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

Attack and Fear

III. The Uses of Projection

25 Any split in will must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation. The wholeness of God, which is His peace, cannot be appreciated except by a whole mind which recognizes the wholeness of God's creation and by this recognition knows its Creator. Exclusion and separation are synonymous, as are separation and dissociation. We have said before that the separation was and is dissociation and also that, once it had occurred, projection became its main defense or the device that keeps it going . The reason, however, may not be as clear as you think.

26 In the ego's use of projection, to which we are obviously referring, what you project you disown and therefore do not believe is yours . You are excluding yourself by the very statement you are making that you are different from the one on whom you project. Since you have also judged against what you project, you continue to attack it because you have already attacked it by projecting it. By doing this unconsciously, you try to keep the fact that you must have attacked yourself first out of awareness and thus imagine that you have made yourself safe.

27 Projection will always hurt you. It reinforces your belief in your own split mind, and its only purpose is to keep the separation going . It is solely a device of the ego to make you feel different from your brothers and separated from them. The ego justifies this on the wholly spurious grounds that it makes you seem "better" than they are, thus obscuring your equality with them still further. Projection and attack are inevitably related because projection is always a means of justifying attack. Anger without projection is impossible.

28 The ego uses projection only to distort your perception both of yourself and your brothers. The process begins by excluding something [you think] exists in you which you do not want and leads directly to excluding you from your brothers. We have learned, however, that there is another use of projection. Every ability of the ego has a better counterpart, because its abilities are directed by the mind which has a better Voice. The Holy Spirit as well as the ego utilizes projection, but since their goals are opposed so is the result.

29 The Holy Spirit begins by perceiving you as perfect. Knowing this perfection is shared, He recognizes it in others, thus strengthening it in both. Instead of anger, this arouses love for both, because it establishes inclusion . Perceiving equality, the Holy Spirit perceives equal needs. This invites Atonement automatically, because Atonement is the one need which in this world is universal. To perceive yourself this way is the only way in which you can find happiness in the world. That is because it is the acknowledgment that you are not in this world, for the world is unhappy.

30 How else can you find joy in a joyless place except by realizing that you are not there? You cannot be anywhere that God did not put you, and God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief but a fact . Anything that God created is as true as He is. Its truth lies only in its perfect inclusion in Him, Who alone is perfect. To deny this in any way is to deny yourself and Him since it is impossible to accept one without the other.

31 The perfect equality of the Holy Spirit's perception is the counterpart of the perfect equality of God's knowing. The ego's perception has no counterpart in God, but the Holy Spirit remains the bridge between perception and knowledge. By enabling you to use perception in a way that parallels knowledge, you will ultimately meet it and know it. The ego would prefer to believe that this meeting is impossible, yet it is your perception which the Holy Spirit guides. You might remember that the human eye perceives parallel lines as if they meet in the distance, which is the same as in the future if time and space are one dimension. Your perception will end where it began. Everything meets in God because everything was created by Him and in Him.

32 God created His Sons by extending His thought and retaining the extensions of His Thought in His Mind. All His Thoughts are thus perfectly united within themselves and with each other because they were created neither partially nor in part. The Holy Spirit enables you to perceive this wholeness now . You can no more pray for yourselves alone than you can find joy for yourself alone. Prayer is the restatement of inclusion, directed by the Holy Spirit under the laws of God. God created you to create. You cannot extend His Kingdom until you know of its wholeness.

33 Thoughts begin in the mind of the thinker from which they extend outward. This is as true of God's Thinking as it is of yours. Because your minds are split, you can also perceive as well as think. Yet perception cannot escape from the basic laws of mind. You perceive from your mind and extend your perceptions outward. Although perception of any kind is unnecessary, you made it, and the Holy Spirit can therefore use it well. He can inspire perception and lead it toward God by making it parallel to God's way of thinking and thus guarantee their ultimate meeting. This convergence seems to be far in the future only because your mind is not in perfect alignment with the idea and therefore does not want it now .

34 The Holy Spirit uses time but does not believe in it. Coming from God, He uses everything for good, but He does not believe in what is not true. Since the Holy Spirit is in your minds, your minds must also be able to believe only what is true. The Holy Spirit can speak only for this because he speaks for God. He tells you to return your whole mind to God because it has never left Him . If it has never left Him, you need only perceive it as it is to be returned. The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that the separation never occurred. The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred.

35 The ego can accept the idea that return is necessary because it can so easily make the idea seem so difficult. Yet the Holy Spirit tells you that even return is unnecessary because what never happened cannot involve any problem. It does not follow, however, that you cannot make the idea of return both necessary and difficult. It is surely clear, however, that the perfect need nothing and cannot experience perfection as a difficult accomplishment, because that is what they are.

