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

CHAPTER 29
The Awakening

VI. The Changeless Dwelling Place

31 There is a place in you where this whole world has been forgotten, where no memory of sin and of illusion lingers still. There is a place in you which time has left, and echoes of eternity are heard. There is a resting place so still no sound except a hymn to Heaven rises up to gladden God the Father and the Son. Where both abide are They remembered, both. And where They are is Heaven and is peace. Think not that you can change Their dwelling place. For your Identity abides in Them, and where They are, forever must you be.

32 The changelessness of Heaven is in you, so deep within that nothing in this world but passes by, unnoticed and unseen. The still infinity of endless peace surrounds you gently in its soft embrace, so strong and quiet, tranquil in the might of its Creator; nothing can intrude upon the sacred Son of God within. Here is the role the Holy Spirit gives to you who wait upon the Son of God and would behold him waken and be glad. He is a part of you, and you of him because he is his Father's Son and not for any purpose you may see in him. Nothing is asked of you but to accept the changeless and eternal that abide in him, for your Identity is there. The peace in you can but be found in him. And every thought of love you offer him but brings you nearer to your wakening to peace eternal and to endless joy.

33 This sacred Son of God is like yourself—the mirror of his Father's love for you, the soft reminder of his Father's love by which he was created and which still abides in him, as it abides in you. Be very still and hear God's Voice in him and let It tell you what his function is. He was created that you might be whole, for only the complete can be a part of God's completion, Which created you.

34 There is no gift the Father asks of you but that you see in all creation but the shining glory of His gift to you. Behold His Son, His perfect gift in whom his Father shines forever and to whom is all creation given as his own. Because he has it is it given you, and where it lies in him, behold your peace. The quiet that surrounds you dwells in him, and from this quiet come the happy dreams in which your hands are joined in innocence. These are not hands that grasp in dreams of pain. They hold no sword, for they have left their hold on every vain illusion of the world. And being empty, they received instead a brother's hand in which completion lay.

35 If you but knew the glorious goal that lies beyond forgiveness, you would not keep hold on any thought, however light the touch of evil on it may appear to be. For you would understand how great the cost of holding anything God did not give in minds that can direct the hand to bless and lead God's Son unto his Father's house. Would you not want to be a friend to him, created by his Father as His home? If God esteems him worthy of Himself, would you attack him with the hands of hate? Who would lay bloody hands on Heaven itself and hope to find its peace? Your brother thinks he holds the hand of death. Believe him not. But learn instead how blessed are you who can release him just by offering him yours.

36 A dream is given you in which he is your savior, not your enemy in hate. A dream is given you in which you have forgiven him for all his dreams of death—a dream of hope you share with him instead of dreaming evil separate dreams of hate. Why does it seem so hard to share this dream? Because unless the Holy Spirit gives the dream its function, it was made for hate and will continue in death's services. Each form it takes in some way calls for death. And those who serve the lord of death have come to worship in a separated world, each with his tiny spear and rusted sword to keep his ancient promises to die.

37 Such is the core of fear in every dream that has been kept apart from use by Him Who sees a different function for a dream. When dreams are shared, they lose the function of attack and separation, even though it was for this that every dream was made. Yet nothing in the world of dreams remains without the hope of change and betterment, for here is not where changelessness is found. Let us be glad indeed that this is so and seek not the eternal in this world. Forgiving dreams are means to step aside from dreaming of a world outside yourself. And leading finally beyond all dreams unto the peace of everlasting life.

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CHAPTER 29
The Awakening

VII. Forgiveness and Peace

38 How willing are you to forgive your brother? How much do you desire peace instead of endless strife and misery and pain? These questions are the same in different form. Forgiveness is your peace, for herein lies the end of separation and the dream of danger and destruction, sin, and death; of madness and of murder, grief and loss. This is the "sacrifice" salvation asks and gladly offers peace instead of this.

39 Swear not to die, you holy Son of God! You make a bargain that you cannot keep. The Son of Life cannot be killed. He is immortal as his Father. What he is cannot be changed. He is the only thing in all the universe that must be one. What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons, and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is. God's Son can never change by what men made of him. He will be as he was and as he is, for time appointed not his destiny nor set the hour of his birth and death. Forgiveness will not change him. Yet time waits upon forgiveness that the things of time may disappear because they have no use.

