"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
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CHAPTER 31
The Simplicity of Salvation

III. The Self-Accused

26 Only the self-accused condemn. As you prepare to make a choice that will result in different outcomes, there is first one thing that must be overlearned. It must become a habit of response so typical of everything you do that it becomes your first response to all temptation and to every situation that occurs. Learn this and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize. You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours and therefore meriting a "just" attack.

27 Why should his sins be sins if you did not believe they could not be forgiven in you? Why are they real in him if you did not believe that they are your reality? And why do you attack them everywhere, except you hate yourself? Are you a sin? You answer "yes" whenever you attack, for by attack do you assert that you are guilty and must give as you deserve. And what can you deserve but what you are ? If you did not believe that you deserved attack, it never would occur to you to give attack to anyone at all. Why should you? What would be the gain to you? What could the outcome be that you would want ? And how could murder bring you benefit?

28 Sins are in bodies. They are not perceived in minds. They are not seen as purposes but actions. Bodies act, and minds do not. And therefore must the body be at fault for what it does. It is not seen to be a passive thing, obeying your commands and doing nothing of itself at all. If you are sin you are a body, for the mind acts not. And purpose must be in the body, not the mind. The body must act on its own and motivate itself. If you are sin, you lock the mind within the body, and you give its purpose to its prison-house, which acts instead of it. A jailer does not follow orders, but enforces orders on the prisoner.

29 Yet is the body prisoner and not the mind. The body thinks no thoughts. It has no power to learn, to pardon, nor enslave. It gives no orders that the mind need serve nor sets conditions that it must obey. It holds in prison but the willing mind that would abide in it. It sickens at the bidding of the mind that would become its prisoner. And it grows old and dies because that mind is sick within itself. Learning is all that causes change. And so the body, where no learning can occur, could never change unless the mind preferred the body change in its appearances to suit the purpose given by the mind. For it can learn, and there is all change made.

30 The mind that thinks it is a sin has but one purpose—that the body be the source of sin and keep it in the prison-house it chose and guard and hold itself at bay, a sleeping prisoner to the snarling dogs of hate and evil, sickness and attack, of pain and age, of grief and suffering. Here are the thoughts of sacrifice preserved, for here guilt rules and orders that the world be like itself—a place where nothing can find mercy or survive the ravages of fear except in murder and in death. For here are you made sin, and sin cannot abide the joyous and the free, for they are enemies which sin must kill. In death is sin preserved, and those who think that they are sin must die for what they think they are.

31 Let us be glad that you will see what you believe, and that it has been given you to change what you believe. The body will but follow. It can never lead you where you would not be. It does not guard your sleep nor interfere with your awakening. Release your body from imprisonment, and you will see no one as prisoner to what you have escaped. You will not want to hold in guilt your chosen enemies nor keep in chains to the illusion of a changing love the ones you think are friends.

32 The innocent release in gratitude for their release. And what they see upholds their freedom from imprisonment and death. Open your mind to change, and there will be no ancient penalty exacted from your brother or yourself. For God has said there is no sacrifice that can be asked; there is no sacrifice that can be made.

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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 329
I have already chosen what You will.

1 Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws, and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours. Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I. And this will never change. As You are One, so am I one with You. And this I chose in my creation, where my will became forever one with Yours. That choice was made for all eternity. It cannot change and be in opposition to itself. Father, my will is Yours. And I am safe, untroubled and serene in endless joy because it is Your Will that it be so.

2 Today we will accept our union with each other and our Source. We have no will apart from His, and all of us are one because His Will is shared by all of us. Through it we recognize that we are one. Through it we find our way at last to God.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 329
I have already chosen what You will.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
 
"Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws, and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours." (W.329.1.1) It seems we have accomplished the impossible, left our Source, separated from Love, and came into this world of illusion. We believe we have made a will separate from God’s and more powerful than His. This is the source of our guilt. We believe that we have gained our independent separate self at His expense. We believe that we have forever shattered our innocence and have made ourselves into what we believe that we are, a body living in a world of our own making where we can successfully hide from God. What happens to the guilt in our minds as a result of what we think we have done? We project it onto others, seeing them as the evil-doers, thus buying our false innocence at their expense. We think that in this way we get rid of the guilt in our minds, yet all we do is reinforce it.
 
The question is, what do you want to believe about yourself? If you believe you are guilty then you will justify your attack on your brother. His value is there for you to dispel some of the guilt in your own mind. We justify these attacks based on our perception that he has wronged us. "This is in accord with perception's fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law but this." (T.25.III.1.3-4) (ACIM OE T.25.IV.23)
 
We believe that we have a will that can defy God's Will, but this Lesson affirms that a separate will is an absolute impossibility no matter how it appears. It is just as impossible to make this world real as it is to make our nighttime dreams reality or to make a movie real by believing we are one of the characters on the screen. To us, what is going on in the world is important and real, and so we give it a lot of credence. The truth is, when we wake up, we can laugh at the silliness of our investment in this dream and the beliefs that accompany it. "Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I, and this will never change." (W.329.1.2-3)
 
It is reassuring to know that nothing we do can change the truth of what we are, where we are, and who we are. What we are is unchangeable. We can't separate from Love, no matter how much we get lost in the dream. It is impossible to destroy our Oneness with God. We can only be unaware of this Oneness. "You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects." (T.28.II.6.5) (ACIM OE T.28.III.21) The cause of the dream we think we are living is the projection of the thoughts in our own minds, not unlike our nighttime dreams that emanate from our minds.
 
