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

CHAPTER 24
Specialness and Separation

III. The Treachery of Specialness

 12 Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another and maintained by searching for and keeping clear in sight all lacks it can perceive. This does it seek, and this it looks upon. And always whom it thus diminishes would be your savior, had you not chosen to make of him a tiny measure of your specialness instead. Against the littleness you see in him, you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied by comparison with what you see. Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus.

13 Pursuit of specialness is always at the cost of peace. Who can attack his savior and cut him down yet recognize his strong support? Who can detract from his omnipotence yet share his power? And who can use him as the gauge of littleness and be released from limits? You have a function in salvation. Its pursuit will bring you joy. But the pursuit of specialness must bring you pain. Here is a goal that would defeat salvation and thus run counter to the Will of God. To value specialness is to esteem an alien will to which illusions of yourself are dearer than the truth.

14 Specialness is the idea of sin made real. Sin is impossible even to imagine without this base. For sin arose from it out of nothingness; an evil flower with no roots at all. Here is the self-made "savior," the "creator" who creates unlike the Father and which made His Son like to itself and not like unto Him. His "special" sons are many, never one, each one in exile from himself and Him of Whom they are a part. Nor do they love the Oneness Which created them as one with Him. They chose their specialness instead of Heaven and instead of peace and wrapped it carefully in sin to keep it "safe" from truth.

15 You are not special. If you think you are and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you when it is your specialness to which you listen and which asks and answers? Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody which pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its "mightiness." You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you.

16 You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears. To every special one a different message, and one with different meaning, is the truth. Yet how can truth be different to each one? The special messages the special hear convince them they are different and apart—each in his special sins and "safe" from love, which does not see his specialness at all. Christ's vision is their "enemy," for it sees not what they would look upon, and it would show them that the specialness they think they see is an illusion. What would they see instead?

17 The shining radiance of the Son of God—so like his Father that the memory of Him springs instantly to mind. And with this memory, the Son remembers his own creations, as like to him as he is to his Father. And all the world he made and all his specialness and all the sins he held in its defense against himself will vanish as his mind accepts the truth about himself as it returns to take their place. This is the only "cost" of truth: you will no longer see what never was, nor hear what makes no sound. Is it a sacrifice to give up nothing and to receive the love of God forever?

18 You who have chained your savior to your specialness and given it his place, remember this: He has not lost the power to forgive you all the sins you think you placed between him and the function of salvation given him for you. Nor will you change his function, any more than you can change the truth in him and in yourself. But be you certain that the truth is just the same in both. It gives no different messages and has one meaning. And it is one you both can understand, and one which brings release to both of you. Here stands your brother with the key to Heaven in his hand held out to you. Let not the dream of specialness remain between you. What is one is joined in truth.

19 Think of the loveliness that you will see within yourself when you have looked on him as on a friend. He is the enemy of specialness but only friend to what is real in you. Not one attack you thought you made on him has taken from him the gift that God would have him give to you. His need to give it is as great as yours to have it. Let him forgive you all your specialness and make you whole in mind and one with him. He waits for your forgiveness only that he may return it unto you. It is not God Who has condemned His Son. But only you, to save his specialness and kill his Self.

20 You have come far along the way of truth—too far to falter now. Just one step more and every vestige of the fear of God will melt away in love. Your brother's specialness and yours are enemies and bound in hate to kill each other and deny they are the same. Yet it is not illusions which have reached this final obstacle that seems to make God and His Heaven so remote that they cannot be reached. Here in this holy place does truth stand waiting to receive you both in silent blessing and in peace so real and so encompassing that nothing stands outside. Leave all illusions of yourself outside this place to which you come in hope and honesty.

21 Here is your savior from your specialness. He is in need of your acceptance of himself as part of you, as you for his. You are alike to God as God is to Himself. He is not special, for He would not keep one part of what He is unto Himself, not given to His Son but kept for Him alone. And it is this you fear, for if He is not special, then He willed His Son be like Him, and your brother is like you. Not special, but possessed of everything including you.

