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

CHAPTER 29
The Awakening

I. Introduction

1 There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent. There is nothing to be feared. There is no way in which a gap could be conceived of in the wholeness that is His. The compromise the least and littlest gap would represent in His eternal love is quite impossible. For it would mean His love could harbor just a hint of hate; His gentleness turn sometimes to attack; and His eternal patience sometimes fail. All this do you believe, when you perceive a gap between your brother and yourself. How could you trust Him, then? For He must be deceptive in His Love. Be wary, then; let Him not come too close, and leave a gap between you and His love through which you can escape if there be need for you to flee.

2 Here is the fear of God most plainly seen. For love is treacherous to those who fear, since fear and hate can never be apart. No one who hates but is afraid of love and therefore must he be afraid of God. Certain it is he knows not what love means. He fears to love and loves to hate, and so he thinks that love is fearful—hate is love. This is the consequence the little gap must bring to those who cherish it and think that it is their salvation and their hope.

3 The fear of God! The greatest obstacle that peace must flow across has not yet gone. The rest are past, but this one still remains to block your path and make the way to light seem dark and fearful, perilous and bleak. You had decided that your brother is your enemy. Sometimes a friend, perhaps, provided that your separate interests made your friendship possible a little while. But not without a gap between you, lest he turn again into an enemy. [Let him come close to you, and you jumped back; as you approached, he instantly withdrew.] A cautious friendship, limited in scope and carefully restricted in amount, became the treaty you had made with him. You shared a qualified entente in which a clause of separation was a point on which you both agreed to keep intact. And violating this was thought to be a breach of treaty not to be allowed.

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CHAPTER 29
The Awakening

II. The Closing of the Gap

4 The gap between you is not one of space between two separate bodies. This but seems to be dividing off your separate minds. It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer and separate until you both elect to meet again. And then your bodies seem to get in touch and signify a meeting-place to join. But always is it possible to go your separate ways. Conditional upon the "right" to separate will you agree to meet from time to time and keep apart in intervals of separation, which protect you from the "sacrifice" of love. The body saves you, for it gets away from total sacrifice and gives you time in which to build again your separate selves, which you believe diminish as you meet.

5 The body could not separate your minds unless you wanted it to be a cause of separation and of distance seen between you. Thus do you endow it with a power that lies not within itself. And herein lies its power over you . For now you think that it determines when you meet and limits your ability to make communion with each other's mind. And now it tells you where to go and how to go there, what is feasible for you to undertake, and what you cannot do. It dictates what its health can tolerate and what will tire it and make it sick. And its "inherent" weaknesses set up the limitations on what you would do and keep your purpose limited and weak.

6 The body will accommodate to this if you would have it so. It will allow but limited indulgences in "love," with intervals of hatred in between. And it will take command of when to "love" and when to shrink more safely into fear. It will be sick because you do not know what loving means. And so you must misuse each circumstance and everyone you meet and see in them a purpose not your own.

7 It is not love that asks a sacrifice. But fear demands the sacrifice of love, for in love's presence fear cannot abide. For hate to be maintained love must be feared and only sometimes present, sometimes gone. Thus is love seen as treacherous because it seems to come and go uncertainly and offer no stability to you. You do not see how limited and weak is your allegiance and how frequently you have demanded that love go away and leave you quietly alone in "peace."

8 The body, innocent of any goal, is your excuse for variable goals you hold and force the body to maintain. You do not fear its weakness, but its lack of strength or weakness. Would you recognize that nothing stands between you? Would you know there is no gap behind which you can hide? There is a shock that comes to those who learn their savior is their enemy no more. There is a wariness that is aroused by learning that the body is not real. And there are overtones of seeming fear around the happy message, "God is love."

9 Yet all that happens when the gap is gone is peace eternal. Nothing more than that, and nothing less. Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His love? Would you allow the body to say "no" to Heaven's calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your Self be lost by being found?

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Part II
What is the Second Coming?

1 Christ's Second Coming, which is sure as God, is merely the correction of mistakes and the return of sanity. It is a part of the condition which restores the never lost and re-establishes what is forever and forever true. It is the invitation to God's Word to take illusion's place, the willingness to let forgiveness rest upon all things without exception and without reserve.

2 It is the all-inclusive nature of Christ's Second Coming that permits it to embrace the world and hold you safe within its gentle advent, which encompasses all living things with you. There is no end to the release the Second Coming brings, as God's creation must be limitless. Forgiveness lights the Second Coming's way because it shines on everyone as one.

