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

The Awakening

VIII. The Lingering Illusion

43 Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth and not to seek for it outside yourself.

44 No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him, this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not. This is the purpose he bestows upon the body—that it seek for what he lacks and give him what would make himself complete. And thus he wanders aimlessly about in search of something that he cannot find, believing that he is what he is not.

45 The lingering illusion will impel him to seek out a thousand idols and to seek beyond them for a thousand more. And each will fail him, all excepting one; for he will die and does not understand the idol that he seeks is but his death. Its form appears to be outside himself. Yet does he seek to kill God's Son within and prove that he is victor over him. This is the purpose every idol has, for this the role that is assigned to it, and this the role that cannot be fulfilled.

46 Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body's betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack, and lack is death. To sacrifice is to give up and thus to be without and to have suffered loss. And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation and prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.

47 Idols must fall because they have no life, and what is lifeless is a sign of death. You came to die, and what would you expect but to perceive the signs of death you seek? No sadness and no suffering proclaims a message other than an idol found that represents a parody of life which in its lifelessness is really death, conceived as real and given living form. Yet each must fail and crumble and decay because a form of death cannot be life, and what is sacrificed cannot be whole.

48 All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself. Let us forget the purpose of the world the past has given it. For otherwise, the future will be like the past and but a series of depressing dreams in which all idols fail you one by one, and you see death and disappointment everywhere.

49 To change all this and open up a road of hope and of release in what appeared to be an endless circle of despair, you need but to decide you do not know the purpose of the world. You give it goals it does not have, and thus do you decide what it is for. You try to see in it a place of idols found outside yourself, with power to make complete what is within by splitting what you are between the two. You choose your dreams, for they are what you wish, perceived as if it had been given you. Your idols do what you would have them do and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream because you want their power as your own.

50 Yet where are dreams but in a mind asleep? And can a dream succeed in making real the pictures it projects outside itself? Save time, my brothers; learn what time is for . And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy minds are altars unto God, and where He is, no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol which you must protect against the light of truth. And all the world becomes the means by which this idol can be saved. Salvation thus appears to threaten life and offer death.

51 It is not so. Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists. The sacrifice of death is nothing lost. An idol cannot take the place of God. Let Him remind you of His love for you, and do not seek to drown His Voice in chants of deep despair to idols of yourself. Seek not outside your Father for your hope. For hope of happiness is not despair.

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A Course in Miracles

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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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 310
In fearlessness and love I spend today.

1 This day, my Father, would I spend with You, as You have chosen all my days should be. And what I will experience is not of time at all. The joy that comes to me is not of days nor hours, for it comes from Heaven to Your Son. This day will be Your sweet reminder to remember You, Your gracious calling to Your holy Son, the sign Your grace has come to me, and that it is Your Will that I be free today.

2 We spend this day together, you and I. And all the world joins with us in our song of thankfulness and joy to Him Who gave salvation to us, and Who set us free. We are restored to peace and holiness. There is no room in us for fear today, for we have welcomed love into our hearts.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 310
In fearlessness and love I spend today.

