"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
The Root of All Evil
IV. Love Without Conflict
You have never understood what "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you" means. The reason you have not understood it is because it is
understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word "within" is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven
you. What else but you did the Creator create, and what else
you is His Kingdom? This is the whole message of the Atonement, a message which in its totality transcends the sum of its parts. Christmas is not a time; it is a state of mind. The Christ Mind wills from the Soul
from the ego, and the Christ Mind
You too have a kingdom which your Soul created. It has
ceased to create because your ego has set you on the road of perception. Your Soul's creations are no more fatherless than
are. Your ego and your Soul will never be co-creators, but your Soul and
be. Be confident that your creations are as safe as you are.
The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected,
and the ego will
prevail against it. Amen.
That was written in that form because it is a good thing to use as a kind of a prayer in moments of temptation. It is a Declaration of Independence. You will find it very helpful if you understand it fully.
In its characteristically upside-down way, the ego has taken the impulses from the superconscious and perceives them as if they arise in the unconscious. The ego judges what is to be accepted, and the impulses from the superconscious are unacceptable to it because they clearly point to the nonexistence of the ego itself. The ego therefore experiences threat and not only censors but also reinterprets the data. However, as Freud correctly pointed out, what you have repressed can retain a very active life
Repression thus operates to conceal not only the baser impulses but also the most lofty ones from awareness because
are threatening to the ego and, being concerned primarily with its own preservation in the face of threat, the ego perceives them
as the same
. The threat-value of the lofty is actually much greater to the ego because the pull of God Himself can hardly be equated with the pull of human appetites. By perceiving them
the same, the ego attempts to save itself from being swept away, as it would surely
in the presence of knowledge.
The upper level of the unconscious thus contains the Call of God as well as the call of the body. That is why the basic conflict between love and fear is unconscious; the ego cannot tolerate either and represses both by resorting to inhibition. Society depends on inhibiting the latter, but
inhibiting the former. The reason you need
help is because you have repressed your own Guide and therefore need guidance. My role is to separate the true from the false in your unconscious so it can break through the barriers the ego has set up and shine into your minds. Against our united strength, the ego
It should be apparent to you by now why the ego regards the Soul as its "enemy." The ego arose from the separation, and its continued existence depends on
continuing belief in the separation. Having reduced the Soul impulses to the unconscious, the ego has to offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it
offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its
beginning and ends with its
ending. It tells you this life is
existence because it
its own. Against this sense of temporary existence the Soul offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakable
. No one who has experienced the revelation of
can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meager offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?
You who identify
your egos cannot believe that God loves you.
do not love what you have made, and what you made does not love
. Being made out of the denial of the Father, the ego has no allegiance to its own maker. You cannot conceive of the real relationship which exists between God and His Souls because of the hatred you have for the self
have made. You project onto your
idea of yourself the will to separate, which conflicts with the love you feel for what you made
you made it. No human love is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love
ambivalence, the concept is beyond its understanding.
Love will enter immediately into
mind which truly wants it, but it
want it truly. This means that it wants it
ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego's "drive to get." There is a kind of experience which is so different from anything the ego can offer that you will never recover. The word "recover" is used quite literally here—you will never be able to cover or hide again. It is necessary to repeat here that your belief in darkness and in hiding
why the light cannot enter. The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are
you but for which
must ask. This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions. It is the glorious condition of what you
No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God and must remain so forever. You can never be bound except in honor, and that is always voluntary. Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His love for you and yours for Him. He has never failed to answer this request because it asks only for what He has already willed. Those who call truly are
answered. Thou shalt have no other gods before Him because there
It has never really entered your mind to give up every idea you ever had that
knowledge. You retain thousands of little scraps of meanness which prevent the Holy One from entering. Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made. No one can see
a wall, but
can step around it. Watch your minds for the scraps of meanness or you will be unable to ask me to do so. I can help you only as our Father created us. I will love you and honor you and maintain complete respect for what you have made, but I will neither honor it nor love it unless it is true.
I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I
wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself. Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly. I will come in response to a single unequivocal call. Watch carefully and see what it is you are really asking for. Be very honest with yourself about this, for we must hide nothing from each other. If you will really try to do this, you have taken the first step toward preparing your mind for the Holy One to enter. We will prepare for this together, for once He has come, you will be ready to help me make other minds ready for Him. How long will you deny Him His Kingdom?
In your own unconscious, deeply repressed by the ego, is the declaration of your release.
God has given you everything
. This is the one fact that means the ego does not exist and which therefore makes it profoundly afraid. In the ego's language, remember, "to have" and "to be" are different, but they are identical to the Soul. The Soul knows that you both
everything. Any distinction in this respect is meaningful only when the idea of "getting," which implies a lack, has
been accepted. That is why we made no distinction before between
the Kingdom of God and
the Kingdom of God.
