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

11. How is Peace Possible in This World?

1 This is a question everyone must ask. Certainly peace seems to be impossible. Yet the Word of God promises other things that seem impossible, as well as this. His Word has promised peace. It has also promised that there is no death, that resurrection must occur, and that rebirth is man's inheritance. The world you see cannot be the world God loves, and yet His Word assures us that He loves the world. God's Word has promised us that peace is possible here, and what He promises can hardly be impossible. But it is true that the world must be looked at differently if His promises are to be accepted. What the world is, is but a fact. You cannot choose what this should be. But you can choose how you would see it. Indeed, you must choose this.

2 Again we come to the question of judgment. This time, ask yourself whether your judgment or the Word of God is more likely to be true. For they say different things about the world, and things so opposite that it is pointless to try to reconcile them. God offers the world salvation; your judgment would condemn it. God says there is no death; your judgment sees but death as the inevitable end of life. God's Word assures you that He loves the world; your judgment says it is unlovable. Who is right? For one of you is wrong. It must be so.

3 The text explains that the Holy Spirit is the Answer to all problems you have made. These problems are not real, but that is meaningless to those who believe in them. And everyone believes in what he made, for it was made by his believing it. Into this strange and paradoxical situation—one without meaning and devoid of sense, yet out of which no way seems possible—God has sent His Judgment to answer yours. Gently His Judgment substitutes for yours. And through this substitution is the ununderstandable made understandable. How is peace possible in this world? In your judgment it is not possible and can never be possible. But in the Judgment of God, what is reflected here is only peace.

4 Peace is impossible to those who look on war. Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace. How easily, then, is your judgment of the world escaped! It is not the world that makes peace seem impossible. It is the world you see that is impossible. Yet has God's Judgment on this distorted world redeemed it and made it fit to welcome peace. And peace descends on it in joyous answer. Peace now belongs here because a Thought of God has entered. What else but a Thought of God turns hell to Heaven merely by being what it is? The earth bows down before its gracious Presence, and it leans down in answer to raise it up again. Now is the question different. It is no longer, "Can peace be possible in this world?" but instead, "Is it not impossible that peace be absent here?"

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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 349
Today I let Christ's vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.

1 So would I liberate all things I see and give to them the freedom that I seek. For thus do I obey the law of love and give what I would find and make my own. It will be given me because I have chosen it as the gift I want to give. Father, Your gifts are mine. Each one that I accept gives me a miracle to give. And giving as I would receive, I learn Your healing miracles belong to me.

2 Our Father knows our needs. He gives us grace to meet them all. And so we trust in Him to send us miracles to bless the world and heal our minds as we return to Him.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 349
Today I let Christ's vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.

