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

CHAPTER 25
The Remedy

VIII. Commuting the Sentence

 50 And if the Holy Spirit can commute each sentence that you laid upon yourself into a blessing, then it cannot be a sin. Sin is the one thing in all the world that cannot change. It is immutable. And on its changelessness the world depends. The magic of the world can seem to hide the pain of sin from sinners and deceive with glitter and with guile. Yet each one knows the cost of sin is death. And so it is. For sin is a request for death, a wish to make this world's foundation sure as love, dependable as Heaven, and as strong as God Himself. The world is safe from love to everyone who thinks sin possible. Nor will it change. Yet is it possible what God created not should share the attributes of His creation when it opposes it in every way?

51 It cannot be the "sinner's" wish for death is just as strong as is God's Will for life. Nor can the basis of a world He did not make be firm and sure as Heaven. How could it be that hell and Heaven are the same? And is it possible that what He did not will cannot be changed? What is immutable besides His Will? And what can share Its attributes except Itself? What wish can rise against His Will and be immutable? If you could realize nothing is changeless but the Will of God, this course would not be difficult for you. For it is this that you do not believe. Yet there is nothing else you could believe if you but looked at what it really is.

52 Let us go back to what we said before and think of it more carefully. It must be so that either God is mad or is this world a place of madness. Not one Thought of His makes any sense at all within this world. And nothing that the world believes as true has any meaning in His Mind at all. What makes no sense and has no meaning is insanity. And what is madness cannot be the truth. If one belief so deeply valued here were true, then every Thought God ever had is an illusion. And if but one Thought of His is true, then all beliefs the world gives any meaning to are false and make no sense at all. This is the choice you make. Do not attempt to see it differently nor twist it into something it is not. For only this decision can you make. The rest is up to God and not to you.

53 To justify one value that the world upholds is to deny your Father's sanity and yours . For God and His beloved Son do not think differently. And it is the agreement of their thought that makes the Son a co-creator with the Mind Whose Thought created him. And if he chooses to believe one thought opposed to truth, he has decided he is not his Father's Son because the Son is mad, and sanity must lie apart from both the Father and the Son. This you believe. Think not that this belief depends upon the form it takes. Who thinks the world is sane in any way, is justified in anything it thinks, or is maintained by any form of reason believes this to be true. Sin is not real because the Father and the Son are not insane. This world is meaningless because it rests on sin. Who could create the changeless if it does not rest on truth?

54 The Holy Spirit has the power to change the whole foundation of the world you see to something else—a basis not insane on which a sane perception can be based, another world perceived. And one in which nothing is contradicted that would lead the Son of God to sanity and joy. Nothing attests to death and cruelty, to separation, and to differences. For here is everything perceived as one, and no one loses that each one may gain.

55 Test everything that you believe against this one requirement. And understand that everything that meets this one demand is worthy of your faith. But nothing else. What is not love is sin, and either one perceives the other as insane and meaningless. Love is the basis for a world perceived as wholly mad to sinners who believe theirs is the way to sanity. But sin is equally insane within the sight of love, whose gentle eyes would look beyond the madness and rest peacefully on truth. Each sees a world immutable, as each defines the changeless and eternal truth of what you are. And each reflects a view of what the Father and the Son must be to make that viewpoint meaningful and sane.

56 Your special function is the special form in which the fact that God is not insane appears most sensible and meaningful to you. The content is the same. The form is suited to your special needs and to the special time and place in which you think you find yourself and where you can be free of place and time and all that you believe must limit you. The Son of God cannot be bound by time nor place nor anything God did not will. Yet if His Will is seen as madness, then the form of sanity which makes it most acceptable to those who are insane requires special choice. Nor can this choice be made by the insane, whose problem is their choices are not free and made with reason in the light of sense.

57 It would be madness to entrust salvation to the insane. Because He is not mad has God appointed One as sane as He to raise a saner world to meet the sight of everyone who chose insanity as his salvation. To this One is given the choice of form most suitable to him; one which will not attack the world he sees, but enter into it in quietness and show him he is mad. This One but points to an alternative, another way of looking at what he has seen before and recognizes as the world in which he lives and thought he understood before.