36 This is the way in which you must perceive God's creations, bringing all of your perceptions into the one parallel line which the Holy Spirit sees. This line is the direct line of communication with God and lets your mind converge with His . There is no conflict anywhere in this perception because it means that all perception is guided by the Holy Spirit, Whose mind is fixed on God. Only the Holy Spirit can resolve conflict, because only the Holy Spirit is conflict-free. He perceives only what is true in your mind and extends outward only to what is true in other minds.

37 The difference between the ego's use of projection and projection as the Holy Spirit uses it is very simple. The ego projects to exclude and therefore to deceive. The Holy Spirit projects by recognizing Himself in every mind and thus perceives them as one . Nothing conflicts in this perception, because what the Holy Spirit perceives is the same. Wherever He looks He sees Himself, and because He is united, He offers the whole Kingdom always. This is the one message God gave to Him and for which He must speak because that is what He is . The peace of God lies in that message, and so the peace of God lies in you .

38 The great peace of the Kingdom shines in your mind forever, but it must shine outward to make you aware of it. The Holy Spirit was given you with perfect impartiality, and only by perceiving Him impartially can you perceive Him at all. The ego is legion, but the Holy Spirit is One. No darkness abides anywhere in the Kingdom, but your part is only to allow no darkness to abide in your own mind. This alignment with light is unlimited, because it is in alignment with the light of the world. Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light, we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one .

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 66
My happiness and my function are one.

1 You have surely noticed an emphasis throughout our recent lessons on the connection between fulfilling your function and achieving happiness. This is because you do not really see the connection. Yet there is more than just a connection between them; they are the same. Their forms are different, but their content is completely one.

2 The ego does constant battle with the Holy Spirit on the fundamental question of what your function is. So does it do constant battle with the Holy Spirit about what your happiness is. It is not a two-way battle. The ego attacks and the Holy Spirit does not respond. He knows what your function is. He knows that it is your happiness.

3 Today we will try to go past this wholly meaningless battle and arrive at the truth about your function. We will not engage in ceaseless arguments about what it is. We will not become hopelessly involved in defining happiness and determining the means for achieving it. We will not indulge the ego by listening to its attacks on truth. We will merely be glad that we can find out what truth is.

4 Our longer practice period today has as its purpose your acceptance of the fact that not only is there a very real connection between the function God gave you and your happiness, but that they are actually identical. God gives you only happiness. Therefore the function He gave you must be happiness, even if it appears to be different. Today's exercises are an attempt to go beyond these differences in appearance, and recognize a common content where it exists in truth.

5 Begin the ten- to 15-minute practice period by reviewing these thoughts:

6 God gives me only happiness. He has given my function to me. Therefore my function must be happiness.

7 Try to see the logic in this sequence, even if you do not yet accept the conclusion. It is only if the first two thoughts are wrong that the conclusion could be false. Let us, then, think about the premises for a while, as we are practicing.

8 The first premise is that God gives you only happiness. This could be false, of course, but in order to be false it is necessary to define God as something He is not. Love cannot give evil, and what is not happiness is evil. God cannot give what He does not have, and He cannot have what He is not. Unless God gives you only happiness, He must be evil. And it is this definition of Him which you are believing if you do not accept the first premise.

9 The second premise is that God has given you your function. We have seen that there are only two parts of your mind. One is ruled by the ego and is made up of illusions. The other is the home of the Holy Spirit, where truth abides. There are no other guides but these to choose between and no other outcomes possible as a result of your choice but the fear which the ego always engenders and the love which the Holy Spirit always offers to replace it.

10 Thus it must be that your function is established by God through His Voice or is made by the ego which you have made to replace Him. Which is true? Unless God gave your function to you, it must be the gift of the ego. Does the ego really have gifts to give, being itself an illusion and offering only the illusion of gifts?

11 Think about this during the longer practice period today. Think also about the many forms which the illusion of your function has taken in your mind and the many ways in which you try to find salvation under the ego's guidance. Did you find it? Were you happy? Did they bring you peace?

12 We need great honesty today. Remember the outcomes fairly, and consider also whether it was ever reasonable to expect happiness from anything the ego has ever proposed. Yet the ego is the only alternative to the Holy Spirit's Voice. You will listen to madness or hear the truth. Try to make this choice as you think about the premises on which our conclusion rests. We can share in this conclusion, but in no other. For God Himself shares it with us.

13 Today's idea is another giant stride in the perception of the same as the same and the different as different. On one side stand all illusions. All truth stands on the other. Let us try today to realize that only the truth is true.

