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

CHAPTER 24
Specialness and Separation

VII. Salvation from Fear

49 Before your brother's holiness the world is still and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your savior from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here and with you now . While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God's creation. For in him, his Father waits for your acknowledgment that He created you as part of Him.

50 Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a Son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole and part of Him because His Will is One. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother's holiness shows you that God is one with him and you—that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.

51 Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly as yours forever. And no thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His love for you and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance, which has no meaning in eternity where He abides and you with Him. Your brother is as He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.

52 Forget not that the healing of God's Son is all the world is for . That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time, and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way, and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there and all belief God's Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.

53 Look on your brother and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours , for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgment made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.

54 It is His sinlessness that eyes which see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother's holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world's, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother's body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.

55 Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations and through time which seems to have no end until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother's holiness that you might see the truth about yourself set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?

56 Your brother's holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God's blessing from himself nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him that both may end a journey that has never been begun and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself wherein you see the judgment you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.

57 See him as what he is that your deliverance may not be long. A senseless wandering, without a purpose and without accomplishment of any kind, is all the other choice can offer you. Futility of function not fulfilled will haunt you while your brother lies asleep, till what has been assigned to you is done and he is risen from the past. He who condemned himself, and you as well, is given you to save from condemnation along with you. And both shall see God's glory in His Son, whom you mistook as flesh and bound to laws that have no power over him at all.

58 Would you not gladly realize these laws are not for you? Then see him not as prisoner to them. It cannot be what governs part of God holds not for all the rest. You place yourself under the laws you see as ruling him. Think, then, how great the love of God for you must be that He has given you a part of Him to save from pain and give you happiness. And never doubt but that your specialness will disappear before the Will of God, Who loves each part of Him with equal love [and care]. The Christ in you can see your brother truly. Would you decide against the holiness He sees?

59 Specialness is the function which you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes, you are a separate universe with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this—you wanted specialness to be the truth .

60 Now you are merely asked that you pursue another goal with far less vigilance—with little effort and with little time and with the power of God maintaining it and promising success. Yet of the two, it is this one you find more difficult. The "sacrifice" of self you understand, nor do you deem this cost too heavy. But a tiny willingness, a nod to God, a greeting to the Christ in you, you find a burden wearisome and tedious, too heavy to be borne. Yet to the dedication to the truth as God established it no sacrifice is asked, no strain called forth, and all the power of Heaven and the might of truth itself is given to provide the means and guarantee the goal's accomplishment.

61 You who believe it easier to see your brother's body than his holiness, be sure you understand what made this judgment. Here is the voice of specialness heard clearly, judging against the Christ and setting forth for you the purpose that you can attain and what you cannot do. Forget not that this judgment must apply to what you do with it as your ally. For what you do through Christ it does not know. To Him this judgment makes no sense at all, for only what His Father wills is possible, and there is no alternative for Him to see. Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.

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Part II
What is the Body.

1 The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence, he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love. Identifying with his safety, he regards himself as what his safety is. How else could he be certain he remains within the body, keeping love outside?

2 The body will not stay. Yet this he sees as double safety. For the Son of God's impermanence is "proof" his fences work and do the task his mind assigns to them. For if his oneness still remained untouched, who could attack and who could be attacked? Who could be victor? Who could be his prey? Who could be victim? Who the murderer? And if he did not die, what "proof" is there that God's eternal Son can be destroyed?

3 The body is a dream. Like other dreams, it sometimes seems to picture happiness but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born. For only love creates in truth, and truth can never fear. Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it. But we can change the purpose which the body will obey by changing what we think that it is for.

4 The body is the means by which God's Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother and to help him walk along the road with him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill.

5 You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love, and find your Self.

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Lesson 263
My holy vision sees all things as pure.

1 Father, Your Mind created all that is; Your Spirit entered into it; Your Love gave life to it. And would I look upon what You created as if it could be made sinful? I would not perceive such dark and fearful images. A madman's dream is hardly fit to be my choice instead of all the loveliness with which You blessed creation—all its purity, its joy, and its eternal, quiet home in You.