58 Now must he question this because the form of the alternative is one which he cannot deny nor overlook nor fail completely to perceive at all. To each his special function is designed to be perceived as possible and more and more desired as it proves to him that it is an alternative he really wants. From this position does his sinfulness and all the sin he sees within the world offer him less and less—until he comes to understand it cost him his sanity and stands between him and whatever hope he has of being sane. Nor is he left without escape from madness, for he has a special part in everyone's escape. He can no more be left outside without a special function in the hope of peace than could the Father overlook His Son and pass him by in careless thoughtlessness.

59 What is dependable except God's Love? And where does sanity abide except in Him? The One Who speaks for Him can show you this in the alternative He chose especially for you. It is God's Will that you remember this and so emerge from deepest mourning into perfect joy. Accept the function that has been assigned to you in God's Own plan to show His Sons that hell and Heaven are different, not the same. And that in Heaven they are all the same, without the differences which would have made a hell of Heaven and a heaven of hell, had such insanity been possible.

60 The whole belief that someone loses but reflects the underlying tenet God must be insane. For in this world, it seems that one must gain because another lost. If this were true, then God is mad indeed! But what is this belief except a form of the more basic tenet, "Sin is real and rules the world"? For every little gain must someone lose and pay exact amount in blood and suffering. For otherwise would evil triumph and destruction be the total cost of any gain at all. You who believe that God is mad, look carefully at this and understand that it must be that either God or this must be insane, but hardly both.

61 Salvation is rebirth of the idea no one can lose for anyone to gain. And everyone must gain if anyone would be a gainer. Here is sanity restored. And on this single rock of truth can faith in God's eternal saneness rest in perfect confidence and perfect peace. Reason is satisfied, for all insane beliefs can be corrected here. And sin must be impossible if this is true. This is the rock on which salvation rests, the vantage point from which the Holy Spirit gives meaning and direction to the plan in which your special function has a part. For here your special function is made whole because it shares the function of the whole.

62 Remember all temptation is but this—a mad belief that God's insanity would make you sane and give you what you want. That either God or you must lose to madness because your aims can not be reconciled. Death demands life, but life is not maintained at any cost. No one can suffer for the Will of God to be fulfilled. Salvation is His Will because you share it. Not for you alone but for the Self which is the Son of God. He cannot lose, for if he could, the loss would be his Father's, and in Him no loss is possible. And this is sane because it is the truth.

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Part II
What is the Christ?

1 Christ is God's Son as He created Him. He is the Self we share, uniting us with one another and with God as well. He is the Thought Which still abides within the Mind That is His Source. He has not left His holy home nor lost the innocence in which He was created. He abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God.

2 Christ is the link that keeps you one with God and guarantees that separation is no more than an illusion of despair. For hope forever will abide in Him. Your mind is part of His and His of yours. He is the part in which God's Answer lies, where all decisions are already made and dreams are over. He remains untouched by anything the body's eyes perceive. For though in Him His Father placed the means for your salvation, yet does He remain the Self Who, like His Father, knows no sin.

3 Home of the Holy Spirit and at home in God alone, does Christ remain at peace within the Heaven of your holy mind. This is the only part of you that has reality in truth. The rest is dreams. Yet will these dreams be given unto Christ to fade before His glory and reveal your holy Self, the Christ, to you at last.

4 The Holy Spirit reaches from the Christ in you to all your dreams and bids them come to Him to be translated into truth. He will exchange them for the final dream which God appointed as the end of dreams. For when forgiveness rests upon the world and peace has come to every Son of God, what could remain to keep things separate, for what remains to see except Christ's face?

5 And how long will this holy face be seen, when it is but the symbol that the time for learning now is over and the goal of the Atonement has been reached at last? So therefore let us seek to find Christ's face and look on nothing else. As we behold His glory will we know we have no need of learning or perception or of time, or anything except the holy Self, the Christ Whom God created as His Son.

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Lesson 272
How can illusions satisfy God's Son?

1 Father, the truth belongs to me. My home is set in Heaven by Your Will and mine. Can dreams content me? Can illusions bring me happiness? What but Your memory can satisfy Your Son? I will accept no less than You have given me. I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle, and forever safe. God's Son must be as You created him.

