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

CHAPTER 7
The Consistency of the Kingdom

X. The Extension of the Kingdom

91 Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it. He no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations than He wills to deprive Himself of His. Do not withhold your gifts to the Sonship, or you withhold yourself from God. Selfishness is of the ego, but self-fullness is of the Soul because that is how God created it. The Holy Spirit is the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the Soul, mediating between them always in favor of the Soul. To the ego, this is partiality, and it therefore responds as if it were the part that is being sided against . To the Soul, this is truth because it knows its fullness and cannot conceive of any part from which it is excluded.

92 The Soul knows that the consciousness of all its brothers is included in its own, as it is included in God. The power of the whole Sonship and of its Creator is therefore the Soul's own fullness, rendering its creations equally whole and equal in perfection. The ego cannot prevail against a totality which includes God, and any totality must include God. Everything He created is given all His power because it is part of Him and shares His Being with Him. Creating is the opposite of loss, as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice. Being must be extended. That is how it retains the knowledge of itself.

93 The Soul yearns to share its being as its Creator did. Created by sharing, its will is to create. It does not wish to contain God but to extend His Being. The extension of God's Being is the Soul's only function. Its fullness cannot be contained any more than can the fullness of its Creator. Fullness is extension. The ego's whole thought system blocks extension and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, and that is why you perceive yourselves as unfulfilled. Unless you create, you are unfulfilled; but God does not know of unfulfillment, and therefore you must create. You may not know your own creations, but this can no more interfere with their reality than your unawareness of your Soul can interfere with its being.

94 The Kingdom is forever extending because it is in the Mind of God. You do not know your joy because you do not know your own self-fullness. Exclude any part of the Kingdom from yourself, and you are not whole. A split mind cannot perceive its fullness and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it. This reawakens the wholeness in it and restores it to the Kingdom because of its acceptance of wholeness. The full appreciation of its self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable. That is why there is perfect peace in the Kingdom. Every Soul is fulfilling its function, and only complete fulfillment is peace.

95 Insanity appears to add to reality, but no one would claim that what it adds is true. Insanity is therefore the non -extension of truth, which blocks joy because it blocks creation and thus blocks self-fulfillment. The unfulfilled must be depressed because their self-fullness is unknown to them. Your creations are protected for you because the Holy Spirit, Who is in your mind, knows of them and can bring them into your awareness whenever you will let Him. They are there as part of your own being because your fulfillment includes them. The creations of every Son of God are yours since every creation belongs to everyone, being created for the Sonship as a whole.

96 You have not failed to add to the inheritance of the Sons of God and thus have not failed to secure it for yourselves. If it was the Will of God to give it to you, He gave it forever. If it was His Will that you have it forever, He gave you the means for keeping it, and you have done so . Disobeying God's Will is meaningful only to the insane. In truth it is impossible. Your self-fullness is as boundless as God's. Like His, it extends forever and in perfect peace. Its radiance is so intense that it creates in perfect joy, and only the whole can be born of its wholeness.

97 Be confident that you have never lost your identity and the extensions which maintain it in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections both of your own proper identification with your brothers and of your own awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception . By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole. You have said that when you write of the Kingdom and your creations which belong in it, you are describing what you do not know. That is true in a sense, but no more true than your failure to acknowledge the whole result of the ego's premises. The Kingdom is the result of premises, just as this world is.

98 You have carried the ego's reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is total confusion about everything . Yet you do not really believe this, or you could not possibly maintain it. If you really saw this result, you could not want it. The only reason why you could possibly want any part of it is because you do not see the whole of it. You are willing to look at the ego's premises but not at their logical outcome. Is it not possible that you have done the same thing with the premises of God?
 
99 Your creations are the logical outcome of His premises. His thinking has established them for you. They are therefore there, exactly where they belong. They belong in your mind as part of your identification with His, but your state of mind and your recognition of what is in your mind depends at any given moment on what you believe about your mind. Whatever these beliefs may be, they are the premises which will determine what you accept into your mind. It is surely clear that you can both accept into your mind what is not really there and deny what is . Neither of these possibilities requires further elaboration here, but both are clearly indefensible, even if you elect to defend them.

100 Yet the function which God Himself gave your minds through His you may deny, but you cannot prevent. It is the logical outcome of what you are . The ability to see a logical outcome depends on the willingness to see it, but its truth has nothing to do with your willingness at all. Truth is God's Will. Share His Will, and you share what He knows. Deny His Will as yours, and you are denying His Kingdom and yours. The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. The undoing of pain must obviously avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognized it . The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says.

