"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
MANUAL for TEACHERS
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND

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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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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Lesson 350
Miracles mirror God's eternal Love.
To offer them is to remember Him.
And through His memory to save the world.

1 What we forgive becomes a part of us as we perceive ourselves. The Son of God incorporates all things within himself as You created him. Your memory depends on his forgiveness. What he is, is unaffected by his thoughts. But what he looks upon is their direct result. Therefore, my Father, I would turn to You. Only Your memory will set me free. And only my forgiveness teaches me to let Your memory return to me and give it to the world in thankfulness.

2 And as we gather miracles from Him, we will indeed be grateful. For as we remember Him, His Son will be restored to us in the Reality of Love.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 350
Miracles mirror God's eternal Love.
To offer them is to remember Him.
And through His memory to save the world.

 
Sarah's Commentary:
 
When we forgive rather than attack, we experience a reflection of God’s Love. The experience comes through our willingness to bring all unforgiving thoughts to the right mind where truth resides. This is how we remember God and thus remember who we are. Memory of God rests on forgiveness of our brothers. Through forgiveness, we see that our brothers are the same as ourselves. There is just One Self. Our memories of past difficulties and grievances are wiped away. Through forgiveness, the mirror of our minds has now been polished and only innocence is reflected. All the differences we perceive are not the truth.
 
Everyone is a part of us. In fact, everyone is ourselves. In our attacks on "others," we are saying that they are different and sinful and not a part of us. This is how we maintain the separation, which still holds attraction because the ego lives on differences and comparisons. We want to see ourselves as special and better than others. We want to hold them responsible for our lack of peace and happiness. "If only they had not said or done that," we declare, "we would not have to hold them responsible for how we are feeling." Yet betrayal is what the ego thrives on, because in betrayal, it sees itself as the victim of what others have done. Victimhood is valued by the ego because it shows God how unfairly treated we are and asks that His punishment fall on those who have seemingly betrayed us. We are very much invested in our values and opinions. Judgment is the oxygen of the ego and maintains our individual, separate self. To forgive is to remember that we want truth more than we want to be right about our perspectives.
 
Jesus reminds us that there is no world. It is all a dream that we are dreaming, and our experience in the world is just an outward picture of our inward condition. We don't see it that way because we prefer to see guilt in our brothers rather than in our own minds. The ego has made us believe that by seeing our brother guilty, we can release guilt, but this is a lie. All that happens is that when we hold our brothers guilty, we keep ourselves locked in that same guilt. The onerous burden of guilt in our minds comes from the belief that we left our home in Heaven. The ego has come up with a solution---get rid of the guilt by projecting it onto others. It is the master plan of the insane ego and is brilliantly constructed to keep us tied to the illusion. This is how the separation is maintained and how we keep ourselves in misery by our own decision because the ego has no power except what we give it.
 
"What he is, is unaffected by his thoughts. But what he looks upon is their direct result." (W.350.1.4-5) In other words, whatever our thoughts are about our brother, they do not affect who he is. It does not matter what we think of his behavior and how guilty we judge him to be. The truth is that his innocence is guaranteed by God, just the same as our own. He is not his behavior nor his story. The truth in him is changeless, as it is in us. Our identity as the Christ is totally serene and unaffected by anything that seems to be going on in our dream.
 
In this dream, we believe that what we see is reality because our senses convince us that our perceptions are true. We believe our thoughts and opinions. Until we question their reality, it is the only thing we know. We have lost awareness of who we are in truth, but to be unaware does not mean the truth is not in us and in everyone. The only way back to the truth of what we are is to recognize who our brother is. Through our shared purpose, we join in a holy encounter and remember our Oneness. We can never join in a story or in the drama of life.
 
As Jeff Foster wrote:
 
"I will always listen deeply to you, but I will never fix you, mend you, stop you feeling what you are feeling or give you secondhand memorized answers. I will never pretend to be the one who knows, the enlightened one, or some missionary for a conceptual truth far removed from realtime, immediate firsthand present experience. I will not get into drama with you, I will not indulge and feed your stories and mental conclusions and fears, I will not mistake who you are for my story about you, my dream of who you are. But friend I will meet you in the fires of hell, I will hold your hand there, I will walk with you as far as you need to walk, and not turn away, for you are my Self and in the deepest recesses of our experience we are intimately each other and we cannot pretend otherwise."
 
This is the way back to remembering God. The memory of who we are will only return when we will to see the truth in everyone and let go of our fear and guilt based on the ego's lies. We have accepted the lies of the ego as true---that we have sinned, are guilty, and will be punished. We hold these thoughts and beliefs as truth, but we are now called to question them. We see what we think and believe by the effects of our thoughts. The effects are our projections. If we want to know what we think and believe, we just need to look at our projections. Our projections show us our wrong-minded thinking. When we take responsibility for our thoughts and beliefs and take them back into the mind, we can choose to lay them before the feet of truth. Thus, space is made for a new perception. As we join in the Oneness of Christ, it transcends the sum of its parts into a glorious whole. Separation is left behind, if only for a brief moment, but that is sufficient for now.
 
As fear and resistance are reduced, we accept what Jesus offers us more and more and are increasingly willing to surrender our way and experience the miracle. And for that, we can be truly grateful. "Only Your memory will set me free. And only my forgiveness teaches me to let Your memory return to me, and give it to the world in thankfulness." (W.350.1.7-8)
 
Miracles shift the mind from the beliefs we now hold about ourselves to the recognition that we are eternal beings of light and love, created by God. We have never changed our reality because it is not possible for us to do so. We have only lost awareness of it. The body and our experience of this world are not what life is. Jesus reminds us that the world of the ego is nothing. "It has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified. You cannot make the meaningless meaningful. This can only be an insane attempt." (T.7.VI.11.4.6-11) (ACIM OE T.7.VII.66)
 
Jesus helps us to see the false as false. When we look at the ego with honesty and courage and without judgment, its unreality becomes apparent, and the truth beyond is glimpsed. He tells us, "No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected." (T.11.V.1) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.39) We have to look first at the "dynamics" of the ego before we can see beyond it. Clearly, that which looks is not the ego. Awareness is the dreamer, outside this dream. We make the ego real in our minds only by not being willing to look at it with honesty and courage.
 
Our work in the Course consists of watching our thoughts, our values, our beliefs, and our stories and not justifying our positions but investigating the "I" holding these thoughts. The temptation simply to dismiss the ego and the world as just an illusion, while still believing in it, is not helpful to our healing. Neither can we readily do whatever we want by dismissing our actions as unimportant because it is all a dream. As long as the mind believes in the dream, our unkind acts will register more guilt in our minds. Thoughts have power. That is why Jesus says that there are no idle thoughts. Although what we are as the Christ Self is unaffected by our thoughts, our thoughts nevertheless keep the memory of God from awareness. Through forgiveness, the memory of who we are will be restored to us. A miracle and forgiveness are alike in that they both simply remind the mind that what it sees is false.
 
To offer miracles is our function on this earth and best reflects God's Love in this world, As the Lesson title says, "Miracles mirror God's eternal love. To offer them is to remember Him. And through His memory to save the world." (W.350) Miracles pave the way to the memory of God in our right mind. The memory of Him is restored to us when we extend forgiveness. This is the process we are given in this Course for relinquishing the ego.
 
"Only Your memory will set me free. And only my forgiveness teaches me to let Your memory return to me, and give it to the world in thankfulness." (W.350.1.7-8)
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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