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

4. What Are the Characteristics of God's Teachers?


18 The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God's teachers, this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust, no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means "giving away" in the sense of "giving up." To the teachers of God, it means "giving away" in order to keep. This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world's thinking. In the clearest way possible and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.

19 The teacher of God is generous out of self-interest. This does not refer, however, to the self the world speaks of. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.


20 Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown as yet but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes—nothing that did not serve to benefit the world as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.


21 The extent of the teacher of God's faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God's trust in the Word of God to set all things right—not some but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.

22 True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain it is joyous, and being confident, it is tolerant. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God's teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. It is to them that faithfulness in the true sense is always directed. Toward them it looks, seeking until it finds. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on that alone to which all faithfulness is due.


23 The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognized. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God's Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ's image be projected on him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.

24 How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.

25 You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God's teachers does not include those things which are the Son of God's inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God's teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is "true learning" in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.

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A Course in Miracles

Part II
What is A Miracle?

1 A miracle is a correction. It does not create nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. It undoes error, but does not attempt to go beyond perception nor exceed the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays within time's limits. Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love's awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it gives.

2 A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one. And thus it illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey because it fails entirely to understand its ways. A miracle inverts perception which was upside-down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest. Now is perception open to the truth. Now is forgiveness seen as justified.

3 Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love. Perception stands corrected in His sight, and what was meant to curse has come to bless. Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love. And each is laid before the Word of God upon the universal altar to Creator and creation, in the light of perfect purity and endless joy.

4 The miracle is taken first on faith because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand. Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus the miracle will justify your faith in it and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before—a world redeemed from what you thought you saw.

5 Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures came to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 342
I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.

1 I thank You, Father, for Your plan to save me from the hell I made. It is not real. And You have given me the means to prove its unreality to me. The key is in my hand, and I have reached the door beyond which lies the end of dreams. I stand before the gate of Heaven, wondering if I should enter in and be at home. Let me not wait again today. Let me forgive all things, and let creation be as You would have it be and as it is. Let me remember that I am Your Son, and opening the door at last, forget illusions in the blazing light of truth, as memory of You returns to me.

2 Brother, forgive me now. I come to you to take you home with me. And as we go, the world goes with us on the way to God.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 342
I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
For thus forgiveness will be given me.

