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

CHAPTER 5
Healing and Wholeness

V. The Guide to Salvation

32 The way to learn to know your brother is by perceiving the Holy Spirit in him. We have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge or thought-transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related because in His mind they are . The relationship must be in His mind because, unless it were, the separation between the two ways of thinking would not be open to healing. He is part of the Holy Trinity because His mind is partly yours and also partly God's. This needs clarification, not in statement, since we have said it before, but in experience .

33 The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared . Being the Call for God, it is also the idea of God. Since you are part of God, it is also the idea of yourself as well as of all the parts of God. The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part. Therefore, it is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brothers. Since thoughts do not have to be conscious to exist, your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit either in himself or in you for this miracle to occur.

34 Your brother may have dissociated the Call for God, just as you have. The dissociation is healed in both of you as you become aware of the Call for God in him and thus acknowledge its being . There are two ways of seeing your brother which are diametrically opposed to each other. They must both be in your mind because you are the perceiver. They must also be in his because you are perceiving him . See him through the Holy Spirit in his mind, and you will recognize Him in yours . What you acknowledge in your brother you are acknowledging in yourself, and what you share you strengthen.

35 The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share it. It must be increased in strength before you can hear it. It is impossible to hear it in yourself while it is so weak in your own mind. It is not weak in itself, but it is limited by your unwillingness to hear it. Will itself is an idea and is therefore strengthened by being shared. If you make the mistake of looking for the Holy Spirit in yourself alone, your meditations will frighten you because by adopting the ego's viewpoint you are undertaking an ego-alien journey with the ego as guide . This is bound to produce fear.

36 Delay is of the ego because time is its concept. Delay is obviously a time idea. Both time and delay are meaningless in eternity. We have said before that the Holy Spirit is God's Answer to the ego. Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego's notions because true and false perceptions are themselves opposed. The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made. He undoes it in the same realm of discourse in which the ego itself operates, or the mind would be unable to understand the change.

37 We have repeatedly emphasized that one level of the mind is not understandable to another. So it is with the ego and the Soul, with time and eternity. Eternity is an idea of God, so the Soul understands it perfectly. Time is a belief of the ego, so the lower mind, which is the ego's domain, accepts it without question. The only aspect of time which is really eternal is now . That is what we really mean when we say that "now is the only time." The literal nature of this statement does not mean anything to the ego, which interprets it at best to mean "don't worry about the future." That is not what it really means at all.

38 The Holy Spirit is the Mediator between the interpretations of the ego and the knowledge of the Soul. His ability to deal with symbols enables Him to work against the ego's beliefs in its own language. His equal ability to look beyond symbols into eternity also enables Him to understand the laws of God, for which He speaks. He can thus perform the function of reinterpreting what the ego makes, not by destruction but by understanding . Understanding is light, and light leads to knowledge. The Holy Spirit is in light because He is in you who are light, but you yourselves do not know this. It is therefore the task of the Holy Spirit to reinterpret you on behalf of God.

39 You cannot understand yourselves alone. This is because you have no meaning apart from your rightful place in the Sonship and the rightful place of the Sonship in God. This is your life, your eternity, and yourself . It is of this that the Holy Spirit reminds you. It is this that the Holy Spirit sees . This vision invariably frightens the ego because it is so calm. Peace is the ego's greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival. The ego becomes strong in strife. If you believe there is strife, you will react viciously because the idea of danger has entered your mind. The idea itself is an appeal to the ego.

40 The Holy Spirit is as vigilant as the ego to the call of danger, opposing it with His strength, just as the ego welcomes it with all its might. The Holy Spirit counters this welcome by welcoming peace. Peace and eternity are as closely related as are time and war. Perception as well as knowledge derives meaning from relationships. Those which you accept are the foundations of your beliefs. The separation is merely another term for a split mind. It was not an act, but a thought . Therefore, the idea of separation can be given away, just as the idea of unity can. Either way, the idea will be strengthened in the mind of the giver .

41 The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others, you are strengthening in yourself. You let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions. The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher. He uses only what your minds already understand to teach you that you do not understand it. The Holy Spirit can deal with an unwilling learner without going counter to his will because part of his will is still for God. Despite the ego's attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego, even though the ego does not recognize it. The Holy Spirit recognizes it perfectly because it is His own dwelling place or the place in the mind where He is at home.

42 You are at home there, too, because it is a place of peace, and peace is of God. You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity. The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the reinterpreter of what the ego made, sees it only as a teaching device for bringing you home. The Holy Spirit must perceive time and reinterpret it into the timeless. The mind must be led into eternity through time because, having made time, it is capable of perceiving its opposite.

