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

Attack and Fear

V.a. To Have, Give All to All

57 Like any good teacher, the Holy Spirit does know more than you do now , but He teaches only to make you equal with Him. This is because you had already taught wrongly, having believed what was not true. You did not believe in your own perfection. Could God teach you that you had made a split mind, when He knows your mind only as whole? What God does know is that His communication channels are not open to Him so that He cannot impart His joy and know that His Children are wholly joyous. This is an ongoing process, not in time, but in eternity. God's extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one. So He thought, "My Children sleep and must be awakened."

58 How can you wake children better and more kindly than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares which frightened them so badly were not real because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now . Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so that they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. Then when bad dreams come, they will call on the light themselves to dispel them.

59 A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasize what you must avoid to escape from harm so much as what you need to learn to have joy. This is true even of the world's teachers. Consider the confusion a child would experience if he were told, "Do not do this because it might hurt you and make you unsafe, but if you do that you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid." All of this could be included in only three words: "Do only that!" This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood, and very easily remembered.

60 The Holy Spirit never itemizes errors because He does not frighten children, and those who lack wisdom are children. Yet He always answers their call, and His dependability makes them more certain. Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not know the difference. The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among dreams. He merely shines them away. His light is always the call to awake, whatever you have been dreaming. Nothing lasting lies in dreams, and the Holy Spirit, shining with the light from God Himself, speaks only for what lasts forever.

61 When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Many think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the Mind. The body neither lives nor dies because it cannot contain you who are life. If we share the same mind, you can overcome death because I did . Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not willing at all. Like any other impossible solution which the ego attempts, it will not work .

62 God did not make the body because it is destructible and therefore not of the Kingdom. The body is the symbol of what you think you are. It is clearly a separation device and therefore does not exist. The Holy Spirit, as always, takes what you have made and translates it into a learning device for you. Again as always, He re-interprets what the ego uses as an argument for separation into a demonstration against it. If the mind can heal the body but the body cannot heal the mind, then the mind must be stronger . Every miracle demonstrates this.

63 We have said that the Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracles. This is because He always tells you that only the mind is real since only the mind can be shared . The body is separate and therefore cannot be part of you. To be of one mind is meaningful, but to be of one body is meaningless. By the laws of mind, then, the body is meaningless. To the Holy Spirit, there is no order of difficulty in miracles. This is familiar enough to you by now, but it has not yet become believable. Therefore, you do not understand it and cannot use it.

64 We have too much to accomplish on behalf of the Kingdom to let this crucial concept slip away. It is a real foundation stone of the thought system I teach and want you to teach. You cannot perform miracles without believing it because it is a belief in perfect equality. Only one equal gift can be offered to the equal Sons of God, and that is full appreciation . Nothing more and nothing less. Without a range, an order of difficulty is meaningless, and there must be no range in what you offer to each other.

65 The Holy Spirit, who leads to God, translates communication into being, just as He ultimately translates perception into knowledge. [You do not lose what you communicate. ] The ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure, and for pride. The insanity of this perception makes it a fearful one indeed. The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication and because communicating is sharing, it becomes communion. You might argue that fear as well as love can be communicated and therefore can be shared. Yet this is not so real as it sounds. Those who communicate fear are promoting attack, and attack always breaks communication, making it impossible.

66 Egos do join together in temporary allegiance but always for what each one can get separately. The Holy Spirit communicates only what each one can give to all . He never takes anything back because He wants you to keep it. Therefore, His teaching begins with the lesson:

67 To have , give all to all.

68 This is a very preliminary step, and the only one you must take for yourself. It is not even necessary that you complete the step yourself, but it is necessary that you turn in that direction. Having chosen to go that way, you place yourself in charge of the journey, where you and only you must remain.

69 This step appears to exacerbate conflict rather than resolve it because it is the beginning step in reversing your perception and turning it right-side up. This conflicts with the upside-down perception which you have not yet abandoned, or the change in direction would not have been necessary. Some people remain at this step for a very long time, experiencing very acute conflict. At this point, many try to accept the conflict rather than take the next step towards its resolution. Having taken the first step, however, they will be helped. Once they have chosen what they cannot complete alone, they are no longer alone.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 71
Only God's plan for salvation will work.

1 You may not realize that the ego has set up a plan for salvation in opposition to God's. It is this plan in which you believe. Since it is the opposite of God's, you also believe that to accept God's plan in place of the ego's is to be damned. This sounds preposterous, of course. Yet after we have considered just what the ego's plan is, perhaps you will realize that, however preposterous it may be, you do believe it.