The calm being of God's Kingdom, which in your sane mind is perfectly conscious, is ruthlessly banished from the part of the mind which the ego rules. The ego is desperate because it opposes literally invincible odds, whether you are asleep or awake. Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego and how little you have been willing to expend to protect your higher mind. Who but the insane would undertake to believe what is not true and then protect this belief at the
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A Course in Miracles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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A Course in Miracles
God is my Source.
I cannot see apart from Him.
Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your minds. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.
In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God's. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother and thus forgives himself.
You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do, you do in Him because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit's purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.
Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early as possible and another as late as possible. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time which circumstances and readiness permit.
At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the exercises are sufficient. You might say, for example:
God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.
Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion.
For the second and longer phase of the exercise period, close your eyes, repeat today's idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:
I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
I see the world as blessed.
The world can show me myself.
I see my own thoughts, which are like God's.
Any thought related more or less directly to today's idea is suitable. The thoughts need not bear an obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.
If you should find your mind wandering, if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today's idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase, and then try the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.
In applying today's idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently,
God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.
This form is equally applicable to strangers and to those you know well. Try, in fact, not to make distinctions of this kind at all.
The idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events which may occur, particularly to those which distress you in any way. For this kind of application, use this form:
God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.
If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness, merely repeat the idea in its original form.
Try today not to allow long periods of time to slip by without remembering today's idea and thus remembering your function.
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God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
I believe what I am seeing is what is actually there, but we are told this is merely "image making." We are not really seeing. In fact, our eyes were made for the purpose of keeping our focus "out there," which simply keeps our minds distracted, which is what the ego wants. The ego is all about keeping us invested in this world of illusion. Perception is about making the separation from God real. It is an interpretation we give to what we see. Thus, while events are in themselves neutral, we give them meaning.
"Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge."
(W.43.1.1-2) In God/Knowledge, there is no separation between the subject and the object, or between the perceiver and the perceived. It is One with all there is. In essence, there is nothing but God. There is nothing but the Oneness of Heaven. Of course, that is not the truth for us, as our experience tells us this world exists and the separation really has happened. The purpose of the Course is to move us beyond the false perception of our image making to true perception or vision. The goal of the Course is peace. It is not knowledge because knowledge is the absolute and direct knowing of reality. It is the only truth there is. Everything else is illusion.
The world of illusion is a world that reflects our belief in separation from God. However, through forgiveness, we come to right-minded perception. It is still a world of perception, not knowledge, so it is still not the ultimate truth, but forgiveness reflects truth. Through healing of our wrong-minded perceptions, we experience the real world forgiveness shows us.
Both the wrong mind, which is the purview of the ego, and the right mind, where the memory of God resides, make the split mind. This is the mind in the realm of perception. The wrong mind reflects false perception, and the right mind reflects true perception. Knowledge is the condition of Heaven, where there is only Oneness, and thus there is no perception.
"Perception has no function in God, and does not exist."
The memory of God is in our right minds. The Holy Spirit is the mediator between our way of seeing, which is false perception, and true perception. Thus, the Holy Spirit is our bridge to knowledge.
"With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge."
(W.43.1.5) Without the Holy Spirit, there would be no bridge, and we would be stuck in the world of perception forever. It would be like never waking up from a nighttime dream. Even though we made perception for an unholy purpose
, "perception has a mighty purpose."
(W.43.2.3) Why? Because
". . . it must become the means for the restoration of his
holiness to his
(W.43.2.4) It is just like everything else made for an unholy purpose. It is restored when given over for the Holy Spirit. He will undo what never was, and this is what salvation is. It is
". . . the undoing of what never was."
(W.43.2.3) What never was is also the separation, which never happened. Until our false perception is healed,
"perception has a mighty purpose."
How does healing happen? It happens by allowing the Holy Spirit to give our perceptions His meaning. How do we allow Him to do that? We do it by bringing our unhealed perceptions to Him so He can shine them away. Our responsibility is to look at our judgments and our grievances and be willing to bring them to Him. This is how forgiveness works. By releasing our brothers from the judgments that we have laid on them, we release ourselves. We become aware of our own divinity when we do the forgiveness work. We learn to see our brothers beyond our false perceptions of them. We see beyond their behavior to the truth of who they are as the Christ. We overlook their errors. Thus, we come to know that peace and joy abide in us.
Sometimes, we get impatient with this process of watching our minds and doing these Lessons. We wonder why we can't just return to Knowledge, to God. Why can't we just go home? Why this struggle? Jesus reminds us to be content with healing. He tells us he needs happy learners. He tells us forgiveness is our function while we still believe in the reality of this world of time and space. He reminds us,
"You have chosen to create unlike Him, and have therefore made fear for yourself."
