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

Attack and Fear

V. The Only Answer

45 Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first because it is capricious and does not mean its maker well. That is because it believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well, it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad when He has brought you home, and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as part of you. Herein lies its primary perceptual error, the foundation of its whole thought system.

46 When God created you, He made you part of Him. That is why attack within the Kingdom is impossible. You made the ego without love, and so it does not love you . You could not remain within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raised the first question that was ever asked, but one which it can never answer. That question, "What are you?" was the beginning of doubt.

47 The ego has never answered any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than obscure the question because you have the answer and the ego is afraid of you . You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand one basic fact that the ego does not know. The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers . Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another and has been answered . Since the Holy Spirit answers truly, He answers for all time , which means that everyone has the answer now .

48 The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it does believe that part of the same mind that made it is against it. It interprets this as a justification for attacking its maker. It believes that the best defense is attack and wants you to believe it . Unless you do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies though not of brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body, not the mind, as its ally because the body is not part of you. This makes the body the ego's friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you side with this alliance, you will be afraid because you are siding with an alliance of fear.

49 The ego and the body conspire against your minds, and because the ego realizes that its "enemy" can end them both merely by knowing they are not part of him, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which is real, that the mind is its own learning device and that the learning device is more real than it is. No one in his right mind could possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind does believe it.

50 Hear then the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions which the ego raises. You are a Child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists, and only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real, and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him because you will be awake. Your dreams have contained many of the ego's symbols, and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know . When you awake, you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you.

51 Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you because they are beautiful and true. In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt there because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered, it has never been . Being alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question. The time that was spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity.

52 You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once quite certain in your minds has become only the ability for certainty. The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of un certainty because abilities are potentials, not accomplishments. Your abilities are totally useless in the presence of God's accomplishments and also of yours. Accomplishments are results which have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. You must remember, however, that when you put yourselves in an impossible situation, you believed that the impossible was possible.

53 Abilities must be developed , or you cannot use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kindest solution possible to what you have made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can get you out of it . You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself. This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom with both a Guide to find it and a means to keep it. You have a model to follow who will strengthen your command and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your perceived enslavement, a fact which itself demonstrates that you are not enslaved.

54 You are in an impossible situation only because you thought it was possible to be in one. You would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection and proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect were inadequate to bring themselves to the awareness of their perfection and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of "reasoning" which the ego engages in, but God, Who knows that His creations are perfect, does not insult them. This would be as impossible as the ego's notion that it has insulted Him.

55 That is why the Holy Spirit never commands. To command is to assume in equality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because you made them . What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His own certainty? We have frequently stated that what you teach you are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your sanity, which is the one thing in which you can find the sanity He gave you.

56 God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack which God knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego's voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it could shatter yours. God did not blot it out because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer. His Answer is your Teacher.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 69
My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

1 No one can look upon what your grievances conceal. Because your grievances are hiding the light of the world in you, everyone stands in darkness, and you beside him. But as the veil of your grievances is lifted, you are released with him. Share your salvation now with him who stood beside you when you were in hell. He is your brother in the light of the world which saves you both.

2 Today let us make another real attempt to reach the light in you. Before we undertake this in our more extended practice period, let us devote several minutes in thinking about what we are trying to do. We are literally attempting to get in touch with the salvation of the world. We are trying to see past the veil of darkness that keeps it concealed. We are trying to let the veil be lifted and see the tears of God's Son disappear in the sunlight.

3 Let us begin our longer practice period today with the full realization of all this and real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else. Salvation is our only need. There is no other purpose here and no other function to fulfill. Learning salvation is our only goal. Let us end the ancient search today by finding the light in us and holding it up for everyone who searches with us to look upon and rejoice.

4 Very quietly now, with your eyes closed, try to let go of all the content which generally occupies your consciousness. Think of your mind as a vast round area, surrounded by a layer of heavy dark clouds. You can see only the clouds because you seem to be standing outside the whole area, and quite apart from it.

5 From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe there is a brilliant light hidden by the clouds. The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see. Therefore you do not attempt to go through them and past them, which is the only way in which you would be really convinced of their lack of substance. We will make this attempt today.

6 After you have thought about the importance of what you are trying to do for yourself and the world, try to settle down in perfect stillness, remembering only how much you want to reach the light in you today—now. Determine to go past the clouds. Reach out and touch them in your mind; brush them aside with your hand; feel them resting on your cheeks and forehead and eyelids as you go through them. Go on; clouds cannot stop you.

7 If you are doing the exercises properly, you will begin to feel a sense of being lifted up and carried ahead. Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light. You are in accord with His Will. You cannot fail because your will is His.

