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

Healing and Wholeness

VII. The Two Decisions

59 Perhaps some of our concepts will become clearer and more personally meaningful if the ego's use of guilt is clarified. The ego has a purpose, just as the Holy Spirit has. The ego's purpose is fear because only the fearful can be egotistic. The ego's logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit because your mind has all the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects. But again, let us remember that both are in you . In Heaven there is no guilt because the Kingdom is attained through the Atonement, which releases you to create. The word "create" is appropriate here because, once what you have made is undone by the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue is restored and therefore continues in creation.

60 What is truly blessed is incapable of giving rise to guilt and must give rise to joy. This makes it invulnerable to the ego because its peace is unassailable. It is invulnerable to disruption because it is whole. Guilt is always disruptive. Anything that engenders fear is divisive because it obeys the law of division. If the ego is the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt. Guilt is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of the attack on God. This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but do not underestimate the power of the ego's belief in it. This is the belief from which all guilt really stems.

61 The ego is the part of the mind which believes in division. How can part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as involving the concept of usurping God's power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes it is you. It follows, then, that if you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego, you will experience guilt and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought.

62 However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane. It represents a delusional system, and it speaks for it. Listening to the ego's voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God. You believe that a part of Him has been torn away by you . The classic picture of fear of retaliation from without then follows because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected. Although Freud was wrong about the basic conflict itself, he was very accurate in describing its effects.

63 Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is, however, only your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego in it, the fact that you have accepted it or allowed it to enter makes it your reality. This is because the mind, as God created it, is capable of creating reality. We said before that you must learn to think with God. To think with Him is to think like Him. This engenders joy, not guilt, because it is natural. Guilt is a sure sign that your thinking is un natural. Perverted thinking will always be attended with guilt because it is the belief in sin.

64 The ego does not perceive sin as a lack of love. It perceives sin as a positive act of assault . This is an interpretation which is necessary to the ego's survival because as soon as you regard sin as a lack you will automatically attempt to remedy the situation. And you will succeed. The ego regards this as doom, but you must learn to regard it as freedom. The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, it heals the body because it has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive of attacking anyone or anything.

65 We said before that illness is a form of magic. It might be better to say that it is a form of magical solution. The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God. Yet even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes over this intent as its own prerogative. It tries to usurp all the functions of God as it perceives them because it recognizes that only total allegiance can be trusted.

66 The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, "What do you want?" must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment which is anything but ineffectual. Its effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed . This is repeated here because you have not learned it. But again, your decision can be unmade as well as made. Remember, though, that the alternatives are unalterable.

67 The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives which the mind can accept and obey. The ego and the Holy Spirit are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can . Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you have made can always be changed because when you do not think like God you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him.

68 Irrational thought is a thought disorder. God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this. They also show that you believe you can think apart from God and want to . Every thought disorder is attended by guilt at its inception and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable for those who believe they order their own thought and must therefore obey its orders. This makes them feel responsible for their mind errors, without recognizing that by accepting this responsibility they are really reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours.

69 The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing. You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. If you accept the remedy for a thought disorder, and a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain? You have reason to question the validity of symptom cure, but no one believes that the symptoms can remain if the underlying cause is removed.

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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 59
[Review of Lessons 41-45]

1 The following ideas are for review today:

[41] God goes with me wherever I go.

2 How can I be alone when God always goes with me? How can I be doubtful and unsure of myself when perfect certainty abides in Him? How can I be disturbed by anything when He rests in me in absolute peace? How can I suffer when love and joy surround me through Him? Let me not cherish illusions about myself. I am perfect because God goes with me wherever I go.

[42] God is my strength. Vision is His gift.

3 Let me not look to my own eyes to see today. Let me be willing to exchange my pitiful illusion of seeing for the vision that is given by God. Christ's vision is His gift, and He has given it to me. Let me call upon this gift today, so that this day may help me to understand eternity.

[43] God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.