Sarah's Commentary:
This is what we need to do this day and every day what appears before us---to let Christ’s vision look upon all things, make no judgments about them, and extend the miracle of love. We can either decide what we see is not to our liking, not what we bargained for, and not what we expected or wanted, or we can let go of our judgments about how the situation should be and allow the miracle to replace all grievances instead. What are you upset about today? Every day seems to bring some upsets, some seemingly bigger than others in our judgment, although they are all the same. Jesus tells us that there is no order of difficulty in the illusion. No problem is bigger than any other problem. They can all be seen as unreal. All illusions are the same. Some are not larger or more difficult than others. All illusions can be solved in the same way, for there is no order of difficulty for the miracle. "One is not 'harder' or 'bigger' than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal." (T.1.I.1.2-4) (ACIM OE T.1.I.1)
You can't be hurt when you don't hold onto constructs on how things must be for you to have peace. When we define what we want as "good" and get upset with what we define as "bad," we resist "what is." Today, I broke some eggs when they slipped out of my hands and smashed on the floor and created quite a slippery mess. The temptation was to get angry in the belief that this should not have happened. Or we might immediately judge ourselves or feel victimized by the situation. "Why does this always happen to me?" Or, "I should have known better! " Or, "How could I have been so clumsy?" Alternatively, there is a temptation to blame someone else. "If you had not upset me, this would not have happened." "If you had closed the carton properly, the eggs would not have fallen out."
This is the voice of the ego that has a lot to say about every difficulty we encounter, and we spend a lot of our day listening to its raucous voice. It always speaks first. It always judges the situation at hand, holds grievances, and castigates us, or others; and then we wonder why we are not at peace. When we don't buy into the ego's perspective on the situation, we take whatever action is necessary from a place of peace. We see it as a neutral event. When we put our own interpretation on a neutral event, we react accordingly. All our interpretations are based on our desire to judge reality. Our perceptions are what we deem as the truth. Once we admit we don't know what anything is for and that none of our interpretations are right, we become willing to listen to the Holy Spirit’s interpretation.
Jesus says, "It is surely good advice to tell you not to judge what you do not understand." (T.12.I.5.1) (ACIM OE T.11.II.5) We may feel insulted, when we are told we don’t understand when we think we do. We think our perceptions are correct. Yet Jesus asks us whether we would rather be right about our judgments or listen to him and be happy. We mostly choose to be right about the way we see things, and in the process, we throw away the peace and joy that are constantly available to us. It is clearly insane to give up what brings us happiness, but we do because it is how we hold onto the personal self. As Byron Katie asks, "Who would you be without that thought?" This frightens us, as we have spent our lives defining the self we think we are. Who would we be without the many definitions we hold about ourselves? What if we let go of the tragic story we cling to? What if we let go of the belief that the events of the past have defined us? We value the self-concept we that hold onto and use its various strategies to gain what we want from others. Our fear of God's Love is our fear of losing this self that we have made and value. It is a self that tries to be good, but if there is good, there must also be bad; and it is the bad we judge in others, while we desperately try to hold onto what we believe is good about ourselves. It is the judgment we project onto others that is the shadow we try to keep hidden from ourselves. However, it must be brought to awareness and given over to the Holy Spirit to be undone if we are to know the Self.
What is required is that we see every situation and event in our lives as instructive and helpful in healing our misperceptions of how we have defined ourselves and how we have defended the false image we have created. It all has come about from our wrong-minded thought system of sin, guilt, and fear. We have embraced this thought system in the belief that it is safer to be a victim of what others have done to us rather than take responsibility for everything in our lives. Now we are called to see that everything that happens in our lives is a classroom for undoing this wrong-minded thought system. Our wrong-minded thinking has taken us into the separated state where we believe we are. We are not controlled by events outside unless we give them the power to rob us of our peace, whether those events are broken eggs or a broken relationship. It is a powerful thought to realize that nothing outside us is the cause of our loss of peace. If we don't have peace, it is because we have chosen to throw it away and put the cause for our lack of peace and joy on events and circumstances outside us.
We need not be bound any longer to our ego reactions. We can choose to be liberated from the thoughts that arise. When we project responsibility onto our brothers for how we feel, we keep the guilt in our mind. As we bring the judgments that we have projected onto others back to our mind where they can be healed, we release the bondage of guilt that we have laid on our brothers. Why would we choose to let our brothers, whose wrongdoings we have judged as hurting us, off the hook? We do this because that is the only way we can be released from our own self-imposed prison. "It is essential to realize this, because otherwise you will be unable to escape from the prison you have made." (T.3.VII.1.8) (ACIM OE T.3.IX.72) As we give pardon to our brother, we receive for ourselves the gift we give. "So would I liberate all things I see, and give to them the freedom that I seek." (W.349.1.1) To do so means we have to be willing to be wrong about our perceptions and our judgments.