 Sarah's Commentary:
Again, we can look back to the Section in Chapter 21, "The Fear to Look Within," (T.21.IV) (ACIM OE T.21.V) where Jesus talks about how the ego depends on sin and guilt. We seem to get a certain comfort in regard to the idea of our imperfection. From a Christian perspective, it is imperative that people declare that they are sinners. In fact, in traditional Christianity, this must be affirmed if we are to be released from sin. The ego is comfortable with this idea. To the ego, the "enemy" is our innocence. According to Jesus, the question that makes the ego tremble is: "What if you looked within and saw no sin?" (T.21.IV.3.1) (ACIM OE T.21.V.43) The ego trembles at this question because it is a threat to its continuation. Love casts out fear and the ego is the symbol of fear.
In our journey with the Course, we have started the process of looking at our insanity and recognizing its madness. We have accepted the Holy Spirit's purpose in the part of the mind where reason lies. Resistance still comes up, which is why we sometimes withdraw from our practice, stop meditating, or even give up on the Course for a while because of our fear and the defenses we put up to maintain our separate self.
In the Section in Chapter 14, "The Reflection of Holiness," (T.14.IX) (T.14.V) Jesus says,  "The making of time to take the place of timelessness lay in the decision to be not as you are." (T.14.IX.1.7) (ACIM OE T.14.V.38) In that decision, truth was in the past and "the present was dedicated to illusion." (T.14.IX.1.8) (ACIM OE T. 14.V.38) Of course, it is not the past that we think of and remember but a past that always was. What always was, and is, is the reality of our existence as eternal beings. This is what we have denied. Our part is to bring illusions to the truth where they "disappear in light." (T.14.IX.2.4) (ACIM OE T. 14.V.39) The Holy Spirit does not attack anything we have made in this dream. "It merely vanishes because it is not true." (T.14.IX.2.5) (ACIM OE T.14.V.39)
Thus, it is a gentle undoing of what never was. "The Atonement is so gentle you need but whisper to it, and all its power will rush to your assistance and support." (T.14.IX.3.2) (ACIM OE T.14.V.40) All our pain, sense of loss, and fear of death are replaced with joy. How could we not want that? Our part is simply to bring our problems to His healing light, which is in you and has never left you. "In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the Holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here." (T.14.IX.5.1-2) (ACIM OE T.14.V.42) This is what it is to spend a day in fearlessness and love. It is to stay vigilant with regard to fear thoughts and thoughts of anger and attack and quickly do a restorative, taking responsibility for our thoughts and laying them at the feet of truth.
As we take this journey, we become more and more aware of the subtle ways the ego shows up. Today, as we were driving, I noticed how Don tends to slow down for green lights in case they turn yellow. I found myself irritated at the cautious way he was driving and became curious at what the irritation was about. After all, his way of driving was to keep us both safe, which should bring forth appreciation in me rather than judgment and irritation. In inquiring on what the irritation was about, I realized I had a judgment on myself for being cautious. I am a cautious skier. I stand back in social relationships. I am cautious with money and many areas in my life where I am overly careful. I am attracted to those who are brash, risk-taking, and courageous. As I saw my own self-judgment projected out, I had a glimpse of what this irritation was about. It has nothing to do with my brother. Our part is always to take responsibility for our judgments and to bring our own self-attacks to holiness. There it will be shined away. Thus, we must remain vigilant in how we mostly spend our days with the ego rather than in fearlessness and holiness.
We have kept hidden the power and glory God gave us by covering it over with the ego's darkness. Then, we stored this darkness away behind dark doors, and we placed guards at the doors---the sentinels of darkness. "The sentinels of darkness watch over it carefully, and you who made these guardians of illusion out of nothing are now afraid of them." (T.14.VI.2.5) (ACIM OE T.14.III.17) These sentinels reflect our own determination to guard those doors at all costs. These sentinels are our defenses. In the above example, the ego would prefer to criticize my brother for his driving rather than look within. The sentinels only have the power we give them to do what we direct them to do. What we can choose to do is dismiss the sentinels, open the doors, allow the darkness to be seen, and bring it to the Holy Spirit's light. This is very much in keeping with the Lesson yesterday, "I will not fear to look within today." (W.309)
The ego cannot bear to look on the light. It senses there is something greater that threatens its existence. "What if you looked within and saw no sin? This 'fearful' question is one the ego never asks. And you who ask it now are threatening the ego's whole defensive system too seriously for it to bother to pretend it is your friend." (T.21.IV.3.1-3) (ACIM OE T.21.V.43) We need to be aware how resistance shows up in all kinds of ways. For example, we may seriously start to question the teaching. We may start to feel a lot of fear. We may get sick, as a defense against the truth, or may have any number of symptoms of resistance. The more light that shines forth, the more the darkness can be seen. This can seem threatening but, in fact, reflects readiness to expose deeper layers for healing.
