"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

II. The Illusion of an Enemy

13 An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known nor fought against to lose to truth's appeal. There is no battle which must be prepared, no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?

14 Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish, you set two choices to be made each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made that this might be obscured to you.

15 What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.

16 Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader's role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for and learned to think that this his purpose is . Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.

17 And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose, you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you, it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other, and you join with him, and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.

18 Before you answer, pause to think of this:

19 The answer that I give my brother is what I am asking for. And what I learn of him is what I learn about myself.

20 Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.

21 Because he is your equal in God's love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.

22 Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want and that were never true.

23 Forgive your brother all appearances, which are but ancient lessons that you taught yourself about the sinfulness in you . Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead, would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey's goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together , not alone. And in this choice is learning's outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.

24 An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want and needs the same as you . It takes perhaps a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purpose—that you both may learn you love each other with a brother's love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself.

25 Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.

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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 326
I am forever an effect of God.

1 Father, I was created in Your Mind, a holy Thought that never left its home. I am forever Your Effect, and You forever and forever are my Cause. As You created me, I have remained. Where You established me, I still abide, and all Your attributes abide in me because it is Your Will to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistinguishable. Let me know that I am an Effect of God, and so I have the power to create like You. And as it is in Heaven, so on earth. Your plan I follow here, and at the end I know that You will gather Your Effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love, where earth will disappear and separate thoughts unite in glory as the Son of God.

2 Let us today behold earth disappear, at first transformed, and then, forgiven, fade entirely into God's holy Will.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 326
I am forever an effect of God.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
This Lesson reminds us that we, as a holy Thought in God's Mind, have never left our holy home. We are forever His Effect. We are His Creation. "Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit." (W.PII.Q11.What is Creation?1.1) "As You created me I have remained." (W.326.1.3) We have all His characteristics. Nothing about what we are is unlike God except whatever we have conjured up in our own imagination that we think we are instead. The body and personality with which we identify are not what we are.
 
When we release our mistaken ideas about ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we experience a reflection of our true Self as created by God. It requires acceptance of the Correction (Atonement). Despite what we may think of ourselves, the truth is that there is nothing we can do or have done to change God's creation. In other words, we have not changed the truth about ourselves because we can't change what God created. It is very reassuring to know that we are still the pristine, pure, holy, and divine Sons of God. There is nothing we have done that has changed the truth no matter how we think we have screwed up or what mistakes we have made. We have not made ourselves into "something else." We need not hold onto guilt and self-punishment for what we believe we have done. We need only take responsibility for the error, but only for the Correction. Our innocence is here now.
 
We watched a beautiful movie called Sun Chaser , which illustrates how guilt from the past drove a young doctor to close his heart and take on a self-concept that reflected self-hate. His journey was about forgiving himself as he journeyed through his darkness. It required great honesty where he came to express his anger, which had been held contained in his persona that he reflected to the world.
 
Today’s Lesson is very much like Lesson 67, "Love created me like Itself" a statement of what we are that is described as "complete and accurate. This is why you are the light of the world." (W.67.1.1-2) Jesus says that this is why our reality and our nature is wholly unchanged and unchangeable. We are asked to release everything we have accepted about ourselves that blocks this truth. Everything that we have come to think we are is false. We are not what we call ourselves. We are not our bodies. We are not our thoughts. We are not our personalities, nor the concepts and beliefs we hold about ourselves. We cannot suffer and die. Our minds are simply preoccupied with false thoughts, beliefs, concepts, and images that we have chosen to believe.
 
In Chapter 7, in Section I, "The Last Step," (T.7.I) (ACIM OE T.7.I."Introduction") Jesus reminds us that we all see ourselves as outside of the Kingdom, so it is hard for us to imagine we have never left our home with God. How can we, as a Thought in the mind of God, ever leave our Source? It would mean that this thought would have to be released from God's Mind. We need the experience of the holy instant so we can have a glimpse of our wholeness. It is an instant of transcendence where we recognize that the ego is not who we are. You may want to check out Chapter 15.IV that speaks of practicing the holy instant where specific instructions are given us by Jesus on how we can be released from littleness.
 
Jesus reminds us that we are too afraid of God---too afraid of Love---so our awakening to reality is preceded by the happy dream. All our practice of the Lessons is to experience the miracle and thus to facilitate awakening from the dream. The miracle shifts our perception from fearful dreams to gentle dreams. With each experience, our motivation increases until, at the end, we can have the confidence and assurance that "You will gather Your effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love." (W.326.1.8). This is such a beautiful image of our homecoming after having wandered off from the tranquility of our home in God.
 
