement (the healing) for ourselves. Yes, we continue to offer support to others as guided, but we do so while still remembering who they are and holding the truth about them in our awareness. Thus, we become a messenger of peace.
 
We remember today to call on God when we experience feelings of fear and vulnerability. We remind ourselves that we cannot be endangered because the truth is, we are already home with God. Calling on God is simply a reminder of the truth within and all around us. Our reality is perfectly safe and protected. Feel His embrace. Nothing can touch you, as your reality is outside of the dream. Set your focus in the morning on being willing to accept the Correction, and remember to go through the day with the Lesson firmly held in your mind. Whenever any kind of fear comes up, any kind of anxiety, nervousness, or frustration where you feel your security threatened in any way, remember to call on God and to feel yourself resting in His embrace, forever safe, loved, and happy. Nothing can reach you or harm you in this place. To call on God is to remember the truth about ourselves. Calling on the ego means we think we know what it is we need in order to save ourselves. All this does is take us further from the truth and keep us rooted in the dream. This is the choice in front of us in each moment.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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