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

CHAPTER 30
The New Beginning

IX. Changeless Reality

89 Appearances deceive but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearances, you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.

90 The miracle is means to demonstrate that all appearances can change because they are appearances and cannot have the changelessness reality entails. The miracle attests salvation from appearances by showing they can change. Your brother has a changelessness in him beyond appearance and deception both. It is obscured by changing views of him which you perceive as his reality. The happy dream about him takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form because it can so easily be changed. This demonstrates that it was never real and could not stem from his reality. For that is changeless and has no effects which anything in Heaven or on earth could ever alter. But appearances are shown to be unreal because they change.

91 What is temptation but a wish to make illusions real? It does not seem to be the wish that no reality be so. Yet it is an assertion that some forms of idols have a powerful appeal which makes them harder to resist than those you would not want to have reality. Temptation, then, is nothing more than this—a prayer the miracle touch not some dreams but keep their unreality obscure and give to them reality instead. And Heaven gives no answer to the prayer, nor can a miracle be given you to heal appearances you do not like. You have established limits . What you ask is given you, but not of God Who knows no limits. You have limited yourself.

92 Reality is changeless. Miracles but show what you have interposed between reality and your awareness is unreal and does not interfere at all. The cost of the belief there must be some appearances beyond the hope of change is that the miracle cannot come forth from you consistently. For you have asked it be withheld from power to heal all dreams. There is no miracle you cannot have when you desire healing. But there is no miracle that can be given you unless you want it. Choose what you would heal, and He Who gives all miracles has not been given freedom to bestow His gifts upon God's Son. When he is tempted, he denies reality. And he becomes the willing slave of what he chose instead.

93 Because reality is changeless is a miracle already there to heal all things that change and offer them to you to see in happy form, devoid of fear. It will be given you to look upon your brother thus. But not while you would have it otherwise in some respects. For this but means you would not have him healed and whole. The Christ in him is perfect. Is it this that you would look upon? Then let there be no dreams about him which you would prefer to seeing this. And you will see the Christ in him because you let Him come to you. And when He has appeared to you, you will be certain you are like Him, for He is the changeless in your brother and in you.

94 This will you look upon when you decide there is not one appearance you would hold in place of what your brother really is. Let no temptation to prefer a dream allow uncertainty to enter here. Be not made guilty and afraid when you are tempted by a dream of what he is. But do not give it power to replace the changeless in him in your sight of him. There is no false appearance but will fade if you request a miracle instead. There is no pain from which he is not free if you would have him be but what he is. Why should you fear to see the Christ in him? You but behold your Self in what you see. As he is healed are you made free of guilt, for his appearance is your own to you.

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Part II
What is Creation?

1 Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts, in number infinite and everywhere without all limit. Only Love creates and only like Itself. There was no time when all that It created was not there. Nor will there be a time when anything that It created suffers any change. Forever and forever are God's Thoughts exactly as they were and as they are, unchanged through time and after time is done.

2 God's Thoughts are given all the power that Their own Creator has. For He would add to Love by its extension. Thus His Son shares in creation, and must therefore share in power to create. What God has willed to be forever one will still be one when time is over and will not be changed throughout the course of time, remaining as it was before the thought of time began.

3 Creation is the opposite of all illusions, for Creation is the truth. Creation is the holy Son of God, for in Creation is His Will complete in every aspect, making every part container of the whole. Its oneness is forever guaranteed inviolate, forever held within His holy Will beyond all possibility of harm, of separation, imperfection, and of any spot upon its sinlessness.

4 We are Creation---we the Sons of God. We seem to be discrete and unaware of our eternal unity with Him. Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears, there still is certainty. For Love remains with all Its Thoughts, Its sureness being theirs. God's memory is in our holy minds, which know their oneness and their unity with their Creator. Let our function be only to let this memory return, only to let God's Will be done on earth, only to be restored to sanity, and to be but as God created us.

5 Our Father calls to us. We hear His Voice, and we forgive creation in the name of its Creator, Holiness Itself, Whose holiness His own creation shares; Whose holiness is still a part of us.

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Lesson 324
I merely follow, for I would not lead.

1 Father, You are the One Who gave the plan for my salvation to me. You have set the way I am to go, the role to take, and every step in my appointed path. I cannot lose the way. I can but choose to wander off a while and then return. Your loving Voice will always call me back and guide my feet aright. My brothers all can follow in the way I lead them. Yet I merely follow in the way to You as You direct me and would have me go.

2 So let us follow One Who knows the way. We need not tarry, and we cannot stray except an instant from His loving hand. We walk together, for we follow Him. And it is He Who makes the ending sure and guarantees a safe returning home.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 324
I merely follow, for I would not lead.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
There is a beautiful paragraph in Lesson 135 that says, "What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life." (W.135.18.1-4)
 
When we "choose to wander off" (W.324.1.4) our appointed path, when we follow our dictates, and when we listen to the voice of the ego, we tarry and stray, yet we are assured that this is no cause for concern because we will return. "Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright." (W.324.1.5) We find many ways to delay, to follow our own will, to try to solve problems in our lives our way, to become involved in the events of the world based on what we believe needs to be done, to take sides in a debate whose purpose is to conquer, and to divert ourselves with distractions from the path. Thus, we wander off, sometimes for short intervals and sometimes for a long time, perhaps even lifetimes, yet we are told that we will be called back to this path of awakening and to the Christ Self.
 
