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

Healing and Wholeness

VI. Therapy and Teaching

44 You must have noticed how often I have used your own ideas to help you. You have learned to be a loving, wise, and very understanding therapist except for yourself . That exception has given you more than perception for others because of what you saw in them but less than knowledge of your real relationships to them because you did not accept them as part of you. Understanding is beyond perception because it introduces meaning. It is, however, below knowledge even though it can grow towards it. It is possible, with great effort, to understand someone else to some extent and to be quite helpful to him, but the effort is misdirected. The misdirection is quite apparent; it is directed away from you .

45 This does not mean that it is lost to you, but it does mean that you are not aware of it. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you have had. I have purified them of the errors which hid their light and have kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you , and we know what God creates is eternal. What fear has hidden still is part of you.

46 Joining the Atonement, which I have repeatedly asked you to do, is always a way out of fear. This does not mean that you can safely fail to acknowledge anything that is true. However, the Holy Spirit will not fail to help you reinterpret everything that you perceive as fearful and teach you that only what is loving is true. Truth is beyond your ability to destroy but entirely within your grasp. It belongs to you because you created it. It is yours because it is a part of you, just as you are part of God because He created you .

47 The Atonement is the guarantee of the safety of the Kingdom. Nothing good is lost because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the Voice for creation. Nothing that is not good was ever created and therefore cannot be protected. What the ego makes, it keeps to itself, and so it is without strength. Its unshared existence does not die; it was merely never born. Real birth is not a beginning; it is a continuing. Everything that can continue has been born, but it can increase as you are willing to return the part of your mind that needs healing to the higher part and thus render your creating undivided.

48 As a therapist, you yourself tell your patients that the real difference between neurotic and "healthy" guilt feelings is that neurotic guilt feelings do not help anyone . This distinction is wise though incomplete. Let us make the distinction a little sharper now. Neurotic guilt feelings are a device of the ego for "atoning" without sharing and for asking pardon without change. The ego never calls for real Atonement and cannot tolerate forgiveness, which is change.

49 Your concept of "healthy guilt feelings" has merit, but without the concept of the Atonement, it lacks the healing potential it holds. You made the distinction in terms of feelings, which led to a decision not to repeat the error, which is only part of healing. Your concept lacked the idea of undoing it. What you were really advocating, then, was adopting a policy of sharing without a real foundation . I have come to give you the foundation, so your own thoughts can make you really free. You have carried the burden of the ideas you did not share and which were therefore too weak to increase, but you did not recognize how to undo their existence because you had made them.

50 You cannot cancel out your past errors alone. They will not disappear from your mind without remedy. The remedy is not of your making, any more than you are. The Atonement cannot be understood except as a pure act of sharing . That is what is meant when we said it is possible even in this world to listen to one voice. If you are part of God and the Sonship is one, you cannot be limited to the "self" the ego sees. Every loving thought held in any part of the Sonship belongs to every part. It is shared because it is loving. Sharing is God's way of creating and also yours . Your ego can keep you in exile from the Kingdom, but in the Kingdom itself it has no power.

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A Course in Miracles

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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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 57
[Review of Lessons 31-35]

1 Today let us review these ideas:

[31] I am not the victim of the world I see.

2 How can I be the victim of a world that can be completely undone if I so choose? My chains are loosened. I can drop them off merely by desiring to do so. The prison door is open. I can leave it simply by walking out. Nothing holds me in this world. Only my wish to stay keeps me a prisoner. I would give up my insane wishes and walk into the sunlight at last.

[32] I have invented the world I see.

3 I made up the prison in which I see myself. All I need do is recognize this, and I am free. I have deluded myself into believing it is possible to imprison the Son of God. I was bitterly mistaken in this belief, which I no longer want. The Son of God must be forever free. He is as God created him, and not what I would make of him. He is where God would have him be, and not where I thought to hold him prisoner.

[33] There is another way of looking at the world.

