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

CHAPTER 22
Salvation and the Holy Relationship

VII. Freedom and the Holy Spirit

 51 Do you want freedom of the body or of the mind? For both you cannot have. Which do you value? Which is your goal? For one you see as means; the other, end. And one must serve the other and lead to its predominance, increasing its importance by diminishing its own. Means serve the end, and as the end is reached, the value of the means decreases, eclipsed entirely when they are recognized as functionless. No one but yearns for freedom and tries to find it. Yet he will seek for it where he believes it is and can be found. He will believe it possible of mind or body, and he will make the other serve his choice as means to find it.

52 Where freedom of the body has been chosen, the mind is used as means whose value lies in its ability to contrive ways to achieve the body's freedom. Yet freedom of the body has no meaning, and so the mind is dedicated to serve illusions. This is a situation so contradictory and so impossible that anyone who chooses this has no idea of what is valuable. Yet even in this confusion, so profound it cannot be described, the Holy Spirit waits in gentle patience, as certain of the outcome as He is sure of His Creator's love. He knows this mad decision was made by one as dear to His Creator as love is to itself.

53 Be not disturbed at all to think how He can change the role of means and end so easily in what God loves and would have free forever. But be you rather grateful that you can be the means to serve His end. This is the only service which leads to freedom. To serve this end, the body must be perceived as sinless because the goal is sinlessness. The lack of contradiction makes the soft transition from means to end as easy as is the shift from hate to gratitude before forgiving eyes. You will be sanctified by one another, using your bodies only to serve the sinless. And it will be impossible for you to hate what serves what you would heal.

54 This holy relationship, lovely in its innocence, mighty in strength, and blazing with a light far brighter than the sun which lights the sky you see, is chosen of your Father as a means for His own plan. Be thankful that it serves yours not at all. Nothing entrusted to it can be misused, and nothing given it but will be used. This holy relationship has the power to heal all pain, regardless of its form. Neither of you alone can serve at all. Only in your joint will does healing lie. For here your healing is and here will you accept Atonement. And in your healing is the Sonship healed because your wills are joined.

55 Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, "This was a mistake." And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given! Each part of Heaven that you bring is given you . And every empty place in Heaven that you fill again with the Eternal Light you bring shines now on you . The means of sinlessness can know no fear because they carry only love with them.

56 Children of peace, the light has come to you. The light you bring you do not recognize, and yet you will remember. Who can deny himself the vision that he brings to others? And who would fail to recognize a gift he let be laid in Heaven through himself? The gentle service that you give the Holy Spirit is service to yourself. You who are now His means must love all that He loves. And what you bring is your remembrance of everything that is eternal. No trace of anything in time can long remain in minds that serve the timeless. And no illusion can disturb the peace of a relationship which has become the means of peace.

57 When you have looked upon each other with complete forgiveness from which no error is excluded and nothing kept hidden what mistake can there be anywhere you cannot overlook? What form of suffering could block your sight, preventing you from seeing past it? And what illusion could there be you will not recognize as a mistake—a shadow through which you walk completely undismayed? God would let nothing interfere with those whose wills are His[. And they will recognize their wills are His, because they serve His Will] and serve it willingly. And could remembrance of what they are be long delayed?

58 You will see your value through each other's eyes, and each one is released as he beholds his savior in place of the attacker who he thought was there. Through this releasing is the world released. This is your part in bringing peace. For you have asked what is your function here and have been answered. Seek not to change it nor to substitute another goal. [This one was given you and only this.] Accept this one and serve it willingly, for what the Holy Spirit does with the gifts you give each other, to whom He offers them, and where and when is up to Him. He will bestow them where they are received and welcomed. He will use every one of them for peace. Nor will one little smile or willingness to overlook the tiniest mistake be lost to anyone.

