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

CHAPTER 28
The Undoing of Fear

IV. The Agreement to Join

28 What waits in perfect certainty beyond salvation is not our concern. For you have barely started to allow your first uncertain steps to be directed up the ladder separation led you down. The miracle alone is your concern at present. Here is where we must begin. And having started, will the way be made serene and simple in the rising up to waking and the ending of the dream. When you accept a miracle, you do not add your dream of fear to one that is already being dreamed. Without support, the dream will fade away without effects. For it is your support that strengthens it.

29 No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds, from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother's mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds which join, as sickness comes from minds which separate.

30 The miracle does nothing just because the minds are joined and cannot separate. Yet in the dreaming has this been reversed, and separate minds are seen as bodies which are separated and which cannot join. Do not allow your brother to be sick, for if he is, have you abandoned him to his own dream by sharing it with him. He has not seen the cause of sickness where it is, and you have overlooked the gap between you, where the sickness has been bred. Thus are you joined in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him. Fight not His coming with illusions, for it is His coming that you want above all things that seem to glisten in the dream.

31 The end of dreaming is the end of fear, and love was never in the world of dreams. The gap is little. Yet it holds the seeds of pestilence and every form of ill because it is a wish to keep apart and not to join. And thus it seems to give a cause to sickness which is not its cause. The purpose of the gap is all the cause that sickness has. For it was made to keep you separated in a body which you see as if it were the cause of pain.

32 The cause of pain is separation, not the body, which is only its effect. Yet separation is but empty space, enclosing nothing, doing nothing, and as unsubstantial as the empty place between the ripples that a ship has made in passing by. And covered just as fast, as water rushes in to close the gap and as the waves in joining cover it. Where is the gap between the waves when they have joined and covered up the space which seemed to keep them separate for a little while? Where are the grounds for sickness when the minds have joined to close the little gap between them where the seeds of sickness seemed to grow?

33 God builds the bridge, but only in the space left clean and vacant by the miracle. The seeds of sickness and the shame of guilt He cannot bridge, for He cannot destroy the alien will that He created not. Let its effects be gone and clutch them not with eager hands, to keep them for yourself. The miracle will brush them all aside and thus make room for Him Who wills to come and bridge His Son's returning to Himself.

34 Count, then, the silver miracles and golden dreams of happiness as all the treasures you would keep within the storehouse of the world. The door is open, not to thieves but to your starving brothers who mistook for gold the shining of a pebble and who stored a heap of snow that shone like silver. They have nothing left behind the open door. What is the world except a little gap perceived to tear eternity apart and break it into days and months and years? And what are you who live within the world except a picture of the Son of God in broken pieces, each concealed within a separate and uncertain bit of clay?

35 Be not afraid, but let your world be lit by miracles. And where the gap was seen to stand between you, join your brother there. And sickness will be seen without a cause. The dream of healing in forgiveness lies and gently shows you that you never sinned. The miracle would leave no proof of guilt to bring you witness to what never was. And in your storehouse it will make a place of welcome for your Father and your Self. The door is open that all those may come who would no longer starve and would enjoy the feast of plenty set before them there. And they will meet with your invited Guests the miracle has asked to come to you.

36 This is a feast unlike indeed to those the dreaming of the world has shown. For here, the more that anyone receives, the more is left for all the rest to share. The Guests have brought unlimited supply with Them. And no one is deprived or can deprive. Here is a feast the Father lays before His Son and shares it equally with him. And in Their sharing there can be no gap in which abundance falters and grows thin. Here can the lean years enter not, for time waits not upon this feast, which has no end. For Love has set Its table in the space that seemed to keep your Guests apart from you.

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Part II
What is the Real World?

1 The real world is a symbol like the rest of what perception offers. Yet it stands for what is opposite to what you made. Your world is seen through eyes of fear and brings the witnesses of terror to your mind. The real world cannot be perceived except through eyes forgiveness blesses, so they see a world where terror is impossible and witnesses to fear can not be found.

2 The real world holds a counterpart for each unhappy thought reflected in your world, a sure correction for the sights of fear and sounds of battle which your world contains. The real world shows a world seen differently, through quiet eyes and with a mind at peace. Nothing but rest is there. There are no cries of pain and sorrow heard, for nothing here remains outside forgiveness. And the sights are gentle. Only happy sights and sounds can reach the mind that has forgiven itself.