14 In the shorter practice periods, which would be most helpful today if undertaken twice an hour, this form of the application is suggested:

15 My happiness and function are one because God has given me both.

16 It will not take more than a minute, and probably less, to repeat these words slowly and think about them a little as you say them.

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AUDIO Lesson 66

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 66
My happiness and my function are one.

Jesus tells us, "Today's idea is another giant stride. . . " (W.66.10.5) We heard the same thing in Lesson 61. He said that to accept our function of forgiveness allows us to know the truth about ourselves as God's Son and to be a light in this world. This will take us ". . . far beyond the ego's petty views of what you are and what your purpose is." (W.61.7.1) This phrase is also used in Lessons 94 and Lesson 135. Jesus is encouraging us to really commit to our function of forgiveness on behalf of our own happiness. These Lessons are building a strong foundation for our advancement.
There are many spiritual paths and wonderful spiritual teachers, but I don't know any teaching that has laid out a path as specifically as the Course has done in helping us remember who we are. It does a wonderful job of providing us with a step-by-step process and a spiritual technology that transforms our lives. It literally changes our perspective on everything, but we have to let this door be opened.
"You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself." (T.6.IV.9.4) (ACIM OE T.6. V.53) "The door is not barred, and it is impossible that you cannot enter the place where God would have you be. But love yourself with the Love of Christ, for so does your Father love you. You can refuse to enter, but you cannot bar the door that Christ holds open. Come unto me [says the Christ] who hold it open for you, for while I live it cannot be shut, and I live forever. God is my life and yours, and nothing is denied by God to His Son." (T.11.IV.6.3-7) (ACIM OE T.10.V.36)
In this Lesson, we are being asked to see the connection between our function and our happiness. We increasingly recognize that fulfilling our function of forgiveness leads us to happiness. In fact, forgiveness is the only way to happiness. When we release thoughts of guilt, hate, pain, grievances, distress, grief, condemnation, needing to be right, worry of any kind and all the false beliefs and concepts we hold, what remains is happiness. Any illusion we hold in our minds that we are not willing to bring to awareness for the purpose of healing holds us in bondage to the ego and the world. It is not about indulging our emotions, but it is about bringing awareness and expression to them so that they are no longer hidden and can be healed.
The ego has no power except the power we give it. As long as we do give it power, it has a strong hold on us. The beautiful thing is that behind every problem there is a miracle, but we need to clear all that blocks it. When our minds are clouded with our own thoughts, there is no space made for the miracle. It takes willingness on our part to bring discipline to our minds through the practices that are offered in these Lessons. Sometimes we hold thoughts that we are simply unwilling to release. We justify why we need to hold onto them. For example, we believe that if we don't hold onto our grievance about someone who has wronged us, we are "letting them off the hook." Or we believe that if we don't hold onto our grief, it means that we have stopped loving the person who died. We give ourselves all kinds of reasons for holding onto the thoughts that keep us from our happiness. Now we are called to forgive these thoughts so happiness can be revealed to us. As long as we stubbornly hold onto whatever thoughts are more important than our happiness, we will be keeping it at bay.
I was recently upset when a friend, whom I trusted with some confidences, seemed to betray me by sharing what I had said. I wanted to be right about the way I saw this, and we went back and forth in our emails defending our positions, needing to be right about the way we saw this situation. Did I want to be right or did I want peace? I realized that, in the end, there is only one ego. We all lie. We all betray confidences. We all want to be right, but in defending and needing to be right, there can be no peace and no happiness. It is in being willing to be wrong and recognizing we are all the same that we can let it all go. When we are willing to ask for help to see the innocence in our brother, we take a step in letting go of our position. It means we want peace more than we want to be right. The Holy Spirit knows how this situation can be used for the highest good for all. I just need to entrust everything to His care; and in that, there is immediate relief, as attack thoughts fall away and peace prevails. It is such a gift to ourselves. It is how our function is fulfilled.
Why do we stubbornly resist our function of forgiveness? It is because we resist and fear God's love. Crazy as it sounds, in the end, we are afraid of losing ourselves. That is why we prefer our own thoughts, even if they bring us pain because that is how we hold onto our separate identity. It is the reason that "The ego does constant battle with the Holy Spirit on the fundamental question of what your function is." (W.66.2.1) To the ego, it is all about its survival separate from God. Holding onto attack and condemnation ensures its survival. We make others responsible for our condition. "If your brothers are part of you and you blame them for your deprivation, you are blaming yourself. And you cannot blame yourself without blaming them. That is why blame must be undone, not seen elsewhere." (T.11.IV.5.1-3) (ACIM OE T.10.V.35)
