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

CHAPTER 25
The Remedy

III. The Savior from the Dark

 12 Is it not evident that what the body's eyes perceive fills you with fear? Perhaps you think you find a hope of satisfaction there. Perhaps you fancy to attain some peace and satisfaction in the world as you perceive it. Yet it must be evident the outcome does not change. Despite your hopes and fancies, always does despair result. And there is no exception, nor will there ever be. The only value that the past can hold is that you learn it gave you no rewards that you would want to keep. For only thus will you be willing to relinquish it and have it gone forever.

13 Is it not strange that you should cherish still some hope of satisfaction from the world you see? In no respect at any time or place has anything but fear and guilt been your reward. How long is needed for you to realize the chance of change in this respect is hardly worth delaying change that might result in better outcome? For one thing is sure—the way you see, and long have seen, gives no support to base your future hopes and no suggestions of success at all. To place your hopes where no hope lies must make you hopeless. Yet is this hopelessness your choice, while you would seek for hope where none is ever found.

14 Is it not also true that you have found some hope apart from this—some glimmering, inconstant, wavering, yet dimly seen, that hopefulness is warranted on grounds that are not in this world? And yet your hope that they may still be here prevents you still from giving up the hopeless and unrewarding task you set yourself. Can it make sense to hold the fixed belief that there is reason to uphold pursuit of what has always failed on grounds that it will suddenly succeed and bring what it has never brought before?

15 Its past has failed. Be glad that it is gone within your mind to darken what is there. Take not the form for content, for the form is but a means for content. And the frame is but a means to hold the picture up so that it can be seen. A frame that hides the picture has no purpose. It cannot be a frame if it is what you see. Without the picture is the frame without its meaning. Its purpose is to set the picture off and not itself.

16 Who hangs an empty frame upon a wall and stands before it, deep in reverence, as if a masterpiece were there to see? Yet if you see your brother as a body, it is but this you do. The masterpiece that God has set within this frame is all there is to see. The body holds it for a while without obscuring it in any way. Yet what God has created needs no frame, for what He has created He supports and frames within Himself. His masterpiece He offers you to see. And would you rather see the frame instead of this? And see the picture not at all?

17 The Holy Spirit is the frame God set around the part of Him that you would see as separate. Yet its frame is joined to its Creator, one with Him and with His masterpiece. This is its purpose, and you do not make the frame into the picture when you choose to see it in its place. The frame that God has given it but serves His purpose, not yours apart from His. It is your separate purpose that obscures the picture and cherishes the frame instead of it. Yet God has set His masterpiece within a frame that will endure forever when yours has crumbled into dust. But think you not the picture is destroyed in any way. What God creates is safe from all corruption, unchanged and perfect in eternity.

18 Accept God's frame instead of yours, and you will see the masterpiece. Look at its loveliness, and understand the Mind that thought it, not in flesh and bones, but in a frame as lovely as Itself. Its holiness lights up the sinlessness the frame of darkness hides and casts a veil of light across the picture's face, which but reflects the light that shines from it to its Creator. Think not this face was ever darkened because you saw it in a frame of death. God kept it safe that you might look on it and see the holiness that He has given it.

19 Within the darkness, see the savior from the dark and understand your brother as his Father's Mind shows him to you. He will step forth from darkness as you look on him, and you will see the dark no more. The darkness touched him not, nor you who brought him forth for you to look upon. His sinlessness but pictures yours. His gentleness becomes your strength, and both will gladly look within and see the holiness that must be there because of what you looked upon in him. He is the frame in which your holiness is set, and what God gave him must be given you. However much he overlooks the masterpiece in him and sees only a frame of darkness, it is still your only function to behold in him what he sees not. And in this seeing is the vision shared that looks on Christ instead of seeing death.

20 How could the Lord of Heaven not be glad if you appreciate His masterpiece? What could He do but offer thanks to you who love His Son as He does? Would He not make known to you His love if you but share His praise of what He loves? God cherishes creation as the perfect Father that He is. And so His joy is made complete when any part of Him joins in His praise, to share His joy. This brother is His perfect gift to you. And He is glad and thankful when you thank His perfect Son for being what he is. And all His thanks and gladness shine on you who would complete His joy along with Him. And thus is yours completed. Not one ray of darkness can be seen by those who will to make their Father's happiness complete and theirs along with His. The gratitude of God Himself is freely offered to everyone who shares His purpose. It is not His Will to be alone. And neither is it yours.