3 What need has such a mind for thoughts of death, attack, and murder? What can it perceive surrounding it but safety, love, and joy? What is there it would choose to be condemned, and what is there that it would judge against? The world it sees arises from a mind at peace within itself. No danger lurks in anything it sees, for it is kind and only kindness does it look upon.

4 The real world is the symbol that the dream of sin and guilt is over and God's Son no longer sleeps. His waking eyes perceive the sure reflection of his Father's Love, the certain promise that he is redeemed. The real world signifies the end of time, for its perception makes time purposeless.

5 The Holy Spirit has no need of time when it has served His purpose. Now He waits but that one instant more for God to take His final step, and time has disappeared, taking perception with it as it goes and leaving but the Truth to be Itself. That instant is our goal, for it contains the memory of God. And as we look upon a world forgiven, it is He Who calls to us and comes to take us home, reminding us of our Identity which our forgiveness has restored to us.

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Lesson 298
I love You, Father, as I love Your Son.

1 My gratitude permits my love to be accepted without fear. And thus am I restored to my Reality at last. All that intruded on my holy sight forgiveness takes away. And I draw near the end of senseless journeys, mad careers, and artificial values. I accept instead what God establishes as mine, sure that in that alone I will be saved, sure that I go through fear to meet my Love.

2 Father, I come to You today, because I would not follow any way but Yours. You are beside me. Certain is Your way. And I am grateful for Your holy gifts of certain sanctuary and escape from everything that would obscure my love for God, my Father, and His holy Son.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 298
I love You, Father, as I love Your Son.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
This Lesson is about the pain and suffering we experience in our daily lives when the love we are is kept from awareness through the many distractions of our lives, which we actually choose as a way to defend against love. The way we are restored to our reality is by allowing love back into our awareness, which can only be done by looking at how we currently block it. Now we can say, "I accept instead what God establishes as mine, sure that in that alone I will be saved." (W.298.1.5) In order to do that, I need to "go through fear to meet my Love." (W.298.1.5) This is why, initially, it feels like things get worse as we journey through this Course. We feel even more guilty as we watch our minds; but only because we are becoming more aware of the thoughts in our minds that were previously obscure to us even though they were always there.
 
This is a Lesson in gratitude. Just as we saw in Lessons 234, 239, and 292, respectively: "We thank You, Father, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love." (W.234.2.1) "We thank you, Father, for the light that shines forever in us." (W.239.2.1) "We thank You, Father, for Your guarantee of only happy outcomes in the end." (W.292.2.1) Only our own interference brings about anything other than happy outcomes. We interfere when we decide how things should be and plan and strategize accordingly, and thus we continue the same old cycle of guilt and fear. We interfere when we try to stay in control instead of being willing to surrender and allow the flow to be what it is. When we hold onto goals that lead us nowhere except on more senseless journeys, mad careers, and artificial values, we are interfering with the flow. We are pursuing goals that deliver nothing. This is so beautifully illustrated in the book I read some time ago called, One Again by Linda Jean McNabb. It is the story of her life---a story of undoing a past of abuse, alcoholism, and prostitution through forgiveness and living a life of trust.
 
Trust is the primary attribute of the Teacher of God as stated in the Manual for Teachers. We have a fear of love because its acceptance puts an end to the ego thought system, which clearly threatens our independent will. Why is gratitude such an important aspect of our restoration? "Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father." (T.4.VI.7.5) (ACIM OE T.4.VII.90) We recognize that we have been wrong, and we are grateful. We are grateful to see that our brother is not as we have defined him, but as our Father tells us he is. In fact, we recognize that we have been wrong about everything we have thought. In this recognition, we welcome being taught.
 
We learn of the importance of a grateful heart and thankful mind as a foundation for remembering God's love. As Jesus reminds us that we need not remain "deaf to all the hymns of gratitude the world is singing underneath the sounds of fear." (W.293.2.2) What is essential to our happiness is to be open to the experience of God's Love, which surrounds us all the time. His Love for us has not wavered. He has given us the Holy Spirit as an inner Call---the light within that we can always turn to. This is the Christ, the true Self, Who has come to search us out. "Today we offer thanks that Christ has come to search the world for what belongs to Him." (W.160.9.1) What belongs to Him is the part of our minds that has never left God and calls to us to return to where we already are. We are not aware of the reality of this Self until the blocks to love are undone.
 