4 I can see what God wants me to see. I cannot see anything else. Beyond His Will lie only illusions. It is these I choose when I think I can see apart from Him. It is these I choose when I try to see through the body's eyes. Yet the vision of Christ has been given me to replace them. It is through this vision that I choose to see.

[44] God is the Light in which I see.

5 I cannot see in darkness. God is the only Light. Therefore if I am to see, it must be through Him. I have tried to define what seeing is, and I have been wrong. Now it is given me to understand that God is the Light in which I see. Let me welcome vision and the happy world it will show me.

[45] God is the Mind with which I think.

6 I have no thoughts I do not share with God. I have no thoughts apart from Him because I have no mind apart from His. As part of His Mind, my thoughts are His and His Thoughts are mine.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 59
[Review of Lessons 41-45]

These Review Lessons are all about not relying on our own strength but remembering Who goes with us, what the Source of our real strength is, and what reason we would ever have to be disturbed by anything when God is with us always. How could we feel lonely if we really got this? How can we suffer when we are surrounded by love and joy always? How can we be doubtful and unsure of ourselves when we have perfect certainty abiding in us?
We feel disturbed by things going on in our lives, and we feel lonely and suffer. If Jesus is right about suffering being an impossibility, why would we feel lonely and sad? Jesus gives us the answer, saying if we don't feel God’s presence, His strength, and His support, we are cherishing illusions about ourselves instead. We are actually choosing against our own peace and happiness. If indeed we can choose happiness instead of suffering anytime we want it, why would we stubbornly resist this choice? It is because we want to be right about the way we see things based on our beliefs and conclusions we make. Is it possible we would rather be right than happy? And what is it we want to be right about? Mostly it is about who we are and what we believe. But in the end, who of us does not want peace and happiness?
When we feel attacked, we want to retaliate; yet when we do, we throw our peace away. When we try to hold others accountable for what they do to us, we keep ourselves in prison with them. The ego urges us not to retaliate, but when we do, it tells us we should feel guilty for what we have done. This is the ego’s game and as long as we engage in it, we are trapped in its game. When we stubbornly resist giving up our perceptions and letting the Holy Spirit write on the blank slate of our minds, we are choosing against our happiness. When our minds are filled with our own cherished thoughts, we make no room for another interpretation of the situation.
The questions put to us in this review are meant to get us thinking about how it is indeed possible to be unhappy, distressed, worried, and lonely when "love and joy surround me through Him." (W.59.1.5) With love and joy surrounding us all the time, why would we ever be afraid and uncertain? We are never separate and alone because the Love of God is in our minds. We are assured by Jesus that we are continually making a choice, whether to draw on His Love, which is in us, or continue to rely on our own mistaken interpretations of everyone and everything. We are not asked to believe something some higher authority insists is the truth. We are in the process of checking it out for ourselves.
When we bring our mistaken perceptions to the truth, we experience the peace and joy that come through forgiveness. We are being encouraged to continue to apply each Lesson on a daily basis to whatever comes up in our day that disturbs us so we can let go of the disturbance. This Course is about application. Without applying the Lessons to our day, the words will be taken as intellectual concepts that will not help us. Daily, we are asked to look at our mistaken thoughts with the light of the Holy Spirit, so they can be dismissed. This means we look at our thoughts with His Love beside us, so we don't judge ourselves for the hate we see in our minds.
When we are willing to ask for help to give up our cherished illusions about ourselves and look honestly at our judgments, we have started the process of healing. By not looking, our illusions are safely kept in obscurity. Thus, they are out of reach of healing. What are these cherished illusions? They are our perspectives, our concepts, our values, our opinions, our beliefs, and our perceptions. "Let me not cherish illusions about myself." (W.59.1.6) Help me to surrender, to give up, and to release all I think on my own. My own thoughts are of no value to me since they are thoughts about nothing. They keep me invested in the illusion. They keep me in a state of suffering and lack. The truth is that we have everything. Wait a minute. If we believe this, can we truly also feel alone and miserable and depressed? Jesus reminds us we can "exchange my [our] pitiful illusion of seeing for the vision that is given by God." (W.59.2.4) Why would we hold onto our cherished illusions if this were the case?