4 Since the purpose of the world is not the one I ascribed to it, there must be another way of looking at it. I see everything upside down, and my thoughts are the opposite of truth. I see the world as a prison for God's Son. It must be, then, that the world is really a place where he can be set free. I would look upon the world as it is, and see it as a place where the Son of God finds his freedom.

[34] I could see peace instead of this.

5 When I see the world as a place of freedom, I will realize that it reflects the laws of God instead of the rules which I made up for it to obey. I will understand that peace, not war, abides in it. And I will perceive that peace also abides in the hearts of all who share this place with me.

[35] My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.

6 As I share the peace of the world with my brothers, I begin to understand that this peace comes from deep within myself. The world I look upon has taken on the light of my forgiveness and shines forgiveness back at me. In this light, I begin to see what my illusions about myself had kept hidden. I begin to understand the holiness of all living things including myself, and their oneness with me.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 57
[Review of Lessons 31-35]

The Lessons are all about staying vigilant with our experiences throughout the day and discerning which thought system we are choosing in each moment---that of the ego or the Holy Spirit. Everything we experience is coming from our own minds. There is nothing outside of our minds. The themes that run through these Review Lessons are mostly about the peace that abides deep within us and the freedom available to us to leave our self-imposed prison. In the introduction to the reviews, Jesus said, "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." (W.PI.RI.IN.6.4)
We see a lot in this review about the prison we find ourselves in, even though it is of our own imagining. How can anything imprison the Son of God? We are only in a prison of our own thoughts. The truth is that we are free right now. The door is open, and "I can leave simply by walking out." (W.57.1.6) As long as we don't believe that and hold onto our "insane wishes," (W.57.1.9) we will stay in the prison. The prison is one we have made up ourselves, and yet the Lesson reminds us , "Nothing holds me in this world." (W.57.1.7) In spite of this fact, we feel trapped! We have resentment about our perceived incarceration because we see others as responsible for our condition. Jesus says the prison door is open, and we can walk into the sunlight any time we choose.
I notice how much I feel the victim of the demands that seem to be part of my day, yet I wonder, who but myself has set it all up? It is an ironic image. "Should I wait in chains which have been severed for release, when God is offering me freedom now?" (W.279.1.5) "Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is. You groped but feebly in the dust and found your brother's hand, uncertain whether to let it go or to take hold on life so long forgotten. Strengthen your hold and raise your eyes unto your strong companion, in whom the meaning of your freedom lies. He seemed to be crucified beside you. And yet his holiness remained untouched and perfect, and with him beside you, you shall this day enter with him to Paradise, and know the peace of God." (T.20.III.9.1-6) (ACIM OE T.20.IV.25) This is what Heaven is. It is union. It is joining with your brother. It is equality. It is recognizing our interests are exactly the same; and when we do, the prison doors are opened. The imprisonment we experience in our aloneness and sense of separateness from each other and from God is seen to be illusory.
When I am experiencing difficulty with someone, I am identifying him/her as the problem and as the cause of my lack of peace, but I can choose to change my mind. I can choose to see it is my guilt I am projecting onto my brother. I can choose to see his innocence. I can offer my brother peace and forgiveness instead of judgment if I am willing to take responsibility for my own thoughts as the cause of everything I see. That is the only way I will know my own innocence. As I release you to the Holy Spirit in peace, I release myself as well. The question we need to ask ourselves is---do we really want to? The ego screams, "No. He must pay. My anger is justified. Look at what he has done." But what happens when we hold these perspectives and listen to the voice of the ego is that we only put ourselves in the prison with him. It may not feel like an easy choice to take his hand instead of crucifying him when our anger seems so justified; but it is the only choice we must make if we want freedom and peace. It is the decision we make as to which teacher we will follow, the ego or the Holy Spirit. The only freedom we have in the world is the power of decision to choose which direction we will go.
