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

The Consistency of the Kingdom

VIII. The Total Commitment

70 Whenever you deny a blessing to a brother, you will feel deprived. This is because denial is as total as love. It is as impossible to deny part of the Sonship as it is to love it in part. Nor is it possible to love it totally at times . You cannot be totally committed sometimes . Remember a very early lesson—"Never underestimate the power of denial." It has no power in itself, but you can give it the power of your mind, whose power is without limit of any kind. If you use it to deny reality, reality is gone for you. Reality cannot be partly appreciated . That is why denying any part of it means you have lost awareness of all of it.

71 That is the negative side of the law as it operates in this world. Yet denial is a defense, and so it is as capable of being used positively as it is of being used destructively. Used negatively it will be destructive because it will be used for attack, but in the service of the Holy Spirit, the law requires you to recognize only part of reality to appreciate all of it. Mind is too powerful to be subject to exclusion. You will never be able to exclude yourself from what you project.

72 When a brother acts insanely, he is offering you an opportunity to bless him. His need is yours . You need the blessing you can offer him. There is no way for you to have it except by giving it. This is the law of God, and it has no exceptions. What you deny you lack , not because it is lacking, but because you have denied it in another and are therefore not aware of it in you . Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be is what you think you are. Therefore, what you want to be determines every response you make.

73 You do not need God's blessing since that you have forever, but you do need yours. The picture you see of yourselves is deprived, unloving, and very vulnerable. You cannot love this. Yet you can very easily escape from it or, better, leave it behind. You are not there , and that is not you . Do not see this picture in anyone, or you have accepted it as you. All illusions about the Sonship are dispelled together, as they were made together. Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be. Your brother is the mirror in which you will see the image of yourself as long as perception lasts. And perception will last until the Sonship knows itself as whole.

74 You made perception, and it must last as long as you want it. Illusions are investments. They will last as long as you value them. Values are relative, but they are powerful because they are mental judgments. The only way to dispel illusions is to withdraw all investment from them, and they will have no life for you because you have put them out of your mind . While you include them in it, you are giving life to them, except there is nothing there to receive your gift.

75 The gift of life is yours to give because it was given you. You are unaware of your gift because you do not give it. You cannot make nothing live since it cannot be enlivened. Therefore, you are not extending the gift you both have and are, and so you do not know your being. All confusion comes from not extending life, since that is not the Will of your Creator. You can do nothing apart from Him, and you do do nothing apart from Him. Keep His way to remember yourselves and teach His way, lest you forget yourselves. Give only honor to the Sons of the living God and count yourselves among them gladly.

76 Only honor is a fitting gift for those whom God Himself created worthy of honor and whom He honors. Give them the appreciation which God accords them always because they are His beloved Sons in whom He is well pleased. You cannot be apart from them because you are not apart from Him. Rest in His love and protect your rest by loving. But love everything He created of which you are a part, or you cannot learn of His peace and accept His gift for yourself and as yourself. You cannot know your own perfection until you have honored all those who were created like you.

77 One Child of God is the only teacher sufficiently worthy to teach another. One Teacher is in all your minds, and He teaches the same lesson to all. He always teaches you the inestimable worth of every Son of God, teaching it with infinite patience born of the infinite love for which He speaks. Every attack is a call for His patience, since only His patience can translate attack into blessing. Those who attack do not know they are blessed. They attack because they believe they are deprived . Give therefore of your abundance and teach your brothers theirs . Do not share their delusions of scarcity, or you will perceive yourself as lacking.

78 Attack could never promote attack unless you perceived it as a means of depriving you of something you want . Yet you cannot lose anything unless you did not value it and therefore did not want it. This makes you feel deprived of it, and by projecting your own rejection, you believe that others are taking it from you. One must be fearful if he believes that his brother is attacking him to tear the Kingdom of Heaven from him. This is the ultimate basis for all of the ego's projection.

79 Being the part of your mind which does not believe it is responsible for itself and being without allegiance to God, the ego is incapable of trust. Projecting its insane belief that you have been treacherous to your Creator, it believes that your brothers, who are as incapable of this as you are, are out to take God from you. Whenever a brother attacks another, this is what he believes. Projection always sees your will in others. If you will to separate yourself from God, that is what you will think others are doing to you.

