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

The Body and the Dream

I. Introduction

1 The wish to be unfairly treated is a compromise attempt that would combine attack and innocence. Who can combine the wholly incompatible and make a unity of what can never join? Walk you the gentle way, and you will fear no evil and no shadows in the night. But place no terror symbols on your path, or you will weave a crown of thorns from which your brother and yourself will not escape. You cannot crucify yourself alone. And if you are unfairly treated, he must suffer the unfairness that you see. You cannot sacrifice yourself alone. For sacrifice is total. If it could occur at all, it would entail the whole of God's creation and the Father with the sacrifice of his beloved Son.

2 In your release from sacrifice is his made manifest and shown to be his own. But every pain you suffer do you see as proof that he is guilty of attack. Thus would you make yourself to be the sign that he has lost his innocence and need but look on you to realize that he has been condemned. And what to you has been unfair will come to him in righteousness. The unjust vengeance that you suffer now belongs to him, and when it rests on him are you set free. Wish not to make yourself a living symbol of his guilt, for you will not escape the death you made for him. But in his innocence, you find your own.

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II. The Picture of the Crucifixion

3 Whenever you consent to suffer pain, to be deprived, unfairly treated, or in need of anything, you but accuse your brother of attack upon God's Son. You hold a picture of your crucifixion before his eyes that he may see his sins are writ in Heaven in your blood and death and go before him, closing off the gate and damning him to hell. Yet this is writ in hell and not in Heaven, where you are beyond attack and prove his innocence . The picture of yourself you offer him you show yourself and give it all your faith. The Holy Spirit offers you to give to him a picture of yourself in which there is no pain and no reproach at all. And what was martyred to his guilt becomes the perfect witness to his innocence.

4 The power of witness is beyond belief because it brings conviction in its wake. The witness is believed because he points beyond himself to what he represents. A sick and suffering you but represents your brother's guilt—the witness which you send lest he forget the injuries he gave from which you swear he never will escape. This sick and sorry picture you accept, if only it can serve to punish him. The sick are merciless to everyone, and in contagion do they seek to kill. Death seems an easy price if they can say, "Behold me, brother; at your hand I die." For sickness is the witness to his guilt, and death would prove his errors must be sins.

5 Sickness is but a "little" death; a form of vengeance not yet total. Yet it speaks with certainty for what it represents. The bleak and bitter picture you have sent your brother you have looked upon in grief. And everything that it has shown to him have you believed because it witnessed to the guilt in him which you perceived and loved. Now in the hands made gentle by His touch, the Holy Spirit lays a picture of a different you. It is a picture of a body still, for what you really are cannot be seen nor pictured. Yet this one has not been used for purpose of attack and therefore never suffered pain at all. It witnesses to the eternal truth that you cannot be hurt and points beyond itself to both your innocence and his.

6 Show this unto your brother, who will see that every scar is healed and every tear is wiped away in laughter and in love. And he will look on his forgiveness there and with healed eyes will look beyond it to the innocence that he beholds in you. Here is the proof that he has never sinned—that nothing which his madness bid him do was ever done or ever had effects of any kind; that no reproach he laid upon his heart was ever justified, and no attack can ever touch him with the poisoned and relentless sting of fear. Attest his innocence and not his guilt. Your healing is his comfort and his health because it proves illusions are not true.

7 It is not will for life, but wish for death that is the motivation for this world. Its only purpose is to prove guilt real. No worldly thought or act or feeling has a motivation other than this one. These are the witnesses that are called forth to be believed and lend conviction to the system they speak for and represent. And each has many voices, speaking to your brother and yourself in different tongues. And yet to both the message is the same. Adornment of the body seeks to show how lovely are the witnesses for guilt. Concerns about the body demonstrate how frail and vulnerable is your life, how easily destroyed is what you love. Depression speaks of death and vanity of real concern with anything at all. The strongest witness to futility, which bolsters all the rest and helps them paint the picture in which sin is justified, is sickness in whatever form it takes.

8 The sick have reason for each one of their unnatural desires and strange needs. For who could live a life so soon cut short and not esteem the worth of passing joys? What pleasures could there be that will endure? Are not the frail entitled to believe that every stolen scrap of pleasure is their righteous payment for their little lives? Their death will pay the price for all of them if they enjoy their benefits or not. The end of life must come, whatever way that life be spent. And so take pleasure in the quickly passing and ephemeral.