We battle God though He does not engage in this war but simply waits for us to change our minds. We stage our battle with Him by blaming Him for our unhappiness, asking questions like, "God, how could you let this happen?" Or we may believe He brings us hard Lessons to test our character. Or we feel we deserve the punishment we are experiencing in our lives because of our past sins. Yet our battle with God is not a two-way battle. The ego attacks and the Holy Spirit does not respond. To the Holy Spirit, there is no opposing force because the ego is nothing so there is nothing there to attack. It is illusory. It does not even exist! It is literally just a thought in our minds. It only has the power we give it. However, to us it does seem to be a battle between what the ego tells us will make us happy and what is being offered by the Holy Spirit.
The ego is constantly engaging us in conflict, making sure we keep projecting responsibility onto others for our unhappiness and keeping us invested in the illusion. The ego sends us out to battle and then makes us feel guilty for what it had us do! As long as we continue to project our guilt onto others, it keeps us in the ego's game; and the ego's game is to make sure we don't renege on our decision to maintain allegiance to it as our primary guide. When we choose the Holy Spirit instead by choosing to forgive, the ego lashes out because the power of our minds to choose against it is its biggest threat. Thus, it knows its days are numbered.
We think we know where to look for our happiness, and we do have moments of happiness, yet they are elusive. They don't last because we are constantly casting about wondering what will make us happy. We may think it is a change of job, a new relationship, more money, or a holiday, yet when these things come about, we are still left with our thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, which is the real basis for our unhappiness. Happiness that comes from getting what we want in external circumstances, arranged the way we think we want them, always comes at someone's expense. Happiness comes at the opponent's loss. In the ego world, everyone is an opponent, as the thought system of the ego is based on "one or the other." It comes from our belief in separation and differences. Our needs take precedence in our minds over that of others, but true happiness can never come at anyone else's expense. Jesus says our function of healing is the only thing that makes us truly happy. Any happiness that comes from getting our way will ultimately bring guilt and pain.
Jesus lays out for us a very logical framework in which to look at what God is. He starts by saying, "The first premise is that God gives you only happiness." (W.66.6.1) Clearly, we are ambivalent about this premise. Our greatest obstacle to peace is still the fear of God. We see God as dualistic just as the Bible describes Him where He gives both good and evil, love and destruction. Jesus assures us He is not like that. If He were like that, there would have to be evil in Him as well as love. Is this possible? No. He offers us only His Love. There are no tests, no lessons He brings, and no hoops to jump through. He does not even ask us to worship Him . "God cannot give what He does not have, and He cannot have what He is not." (W.66.6.4) If you accept that Love cannot deliver us evil, then God cannot be the dualistic God of the Bible. If evil did exist, then God would have to be the source of it. Since, "Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them," (T.26.VII.4.7) (ACIM OE T.26.VIII.49) we are an idea in God's Mind and we have never left our Source. Therefore, there can be no evil in us as there is none in God.
Now we have two choices in this world. We either choose the Holy Spirit and with it comes our happiness, or we choose the ego, and then fear, pain, and suffering are the results. It is a simple choice, but in this complex world, nothing seems simple to us. We don't always see how we are choosing against our happiness. The ego has duped us into thinking that if we pursue the things of this world, that is where our happiness is. We have all tried that with little success. This is when disillusionment sets in. Everything we choose to do in pursuing happiness in the world holds the content of fear. When we choose with the Holy Spirit as our Guide, He shows us our true source of happiness. It is when we choose to forgive what stands in the way that peace prevails. It is that simple, no matter how complex the problems that show up for us seem to be. When we choose with the ego, we will always experience pain, even if it initially appears as pleasure.
God created us and the only thing about us that is real is His nature, which is pure peace, joy, and love. He brings no lessons. He offers only His Love. We do not have to sacrifice anything when we choose for God's love because He only wants our happiness. Jesus asks us to give up this meaningless battle and not indulge ourselves in needless efforts to define happiness or indulge the ego in senseless arguments about how to achieve happiness. When the ego guides our search for truth, it makes sure we never find it. Philosophers have debated what truth is and have found no real answers, but Jesus says, "We will merely be glad that we can find out what truth is." (W.66.3.5) It is available to us behind every circumstance and every problem when we are willing to look clearly at the ego. That is all we need to do, which is to see it in operation. We need to stop listening to its lies. We have made it real, but now we need to dispel it by looking at it with the light of truth inside us. It does not love us. In fact, it wants us dead while masquerading as our protector.