The world only has one purpose. It is indeed ". . . really a place where he [we] can be set free." (W.57.3.5) As Eckhart Tolle asks in his book, A New Earth , "Can they defy the gravitational pull of materialism and materiality and rise above identification with form that keeps the ego in place and condemns them to imprisonment within their own personality?" It is all about our attachments to form, whether it be to our special relationships, our reputation, our material attachments, or to the body. Transformation takes place as we rise above identification with the world of form and transition into the sunlight where everything shines with God's meaning. "My mind is part of God's. I am very holy." (W.57.5.1-2) Yes, we can procrastinate, and we do resist, but the way out will eventually be chosen by us all. That is why we came. We came to experience separation, but now we can find our liberation. That is what the new earth is all about.
We have invented the world we see as a result of what is in our minds. If we are not happy and not at peace, we are the only ones that can change it. If I want to know my own holiness, I have to see it in you. The ego says, "Look at yourself. You are a victim! You have been hurt! Look at what this person has done to you!" We can choose not to listen. We can choose to see an opportunity for healing in anything that shows up. Otherwise, we get into a cycle of attack and retaliation, and instead of releasing our hidden guilt, we enhance it and stay in the prison. We chain ourselves to those we hate. Are you at peace today? If not, you are listening to the ego as your guide.
This is truly a moment-by-moment decision as to whether you choose prison or choose your release. Jesus urges us, "Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated. In this view, you seek to find an innocence that is not Theirs but yours alone, and at the cost of someone else's guilt. Can innocence be purchased by giving of your guilt to someone else?" (T.26.X.4.1-3) (ACIM OE T.26.XI.88) Whenever you are not at peace today, look at your thoughts and admit you are choosing to hold grievances and attack thoughts, believing that this is how you can purchase false innocence by making a brother guilty for what you perceive he has done. Remember that you do have a choice and can let your grievances go. Clearly, we struggle with this. It is not easy for us when we identify with the victim stance and believe we are unfairly treated. The ego is tenacious, but we have a bigger power than the ego. The ego is nothing when we withdraw our belief from it. And when we do, we see the laws of God instead of our own rules that we made up for how the world is supposed to treat us. We can then withdraw the demands we make of anyone.
Despite appearances of war and conflict, peace always shines behind every attack. It abides in all hearts. Help me to see this peace behind every attack. Help me to focus not on what my eyes see, but to look beyond the form to the truth that shines in everyone. Yes, the forms we see all around us may still be clashing. There will still be war. There is still conflict in the world. Yet with forgiveness, we see witnesses to the unexpressed light behind the clashing forms; this affirms for us that with vision, we can see the holiness and innocence that is not seen with the body's eyes. "I see everything upside down, and my thoughts are the opposite of truth." (W.57.3.3)
It is only through forgiveness that holiness is revealed. When the blocks are gone we see a world of peace, forgiveness, and love shining back at us. Why would we not want that? What do grievances offer that we would want more than that? Until we choose the means to a different world---the real world---we won't be aware of the light in us. It is in allowing the light in me to shine that I begin to understand it is coming from deep within me and reflected back to me in gratitude. The illusions I hold in the form of concepts, beliefs, rules, expectations, anger, depression, fantasies, desires, worries, and concerns, keep me from recognizing, "My mind is part of God's. I am very holy." (W.35) I truly am holy, divine, pure, and innocent. That is the only truth. "As I share the peace of the world with my brothers, I begin to understand that this peace comes from deep within myself." (W.57.5.3)
Today, I ask myself, "How can I be the victim of a world that can be completely undone if I so choose? If it truly is a world I made, the world is not the problem. The only problem is the fact that I am not willing to consider that I made it, and how I see it is my projection. Am I willing to admit I have been wrong about everything, thinking I am a victim of everything and everyone, including my own body? We made up everything we think impinges on us. Now we need to have the humility to admit we have been wrong. Our stubborn insistence that we are right is the problem. The way out is to admit we are wrong, release our grievances, and join with Jesus to let his light shine away the darkness we are holding in our minds. Unloving thoughts remain only as a result of our decision not to look at them.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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