"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
Attack and Fear
V.c. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom
For your own salvation you must be critical since your salvation
critical to the whole Sonship. We said before that the Holy Spirit is evaluative and
be. Yet His evaluation does not extend
you, or you would share it. In
mind, and your mind
He sorts out the true from the false and teaches you to judge every thought that you allow to enter your mind in the light of what God
there. Whatever is
with this light, He retains to strengthen the Kingdom in
in accord with truth, He accepts and purifies. But what is
out of accord
entirely, He rejects by judging
This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified.
What you must remember, however, is that what the Holy Spirit rejects the ego
. This is because they are in fundamental disagreement about everything, being in fundamental disagreement about
what you are
. The ego's beliefs on this crucial issue vary, and that is why it promotes different moods. The Holy Spirit
varies on this point, and so the
mood He engenders is joy. He
it by rejecting everything that does
foster joy, and so He alone can keep you wholly joyous.
The Holy Spirit does not teach your mind to be critical of other minds because He does not want you to teach errors
and learn them yourselves
. He would hardly be consistent if He allowed you to
what you must learn to
. In the mind of the
, then, He
judgmental, but only in order to unify the mind so it can perceive without judgment. This enables the mind to
judgment and therefore to learn to
without judgment. The undoing is necessary only in
mind so that you cannot project falsely. God Himself has established what you can project with perfect safety. Therefore, the Holy Spirit's third lesson is:
for God and
This is a major step toward
change. Yet it is still a lesson in thought reversal since it implies that there is something you must be vigilant
. It has advanced far from the first lesson, which was
a reversal and also from the second, which was essentially the identification of what is
step, which follows from the second as the second follows from the first, emphasizes the
between the desirable and the undesirable. It therefore makes the
While the first step seems to
conflict and the second step still entails it to some extent, this one calls for
consistent effort against it
. We said already that you can be as vigilant
the ego as
it. This lesson teaches not only that you
be, but that you
be. It does not concern itself with order of difficulty but with
clear cut priority for vigilance
. This step is unequivocal in that it teaches there must be
exceptions, although it does not deny that the temptation to
exceptions will occur. Here, then, your consistency is called on
chaos. Yet chaos and consistency
coexist for long since they are mutually exclusive.
As long as you must be vigilant against anything, however, you are not recognizing this mutual exclusiveness and are holding the belief that you can
choose either one
. By teaching
to choose, the Holy Spirit will ultimately be able to teach you that
you need not choose at all
. This will finally liberate your will
choice and direct it towards creation
the Kingdom. Choosing through the Holy Spirit will lead you
the Kingdom. You create by what you
, but this is what you must learn. The way to learn it is inherent in the third step, which brings together the lessons implied in the others and goes beyond them towards real integration.
If you allow yourselves to have in your minds
what God put there, you
acknowledging your mind as God created it. Therefore, you are accepting it
as it is
. Since it is whole, you are teaching peace
you believe in it. The final step will still be taken
you by God, but by the third step the Holy Spirit has
you for God. He is
getting you ready
for the translation of having into being by the very nature of the steps you must take with Him.
You learn first that having rests on
on getting. Next you learn that you learn what you
and that you
want to learn peace
. This is the
for identifying with the Kingdom since it is the condition
the Kingdom. You have believed that you are
the Kingdom and have therefore excluded yourself
it in your belief. It is therefore essential to teach you that you must be
and that the
that you are
thing that you must exclude.
The third step is thus one of
for your minds, allowing you to identify
with the center, where God placed the altar to Himself. We have already said that altars are beliefs, but God and His creations are
belief because they are beyond question. The Voice for God speaks only for
beyond question, which is the preparation for
without question. As long as belief in God and His Kingdom is assailed by
doubts in your minds, His perfect accomplishment is
apparent to you. This is why you must be vigilant
on God's behalf
. The ego speaks
His creation and therefore
engender doubt. You cannot go
belief until you believe fully.
