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

The New Beginning

I. Introduction

1 The new beginning now becomes the focus of the curriculum. The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone—your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgment to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear. They are not new to you, but they are more ideas than rules of thought to you as yet. So now we need to practice them awhile, until they are the rules by which you live. We seek to make them habits now, so you will have them ready for whatever need.

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II. Rules for Decision

2 Decisions are continuous. You do not always know when you are making them. But with a little practice with the ones you recognize, a set begins to form which sees you through the rest. It is not wise to let yourself become preoccupied with every step you take. The proper set, adopted consciously each time you wake, will put you well ahead. And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready. Do not fight yourself . But think about the kind of day you want and tell yourself there is a way in which this very day can happen just like that. Then try again to have the day you want.

1. 3 The outlook starts with this:

4 Today I will make no decision by myself.

5 This means that you are choosing not to be the judge of what to do. But it must also mean you will not judge the situations where you will be called upon to make response. For if you judge them, you have set the rules for how you should react to them. And then another answer cannot but produce confusion and uncertainty and fear.

6 This is your major problem now. You still make up your mind and then decide to ask what you should do. And what you hear may not resolve the problem as you saw it first. This leads to fear because it contradicts what you perceive, and so you feel attacked. And therefore angry. There are rules by which this will not happen. But it does occur at first, while you are learning how to hear.

2. 7 Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want, the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience and say,

8 If I make no decision by myself, This is the day that will be given me.

9 These two procedures, practiced well, will serve to let you be directed without fear, for opposition will not first arise and then become a problem in itself.

10 But there will still be times when you have judged already. Now the answer will provoke attack unless you quickly straighten out your mind to want an answer that will work. Be certain this has happened if you feel yourself unwilling to sit by and ask to have the answer given you. This means you have decided by yourself and cannot see the question . Now you need a quick restorative before you ask.

3. 11 Remember once again the day you want and recognize that something has occurred which is not part of it. Then realize that you have asked a question by yourself and must have set an answer in your terms. Then say,

12 I have no question. I forgot what to decide.

13 This cancels out the terms which you have set and lets the answer show you what the question must have really been.

14 Try to observe this rule without delay despite your opposition. For you have already gotten angry, and your fear of being answered in a different way from what your version of the question asks will gain momentum until you believe the day you want is one in which you get your answer to your question. And you will not get it, for it would destroy the day by robbing you of what you really want. This can be very hard to realize when once you have decided by yourself the rules which promise you a happy day. Yet this decision still can be undone by simple methods which you can accept.

4. 15 If you are so unwilling to receive you cannot even let your question go, you can begin to change your mind with this:

16 At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now.

17 This much is obvious and paves the way for the next easy step.

5. 18 Having decided that you do not like the way you feel, what could be easier than to continue with,

19 And so I hope I have been wrong.

20 This works against the sense of opposition and reminds you that help is not being thrust upon you but is something that you want and that you need, because you do not like the way you feel. This tiny opening will be enough to let you go ahead with just a few more steps you need to let yourself be helped.

21 Now you have reached the turning point, because it has occurred to you that you will gain if what you have decided is not so. Until this point is reached, you will believe your happiness depends on being right . But this much reason have you now attained—you would be better off if you were wrong .

6. 22 This tiny grain of wisdom will suffice to take you further. You are not coerced but merely hope to get a thing you want. And you can say in perfect honesty,

23 I want another way to look at this.

24 Now you have changed your mind about the day and have remembered what you really want. Its purpose has no longer been obscured by the insane belief you want it for the goal of being right when you are wrong. Thus is the readiness for asking brought to your awareness, for you cannot be in conflict when you ask for what you want and see that it is this for which you ask.

7. 25 This final step is but acknowledgment of lack of opposition to be helped. It is a statement of an open mind, not certain yet, but willing to be shown:

26 Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking?

27 Thus you now can ask a question that makes sense, and so the answer will make sense as well. Nor will you fight against it, for you see that it is you who will be helped by it.

28 It must be clear that it is easier to have a happy day if you prevent unhappiness from entering at all. But this takes practice in the rules which will protect you from the ravages of fear. When this has been achieved, the sorry dream of judgment has forever been undone. But meanwhile, you have need for practicing the rules for its undoing. Let us, then, consider once again the very first of the decisions which are offered here.

29 We said you can begin a happy day with the determination not to make decisions by yourself. This seems to be a real decision in itself. And yet, you cannot make decisions by yourself. The only question really is with what you choose to make them. That is really all. The first rule, then, is not coercion but a simple statement of a simple fact. You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God. And you ask help of Christ or anti-Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do.

