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

The Simplicity of Salvation

VIII. Choose Once Again

83 Temptation has one lesson it would teach in all its forms wherever it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty and bound by what it orders him to feel. It sets the limits on what he can do; its power is the only strength he has; his grasp cannot exceed its tiny reach. Would you be this if Christ appeared to you in all His glory, asking you but this:

84 Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviors of the world, or would remain in hell and hold your brothers there.

85 For He has come, and He is asking this.

86 How do you make the choice? How easily is this explained! You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto Him, and He has given you His strength instead.

87 Trials are but lessons which you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before, you now can make a better one and thus escape all pain which what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, "My brother, choose again." He would not leave one source of pain unhealed nor any image left to veil the truth. [He would remove all misery from you, whom God created altars unto joy.] He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your minds from everything that hides His face from you. His holiness is yours because He is the only power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self that God created as His only Son.

88 The images you make can not prevail against what God Himself would have you be. Be never fearful of temptation then, but see it as it is—another chance to choose again and let Christ's strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before. For what appears to hide the face of Christ is powerless before His majesty and disappears before His holy sight. The saviors of the world who see like Him are merely those who chose His strength instead of their own weakness, seen apart from Him. They will redeem the world, for they are joined in all the power of the Will of God. And what they will is only what He wills.

89 Learn then the happy habit of response to all temptation to perceive yourself as weak and miserable with these words:

90 I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.

91 Thus is Christ's strength invited to prevail, replacing all your weakness with the strength that comes from God and that can never fail. And thus are miracles as natural as fear and agony appeared to be before the choice for holiness was made. For in that choice are false distinctions gone, illusory alternatives laid by, and nothing left to interfere with truth.

92 You are as God created you, and so is every living thing you look upon, regardless of the images you see. What you behold as sickness and as pain, as weakness and as suffering and loss is but temptation to perceive yourself defenseless and in hell. Yield not to this, and you will see all pain in every form wherever it occurs but disappear as mists before the sun. A miracle has come to heal God's Son and close the door upon his dreams of weakness, opening the way to his salvation and release. Choose once again what you would have him be, remembering that every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is.

93 Deny me not the little gift I ask when in exchange I lay before your feet the peace of God and power to bring this peace to everyone who wanders in the world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. For it is given you to join with him, and through the Christ in you unveil his eyes and let him look upon the Christ in him. My brothers in salvation, do not fail to hear my voice and listen to my words. I ask for nothing but your own release. There is no place for hell within a world whose loveliness can yet be so intense and so inclusive it is but a step from there to Heaven. To your tired eyes I bring a vision of a different world, so new and clean and fresh you will forget the pain and sorrow that you saw before. Yet this a vision is which you must share with everyone you see, for otherwise you will behold it not. To give this gift is how to make it yours. And God ordained in loving kindness that it be for you.

94 Let us be glad that we can walk the world and find so many chances to perceive another situation where God's gift can once again be recognized as ours! And thus will all the vestiges of hell, the secret "sins," and hidden hates be gone. And all the loveliness which they concealed appear like lawns of Heaven to our sight to lift us high above the thorny roads we travelled on before the Christ appeared. Hear me, my brothers, hear and join with me. God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.

95 I thank You, Father, for these holy ones who are my brothers as they are Your Sons. My faith in them is Yours. I am as sure that they will come to me as You are sure of what they are and will forever be. They will accept the gift I offer them because You gave it me on their behalf. And as I would but do Your holy Will, so will they choose. And I give thanks for them. Salvation's song will echo through the world with every choice they make. For we are one in purpose, and the end of hell is near.

96 In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell and giving thanks to You.

97 And now we say "Amen." For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognizes You and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your Likeness does the Light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are One, and we are home, where You would have us be.

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A Course in Miracles

Part II
What is the Ego?

1 The ego is idolatry—the sign of limited and separated self, born in a body, doomed to suffer and to end its life in death. It is the will that sees the Will of God as enemy and takes a form in which It is denied. The ego is the "proof" that strength is weak and love is fearful, life is really death, and what opposes God alone is true.

2 The ego is insane. In fear it stands beyond the Everywhere, apart from All, in separation from the Infinite. In its insanity it thinks it has become a victor over God Himself, and in its terrible autonomy, it "sees" the Will of God has been destroyed. It dreams of punishment and trembles at the figures in its dreams, its enemies who seek to murder it before it can ensure its safety by attacking them.

3 The Son of God is egoless. What can he know of madness and the death of God when he abides in Him? What can he know of sorrow and of suffering when he lives in eternal joy? What can he know of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt, of hatred and attack when all there is surrounding him is everlasting peace, forever conflict-free and undisturbed in deepest silence and tranquillity?

4 To know Reality is not to see the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts, its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes, its plans for its salvation, and the cost belief in it entails. In suffering, the price for faith in it is so immense that crucifixion of the Son of God is offered daily at its darkened shrine and blood must flow before the altar where its sickly followers prepare for death.