In our creation, we made a vow to be forever one with our Father and extend love as He does. "And this I chose in my creation, where my will became forever one with Yours. That choice was made for all eternity. It cannot change, and be in opposition to itself." (W.329.1.5-7) Yes, time can intrude on eternity and seems to have done so, but it is simply a construct in our minds. We read, in " The Secret Vows," "In his creation did his Father say, 'You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.' His Son remembers not that he replied 'I will,' though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified." (T.28.VI.4-8) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.59) The truth is that we made a promise to God to be as perfect as Him and to never be apart, and that promise is still in effect because we are still the perfect creation of God.
 
Thus, as the Lesson says, "I have already chosen what You Will," (W.329) and yet we remember not that we replied, "I will." We also made a secret agreement with our brother's secret wish to be apart from us, as we would be apart from him. (T.28.VI.5.2) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) "Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, 'there is no gap between my mind and yours' has kept God's promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death." (T.28.VI.5.3-4) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) With this declaration, our vow to keep the separation going with our brothers has no effect. Now we are ready to remember what has already been chosen in our creation. We do it by choosing to do God's Will in accepting "our union with each other and our Source." (W.329.2.1). We do so each time we join with a brother, each time we offer forgiveness, and each time we follow guidance and surrender our will and our way.
 
Isn't it reassuring to be told that no matter what we perceive in this dream, we are constantly and eternally "safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so." (W.329.1.9) While we may believe in the turmoil of this world, in sickness, in guilt, in problems, and in reality, nothing real is happening. It is just a dream from which we are awakening, only to find ourselves safe at home in His loving arms. This is not an event in the future, but one we can experience in any moment when we choose forgiveness instead of attack. Thus unhappiness, sickness, fantasies, ambitions, stress, addictions, and concerns are only in our imagination, serious as they seem to be in the illusion. "This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light." (T.25.III.7.8-9) (ACIM OE T.25.IV.29)
 
We can rise above this battleground and be the witness of this play that is acted out on the stage of our lives. From the place of the witness, we see that we are the dreamer of this dream and not the figure in the dream. We don't need to get caught up in the drama, but we need to step back from it. Of course, without mind training, we do get caught up in the dream and start listening to what the ego has to say about it. We are now learning to ignore the voice of the ego. We can't undo the ego thought system without help from outside the dream, and that is why we need the Holy Spirit Who is always available in our right mind. We just need to turn to Him.
 
Peace and joy are not dependent on anything happening in our lives. Why not choose happiness now? Why make it dependent on anything? If I am happy based on how things should be, then I put off the happiness available to me in each moment. The ego sees happiness as something in the future. "I will be happy when . . . " Or, "I could be happy if . . . " This is simply the wrong-minded game of the ego to keep us from happiness now . The ego puts happiness outside ourselves and is not threatened as long as we keep seeking for it and never find it. Thus, it stays in control.
 
We can rest in God, knowing that the truth in us is inviolate. Why not just give up the conflict with everyone in our lives in recognition of our sameness, our one Will, and our one Source? As long as we are still playing out the ego drama as if it were real, we keep God at bay. To know God is to join with our brothers and forgive them for what they have not done. Through forgiveness, our interpretations of what we deem as "good" and "bad" are released. Now, all we see are neutral events with no basis in reality. We give these neutral facts meaning based on our interpretations. When we have difficulties or power struggles with anyone, we are called to look at the shadow within where we attack and condemn ourselves. This shadow is projected onto our brothers. We prefer to see the guilt in them rather than in ourselves. When we take responsibility for our own self-attacks, we can heal the shadow that is in the unconscious mind. We can be grateful to our brothers who trigger us and reflect for us where healing is needed in our own mind. It does not mean we need to engage with the people that trigger us, only that we must recognize they perfectly mirror something we need to see within our own mind, where healing can now become available to us.
 
How much do we want this? How willing are we to choose His Will instead of our own? How stubbornly are we determined to have it our way? How determined are we to continue to hurt ourselves in the belief that somewhere, somehow, and through our own resources we can find happiness in this world if we try hard enough; but it will never work. Our happiness is in accepting our true will, which is One with God. We will continue to suffer until we release our stubborn insistence on how things should be or should not be. We are called to surrender to His Will and give up control over our own lives.
 
We need not act on everything we feel. We do not need to press the send button when we are tempted to write a retaliatory email. We can step back from the desire to attack and defend and reflect on what is His Will for us in this moment. In every difficult situation, we can ask for help to see the situation through His eyes. He constantly reminds us of the innocence of our brother as well as our own.
 
"There is no question but one you should ever ask of yourself;---'Do I want to know my Father's Will for me?'" (T.8.VI.8.1) (ACIM OE T.8.VI.49)
 
"Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again." (W.197.5.3)
 
I look at this Lesson as an opportunity to become aware of how I invest in my thoughts, how I hold onto grievances, how I obsess about problems in my life, how much I see myself as the victim of events, how I see myself as unfairly treated, how willing I am to attack my brothers, and how much I am invested in my wishes and desires for what I think will make me happy. If we really are sincere in our desire to wake up to what we are, then we must do the work involved in the forgiveness process. Our part is to bring our self-attacking thoughts, and the beliefs we hold, to awareness and then leave the rest to the Holy Spirit, Who makes the shift for us. When all the blocks to love are healed through desire, readiness, and willingness, we no longer see any separation from a brother. We are One Self.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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