21 Forgive your brother, and you cannot separate yourself from him nor from his Father. You need no forgiveness, for the wholly pure have never sinned. Give then what He has given you that you may see His Son as one and thank his Father as He thanks you. Nor believe that all His praise is given not to you. For what you give is His, and giving it you learn to understand His gift to you. And give the Holy Spirit what He offers unto the Father and the Son alike. Nothing has power over you except His Will and yours, who but extend His Will. It was for this you were created and your brother with you and at one with you.

22 You are the same, as God Himself is one and not divided in His Will. And you must have one purpose, since He gave the same to both of you. His Will is brought together as you join in will that you be made complete by offering completion to your brother. See not in him the sinfulness he sees, but give him honor that you may esteem yourself and him. To each of you is given the power of salvation that escape from darkness into light be yours to share; that you may see as one what never has been separate nor apart from all God's love as given equally.

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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 268
Let all things be exactly as they are.

1 Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You. Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation and distort it into sickly forms. Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity and thus to let it be as You created it. For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me. In Love was I created, and in Love will I remain forever. What can frighten me when I let all things be exactly as they are?

2 Let not our sight be blasphemous today nor let our ears attend to lying tongues. Only reality is free of pain. Only reality is free of loss. Only reality is wholly safe. And it is only this we seek today.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 268
Let all things be exactly as they are.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
"Let all things be exactly as they are" (W.268) seems like a lesson in a kind of acceptance of everything as it is. What if someone were to attack us or attack others? Are we required to accept this? Should we accept that nothing can be changed? Actually, this Lesson is not about acceptance of the forms of this world. We may see an event or situation as not kind or helpful, but we don't have to be upset about it because it is not the truth. If you attack me, it is not right and I don't need to accept the attack, but I don't need to become distressed and disturbed by it because it is not anything real. In other words, I can overlook the error. Who you are as the Son of God, divine and perfect, is what is real, not the person I see in front of me in the attacking body. Letting things be exactly as they are is to accept the truth and to accept that only truth is true. It is to see the truth about our brother as one with us, rather than what our body's eyes show us about him. The ego has tried to make illusion the truth and reality the illusion.
 
Kirsten Buxton, in her book, I Married a Mystic , writes about differentiating between what is true and what is not. We believe in orders of difficulty, with some things in our lives being more complex and difficult than others. Yet Jesus says, "What the body’s eyes behold is only conflict. Look not to them for peace and understanding. " (Manual for Teachers.8.1.6-7) There is only one answer to illusions, and it is to recognize that only love is real. In her book, Kirsten describes how the Holy Spirit asked her to put everything into opposing categories, true or false, real or unreal. She continues with this message from the Holy Spirit. "The body’s eyes may report differences in shape, size, and actions, and these are put in the false or unreal category. The experience of the present moment—seeing the Christ, feeling the connection of love between you and your brother—is put in the true or real category." She used this message all day: walking outside, looking at trees and seeing them as big and tall and causing her happiness, she put them all in the category of false. The only thing she put in the category of true was being in the moment. We are called to accept that only truth is true and nothing else is true. "Salvation is the recognition that the truth is true, and nothing else is true." (W.152.3.1) Both parts of this sentence must be accepted. What is true is true is true, and what is false is false.
 
When someone attacks us or there are difficult situations in our lives, we generally experience upset. When this is the case, we need not feel guilty and chastise ourselves for not being good spiritual students. On the contrary, we can accept it as another opportunity to look at your own unconscious guilt, being brought to awareness now through this situation so it can be healed. This is what everything that shows up in our lives is for. This is why the world is a perfect classroom for our healing. Behind all form is unity. When we don’t impose our own wishes on this unified field, there is no more suffering. We distort the unity behind all form when our wish is for others to suffer for what they have seemingly done to us. The unity of God's love does not recognize anything but innocence.
 