30 Your day is not at random. It is set by what you choose to live it with and how the friend whose counsel you have sought perceives your happiness. You always ask advice before you can decide on anything. Let this be understood, and you can see there cannot be coercion here nor grounds for opposition that you may be free. There is no freedom from what must occur. And if you think there is, you must be wrong.

31 The second rule as well is but a fact. For you and your advisor must agree on what you want before it can occur. It is but this agreement which permits all things to happen. Nothing can be caused without some form of union, be it with a dream of judgment or the Voice for God. Decisions cause results because they are not made in isolation. They are made by you and your advisor for yourself and for the world as well. The day you want you offer to the world, for it will be what you have asked for and will reinforce the rule of your advisor in the world. Whose kingdom is the world for you today? What kind of day will you decide to have?

32 It needs but two who would have happiness this day to promise it to all the world. It needs but two to understand that they cannot decide alone to guarantee the joy they asked for will be wholly shared. For they have understood the basic law that makes decision powerful and gives it all effects that it will ever have. It needs but two. These two are joined before there can be a decision. Let this be the one reminder that you keep in mind, and you will have the day you want and give it to the world by having it yourself. Your judgment has been lifted from the world by your decision for a happy day. And as you have received, so must you give.

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AUDIO SECTION I and II Text CH 30, I-II mp3


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A Course in Miracles

Part II
What is the Last Judgment?

1 Christ's Second Coming gives the Son of God the gift to hear the Voice for God proclaim that what is false is false and what is true has never changed. And this the judgment is in which perception ends. At first you see a world which has accepted this as true, projected from a now corrected mind. And with this holy sight, perception gives a silent blessing and then disappears, its goal accomplished and its mission done.

2 The final judgment on the world contains no condemnation. For it sees the world as totally forgiven, without sin and wholly purposeless. Without a cause and now without a function in Christ's sight, it merely slips away to nothingness. There it was born, and there it ends as well. And all the figures in the dream in which the world began go with it. Bodies now are useless and will therefore fade away because the Son of God is limitless.

3 You who believed that God's Last Judgment would condemn the world to hell along with you, accept this holy truth: God's Judgment is the gift of the correction He bestowed on all your errors, freeing you from them and all effects they ever seemed to have. To fear God's saving grace is but to fear complete release from suffering, return to peace, security and happiness, and union with your own Identity.

4 God's Final Judgment is as merciful as every step in His appointed plan to bless His Son and call him to return to the eternal peace He shares with him. Be not afraid of love. For it alone can heal all sorrow, wipe away all tears, and gently waken from his dream of pain the Son whom God acknowledges as His. Be not afraid of this. Salvation asks you give it welcome. And the world awaits your glad acceptance, which will set it free.

5 This is God's Final Judgment: "You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator and completely changeless and forever pure. Therefore awaken and return to Me. I am your Father and you are My Son."

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 315
All gifts my brothers give belong to me.

1 Each day a thousand treasures come to me with every passing moment. I am blessed with gifts throughout the day, in value far beyond all things of which I can conceive. A brother smiles upon another, and my heart is gladdened. Someone speaks a word of gratitude or mercy, and my mind perceives this gift and takes it as its own. And everyone who finds the way to God becomes my savior, pointing out the way to me and giving me his certainty that what he learned is surely mine as well.

2 I thank You, Father, for the many gifts that come to me today and every day from every Son of God. My brothers are unlimited in all their gifts to me. Now may I offer them my thankfulness that gratitude to them may lead me on to my Creator and His memory.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 315
All gifts my brothers give belong to me.