9 These are not sins, but witnesses unto the strange belief that sin and death are real, and innocence and sin will end alike within the termination of the grave. If this were true, there would be reason to remain content to seek for passing joys and cherish little pleasures where you can. Yet in this picture is the body not perceived as neutral and without a goal inherent in itself. For it becomes the symbol of reproach, the sign of guilt whose consequences still are there to see, so that the cause can never be denied.

10 Your function is to show your brother sin can have no cause. How futile must it be to see yourself a picture of the proof that what your function is can never be! The Holy Spirit's picture changes not the body into something it is not. It only takes away from it all signs of accusation and of blamefulness. Pictured without a purpose, it is seen as neither sick nor well, nor bad nor good. No grounds are offered that it may be judged in any way at all. It has no life, but neither is it dead. It stands apart from all experience of fear or love. For now it witnesses to nothing yet, its purpose being open and the mind made free again to choose what it is for . Now is it not condemned, but waiting for a purpose to be given that it may fulfill the function that it will receive.

11 Into this empty space, from which the goal of sin has been removed, is Heaven free to be remembered. Here its peace can come and perfect healing take the place of death. The body can become a sign of life, a promise of redemption, and a breath of immortality to those grown sick of breathing in the fetid scent of death. Let it have healing as its purpose. Then will it send forth the message it received and by its health and loveliness proclaim the truth and value that it represents. Let it receive the power to represent an endless life, forever unattacked. And to your brother let its message be, "Behold me, brother; at your hand I live."

12 The simple way to let this be achieved is merely this—to let the body have no purpose from the past, when you were sure you knew its purpose was to foster guilt. For this insists your crippled picture is a lasting sign of what it represents. This leaves no space in which a different view, another purpose, can be given it. You do not know its purpose. You but gave illusions of a purpose to a thing you made to hide your function from yourself. This thing without a purpose cannot hide the function that the Holy Spirit gave. Let, then, its purpose and your function both be reconciled at last and seen as one.


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A Course in Miracles

Part II
What is the Holy Spirit?

1 The Holy Spirit mediates between illusions and the truth. As He must bridge the gap between reality and dreams, perception leads to knowledge through the grace that God has given Him, to be His gift to everyone who turns to Him for truth. Across the bridge that He provides are dreams all carried to the truth, to be dispelled before the light of knowledge. There are sights and sounds forever laid aside. And where they were perceived before, forgiveness has made possible perception's tranquil end.

2 The goal the Holy Spirit's teaching sets is just this end of dreams. For sights and sounds must be translated from the witnesses of fear to those of love. And when this is entirely accomplished, learning has achieved the only goal it has in truth. For learning, as the Holy Spirit guides it to the outcome He perceives for it, becomes the means to go beyond itself, to be replaced by the Eternal Truth.

3 If you but knew how much your Father yearns to have you recognize your sinlessness, you would not let His Voice appeal in vain nor turn away from His replacement for the fearful images and dreams you made. The Holy Spirit understands the means you made, by which you would attain what is forever unattainable. And if you offer them to Him, He will employ the means you made for exile to restore your mind to where it truly is at home.

4 From knowledge, where He has been placed by God, the Holy Spirit calls to you to let forgiveness rest upon your dreams and be restored to sanity and peace of mind. Without forgiveness will your dreams remain to terrify you. And the memory of all your Father's Love will not return to signify the end of dreams has come.

5 Accept your Father's gift. It is a call from Love to Love that it be but itself. The Holy Spirit is His gift by Which the quietness of Heaven is restored to God's beloved Son. Would you refuse to take the function of completing God when all He wills is that you be complete?

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 286
The hush of Heaven holds my heart today.

1 Father, how still today! How quietly do all things fall in place! This is the day that has been chosen as the time in which I come to understand the lesson that there is no need that I do anything. In You is every choice already made. In You has every conflict been resolved. In You is everything I hope to find already given me. Your peace is mine. My heart is quiet and my mind at rest. Your Love is Heaven, and Your Love is mine.