When the "tiny, mad idea" (T.27.VIII.6.2) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.82) crept into the mind of the Son of God, there was a thought that there was something better than Oneness. We wanted to be God, and thus the world of form was made. God did not create these earthly forms. The forms came about because, in our choice for the ego thought system, the unity of reality became distorted. Part of the Christ mind had to fall asleep in order to experience this dream. Now time and space entered into this construct, and the world of form became a place where we could play out our desires and hide from God. It is important to see that this does not make us bad. We came here to experience ourselves as separate from God and so we pursued what we came to do. We took the role of God ourselves, where we could choose whatever we thought would bring us happiness. We believe we actually succeeded in breaking away from Him, which is not possible. We hid from Him in this illusory world. Of course, we don't think of it as an illusion. Our sleeping mind has fooled itself into believing that this world is our reality. That is how we judge against God, by trying to prove Him wrong, which is to be His critic. Every time we criticize our brother for his wrongdoings, we are judging against God, Who affirms the perfection of our brothers and ourselves.
 
We believe what we see with our eyes, and what we attend to with our ears is the truth. Jesus says this is blasphemous to God (W.268.2.1) because it is a judgment against the truth. This is how we have attempted to interfere with His creation and "distort it into sickly forms." (W.268.1.2) As we look on bodies, we see sickly forms and not the truth of who anyone is, including ourselves. Oneness now seems to be shattered into billions of fragments, with some we like and some we dislike. But now we are called to give up our judgments and accept the truth of our brothers so we can know it for ourselves. This means that whenever we judge our brother, we recognize that those judgments are based on our unconscious guilt, and we are called to put our judgments on the inner altar to be washed away. Another way to approach this is to look with Jesus, who looks with us without judgment. The ego does not allow us to look. Instead, it demands that we defend our perspectives. Ken Wapnick says the principle of defense is not to look because to look is undoing. "It [the Miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3) "Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone, and judges not." (W.352.1.1) When we give everything over to the Holy Spirit, He will reinterpret it all for us and remind us who we are and who our brothers are.
 
Of course, we could never be successful in shattering reality. If we really could change what God created as eternal, we truly would be lost, and sin and the sickly forms of this world would indeed be real. While we feel guilt over what we believe we have done to reality, Jesus assures us over and over that we have done nothing, and thus, there is no need for guilt. We cannot change what God created, but we will not know this until we awaken from the dream. Through the teaching of this Course, Jesus is helping us to awaken to who we are. When we are willing to withdraw our wishes from the world, and "thus to let it be as You created it," (W.268.1.3) we will recognize and know our Self as we are and as we have always been in creation. Until then, we have drawn a veil over reality because of our wish to see something other than unity. We are simply refusing to accept what is forever true.
 
When we know the truth about the Self as we were created without all the constructs and images of separate bodies that seem to be in competition with each other, then "What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?" (W.268.1.6) In other words, what can assail truth? What can hurt love? What can damage the eternal? What can interfere with Oneness? What can frighten us when we let all things be exactly as they are? All of our fear comes from the belief that we have changed creation and have separated from God's Love. There is no fear in Oneness. Fear comes from the denial of Oneness. We deny Oneness every time we choose to see a brother guilty, every time we attack anyone, or even when we are sad, angry, worried, or distressed. We are, in effect, using these situations to prove that we are right in our perceptions, and God is wrong. This is the time to ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. "Holy Spirit, help me to forgive myself for using (this brother, this event, or this situation) as a way to keep myself separate from Your Love."
 
If you feel you are being attacked by anyone today, remind yourself that you don't need to accept the attack as real. "Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do." (T.17.III.1.5) (ACIM OE T.17.IV.14) To let things be exactly as they are is to see the truth of who our brothers are---the One Son of God. We remind ourselves that to overcome illusions is to accept the world of form as not really there at all. We do not simply acquiesce to things not right because that is not real peace. It is only a kind of resignation. Real peace comes from seeing that sickly forms have no impact. They are not real. There is nothing about them that we need to accept. Yet if we are to see beyond them to the truth, we must first acknowledge how we are misperceiving what we see and bring our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit so He can reinterpret them for us.
 
"How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality." (T.22.V.1.1-3) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45) "Reality opposes nothing. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none." (T.22.V.1.6-7) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45) "You are the strong one in this seeming conflict. And you need no defense." (T.22.V.1.10-11) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.45)
 
As we watch our minds, we can see that there are many ways we want things to be different than they are. We have hopes and wishes of how things should be, and in this, we are listening to the ego. We follow what the ego's dictates, which is, "I want it thus!" (T.18.II.4.1) (ACIM OE T.18.III.17) Yet when we experience difficulties in our lives, how can we not want things to be different? How can those who are sick and suffering not want things to be different than they are? Are we really being asked to accept all this? "All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen.” (T.27.VII.2.2-5) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.63) In other words, all problems can be used to lead us back to the mind, which takes us to the only problem to be addressed---the belief in separation. In other words, you think you are alone and forget what you are and Who walks with you. Whatever problem we think we have, we must realize we can never solve it on our own. Trust in the presence and power, which is always available and where the only answer lies. Listen, follow, and trust.
 