3 The Second Coming ends the lessons which the Holy Spirit teaches, making way for the Last Judgment, in which learning ends in one last summary that will extend beyond itself and reaches up to God. The Second Coming is the time in which all minds are given to the hands of Christ, to be returned to Spirit in the name of true creation and the Will of God.

4 The Second Coming is the one event in time which time itself cannot affect. For everyone who ever came to die or yet will come or who is present now is equally released from what he made. In this equality is Christ restored as one identity, in which all Sons of God acknowledge that they all are one. And God the Father smiles upon His Son, His one creation and His only joy.

5 Pray that this Second Coming will be soon, but do not rest with that. It needs your eyes and ears and hands and feet. It needs your voice. And most of all it needs your willingness. Let us rejoice that we can do God's Will and join together in its holy light. Behold, the Son of God is one in us, and we can reach our Father's Love through him.

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Lesson 304
Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ.

1 I can obscure my holy sight if I intrude my world upon it. Nor can I behold the holy sights Christ looks upon unless it is His vision that I use. Perception is a mirror, not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind reflected outward. I would bless the world by looking on it through the eyes of Christ. And I will look upon the certain signs that all my sins have been forgiven me.

2 You lead me from the darkness to the light, from sin to holiness. Let me forgive and thus receive salvation for the world. It is Your gift, my Father, given me to offer to Your holy Son that he may find again the memory of You and of Your Son as You created him.

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Lesson 304
Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
"Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ." (W.304) This Lesson can be translated throughout the day to include specifics such as, "Let not this situation, this event, this feeling, this self-concept, this belief, this opinion, or this thought obscure the sight of Christ." This covers a lot of ground with what constitutes our world. We ask today: "Holy Spirit, please help me not to let my thoughts about this situation keep me from the love I am. I am willing to be wrong about the way I see this person or event. I am willing to be wrong about everything I believe or think about. Basically, I am willing to be wrong about anything unlike love that comes up in my awareness and obscures the sight of Christ, including everything in this illusory world of attack and separation."
 
The question is, "Do I want to hold onto my thoughts and my version of events or do I want everything in my life to be used for the purpose of awakening?" Purpose is everything! If my purpose is to know the Christ Self, then everything that shows up can be used for that purpose. There is nothing good or bad, right or wrong, that is happening. There are no bad days and good days. Everything is helpful when used for the purpose of awakening to what we are. Jesus does not coerce us to accept what he is teaching. He simply shows us the consequences of our thoughts and beliefs and invites us to look at how we bring needless suffering into our lives. He shows us how we can come to a realization of who we are so we can experience the joy and peace that lies beyond our limited thinking mind.
 
While we can take as long as we want, he continues to urge us to choose to do the forgiveness work and asks us to think about, "How long, O Son of God, will you maintain the game of sin?" (W.PII.Q4.What is Sin?5.1) It is up to us. We are not being coerced. As he says, "You are free to determine who shall be your guest, and how long he shall remain with you." (T.11.II.7.3) (ACIM OE T.10.III.22) In other words, we invite our guest to be the ego or the Holy Spirit in each moment; it is up to us.
 
Undoing everything that obscures Christ's vision must become our goal if we want to know who we are. When we tune into the voice of the ego, we are basically only concerned with ourselves. We see ourselves as the center of our world, using others to get our needs met. When we recognize that "The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain," (T.13.IX.2.3) (ACIM OE T.13.III.12) our allegiance to it will diminish. That is why Jesus goes to great lengths to demonstrate how our belief in attack returns that attack to us. In other words, we are always hurting ourselves when we judge and attack others. When we want someone else to receive their just desserts, we are actually asking this for ourselves. Every attack thought held in our minds attracts what we don’t want. "And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward." (W.304.1.4)
 
What we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and think with our brains makes the illusion seem real and solid. That is precisely what the senses were made to do. That is how the ego set it up, so we would never choose against it. It all starts with our thoughts. If we hold a belief in lack, we will experience lack in our lives. The evidence for it will be seen as our not having enough. Our allegiance to our beliefs prolongs our suffering. Can a Son of God, who has everything, be lacking? The ego is committed to this world of pain and misery, even though small pleasures are thrown in here and there; but, ultimately, it is a world of suffering. All pleasures are temporary and always end in pain.
 
When our thoughts and perceptions are healed, everything about our world will change. Difficult situations and difficult people will just fall away. The things that seemed problematic to us before no longer matter because we see everything differently. Now we see that the seeming attacks directed our way are just a call for love. That call is simply a brother, who asks that we see who he really is beyond the seemingly attacking behaviors. To see in this way is to see with the eyes of Christ. It is to see with vision, instead of judgment.
 
