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

CHAPTER 31
The Simplicity of Salvation

I. Introduction

1 How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now and never will be. The impossible has not occurred and can have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is false cannot be true, and what is true cannot be false? You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other and just what to do if you become confused. Why then do you persist in learning not such simple things?

2 There is a reason. But confuse it not with difficulty in the simple things salvation asks you learn. It teaches but the very obvious. It merely goes from one apparent lesson to the next in easy steps which lead you gently from one to another with no strain at all. This cannot be confusing, yet you are confused. For somehow you believe that what is totally confused is easier to learn and understand. What you have taught yourselves is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible. But you accomplished it because you wanted to and did not pause in diligence to judge it hard to learn, or too complex to grasp.

3 No one who understands what you have learned, how carefully you have learned it, and the pains to which you went to practice and repeat the lessons endlessly in every form you could conceive of them could ever doubt the power of your learning skill. There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by it and even now depends on nothing else. The lessons you have taught yourselves have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you, and even you are someone else.

4 Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy? Yet you have learned more than this. You have continued, taking every step, however difficult, without complaint until a world was built that suited you. And every lesson that makes up the world arises from the first accomplishment of learning—an enormity so great the Holy Spirit's Voice seems small and still before its magnitude. The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourselves the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you!

5 Learning is an ability you made and gave yourselves. It was not made to do the Will of God but to uphold a wish that It could be opposed, and that a will apart from It was yet more real than It. And this has learning sought to demonstrate, and you have learned what it was made to teach. Now does your ancient overlearning stand implacable before the Voice of truth and teach you that Its lessons are not true, too hard to learn, too difficult to see, and too opposed to what is really true. Yet you will learn them, for their learning is the only purpose for your learning skill the Holy Spirit sees in all the world. His simple lessons in forgiveness have a power mightier than yours because they call from God and from your Self to you.

6 Is this a little Voice, so small and still It cannot rise above the senseless noise of sounds which have no meaning? God willed not His Son forget Him. And the power of His Will is in the Voice that speaks for Him. Which lesson will you learn? What outcome is inevitable, sure as God, and far beyond all doubt and question? Can it be your little learning, strange in outcome and incredible in difficulty, will withstand the simple lessons being taught to you in every moment of each day, since time began and learning had been made?

7 The lessons to be learned are only two. Each has its outcome in a different world. And each world follows surely from its source. The certain outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety you can make that ever will succeed. There is no joy that you can seek for here and hope to find. Yet this is not the only outcome which your learning can produce. However much you may have overlearned your chosen task, the lesson which reflects the love of God is stronger still. And you will learn God's Son is innocent and see another world.

8 The outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft, eternal calling of each part of God's creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.

9 There is no living thing which does not share the universal will that it be whole and that you do not leave its call unheard. Without your answer is it left to die, as it is saved from death when you have heard its calling as the ancient call to life and understood that it is but your own. The Christ in you remembers God with all the certainty with which He knows His love. But only if His Son is innocent can He be Love. For God were fear indeed if he whom He created innocent could be a slave to guilt. God's perfect Son remembers his creation. But in guilt he has forgotten what he really is.

10 The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God's love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world! You do not understand Who calls to you beyond each form of hate, each call to war. Yet you will recognize Him as you give Him answer in the language that He calls. He will appear when you have answered Him, and you will know in Him that God is Love.

11 What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn and have an outcome that you do not want? It is the recognition that it is a state of mind unwanted that becomes the means whereby the choice is reassessed; another outcome seen to be preferred. You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. Hear not the call for this within yourself. But listen, rather, to the deeper call beyond it that appeals for peace and joy. And all the world will give you joy and peace. For as you hear, you answer. And behold! Your answer is the proof of what you learned. Its outcome is the world you look upon.

12 Let us be still an instant and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception which we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away. Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do we know him not. But you are free to learn of him and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live, as you are free because an ancient learning passed away and left a place for truth to be reborn.

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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 325
All things I think I see reflect ideas.

1 This is salvation's keynote: What I see reflects a process in my mind which starts with my idea of what I want. From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real, and guarded as one's own. From insane wishes comes an insane world. From judgment comes a world condemned. And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on and help his brothers walk ahead with him and find the way to Heaven and to God.

