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

CHAPTER 24
Specialness and Separation

VIII. The Meeting Place

62 How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! His wish is law unto him, and he obeys. Nothing his specialness demands does he withhold. Nothing it needs does he deny to what he loves. And while it calls to him, he hears no other Voice. No effort is too great, no cost too much, no price too dear to save his specialness from the least slight, the tiniest attack, the whispered doubt, the hint of threat, or anything but deepest reverence. This is your son, beloved of you as you are to your Father. Yet it stands in place of your creations, who are son to you, that you might share the Fatherhood of God, not snatch it from Him. What is this son that you have made to be your strength? What is this child of earth on whom such love is lavished? What is this parody of God's creation that takes the place of yours? And where are they , now that the host of God has found another son which he prefers to them?

63 The memory of God shines not alone. What is within your brother still contains all of creation, everything created and creating, born and unborn as yet, still in the future or apparently gone by. What is in him is changeless, and your changelessness is recognized in its acknowledgment. The holiness in you belongs to him. And by your seeing it in him, returns to you. All of the tribute you have given specialness belongs to him and thus returns to you. All of the love and care, the strong protection, the thought by day and night, the deep concern, the powerful conviction this is you belong to him. Nothing you gave to specialness but is his due. And nothing due him is not due to you.

64 How can you know your worth while specialness claims you instead? How can you fail to know it is in his holiness? Seek not to make your specialness the truth, for if it were, you would be lost indeed. Be thankful, rather, it is given you to see his holiness because it is the truth. And what is true in him must be as true in you.

65 Ask yourself this: can you protect the mind? The body, yes, a little—not from time, but temporarily. And much you think you save, you hurt. What would you save it for ? For in that choice lie both its health and harm. Save it for show, as bait to catch another fish, to house your specialness in better style or weave a frame of loveliness around your hate, and you condemn it to decay and death. And if you see this purpose in your brother's, such is your condemnation of your own. Weave, rather then, a frame of holiness around him that the truth may shine on him and give you safety from decay.

66 The Father keeps what He created safe. You cannot touch it with the false ideas you made because it was created not by you. Let not your foolish fancies frighten you. What is immortal cannot be attacked; what is but temporal has no effect. Only the purpose that you see in it has meaning, and if that is true, its safety rests secure. If not, it has no purpose and is means for nothing. Whatever is perceived as means for truth shares in its holiness and rests in light as safely as itself. Nor will that light go out when it is gone. Its holy purpose gave it immortality, setting another light in Heaven, where your creations recognize a gift from you, a sign that you have not forgotten them.

67 The test of everything on earth is simply this: "What is it for ?" The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it according to the purpose which you serve. Here you are but means, along with it. God is a Means as well as End. In Heaven, means and end are one, and one with Him. This is the state of true creation, found not within time, but in eternity. To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given; not till you make again a holy home for your creations is it understood.

68 A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. A perfect being, all-encompassing and all-encompassed, nothing to add and nothing taken from—not born of size nor weight nor time nor held to limits or uncertainties of any kind. Here do the means and end unite as one, nor does this one have any end at all. All this is true, and yet it has no meaning to anyone who still retains one unlearned lesson in his memory, one thought with purpose still uncertain, or one wish with a divided aim.

69 This course makes no attempt to teach what cannot easily be learned. Its scope does not exceed your own, except to say that what is yours will come to you when you are ready. Here are the means and purpose separate because they were so made and so perceived. And therefore do we deal with them as if they were. It is essential it be kept in mind that all perception still is upside down until its purpose has been understood. Perception does not seem to be a means. And it is this that makes it hard to grasp the whole extent to which it must depend on what you see it for . Perception seems to teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish—an image that you wanted to be true.

70 Look at yourself, and you will see a body. Look at this body in a different light, and it looks different. And without a light, it seems that it is gone. Yet you are reassured that it is there because you still can feel it with your hands and hear it move. Here is an image that you want to be yourself. It is the means to make your wish come true. It gives the eyes with which you look on it, the hands that feel it, and the ears with which you listened to the sounds it makes. It proves its own reality to you.

71 Thus is the body made a theory of yourself with no provisions made for evidence beyond itself and no escape within its sight. Its course is sure when seen through its own eyes. It grows and withers, flourishes and dies. And you cannot conceive of you apart from it. You brand it sinful, and you hate its acts, judging it evil. Yet your specialness whispers, "Here is my own beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Thus does the "son" become the means to serve his "father's" purpose. Not identical, not even like, but still a means to offer to the "father" what he wants. Such is the travesty on God's creation. For as His Son's creation gave Him joy and witness to His love and shared His purpose, so does the body testify to the idea that made it and speak for its reality and truth.