59 What can it be but universal blessing to look on what your Father loves with charity? Extension of forgiveness is the Holy Spirit's function. Leave this to Him. Let your concern be only that you give to Him that which can be extended. Save no dark secrets that He cannot use, but offer Him the tiny gifts He can extend forever. He will take each one and make of it a potent force for peace. He will withhold no blessing from it nor limit it in any way. He will join to it all the power that God has given Him to make each little gift of love a source of healing for everyone. Each little gift you offer to the other lights up the world. Be not concerned with darkness; look away from it and toward each other. And let the darkness be dispelled by Him Who knows the light and lays it gently in each quiet smile of faith and confidence with which you bless each other.

60 On your learning depends the welfare of the world. And it is only arrogance that would deny the power of your will. Think you the Will of God is powerless? Is this humility? You do not see what this belief has done. You see yourself as vulnerable, frail, and easily destroyed and at the mercy of countless attackers more powerful than you. Let us look straight at how this error came about, for here lies buried the heavy anchor that seems to keep the fear of God in place, unmovable and solid as a rock. While this remains, so will it seem to be.

61 Who can attack the Son of God and not attack his Father? How can God's Son be weak and frail and easily destroyed unless his Father is? You do not see that every sin and every condemnation which you perceive and justify is an attack upon your Father. And that is why it has not happened nor could be real. You do not see that this is your attempt because you think the Father and the Son are separate. And you must think that they are separate because of fear. For it seems safer to attack another or yourself than to attack the great Creator of the universe, whose power you know .

62 If you were one with God and recognized this oneness, you would know His power is yours . But you will not remember this while you believe attack of any kind means anything. It is unjustified in any form because it has no meaning. The only way it could be justified is if each one of you were separate from the other, and all were separate from your Creator. For only then would it be possible to attack a part of the creation without the whole, the Son without the Father, and to attack another without yourself or hurt yourself without the other feeling pain. And this belief you want . Yet wherein lies its value except in the desire to attack in safety? Attack is neither safe nor dangerous. It is impossible . And this is so because the universe is one. You would not choose attack on its reality if it were not essential to attack to see it [separate from its Creator]. And thus it seems as if love could attack and become fearful.

63 Only the different can attack. So you conclude because you can attack you must be different. Yet does the Holy Spirit explain this differently. Because you are not different, you cannot attack. Either position is a logical conclusion if only the different can attack. Either could be maintained, but never both. The only question to be answered to decide which must be true is whether you are different. From the position of what you understand, you seem to be and therefore can attack. Of the alternatives, this seems more natural and more in line with your experience. And therefore it is necessary that you have other experiences more in line with truth to teach you what is natural and true.

64 This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your minds are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. For when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realize that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same. Joy is unlimited because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself. There is no difference anywhere in it, for every thought is like itself.

65 The light that joins you shines throughout the universe, and because it joins you, so it makes you one with your Creator. And in Him is all creation joined. Would you regret you cannot fear alone when your relationship can also teach the power of love is there, which makes all fear impossible? Do not attempt to keep a little of the ego with this gift. For it was given you to be used and not obscured. What teaches you you cannot separate, denies the ego. Let truth decide if you be different or the same and teach you which is true.

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Part II
What is Sin.

1 Sin is insanity. It is the means by which the mind is driven mad and seeks to let illusions take the place of truth. And being mad, it sees illusions where the truth should be and where it really is. Sin gave the body eyes, for what is there the sinless would behold? What need have they of sights or sounds or touch? What would they hear or reach to grasp? What would they sense at all? To sense is not to know. And truth can be but filled with knowledge and with nothing else.

2 The body is the instrument the mind made in its striving to deceive itself. Its purpose is to strive. Yet can the goal of striving change. And now the body serves a different aim for striving. What it seeks for now is chosen by the aim the mind has taken as replacement for the goal of self-deception. Truth can be its aim as well as lies. The senses then will seek instead for witnesses to what is true.

3 Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts which are untrue. They are the "proof" that what has no reality is real. Sin "proves" God's Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more.