2 Our Father, Your Ideas reflect the truth, and mine apart from Yours but make up dreams. Let me behold what only Yours reflect, for Yours and Yours alone establish truth.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 325
All things I think I see reflect ideas.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
I remember being with a group of Course students one night and watching The Apprentice , featuring Donald Trump. Each of us had an opinion as to what we were seeing: we shared whether it hurt us to watch the one that was seemingly rejected, or if we identified with the winner, or if we relished in the special relationships, or if we made judgments about how it should have come out, or if we liked one and not the other, and on and on. In fact, there was no meaning in what was going on except for what each of us was giving it. As Lesson 1 says, "Nothing I see in this room means anything." (W.1) And Lesson 2 says, "I have given everything I see in this room all the meaning that it has for me." (W.2) Everything we are seeing is completely neutral. Our judgments and our projections give it all the meaning it has for us. You may notice your reaction as you watch a movie where some character is going to walk into a dangerous situation, and you want to yell at him not to go there as if the images on the screen could be changed by your injunctions.
 
In the same way, we think we have some kind of power over the images on the screen of this world. When we try to change the world instead of changing our thoughts about it, it is the same as trying to change the outcome of the movie on the screen instead of changing the film in the projector. Our mind project whatever we see in the world, and only by changing our mind can we let go of our ideas of how things should be.
 
You may remember that in Lesson 130 we read, "Perception is consistent. What you see reflects your thinking. And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see. Your values are determiners of this, for what you value you must want to see, believing what you see is really there. No one can see a world his mind has not accorded value. And no one can fail to look upon what he believes he wants." (W.130.1.1-6)
 
What we see with our eyes is not real. It all reflects a process that is just going on in our minds and projected out. As we make judgments and condemn, we see a world of condemnation. As we take responsibility for healing our thoughts and look through the "eyes" of forgiveness, we see a world of gentleness and loveliness. As our thoughts change, the meaning that we give to the world we see changes.
 
As Jesus reminds us, "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 outward 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.I.1)
 
Later, "The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning then the power to give it joy must lie within you." (T.21.IN.2.7-8) (ACIM OE T.21.I.2)
 
We hold the belief that what we perceive comes from without, but this is not the case. Mind is the cause and the world is the effect, not the other way around. Everything starts in our minds. We give our own meaning to forms in the world that are all neutral. It is my state of mind that I see reflected outward, hard as that is to conceive. The reason it is difficult is that our senses deceive us.
 
We read in the Manual for Teachers, "Where do all these differences come from? Certainly they seem to be in the world outside. Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold. It is the mind that interprets the eyes' messages and gives them 'meaning.' And this meaning does not exist in the world outside at all." (M.8.3.1‑5) Our interpretation gives meaning to everything we see. It all "starts with my idea of what I want." (W.325.1.1) Then the mind makes up an image of that desire, and this is projected outward and looked upon. Yet we still believe that we are at the mercy of people and events that seem to be the cause of our reactions. In other words, events outside seem to have control over our responses, but it all starts in our own mind. The good news is, this is where the power to see everything differently resides. If I perceive that someone says something unkind to me and seems to dismiss me, it is only because I want to be hurt. Their behavior has nothing to do with me. My interpretation is a choice I am making. I can choose instead to see their behavior as a call for love and understanding.
 
As an example, I was recently talking to a friend who was lamenting that she has no family in the immediate area and that her daughter does not want to move to be closer to her, which is her wish. She is depressed about the situation and said that she feels her daughter should take some responsibility to be more available to her mother and visit her more often. No matter how much she tries to control the people in her life, she appears to be pushing them away instead. Clearly, the beliefs and values she is holding are keeping her in hell. It is not what the family members are doing at all, but what she believes is necessary for her happiness.
 
The primary questions are, "What is it that you want? Do you still want to hold onto your special self, your values, your self-concepts, or do you want the Atonement? Do you want to continue this dream of suffering, or do you want to awaken to the truth of who you are? Do you want fear, or do you want love?" It is all about what motivates us. Another way to ask these questions is in a practical way that applies to our daily lives. "Do I want to hold onto my anger, or do I want peace and healing of my mind?" As my partner said to me yesterday, he was giving up "stunting" and "sulking" because he recognized he did not want to hurt himself as he had been doing. He had used these behaviors in the belief that others would recognize that they were the cause of his suffering, but now he could see he was the cause and was creating suffering in his own mind.
 