5 Yet will one lily of forgiveness change the darkness into light, the altar to illusions to the shrine of Life Itself. And peace will be restored forever to the holy minds which God created as His Son, His dwelling-place, His joy, His love, completely His, completely one with Him.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 335
I choose to see my brother's sinlessness.

1 Forgiveness is a choice. I never see my brother as he is, for that is far beyond perception. What I see in him is merely what I wish to see because it stands for what I want to be the truth. It is to this alone that I respond, however much I seem to be impelled by outside happenings. I choose to see what I would look upon, and this I see and only this. My brother's sinlessness shows me that I would look upon my own. And I will see it, having chosen to behold my brother in its holy light.

2 What could restore Your memory to me except to see my brother's sinlessness? His holiness reminds me that he was created one with me and like myself. In him I find my Self, and in Your Son I find the memory of You as well.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 335
I choose to see my brother's sinlessness.

 Sarah's Commentary:
In the Introduction to Part II of the Workbook, we are encouraged to spend "time with Him each morning and at night, as long as makes us happy." (W.PII.IN.2.6) "We use as much as we will need for the result that we desire." (W.PII.IN.2.8) We apply the Lesson throughout the day as well as in morning and evening quiet times; and we apply the Lesson whenever we are tempted to judge anyone, become upset, or lose our peace. Thus, instead of sending the angry email, saying something we might regret, getting angry, getting revenge, arguing, trying to control a situation, or holding onto thoughts of distress, concern, or worry, we make the decision to step back from the ego and inquire more deeply as to what is really going on in our minds. What are we believing and valuing? Certainly, this takes discipline. The ego gets outraged, demanding action of some kind in the face of seeing itself as unfairly treated; yet we can choose to step back, which can be difficult for an untrained mind.
This Lesson is about the choice we can make in every moment to either judge or forgive. It is entirely up to us. No one will coerce us. However, Jesus urges us to forgive on behalf of our own happiness. Anything we put out there will always come back at us. This is the law of karma. What we give, we receive. The reality is that we never see our brother as he is. Whenever we choose to allow forgiveness to dominate, we feel redeemed, which is the only way we can know the Self we all share. This is the Christ Self, which is our only reality. We see in our brothers what is unhealed in our own mind. We see what it is we are holding against ourselves that we have denied in ourselves and projected onto our brothers. When we take responsibility for our projections, they can be forgiven. All concepts that we hold about ourselves are false and eventually need to be released. The only way we can be happy is by choosing Jesus as our guide to seeing in all situations. On our own, there is no certainty about anything, including what we really are.
Jesus tells us that our holy mind establishes everything that seems to happen to us. "Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it." (T.10.IN.2.7) (ACIM OE T.9.VIII.60) "Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God." (T.21.IN.2.1-2) (ACIM OE T.21.I.2) We hurt ourselves when we see our brothers as guilty, but we can choose to give our wrong perceptions to the Holy Spirit. Making that choice over and over again, without judging ourselves for our misperceptions, brings us to a place of joy and peace found in no other way.
What we see in our brother is what we attribute to ourselves. My mind is the projector, projecting onto other bodies the attributes I judge in myself. This is how we are able to see the unhealed parts of our own mind. When we are reluctant to accept responsibility for the guilt, then the opportunity for healing is dismissed. Instead of healing, we are choosing to see what we don't like about ourselves "out there" in others, but there is no "out there." Everything we see starts in our own mind.  "Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them." (T.26.VII.4.7) (ACIM OE T.26.VIII.48) When we think that punishment is coming to us from the world and other bodies, we are actually seeing the effects that originate in our own mind.
When fears arise in the mind, they provide a beautiful opportunity to look at the beliefs in the mind that create the effects in the world. When we are willing to own the guilt and fear in the mind, we are invited to inquire about the beliefs we are holding that support the fear. It is a time to look with curiosity and willingness to discover what is there in the hidden depths of our mind. When seen and forgiven, we experience our innocence. If fears arise again, it is just because we have not gone far enough back into the unconscious mind. Everything that seems to happen is just a portal into the divine. When we embrace it instead of resist and deny what is being revealed to us, we take a step in healing.
There are situations and events that seem to create havoc for us and bring up anger and grievances. While we give these events meaning, they are ultimately neutral. Our interpretations of these events and our emotional responses to them are what we need to take responsibility for if we are to accept healing of our mind. We assess situations and events as "good" or "bad" based on our values, concepts, beliefs, and judgments, and this is why perceptions differ among us. This is not about trying to be spiritual in the face of difficult challenges where strong reactions are triggered in us. It is not helpful to deny or repress what we are feeling. What is helpful is to inquire what the feelings are about and the beliefs that drive them. When we get honest about what shows up and are willing to admit that it all comes from within our own mind, the process of healing can start.
