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

CHAPTER 3
Retraining the Mind

VIII. Judgment and the Authority Problem

61 We have already discussed the Last Judgment in some though insufficient detail. After the Last Judgment there will be no more. This is symbolic only in the sense that everyone is much better off without judgment. When the Bible says, "Judge not that ye be not judged" it merely means that if you judge the reality of others at all, you will be unable to avoid judging your own. The choice to judge rather than to know was the cause of the loss of peace. Judgment is the process on which perception, but not cognition, rests. We have discussed this before in terms of the selectivity of perception, pointing out that evaluation is its obvious prerequisite.

62 Judgment always involves rejection. It is not an ability which emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged, whether it be in or out of the self. However, what has been perceived and rejected—or judged and found wanting—remains in the unconscious because it has been perceived. One of the illusions from which man suffers is the belief that what he judged against has no effect. This cannot be true unless he also believes that what he judged against does not exist. He evidently does not believe this, or he would not have judged against it. It does not matter in the end whether you judge right or wrong. Either way, you are placing your belief in the unreal. This cannot be avoided in any type of judgment because it implies the belief that reality is yours to choose from.

63 You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourselves and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you and your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them. All uncertainty comes from a totally fallacious belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourselves. In the presence of knowledge, all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process which enables recognition to replace perception.

64 Man is very fearful of everything he has perceived but has refused to accept. He believes that, because he has refused to accept it, he has lost control over it. This is why he sees it in nightmares or in pleasant disguises in what seem to be his happier dreams. Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness. It does not follow that it is dangerous, but it does follow that you have made it dangerous.

65 When you feel tired, it is merely because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as debased. When you laugh at yourself, you are singularly likely to laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more debased than they are. All of this does make you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourselves. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is a curious thing that any ability which is so debilitating should be so deeply cherished.

66 Yet, if you wish to be the author of reality, which is totally impossible anyway, you will insist on holding onto judgment. You will also use the term with considerable fear, believing that judgment will someday be used against you. To whatever extent it is used against you, it is due only to your belief in its efficacy as a weapon of defense for your own authority. The issue of authority is really a question of authorship. When an individual has an "authority problem," it is always because he believes he is the author of himself, projects his delusion onto others, and then perceives the situation as one in which people are literally fighting him for his authorship. This is the fundamental error of all those who believe they have usurped the power of God.

67 The belief is very frightening to them but hardly troubles God. He is, however, eager to undo it, not to punish His Children, but only because He knows that it makes them unhappy. Souls were given their true Authorship, but men preferred to be anonymous when they chose to separate themselves from their Author. The word "authority" has been one of their most fearful symbols ever since. Authority has been used for great cruelty because, being uncertain of their true Authorship, men believe that their creation was anonymous. This has left them in a position where it sounds meaningful to consider the possibility that they must have created themselves.

68 The dispute over authorship has left such uncertainty in the minds of men that some have even doubted whether they really exist at all. Despite the apparent contradiction in this position, it is in one sense more tenable than the view that they created themselves. At least it acknowledges the fact that some true authorship is necessary for existence.

69 Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible. You have not usurped the power of God, but you have lost it. Fortunately, when you lose something, it does not mean that the "something" has gone. It merely means that you do not know where it is. Existence does not depend on your ability to identify it nor even to place it. It is perfectly possible to look on reality without judgment and merely know that it is there.

70 Peace is a natural heritage of the Soul. Everyone is free to refuse to accept his inheritance, but he is not free to establish what his inheritance is. The problem which everyone must decide is the fundamental question of authorship. All fear comes ultimately and sometimes by way of very devious routes from the denial of Authorship. The offense is never to God, but only to those who deny Him. To deny His Authorship is to deny themselves the reason for their own peace, so that they see themselves only in pieces. This strange perception is the authority problem.

71 There is no man who does not feel that he is imprisoned in some way. If this is the result of his own free will, he must regard his will as if it were not free, or the obviously circular reasoning involved in his position would be quite apparent. Free will must lead to freedom. Judgment always imprisons because it separates segments of reality according to the highly unstable scales of desire. Wishes are not facts by definition. To wish is to imply that willing is not sufficient. Yet no one believes that what is wished is as real as what is willed. Instead of, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven" say, " Will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven," and you have said, "I know what I am, and I will to accept my own inheritance."

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Part I
I. Introduction

1 A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.

2 The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.

3 The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.

4 Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.

5 Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this—you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.

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Lesson 36
My holiness envelops everything I see.

1 Today's idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God's. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. "Sinless" means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God's, you must be sinless or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His holiness, not to your ego and therefore not to your body.

2 Four three- to five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:

3 First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:

4 My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.

5 Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes and continue as before.

