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

CHAPTER 8
The Journey Back

IV. The Holy Encounter

16 Glory be to God in the highest and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you because it has already been given. Ask for light and learn that you are light. If you want understanding and enlightenment, you will learn it because your will to learn it is your decision to listen to the Teacher who knows of light and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your minds . There is no limit on His will to teach because He was created to teach. Knowing His function perfectly, He wills to fulfill it perfectly because that is His joy and yours .

17 To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known because it is the only function that can be fully experienced . When this is accomplished, then, there i s no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment because God's Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness . The Holy Spirit knows how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God's, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours . You share them as God shares them because this is the natural outcome of their being.

18 The Will of Father and of the Son are one together by their extension. Their extension is the result of their oneness, holding their unity together by extending their joint will. This is perfect creation by the perfectly created in union with Perfect Creator. The Father must give fatherhood to His Son because His own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you will know what it means of God Himself.

19 When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose sight of yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself, for I am always there with you in remembrance of you .

20 The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is know thyself . There is nothing else to learn. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself, you cannot find yourself because that is not what you are .

21 Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you . Never forget your responsibility to him because it is your responsibility to yourself . Give him his place in the Kingdom, and you will have yours . The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourselves alone.

22 To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego. Its purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know this, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego has made of you . This is your responsibility, because once you have really done this you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice, you will begin to learn and understand why you have believed that when you met someone else, you had thought that he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so .

23 You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them. The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone . The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you. God wills no one suffer. He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you. That is why He has given you the means for undoing it. Through His power and glory, all your wrong decisions are undone, completely releasing you and your brothers from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship has accepted. Wrong decisions have no power because they are not true. The imprisonment which they seem to produce is no more true than they are.

24 Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you . God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him. Giving of your self is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will teach you what you have of Him, and this will teach you what you are in Him. You cannot be powerless to do this because this is your power. Glory is God's gift to you because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to learn what you are.

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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 89
[Review of Lessons 77-78]

1 These are our review ideas for today:

[77] I am entitled to miracles.

2 I am entitled to miracles because I am under no laws but God's. His laws release me from all grievances and replace them with miracles. And I would accept the miracles in place of the grievances, which are but illusions that hide the miracles beyond. Now I would accept only what the laws of God entitle me to have that I may use it on behalf of the function He has given me.

3 You might use these suggestions for specific applications of this idea:

4 Behind this is a miracle to which I am entitled. Let me not hold a grievance against you [name], but offer you the miracle that belongs to you instead. Seen truly, this offers me a miracle.

[78] Let miracles replace all grievances.

5 By this idea do I unite my will with the Holy Spirit's and perceive them as one. By this idea do I accept my release from hell. By this idea do I express my willingness to have all my illusions be replaced with truth according to God's plan for my salvation. I would make no exceptions and no substitutes. I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.

6 Useful specific forms for applying this idea would be:

7 I would not hold this grievance apart from my salvation. Let our grievances be replaced by miracles, [name]. Beyond this is the miracle by which all my grievances are replaced.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 89
Review II ~ Lessons 77-78

The Lesson for the morning, "I am entitled to miracles," (W.89.1.1) affirms our entitlement to be released from all grievances because of who we are as a Son of God. It dismisses our belief that we deserve to be punished. Regardless of how we see ourselves, we can't change the truth of who we are, and that is certainly a relief. All that can happen is to become unaware of the truth of what we are.

The Atonement Principle is our assurance that the separation never happened, although we experience it as if it had. However, God's law is unchangeable. We remain as we were created. If this is the case, the things I think I have said and done that seemed to have an effect on me have not actually happened. I cannot hurt and cannot be hurt. This is the case because the world is an illusion.

 Everything I have held against anyone is just what I secretly hold against myself in order to keep the separation going. What we do is project our unhealed thoughts and self-attacks that are in our minds. Projection makes perception. It is an outside picture of our inward condition. Grievances draw a veil across the face of Christ, and they hide the miracles. We hold onto grievances because we are ultimately afraid of connecting to the love in our minds. In other words, we have a deep fear of intimacy, so we keep a distance from each other, and this is the same distance we have with God. The fear is not as much of the love, as it is of the god the ego has made, for it is a god of retribution whose punishment we fear.

Grievances come in many forms, and they show up: when our expectations are not met, when we become disappointed in people, when difficult events show up in our lives, when we try to alter things we think we want and need, and when our focus is on seeking pleasure. The stories we tell of our betrayals, disappointments, and difficulties constitute our lives. Our grievances are all about complaints, regrets, frustrations, disappointments, and losses. Why do we hold onto them? Isn't it because we feel they define us? Isn’t there something we get to be right about? Isn’t there some kind of payoff we get from holding onto our perspectives? Of course, the biggest payoff is that we keep our separated self. "Where the attraction of guilt holds sway, peace is not wanted." (T.19.IV.B.1.2) (ACIM OE T.19.V.b.59)

We are invested in the illusion and actually afraid of love, and that is precisely why we choose to hold onto our stories. Grievances don't just come to us. We choose them and hold onto them because we want others to be responsible for how we feel. We don't want the responsibility for seemingly leaving God. We want to make others responsible for our misery. We are only miserable because of our decision to hold onto our separate, unique selves, and we do that by holding onto our suffering. We still value what the world has to offer, even if that offering is nothing but more suffering and misery disguised as hope that the world has something to offer us that we think we still want.