extension, is a measure of learning because it is its
This, however, does not mean that what it transfers
is measurable. On the contrary, unless it transfers to the whole Sonship, which is immeasurable because it was created
the Immeasurable, the learning itself
be incomplete. To teach the whole Sonship
demonstrates that you
its wholeness and have learned that it
one. Now you must be vigilant to
its oneness in your minds because, if you let doubt enter, you will lose awareness of its wholeness
and will be unable to teach it
The wholeness of the Kingdom does
depend on your perception, but your
of its wholeness
. It is only your awareness which
protection since your being cannot
assailed. Yet a real sense of being
be yours while you are doubtful of what you
This is why vigilance is essential
. Doubts about being must not enter your mind, or you
know what you are with certainty. Certainty is
. Vigilance is not necessary for truth, but it
illusions and therefore
the Kingdom. Everything
illusion, but you must learn to accept truth because you threw it away. You therefore saw yourself
you were without it. By making another Kingdom which you
you did not keep
the Kingdom of God in your minds and thus placed part of your mind
it. What you have made has thus divided your will and given you a sick mind which
be healed. Your vigilance
the way to heal it. Once your mind is healed, it radiates health and thereby
healing. This establishes you as a teacher who teaches like me. Vigilance was required of me as much as of you, but remember that those who will to teach the same thing must be in agreement about what they believe.
The third step, then, is a statement of what you
to believe and entails a willingness
to relinquish everything else
. I told you that you were just beginning the second step, but I also told you that the third one
it. The Holy Spirit will enable you to go on if you follow Him. Your vigilance is the sign that you
Him to guide you. Vigilance does require effort, but only to teach you that effort
is unnecessary. You have exerted great effort to preserve what you made
it was not true. Therefore, you must now turn your effort
it. Only this can cancel out the
for effort and call upon the
which you both
recognition is wholly
effort since it is
no protection. It is in the perfect safety of God. Therefore inclusion is total and creation is without limit.
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A Course in Miracles
I will there be light.
Today we are considering the will you share with God. This is not the same as the ego's idle wishes, out of which darkness and nothingness arise. The will you share with God has all the power of creation in it. The ego's idle wishes are unshared and therefore have no power at all. Its wishes are not idle in the sense that they can make a world of illusions in which your belief can be very strong. But they are idle indeed in terms of creation. They make nothing that is real.
Idle wishes and grievances are partners or co-makers in picturing the world you see. The wishes of the ego gave rise to it, and the ego's need for grievances, which are necessary to maintain it, peoples it with figures that seem to attack you and call for "righteous" judgment. They become the middlemen the ego employs to traffic in grievances and stand between your awareness and your brothers' reality. Beholding them, you do not know your brothers nor your Self.
Your will is lost to you in this strange bartering, in which guilt is traded back and forth and grievances increase with each exchange. Can such a world have been created by the will the Son of God shares with his Father? Did God create disaster for His Son? Creation is the Will of Both together. Would God create a world that kills Himself?
Today we will try once more to reach the world that is in accordance with your will. The light is in it because it does not oppose the Will of God. It is not Heaven, but the light of Heaven shines on it. Darkness has vanished; the ego's idle wishes have been withdrawn.
Yet the light which shines upon this world reflects your will, and so it must be in you that we will look for it. Your picture of the world can only mirror what is within. The source of neither light nor darkness can be found without. Grievances darken your mind, and you look out on a darkened world. Forgiveness lifts the darkness, reasserts your will, and lets you look upon a world of light.
We have repeatedly emphasized that the barrier of grievances is easily passed and cannot stand between you and your salvation. The reason is very simple. Do you really want to be in hell? Do you really want to weep and suffer and die? Forget the ego's arguments which seek to prove all this is really Heaven. You know it is not so. You cannot want this for yourself. There is a point beyond which illusions cannot go.
Suffering is not happiness, and it is happiness you really want. Such is your will in truth. And so salvation is your will as well. You want to succeed in what we are trying to do today. We undertake it with your blessing and your glad accord.
We will succeed today if you remember that you will salvation for yourself. You will to accept God's plan because you share in it. You have no will that can really oppose it, and you do not want to do so. Salvation is for you. Above all else you want the freedom to remember who you really are.
Today it is the ego which stands powerless before your will. Your will is free, and nothing can prevail against it. Therefore we undertake the exercises for today in happy confidence, certain that we will find what it is your will to find and remember what it is your will to remember. No idle wishes can detain us nor deceive us with an illusion of strength. Today let your will be done. And end forever the insane belief that it is hell in place of Heaven that you choose.
We will begin our longer practice periods with the recognition that God's plan for salvation, and only His, is wholly in accord with your will. It is not the purpose of an alien power, thrust upon you unwillingly. It is the one purpose here on which you and your Father are in perfect accord.
You will succeed today, the time appointed for the release of the Son of God from hell and from all idle wishes. His will is now restored to his awareness. He is willing this very day to look upon the light in him and be saved.
After reminding yourself of this and determining to keep your will clearly in mind, tell yourself with gentle firmness and quiet certainty:
I will there be light. Let me behold the light that reflects God's Will and mine.