We have absolute power over how we respond to every circumstance. We are not the victims of forces outside of us. It can be a bit of a stretch for our mind to absorb that everything we experience is the effect of a decision for what we want. When we hold onto our insane desire to be separate, unique, special, condemning, attacking, and retaliating, we absolutely experience the results of those thoughts. Conflict, loss, lack, judgment, and competition all come from these insane thoughts. What this looks like is that we see in the world whatever is in our mind. We think that the world is punishing us, and we are at its mercy, when, in fact, the world is simply bringing us the results of everything we ask for. When we hold guilt in our mind, we ask for punishment. We expect recrimination, and we torture ourselves for what we believe we have done. The good news is that we can make another choice. We are not responsible for the error. Our responsibility is to choose the Correction. We can choose peace now. When we are willing to take responsibility for our mistakes and bring them to the healing light of the Holy Spirit, they are all washed away.
 
In Chapter 27, we are given another way to see our relationships that are the source of many of our difficulties, as we perceive them. Jesus tells us, "Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father Whom you see as offering both life and death to you." (T.27.VII.15.1-7) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.75-76)
 
"Brother, He gives but life. Yet what you see as gifts your brother offers represent the gifts you dream your Father gives to you. Let all your brother's gifts be seen in light of charity and kindness offered you. And let no pain disturb your dream of deep appreciation for his gifts to you." (T.27.VII.16.1-4) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.76)
 
Can you feel how much resistance there is to choosing to give up your judgments of a brother who is seemingly causing you difficulty? My mind is holding judgments of someone today, and I can see how I am building my case with all the "reasons" for the judgments. I am not saying the behaviors I see her exhibiting are not there, but only that it is up to me in how I interpret them and whether I choose to throw away my peace as a result. Seeing sin in my brother allows me to escape responsibility for the sin I believe is in me; but their sin is just a projection of the shadow in my own mind. Whatever I don't like in me, I will attract in some form in a brother who shows me what I am projecting. Whatever I hold as positive in my image of myself has a shadow. For example, if I see myself as honest, I will judge those who are dishonest. Instead of looking at my own shadow where I am being dishonest, I am tempted to judge it in my brother. When my concepts and what I judge as good and bad about myself are released, then space is made for the truth of who I am and who my brother is.
 
We resist giving up our way of seeing because we want to be right about the way we have set things up in this world. Yet only when we are willing to take responsibility for our judgments and put them on the altar within can space be made for the truth to rush in. Only when we release our desire to attack and to gain at our brother's expense can we experience the peace and joy that comes from our willingness to forgive. Giving up attack thoughts is the only way out of this insanity. Anything else simply perpetuates the cycle of sin, guilt, and fear. We want our brothers to be guilty so God's punishment, which we fear for ourselves, will fall on them instead of us. We are then choosing to be seen as helpless, innocent victims who always did our best. This is all an ego set up, which Jesus helps us to see as false.
 
If we really saw that projecting guilt onto others is how we keep ourselves in fear, would we not want these thoughts healed by the Holy Spirit so we can experience the peace behind our attack thoughts? When we want this more than anything, our motivation to give up dreams of attack and revenge is heightened. When we see that we are doing it to ourselves, we can wonder at the insanity of it all. If we recognized that all our suffering is something we have invited because of our own guilt and its consequences, would we not be very willing to give up the insanity? "What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want." (W.325.1.1)
 
Every situation we find distressing today provides us with another opportunity to look at our judgmental thoughts, at our need to be right, and at our need to feel superior in order to try to purchase our innocence at the expense of our brother's guilt. Choose to bring these thoughts to the light of truth.
 
We need to get honest about what we truly want. When we are clear that all we want is to know our own holiness, we will be highly motivated to release our judgments and ask to be shown how to see every brother through the eyes of Christ. In every situation, determine in advance what you want to come of it.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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