8 Have confidence in your Father today. And be certain that He has heard you and has answered you. You may not recognize His answer yet, but you can indeed be sure that it is given you, and you will yet receive it. Try, as you attempt to go through the clouds to the light, to hold this confidence in your mind. Try to remember that you are at last joining your will to God's. Try to keep the thought clearly in mind that what you undertake with God must succeed. Then let the power of God work in you and through you, that His Will and yours may be done.

9 In the shorter practice periods, which you will want to do as often as possible in view of the importance of today's idea to you and your happiness, remind yourself that your grievances are hiding the light of the world from your awareness. Remind yourself also that you are not searching for it alone and that you do know where to look for it. Say, then:

10 My grievances hide the light of the world in me. I cannot see what I have hidden. Yet I want to let it be revealed to me for my salvation and the salvation of the world.

11 Also, be sure to tell yourself:

12 If I hold this grievance, the light of the world will be hidden from me,

13 if you are tempted to hold anything against anyone today.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 69
My grievances hide the light of the world in me.

In order to know our true nature as given us by God, we need to release the blocks that conceal the truth of who we are. By holding grievances, we have chosen to forget our true nature. How motivated are we in remembering God's love that has never left us? His memory is still in our minds, but as long as we side with the ego, we will hold grievances, which is what the ego bids us do. Its existence depends on our agreement to blame others and see them as responsible for our unhappiness and lack of peace.
We are not who we think we are, but as long as we hold grievances, we won't know our true identity. As was pointed out in the Lesson yesterday, "Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake." (W.68.2.1) The only way to connect with the Christ Self is ". . . to see past the veil of darkness that keeps it concealed." (W.69.2.4) The meditation practice offered in this Lesson is to help us experience the light that we are behind the clouds of illusion that keep the light hidden from our awareness.
The practice starts with a mind-set of "real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else." (W.69.3.1) We must come to recognize there is no other purpose and no other function here to fulfill. (W.69.3.3) You need to see the "importance of what you are trying to do for yourselves and the world," (W.69.6.1) and "Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you." (W.69.8.1) There must be a deep and profound sense of the value we give to this activity. He uses the word "try" because he recognizes that we are still practicing something not easy for us.
Jesus knows this is a process for us. Until we experience the light behind the clouds, "From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe" it is there. (W.69.5.1) Until we have some experience of the peace, joy, and limitless love, our motivation will not be strong. When we have some experiences of this state of peace, our motivation will be enhanced. Right now, Jesus acknowledges, "The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see." (W.69.5.2-3) Until we have the experience of going ". . . through them and past them,"  we won't "be really convinced of their lack of substance." (W.69.5.4) Faith and trust will lead us back to ourselves.
What are these clouds? They are our mistaken thoughts about ourselves and the world, based on the belief that we left our home in God, and now we are guilty. We established our own kingdom and with that decision came uncertainty and fear. We hold others responsible for our condition and expect to be betrayed in turn by them. This is the basis for the grievances we hold against them. We don't realize it all starts in our own minds.
The stories we hold about ourselves and the world make up the clouds, which cover over the truth. The clouds are all illusory. Our minds try to bring order to chaos. We try to bring some explanation as to why we are the way we are, and why our lives look as they do, but it is all make-believe storytelling. We are making it all up. When we have some realization of this, there is a sense of disorientation. The ground we seem to be standing on no longer feels as solid. The beliefs and opinions we once held dear are no longer as important. Doubt has entered our minds. We have begun to see our thoughts have no reality. We are actually making progress. We are vibrating at a higher frequency and everything at a lower frequency starts to fall away. In this process, we may seem to lose what we value until we learn it is valueless. Our friends may fall away, our jobs may no longer be there, our relationships may be over, we may experience financial loss, and other changes may show up that no longer serve us. This can feel painful until we look back and see how everything was perfect for our journey.
Who we think we are as bodies and personalities and what this world is all about, all seem so very convincing, which is why the experience of going past the clouds is such a challenge for us, yet so important. "After you have thought about the importance of what you are trying to do for yourself and the world, try to settle down in perfect stillness, remembering only how much you want to reach the light in you today---now!" (W.69.6.1) This world does not actually exist, but it is the world we believe in and is a projection of the thought system we hold in our minds. It is a thought system of sin, guilt, and fear. What we are letting go of are the grievances of the past, the guilt that comes from what we think we have made of ourselves, and the fear of retaliation in the future.