Then let your will assert itself, joined with the power of God and united with your Self. Put the rest of the practice period under Their guidance. Join with Them as They lead the way.
In the shorter practice periods, again make a declaration of what you really want. Say:
I will there be light. Darkness is not my will.
This should be repeated several times an hour. It is most important, however, to apply today's idea in this form immediately you are tempted to hold a grievance of any kind. This will help you let your grievances go instead of cherishing them and hiding them in the darkness.
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I will there be light.
This Lesson contrasts our ego wishes, which have no power, with
"The will you share with God
has all the power of creation in it."
(W.73.1.3) Jesus tells us that our will is the same as God's Will because He is our Creator. It is the only true will. Everything else is just idle wishes, which make nothing.
"Yet God wills. He does not wish. Your will is as powerful as His because it
(T.7.X.4.6-8) (ACIM OE T.7.XI.102) Again, Jesus says,
"You must ask what God's Will is in everything, because it is yours."
(T.11.I.8.5) (ACIM OE T.10.II.12)
However, our ego wishes seem to oppose God's will. We have all kinds of thoughts and ideas about what we want and need, and while they are called idle wishes, which have no power at all, (W.73.1.4) they nevertheless have made this whole world of illusion! In the illusion, our idle wishes do have power. They lack the power of creation, but they do have the power to miscreate, though
"They make nothing that is real."
(W.73.1.7) While idle wishes have made the whole world, it is not real, no matter how solid it seems to be, because of the beliefs we hold about it. It is still nothing, but because we have invested the ego with the power of our minds, our minds give power to the illusion. As we withdraw belief from this world and instead invest our belief in remembering our Oneness with God, we will awaken from this dream.
"Idle wishes and grievances are partners or co-makers in picturing the world you see. The wishes of the ego gave rise to it, and the ego's need for grievances, which are necessary to maintain it, peoples it with figures that seem to attack you and call for 'righteous' judgment."
(W.73.2.1-2) It is a world of special relationships where we traffic in grievances. Our grievances maintain the separation. We see our brothers and ourselves, not as we are as the One Son, united in creation, but instead as characters in the dream, trading grievances back and forth with each other. Of course, we each see ourselves as the main character in the dream with others playing supporting roles.
Grievances tend to escalate as we battle each other, giving as little as possible to get as much as possible for ourselves. We are always protecting ourselves against further attack with our defenses. Guilt needs a target. That is why we have specific people in our play on whom to project our guilt. Some of those people in our dream we seem to love and others we think we hate or want to ignore, but either way, we do a dance of passing guilt, attack, and defense back and forth with each other. That is why Jesus says that we all traffic in guilt and are very good at it, but the cost to us is that when we do this, we
"do not know your brothers or your Self."
(W.73.2.5) That is a high cost we seem willing to pay in order to keep our grievances!
The ego needs grievances,
"which are necessary to maintain it
(W.73.2.2) Grievances are the oxygen of the ego, in that it needs grievances in order to thrive. It is where our addiction to conflict and drama comes from. It is how we keep others separate from us and make them the sinners deserving punishment, so we can imagine ourselves as free of guilt. They are expected to serve our specialness, and when they don't meet our needs, we judge them and consider it
to do so. (W.73.2.2)
Everyone in our dream, including ourselves, seems to move about attacking each other and retaliating at the bequest of the ego, always trying to get something from the other. If it were not for these characters in the dream, or middlemen as they are called here, we would meet as holy Sons of God in the light that unites us all as one Self. Yet as long as we hold grievances against our brothers, we will not know them. We will not see their reality as the Christ. Instead of seeing their innocence, we use them to make bargains so we can get what we want from them, hold them to our expectations, and demand reciprocity in turn; and with each exchange, our separation from each other is reinforced. That is why special relationships all deteriorate over time as the mountain of grievances grows. When we commit to healing and wholeness, our relationships become holy, and rather than deteriorating, they become better and better over time.
Today, we are asked to try to reach a place that is not Heaven, but the light of Heaven shines on it. This is the real world. It is
"the world that is in accordance with your will. The light is in it because it does not oppose the Will of God
(W.73.4.1-2) This is a world that reflects the reality of Heaven. The world is just an outward picture of our inward condition. When we find the light within, we will see a world of light without.
How do we get there? There is only one answer. We get there through forgiveness. Forgiveness is about accepting Atonement (the correction/healing) for ourselves by choosing to dismiss the ego, refusing to listen to it and instead, aligning with our true will, which is God's Will.
"Forgiveness lifts the darkness, reasserts your will, and lets you look upon a world of light."