2 Today we pass illusions by. And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell and love will happily replace all fear.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 272
How can illusions satisfy God's Son.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
What keeps us invested in the illusion, believing dreams can content us? It seems that while our continuing problems, challenges, and difficulties tire us, there are things in our lives that we consider the happier aspects of the dream, and thus they tempt us to keep looking for happiness where it cannot be found. "What is a temptation but a wish to make illusions real? It does not seem to be the wish that no reality be so. Yet it is an assertion that some forms of idols have a powerful appeal that makes them harder to resist than those you would not want to have reality. Temptation, then, is nothing more than this; a prayer the miracle touch not some dreams, but keep their unreality obscure and give to them reality instead." (T.30.VIII.3.1-4) (ACIM OE T.30.IX.91)
 
We still have some niggling hope that there is something here that will satisfy us. The ego continues to entice us with substitutes for Heaven. These substitutes are called idols and are based on our belief that something lacking in us can be filled with these substitutes for God. We pursue the idols because we think they fulfill the cravings, needs, and lacks that we experience. The substitutes are also referred to as "distorted perceptions." (T.1.VII.1.1) (ACIM OE T.1.II.102) Distorted miracle impulses may be for food, money, sex, closeness, attention, and power. This is the miracle impulse, which has been distorted by our belief that we are bodies. So, the miracle impulse, which comes from the love we are, is unconsciously distorted into physical needs, all based on lack. In other words, there is a miracle under all our cravings, but it has been distorted by our perceived needs.
 
Our attraction to guilt, pain, and death is dressed up by the ego to make us think it is pleasure that we are attracted to. If we really saw that our substitutes for the miracle were made to keep us in duality and that what we are choosing is pain, it would not be hard to release these substitutes. Pain and pleasure don't seem the same in this world because the ego has made guilt look attractive to us. We are being asked to work with our attachments, preferences, and investments so they can be loosened. The ego would have us keep from awareness our investment in the separated self and the world so the miracle cannot shine through. When we realize that this is the way the ego keeps us in the game of suffering, we increasingly bring awareness to our attachments and give it over to Holy Spirit, asking that He reinterpret them. What is it that is deeply satisfying to me? What does food, sex, money, power, and affiliation offer me? Jim Carey said that getting it all is helpful, as we can then realize that none of these things that we pursue bring us happiness.
 
Sex is one of those distorted miracles impulses where there is an attraction to joining and a belief that it can be accomplished through bodies. This is not to say there is anything wrong with sex, but to realize what is behind the sexual drive is what we truly want---true joining and reconnection to Oneness. In fact, in the Urtext (which is the original of the material taken down by Helen Schucman before the edited material of the Course), Jesus says, "Sex was intended as an instrument for physical creation [for producing new bodies] to enable Souls to embark on new chapters in their experience, and thus improve their record. The pencil was NOT an end in itself (See earlier section)." (URText T.1.B.40d) The pencil is equivalent to the body in that they are both forms of no consequence, but can be used for a holy purpose. Although sex was made for ego purposes, like everything of the ego, it can be used by the Holy Spirit for a holy purpose. Thus, it is all about purpose. We do not under­stand what love is, since we often confuse and equate romance, specialness, and sexual attraction with love. The best reflection of God's love in this world is forgiveness. This is how we make space in our minds for the miracle to shine forth. As Leonard Cohen says, "There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in."
 
In a workshop by Ken Wapnick* held at Temecula, California, he said, "There is nothing in this world that is true. Forgiveness is not true. This ‘holy’ Course in Miracles is not true. Nothing is true in this world. Truth is only of God. We can, however, have the reflection of truth in this world. The Course, therefore, is the reflection of truth. Other spiritualities are reflections of truth. Forgiveness is a reflection of truth. It is not truth, but rather the reflection of truth. That is why Jesus says that love is not possible in this world, but it is possible to be the reflection of holiness." So, whatever it is that helps us awaken from the dream is to be welcomed. We can give the world a purpose that supports our awakening.
 
Jesus teaches that no substitute will ever satisfy the Son of God. All illusions will never be enough: not our illusions of security achieved through family, home, and financial stability; not our illusions of love achieved through special relationships; not our illusions of safety achieved by taking vitamins, locking doors, and buying insurance; and not our illusions of specialness achieved by seeking recognition, attention, and glory. It is why we are never satisfied. "Yet you do not recognize them because you have raised their substitutes to such predominance that, when truth calls to you, as it does constantly, you answer with a substitute." (T.17.IV.3.2) (ACIM OE T.17.V.29) We keep on seeking and seeking, wondering why we don't ever feel the deep peace and joy that only forgiveness can offer. We don't recognize that all of these substitutes are forms of fear.
 