80 You are the Will of God. Do not accept anything else as your will, or you are denying what you are. Deny this and you will attack, believing you have been attacked. But see the love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere. See His abundance in everyone, and you will know that you are in Him with them. They are part of you, as you are part of God. You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him. The peace of God is understanding this. There is only one way out of the world's thinking, just as there was only one way into it. Understand totally by understanding totality .

81 Perceive any part of the ego's thought system as wholly insane, wholly delusional, and wholly undesirable, and you have correctly evaluated all of it. This correction enables you to perceive any part of creation as wholly real, wholly perfect, and wholly desirable. Wanting this only , you will have this only, and giving this only you will be only this. The gifts you offer to the ego are always experienced as sacrifices, but the gifts you offer to the Kingdom are gifts to you. They will always be treasured by God because they belong to His beloved Sons who belong to Him. All power and glory are yours because the Kingdom is His.

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A Course in Miracles

Part I
Review II

1 We are now ready for another review. We will begin where our last review left off and cover two ideas each day. The earlier part of each day will be devoted to one of these ideas, and the latter part of the day to the other. We will have one longer exercise period and frequent shorter ones in which we practice each of them.

2 The longer practice periods will follow this general form: take about 15 minutes for each of them, and begin by thinking about the idea and the comments which are included in the assignments. Devote about three or four minutes to reading them over slowly, several times if you wish, and then close your eyes and listen. Repeat the first phase if you find your mind wandering, but try to spend the major part of the practice period listening quietly but attentively.

3 There is a message waiting for you. Be confident that you will receive it. Remember that it belongs to you and that you want it. Do not allow your intent to waver in the face of distracting thoughts. Realize that, whatever form they take, they have no meaning and no power. Replace them with your determination to succeed. Do not forget that your will has power over all fantasies and dreams. Trust it to see you through and carry you beyond them all.

4 Regard these practice periods as dedications to the way, the truth, and the life. Refuse to be side-tracked into detours, illusions, and thoughts of death. You are dedicated to salvation. Be determined each day not to leave your function unfulfilled.

5 Reaffirm your determination in the shorter practice periods as well, using the original form of the idea for general application and a more specific form when needed. Some specific forms will be included in the comments. These, however, are merely suggestions. It is not the particular words you use that matter.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 84
[Review of Lessons 67-68]

1 These are the ideas for today's review:

[67] Love created me like Itself.

2 I am in the likeness of my Creator. I cannot suffer, I cannot experience loss, and I cannot die. I am not a body. I would recognize my reality today. I will worship no idols nor raise my own self-concepts to replace my Self. I am in the likeness of my Creator. Love created me like Itself.

3 You might find these specific forms helpful in applying the idea:

4 Let me not see an illusion of myself in this. As I look on this, let me remember my Creator.
My Creator did not create this as I see it.

[68] Love holds no grievances.

5 Grievances are completely alien to love. Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure. If I hold grievances I am attacking love and therefore attacking my Self. My Self thus becomes alien to me. I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember who I am.

6 These specific forms for applying this idea would be helpful:

7 This is no justification for denying my Self. I will not use this to attack love.
Let this not tempt me to attack myself.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 84
Review II ~ Lessons 67-68

We are so invested in the reality of the body that our entire identity is based on the belief that it defines us. We therefore also believe that we die when the body dies. The truth is, "I am in the likeness of my Creator. I cannot suffer, I cannot experience loss and I cannot die." (W.84.1.2-3) We see death all around us and look on it as a certainty, but we are not what we think we are. My body is not my reality. We have the same characteristics as our Creator. We are love, eternal, formless, unlimited, and forever as we were created. We experience a glimpse of this truth in the holy instant---a moment outside of time and space. It comes when we accept forgiveness into our minds and experience miracles that are our natural inheritance. When forgiveness is complete and the ego's offerings that substitute for the truth are finally released, we have true perception or what is called the real world. Jesus tells us that this is what awaits us when forgiveness is complete.

We believe Jesus suffered on the cross because we have projected our ideas about ourselves as bodies onto him as a body. A healed mind feels no pain because there is no guilt in the mind to project onto the body. When guilt is no longer projected onto the body, it is not sick or in pain. When the guilt in our minds is healed, we will know the truth of our reality as the Christ Self.