4 A madman's dreams are frightening, and sin appears indeed to terrify. And yet what sin perceives is but a childish game. The Son of God may play he has become a body, prey to evil and to guilt, with but a little life that ends in death. But all the while his Father shines on him and loves him with an everlasting Love which his pretenses cannot change at all.

5 How long, oh Son of God, will you maintain the game of sin? Shall we not put away these sharp-edged children's toys? How soon will you be ready to come home? Perhaps today? There is no sin. Creation is unchanged. Would you still hold return to Heaven back? How long, oh holy Son of God, how long?

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Lesson 251
I am in need of nothing but the truth.

1 I sought for many things and found despair. Now do I seek but one, for in that one is all I need and only what I need. All that I sought before I needed not and did not even want. My only need I did not recognize. But now I see that I need only truth. In that, all needs are satisfied, all cravings end, all hopes are finally fulfilled, and dreams are gone. Now have I everything that I could need. Now have I everything that I could want. And now at last I find myself at peace.

2 And for that peace, our Father, we give thanks. What we denied ourselves You have restored, and only that is what we really want.

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Lesson 251
I am in need of nothing but the truth.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
Now we come to the question, "What is Sin?" (W.PII.Q4) The simple answer is that sin is what gave birth to illusions. According to the glossary of terms from the Circle of Atonement, sin is “a real attack that causes real damage, violation, and injury and produces real moral and spiritual guilt and calls for punishment and death. To sin would be to violate reality and succeed. Sin is the proclamation that attack is real and justified.” Sin keeps us believing in illusion where truth is now obscured. Thus, it is the foundation of the ego and is holy to the ego. Now it gives rise to the world. The purpose of our senses, which Jesus calls the "mechanisms of illusion," (W.PII.Q3.3.1) shows us a world external to our minds. As long as we look at reality as outside of our own minds, we are kept blind and ignorant. "To sense is not to know." (W.PII.Q4.1.8)
 
The senses are the purview of the ego, and the ego wants us to believe that what is brought to us through the senses is the truth. Yet what is revealed to us by our senses obscures the truth. The truth is in our minds, but as a result of our decision to believe the ego's story that we have sinned and have thus done something terribly wrong, we left our minds and now believe our identity is in the body and the world. Senses were made by the ego as "proof" that the illusion is true, real, and solid, but when we take in information about the world through our senses and process it with our brains, we can't know anything. Whatever we see outside of us, which is everything we perceive in the world, is nothing but a witness to sin and guilt in the mind. It is an outside picture of our inward condition, where our own guilt is projected onto the world. "And to this world must you adjust as long as you believe this picture is outside, and has you at its mercy." (T.20.III.5.7) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.20)
 
This is what we have done. We have done our best to make an adjustment to the world. It is like doing our best to adjust to an insane asylum. In my early years, I was always the "good girl" until rebellion set in later in life. Nevertheless, I always tried to adjust to the world and follow the rules with some periods of experimentation along the way. It was a relief for me to be told this world is not my home because it never felt like my home. In order to relieve our guilt, we have specific targets in the world on which we can project judgment and blame for our condition. It becomes our story of victimhood. It is how we defend ourselves from looking at the guilt buried in our own minds, but it is all imagined---made up by the ego. We bought into the ego's story that we have sinned against God by stealing our identity from Him, and now the ego tells us this "sin" calls for punishment. As long as we hold the belief that we have done something terribly wrong and therefore we are bad, we will be out of touch with the truth of our reality as the sinless Son of God, and we will anticipate punishment in the form of many problems we encounter in the world.
 
What we are seeing reflects our insane thoughts held in the mind and projected onto the world. Yet the Atonement Principle is our assurance that we have not sinned. We are still at home in God, simply dreaming of exile. We live in fear in the belief that we will have to face punishment coming to us for what we think we have done. No, this is not conscious, but it is apparent when we blame God for our condition. It is all a dream and has no reality. Until we come to this recognition, we will continue to wander in the world, lost and alone, distracting ourselves with the trinkets of this world and finding no lasting happiness. The core of the ego thought system is that we are now lost to God and are completely on our own. This is where all of our anxiety, our fear, and our vague sense that we have done something wrong and are doomed comes from. It is not a good feeling, but we do our best to compensate for it, as well as distract from it.
 