 Sarah's Commentary:
This Lesson seems to capture the entire Course teaching. We live in a world that is not real. It is a dream that we have invested with meaning. Now we have been given "the means to prove its unreality," (W.342.1.3) but it is up to us. "The key is in my hand. . ." (W.342.1.4) It is up to me to withdraw the meaning I have given to the world. No one will do this for me. I can't ask Jesus to take away my fear, my pain, and my suffering. He calls us from outside the dream to come to where he is. I have to be the one to identify my judgments, take complete and total responsibility for them, recognize that I am the one choosing them, and be willing to release them. I have to be willing to release my investment in my story. I have to be willing to give up my attachments, my values, and my beliefs. I have to be willing to forgive. No one is coming to save me.
"Forgiveness is the key to happiness." (W.121) "And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them? Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at is the source of fear, and you are beginning to learn that fear is not real." (T.11.V.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.40) "Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen. Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light must dispel it." (T.11.V.2.8-9) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.41) Thus, healing is no different than a miracle, forgiveness, or Atonement. It is all about releasing guilt, and the way we do this is simply to look at everything that we have put in the way of the love that we are.
The interesting thing is that we are not seriously disturbed about being unhappy. Our desire is mostly to be right about the way we see things. We put a lot of value on our worldview and tenaciously hold onto it. To listen with an open mind and take in what Jesus tells us means that everything we think and believe is wrong. No wonder we have resistance! Jesus says it is really frightening for us to conceive of the fact that "I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself." (T.31.V.17.7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60) We are wrong about everything we believe, including who we think we are. This feels like an insult to our intelligence and threatens our sense of what we perceive as real.
We accept reality as we have determined it to be, and we argue for the correctness of our perception. We don't want to see ourselves as responsible for our condition. We prefer to see ourselves as a victim of circumstances over which we have no control. After all, we did not ask to be born...or did we? We justify our anger and frustration, pointing our finger at others. "If it weren't for them," we claim, "I would be happy." This is the reason that at a deeper level we want to suffer and want to be betrayed so we can make someone else responsible for our suffering. We prefer to suffer as long as we can assure ourselves that someone else is held responsible, and thus guilty, for our condition. It seems worth paying the price in suffering in order to be right and to secretly delight in their guilt.
We want to be right because then we don't have to look at the fact that we chose separation and specialness, which is the real cause of all our pain---the choice we made for the ego. We agreed to accept the myth that we stole our existence from God, and with the horror of that belief in our minds, we chose to escape into the body and the world. It is a place where the ego tells us that we can hide from God and escape His wrath. This is not a conscious thought, but deep down we feel that we have done something dreadfully wrong although we don't know what it is. At our core, we believe we are bad, but Jesus urges us to see that we are innocent and have done nothing wrong. This is all just a dream we are having. By showing us how and why we made it up, he invites us to see that it is not real; but we resist because for us to withdraw our belief in the ego is to withdraw our investment in our separate self and in the world. We hang on because we think there is still some value in the world.
To forgive is to let go of our wrong-minded thinking. It is to let go of the belief that something real is happening that is the cause of our pain. "Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred." (W.PII.Q1.What is Forgiveness?1.1) Yet this can only make sense if the world is illusory. To us, it seems as if real damage has been done, but Jesus assures us, nothing real has happened because it is just a dream. Now we are invited to look at everything that seems to happen to us as an opportunity to turn our judgments over to be transformed by the miracle. "It [the miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.Q13.What is a Miracle?1.3) The happiness that is already in us can only be known when we are willing to let go of our stories, which means letting go of being right about how we see things.
When someone says or does something that seems to take away my peace, I need to recognize that peace is a condition in me and that no one can take it away. Only I can choose to throw my peace away in the face of a challenging situation. Instead, I can turn to the Holy Spirit to help me withdraw blame from someone for taking my peace. The Holy Spirit reminds me of my brother’s innocence so I can know my own. This Lesson reminds us again that what we give, we receive.
I recently saw a movie about Nelson Mandela's life called, Long Walk to Freedom . It is such a beautiful example of forgiveness, love, and reconciliation in the face of dreadful circumstances. He spent 27 years in jail. As I watched the movie, I noticed how everyone played their part so perfectly to allow reconciliation and forgiveness to shine forth. Mandela's influence was based entirely on his example of grace and forgiveness. I thought of my day and the irritants that I made real. The movie reminded me of the message Jesus teaches us---that we are here to be a demonstration of the love we are. All attack is a call for forgiveness and peace. If we see attack in any other way, we are using it as a justification for anger. Jesus saw his crucifixion as a justification for forgiveness, as did Nelson Mandela. They are beautiful symbols for us of what is possible in our own lives. "Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all." (T.10.I.2.4) (ACIM OE T.9.VIII.65)
On our own, we do not know how to respond to any situation. When we think that we know, we are turning to the ego as our teacher. Jesus asks us to resign as our own teacher, acknowledge that we don't know, step back, and turn to the Holy Spirit in every situation. That is what he means when he asks us not to make decisions by ourselves. On our own, we will always be wrong. The ego speaks first, meaning our first thought about how to respond in any situation is ego-driven. When we ask to see another way, we make space for guidance. This simply requires us to be willing to let go of our way and be open to receiving a new perception. "Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with Him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you." (T.II.VI.3.7‑8) (ACIM OE T.10.VII.61) I find that for guidance to come I must take the time to step away from a difficult situation rather than reacting to it. When I take the time to be still and do nothing, the answer always comes; and the answer is always to let go of my way. An insight then comes to me that would not have been there if I had relied on my own thinking. Life is then lived in a state of inspiration, rather than trying to figure things out on my own. When I get out of the way by giving over my interpretations and judgments, the channels are cleared for His Love to come through.
Each time we are willing to recognize that all our sense of lack and deprivation is a choice we make in our own minds and is not caused by anything outside of our mind, we choose with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego, and thus, we experience more love in our lives. This is not dependent on the things going on in our external circumstances, as Nelson Mandela illustrated so beautifully. The good news is that if our own mind is the source of all our unhappiness, so too is it the source of all our happiness. It is all within our power to choose. We have both the thought system of the ego and the thought system of the Holy Spirit in us to choose between. The script is written and it is the script we chose. Now, in each situation and every decision we make in our script, we choose Heaven or hell. We choose to judge or to extend love.
"Let me forgive all things, and let creation be as You would have it be and as it is. Let me remember that I am Your Son, and opening the door at last, forget illusions in the blazing light of truth, as memory of You returns to me." (W.342.1.7-8)
Love and blessings, Sarah


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