40 Nothing survives its purpose. If it be conceived to die, then die it must unless it does not take this purpose as its own. Change is the only thing that can be made a blessing here, where purpose is not fixed, however changeless it appears to be. Think not that you can set a goal unlike God's purpose for you and establish it as changeless and eternal. You can give yourself a purpose that you do not have. But you can not remove the power to change your mind and see another purpose there. Change is the greatest gift God gave to all that you would make eternal, to ensure that only Heaven would not pass away.

41 You were not born to die. You cannot change, because your function has been fixed by God. All other goals are set in time and change that time might be preserved, excepting one . Forgiveness does not aim at keeping time but at its ending when it has no use. Its purpose ended; it is gone. And where it once held seeming sway is now restored the function God established for His Son in full awareness. Time can set no end to its fulfillment nor its changelessness. There is no death because the living share the function their Creator gave to them. Life's function cannot be to die. It must be life's extension, that it be as one forever and forever without end.

42 This world will bind your feet and tie your hands and kill your body only if you think that it was made to crucify God's Son. For even though it was a dream of death, you need not let it stand for this to you. Let this be changed, and nothing in the world but must be changed as well. For nothing here but is defined as what you see it for. How lovely is the world whose purpose is forgiveness of God's Son! How free from fear, how filled with blessing and with happiness! And what a joyous thing it is to dwell a little while in such a happy place! Nor can it be forgot in such a world, it is a little while till timelessness comes quietly to take the place of time.

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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 309
I will not fear to look within today.

1 Within me is eternal innocence because it is God's Will that it be there forever and forever. I, His Son, whose will is limitless as is His own, can will no change in this. For to deny my Father's Will is to deny my own. To look within is but to find my will as God created it and as it is. I fear to look within because I think I made another will which is not true and made it real. Yet it has no effects. Within me is the holiness of God. Within me is the memory of Him.

2 The step I take today, my Father, is my sure release from idle dreams of sin. Your altar stands serene and undefiled. It is the holy altar to my Self, and there I find my true identity.

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Lesson 309
I will not fear to look within today.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
This Lesson says that we fear to look within because we think that we actually made another will which is different from our true Will. Our fear is that the will we think we made is real. If indeed it is real, we have actually destroyed our pristine home. The beautiful thing is that none of this has happened. It is just a dream. Jesus says that we are afraid to look within and see that the will we made has no effects. We are afraid to see that the illusion is not true. The truth is that there is only love. Because of our fear to find the love within us, we side with fear. Jesus says that, in our disordered state of mind, we are not afraid of fear. He acknowledges that we don't like fear, but we are not seriously disturbed by our hostility or our desire to attack. Fear keeps us safe from God's Love and that is why we hold onto it. Our real fear is of His Love for it would end our dream of separation, and we are still attached to this dream.
 
The ego tells us not to look within because it tells us that we are the home of evil. "The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you, and bids you not to look." (T.13.IX.2) (ACIM OE T.13.III.18) Isn't this how we feel about ourselves? Don't we feel that there is something deeply wrong with us? We may not know exactly what, but there is a level of anxiety that keeps us awake at night. Yet Jesus says that the reason the ego tells us not to look there is that we will discover the truth about our reality and the reality is, we are only love. When we get too close to love, the ego comes in loudly with its raucous thoughts to keep us from the peace that is dangerous to its continued relevance in our lives. If we ignore the ego, it can become vicious, as our self-attacking thoughts create all kinds of problems or ailments to keep us from choosing truth.
 
Jesus assures us, "When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him." (T.13.X.8.4) (ACIM OE T.13.IV.27) This is the memory of the Christ Self that we have tried to obliterate. Why would we want to do this? We do it because if we embraced the truth of what we are, our identity as a separate self would be gone. We would know our Oneness with God and that is, understandably, very threatening to the individual self that we have so carefully constructed and defended. It includes the concepts, beliefs, and values we hold about ourselves and the roles we have assumed.
 