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

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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Lesson 86
[Review of Lessons 71-72]

1 These ideas are for review today:

[71] Only God's plan for salvation will work.

2 It is senseless for me to search wildly about for salvation. I have seen it in many people and in many things, but when I reached for it, it was not there. I was mistaken about where it is. I was mistaken about what it is. I will undertake no more idle seeking. Only God's plan for salvation will work. And I will rejoice because His plan can never fail.

3 These are some suggested forms for applying this idea specifically:

4 God's plan for salvation will save me from my perception of this. This is no exception in God's plan for my salvation. Let me perceive this only in the light of God's plan for salvation.

[72] Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation.

5 Holding grievances is an attempt to prove that God's plan for salvation will not work. Yet only His plan will work. By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness. I would no longer defeat my own best interests in this insane way. I would accept God's plan for salvation and be happy.

6 Specific applications of this idea might be in these forms:

7 I am choosing between misperception and salvation as I look on this. If I see grounds for grievances in this I will not see the grounds for my salvation. This calls for salvation, not attack.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 86
Review II ~ Lessons 71-72

I came across the Lord's Prayer translated from the Aramaic, which struck me as to how different this version is from our current version. It speaks to the issue of how much is lost in translation over time. It makes me grateful we have such a pure form of teaching from Jesus through the words of the Course.

O Birther! Father—Mother of the Cosmos
Focus your light within us—make it useful
Create your reign of unity now
Your one desire then acts with ours, as in all light, so in all forms
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight
Loose the chords of mistakes binding us as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt
Don't let surface things delude us

But free us from what holds us back
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
The song that beautifies all, from age to age it renews
Truly power to these statements
May they be the ground from which all my actions grow.
Amen

In relation to the Lesson today of particular note are the lines, "Loose the chords of mistakes binding us as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt," and "Don't let surface things delude us." It is so interesting to me that, in this Lesson, we are looking at how "surface things," the things of this world and the expectations we have of others, is where we look for our salvation. We think if only others would behave differently, we would be happy. When these expectations are not met, we have grievances against those who did not act to meet our perceived needs. Our specialness dictates how others should be. How dare you treat me this way, we protest? It is all about my needs. We see the role of others to serve our needs. We enslave them with our requirements.

I noticed this last night when I was shopping and had the occasion to deal with the store manager to try to get a discount on a damaged article. Her attitude disturbed me because she was not acting according to the role I had assigned to her. Jesus reminds us, "Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred." (W.PII.Q1.1.1) In other words, it is not to deny an event has happened or that someone has done something in our experience but to recognize it is all our dream, all an illusion. Whatever seems to happen in a dream has not happened at all. Dreams are all the same in that they are all unreal. There are not different forms of unreality.

We are only upset because of the meaning we have given a meaningless event. In other words, the interpretation we give to the event is the problem. That meaning comes from what we have chosen to believe about ourselves. I thought I was affected by the store clerk's behavior, but only my thoughts about her affected me. The role I had established for her was to serve my specialness. I saw her simply as the means to my ends. Clearly, I wanted to win. Now I could look at how I set it all up. The power is in me to heal my interpretations. I could choose not to listen to the ego's interpretation, which is always false. The ego's interpretation blinds me to who my brother really is in truth. When I justify my grievances, I tell a story based on my perceptions, which are a lie. Another choice is available to me. I have the Holy Spirit in my mind, Who will remind me that when I look at the world through the eyes of innocence, I cannot see sin in my brother or in myself. The power of decision is in my mind. "Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world." (T.21.IN.1.7) (ACIM OE T.21.IN.1) The motivation to change our minds is on behalf of our own peace and joy. How much do we desire this?

Our lives are focused on finding our happiness/salvation in people and events. It is all about having our specialness supported. We spend our time in the world looking to people and things we think will bring us happiness, but Jesus tells us we are mistaken in this. We are idly seeking for a treasure where it does not exist, and so our search is erratic and unproductive. Even when we get what we think we want, our happiness is transitory. Our lives are all about the hope that the next thing or the next relationship will fulfill all our needs and lacks, but that is just a fantasy.