"What if I am innocent?" "What if I am sinless and guiltless?" "What if there is nothing to atone for?" "Who is the 'you' who believes in guilt?" The ego is terrified of this questioning. It wants to get back to questioning the trivial things of the world. "What if I could do this better?" "What if I could accomplish more in the world?" "Can I get a better illusion?" "How can I solve this problem?" "How can I manifest more money?" That is the kind of questioning the ego can stand because it wants to keep us distracted with the issues, problems, and perceived pleasures of this world. As long as we keep focused on the world, we will not threaten the ego identity and will seem to stay safe within the confines of its maxim, "Seek but do not find." (T.16.V.6.5) (ACIM OE T.16.VI.48) To find the truth of our eternal and holy reality is to undo the ego identity.
"Your liberation still is only partial; still limited and incomplete, yet born within you. Not wholly mad, you have been willing to look on much of your insanity and recognize its madness. Your faith is moving inward, past insanity and on to reason. And what your reason tells you now the ego would not hear. The Holy Spirit's purpose was accepted by the part of your mind the ego knows not of. No more did you. And yet this part, with which you now identify, is not afraid to look upon itself. It knows no sin. How, otherwise, could it have been willing to see the Holy Spirit's purpose as its own?" (T.21. IV.4.1) (ACIM OE T.21.V.44)
Jesus urges, "Little child, innocent of sin, follow in gladness the way to certainty." (T.21.IV.8.3) (ACIM OE T.21.V.48) The way to certainty is within. Certainty is already in our right mind where truth resides. We have, for a long time, achingly longed for the sweet music of the forgotten song--- "the song it longed to hear since first the ego came into your mind." (T.21.IV.7.2) (ACIM OE T.21.V.47) Yet what we listen to instead is the terrorizing voice of the ego. All our concerns, plans, and fears keep us in this state all the while "The song of freedom, which sings the praises of another world, brings to it hope of peace." (T.21.IV.7.4) (ACIM OE T.21.V.47) The ego's rule has kept this song from our awareness.
Now, as we open to the truth more and more, layers of programming and self-delusion are being revealed. Much is revealed through our relationships as we take back our projections and become aware of the judgments and anger that we have toward others when we become willing to look at our reactions without judgment. We sometimes withhold forgiveness when we think it will not be accepted. Yet it is never the other person we are forgiving. What we are doing is recognizing our own projections. It is always our own interpretations that need to be healed. We forgive our brother for what he has not done. This is only understandable within the context of the illusion. Nothing has happened in reality. Yet in the dream, we experience adversity of all types. When the adversity is used for the purpose of healing, it is always helpful.
While we are told that we can choose salvation now, we think it is something that may happen in the future. Why not give up what we are defending---now? Why not let our grievances go---now? Allow your most often used defense mechanism to be seen and you will find a whole lot of related defenses go with it. When I get hurt, I pretend not to care and with that pretense comes a shutting down of pain that seems to keep me safe. It has always seemed safer to me than to expose my hurt. Yet as I have become more honest, express more, and share my vulnerability, I am completely safe. Our strength is in our vulnerability. There is nothing to protect except the image of who we think we are. As the image is exposed more and more and the layers of programming and self‑delusion are seen, space is made for the love we are.
Now we end the Section on " What is the Second Coming? " (W.PII.Q9) and Jesus keeps reminding us of the sweetness there is in remembering who we are. Truth frees us from the chains that bind us to the guilt and sin on which the ego thrives. It welcomes the love into our hearts. It is a day in which we can truly rejoice in the truth of our creation by spending it with our Creator! "In fearlessness and love I spend today." (W.310) Lesson 244 reminds us that we are safe wherever we may be, for He is with us always. His Love and our safety are One. There is no need for fear nor doubt. We simply cannot be endangered or experience unhappiness when we belong to Him and are forever beloved. "No storms can come into the hallowed haven of our home. In God we are secure." (W.244.2.2)
When we welcome love into our hearts, there is no room for fear. Both cannot coexist. "This day will be Your sweet reminder to remember You." (W.310.1.4) It is a day of gratitude. Jesus is with us as we spend this day together. We are never alone. "And all of the world joins with us in our song of thankfulness and joy to Him Who gave salvation to us, and Who set us free. We are restored to peace and holiness. There is no room in us for fear today, for we have welcomed love into our hearts." (W.310.2.2-4) We can have this kind of day every day. It is not dependent on the circumstances of our lives or what is happening in our day. When our goal is God, then everything that happens in our day assists us to undo that which is not the truth.
In whatever form our fear comes, whether worry, anxiety, apprehension, or distress of any kind, we can be set free because it is God's Will. We pray the prayer in this Lesson with devotion and sincerity, reminding ourselves that joy is not about the events of the day, but comes from Heaven and helps us bypass all obstacles. Jesus joins us in thankfulness to God for this day. We are grateful to spend the day with Jesus as our teacher, who shows us how to look at the events of this world as a way to get back to our mind, so we can make another choice.
We devote this day to learning the lessons of forgiveness. "And all the world joins with us in our song of thankfulness and joy to Him Who gave salvation to us, and Who set us free." (W.310.2.2)
Love and blessings, Sarah


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