2 And while we still remain outside the gate of Heaven, let us look on all we see through holy vision and the eyes of Christ. Let all appearances seem pure to us that we may pass them by in innocence and walk together to our Father's house as brothers and the holy Sons of God.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 263
My holy vision sees All things as pure.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
This Lesson is about seeing everyone through holy vision instead of looking for guilt, faults, warts, and differences. In other words, it is to see the innocence in everyone so we can know it in ourselves. We see differences in bodies, personalities, and what bodies do. The Lesson is not about denying the differences that we see, but not using what we see with our eyes to judge others. We are called to "look on all we see through holy vision with the eyes of Christ." (W.263.2.1) Whatever we look upon and however things appear to the body's eyes, let us pray "that we may pass them by in innocence, and walk together to our Father's house as brothers and the holy Sons of God." (W.263.2.2)
 
To see with vision is to recognize that we are all the same beyond what the body's eyes show us. With the "evidence" brought to us by our body's eyes at our request, we see people as sinful, evil, unkind, demanding, and guilty, and we judge them as different than ourselves. We do so because we want to see guilt in them, rather than in ourselves. This maintains the separation and makes others responsible for it! It is how we have chosen to maintain our innocence at their expense. It is why we choose suffering for ourselves because then we can blame someone else for it. And yet, when we see with vision, which is to see beyond appearances, we see that no matter what the perceived differences are, we are all purely divine, perfect, and holy. In other words, we are One Self. We share the same attributes of God given us in our creation. When we see anyone less than that, it provides us with another opportunity for healing. We do the healing when we are willing to look within at our self-condemnation that we project onto others. Thus, they become a mirror of the unhealed guilt within our own minds. We can't heal ourselves, but when we are willing to take responsibility for our projections and truly and sincerely surrender them to the Holy Spirit, He will do the rest.
 
I have always had difficulty with people who whine and complain about life. I have always valued a "can do" attitude. I started out years ago as a social worker, and now I can recognize that my need to rescue was all part of my own unhealed needs. I now see how the role of social worker that I chose kept me safe from my own vulnerability by seeking to rescue others instead. I was mostly able to keep my own sense of weakness and unworthiness out of my awareness. I did this by compensating for it with a show of strength and competency by saving "others". While I was seemingly helping others, I identified with their pain or, alternatively, judged their inadequacies. Healing came when I looked at these aspects of myself.
 
We can only heal what we acknowledge. Until we take responsibility for what we project onto others, we keep our own guilt hidden from ourselves. By withdrawing the projection, we reclaim it as something we need to look at within. Does that mean that everything we judge in others is an unhealed place in ourselves? Absolutely!
 
It is not a projection of our guilt when we observe behavior without judgment. Nevertheless, if we are comparing ourselves as better than anyone, holding a superior or even inferior position to them, we are assuming differences. Jesus invites us to recognize that we share the same need and the same purpose as our brother. He invites us to know the One Self, which we do by first recognizing our sameness. When we see others as guilty, we are saying that Jesus is wrong about who they are as pure and holy and that what we are seeing is right. We justify our anger and attack when we use what our senses show us as evidence of the sinful state of others. Our part is to take our judgments back to our own minds. This is the only place that real change can happen. Trying to change our brothers is just another form of attack.
 
When we judge the behavior of others, it always refers to something we are rejecting about ourselves. We can't heal anything that we deny in ourselves. "The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth." (T.14.VII.2.1) (ACIM OE T.14.IV.25) The truth is already in us. There is nowhere we have to go to find it. All we need to do is bring everything that interferes with it to the Holy Spirit. Jesus does not ask us to do this on his behalf, but on behalf of our own happiness. It is the only way out of suffering. The trick is not to judge or crucify ourselves when we see our judgments. All we need to do is acknowledge them. To look at our mistaken perceptions without judgment is to look at them from outside of the dream with the "eyes" of love. From this vantage point, there is nothing we take seriously about what we do or what anyone else does. It is actually all quite a silly dream.
 
Everything about this course is for application in our own lives. We can talk about the ideas in the Course for hours, but how will that help us transform our lives? The important thing is to recognize that if I am feeling anything but the peace of God, I am experiencing the ego. If I make anything important other than the peace of God, it will hurt me. "Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you, and will do so." (T.26.VI.1.1) (ACIM OE T.26.VII.44)
 
It is so interesting for me to see what shows up in my experience since it has become more and more apparent to me that what I hold in my mind appears as a reflection in the world. It is always an outside picture of my inward condition. Everything truly is a projection of our minds. We are not victims of the world. We actually draw the experiences to us that help us to look at the unhealed places in our minds. If we are experiencing issues of unworthiness, deceit, or dysfunction, we will draw witnesses to these aspects of ourselves. If we have issues of lack, greed, or neediness, these too will show up in our experience. There are no accidents. Yes, we can get very angry about the apparent injustices and what seems to be happening to us, but it is all about our own projections coming from within the mind. This is a powerful thought if we are willing to accept it as fact.
 