Actually, at the bottom of our existence in this illusory world is pure, unequivocal goodness, innocence, and joy. To discover this truth is a blessing of grace. It is grace because there is nothing we have to do to achieve wisdom, miracles, and ultimately the truth about ourselves. Grace is a direct experience of divine presence. It is always available to us but requires surrender. We need to relax our control over our lives. We cannot add anything to the truth, improve on the light of God, nor do we need to improve ourselves. We just need to undo the blocks to love. In order to recognize these eternal moments of grace where the miracle shines through, we can't be caught up in our issues. The miracle is available to us now. Enlightenment is not a goal we need to reach. As Adyashanti says, it is not some kind of finish line we need to cross in order to accomplish something.

The simple moment of letting a grievance be replaced by the miracle is the moment of awakening to the wisdom of our authentic Self. It is not complicated to observe our minds on a daily basis so that we can bring the judgments and grievances to the Holy Spirit to be released. We can't heal what we don't acknowledge in ourselves, but when we look at our guilt through the loving, gentle eyes of Jesus, we can smile at its unreality. Yet we must want the peace more than we want to be right about our perceptions.

If we really, truly, and completely believed that any grievance we held kept us from miracles, would we hold them regardless of the perceived attack on us by others? Think of the power unleashed whenever we forgive. The power of God brings us miracles. We are worthy and thus deserving of miracles. Attack makes us feel like we are unworthy of them, that we don't deserve God's love, and that we are not entitled to miracles. Removing ourselves from God's love by erecting a wall of grievances that block His love from our awareness simply hurts us. Why would we want to continue to do that to ourselves?

Very often I find myself stubbornly hanging onto my point of view, my self-righteous position, and my judgments of others. What does this do? It puts me in hell. It accentuates my guilt and fear. It keeps me separate and in fear of punishment. I am actively choosing to be in a state of darkness rather than opening up to God's love, which is the current that turns on our light so it can be extended to everyone. We have a function given to us in this world, which is to allow God's love to shine through us as we extend it and offer miracles. The way to experience this is by forgiving what stands in the way.

Our grievances are the basis for our stories and our dramas, which keep us from knowing our reality. We can let these stories be dissolved in God's healing love. When we hold expectations of how others must be, we are judging them for not living up to our expectations. Now we can turn to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to look at the grievance with us and give us His interpretation of how to see the situation. When we are willing to release our justifications for how we feel and recognize that holding grievances will not make us happy, we can know the love and peace that is our inheritance. Do I want to be right about the way I see this situation, or am I willing to accept His help so I can be happy?

Now, instead of judging and attacking, we release our judgments by bringing them to light. We are helped by Jesus/Holy Spirit to see "others" as part of our One Self. When we are willing to overlook their errors, we see that they are pure light and innocence, just as we are. We embrace them in the truth of who they are, no different from ourselves. We express deep gratitude for our brothers and the gifts they bring. That is how grievances are replaced by miracles.

If we remembered this in every moment, we would experience peace; but our peace is not consistent yet, which is why we are in this classroom. Our saviors are everywhere to help us see what is in our own minds where healing is needed. What is required is our willingness and our desire to take responsibility for what is in our wrong minds that we are projecting onto others. We must be willing to admit that what we see is incorrect and only the Holy Spirit's interpretation, not ours, is correct. Insisting that we are right has not brought us peace and joy. Now we must become willing to see that our will is the same as God's Will "and perceive them as one." (W.89.3.2) This is our "release from hell." (W.89.3.3) This is enacted in the world when we see our interests the same as our brothers’. As we join with our brothers, it is a reflection of our One Will that is the same as God's. Our release from hell is through our relationships with our brothers.

Today, we are asked to take up our function as channels for miracles. Bring to mind people in your life you have grievances against. Say to them in your mind, "Let our grievances be replaced by miracles, [name]." (W.89.4.3) This is a statement of our willingness to acknowledge that how we are seeing a brother is wrong. Bring a difficult situation to mind where you are experiencing struggles in your life, something that feels ugly or hopeless, and say, "Behind this is a miracle to which I am entitled." (W.89.2.2) Miraculous transformation is possible in any situation.

Be willing to make no exceptions, and hold onto nothing that is a substitute for the eternal. Know that it is all available to you as you release your grievances. "I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have." (W.89.3.6) Make this Lesson a personal statement by reading it all in the first person. Bring your desire and intent to it. It is about valuing the gift of Heaven more than valuing the wants and demands of our personal self. It is not about doing anything, trying to change ourselves, nor make ourselves more loving. We are not needed to improve on truth, light, and love.

It is through the day-to-day practice of recognizing "By this idea do I accept my release from hell" (W.89.3.3) that we affirm our own ideas are wrong. Our ideas are conditioned by the learning of the world. We must recognize our need for learning. In order to learn, we are basically unlearning all we have previously held as true. When we clearly and firmly embrace what Jesus is telling us, it opens us to the awesome power within. That is what this teaching offers us daily.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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