"His attraction for you remains unlimited, but because your power, being His, is as great as His, you can turn away from love." (T.15.IX.6.3) (ACIM OE T.15.IX.90) Yes, it is our decision to turn away from love. It is an amazing thing to really appreciate the power of our minds to reject all these gifts. Our minds are as powerful as God's because they are a part of His Mind!
What that means is that nothing will convince me to choose love until I find the illusion intolerable. In the interview that Mel Gibson gave about his reason for doing the movie, The Passion of Christ , he confessed he had everything in the world---all the money, power, recognition, wife, children, everything the world had to offer---yet he was on the verge of suicide. Jim Carey said he hopes we get everything we want in the material world so we can see that our happiness is not there. The material world can all feel very meaningless. Behind all these worldly attractions, there is a strong pull in us for the real attraction. As we read in Lesson 231, "What can I seek for, Father, but Your Love? Perhaps I think I seek for something else; a something I have called by many names. Yet is Your Love the only thing I seek, or ever sought. For there is nothing else that I could ever really want to find." (W.231.1.1-4)
As we apply these teachings to our lives, we increasingly see that our happiness cannot be found in the world. It is then that our attachments to the things of the world start to fall away on their own. We are not asked to sacrifice anything to which we are attached. Eventually, we come to see that what we are giving up has no value. We increasingly recognize we have a bigger, more irresistible attraction to something much more meaningful. We increasingly recognize that the real Source of our strength, our happiness, and our peace is within.
"I have no thoughts I do not share with God. I have no thoughts apart from Him, because I have no mind apart from His." (W.59.5.2-3) The world arose from the idea that we could have thoughts separate from God. Now we see that as we hold these thoughts, we maintain our misery and sufficient motivation to want the healing that comes through forgiveness. Thankfully, we have a way out of the hell we have made. We can choose peace with every decision we make. Time was made for the purpose of healing. That is all time is for. Yes, we will make a lot of mistakes, but they are not sins. They are simply opportunities to choose again. Choice is our one remaining freedom in this world. What we are choosing in each moment is truth or illusion, Heaven or hell, attack or forgiveness, the ego or the Holy Spirit. Our grievances and mistakes just provide opportunities to choose again and again until there is no choice to be made when our minds are unified with the truth.
We can't come to this in a pure environment. We need the challenges and issues that come forth daily. They are our invitations to look at the ego and release the obstacles to the love we are. What are these obstacles? Only our own thoughts! They are not real thoughts. They are thoughts in our minds, which we think are private. Yet our right mind is totally shared with the Mind of God. His Thoughts are not limited and do not limit who we really are. Only the thoughts of the ego do that, and they are not true. We do not have to choose to listen to them as they are nothing but thoughts.
God keeps no thoughts to Himself. His thoughts are in our right minds where the truth dwells. Our thoughts are given reality because we believe in them, but they originated with the separation. Thus, they are thoughts about nothing and have no meaning.
He truly is our strength, and vision is His gift to us. (W.59.2.1-2) He truly is our Source, and we cannot see apart from Him. (W.59.3.1-2) He truly is the light in which we see. (W.59.4.1) We ask that we may let this be the day in which we might experience the truth of what we are. We do that by setting the intention for the kind of day we want. (T.30.I.)
We can't see eternity with our physical eyes. With our eyes, we only see form. God has given us the gift of real seeing, of vision. Everything our eyes see will be gone at some point. When people have reported experiences of leaving the body and looking at it from above, obviously they see without their eyeballs, which are still in the body. In the same way, the brain does not think. When people report near death experiences, their brain is in the body they have left, but they still have perception of the experience and report it in great detail. It is clear the bodily senses are not the mind that thinks or the eyes that see. All we have is the illusion of seeing. We might enjoy seeing beautiful scenery and lovely sunsets, but in the end, it is just shape and color and has no eternal value. "God is the light in which I see." (W.59.4.1) In this recognition, I am free.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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