(W.73.5.4) The light is not in the world but is in our minds. What keeps the ego going is simply our willingness to listen to it. When we turn to the ego, we really don't see each other. We don't see our brothers’ reality. What we see is an image of what we have made of them, which is a projection of the guilt in our minds.
"We have repeatedly emphasized that the barrier of grievances is easily passed, and cannot stand between you and your salvation."
(W.73.5.5) It is just a thought away! Do I really want the hell I put myself in when I hold grievances? How insane is it to keep the anger and suffer when we can choose to change our minds and bring our insane wishes to the Holy Spirit?
How this dynamic has been set up by the ego has been hidden from us, which is why Jesus is bringing it to our awareness so we can choose against it when we see it for what it is. If our minds are the projectors, when we load the projector with the ego tape, we see a darkened world of guilt, fear, anger, attack; but if we change the tape and choose the one the Holy Spirit offers, which is just pure light, the world we see will be entirely different. We change what is in the projector by releasing grievances through forgiveness. We turn to the Holy Spirit and ask for His interpretation in place of our own. We take the hand of Jesus as he invites us to do, and with willingness, we bring to awareness our judgments and release them. It means that we give up our justifications for seeing our brothers as guilty.
We release the hold the ego seems to have on us. We recognize that however powerful ego wishes seem to be and however powerful our desire for revenge and attack may be, we can make a shift through forgiveness. This choice is available to us. Before we stepped on this path, we were not aware this choice was available because we were not aware of the right mind. We don't have to listen to the ego. We will be very motivated to make this choice when we see how much peace and happiness is available through forgiveness and how much suffering we experience until we make this choice.
"Your picture of the world can only mirror what is within."
(W.73.5.1) As we shift from grievances, which show us a
(W.73.5.3) to forgiveness, the darkness is lifted. (W.73.5.4) We can see this in our everyday experience. Whether we talk about a movie, a book, a person, or a situation, we all have a different "take" on it, and we argue about the correctness of our perception. Yet all anyone is seeing is what is in their own minds. We are seeing our own inner world projected onto the screen. Now it seems to be on the outside. As we change our inner world, the outer world of perception shifts, and what is reflected is what the Course calls the real world, seen from the perspective of a healed mind. Forgiveness replaces the world we don't want with the one we do want, which is one where our will is joined with God's.
Jesus puts a very blunt question to us when he says,
"Do you really want to be in hell? Do you really want to weep and suffer and die?"
(W.73.5.7-8) Who would ever choose that? Yet we have chosen it. Now with every temptation to choose hell, we can change our minds. When we listen to the ego, we continue to hold out hope that something in the world will still bring us happiness and give us what we think we want. We continue to think we can exert our idle wishes and find the answers for our lives. We continue to think attack and grievances will get us something of value. Jesus urges us to
"Forget the ego's arguments which seek to prove all this is really Heaven."
(W.73.6.1) As long as we seek for things in the world that we think will make us happy and follow the ego's plan for salvation, we will only suffer. We all want to be happy, but we are following the wrong teacher. Oh yes, we will experience moments of happiness, but they never last. In fact, they are always tinged with the fear that they won't last. As has been said many times---the ego teaches us to
"seek but do not find
(T.16.V.6.5) (ACIM OE T.16.VI.48)
The question is, do we want to oppose God's Will for us, which is for our happiness?
"It is not the purpose of an alien power, thrust upon you unwillingly."
(W.73.9.2) It requires that we see how wrong we have been in thinking we would want something different from what God Wills for us by following our own guidance. When we see how unhappy this has made us, our willingness to join with the Holy Spirit in our minds is reinforced, as we tell ourselves
"with gentle firmness and quiet certainty:
I will there be light. Let me behold the light that reflects God's Will and mine."
(W.73.10.1-3) In other words, I am determined to release my grievances so I can behold the light in my brother and embrace him in the love we share as one Son. I do so by letting these grievances go
"instead of cherishing them and hiding them in darkness."
(W.73.11.7) We must take responsibility for our self-hatred and look at it with honesty and courage, rather than defending and pretending we are innocent victims of attack. All we are seeing is our own guilt "out there."
This Lesson is helping us to see that when we choose the ego, we are choosing against our own happiness. Our healing depends on being willing to see the Christ in everyone. By getting in touch with the light, we can bring it to everyone whom we meet or think about today. When you are tempted to hold a grievance of any kind today, whether in the form of worry, anger, frustration, impatience, or anything that crosses your mind and takes away your peace, just apply today's idea. Bring your ego thoughts, which kill your joy and peace, to the memory of God's Love within.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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