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

CHAPTER 27
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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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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Lesson 287
You are my goal, my Father. Only You.

1 Where would I go but Heaven? What could be a substitute for happiness? What gift could I prefer before the peace of God? What treasure would I seek and find and keep that can compare with my identity? And would I rather live with fear than love?

2 You are my goal, my Father. What but You could I desire to have? What way but that which leads to You could I desire to walk? And what except the memory of You could signify to me the end of dreams and futile substitutions for the truth? You are my only goal. Your Son would be as You created him. What way but this could I expect to recognize my Self and be at one with my Identity?

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 287
You are my goal, my Father. Only You.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
The peace of God, true happiness, and love instead of fear are set before us when we make God our goal. When I think of the ways I spend my life and see all the distractions that divert me from this goal, I know I cannot truly and honestly say my goal is only God. Yet when I experience shifts, miracles, and holy instants where I enter His presence and feel the distractions fade away, I redouble my efforts and put more of my attention on God and will do so until the time when He becomes my only goal.
 
When anger, frustration, financial concerns, expectations, hopes, dreams, material requirements, various pleasures, and daydreams occupy my thoughts, I recognize how I am choosing this small self as my reality. There are no rewards in this choice, even though it appears to the false self as if the things that occupy the mind are important. They keep the false self invested in a never-ending series of options. A friend calls these options, "selections from the pain buffet line." We can choose as many as we like, but they will never satisfy, and ultimately, they bring pain. They glitter with the possibility of bringing the happiness we seek, but they only deliver disappointment and more suffering.
 
We try to convince ourselves that these things, which Jesus calls "idols," are where our happiness lies. Yet, increasingly, we see this is not the case. The only choice, which brings rewards, is the goal to uncover the deep peace and joy that come from the inner knowing that we are forever One with God. When I keep my focus on my purpose to know my Self, then no matter what tribulations and challenges seem to confront me in my day, they are all opportunities for undoing the ego. I recognize that I cannot judge anything as good or bad. All things truly do work together for our awakening when we use them for undoing the guilt in our minds. The temptations of the ego that divert our focus on God are there to keep us from true peace.
 
Why do we choose these temptations and distractions? Why do anger and judgment, for example, seem so compelling to us? We justify anger by saying someone or something is responsible for how we feel, but the real motivation for choosing anger and judgment is to use them as a defense against the truth. Anger maintains separation by keeping our focus on forces outside of our own minds as the cause of our distress. We believe what someone has said, or what someone has done, or not done, is what upsets us, but the truth is that we have decided how to interpret what we see. We are responsible for throwing our peace away in the face of a situation that has no power to take it from us.
 
Taking responsibility for our minds as the cause of our distress, rather than anything outside of ourselves, puts the ego in jeopardy because it knows that we can choose against it anytime we want. The ego needs our allegiance for it to continue to exist because its existence depends on the power of belief that we invest in it. Our allegiance to it requires that we see the cause of how we feel as coming from outside of our own minds. When we justify our anger and tell stories of why we feel the way we do, we are making others responsible. This is a reversal of cause and effect, which is how the ego has set it up. We see ourselves as the victim of the world. When we get too close to love, we actually invite conflict. We will choose a fight as a way to maintain the separation. We don't want love to threaten our establishments---our chosen identity. Anger serves the ego's goal of maintaining the separation, as does sickness, judgment, and all the other ego strategies that keep us committed to the dream.
 
We think we know what happiness is, but it is a fleeting experience in the world of the ego. There is no substitute in this world for the happiness and peace of God. The gifts we think we prefer and the treasures we seek in the world cannot begin to compare with the gifts of knowing the Self and the confidence this brings. Ego existence is one of fear. Everything in our lives is tinged with fear until we realize that our identity is not that of a body and personality. Our belief that we are the body, the personality, and the little self we call the "I" and "me" keeps us safe from God’s Love. But now our minds have been opened to the possibility that who we think we are is not the truth. As long as we identify with the body and the personality, we will keep chasing the illusory forms of this world, all the while hoping that, finally, we have found the answer to our unhappiness. The ego will never reveal to us that this is all a lie. We have been duped. Now Jesus reveals to us exactly how the ego has set it up so we can make another choice and make God our goal. The means are given us for the goal for God to be reached. It requires that we watch our thoughts and forgive our misperceptions.
 
We are as God created us, which is Spirit. When we accept this, what is there to fear? All the attention and effort we put into keeping ourselves happy in the dream simply delay the dawning of the real world on our minds. This is a world where everything is seen through the eyes of love. We become a clear and spotless mirror, reflecting God's Love in this world.
 
Should we feel guilty that we have other goals? The answer is no because guilt is the ego's game to keep us feeling bad about ourselves. All we are asked to do is to recognize that our ego goals will never bring peace and happiness. It does not make our pursuits wrong. We can go shopping, have special relationships, and take vacations, yet this can all just be a backdrop for watching our thoughts and using every situation for healing. What is important is not what we are doing in the world, but what every situation is for. We can use it to keep us invested in the ego or for waking up. It is all about our purpose. The world was made to distract us with problems. As long as we focus on the screen (the world) and try to fix things "out there," we play the ego's game.
 
Let us focus on making today about true happiness and not look to futile substitutions. It is not about sacrificing what we think we still want. My experience is that these things increasingly lose their value. My interest and attachment to these idols diminish as I do this work. They no longer hold the value they once did. They no longer hold the hope of happiness. Instead, I increasingly recognize true peace can only come from recognizing the Self I really am. There is a deep yearning in us all for the hush of Heaven, to rest in God, and to have peace that "passeth" all understanding.
 
But yearning is not enough. We say we want this peace, but we must look at how we resist doing the work. A clear path has been laid out for us in this Course, but do we follow it? Forgiveness has been given us as the means for undoing the ego thought system, but how often do we persist in holding onto grievances? If the means that we have been given to reach the goal are not accepted, the goal cannot be achieved. If we truly are serious about the goal, we must be serious about being helped to reach it. I have a friend who prays very sincerely for God to show him the way, yet he says he does not have the interest or patience to do the Lessons. The Lessons are there so we can find the way to God because the ego mind will never undo itself. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and our mighty companions every step of the way. We need the safe space where we can express all that stands in the way so we can clearly see and release the ego strategies.
 
"You are my goal, my Father. Only You." (W.287) Speak these words in confidence and remind yourself of the goal often today. Even if we accept this statement as partly true with many reservations, eventually we will consider it more and more seriously until it is finally accepted as the truth. (W.P.II.284) We speak these words as honestly as possible for ourselves, even if they are not yet totally true for us so that the brain can be rewired. These words are a true expression of the Christ Self that we are in truth. No "gifts" in this world can substitute for happiness. "What gift could I prefer before the peace of God? What treasure would I seek and find and keep that can compare with my Identity. And would I rather live with fear than love?" (W.287.1.3-5)
 
Today is a day to stay vigilant in staying alert to the temptation to get angry and judge. When such temptations arise, be willing to ask for the Correction. The Holy Spirit will always give us another way to see every situation. The answers are all within.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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