2 The ego's plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved. Thus the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself.

3 Each grievance you hold is a declaration and an assertion in which you believe that says, "If this were different, I would be saved." The change of mind that is necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself.

4 The role assigned to your own mind in this plan, then, is simply to determine what other than itself must change if you are to be saved. According to this insane plan, any perceived source of salvation is acceptable, provided that it will not work. This ensures that the fruitless search will continue, for the illusion persists that, although this hope has always failed, there are still grounds for hope in other places and in other things. Another person will yet serve better; another situation will yet offer success.

5 Such is the ego's plan for your salvation. Surely you can see how it is in strict accord with the ego's basic doctrine, "Seek but do not find." For what could more surely guarantee that you will not find salvation than to channelize all your efforts in searching for it where it is not?

6 God's plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only. Otherwise your purpose is divided, and you will attempt to follow two plans for salvation which are diametrically opposed in all ways. The result can only bring confusion, misery, and a deep sense of failure and despair.

7 How can you escape all this? Very simply. The idea for today is the answer. Only God's plan for salvation will work. There can be no real conflict about this, because there is no possible alternative to God's plan that will save you. His is the only plan that is certain in its outcome. His is the only plan that must succeed.

8 Let us practice recognizing this certainty today. And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible. All things are possible to God. Salvation must be yours because of His plan, which cannot fail.

9 Begin the two longer practice periods for today by thinking about today's idea and realizing that it contains two parts, each making equal contribution to the whole. God's plan for your salvation will work, and other plans will not. Do not allow yourself to become depressed or angry at the second part; it is inherent in the first. And in the first is your full release from all your own insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself. They have led to depression and anger. But God's plan will succeed. It will lead to release and joy.

10 Remembering this, let us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us. Ask Him very specifically:

11 What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?

12 Give Him full charge of the rest of the practice period, and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation. He will answer you in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. Refuse not to hear. The very fact that you are doing the exercises proves that you have some willingness to listen. This is enough to establish your claim to God's answer.

13 In the shorter practice periods tell yourself often that God's plan for salvation, and only His, will work. Be alert to all temptation to hold grievances today, and respond to them with this form of today's idea:

14 Holding grievances is the opposite of God's plan for Salvation. And only His plan will work.

15 Try to remember the idea for today some six or seven times an hour. There could be no better way to spend a half-minute or less than to remember the Source of your salvation, and to see It where It is.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 71
Only God's plan for salvation will work.