We have not turned ourselves into something evil and sinful. All we have done is forgotten who we are. Forgetting who we are has not changed the truth about the Self. Validating our false reality through our senses does not make it true, even if our senses do a good job in preserving the falsity. We defend against the truth by arrogantly insisting that we are right and that God is wrong when He assures us that we have never changed ourselves and have never sinned. As long as we still see sin in others and call for retribution, we maintain that we are right and that the blame belongs to people and events in the world. Even if we blame ourselves, there are always those we see as responsible for our condition, and thus we keep trying to buy our own innocence at the expense of "others." We hope God is watching and will punish them, rather than us, but it is a false innocence. Our true innocence is already established, and no sin that we can conceive of can change that fact.
 
Sin seems to have corrupted our innocence, although that could never happen. "You who have played that you are lost to hope, abandoned by your Father, left alone in terror in a fearful world made mad by sin and guilt; be happy now. That game is over. Now a quiet time has come, in which we put away the toys of guilt, and lock our quaint and childish thoughts of sin forever from the pure and holy minds of Heaven's children and the Son of God." (W.153.13.1-3)
 
We are being called to choose again each time we are tempted to see another as guilty. When we recognize that it is just the projection of our own guilt onto our brothers, and we see how this maintains our guilt and suffering, then we will become motivated to bring our guilt to the Holy Spirit to be healed at its source. The ego needs specific targets for its attacks. "Thus were specifics made." (W.161.3.1) Now, these specific situations and our special relationships can be used as an opportunity for healing, rather than as a focus for our guilt.
 
Illusions go when we start to recognize them for what they are. "The body is the instrument the mind made in its efforts to deceive itself. Its purpose is to strive." (W.PII.Q4.2.1) So what we do is use our body to strive for what we think we want. We keep the body in a state of constantly seeking the things of this world that we think will make us happy. There are many things we strive for. It can be a very long list and includes fame, fortune, status, position, power, entertainment, vacations, careers, money, material things, special relationships, sex, food, fitness, and on and on. There are also the things we worry about, plan for, expect, defend against, set goals, and decide for as outcomes we want. All of this striving keeps us from peace. While we say we want peace, the ego supports our seeking, but it ensures us that we will never find what we are looking for. This is because in the end, all we are looking for is peace and happiness in these things. We have become misguided by looking for peace and happiness where it can never be found.
 
"Yet can the goal of striving change. And now the body serves a different aim for striving. What it seeks for now is chosen by the aim the mind has taken as replacement for the goal of self-deception. Truth can be its aim as well as lies. The senses then will seek instead for witnesses to what is true." (W.PII.Q4.2.3-7) It is all about purpose, so everything made to support the ego can now be used by the Holy Spirit for our release from this cycle of sin, guilt, and fear. We have a choice as to whether we send out messengers to look for sin and guilt, or messengers to seek for witnesses to the truth. "For what the messengers of love are sent to do they do, returning the glad tidings that it was done to you and your brother who stand together before the altar from which they were sent forth." (T.19.I.14.6) (ACIM OE T.I9.II.14)
 
Despite the many needs we think we have, our only real need is for the truth. We may be so sufficiently invested in the world that there still are desires we have and plans we make to fulfill these desires. It is not helpful to feel guilty for pursuing what we still think we want in the world. To feel guilty is just another ego trap to keep us in its bondage. Simply notice what you are striving for in the world, and be willing to ask the deeper question of purpose. What is it for? Do I really believe that when I get everything I think I want, I will be truly and deeply happy? Who is this "I" that thinks it knows where happiness lies? Who keeps putting the peace available in this moment into some future time? Our happiness waits for our readiness to accept it. It is here right now. It is simply being blocked by our beliefs, concepts, fears, and guilt.
 