6 For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 36
My holiness envelops everything I see.

The Lesson yesterday was about our inner thoughts, but we have already seen there is no difference between our inner thoughts and how we perceive the outer world. Jesus says, "Today's idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived." (W.36.1.1) In essence, he is saying that what we choose within, we will interpret without. It is all about the content of our thoughts and nothing to do with the forms of this world. Thus, to look with the eyes of Christ is to see everything as an expression of love or a call for love. What I find most instructive is to recognize that how I see anyone in my life shows me the thoughts I hold within my own mind. When I choose the ego, I project my judgments about myself onto others and see my guilt in them. When I give my judgments over to the Holy Spirit and ask for His interpretation, He always reminds me that my brother is holy. "You are holy because your mind is part of God's. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well." (W.36.1.2-3)
 
If my mind is holy (the cause), what I perceive must be holy as well (the effect). Holiness is indeed our very nature; but when we chose to separate from God, we chose to identify with the ego and the body. However, holiness is still in our right minds, but now we have a mind split between the wrong mind and the right mind. The wrong mind has projected the world we see. Our right mind holds the memory of God. As the Lesson states, "If your mind is part of God's you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful." (W.36.1.7) Anything we perceive as sinful, we are seeing with the wrong mind. Thus, we must stay very vigilant with our thoughts because what we see in others helps us see which thought system we identify with. It is an outside picture of our inward condition. In other words, others provide us with a reflection of what is in our own minds. This is very helpful to our healing, as now we can see where we are blocking the love we are with our own judgments.
 
When the blocks to love are healed, the connection with the holiness in our minds is reestablished. Then we see the world and everything in it as blessed. An earlier Lesson was, "God is in everything I see because God is in my mind." (W.30) This Lesson is very similar. Because God is in my mind and He is holy, my holiness is established. Holiness is a state of perfection, goodness, and innocence that extends to all without exception. Sinfulness is a mistaken notion about ourselves projected from our wrong minds. Our bodies are a reflection of the wrong-minded thought system and therefore an expression of the separation, but the body can be used for a holy purpose. "Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body." (W.36.1.8) A mind that wakes up from its misguided perceptions based on the ego, is no longer confused between wrong mind and right mind. All is seen through His Holiness. This is a process and only comes when our wrong minds are no longer prevalent.
 
The state of innocence is total. We are innocent, or we are not. It is one state or the other. There is no compromise between the two, meaning there is no compromise between this world of duality and the non-duality of God. If we are part of God, and God is perfect holiness, there can be no evil. The experience we have of sin in this world is an illusion. It is the experience of duality, but it is not the truth. If it were the truth, evil would have to be a part of God.
 
When we experience our holiness, it is a beautiful state that radiates love to the universe. When we are in this state, all is perfect. Nothing can go wrong. It is like a golden hue, which paints the world in beauty. Yet this moment of joy and peace is not available to us when we choose to judge. This is how we play out the separation over and over. Jesus explains that the reason we do this is because we are still invested in our individual, separate self. When we get too close to love, we do something to mess it up. The ego says that joy and peace can't last. We entertain such beliefs and join once again with the ego thought system.
 
When we know our own holiness, we experience joy and peace. It does not seem like we are very holy when our days are not spent in perfect peace and joy. It is important to remember that when we are not at peace, we are actually experiencing something alien to who we really are. Our nature  is holy. It need not threaten us, but it does because of our investment in the body, our independence, and our specialness. Our personal identity as we know it is threatened by the presence of the divine. Our reality as the Son of God is one of innocence, purity, and spiritual perfection. Our sinfulness is a totally mistaken notion about ourselves, reinforced by the belief that we are in this world. As we saw in the Lesson yesterday, we think we are in this world because we currently don't believe in our divine innocence. Yet we hunger to know our purity and holiness. We hunger to know it in ourselves and to experience our divine nature in a more consistent way. Until we get in touch with this deep desire of the heart, our motivation and willingness will not be strong.
 
Change happens as we are willing to look at the blocks we are holding to love. When we learn to see with vision and not with what our eyes, ears, and brains interpret, we will see only love everywhere. I can always tell what choice I have made by looking at what I perceive. Our perceptions provide us with a reflection of what is going on inside our own minds. We see what we have chosen within. The thoughts I have about others are my guide to what is going on in me. To take absolute and complete responsibility for our own thoughts, rather than justify our reactions, is the beginning of healing. There is nothing outside of our own minds. Everything is mind.
 
While we affirm our holiness, it is so important to recognize that we will only know it when we bring the darkness to the light of truth whenever it arises in us. We currently don't completely believe what we are saying in this Lesson and perhaps even find it silly to say my holiness envelops that rug, or pencil, or body; but it is all part of the mind training. Through our forgiveness practice of withdrawing our past judgments from what we see, the door is slowly being opened to a new perception. It is not important if we don't believe these statements totally because we won't, but with practice and willingness, our holiness becomes apparent. The means are provided to us every day through the application of these Lessons, both in affirming the truth and doing the work of undoing how we see now. This process requires mind watching. That is why Jesus says, "Be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom." (T.6.V.C.2.8) (ACIM OE T.6.V.C.85) Such vigilance requires that we watch for our interfering thoughts.
 
Today, we affirm the truth and release the thoughts that keep us from accepting our holiness. Maintain the practice as described here. If you can, remember that it is not what your eyes see when you say, "My holiness envelops that rug, that wall, these fingers, that chair, that body, this pen," (W.36.3.4-9) or anything else your eyes light upon. The idea is the same as in Lesson 34 where he says, if peace is in your mind, it must extend to everything. In the same way, if holiness is who we are, it must extend to everything. Your holiness radiates from your mind to all you perceive. Nothing can be separate from it. It becomes a world pervaded by holiness, seen through the lens of your own holiness. The world does not change, but how you see it does.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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