Jesus teaches that none of the heavy clouds of complication in our lives are real. All the problems and all the suffering we see around us is not real. It is all the sickly forms that reflect our unhealed minds and show us projections of our own unconscious guilt. But it is not helpful to deny what we see. If our misperceptions, based on our unconscious guilt, are to be healed, they need to be brought to light. In other words, we need to acknowledge what we are misperceiving and our judgments about them, and then bring them to the Holy Spirit. He cannot heal what we don't give to Him.
 
He reminds us, "Only reality is free of pain" , (W.268.2.2) and "Only reality is free of loss." (W.268.2.3) If anything seems to be bringing pain into our lives, Jesus calls it blasphemy. In other words, we are experiencing something that is truly not real. None of it came from God since it is of our own making through our refusal to accept the holiness of what God created.
 
It is not helpful to use what he is teaching us as a way to experience more guilt. He is simply bringing to our awareness that there is another option. There is another way of looking at the world, which is what the Holy Spirit can show us. "If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours." (T.10.V.12.5-6) (ACIM OE T.9.XI.104)
 
While we still believe in the reality of the world and of bodies, we are not asked to ignore our safety and well-being. This Course does not ask us to change our behavior, but only to change our minds. The behavior will follow. The Course is all about the healing of guilt and the recognition that what we think we know, based on past experience, is wrong. When we see the world as a classroom where we take small daily steps in forgiveness, everything serves our awakening. It is not about doing anything to try to change ourselves. Our part is only to accept the perfection of everything that shows up in our lives and to bring our misperceptions to the light. To do more is to try to add the ego to the truth. The ego will never undo itself. "Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two." (T.18.IV.1.6) (ACIM OE T.18.V.32) In other words, we can neither forgive ourselves, nor try to change ourselves. Our part is only to bring awareness to our misperceptions, and the Holy Spirit will do His part.
 
Do not attend to the voices of the world that tell you that all of this is real. "Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues." (W.268.2.1) We are hearing so much today about the epidemic of disease, about the reality of war, about murders and assassinations, poverty, the environment, politics, and on and on. While it is all part of the relative world, in the absolute truth of God's reality, none of it is real. We are being asked not to attend to the fear and judgments these events bring forth. When fear arises in you today, ask for help in releasing it so you can know the peace behind these blasphemous sights and lying tongues. Rather than resign ourselves to accepting the things of this world as they are, let us today commit, instead, to accept the Divine behind all form. This is a different kind of acceptance.
 
I was recently at a bankruptcy hearing for someone with whom I had invested money. All the money I had invested was lost, squandered, and misappropriated for which this person spent two years in jail. There were about 200 people at the hearing and a lot of anger was expressed toward this person. He was sitting at the front of the room, flanked by the bankruptcy officials. It reminded me of Jesus on the cross with the crowd calling for his crucifixion, flanked by the two thieves. All in all, it was a magnificent opportunity to look at my own thoughts. Yes, there were twinges with feelings of loss, and yet there was an even stronger desire to see the innocence in my brother. At the end of the hearing, there was a big space between the stage and the audience, and the question in my mind was whether to approach or simply to leave the room. I had moments of anger and judgment but saw how vulnerable he was, sitting there, and I felt deep compassion. Jesus reminded me that I could see him as innocent and thus receive this gift for myself. In the end, I felt nudged to approach him and I open-heartedly embraced this brother. I felt my heart open as I gave him a gift of lilies, instead of the gift of thorns and received the gift for myself. Did this release all of my anger and feelings of betrayal that I felt about this perceived loss? No. Forgiveness is a process, and when fear thoughts creep back into the mind, I see their meaninglessness and choose again.
 
In each moment, we are asked, "Which will we choose?" The choice we make brings to us whatever it is we give. When I give attack, I receive attack. Let all things be exactly as they are. We are given many opportunities in this classroom to release our brothers and thus ourselves. Which will we choose? What we give, we receive. This is the law of God. It is not about spiritualizing the experience. Rage, judgments, disappointments, and frustrations must be seen for what they are in the process of forgiveness. We are called to look at them all. "It [the Miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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