To undo the anger, hatred, and fear that we experience, great willingness is required to look at our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and concepts that we hold so we can bring them to the light. In order to know the Self that we are, we need to be willing to release every value we hold and lay it at the altar of the Holy Spirit. While we may feel threatened by loss of our individual self, we need not fear that we will be hurled into Heaven. It is a gentle process of undoing our fear-based thoughts until we come to see a world that reflects the beauty already in our minds. This is the experience of the real world where everything shines with holiness---not because the world is holy but because our minds have come to know their own holiness and innocence. The veil has been lifted, and we see the radiance our mistaken perceptions have kept hidden from us though it has been there all along.
 
We hide our true motives from ourselves and blame outside circumstances and conditions for the way we feel. Yet we are increasingly learning to see everyone and everything outside of ourselves as a mirror for the unhealed mind. Until we do, we deny our own fear, guilt, and anger, and instead, we choose to see it outside of our own minds. We project our own shadows that we have disowned, and now see them in others and judge them there. It is such a huge temptation to see the cause of our suffering and lack of peace as coming from people and events outside ourselves instead of coming from within our own minds. We do this because it allows us to proclaim that we are not responsible for our condition, but are instead at the mercy of the world. Yet what we see in the world is an outside picture of our own inward condition. When we recognize that all we see are our own thoughts projected onto the world we perceive, we can take responsibility for them. Taking responsibility for everything is the beginning of empowerment. It is good news because now we recognize the power within us to choose another way to perceive. If the world were actually the cause of how we feel, we would indeed be the victims of outside circumstances. If our minds were the cause and the world the effect, we would recognize the power within to choose to see everything in a new light.
 
Jesus says, "And they look out in sorrow from what is sad within, and see the sadness there." (T.20.III.4.7) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.19) Thus, when we believe in the reality of victims and victimizers, we feel sad at what we see, but it is all just a reflection of our own mind. In sympathizing with the pain in someone else, we are actually joining in that pain and thus making it real. True empathy is to remember who the other is as the Christ, Who can never suffer. It is apparent, when we start watching our mind, how quickly we judge and condemn or join in false empathy with what appears to be coming from the world. Our senses were made by the ego precisely for the purpose of reversing cause and effect in order to maintain victimhood and avoid responsibility for our lives.
 
The ego is focused on its preservation and its own self-interest. It is thus important for our healing to look at our thoughts and stay vigilant in bringing them to the Holy Spirit so they can be released. We are not forgiving what anyone has done. We are bringing awareness to our own misperceptions and looking at them, without judgment, from above the battleground.
 
Everything and everyone that shows up in our lives provides us another opportunity to forgive. This is how we go beyond our perceived lacks and limitations in order to recognize that not one of them is true. "Within me is eternal innocence, because it is God's Will that it be there forever and forever." (W.309.1.1) I have not lost it. Oh yes, I may have obscured it by my thoughts, self-concepts, needs, and feelings of lack and unworthiness, but I can never truly make another self. I have no ability to defile the truth of my eternal innocence. We think we made another will, but it is not true. While we can look within and see the hatred and ugliness of our thoughts, they do not reflect the truth of who we are. All we have succeeded in doing is convince ourselves that illusion is reality, but it is all just a smokescreen to cover over what is real and true about us.
 
Have you ever had the experience where you spent a great deal of your life hiding a deep, dark secret you wanted no one to know about? Then one day, you took the plunge and released this secret, only to find it no longer had any power over you? And in that release, you felt lighter and no longer constrained and imprisoned by your shame. Once brought to the light, it may even seem laughable that it felt so important to keep this secret hidden. Anything that we bring to light disappears. The power of the secret is now dissipated. It no longer holds us in its grip.
 
This is what we need to do with everything we keep in the dark secret places of our mind, but we need to go even further. We need to look at our specialness as well, including our pride and our arrogance and everything we hold as important about who we think we are. Our thoughts and beliefs keep us chained to this world of illusion. They have no power once they are turned over to the Holy Spirit. Jesus asks us, "Would you remain within your tiny kingdom, a sorry king, a bitter ruler of all that he surveys, who looks on nothing yet who would still die to defend it?" (T.18.VIII.7.5) (ACIM OE T.18.IX.77) Why would we want to defend and protect our tiny kingdom when we can open the doors and invite His healing light to shine away all we have kept hidden from ourselves? We have not lost our innocence. We just have kept it buried under layers of guilt, shame, and specialness.
 