2 The stillness of today will give us hope that we have found the way and travelled far along it to a wholly certain goal. Today we will not doubt the end which God Himself has promised us. We trust in Him and in our Self, Who still is one with Him.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 286
The hush of Heaven holds my heart today.

 Sarah's Commentary:
What is it that causes us to experience a frenetic day, rather than one where we rest in God in the quiet center of our Being where "The hush of Heaven holds my heart today"? It is related to the belief that we hold about the concept of time. As David Hawkins wrote in the Eye of the I:
"Once the pressure of time ceases, it is recognized to have been perhaps one of the primary sources of distress that accompanies the human condition. The sense of time creates stress, pressure, anxiety, fear and endless disgruntlement in a myriad of ways. The 'time stress' accompanies all activities and pursuits, creating the illusion of sequence and cause. Every human action is couched in an unspoken pressure cooker of time and the mind constantly calculates how much 'time' can be 'spent' at every activity. This results in panic, fear or worry as well as guilt, shame and anger. 'Too much time spent on this. Not enough time spent on that. There are many things we would like to do but we don't have enough time. Time will run out.' Until the sensation of time stops, one does not have any possibility of knowing what real freedom or peace feels like."
And that is what Eckhart Tolle talks about as well in, The Power of Now. In the present moment, there is no story to tell, there is nothing to do, there is nowhere to go, and all is perfect. All suffering ceases when we return to our Source---to the Self. In this place, we are released from the dream, all fears are seen as groundless, and all worries are foolish imaginings. With no future, there can be no fear, and with no past, there can be no regret. Whatever appears to be happening in the illusion, where the storms appear to assault us, Jesus assures us, "In You has every conflict been resolved." (W.286.1.5) It doesn't feel this way in the apparent upheavals of our lives. It seems to us that there is a lot to do to address what seems to be happening. Yet, "In You is every choice already made," (W.286.1.4) and so we can rest in the assurance that everything has already been addressed, and all we are called to do is to choose peace and rest in God.
Jesus reminds us over and over that we are home in Heaven right now, and that we never left our home. All that happened is that we went to sleep and are dreaming that we have been exiled from our home and cast into the world. Instead of seeing that we are the ones who left our home, we feel abandoned by God, but the whole story is already over. We are just reviewing it in our minds, believing in the sequence of time. It is all already over. The moment we had a thought of separation, the Holy Spirit healed it. Nothing happened in reality.
We are still pristine extensions of God. Everything that seems to have happened in our dream has no reality. There is nothing to atone for and nothing to fix. If we are watching a movie of blood and gore, when it is over, we don't run up to the screen and try to clean it. Nothing has happened on the screen and, in the same way, nothing has happened that could mess up our pristine nature in the movie of our lives. We don't have to fix anything from the past, as there is no past. Now we are called to respond to circumstances as they appear to confront us and choose to respond with peace and forgiveness. In that choice, the past is undone.
Today, we take the time to enter the quiet of our minds and make a choice not to listen to the voice of the ego. In the quiet, we feel the safety of our Father's love. Nothing can touch us here. "You maker of a world that is not so, take rest and comfort in another world where peace abides. This world you bring with you to all the weary eyes and tired hearts that look on sin and beat its sad refrain. From you can come their rest. From you can rise a world they will rejoice to look upon, and where their hearts are glad. In you there is a vision that extends to all of them, and covers them in gentleness and light. And in this widening world of light the darkness that they thought was there is pushed away, until it is but distant shadows, far away, not long remembered as the sun shines them to nothingness. And all their 'evil' thoughts and 'sinful' hopes, their dreams of guilt and merciless revenge, and every wish to hurt and kill and die, will disappear before the sun you bring." (T. 25.IV.3.1-7) (ACIM OE T.25.V.34)
The light of our Being brings peace to tired hearts. It is the truth in all of us. We are all the same. Here, in the stillness, we have the hope of the attainment of our goal. "The stillness of today will give us hope that we have found the way, and travelled far along it to a wholly certain goal." (W.286.2.1) We only have one goal in this classroom of life, which is to wake up from this dream and remember who we are. As Lesson 287 says, "You are my goal, My Father. Only You." Where would we go but to Heaven, and why would we substitute any other goal?