 Sarah's Commentary:
There are many moments on this journey when I feel my heart overflowing with so much gratitude, I can hardly contain it as tears of joy spring forth. It is not always apparent what it is that has brought about this feeling. Sometimes it is just noticing a touching moment shared by two apparent strangers who smile at each other. Sometimes it is poignant sharing in our gatherings. Sometimes it is witnessing a kindness one person offers another described in a news story. Sometimes it comes when a grievance is lifted and a brother offers a blessing, or it comes with the joy of recognizing the healing of those who find their way to the truth of who they are. Recently, it was when I listened to my son recount an awakening experience and shared deeply about it from his heart. And it always brings happy tears to my eyes when I see a caregiver give my mother, who is 102, loving care and devoted service.
Today's Lesson gives us the answer as to why we experience joy when we witness the beautiful joining between people. It is because "my mind receives this gift and takes it as its own." (W.315.1.4) Our heart is gladdened, and our path is opened to find our way to God through gratitude to our brothers. There is so much to be grateful for when we take the time to notice. Often, we count our blessings in form. We are grateful for the material world, for abundance, for a job, and for recognition, yet in this Lesson 315, we are blessed when:
"A brother smiles upon another." (W.315.1.3)
"Someone speaks a word of gratitude or mercy." (W.315.1.4)
"Everyone who finds the way to God is my savior." (W.315.1.5)
"What he learned is surely mine as well." (W.315.1.5)
Don't the tender moments shared by others around you bring a smile to your heart? Don't we all share the joy of seeing someone experience a shift in perception that comes through a healing of some kind? Isn't it a joy to witness love when it is extended? Love truly unites us all and in that unity of love, which makes no exceptions, we are all given equally. Every miracle we witness opens the door to the extension of love, which is a gift to us all, as we are all One, and the One Mind receives the blessing.
At times, when we witness the gifts shared by others, we may feel a twinge of jealousy or we may long for the spiritual awakening that we witness in others. We may wonder about when our time will come. Why not me? Or when someone we have negative feelings about receives recognition or success, we may feel resentful. When we feel separation from our brothers, we don't recognize that all gifts are ours because they are received by the part of the mind that remembers that we are all One Self. What my brother receives is mine. To the ego, what one gains another loses. Yet according to this Lesson, we have so many gifts coming to us every day, "in value far beyond all things of which I can conceive." (W.315.1.2) If we are not feeling the joy and gratitude, we must have decided to block these gifts because they are there all the time.
When we are fully present, we experience the blessings that come to us in the holy instant. To experience the holy instant, we must let go of the past and clear the altar through forgiveness, so the blessings that are always there can be experienced. Issues we bring from the past, and concerns about the future, keep us bound to time, but the experience of a moment of joy brings us to the present. When we experience a block, the means are given to us to bring these dark thoughts and feelings to the Holy Spirit for healing.
Forgiveness requires that we take back our projections. Thus, we must look at the envy, jealousy, anger, hurt, and belief that we are losing out and allow our minds to be brought back to truth with the help of the Holy Spirit. Our special relationships provide us all kinds of opportunities for forgiveness. Through forgiveness, the Christ is revealed in our brothers and thus we come to know our own innocence. In this joining, we are dissolved in tears of joy and gratitude.
Love is all-inclusive. It extends to Itself in the eternal now. Therefore, we are always in the presence of God's gifts, even when we block them. Today, we are invited to be willing to recognize any barriers to love, take responsibility for them, and place them on the inner altar where truth resides. Here, they are released and we experience the miracle. Make way for love, for that is what you are!
It is a heart-opening experience to witness the healings wherever they are happening in the world! It is an encouraging thought that so many gifts are coming our way at every moment even when they are not explicitly directed toward us. The experience of joy that comes from seeing others extend their gifts really warms our heart. We have all experienced this differently and can claim all gifts given anywhere as our own.
Today is such a day to experience the blessings and allow our hearts to be gladdened by the many thousands of gifts being given brother to brother in this very moment and by the many awakenings, happening throughout the universe. It is not dependent on everything being peaceful around us. There is a beautiful illustration of peace that is not dependent on the world in the song on YouTube by Fiona Apple called Across the Universe .
Those who have found their way can point the way to us and offer us the certainty that we too will awaken to the truth of who we are. Today, we can make great gains by focusing on gratitude for the gifts constantly coming to us. It is a day to release any feelings of competition with our brothers that somehow we have been left out when one brother smiles on another or when a brother experiences a blessing. We are that brother. There is only One. The Last Judgment is waiting to deliver to us God's saving grace and mercy. Complete release from suffering is being offered. Let us take this step today to bring us closer to the truth of who we are. This is what God offers---complete release from our own errors.
Every Lesson practiced faithfully takes us out of fear so we can remember the truth of what we are. " No course whose purpose is to teach you to remember what you really are could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is. Love’s meaning is your own, and shared by God Himself. For what you are is what He is." (W.127.4.1-3)
Today, whether we offer the blessings, or our brothers give them, recognize that it does not matter because we are all One, and for that, we can be grateful. Even those events and circumstances that seem difficult, where we experience pain today, can be a reason for gratitude as we can choose to see them all as just another opportunity to look at where we are blocking the joy and peace within.
Love and blessings, Sarah


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