(T.4.I.9.3) (ACIM OE T.4.II.16) When we experience fear and not peace, it is our responsibility to look at our investment in it. If I don’t like the way I feel, I must be wrong in my interpretation of a situation. I am not willing to let go of my interpretation because I stubbornly insist I am right in the way I see the situation. Yet if I feel bad, why would I want to hold onto my way of seeing? Why would I not want to be wrong? To experience peace, which is what I say I want, I must be willing to be wrong, to surrender my way, and to allow my mind to be corrected.
"No force, except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever."
(T.4.III.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.4.IV.51) No one will take our fear away. We are the ones who made fear, so we have the free will to choose to undo it whenever we are ready to do so. We are the ones who must make the choice to do the work of looking at our wrong perceptions. Jesus says,
"I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself."
(T.4.III.7.8) (ACIM OE T.4.VI.53) Clearly, he will not interfere in our decisions. He respects the power of our minds to choose. In that way, he says we are exactly like him. All he needs is our willingness to change our minds and recognize there is another way of seeing every situation.
"The Holy Spirit knows your part in the redemption, and who are seeking you and where to find them. Knowledge is far beyond your individual concern. You who are part of it and all of it need only realize that it is of the Father, not of you. Your role in the redemption leads you to it by re-establishing its oneness in your mind."
(T.13.VIII.7.3-6) (ACIM OE T.13.II.7)
While we may want to put our effort into seeking the direct experience of Knowledge, it will not accomplish the work of undoing our ego, which is undertaken with the Holy Spirit. Certainly, an experience of Knowledge or revelation is a motivating factor in our awakening. The focus of this Course is on forgiveness and extending miracles to achieve true perception.
"When you have seen your brothers as yourself you will be released to knowledge, having learned to free yourself through Him Who knows of freedom. Unite with me
[says Jesus to us]
under the holy banner of His teaching, and as we grow in strength the power of God's Son will move in us, and we will leave no one untouched and no one left alone. And suddenly time will be over, and we will all unite in the eternity of God the Father. The holy light you saw outside yourself, in every miracle you offered to your brothers, will be returned to you."
(T.13.VIII.8.1-4) (ACIM OE T.13.II.8)
We are One with God and cannot be apart from Him.
"You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God."
(W.43.3.1) There is nothing we need do except recognize the truth of this. We are already part of Him in our creation, and nothing we have done or could do will change that truth. That is what the Atonement principle is all about.
We have come to believe in our own made-up version of what reality is, but it is all illusion. We have come to believe in this "reality," as if it were the truth, yet all of our senses were actually made to bring us information about the illusion and thus keep us in the dark. This is not about fighting our ego, which is like fighting the darkness. It is impossible. When we fight the ego, we are, in essence, saying it is real. In fact, it is nothing at all. Only our belief in it gives it power. We are given a process now of undoing it by spending time each day on the Lessons so we can remember the truth. We do this through forgiveness, which is our only function here. It is still an illusion, but it is the only illusion that ends all illusions and brings us to true perception.
We set aside three five-minute periods today. One as early and one as late as possible, at the most convenient and suitable times that circumstances and readiness permit. In doing this Lesson, we apply it to the specifics in our lives. In doing this, we see there is no hierarchy in illusions. All illusions are the same. All problems are the same. Some are not bigger or more difficult than others. They are all illusory and thus have no substance. This is also why there is no order of difficulty in miracles
. "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)
During the first phase of the exercise, repeat the idea to yourself with eyes open. Glance around you for a short time, applying the idea to what you see (4-5 subjects). Close your eyes and repeat the idea, but this time let related thoughts come to you. This is about letting thoughts come that are related but not those that contradict the main teaching. If your mind wanders or goes blank, repeat the Lesson. Related thoughts help to bring the intent of the message back to you in a deeper way. Don't force them. Let them come. This helps us to see that truth is already in our right minds.
Throughout the day, remind yourself of the Lesson frequently. It is important to stay vigilant in watching your thoughts. You can also become aware of your thoughts when you look at how you are feeling. Your feelings can inform you of what you must be thinking or believing in order to feel the way you do. This can come to you through inquiry. Recognize that thoughts you are holding onto are there because of your fear of the truth. Truth comes to the quiet mind.
Today, when you are with someone, remind yourself silently,
God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.
(W.43.7.3) If a difficult situation confronts you today, remind yourself,
God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.
(W.43.8.3) We are saying to the Holy Spirit, "Please help me to see this situation differently because I am not at peace." Do this with any distressing thought, no matter how mild or how severe it seems.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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