43 The Holy Spirit must work through opposites because He must work with and for a mind that is in opposition. Correct and learn and be open to learning. You have not made truth, but truth can still set you free. Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands. His understanding looks back to God in remembrance of me. He is in Holy Communion always, and He is part of you . He is your Guide to salvation because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come. He holds this gladness gently in your minds, asking only that you increase it in His name by sharing it, to increase His joy in you .

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Part I
Review I

1 Beginning with today, we will have a series of review periods. Each of them will cover five of the ideas already presented, starting with the first and ending with the fiftieth. There will be a few short comments after each of the ideas which you should consider in your review. In the practice periods, the exercises should be done as follows:

2 Begin the day by reading the five ideas, with the comments included. Thereafter, it is not necessary to follow any particular order in considering them, though each one should be practiced at least once. Devote two minutes or more to each practice period, thinking about the idea and the related comments. Do this as often as possible during the day. If any one of the five ideas appeals to you more than the others, concentrate on that one. At the end of the day, however, be sure to review all of them once more.

3 It is not necessary to cover the comments that follow each idea literally or thoroughly in the practice periods. Rather, try merely to emphasize the central point and think about it as part of your review of the idea to which it relates.

4 The review exercises should be done with your eyes closed and when you are alone in a quiet place if possible. This is emphasized particularly for reviews at your stage of learning. It will be necessary, however, that you learn to require no special settings in which to apply what you have learned. You will need it most in situations which appear to be upsetting, rather than in those which already seem to be calm and quiet.

5 The purpose of your learning is to enable you to bring the quiet with you and to heal distress and turmoil. This is not done by avoiding them and seeking a haven of isolation for yourself. You will yet learn that peace is part of you and requires only that you be there to embrace any situation in which you are. And finally you will learn that there is no limit to where you are, so that your peace is everywhere, as you are.

6 You will note that for review purposes the ideas are not always given in quite their original form of statement. Use them as they are given here. It is not necessary to return to the original statements nor to apply the ideas as was suggested then. We are now emphasizing the relationships among the first fifty of the ideas we have covered and the cohesiveness of the thought system to which they are leading you.

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Lesson 54
[Review of Lessons 16-20]

1 These are the review ideas for today:

[16] I have no neutral thoughts.

2 Neutral thoughts are impossible because all thoughts have power. They will either make a false world or lead me to the real one. But thoughts cannot be without effects. As the world I see arises from my thinking errors, so will the real world rise before my eyes as I let my errors be corrected. My thoughts cannot be neither true nor false. They must be one or the other. What I see shows me which they are.

[17] I see no neutral things.

3 What I see witnesses to what I think. If I did not think, I would not exist, because life is thought. Let me look on the world I see as the representation of my own state of mind. I know that my state of mind can change. And so I also know the world I see can change as well.

[18] I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

4 If I have no private thoughts, I cannot see a private world. Even the mad idea of separation had to be shared before it could form the basis of the world I see. Yet that sharing was a sharing of nothing. I can also call upon my real thoughts, which share everything with everybody. As my thoughts of separation call to the separation thoughts of others, so my real thoughts awaken the real thoughts in them. And the world my real thoughts show me will dawn on their sight as well as mine.

[19] I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

5 I am alone in nothing. Everything I think or say or do touches all the universe. A Son of God cannot think or speak or act in vain. He cannot be alone in anything. It is therefore in my power to change every mind along with mine, for mine is the power of God.

[20] I am determined to see.

6 Recognizing the shared nature of my thoughts, I am determined to see. I would look upon the witnesses that show me the thinking of the world has been changed. I would behold the proof that what has been done through me has enabled love to replace fear, laughter to replace weeping, and abundance to replace loss. I would look upon the real world, and let it teach me that my will and the Will of God are one.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 54
[Review of Lessons 16-20]

The theme of the Lessons we are reviewing today is about the power of our thoughts. It is a power that has made up a world separate from God. It is a world He does not know of. If God knew of this world, it would have to mean it is real. Yet the only reality is God’s Kingdom. Our thinking errors are what made the world we see. It is a shared illusion. "Even the mad idea of separation had to be shared before it could form the basis of the world I see." (W.54.3.3) This is why billions of people can agree about the nature of this world, but that does not make it true. It just means it is a shared thought of separation. The world is illusory and does not exist except in the beliefs we hold about it, and those beliefs have power. It is impossible to have a neutral thought . "Neutral thoughts are impossible because all thoughts have power." (W.54.1.2) After all, thoughts are what make the world what it is. The thing that is valuable about this power is that it can undo all we have made real.
 