The ego mind rejects this responsibility because we actually prefer to be the innocent victims of the seeming injustices of what others do to us. When our unhealed perspectives are kept hidden from awareness, no healing is possible. The only way out is to stay vigilant with what is going on around us, how we are perceiving these situations and events, and to be consistently willing to bring our false self-concepts to the Holy Spirit so space can be opened up for the miracle. How this happens is not up to us. We are only called to look openly at the hidden places in the mind with courage and honesty and bring them to the light. The truth of who we are lies behind these self-concepts and false beliefs. Holiness is our inheritance and waits on our readiness to shine forth.
 
Jesus asks us how we could possibly look on anything God created as if it could be made sinful. (W.263.1.2) Only in this dream, which is being dreamed by a madman, could anyone God created pure be seen as sinful. Remember that in our reading of "What is Sin?" (W.PII.Q4) Jesus spoke of the madman's dreams as being frightening and terrifying. That is our experience. How could what is joyful and eternal be turned to "dark and fearful images" ? (W.263.1.3) It is what we have done in our choice for the ego as our "friend," and we continue to make this choice every time we judge a brother as guilty and unworthy of our love.
 
Last night, Don purchased a toilet for our basement that I felt was much too expensive. I proposed that he use it for our upstairs bathroom, where the toilet also needed replacing, and buy something cheaper for the basement. He refused to discuss this option and refused to consider my suggestion. It became a battle of wills---both of us digging in with our respective positions. I asked for help to address my anger and judgment about feeling discounted. I needed a "timeout," so I went to the computer to listen to some teaching and was given exactly what I needed to hear. A woman was speaking about this kind of conflict in her life. She said that whenever she and her husband saw things differently, they sat down together, held hands, indicated a willingness to let go of their ideas about any situation they encountered and simply sat quietly and listened to what Spirit had to say about what to do. It is the willingness to let a position go and to join and ask within. I am committed to focusing more on asking in everything, rather than using my own limited perspectives to make decisions. If we feel we need to decide something, it always means we are not clear on what to do. When we are clear, there is no need for a decision. It simply becomes obvious. And this can only be the case with the Holy Spirit, Who takes us beyond our own reasoning mind.
 
We are being asked today not only to see with Christ's vision but to pass by all appearances in innocence. (W.263.2.2) What does this mean? Apparently, in the Gospel of Thomas, which is discussed in Gary Renard's book "Disappearance of the Universe," there is a reference to becoming passersby, which apparently has the same meaning. It is basically not to get hooked in. This can be such a challenge. When we come across the dark and fearful images, which are things in this world that we give meaning to, the idea is to withdraw the meaning and the judgments that go with it and pass them by. It ties into the question of purpose because if we get drawn into the distractions of the world, we are not passing them by. When I find myself getting into an argument where I take the bait instead of remaining in a state of peace, or if I offer opinions where it would be more beneficial to my peace of mind simply to be still, then I am not passing them by. In these instances, I am actually choosing to throw away my peace and then blame someone else for taking it from me. This is how we give away our power when we could choose to pass it by. The only reason we engage in such debates is to keep the separation going.
 
 We were at an event some time ago at the ballpark. In the lounge, a buffet was available. Whoever chose to pay for it received an armband to signify they had bought a ticket. I noticed a group at an adjoining table where one person had the armband signifying they had paid for the buffet, but they were feeding five friends who had not paid. My condemning mind was very willing to be disturbed by this event. In that moment, I was not willing to "look on all we see through holy vision and the eyes of Christ." (263.2.1) I could not "pass them by in innocence." (263.2.2) and had all kinds of judgments about the morality of this situation. My mind was being pulled like a magnet to a crash scene, taking it all in. On reflection afterward, I noticed how much my mind wanted to make them wrong and to see their guilt. Clearly, by the rules of this world, they were not acting in integrity, but for me, it was actually my attraction to guilt which pulled me in.
 
Today, we make a commitment to 1) see the inherent purity in all of our brothers and 2) pass by the forms of the world, rather than get hooked by our condemning thoughts. Our true identity is not these bodies. We are created in the image of God. We are being asked to consider deeply how we could possibly look at what God created as sinful. If we perceive anyone as sinful, dark, and fearful, it can only be because we are projecting our own guilt. God created all that is, and if it is not of love, it is not of Him. Thus, it can only come from a madman's dream, and we are the madman. Healing the dream allows us to see with holy vision.
 
"Could you but realize for a single instant the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in you, can bring to all the world, you could not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean to receive the image of the holiness that heals the world." (T.14.IX.7.1) (ACIM OE T.14. V.44) In these instants, we experience our holiness. For the rest of the time, we keep using whatever shows up in our day for only one purpose---to heal our minds of our false perceptions of ourselves and everyone else.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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