Manipulating, planning, conniving, and strategizing in order to gain happiness in the world are where we put a lot of energy in an attempt to keep ourselves fulfilled. What plans do you have that you think will bring you happiness? What do you want to be right about? What grievances are you holding, and who needs to change or do something different in order for you to be happy? Our whole focus is on the idea that if someone acted differently or if we got what we wanted, we would be saved. In other words, we would be happy. The source of our salvation is seen to be outside ourselves. If something outside ourselves were different, we think we would be happy. We make demands of everyone when we follow the ego's plan for salvation. We don't want to hear that there is no hope in our plans for happiness. This is not good news to us as long as we identify with the character in the dream. Jesus says that all of us who have come here hold some hope of finding happiness in the idols of the world.
It is so easy to get caught in power struggles with those around us and to hold onto grievances and complaints when we feel others are not acting the way we deem they should. In other words, they are not fulfilling the function we have defined for them, and now this is a cause, in our minds, for grievances. We perceive ourselves as innocent victims of those people who betray us and leave us at their mercy. We feel like no one knows or understands us, and we perceive ourselves as unfairly treated. "The ego's plan for salvation centers around holding grievances." (W.71.2.1) The ego's plan for salvation centers around our being angry and hurt and holding grievances against everyone and everything for not saving us from our unhappiness.
We tell ourselves that if it weren't for this person, this situation, or this event, we would not be experiencing the difficulties we have today. We make them responsible for how we feel. As far as we are concerned, they have failed us. All our complaints, manipulations, and attacks are geared toward getting the changes we think we want and need. We think that if we could show them how they wronged us, they would change their tune, and we would be saved. In other words, we are projecting our own lack of happiness onto others. Projection is, in fact, the human condition. Healing is about withdrawing our projections and taking responsibility for them, seeing them for what they are and thus seeing the cause of all our distress as starting in our own minds.
Jesus tells us over and over that this world is not our natural environment, and we don't fit here. We will never find the comfort, happiness, and peace we are seeking with the ego as guide. "The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise." (T.4.I.11.1) (ACIM OT T.4.II.18) "Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession." (T.4.I.11.4) (ACIM OE T.4.II.18) When we realize that this is not our home, we give up trying to adjust to a world that does not fit what we really are. We become motivated to do the work of undoing what the ego has taught. We begin to accept that true peace and happiness will never be found in the world. It can only be found when we accept that "Only God's plan for salvation will work." (W.71) This is not exactly a thought we embrace while we still try to find our happiness in the world. When we are ready to acknowledge that our plans will never bring real happiness, we start to look deeper into our own minds where true happiness lies.
This process requires a deep and sincere level of honesty with ourselves to see how we are constantly using others on behalf of our own salvation. It is the nature of our special relationships, whether of special love or special hate, that we are actively choosing against our salvation by believing it is outside of ourselves. Our focus on winning at another's expense and bargaining for what we want, works in opposition to our reality as we were created and is in opposition to God. Some of the strategies that we use to try to extract what we want from others can be quite aggressive, while others can be very subtle. Some strategies we might recognize in ourselves are when we punish someone, who has disappointed us, by ignoring them, giving them the silent treatment, giving them a look of disapproval, shedding tears so they know how they have hurt us, threatening to leave, withdrawing, pleading, begging, or cajoling. Or, we may try bargaining by giving them something they want so they will give us what we want in return.
Can you see the many ways we try to get our needs met? It is essentially the human condition, yet Jesus says, "Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says, 'If this were different, I would be saved'. The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself . " (W.71.2.4-5) All of us feel this way. That is why we are here. This thought system has made the world. It does not make us bad. Our part is to look at this thought system so we can see clearly how the ego has set it all up. It is set up to defeat our own best interests!
"Like to a dream of punishment, in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this 'something else,' a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself . " (T.27.VII.1.3-7) (ACIM OE T.27.VIII.62)
Jesus is showing us that we can escape the ego's secret wish of maintaining the separation and maintaining differences. It is up to us to bring awareness to how we are playing the ego's game, but we are not alone in this, as he is our helper and guide in this unknown territory. We made the choice for the separation, and now we can choose to take responsibility for our attack thoughts, judgments, and grievances and bring them to the inner altar in our minds where truth resides. As yesterday's Lesson reminds us, "My salvation comes from me." (W.70) I am responsible for my happiness. No one else. I am not the victim of the world I see. There is a way out. How much do we want it?
Holding onto grievances and projecting the guilt in our minds onto others is a way we punish others for what we perceive they have done. We would rather feel rotten and hold onto grievances just as long as we get to be right and make others responsible. Sometimes we even build alliances to convince ourselves of the truth of our perceptions by finding others who will agree with us. This is the ego at work! As long as we believe in the ego's plan for salvation, we will strive to meet its requirements. These are based on the belief that if someone did it differently, we would feel safe and happy. If circumstances were different, we would be saved. We all came to this world to experience this kind of control and our own independence. We all want to hold onto our way, which explains why there is resistance to choosing God's plan.
As long as we look to anything external for our happiness, as long as we continue to feel like victims of the world outside our own minds, as long as we hold grievances, and as long as we project our own attack thoughts onto others and make them responsible for how we feel, the ego's plan is dominant, and we hold onto our faith in its savage and tyrannical control. We continue on this road until the pain and misery of our failed relationships and our never-ending problems motivate us to find another way.