22 Give him but what he has, remembering God gave Himself to both of you in equal love that both might share the universe with Him Who chose that love could never be divided and kept separate from what it is and must forever be. You are your brother's; part of love was not denied to him. But can it be that you have lost because he is complete? What has been given him makes you complete, as it does him. God's love gave you to him and him to you because He gave Himself. What is the same as God is one with Him. And only specialness could make the truth of God and you as one seem anything but Heaven and the hope of peace at last in sight.

23 Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love. Whatever serves its purpose must be given to kill. No gift that bears its seal but offers treachery to giver and receiver. Not one glance from eyes it veils but looks on sight of death. Not one believer in its potency but seeks for bargains and for compromise that would establish sin love's substitute and serve it faithfully. And no relationship that holds its purpose dear but clings to murder as safety's weapon and the great defender of all illusions from the "threat" of love.

24 The hope of specialness makes it seem possible God made the body as the prison-house which keeps His Son from Him. For it demands a special place God cannot enter and a hiding-place where none is welcome but your tiny self. Nothing is sacred here but unto you and you alone, apart and separate from all your brothers, safe from all intrusions of sanity upon illusions, safe from God, and safe for conflict everlasting. Here are the gates of hell you closed upon yourself, to rule in madness and in loneliness your special kingdom, apart from God, away from truth and from salvation.

25 The key you threw away God gave your brother, whose holy hands would offer it to you when you were ready to accept His plan for your salvation in place of yours. How could this readiness be reached save through the sight of all your misery and the awareness that your plan has failed and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind? Through this despair you travel now, yet it is but illusion of despair. The death of specialness is not your death but your awaking into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you.

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Lesson 260
Let me remember God created me.

1 Father, I did not make myself, although in my insanity I thought I did. Yet as Your Thought, I have not left my Source, remaining part of What created me. Your Son, my Father, calls on You today. Let me remember You created me. Let me remember my Identity. And let my sinlessness arise again before Christ's vision, through which I would look upon my brothers and myself today.

2 Now is our Source remembered, and therein we find our true Identity at last. Holy indeed are we because our Source can know no sin. And we who are His Sons are like each other and alike to Him.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 260
Let me remember God created me.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
Today, we are reminded again that there is no need to look for answers to the question of "Who am I?" We keep wondering about our identities because we have made up a self that is not who we are. We are convinced that we are bodies. Our false self-concepts, beliefs, values, and perceived needs uphold this false identity. The beliefs that we hold are both personal and cultural and are deeply ingrained in us. In fact, Jesus tells us that they have been overlearned, which is why it takes a lot of discipline, constant mind training, and a lot of practice to undo what we have accepted as true about who we are. "Now does your ancient overlearning stand implacable before the Voice of truth, and teach you that Its lessons are not true; too hard to learn, too difficult to see, and too opposed to what is really true." (T.31.I.5.4) (ACIM OE T.31.I.5) Jesus tells us, "You have exerted great effort to preserve what you made because it was not true." (T.6.V.C.10.5) (ACIM OE T.6. V.c.95) Now we defend our image, our body, and our belief system, always staying vigilant in its protection.
 
We could choose instead to be vigilant on behalf of truth so we could remember the truth of who we really are. "Your vigilance is the sign that you want Him to guide you. Vigilance does require effort, but only until you learn that effort itself is unnecessary." (T.6.V.C.10.3-4) (ACIM OE T.6. V.c.95) "Only this can cancel out the need for effort, and call upon the being which you both have and are ." (T.6.V.C.10.7) (ACIM OE T.6.V.c.95)
 
When we recognize that we have been mistaken, and we are still as God created us, there is no more effort to be made. Until then, we have to remind ourselves that we are like the sunbeam to the sun. The sun has determined the nature of the sunbeam, just as God has determined our nature as pure and sinless. It cannot be otherwise. We are still part of our Source. (W.260.1.2) In our insanity, we thought we made ourselves. The important thing is to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit Who will undo all that stands in the way of our true identity as long as we are willing. "Let me remember my Identity." (W.260.1.5) There is nothing to pay for or atone for. The door to Heaven is open. We have never left our Source. "Ideas leave not their source." (W.132.5.3) We are an idea in the Mind of God.
 
The way I remember who I am as God's Son is through forgiveness. One brother is all brothers. We are all the same---all from the same Source. We all share the same interests and same nature as the One Self. If I attack you, I am only attacking myself. God’s love blesses all equally. If I hate my brothers or judge them, I am declaring my will as different from God's. I ask for help because I want to see who my brother really is and to know my own identity.
 