Have you had that experience where you left your spiritual discipline for a time, and something called you to come back? I know it has happened to me where I seemed to be highly motivated and very committed and then had become involved in distractions and had fallen away from my daily practice. I invariably returned to the Lessons when my life started to feel very unsatisfying, or a major challenge showed up. My desire for help strengthened my commitment, dedication, and motivation to get back on the path.
 
At some point, we come to the realization that God is our only goal. Increasingly, we see that there is no reason for involvement in dramas that are going on around us. It is easy to get caught up in the world, yet increasingly we see that there is a better way. "In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can be no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible, and to ensure no answer will be plain. A problem set in conflict has no answer, for it is seen in different ways." (T.27.IV.1-3) (ACIM OE T.27.V.36)
 
Our way always brings pain. The longer we are with this teaching, the more irrelevant the distractions of the world become and the more miserable we feel when we stray from the path. Everything becomes stressful and difficult, and we feel victimized by events, forgetting that our mind is the cause of everything that seems to happen to us. Then, we look for those who will support our perspectives, and we get deeper and deeper into distress.
 
There are things to be done in the world, but it is important to understand that regardless what occupies our time and attention, our primary function here is the healing of our mind so that we can be a demonstration of His love in the world. Thus, we must accept Atonement for ourselves, so we can become a clear channel of God's love as we go about our busy doings. It is about following in the way appointed us because when we think that we know what to do by listening to the guidance of the ego, we contribute to the problem. We can be grateful there is Someone in our mind Who is in charge, and thus, we choose to take the second place to gain the first. As long as we want to be number one, we push God out and try to take charge ourselves; but we have seen that the ego only leads us further into pain.
 
Jesus tells us, the only way to heal is to be healed. "The miracle extends without your help, but you are needed that it can begin. Accept the miracle of healing, and it will go forth because of what it is. It is its nature to extend itself the instant it is born. And it is born the instant it is offered and received. No one can ask another to be healed. But he can let himself be healed, and thus offer the other what he has received." (T.27.V.1.2-7) (ACIM OE T.27.VI.44) That is our responsibility here---to do the healing so the miracle can extend through us. Healing in this world is always about surrendering our beliefs, our perspectives, our values, our fears, and our control and being willing to follow His guidance. When we come to see that all our interpretations are wrong, we willingly turn to the Holy Spirit to give us His interpretation.
 
"You may wonder how you can be at peace when, while you are in time, there is so much that must be done before the way to peace is open. Perhaps that seems impossible to you. But ask yourself if it is possible that God would have a plan for your salvation that does not work. Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill. As that was given you, so will its fulfillment be. God's guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency. It rests on you . And what can be more certain than a Son of God." (T.20.IV.8.1-12) (ACIM OE T.20.V.36)
 
This passage encourages us and motivates us to turn away from the ego and turn within to the truth. With that kind of promise and commitment from God through the Holy Spirit (the symbol of God's love placed in our right mind), why would we want to delay? Why would we want to go our own way? Where has it taken us? How much peace and joy have we found? Today is a day to recommit ourselves to our practice. Forgiveness is the way home. It is to watch our thoughts for any temptation to see ourselves as victimized. We remember that every gift we give, we only give to ourselves. As Lesson 297 says, "Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give I give myself. This is salvation's simple formula." (W.297.1.1-3) Accepting Atonement for ourselves is the way home. Anything else is truly a useless journey. "So let us follow One Who knows the way." (W.324.2.1) If we do, we cannot lose the way. And for this, we can be truly grateful that we don't need to walk this path alone.
 
You might want to practice this Lesson by looking at something in your day, perhaps a situation or a relationship where you have an agenda, or you have set expectations of how things should be for you to be happy. When you do, notice that you are following your own guidance. We can be grateful that we are not in charge because our way will never bring us the joy and happiness available to us when we follow His guidance. We resist guidance when we want to be in control, but there is no freedom in our sorry little kingdom. "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)
 
Jesus tells us, in Lesson 47, if we are trusting in our own strength, we have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious, and fearful. "What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on?" (W.47.1.2-3) As he says in the Manual for Teachers: "Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?" (M.4.I.2.2) (ACIM OE M.4.4) Why do we stubbornly hold onto our control when such power is within us? "What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?" (W.47.1.5) Clearly, with the ego as our guide, we cannot give this guarantee. All that is guaranteed is that we will experience fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. As Jesus says, we can't put our faith in our weakness and still feel safe. When we turn to God and ask within for what to do, where to go, what to say, or how to see a situation, then we can be confident that the Answer is always given to every seeming problem.
 
The truth is within. We have a Guide Who will lead us home when we turn to Him. This loving Voice in us will always call us back when we wander off. We are being called to come out of this dream; and we do so by joining in purpose with our brothers and sisters, recognizing we can extend the peace and kindness in us to everyone we meet so we can know that it is in us. Thus, we no longer walk alone, but we walk together with everyone, recognizing we are all the same. Everyone is innocent regardless of what it looks like in the world. Everyone carries the same spark. They may not be aware of it, and thus, they do not realize they have a choice. We can be an example of that choice.
 
Notice those times when you put yourself in charge today and commit to surrendering your will. Yes, we may get off the path occasionally, but we know the steps we need to take to get back so we can keep moving forward. When you feel strong resistance, ask for help instead of succumbing to it. He is always there and willing to help us with any problem. However, if we are not ready for that, Jesus says that we should not force ourselves when resistance is strong. At such times, the answer may be to just be gentle with ourselves and take a break. The encouraging thing is that Jesus is always gently and lovingly reminding us that we simply cannot lose the way. We can only wander off a while.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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