"'Seek but do not find' remains this world's stern decree, and no one who pursues the world's goals can do otherwise." (M.13.5.8) That is the ego's mantra, and that is what we do as long as we still have some hope that the world has something to offer. We still keep trying to find this elusive happiness in the world, and when our plans don't work, and they never will, we "become depressed or angry." (W.71.8.3) Your "insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself" (W.71.8.4) ultimately bring depression and anger. Haven't we tried our best? Aren't we just innocent victims of circumstances beyond our control? Isn't it important not to have people control us? Should we not set firm boundaries to protect ourselves? Are we not justified in holding onto grievances when people are being so unreasonable? Our plans for our happiness have always failed, yet we keep hoping they will work just this once. With each event and circumstance, we think that this time it will work, already knowing deep down that once again it won't. Even what we extract with our manipulations does not really satisfy. Yet we persist.
While we are inclined to justify our anger and defend our position, it is not the route to peace, happiness, and real joy; the only way is by letting go of our grievances. The only answer is given us by God. Our own answers are always wrong. Does this threaten us? You bet. It would be the end of the ego if we really stopped listening to its madness. In my experience, when I have been able to release my stubborn resistance, release my demands and expectations, and sincerely choose the Holy Spirit's script and not my own, miracles result. My mind then shifts to a place of quiet, of surrender, and of happiness. Anger never feels good. Oh yes, we all know its expression can have an immediate payoff, but then the guilt arises, and we end up paying the price in loss of peace. Our fear increases because we always expect retaliation, whether real or imagined. Thus, we are only hurting ourselves when we project guilt onto others.
"God's plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only." (W.71.5.1-2) When we follow two plans, we are totally confused and miserable, and it becomes impossible to achieve either one. That is what we are doing currently. We are willing to accept that forgiveness brings us happiness because we have experienced this is so. We know that taking responsibility for our projections brings healing, but we still want to hold onto our special relationships and try to extract from them what we still think will meet our needs. We still try to find some happiness in the things of this world. This brings conflict because we now hold two conflicting thought systems. We want to forgive and love, but we also want to retaliate and pursue our own goals. We want our specialness, which comes at seeing others different than us. We want to maintain our separation, and we want to enjoy it while making someone else responsible when pain arises. With God's plan for salvation, we see our brothers as ourselves. We are the same and this sameness reflects our Oneness. In that joining with our brother, the separation is being healed.
The conflict between our two thought systems---of the ego and of the Holy Spirit---will be resolved only when we realize there truly is no other alternative to God's plan for our happiness. We are told His plan cannot fail. We have seen our plans always fail to deliver lasting happiness. We need to get very honest with ourselves to truly see this is so. "And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible . " (W.71.7.2) It may seem like a demand is being made on us where we are required to give up our way for His. It may seem unjust and restrictive. The ego does not like that! We may feel depressed and angry about giving up our plans for our salvation, but we need to look very honestly at the results of what the ego offers and recognize that deep peace has never been delivered through our own efforts.
Today, let us tune into God's plan and ask, "What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?" (W.71.9.3-5) If you think you are not hearing a response, remember "He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice." (W.71.9.7) This is just a matter of willingness to choose not to listen to the voice of the ego that is talking all the time. In order to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to tune into our prompts and our nudges. We need to stop listening to the ego. We may be concerned that we won't succeed in hearing the Holy Spirit, but Jesus reminds us we have a right to His answer, and we must not refuse to hear. We approach this exercise with as much confidence, openness, and willingness as we can.
When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we get a sense of knowing what is the right thing to do. We receive prompts that guide us in what to do next. If I lay aside my plans for the day and really quiet the mind, I get an answer to questions in my mind. Remember, the Holy Spirit is in our minds now. We need not find Him. He is our own Voice of truth. When we have a sense of peace with regard to our decisions, we can be assured He is guiding us.
We need not get attached to the outcomes. Remember, this is about giving up control and not controlling what others will do or what should be happening. It is not up to us. We must leave it in God's hands. "Only God's plan for salvation will work." (W.71) We are doing this Course in order to change our minds---not to get something in form, not to have a prettier illusion, and not to manifest what we think will bring us happiness. Our only happiness comes from His plan, which is to release our grievances so our light can shine forth. That is what David Hawkins calls true power while our way is to use the force of our own thinking mind. True power comes from within. It comes from the heart.
God's plan for our salvation is actually delivered in the words of this Course, which is about forgiveness. He does not actually hold any specific plans for us because He already knows we are safe at home with Him. However, His plan is beautifully laid out here for us to help us remember who we are. We never separated from Him because the Atonement Principle assures us that we can't do so. We are only dreaming we have left our home in God.
This Course is totally uncompromising. That is what makes this path so difficult and yet so clear. Our plan is to add spirituality as an adjunct to our own goals; but what that does is it leads to divided purpose and thus conflict. Until we step over to only one side of this conundrum, we will have a divided purpose and will continually be in conflict. Only God's plan will bring the end of conflict and misery, and for that, we can rejoice. Yet, to say yes to God's plan means we have to say no to the ego's plan, and there is still resistance for us in this. Jesus recognizes that it is all a process of undoing our fear and thus developing trust in him. With the motivation to do this practice, we find that Jesus delivers on his word and happiness abounds. It is all a matter of doing what he asks, not because he asks, but because of our deep desire for peace and happiness.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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