Healing the separation comes through healing our relationships. "Peace to your holy relationship, which has the power to hold the unity of the Son of God together." (T.20.V.2.5) (ACIM OE T.20.VI.38) Jesus goes on to say our healing lies only in recognizing our joint will. When we recognize our one need, which is to awaken from this dream, we recognize our sameness. Our differences only appear to conceal the goal we all share. It is in forgiving our brothers that we find our true identity. "Now our Source is remembered, and Therein we find our true Identity at last." (W.260.2.1)
 
In every situation that seems to bring distress, pain, difficulty, conflict, or confusion, there is a gift of grace and liberation. In bringing the problem to the solution, God's grace comes to our awareness. Thus, every problem can bring us a gift when we refrain from trying to solve it independent of the help of the Holy Spirit. When we look at every issue that comes up in our lives without judgment, it means that we are looking with Jesus instead of with the ego. When we are willing to be defenseless in investigating our fears and allowing the Holy Spirit to reinterpret them for us, grace will shine through. We are worth the effort to give the time and the discipline it takes to unlock our defenses so that Love can enter. When we set up defenses against feeling our pain and discomfort, we are defending against God's Love.
 
"Father, I did not make myself, although in my insanity I thought I did. Yet as Your Thought, I have not left my Source, remaining part of Who created me." (W.260.1.1‑2) We are not our past, our mistakes, our upbringing, or the stories we tell about our lives. We are awesome and glorious beings created by Love, and through forgiveness, we will see everyone else in the same way so we can know our brothers as our Self. "And we who are His Sons are like each other, and alike to Him. " (W.260.2.3)
 
Today, I heard of a man who was climbing in Jasper and felt he just could not go on. He had been hurt, seemed to be out of his range, and not sure of his whereabouts. In the midst of his fear and pain, he kept reminding himself that he was invulnerable, created by God, not his body, but safe and protected. It gave him strength, courage, and hope. If we could bring our fears to the truth in every circumstance, our minds could be returned to peace, which is our natural state. In releasing our fears and reminding ourselves of the truth, we can find peace in the midst of turmoil, whether climbing a mountain in dangerous circumstances or in the midst of conflict with our partner. Remembering the truth will take us out of the rant, out of our tantrums, and out of our need to be right. Is it easy? No indeed. And this is only because we make it difficult; but when we surrender and commit to peace, the way through any circumstance is always available to us.
 
To have this Lesson really come alive in our minds, we need to remember that we did not make ourselves, but we are a Thought in God's mind. Yet we feel like we have shaped our identity, and we believe that we can continue to shape it with our actions, values, and beliefs. We assess how the world responds to us, which also determines what we think about ourselves. We have an identity we think we have made, and now we compare ourselves to others to see if we are more or less special. Whether we attack or do good deeds, our identity seems to keep changing. Yet the truth is beyond all of our acts and deeds. We are not a blank slate at birth, shaped by events of our lives. We have made a choice to be here and to live out a script chosen by the mind, as are the characters that show up in our dream. The events that seem painful to the ego can be our most powerful motivators to look for another way and are thus joyous to the Spirit.
 
What I find helpful with this practice today is not only to try to get in touch with the truth of my Identity as a complete and perfect Thought in God's Mind but throughout the day, when painful feelings or self-attacking thoughts come up, to pray: "Let me remember You created me. Let me remember my Identity." (W.260.1.4-5) It is a good antidote to thoughts of guilt, despair, and depression. When I have done something that is attacking and I feel down about myself, I can look at those feelings and bring them to the Holy Spirit, remembering again the truth of what I am. We cannot change ourselves. We have not made ourselves. We are God's creation-‑‑a Thought in His Mind---totally pure and untouchable. Yes, in the illusion, there are things we have done where we feel shame, guilt, and unworthiness. It is all part of the illusory story of our lives and the secrets we hold in darkness that we need to bring to the light. We can then have an experience of the unlimited, whole, holy, beautiful, radiant, and pure creation of God that we are. This is the holy instant---a glimpse of our eternal nature.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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