Thus, to love our Father is to love His Son. It is to love everyone with no exceptions. What this means is that when the content of our minds is love, we see that same love in everyone. When we see "others" who we do not love, we are seeing parts of ourselves that we reject. This offers us another forgiveness opportunity, which is to look at these aspects of the unhealed self that we project onto others. When we condemn them and blame them, we are reflecting our own self-condemnation and self-attack. We accuse ourselves of what we see in our brothers and have denied in ourselves. Excluding anyone from love is not to know love. It is important that we look at all the hatred we project onto others, recognize that it is our own self-hatred, and then take full responsibility for it. All this self-hatred intrudes on our holy sight. "All that intruded on my holy sight forgiveness takes away." (W.298.1.3)
 
When any relationship brings up anger and hatred in us, our immediate tendency is to think that our reactions come about because of what the other person appears to be doing to us. We think that if they changed, we would not have to be upset. Jesus reminds us that this is not so. He reminds us, "Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated." (T.26.X.4.1) (ACIM OE T.26.VI.88) We are simply using the other person to make them responsible for the hateful thoughts that are in our wrong mind. Now we can use any difficult situation or relationship for healing our unhealed guilt. When we are willing to give over these hateful thoughts and be grateful that they have been revealed to us through our relationships, they will be transformed. "My gratitude permits my love to be accepted without fear." (W.298.1.1) I can be truly grateful that my way of seeing has been wrong because now there is a way for me to heal my wrong-minded perspective. "Now hear God speak to you, through Him Who is His Voice and yours as well, reminding you that it is not your will to hate and be a prisoner to fear, a slave to death, a little creature with a little life." (T.30.II.3.3) (ACIM OE T.30.III.35)
 
We can't bypass our fearful thoughts with nice sounding spiritual platitudes. We must look at them. We are fearful of letting go of all that we have made: our constructs, beliefs, self-concepts, expectations, values, uniqueness, and specialness. We are afraid of what we will lose and, most important, we fear the loss of our individual self, so we put up defenses. Yet we are nearing "the end of senseless journeys, mad careers and artificial values." (W.298.1.4) Now we increasingly become more willing to find another way that brings us the certainty, joy, and happiness we seek. As long as we still think that there is something to strive for in this world, we will have our feet in both camps---that of the ego and that of the Holy Spirit. In straddling two thought systems, we experience more and more conflict until our motivation for healing becomes the entire focus of our lives. It is not something that should be forced. Devotion to healing simply becomes a more appealing choice.
 
As we pray, "Father, I come to You today, because I would not follow any way but Yours," (W.298.2.1) we are making a commitment and dedication that reflects our deep desire for the end of suffering. We affirm, once again, that we will not follow any way but His because His way is certain. A nd being forever grateful for God's holy gifts to us, we can be assured of a certain sanctuary where we are eternally safe. "You are beside me. Certain is Your way. And I am grateful for Your holy gifts of certain sanctuary, and escape from everything that would obscure my love for God my Father and His holy Son." (W.298.2.2-4)
 
Thus, we are called on today to be grateful for our brothers and to express that gratitude so we may no longer keep the love that is our inheritance from our awareness. Fear is how we keep it from awareness. When we express love and gratitude to our brothers, we are expressing it to God. When we offer our brother guilt, we do not experience the love of our Father. In other words, if I love God, it follows that I would be loving toward everyone else. If I don't love everyone else, I must be saying that I don't love God. I can't reach God and hate my brothers. If I say I want peace and attack my brother, I am taking a step away from it.
 
Our fear of being vulnerable with our brothers and joining with them is a fear of God. We fear being vulnerable because our perception of God is that of a big, powerful force outside of our own mind. What will happen to us if we open to the immense love that we are? We fear the end of control. We fear annihilation. As we read in Chapter 13, "You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God's Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness." (T.13.III.4.1) (ACIM OE T.12.III.14) Be grateful that you are wrong.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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