Every thought has an effect. The entire world is the effect of our incredibly powerful thoughts. As we change our minds, we change our world. Mind is the cause, and the world is the effect. Clearly, this is not how we experience the world. We see the world as the cause of our distress, and thus, we see ourselves as its effect. As such, we see ourselves as the victims of what the world seems to be delivering. When we turn to the Lessons, they shift our thinking and help us to recognize that everything starts in our minds. Our thoughts are what have made this world appear to be real and solid; but equally, our thoughts can lead us out of this world to the real world. It is through forgiveness that we come to see with vision.
 
Forgiveness undoes all that is false. With the separation came enormous guilt, which was overwhelming to the mind. Thus, the ego offered us a scheme to make it possible to live with all this guilt. The scheme was to project the guilt onto others. Now we find others to blame for our circumstances. We are under the illusion we have released our guilt by making others responsible, but this is, instead, how we hang onto guilt. Yet when we take responsibility for our projections, without blaming ourselves for them, the Correction can be made and the plan of the ego to keep us invested in guilt is undone. While the ego is totally insane, it is nevertheless brilliant in creating this plan, making us think we have released our guilt through projection.
 
Forgiveness can only be understood in the context that this world is not real and nothing has really happened. In the illusion, there are painful events and difficult situations. Forgiveness allows us to see them from outside the dream and recognize their unreality. What we are seeing are the projected images from our own fearful minds. When the projected images are ". . . cleansed and purified, and finally removed forever," (T.18.IX.14.2) (ACIM OE T.18.XI.98) and our false perceptions are forgiven, we will see ". . . the bright world of new and clean perception." (T.18.IX.14.3) (ACIM OE T.18.XI.98) This is the real world we experience when forgiveness is complete. The real world is a state of love, innocence, peace, and joy. "And it is there that peace awaits you." (T.18.IX.14.5) (ACIM OE T.18.XI.98)
 
There is no middle ground between the ego's guilt and fear and the peace and love we experience when we choose the miracle. Neutral thoughts are impossible because all thoughts have power. Every thought we have is either of love or fear, Heaven or hell. There is no middle ground. "My thoughts cannot be neither true nor false. They must be one or the other. What I see shows me which they are." (W.54.1.6-8) It is a mutually exclusive state of "one or the other," which is why we can't hold both love and hate in our minds at the same time. We know which thought we have chosen by its effects. The world is thus a representation of our own state of mind. If we want to know the state of our mind, we just need to look at how we are feeling. When we experience joy and peace, which are not dependent on external circumstances, we know we have chosen the Holy Spirit. What we perceive is never a fact but only an interpretation of our own making.
 
I used to become very upset when negative emotions would arise in me. I would crucify myself for making mistakes. I saw my mistakes as evidence of not being sufficiently spiritual. Now, as I look more and more at these negative thoughts and emotions, while I don't enjoy them, I am more and more an observer of them. I resist making judgments about myself for having these thoughts. By stepping back from them, I am able to see that these thoughts and emotions do not define me. Instead, they provide an opportunity to look at my unhealed mind and choose another way. This is the purpose of the world, our relationships, and circumstances. When judgments come up, just see them as another opportunity for forgiveness and healing. The world has no other purpose than this. There is no value in delay. The time is now. Can further delay bring us anything but what it has always brought us which is more suffering, pain, and sickness? Now we are called to use time for its intended purpose, which is to undo all that keeps us in hell.
 
The process of watching our egoic reactions develops gradually over a period of time. It takes practice. One of the pitfalls we fall into is when we judge ourselves for getting angry or for making judgments. We think that if we don't see everyone through the eyes of love, and if we don't see the Christ in everyone, we just need to try harder to be loving and to stop being judgmental. That is not going to help us in undoing the ego. Instead, we need to simply observe our judgments and our need for specialness and be willing to let them go by turning them over to the gentle love of Jesus, who helps us to see the ego as completely meaningless. "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false." (T.16.IV.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.16.V.35)
 
Thus, to take responsibility for our thoughts requires a high level of honesty and courage. Our tendency is to defend, rationalize, explain, and justify by telling stories of why we feel the way we do. This won't help us in our healing. We can't expect this world of egos to always treat us lovingly. Problems will prevail. Despite our best efforts in extending love, the world can still treat us with unkindness, rudeness, and nastiness, but ultimately true inner peace does not depend on the behaviors of others. Certainly, it may not be in our best interest to stay in difficult relationships and difficult situations, but maintaining relationships in form is not what is important. What is important is the content of our minds. Leaving relationships can be a right-minded decision.
 