We remind ourselves of the truth through these Lessons, but the only way to experience this is through forgiveness. Thus, we must continually bring our misperceptions to the truth. We bring our self-concepts, which include all the beliefs about who we think we are, both the "good" and the "bad," to the light of truth. Any concepts we hold about ourselves do not define us. "I will worship no idols, nor raise my own self-concept to replace my Self." (W.84.1.6) When we are willing to empty our minds of past learning, no longer attempt to control life, and do not grasp for certainty, we remember our Creator. Whatever is troubling us today, we affirm "My Creator did not create this as I see it." (W.84.2.4) That can only mean that it was of our own making.

"Love created me like Itself." (W.84.1.1) I will not lean on my own understanding, but turn to Him. Fundamental to this process is trust. Radical trust emerges only when we get out of the way and let Him lead. It means giving up our fixed ideas about everything and asking to be shown how to respond in truly helpful ways.

We still don't completely understand what forgiveness is, but when we use the world as our classroom, everything that shows up is for the undoing of the illusion of ourselves. "Let me not see an illusion of myself in this." (W.84.2.2) It is important that we understand we can know our reality only when we are ready to choose it. Choosing depends on diminishing our fear of the Atonement by recognizing the false as false and the true as true and letting go of all the rest. The love we are seeking is what we are, but we have been living with what is false for so long that we have come to think it is true. Forgiveness is about removing the interference to the love we are. It is our fear of love that keeps us in resistance. Resistance keeps us defending what is false and keeps us invested in the illusion. It is the guilt in the mind that keeps us invested in the body and the world, yet what we feel guilty about has no basis in truth. Once the false is released, the love in us can come to the fore. What keeps us from this love is when we attack, judge, evaluate, blame, accuse, and defend.

Simply affirming the truth has limited value if we don't apply this teaching to the experiences of the day where we see ourselves victimized by what someone has said or done. The Course is ultimately practical, and when we apply the Lessons, the results show up in our experience. We are called to apply forgiveness to any situation that makes us feel vulnerable, anything that seems to hurt us psychologically or physically, anything that makes us feel angry or afraid, or even anything that makes us feel excited with anticipation. The idea is that in any of these circumstances, we are giving our power to what is outside our own minds. We have forgotten we must first have chosen to see ourselves as vulnerable and as an effect of things outside of the mind. We have allowed our peace to be affected by outside circumstances. When we have reactions to what seems to be going on around us, the idea is to use them as opportunities for forgiveness.

When we hold grievances, we are saying no to the love we are and denying our reality. "This is no justification for denying my Self." (W.84.4.2) We are seeing in our brothers and sisters our own lack of love and accusing them of taking it from us. Jesus urges us to, "Let him [our brother] be what he is, and seek not to make of love an enemy." (T.19.IV.D.13.8) (ACIM OE T.19.V.d.102) What an important line that is! Every time we attack a brother or hold a grievance against him, we are making him an enemy, and we become blind to the love. "I will not use this to attack love." (W.84.4.3) When I attack my brother I no longer know what I am. "My Self thus becomes alien to me." (W.84.3.5)

We can never know the truth about ourselves as long as we hold grievances in our minds, see ourselves as separate from others, and hold the belief that our interests are separate. We will only remember who we really are as we release our grievances and recognize our sameness. We do this by acknowledging our ego perspectives and turning our dark thoughts over to the Holy Spirit, not by pretending we are spiritual.

It takes a high level of honesty and courage to take responsibility for everything we perceive as starting in our own minds. Our reluctance to do that is based on our wish to make others responsible for our condition and to declare our innocence at their expense. However, in order to heal, we must see that everything starts in our own minds. Our minds are the cause and the world is the effect. Our problem is that we have reversed cause and effect. Cause and effect are never separate. We see what we project, and what we project are our own self-attacking thoughts. When I see ugliness, lack of love, and evil in my brother, I am seeing the same thing in myself. It all starts in my own mind.