We have a purpose here that Jesus says is "dearer to us than all else." (W.69.3.1) We only have one need and that is our salvation. What that really means is our healing. More than anything, there is a part of the mind that wants to feel healed and whole. Yes, there is resistance because there is another part of the mind that has chosen separation and is still invested in being right about what we are and the nature of the world. This part still thinks it knows how to find its own happiness, but ultimately, we are taking this course because we have heard the calling in us for our home. This part of us no longer wants to walk in fear, nor to experience lack and the loneliness of separation with its "gifts" of specialness and individuality . "You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace." (T.5.III.10.7) (ACIM OE T.5.V.42) "You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world." (T.12.IV.5.1) (ACIM OE T.11.V.40)
"Think of your mind as a vast circle, surrounded by a layer of heavy, dark clouds." (W.69.4.2) These clouds surround our minds to conceal the memory of God's love. All we see in this place are the clouds because we are in the clouds. "You can see only the clouds because you seem to be standing outside the circle and quite apart from it." (W.69.4.3) Looking from where we think we are, we do seem to be outside of the circle of light and quite separate from it. This circle of light is all around us, yet we don't see it because our eyes were made not to see. All we see, instead, are the heavy and dark clouds, which are the ego's clouds of guilt, fear, anxiety, and depression.
As we do the work of forgiveness by bringing awareness to how we are invested in our specialness, space is made in our minds for the light of our Being to come through. We release our brothers with us because we are all One, and thus we ". . . see the tears of God's Son disappear in the sunlight," (W.69.2.5) which is a metaphor for the beauty that comes with recognition of our innocence and that of our brothers.
We have come to think of the ego identity as our reality. We think the idols of this world (money, special relationships, bodies, things of the world) will make us happy. The ego tries to convince us that this is our reality, and there is nothing else. The ego resists having us remember who we are because if we really knew our holiness, we would have no more investment in the ego. It is of significant threat to the ego, but it would end our ancient search.
 As we do the practice, remember the clouds are not external. They are our thoughts about our experiences in this world and the grievances we hold. They are all illusions, but it is important to see they have no power, which is why we can go past them. In order to enhance our motivation, it is important to recognize that judgments and grievances always bring us pain. Trying to solve problems by rearranging the clouds does nothing. It will not bring us to the light. Yet this is where we put most of our attention by trying to fix things in the world of form.
I have always been a very responsible person who has taken care of people in my life. This role reflects a need to make things better for people in my life by sacrificing for them. In this role, I give to others, yet I do not readily receive. I have worked with this vigilantly for many years and have given up much of the people-pleasing behaviors that have not served me. As I do so, my relationships become more authentic and wholesome. I recognize the root of this conspiracy against myself has been self-betrayal. It is about betraying my authentic Self and leaving my true essence. I clearly remember a childhood of innocent awareness, knowing I was not meant for the role I had taken on. As I become aware of what I am doing that does not serve me and how I am hurting myself, my motivation for healing the mind is enhanced. I am more willing to forgive myself for my misperceptions. Only as I recognize the equality in everyone can I heal my feelings of self-betrayal. This opportunity has been given to me in my caregiving of my elderly mother whom I was never close to. She is in my life to help me to see my past roles and to give over the expectations I place on myself. She is a wonderful mirror for me of what needs healing in my own mind.
Today, "Very quietly now, with your eyes closed, try to let go of all the content that generally occupies your consciousness." (W.69.4.1) This takes practice. It takes a level of concentration, discipline, and attentiveness that we are not used to. Thus, this meditation practice as introduced in Lesson 41 and continued here is not one of dissociation, nor allowing our mind to become lazy. This Lesson is about focus and attentiveness. It takes "real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else." (W.69.3.1) Let us be determined today in our practice by recognizing we are investing in our happiness through this practice. Our happiness lies beyond the clouds and is in what we are in truth.
Let us not be tempted to hold anything against anyone today. This is not about trying to feel loving to everyone but about honestly looking at our thoughts, grievances, opinions we hold, stories we tell about ourselves and others, needing to be right, relying on ourselves to figure things out, and trying to go past all of that. It is recognizing I don't know anything. This is the veil of darkness we are trying to see past. This is what conceals the truth of who we are.
Make a commitment to yourself that you will use this day as a classroom for your awakening to the truth of who you are. Every person and every situation are in your classroom today to help you do just that. We have no other purpose or function here. We are here for no other reason. Reaching this place of light and peace in us is our only goal. It is the only way you can "Then let the power of God work in you and through you, that His Will and yours be done." (W.69.8.6)
All the power of the universe is available to help you with this. "Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light." (W.69.7.2) His power is behind every effort we make. We are assured that we can have confidence in our ability to experience the light in us. As you enter this practice, hold this confidence in mind. We are joining our will with God's. Thus, we are certain to succeed. Will we immediately achieve success? It is possible, but for most of us, it will probably be more of a process of undoing, and yet with every effort we make, we move closer to our goal.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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