We have many defenses that we believe protect us. Yet they keep us from being honest with ourselves. We claim that we would never attack if we were not provoked. We make excuses for our behavior, pretending that we meant well. We do everything we can to try to look innocent, yet the ego is anything but benign. Even when we pretend to be of service, when guided by the ego it is all self-serving. This is quite clearly explained by Jesus in talking about the special relationship where each of us is only interested in having our own needs met. Our needs always take precedence. Even when we put another's needs ahead of our own, it is only to create indebtedness. It is all about the bargain. If the bargain is kept, the relationship is seen to be good; but if our needs, as we perceive them, are not adequately met, we hold grievances.
 
"Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy; feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill first. And such is guilt’s attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself. " (T.24.IV.1) (ACIM OE T.24.V.34) Why we don’t trust others is that through projection, we see our own sin in them. While we are sometimes kind to others it is because we hope to receive something in return. It is a world of "one or the other," and we are always about protecting ourselves.
 
Our social constraints and sanctions, as well as rules of polite behavior, are what keep the ego under control. Without these constraints and without consequences of any kind, the ego would run rampant. This was apparent in a movie I watched recently called, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World . When people are threatened with the end of the world, some riot in the streets, others are looters, taking stuff they will never use, and others indulge in orgies with drugs and alcohol. There are verbal and physical attacks and no constraints of any kind on behavior. Fear is expressed in conversions and baptisms as well as accumulation of survival gear.
 
In the end, our fear of looking within is our fear of ourselves. We think these self-serving activities reflect our real intentions underneath our conditioned, "nice" egos. What we need to do is look at our intentions in an honest way, recognizing that there is nothing inherently nice about the ego. The ego cares only about itself, but we are not the ego. We are afraid to look honestly at our unadorned ego self and see its malice and its hatred, but defenses can only be held in place if we don’t look. The one that looks is the Self, above the battleground, recognizing that the character in the dream is not our true Self.
 
Jesus goes with us as we willingly shine the light onto these dark caverns in our mind. He shows us their unreality. Then we can laugh with him at the unreality of our sins. He reminds us that our Will is One with God, and there is nothing else. All else is a dream. We have taken on roles we play in the dream, and we interact with other characters, but none of them are real. They are all images on the screen. "Within me is eternal innocence, because it is God's Will that it be there forever and forever. I, His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this." (W.309.1.1-2)
 
Let's not fear our thoughts or continue to defend ourselves against the truth. This defense is actually our fear of a vengeful God. We fear His punishment for what the ego has led us to believe that we have done. It has convinced us that we have stolen our separate self at God's expense. Now we no longer experience the Oneness of Heaven, but instead, experience the duality of this world. We are now being called to go past our defenses so we can be shown the unreality of what we perceive. It does take courage and it does take willingness.  "The step I take today, my Father, is my sure release from idle dreams of sin." (W.309.2.1) We simply cannot and have not defiled our perfection! God can only create, as He is absolute perfection.
 
We may wonder if this requires us to go digging for all the unconscious stuff hidden from our awareness. How could we ever get to the bottom of it all? In the Aquarian Gospel, it is said that it is a gift not to have the burden of memories of the struggles having taken place over thousands of years of earthly embodiment. How weary we would become if we were to remember all the past deeds of many lifetimes and the guilt of it all. Yet this is totally unnecessary and not required for our healing. Our current lives offer us all the opportunities we need in amounts we can handle. We may feel that what we are dealing with in this lifetime is a heavy burden of the past, but what is offered is just another opportunity to release it as it comes up in our awareness so we can remember who we are. The world offers us a mirror through the events, people, and circumstances in our lives to see what is unhealed in our own minds and it is a perfect reflection of what is within the mind to be released.
 
"The step I take today, my Father, is my sure release from idle dreams of sin. Your altar stands serene and undefiled. It is the holy altar to my Self, and there I find my true Identity." (W.309.2.1-3)
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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