Clearly, we are told we have been mistaken by where we think our salvation lies. "I was mistaken about where it is. I was mistaken about what it is." (W.86.1.4-5) Our plan has not worked and we might as well accept that it will never work. To keep working something that has no hope of bringing us a deep sense of joy, peace, and happiness is the definition of insanity. Because of our authority problem we resist dependency on God and put ourselves in charge of our lives. We carry a deep suspicion of His plan for us. We think we know better. We think we know our own best interests. We are deluded about where our joy is. If we look at our lives, we increasingly see that Jesus is telling it like it is. He is clearly asking us to be very honest and to sincerely question if our way has ever really worked for us. How many useless journeys do we want to take before we accept that there is a better way? So let's commit to no longer defeat our own best interests in this insane way, but rather accept God's plan for salvation, and be happy.

Perhaps we can see our way is not working, yet we continue to make exceptions. We still have not fully embraced His way. We are still straddling two thought systems. In other words, while we embrace God's plan for salvation, we still holding onto our own plans as well. We still continue to believe there is something to pursue in the dream that will make us happy. "Holding grievances is an attempt to prove that God's plan for salvation will not work." (W.86.3.2) Look at where you are making exceptions today and know, only "God's plan for salvation will save me from my perception of this." (W.86.2.2) Whatever I perceive in any situation that brings me pain, can only be healed by looking to God’s plan, and not my own for resolution.

Salvation does not save us from any calamity. We are not in any danger. The moment we seemed to separate, the Answer was given to us immediately. "So very long ago, for such a tiny interval of time, that not one note in Heaven's song was missed." (T.26.V.5.4) (ACIM OE T.26.VI.34) The Holy Spirit is waiting quietly and patiently for us to replace our thoughts of conflict, whether they are of anger, bitterness, despair, depression, frustration, or death, with a thought of peace. While we have many thoughts of conflict, the thought of peace is only one. The Thought of God heals them all. When we bring our illusions to the truth, the Holy Spirit brings us the experience of the miracle.

Recently, one of our Course students tragically lost her little dog whom she cherished as a member of the family. She felt intense pain but recognized how Holy Spirit had already prepared her for this event by bringing her to read Eckhart Tolle’s book on the pain body. When the pain showed up, she followed his teachings and stayed with it. As she went walking where she had always walked with her little companion, she prayed that his presence would assist her to heal. All of a sudden, she felt him everywhere, giving her permission to pet other dogs without his interference. She thought the tears would come as she walked, but instead she felt the peace of recognizing that nothing real was lost. She still had her friend with her, but now he was all around her. He came to teach her the simplicity of salvation: by not distracting from her pain, she was able to receive the help she asked for and learned an immense lesson.

When we awaken from this dream, we will see that we have never left Heaven. This journey that seems to be taking a long time is already over. That is why the Course calls it a journey without distance. The same thought of peace is in every mind. When we take responsibility for the guilt we have projected onto others whom we believe have wronged us and look to the light within us, we need not interfere any further. The Holy Spirit does the healing. The peace obscured by our grievances can now shine forth. We all share the same One Mind. We don't need to correct or fix others. All we need do is release any grievances we hold against them. The function of the body is just a tool for the mind to be used by Spirit to let God's Love speak through it. It need not be with words. Even if it is, we are given the words to speak. What is important is that we recognize it is our own guilt and self-condemnation that we project onto the events of the world. The events are neutral. We give them all the meaning they have for us. The good news is that our happiness can come by doing our own internal work. It does not depend on any person, situation, or circumstance "out there."

It is not helpful to feel guilty about our grievances and judgments. They simply show us what is in our own minds and where healing is needed. The correction is available to us when we give up our ego and choose the Holy Spirit's interpretation. The purpose of the people, situations, and events in our lives is to help us see the unhealed places in our minds. We can’t heal what we don’t see. The important thing is not to judge yourself when you see the unhealed places in your mind. Judgment of yourself or others is the same; it will keep you in the ego's game. Be happy that you are able to see your mind mirrored in the world you perceive. It is a reflection of what is in your mind that you can happily bring for His correction.

Today, we "will rejoice because His plan can never fail" (W.86.1.8) and "accept God's plan for salvation, and be happy." (W.86.3.6) We choose today to take responsibility for our misperceptions and to be willing to release our grievances, which work against our own best interests. Be glad that all circumstances in your life, whether past or present, provide you with an opportunity to choose differently. In your choice to be happy, you will be motivated to forgive your perceptual errors. It is all about changing our minds by being willing to see how wrong we have been about everything we think.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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