A friend told me this story of her young son who opened up the refrigerator and said: "Mommy, I want something." After she went through a lot of options with him, like: "Is it milk you want?” or "How about some cheese?" or "Some fruit maybe?" The answer was "no" to each one until the exasperated Mom said, "Well, what is it that you want?" And he answered, "I don't know." Mom was supposed to figure it out. Isn't this the way we often are, ourselves, where there is this vague feeling of wanting something, but we don't know what it is? This kind of craving alerts us to the emptiness that only truth can fill. It is our desire for God. Whenever we go looking for food, cigarettes, or new clothes, we are really looking for God. It is the only desire we have that can truly be fulfilled. "My only need I did not recognize." (W.251.1.4)
 
No, we don't recognize it. We fill our lives with all the stuff we think will make us happy, only to want more and more until we give up and admit that we don’t know where to find happiness. This is the first step in asking the One Who does know and the beginning of our search for truth. We have a vague recognition within that has been denied. What we really want is truth, to know again what we are, and to have the peace that comes from this knowing. When we give up wanting, we will see that we have everything.
 
I spent my working life trying to get recognition from my bosses. I wanted them to affirm how well I was doing. While I did get lots of validation for good work, in my mind it was never enough. When I started on this path and experienced more healing, the recognition that I had previously craved was no longer important to me. It just simply fell away. I felt a new-found freedom from the bondage of looking outside of myself for affirmation. What was interesting was that after my need for it fell away, I started to get all kinds of recognition. I received a commemorative medal from the Federal Government. I was honored with Metis status. I received recognition for my work in introducing a provincial holiday for the Premier of the Province, and most significant, I was the first woman in the Province to receive a medal for outstanding Government service from the Lieutenant Governor. While I speak of it now with some measure of pride, I had no longer sought for it, nor did it seem to have any real significance. I simply no longer needed what had once seemed so important to me. As Jesus says in our Lesson today, "All that I sought before I needed not, and did not even want." (W.251.1.3)
 
In finding truth, "all needs are satisfied, all cravings end, all hopes are finally fulfilled and dreams are gone." (W.251.1.6) Thus, we connect with the peace and joy, which has always been there. We have been looking for it in all the wrong places. We have been denying the very thing we think we want. The ego is deluded and keeps us focused on what we can never find when we look outside of ourselves. Its premise is, "Seek but do not find" and isn't this what we have been doing for a big part of our lives?
 
This Course is not about demanding that we make sacrifices by giving up things that we are still attached to. When our minds are ready, these things simply fall away. There is no sacrifice, nor loss. We no longer pursue these things because we see that we are giving up nothing of value. We are not asked to sacrifice, nor should we feel guilty about enjoying whatever we consider as pleasures in this world. It is only about purpose. When our minds are ready to let these things go, they will simply drop away. Jesus says that we should ask in everything, "What for?" (T.4.V.6) (ACIM OE T.4.VI.77) Is it for the ego or for the Holy Spirit? Anything we do in the world can be used for the purpose of awakening. When we go to the movies, we can use the experience to watch our reactions. When we go out shopping, we can still maintain vigilance, using every encounter for healing purposes. It is not about what we are doing, but the mindset with which we are doing it.
 
It is helpful to remember that everything we are striving for will ultimately fail us. "It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact the world has nothing to give. What can the sacrifice of nothing mean?" (Manual for Teachers.13.2.1-2) The things we want to accomplish and the things we think will make us feel good will not give us the peace of God. Today, when you sense you are getting caught up in something trivial, take a moment to still your mind and remind yourself that you are in need of nothing but the truth.
 
We will continue daily with the reading of the Section, "What is Sin?", (W.PII.Q4) so I will say a little more about this question in the commentary on Lesson 252.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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