We are not these discrete and limited beings. We are One with God. "We seem to be discrete, and unaware of our eternal unity with Him." (W.PII.Q11.4.2) Yet we can become aware of what we are as we take the steps laid out for us. We have been given a step-by-step process to go past all our doubts and fears, moment by moment, to experience peace and joy and be restored to sanity. Certainty is of God. In this world, nothing is certain. Our notion of what love is can turn to anger and hate in an instant. The closest reflection of love in this world is forgiveness.
 
With each forgiving thought, we recognize that we are not separate. When we forgive, we recognize the innocence of our brother, and thus, we recognize our own. "Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love." (T.13.VI.I0.3-4) (ACIM OE T.12.VI.54) It is encouraging to know that love, innocence, and joy are already in us. As we extend them to our brothers, we know we have them in us to give. It is a decision to step back from our reactive inclination to attack and make a choice instead to forgive our misperceptions and turn to the Holy Spirit to ask for His interpretation in place of our own. This does take discipline of the mind. It means to have constant vigilance on behalf of God and the Kingdom and to step away from the ego mind, which counsels us against our own best interests.
 
Even the thought in my mind that someone has done something wrong and that they are guilty must be seen as an attack. Even the thought in my mind that something outside of me is the reason for how I am feeling needs correction. For example, we are currently renovating our bathroom. There are many decisions to be made such as determining which tiles to pick along with all the other decisions. I was starting to get frustrated and overwhelmed with the process and angry about having to take responsibility for all these decisions. I noticed how much I was making this a problem instead of an opportunity. I became aware of my thoughts and stepped back and asked the Holy Spirit to please make this easy for me. At the very next tile store, along came an angel, who beautifully guided us through the process, and all was made truly easy. Such events help me to recognize the constant presence of Help, always there. We just need to pay attention and follow the joy. We are not an effect of the ego. We truly are an effect of God. What that means is there need not be any anxiety or worry. We can rest in the knowledge that everything is unfolding perfectly for our highest good.
 
With each prayer, we make a personal appeal to our own decision-making minds to open to the experience of God's power, and that power is simply the power to extend love here on earth. How do we manifest this power? We extend love and blessings to everyone we meet---not by our own volition, but with the willingness and desire to know their innocence. We see that we are the same with every brother. We choose to see the innocence and beauty in everyone. We see the Christ, but that is not something that can be manufactured. We are often triggered by circumstances, people, and events in our lives, and we may react with anger, frustration, and judgment. Since this world is a classroom for healing, we have a choice to either act on those feelings that are triggered in us or become aware of our unhealed pain and ask for help. This is an opportunity to investigate the beliefs we hold that do not serve us. It is not to judge ourselves, but simply to notice.
 
Isn't it reassuring to know that we can't determine what we are? God is the Cause, and we are His effect. Nothing can change that. Nothing we have done makes any difference to the truth. The truth simply shines forth, waiting for us to acknowledge that this is so. "Cause and its effects are indistinguishable," (W.326.1.5) meaning we simply cannot be distinguished from our Source. We have all of God's attributes. We are divine beings with the power to create the same as His power to create. When I join with a brother or sister and connect at a deep level, experiencing the joy, peace, and compassion of true joining, I know that it is not Sarah’s personality, the dream figure, that can do anything. It is the truth of the Self, shining through this body and used by Spirit as a communication device. This requires me to surrender my way, my control, and my defenses. The connection between two souls is truly the power of divinity shining through the eyes. The awareness that sees through you is the same awareness that sees through my eyes.
 
In our experience on this earth, we can be clear mirrors, reflecting Heaven. "Your plan I follow here, and at the end I know that You will gather Your effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love, where earth will vanish, and all separate thoughts unite in glory as the Son of God." (W.326.1.8) While we seem to be here, we have just one function, which is forgiveness, until we come to true perception and the real world. In the end, there will be no more need to be in this earthly classroom any longer, and we will then disappear into God. "Let us today behold earth disappear, at first transformed, and then forgiven, fade entirely into God's holy Will." (W.326.2.1) In other words, when we come to the end of our journey here, our experience is transformed into the happy dream because our mind is now the clear reflection of God's Love. We are then lifted up to Heaven as God takes the Last Step. That is the case when our unhealed thoughts are all brought to truth. Now our worldly classroom is no longer needed.
 
Today, we ask our Father to help us to know that we can never leave Him. Let us use every opportunity to watch our thoughts and challenge them so we don't act on them when they come from anger, judgment, frustration, superiority, worry, and anxiety. We acknowledge and feel the pain of our experiences in the world, but we willingly give up the idea that trying to change or control anything will bring peace. All this does is cover over the unhealed pain that we are trying to distract ourselves from. Denying and repressing the pain, in the desire to be positive, will not help. It must be investigated so we can uncover the beliefs we are holding and give them over to the Holy Spirit for healing. It is all part of the mind training that brings us back to the Self we are.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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