What do you think you need in order to be happy? Think of the things that you wish for, plan for, and try to manifest in your life that you believe define your happiness: a relationship, a car, a trip, a vacation, money, a new job, better sex, a more confident self-image, special powers, more expertise, better coping tools, more control, a nicer ego, more power, more attention, or more love. We seek for what we think we are lacking, yet God specified our nature, which means that nothing is lacking. He asks us to think of the many ways we have tried to find salvation (happiness) under the ego's guidance. We can obviously fool ourselves into thinking we have found it. That is why we are told, "We need great honesty today," (W.66.9.6) to admit the truth. We do not have to do without any of the things we are currently attached to for our happiness. We are not asked to sacrifice anything. We only need to appreciate that we are truly not free until we awaken to our reality, which is our freedom and our joy. With that, everything will be provided. It requires trust, the first characteristic of the Teacher of God. (Manual for Teachers)
I had a dream that someone had stolen my purse because I had left it unattended. I was extremely unhappy because I was somewhere overseas, far from home, and my airline tickets, cash, credit cards, and everything were gone. Then I had a moment where I said to myself, "This is a dream. Therefore, it is not happening, and I don't have to buy into this scenario" My mind did not completely believe it because I was not yet awake, but the awareness was there that it was a dream, and I could let go of the fear. What a wonderful metaphor for our lives. We feel lost. We experience lack. We feel far from home. We lose hope that we will ever find our way back to our true happiness and peace. Yet Jesus assures us that the outcome is certain for us all. We on the road to awakening, recognizing that this world is a dream too, and our sins have had absolutely no effect.
"On one side stand all illusions. All truth stands on the other." (W.66.10.6-7) " You will listen to madness or hear the truth." (W.66.10.1) "Let us try today to realize that only the truth is true." (W.66.10.8) We realize only truth is true by becoming more and more vigilant in watching our minds for ego thoughts that block the truth. When they are brought to truth, they dissolve into the nothingness from which they came. We don't need to listen to the false. When we do listen, we are choosing against our happiness.
There are only two guides available to us. One brings fear and the other brings love. How do I know which guide I am following? When I follow the insanity of my ego, I try to control everything about my life. I believe in my separated state, the body, and the world. I see the world as real. I stay busy and focused on my plans and protect myself through projection, attack, and defense. The function I give myself is all about my body, getting what I think I want and need from other bodies. I feel weak, lacking, needy and vulnerable. I let nothing slip past my awareness without my judgment.
We may be experiencing turmoil. We may be faced with a problem. We may feel confused, and then we ask for help and suddenly there is a jolt or nudge of inspiration. We get an idea that seems to come out of the blue. We have a moment of clarity, or someone says something to us that inspires us and connects with something in our own minds, which validates our internal guidance. Or there are synchronicities in terms of events, people, or messages, which show up that take us in new directions. Or we observe some meaningful patterns or common themes that show up that bring some new perspectives. Inspiration may come in meditation, but to hear the Holy Spirit means that the ego must be seen as a lie. "You will listen to madness or hear the truth." (W.66.10.1)
When I met Don, I was not sure about this relationship. I had been widowed for ten years and felt that a single lifestyle was the option that best met my needs. I resisted getting into the relationship and was very confused. I sat down and asked for guidance. What I got from the Holy Spirit was, "I will guide you every step of the way. No one can lose. You have known each other before. Trust. Your uncertainty is an act of faithlessness. All blocks will be removed. You are opening your heart. Love is the only pathway home." It felt like the truth to me and I chose to listen to this message, rather than to my haranguing ego, which gave me all kinds of reasons why this relationship was not for me. I knew I could trust what I was given because my trust was now stronger in the Holy Spirit due to past experiences where His promises were always delivered. I recognize more and more that I don't know my own best interests, but Someone in me does know. This kind of guidance comes to me when I sit down with a pen in hand and go into meditation with a question. The answer comes when I ask and write down what comes to me. I am always intrigued by how loving and helpful it is.
The important thing about guidance is discernment. The ego can fool us so that, while we may get guidance, the ego will use it to inflate itself with its own specialness or inflate itself with pride or arrogance. It can be a mixed bag until we get better at mind training and discernment. This is where great honesty is called for. It is not always easy to see where the ego has snuck in.
It is all a process. Be gentle with yourself as you sort through the wishes and dreams of the ego and bring awareness to its game of seeking and never finding. The ego is in secret alliance with the body and it is working against us. It is working against our true happiness. The Kingdom of God is truly within, and when we seek outside of ourselves, we will always stay on this hamster wheel. The only way out is to undo the false beliefs and concepts in the mind and release them by acknowledging that we don't know where our happiness lies, and we are now opening our minds and expressing a willingness to learn.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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