Jesus asks us to consider how any of these things can satisfy God's Son. Why would we ever want less than everything? Today, we are asked to take a moment and ask ourselves if we really want this illusion and all of its temptations that bring nothing of value, "when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear." (W.272.2.2) All illusion is fear. Everything we think we want in the illusion has a tinge of fear in it. If I have money, I fear losing it. If I have a special relationship, I have all kinds of fears about the person leaving, no longer loving me, hurting me, and betraying me. Fear is behind our focus on safety. The body is a fearful thing in itself---vulnerable and fragile. Having said this, it is important to remember that none of what we seek in this seeming reality is wrong. This is not a course in behavior. It is only about what is being held in the mind that we need to observe as we go about our day. We don’t try to change anything. We look at it all without judgment and with willingness. We put it on the inner altar and are willing to have it transformed.
 
Jesus is pointing us to the truth of our Being by inviting us to ask in everything, "What is it for?" In other words, what purpose is being served? What we do for our personal safety and for our bodily pleasure is not important. What is important is the choice we make in our minds for peace or war, for forgiveness or attack, and for Heaven or for hell. We might, for example, need to physically defend ourselves from attack in this world, but the mind training helps us to defend ourselves while still holding a defenseless thought. Or we might want to be helpful by visiting someone who is sick because we think it is the right or spiritual thing to do. But if we feel as if we are sacrificing and feel guilty, then this is the "gift" we give. When our minds are split "This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged." (T.2.VI.5.3) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.77)
 
Ultimately, we come to realize that there is no meaning and no real fulfillment in the things of this world no matter how much we try to find it there. We finally get disillusioned by it all, which is a good thing, otherwise, we would never seek the truth. We would never be motivated to see beyond the veil to the real world. While there are seeming temporary pleasures in the dream, none of them last and, ultimately, they can only bring pain and misery. Everything we seek in the world reflects the belief that we can exist outside the mind of God. Only the eternal can satisfy. Only the peace of God offers us real peace. Any temporary pleasures we seek are a choice for hell.
 
We think we are choosing something that will satisfy us and fulfill our dreams, but there can be no fulfillment here because we are asking for what is not real. No real satisfaction is possible here. What we are going for is always out of reach when we seek the things of this world. The toys and trinkets of the world just keep the gifts of God out of our awareness. "Shall we continue to allow God's grace to shine in unawareness, while the toys and trinkets of the world are sought instead?" (W.258.1.3)
 
Seeking is what we came here to do, which does not make it wrong. What is important, again, is not what we are doing, but what is in our minds. It is all about purpose. The world can serve the purpose of the ego, which is to keep us rooted in this dream and seeking for what will never satisfy, or we can turn it to the purpose of waking up to what we really are. Thus, everything we have made can be used by the Holy Spirit for our awakening. All it takes is our decision to watch our minds and bring our misperceptions to Him.
 
The separation from God is only our dream. It never happened. We are still innocent. Nothing we think we have done to make ourselves guilty has happened. "And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams, when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear." (W.272.2.2)
 
"I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle and forever safe." (W.272.1.7) When we seek for substitutes, it is because we think they will deliver safety, love, and peace. Our disillusionment comes when we see that they never deliver what we had hoped. What is tempting you right now? Look at what you really want? Ask yourself if you think your list of wants will bring happiness and contentment to you. When we become aware that we are asking for guilt, suffering, and sorrow instead, would we still be tempted to pursue these things and further delay our journey to God? It is a journey to the peace and joy that is our inheritance.
 
Yesterday, I sent off a box full of clothes to charity. As I was packing them up, I was taken aback by how much I had invested in buying clothes that I did not need. Yet it offered me another opportunity to look at the perceived needs and lacks I was trying to fill. It is not helpful just to change the behavior while the desire is still there. It is helpful, however, to look at the deeper issues and feelings of lack and unworthiness. When these feelings are fully given over to the Holy Spirit, the behaviors just fall away. We are not called to sacrifice what we still value.
 
Jesus says that we will never be satisfied in this world because we will never find peace here. Yes, our illusions will seem to work some of the time, but the only thing that consistently brings joy is connecting with the Christ Mind. The realization that our way has not worked to bring true joy is the first step. Yes, the temptations are still there, but the realization that they will ultimately just bring more suffering, rather than the happiness, peace, and satisfaction we really want, will motivate us to look at our attachments and surrender them joyfully.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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