There is nothing we need to do because we are already the Christ. We are already perfection. Sure, we have forgotten our reality. We are convinced that we are less than perfect and that now we need to clean up our act to make ourselves holy. But this is not the truth. We experience our holiness when we let go of the noise of the ego. We just need to let go of our own thinking so we can hear the truth spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, Who is in our right minds. We are called to spend more time with God today in the silence of our hearts and in contemplation of the truth of what we are. The truth will dawn on our minds when we are ready, but it takes discipline and preparation. There is no need to put more pressure or expectations on ourselves. Everything is given perfectly and whatever happens is perfect for our awakening. There is no need for impatience. It is important to be as gentle with ourselves as Jesus is with us in our process while still maintaining rigor in watching our thoughts and continuing to do the practice.
When we keep listening to the raucous noise in our minds it is only because we don't want to know the truth. "The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness." (T.23.I.1.1) (ACIM OE T.23.II.7) That is the current state of our minds. The Holy Spirit speaks to us all day, but it is by our own decision whether we choose to listen. In the moments of stillness where we experience the peace and where the mind is at rest, we are given "hope that we have found the way, and traveled far along it to a wholly certain goal." (W.286.2.1) We are asked to trust in this process and trust in Him.
The question is, "Which voice will we listen to---The voice of attack and grievances or the Voice for love?" When we listen to the ego, it is because we don't want to release our anger and our grievances. We tell stories about why we are justified in our positions. We refuse to forgive. "I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused." (T.5.IN.1.2) (ACIM OE T.5.I.1) Isn't that so? We know the way to choose happiness, but we prefer to hold onto grievances, which is simply a decision to hold onto suffering. In refusing to forgive, we are refusing our own happiness. We are choosing instead to keep our suffering, thinking that in doing so we will ensure that our brothers accept accountability for what they have seemingly done to us. But while we hold this position, we keep ourselves in hell.
A friend was recently sharing with me why his life was going so badly. Everything he said was a litany of problems in his relationship, issues with money, a boss that had it in for him, his lack of energy, why the Course wasn't working for him, and on and on. In that story, the evidence seemed so clear to him that the cause of his suffering was all outside of his mind. He was seeing himself as the victim of it all and refused to make room for the idea that maybe the cause was in his own mind and not in the world. Just maybe, it was the way he was interpreting the events of his life. Once the mind gets locked into its way of seeing, the ego stubbornly holds onto its version of events and there is no space made for another way. We have to start with simple acceptance that we may be wrong about the way we see every situation. We need to actively choose against our way of seeing and ask with sincerity and desire to be shown another way. It is the way of transformation, and it is a radical process. It is not about adding a spiritual dimension to our lives as they are now. We resist transformation because we still fear letting go of control over our own lives. As a friend recently reminded me, we really don't want to be the butterfly. We’d rather be the caterpillar with wings.
The lowest point in my life, after I had tried everything I knew to make my life better and none of it was working, was when I asked to be shown. It was then that the Course came to life for me. The message I was given was that my relationship would be transformed from specialness to holiness, but in the process, I could expect a lot of conflict as a result of the goal for the relationship being shifted from specialness to holiness. I had received the Course a few years prior, but it was at this point of desperation that I was ready to really embrace it and to commit to the practice. I now put my trust in the teachings and invested in making this a priority in my life. "The goal of truth requires faith." (T.17.VI.6.1) (ACIM OE T.17.VII.62) In spite of outward appearances and indeed the evidence of even more conflict, there was an inner knowing that this was the path for me. I chose peace over and over and kept my focus on the Lessons in deep trust. The result was a series of miraculous events that undeniably strengthened my commitment and dedication to this teaching. "The power set in you in whom the Holy Spirit's goal has been established is so far beyond your little conception of the infinite that you have no idea how great the strength that goes with you." (T.17.VII.7.1) (ACIM OE T.17.VIII.70)
The Lesson today is all about accepting the gift of the love so that the quietness of Heaven can be restored to God's beloved Son. "The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance. It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. It is compelling only because of what It reminds you of ."  (T.5.II.7.1-5) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.24) That is the sweet, quiet, gentle, and patient love of the Holy Spirit that stands behind every problem we can perceive, waiting for our agreement to turn it all over to Him, but we need to want to do this more than we want the judgments and grievances.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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