We only see in our brothers what it is we wish to see. We can never see our brothers as they are because their reality is beyond perception. Ultimately, when we see guilt in our brothers, it is just another opportunity to let ourselves off the hook for the same guilt. Guilt and attack are what maintains the separation. The guilt in our mind is projected onto our brothers in our wish to see in them our judgments of ourselves. This process reinforces separation. We want separation to be true so our independent self can be preserved. If we want to awaken to the truth of what we are, we must choose to heal the guilt that we project onto our brothers.
Yesterday, someone shared his perception of me and I felt hurt by what was said. However, I took a breath and chose to inquire into what I believed about myself that triggered me. Instead of defending myself and making a case as to why he was wrong, I was able to look more deeply at the source of my upset. There must be something in me that believes what he was saying about me in order to have a reaction. Clearly, it was a judgment I was a holding against myself. Because of my own self-judgment, what was said found a place to land in me. If I did not see any truth in what was being said, I would not have a reaction to it. When we are willing to step back from our defenses, we can learn a lot about our own hidden judgments and be grateful to our brother for bringing this to our attention.
Everyone is a mirror to us of our own inner condition. "You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there." (T.25.III.1.3) (ACIM OE T.25.IV.23) "When you want only love you will see nothing else." (T-12.VII.8.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.69)
The gift of forgiveness is the awakening of the memory within of our sinlessness. The Atonement Principle is the assurance that we cannot and have not changed ourselves into guilty sinners. Thus, forgiveness undoes the reality of sin, and we are offered the opportunity, through forgiveness, to receive the gifts the Holy Spirit holds out to us, rather than all the "gifts" of the ego, which only deliver more pain and suffering. Jesus wants us to recognize just how unhappy we are and to see that when we choose him as our teacher of forgiveness, more and more peace is experienced.
In any relationship, we have lots of opportunities daily to see our projections. I have expectations about the way I want things to be. The ego is always demanding, "I want it thus." I believe things have to be a certain way, and people have to meet my requirements and expectations for me to be happy. When it is not the way I want it, I hold grievances. Yet I have set it up this way in the first place by determining how things must be for me to be happy. I am responsible for the setup, and now, I am upset. What is being offered in every one of my relationships is the opportunity to look at what is in my mind. Now, I have a choice. "I choose to see what I would look upon, and this I see, and only this. My brother's sinlessness shows me that I would look upon my own. And I will see it, having chosen to behold my brother in its holy light." (W.335.1.5-7)
Unless and until we choose to release our false perceptions, we will suffer. It is obvious that our emotional response has nothing to do with what anyone did. I can know my response is wrong by recognizing that not everyone would respond the way I did under the same circumstances. I can decide to look at my unforgiving thoughts and take responsibility for them. Do I want to be right or happy? As Jesus says, "Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself, and but a part of someone else's dream. The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is. It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. Do you wish for dreams of healing, or for dreams of death? A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you." (T.28.II.4.1-5) (ACIM OE T.28.III.18-19)
If I want a change in my life experience, I have to realize that I am doing the dreaming. I have dreamed every situation I encounter. It has been presented to me for a purpose. Sometimes, the purpose is not very clear to me, especially while in the midst of a difficult situation. This is not about denying what our eyes see when we witness pain, attack, murder, and sickness, but it is an opportunity to deny the ego’s interpretation. It is up to us to choose the interpretation that we give to these events and to the people involved. "This world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream's alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream." (T.28.II.12.1-3) (ACIM OE T.28.III.27)
There is a tendency in all of us to deny responsibility for our attacks as a way to claim our innocence and see ourselves as victims of someone else’s attack. "If he had not said or done that, I would not be so frustrated with him." This is all about our preference to be seen as the innocent victim, rather than admitting responsibility for everything that seems to happen to us. We are indeed the dreamer of the dream. The good news is that we have the power within us to change the dream and no longer stay stuck in it. We can look at all of it from above the battleground, where we gain a new perspective.
"What could restore Your memory to me, except to see my brother's sinlessness? His holiness reminds me that he was created one with me, and like myself. In him I find my Self, and in Your Son I find the memory of You as well." (W.335.2.1-3) If we want to wake up to the truth of who we are, if we want enlightenment, and if we want to know the love we are, we must forgive our brother for our own guilt that we have projected onto him. To be enlightened is not an event in the future. It happens in each moment in which a grievance is released. It is here now when we choose to embrace forgiveness. It is always in the moment when a block to love is released and peace is experienced Now .
We are One Self. We need our brothers to show us all the unhealed places in our minds that block us from the truth of what we are. They are indeed our saviors. The only way we will remember the truth is through forgiveness. Our special relationships provide us with the perfect classroom for undoing the ego, and with willingness, we can be happy learners, regardless of what is being presented to us in any situation.
Love and blessings, Sarah


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