"You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment." (T.3.VI.3.1) (ACIM OE T.3.VIII.63)

"If you but knew the glorious goal that lies beyond forgiveness, you would not keep hold on any thought, however light the touch of evil on it may appear to be. For you would understand how great the cost of holding anything God did not give in minds that can direct the hand to bless, and lead God's Son unto his Father's house." (T.29.V.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.29.VI.35)

The realization that everything we have learned, and have been conditioned to believe is wrong, leads to humility. When we surrender our control over our lives and no longer constantly grasp for certainty, we will learn to lean on Him and follow Him in trust. Yes, we may know much about the ego's world of separation and how to "succeed" here, but what do we know about a lasting joy and peace that is not dependent on anything in this world? As we learn to let go of our way and become willing not to know and to be taught, we allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us out of our dream of separation and back to the awareness of our spiritual reality.

"You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognize this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher." (T.11.VIII.3.1-8) (ACIM OE T.10.VIII.76)

"If you are willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system and open it to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you back to God." (T4.I.4.7) (ACIM OE T.4.II.11)

Temptation is nothing more than a desire to hold onto our way of seeing a situation and to justify our grievances. We must have actively chosen to hold the grievance. When we hold someone else responsible, we are refusing to recognize that everything is a function of our own decision. When we made the decision to throw away our peace and project responsibility for that decision onto someone else, we have descended into a state of conflict. This is what makes us alien to ourselves. "Grievances are completely alien to love." (W.84.3.2) We now think of ourselves as attacking egos instead of spiritual beings, but judging ourselves is not helpful. It is important to look at how we have become entangled and be willing to open our minds to the possibility that our way of seeing is wrong. Now we can turn to the Holy Spirit and ask to be shown how to see our brother.

We have daily opportunities to exercise our willingness to forgive. God has given us many holy ones to help us with this task, and these holy ones are all those whom we think of, who cross our path every day, whom we talk with, and even those we have not yet met. Jesus now appeals to us to use the power of our minds to take responsibility for our decisions and be willing to bring our darkness to the light of truth.

"The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught." (T.IN.1.6) (ACIM OE T.In.2) It is beyond what can be taught because it is beyond the world entirely. The term "love," when used in this strict sense, does not apply to our earthly lives at all, but it does apply to who we really are---the Son of God, living in joyous communion with our Father in our heavenly home. Although love, as it really is, cannot exist on earth, it can be reflected here, and the form it takes is forgiveness. "It is the reflection of God's Love on earth." (W.60.1.5) Forgiveness is a bridge between the world of illusion and the reality of God's Love. As such, forgiveness itself, unlike love, is an illusion and "might be called a happy fiction." (Clarification of Terms.3.2.1) Yet as an illusion, "Forgiveness is the means by which the truth is represented temporarily." (T.27.III.5.5) (ACIM OE T.27.IV.33) It is "a way in which the unknowing can bridge the gap between their perception and the truth." (C.3.2.1) "Forgiveness is an earthly form of love, which as it is in Heaven has no form." (W.186.14.2) It is a way in which the formless love of Heaven can be expressed in a world of form.

When we talk of loving everyone unconditionally, it might be more correct to talk of forgiving everyone unconditionally. To believe we must love everyone unconditionally will make us feel more guilt because it is not possible in our current state. The result will be a feeling of failure because no one here can love in that way until the ego is released. When we bring our darkness to the light and clear the way for love to shine through, there is no effort involved in reflecting love as it happens through us and not by us. True love awaits us at the top of the ladder. It does not matter what rung of the ladder we are on as long as we are devoted to our awakening.

While teaching the meaning of love is not the aim of the Course, teaching forgiveness is its aim. Jesus goes on to say, "It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance." (T.IN.1.7) (ACIM OE T.In.2) We must be willing to do the work. Forgiveness is the means by which the blocks to the awareness of love's presence are removed. "No one who learns to forgive can fail to remember God. Forgiveness, then, is all that need be taught, because it is all that need be learned. All blocks to the remembrance of God are forms of unforgiveness, and nothing else." (Psychotherapy Pamphlet.2.II.3.1-3)

This path takes us from grievances to forgiveness and then to the remembrance of God's Love in Heaven. "It [Forgiveness] will bring me near enough to Heaven that the Love of God can reach down to me and raise me up to Him." (W.60.1.6) The bottom line is that kindness and gentleness to all people, regardless of their situation, should be our guiding principles in all our encounters.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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