In the Introduction to Chapter 21, we are reminded, "Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world." (T.21.IN.1.1-7) (ACIM OE T.21.In.1)
 
The world reflects what is in our mind. "Perception is a mirror, not a fact." (W.304.1.3) When we see through the eyes of Christ, we give only blessing to everyone and everything in the world. This is true perception, which is to see everything through the eyes of love and to overlook everything that is not the truth. To see the world through the eyes of Christ is to see everything as a reflection of truth. As we bring all our judgments and all our misperceptions to the Holy Spirit, He reinterprets them. We no longer see the world as a projection of our judgmental thoughts, our fears, our attacks, our false empathy, and our needs, but instead, we see the world as a reflection of the love in us.
 
This Lesson reminds us that forgiveness is the means to coming home to the Self. As we bring our mistaken perceptions to the Holy Spirit, we are being led from sin to holiness. It is a step-by-step process, but it has already been accomplished because the Atonement Principle assures us that we cannot and have not changed ourselves. In essence, blessings go out from our holy nature when the blocks to the awareness of love's presence are dissipated by the Holy Spirit, Who already knows that these blocks do not exist and have no substance. "And I will look upon the certain signs that all my sins have been forgiven me." (W.304.1.6) Thus, as our misperception of the world is healed, it will be reflected back to us as a forgiven world in which there is only love or a call for love. "By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves." (T.9.V.9.6) (ACIM OE T.9.IV.30) When we make space for the blessing to shine through us, we receive it in that same instant. Thus, we come to know our own holiness, which is such a gift! Guilt is replaced with innocence, and we feel the holy presence in us, which is our true nature.
 
Sin is described in the Course as a lack of love, the home of illusions, insanity, and a game with no substance. Yet Jesus makes it clear that there is no sin. All that is needed for us to see this is that we must let our minds be changed. We have forgotten who we are. As we bring our dark secrets, our shame, and our guilt to the Holy Spirit and willingly release the thoughts of this world that obscure the sight of Christ, awareness of the truth of who we are, as the holy Child of God, returns. Now truth is reflected in everything we see.
 
This takes us to the end of the journey, which is the experience of the Second Coming and the total undoing of the dream. "Forgiveness lights the Second Coming's way, because it shines on everything as one. And thus is oneness recognized at last." (W.PII.Q9.What is the Second Coming?2.3) The means to this awakening is through forgiveness. "Let me forgive, and thus receive salvation for the world." (W.304.2.2) When I hold onto a grievance against a brother, I am really saying, "I don't want to go home. I'd rather stay angry with my brother." "Every attack is a step away from this, [peace] and every healing thought brings it closer." (T.11.II.1.2) (ACIM OE T.10.III.16)
 
Thus, we extend peace to our brothers by bringing all our grievances to the Holy Spirit for reinterpretation, so we might see them with the eyes of Christ. When we see the sameness of all brothers, it is a reflection of the Oneness we are. Differences affirm separation. Forgiveness leads us from the darkness to the light and from sin to holiness. We can become a spotless mirror in the world where only love is reflected through our Being. The return of Christ is the return to the One Mind that is all there is. The return of Jesus is not an event within time and space, but a realization, outside of this dream, that we all share the same Self.
 
Today, let nothing in your world obscure the sight of Christ by being willing to bring to the feet of truth all doubt thoughts, all worries, all plans, all concerns, and all thoughts that keep you prisoner to the world. Do not deny your thoughts and feelings or try to distract from them or do anything to mitigate them. Be with them by being willing to look at the beliefs that are there and the story around them, which is never the truth.
 
Today, we look past all illusion and affirm the truth of who we are, as perfect, whole, and complete ---as created by God. Today, I look at my mind and see distress about a situation where I feel wrongly accused. I affirm that I will not let his situation obscure the sight of Christ. I am willing to rest the story and release the feelings that I am experiencing about this person so I can receive salvation for the world. "It needs your eyes and ears and hands and feet. It needs your voice. And most of all it needs your willingness." (W.PII.Q9.5.2-4)
 
My wrong perception obscures the Christ in me. What I see is only my perception, which is a mirror of my own thoughts and never a fact. The ego argues this point vehemently, but if we stubbornly side with it, we keep ourselves in our self-made hell. We have a way out, and the way out is to look at our thoughts and feelings honestly, take responsibility for them, and be willing to turn them over to the Holy Spirit. Hanging onto them keeps us from experiencing the miracle and keeps us from the peace that we say we want.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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