Jesus tells us that if we obey the law of love, we must give exactly that which we want for ourselves. If we really accepted the fact that with each attack on a brother, we are only hurting ourselves, would we choose to judge and attack? We must be prepared to look at how we choose to see others as guilty and be willing to look at our judgments, our expectations, and our plans for how things should be. We then bring these to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to help us release them and thus release our brothers and ourselves. That is how love is extended through us---not by what we, ourselves, deem to be the loving thing to do but by making space for the love we are to come through us. This can only happen when we are willing to look at our judgments and release the blocks to love. Love then extends naturally through us.
To see with Christ's vision is to recognize that we all share the same nature. We hold the same thought system of the ego, and we share the same Christ Self. Truth is in everyone's mind, but not everyone is aware of this truth nor the power of decision in the mind to choose again. The miracle is what undoes the thought system of the ego so the truth of who we are and who our brother is can be unveiled. Our perceptions and judgments keep us blind to the recognition of the Christ in all our brothers. The miracle is the Correction, and it does nothing. "All it does is to undo." (T.28.I.1.2) (ACIM OE T.28.I.1) "And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done. It does not add, but merely takes away." (T.28.I.3-4) (ACIM OE T.28.I.1) When the interference is gone, there is a "re-cognizing" of what we have always known but have forgotten. Thus, there is nothing to seek and no path to take. We already are what we are looking for.
When we refuse to judge, compare, and condemn and instead accept everyone fully, we see our own love and innocence reflected everywhere; but we cannot simply cover over the anger and judgment in the mind. It is not helpful to the healing of our minds to be falsely sympathetic, nice, and kind, or falsely people-pleasing when our thoughts are in turmoil. Instead, we must look with honesty and courage at the blocks to love and be willing to do the healing. We must not deny the pain, but go through the darkness to the light. Yet we do not go there alone. Ask with sincerity for help from the Holy Spirit so He can deliver the miracle. Now we can join with our brothers' strengths (true empathy) in honesty. That is why this process takes courage. We must be willing to look at the self-hatred and see it for what it is. Only by seeing it can it be healed.
Jesus recognizes our instability on this path when he says, "You who are sometimes sad and sometimes angry; who sometimes feel your just due is not given you, and your best efforts meet with lack of appreciation and even contempt; give up these foolish thoughts! They are too small and meaningless to occupy your holy mind an instant longer. God's judgment waits for you to set you free." (M.15.3.1-3) (ACIM OE M.15.4) He is gentle with us, so be gentle with yourself. To judge yourself for your judgmental, angry, and condemning thoughts will not bring healing. Jesus asks that you look at your thoughts without judgment of yourself. Otherwise, you make the same mistake as when you judge your brother. God's judgment is that we are holy, have never sinned, and are forever innocent. It is His judgment of every brother. Only our self-attack and self-condemnation keep us from that awareness.
We have only one purpose in being here, which is to connect with holiness so love can be extended through us to everyone, as we come to know the One Self we are. It is not about trying to achieve new beliefs but giving up the false beliefs that we now hold. To take on new beliefs, though they may be entirely spiritual, is simply to substitute an intellectual perspective with a spiritual ego. The idea here is not to make a better self (ego) but to undo all concepts. It is to undo the personal self, the "I." It is to accept the Atonement for ourselves. It is to give up our private thoughts that we keep hidden and open up all self-concepts to the truth so we can know the Self we all share.
"The power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world." (T.12.VII.9.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII. 70) The decision we make in each encounter today is to participate in the liberation or crucifixion of our brothers and thus ourselves. In other words, in each situation, we can choose Heaven or hell for ourselves because whatever we give, we receive. "His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident." (T.21.II.3.3) (ACIM OE T.21.III.17) Of course, we know there are no accidents in salvation. "Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation." (T.8.III.4.6) (ACIM OE T.8.IV.19)
"Our Father knows our needs. He gives us grace to meet them all. And so we trust
in Him to send us miracles to bless the world, and heal our minds as we return to Him." (W.349.2.1-3) Our only need is the undoing of the mistaken choice for the separated self. The Answer has been given us by God, who brought His Love into the dream where it awaits us in the right-mind whenever we are ready for the miracle. The miracle's Correction for our wrong-minded perspectives reflects God's Love in this dream. Thus, healing is always available to us regardless of the situations that confront us today. Welcome those situations and events, as they are our teachers, showing us what is in our mind that needs healing. In that welcome, we become happy learners.
Love and blessings, Sarah


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