72 And thus are two sons made, and both appear to walk this earth without a meeting-place and no encounter. One do you see outside yourself, your own beloved son. The other rests within, His Father's Son, within your brother as he is in you. Their difference does not lie in how they look, nor where they go, nor even what they do. They have a different purpose. It is this that joins them to their like and separates each from all aspects with a different purpose. The Son of God retains His Father's Will. The son of man perceives an alien will and wishes it were so. And thus does his perception serve his wish by giving it appearances of truth. Yet can perception serve another goal. It is not bound to specialness but by your choice. And it is given you to make a different choice and use perception for a different purpose. And what you see will serve that purpose well and prove its own reality to you.

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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 265
Creation's gentleness is all I see.

1 I have indeed misunderstood the world because I laid my "sins" on it and saw them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived was I to think that what I feared was in the world instead of in my mind alone. Today I see the world in the celestial gentleness with which creation shines. There is no fear in it. Let no appearance of my "sins" obscure the light of Heaven, shining on the world. What is reflected here is in God's Mind. The images I see reflect my thoughts. Yet is my mind at one with God's. And so I can perceive creation's gentleness.

2 In quiet would I look upon the world, which but reflects Your Thoughts and mine as well. Let me remember that they are the same, and I will see creation's gentleness.

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Lesson 265
Creation's gentleness is all I see.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
When gentleness is all I see, I recognize gentleness is all I am. This is a new kind of projection or, more appropriately, an extension of the gentleness in the mind. Everything we see in the world is simply a reflection of our own minds. This is why the Course constantly reminds us, "projection makes perception." (T.13.V.3.5) (ACIM OE T.12.V.35) In other words, all we look at in the world is what is in our own minds. Either guilt or our innocence is reflected back at us. In the Introduction to Chapter 21, Jesus quite clearly says that the world we see is "the outside picture of an inward condition." (T.21.IN.1.5) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1) We only see our own sins in another and fool ourselves into thinking they are not in our own minds but are, in fact, in others. We think we need to forgive someone else, when in fact, forgiveness is about releasing our own sins. "I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me." (W.265.1.1) It puts all of the responsibility for healing onto ourselves where all the power is.
 
In the Song of Prayer, Jesus tells us, "It is impossible to forgive another, for it is only your own sins you see in him. You want to see them there, and not in you. That is why the forgiveness of another is an illusion. Yet it is the only happy dream in all the world; the only one that does not lead to death. Only in someone else can you forgive yourself, for you have called him guilty of your sins, and in him must your innocence now be found. Who but the sinful need to be forgiven? And do not ever think you can see sin in anyone except yourself." (S.2.B.4)
 
When we are seeing sin in our brothers, we need to bring it back to our own minds and release the judgments we are holding there. Our brothers are just a reflection of our own minds. When we take responsibility for our projections, we are given an opportunity to see our self-attacking thoughts. Our thoughts create the battleground where we find ourselves when we are not at peace. To come to peace is to step out of this battleground by looking at the thoughts that keep us invested in the world.
 
Forgiveness requires that we look at our thoughts without judgment. It is to recognize that nothing outside of the mind can take away our peace. We need to uncover the beliefs that we are holding so we can release them and experience the truth. We hold onto our beliefs and opinions because we think that they keep us safe and secure. The truth of our magnificent Self is always available, but covered over and protected by our defenses. We can be grateful to have everything exposed, as this is where our healing lies. Yes, it can get pretty rough as we go through the darkness, but we don’t go alone. We hold the hand of Jesus, who willingly goes there with us.
 
All meaning we give any situation comes from our own minds. So when a brother seems to attack us or creates situations or events that seem difficult for us to overlook, he is offering us an opportunity to look within at what we are holding in the mind that does not serve us. When we determine he is unworthy of love and deserving of punishment and we blame him for what we are feeling, we are missing the opportunity to heal what is being revealed to us in this encounter. Everyone is a mirror in which we see our own unhealed minds.
 
We are called to see that we are all the same. We all make mistakes. Yet we are all still the innocent Son of God, worthy of love. When we don't want to take responsibility for the guilt in our minds, we project it onto someone we think is more deserving of it. Thus, we believe we have gotten rid of it. Now we see them as guilty, and we believe we are off the hook. What this attempts to do is to buy our innocence at the expense of our brothers, the guilty ones. We hope God is watching and will see their guilt and punish them rather than us; but of course, this does not work. True innocence is not bought at the expense of our brothers.
 
We prefer to see the guilt outside ourselves because then we don't have to take responsibility for it as coming from our own minds. Yet what the ego has kept from our awareness is that by seeing the guilt in others, we keep it. By holding attack thoughts, we expect to be attacked back. We expect punishment as the cycle of sin, guilt, and fear continues, but we can choose to stop it, look at it, and release it to the Holy Spirit. As we do this practice, we come to remember who we are and who our brothers are in truth. The beauty of this shift in the mind is such a gift! We are all worth this effort.
 