We can never know the entirety of someone's path of Atonement. The same healing opportunity is there for them, as it is for us. Whatever shows up in our lives is just another opportunity for healing, as it is for anyone who makes this choice. They have the same power, as we do, to choose forgiveness when they are sufficiently motivated to do so. Patience is one of the characteristics of the teacher of God, and we can afford to be patient because the outcome is certain for us all. The only important factor is not the forms of this world, but the content of our own minds. Thus, it really does not matter what anyone does, only how we interpret what is happening. Ultimately, when we let go of all our judgments and our need for specialness, we will automatically perceive the Christ in everyone. It is not a matter of trying. It is only a matter of bringing our judgments and grievances to the Holy Spirit.
 
All the multiplicity of problems and complexities we experience in relationships, and all the confusion, anger, and stress that arises, is the result of our mistaken thoughts. They are not idle thoughts. Look around you and see what they have produced. They have produced this world we have come to believe is our reality. All thoughts have power. "All thinking produces form at some level." (T.2.VI.9.14) (ACIM OE T.2.V.92)
 
There are no private thoughts. All minds are joined. There is only one Mind, which is the Christ mind. "Everything I think or say or do teaches all the universe." (W.54.4.3) Therefore, if I change my mind because all minds are joined, I have the power to change every mind. Obviously, this is not a matter of trying to heal others, changing their minds, or telling them how to think. It is simply what we call forth in them by being a symbol of right-mindedness. When I choose to let go of my grievances, I send a message to others that they too can engage in this process of awakening from the dream. When I hold onto grievances, I send a message of attack and further separation.
 
Everything we do reinforces separation or joining. My decision to judge you, get angry with you, worry about you, attack you, blame you, or be jealous of you is a decision for hell instead of Heaven. This reflects the insane promise we made ". . . to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return." (T.28.VI.4.7) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.57) Why would we make such an agreement? It seems insane, and it is, but these secret vows were made to keep the separation going so we could keep our identity as a separate being. This is why attack and blame are so attractive to us.  "Whoever says, 'There is no gap between my mind and yours' has kept God's promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death." (T.28.VI.5.4) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) Thus, we have a choice with each decision we make, which is either to attack or to join with our brothers.
 
We can't change anyone's mind any more than Jesus can change our minds for us. We all need to make our own decisions, but we can use our power for good and truth by being the change we look for in the world. What I look on witnesses to the thought system I have chosen. I can look at the choices I am making by observing what is going on around me. For example, I notice that when I am in conflict with a brother, this often leads to the onset of a cold in me. When I experience a great deal of stress and demand perfectionism of myself, my head hurts. It is an immediate indication of my choice for the ego. On the other hand, when I release a grievance, I feel light and happy. As we learn to pay attention to the witnesses to our state of mind, we can make a choice for healing; as ultimately, all healing is of the mind.
 
Jesus demonstrated our bodies are not who we are. We are love. We are an idea in the Mind of God, and nothing can hurt us. In order to uncover our reality as love, we need to uncover our unconscious guilt as a result of our belief that we have separated from God. We fear we will never find our way back and have done something terribly evil. In this review, we are being reminded to watch our thoughts and look at what we are making real. Our part is thus to be a demonstration of His love in the world. In order to do that, we must continue to forgive our false perceptions so our minds can be healed of the guilt we are projecting onto others.
 
Every goal in the world, except the correction of our thoughts, has no value. It doesn't matter what we are doing in the world. Whether we are a teacher, stockbroker, mother, lawyer, service worker, or nurse, it is all just a backdrop for our real work in the world, which is to take responsibility for the healing of our guilt.
 
The goal of this Course peace. The only way we will know peace is through forgiveness. It doesn't mean we need to hang with anyone. It doesn't mean they have to be in our presence or still be in their bodies. The forgiveness work is the same. We are healing our perceptions and remembering that our perceptions are never a fact but an interpretation.
 
I am determined to see because I am realizing the true nature and power of my mind. We can choose to make more and more illusions, which witness to guilt and fear, or we can practice forgiveness and witness more peace, joy, and joining in our lives. In that choice, thoughts of love replace thoughts of fear. Thoughts of laughter replace thoughts of tears, and thoughts of abundance replace thoughts of loss. These are the choices available to us.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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