The many opportunities we have to watch our own minds and take responsibility for our projections can all be welcomed because now we can see that everything "out there" is only a reflection of our own thoughts. (W.265.1.8) So much of our own guilt is buried, which is why we need this outward picture of our inward condition in order to uncover the guilt from which we have become disassociated. Every upsetting situation is just a misperception on our part. We need to look at why we are calling this witness to our guilt and fear. If we want to know our own divinity, we need to look at it all and ask to see how every situation has the potential in it to support our awakening if we choose to use it for that purpose. So when we start to embrace it all, we become happy learners and the world provides us with a perfect classroom and many opportunities for forgiveness. It is an inner journey.
 
Through healing, we can come to a place where only Creation's gentleness is seen everywhere. When we are seeing through true perception, no matter what the situation looks like, we can see beyond appearances to the innocence behind everything our eyes report. We then look on everyone with "holy eyes."
 
I love the word gentleness. It comes up very often in the Course with nearly 200 references. Most of the references are about the gentleness of the Holy Spirit working with us. We need the experience of His gentleness because of our terror of where He is leading us. Our fear is that He will take us to our own destruction, but Jesus assures us otherwise. We wake up to the reality that we are immortal beings of love and light.
 
We shy away from the idea of gentleness because it seems ineffectual in the face of attack. We may think of it as weakness. Yet we are told in the Manual for Teachers that true might lies in gentleness. In the Manual, gentleness is described as a characteristic of all the teachers of God. Harm is considered a weakness and keeps us in hell, whereas gentleness is called "limitless strength." (M.4.IV.2.7) It is where our might comes from because it comes from joining our will with our Source. It is the recognition, "Harm is impossible for God's teachers." (M.4.IV.1.1) It is a feeling of total safety. From this place of safety, there is nothing to defend. While gentleness may be seen as weakness in the world, true gentleness is total strength. The harmless are mighty, not wimpy because they fear nothing. They know their reality is not the body but the eternal Self.
 
What makes the gentle so strong is the realization that attacking, harmful, intolerant, and hurtful thoughts do not come from our Source--- God---and therefore they have no power. Only by joining our thoughts with Him, Who is our Source, does our true will, which has always been one with God's, have unlimited power. Today, we have the opportunity to "see the world in the celestial gentleness with which creation shines." (W.265.1.4) To do so, we look past the forms and past the dream figures (other bodies) to see the truth of who our brother is. Yet this is not possible if we let our sins "obscure the light of Heaven shining on the world." (W.265.1.6) Because our minds are one with God, (W.265.1.10) we have the capacity to see everyone as God does. "And so I can perceive creation's gentleness." (W.265.1.10) If I don't, it is only because I am holding thoughts of judgment and condemnation. Judging myself for the thoughts I hold is not helpful. We must feel everything and allow the hatred in the mind to be exposed.
 
Today, be willing to look at the judgments you are holding about anyone and be willing to recognize that you are only seeing your own sins projected outward. Be willing to be shown another way by questioning your judgments and releasing your stories about the situation. They are all false. Now the Holy Spirit can show you another way. All you have to do is willingly give over your thoughts to Him. Do not try to do what only He can do. In other words, this is not about trying to fix yourself or trying to undo your own perspectives. It is about realizing guilt is a mistake and you can smile at your misperceptions and ask to see truly. He will show you your brother's reality shining with celestial gentleness, and you will know this about yourself as well.
 
In the context of our reading, "What is the Body?" (W.PII.Q5), we are urged to change the purpose that we give to the body. While we are here, our purpose is not to love or hate the body but to use it for a gentle purpose, extending love and forgiveness until we can transcend it by recognizing we are not the dream figure at all but the dreamer of this dream. Through forgiveness, we can have a happier dream; and it can be now, in this very moment. It requires discipline and determination to clear the mind of our projections with the help of the Holy Spirit. Thus, space is made for the miracle. Our part is simply to look at the ego and be willing to have our judgments released.
 
Today, I looked at the expectations I have of my partner, who has been very involved in activities where I felt ignored and neglected. As I reflected on what I was feeling and thus demanding, I saw how I was projecting guilt onto my brother and expecting love to come from outside my own mind. I forgot that I am the love, and if I am not feeling it, I am blocking it with my judgments and expectations. Whatever is lacking in any relationship is what we are not giving to it. It is not his responsibility to meet my needs and expectations that I set up for how I should be treated in order to feel loved. Love cannot be extracted from outside of our own minds. Remembering that we are love, and we are 100% responsible for our happiness, helps us look at our own blocks to remembering the truth. The truth is, we are not lacking in love. The truth is, we are the love we are seeking in the world.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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