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

CHAPTER 8
The Journey Back
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND

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 90
[Review of Lessons 79-80]

1 For this review we will use these ideas:

[79] Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

2 Let me realize today that the problem is always some form of grievance which I would cherish. Let me also understand that the solution is always a miracle with which I let the grievance be replaced. Today I would remember the simplicity of salvation by reinforcing the lesson that there is one problem and one solution. The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle. And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance and my welcome of the miracle which takes its place.

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

4 This presents a problem to me which I would have resolved. The miracle behind this grievance will resolve it for me. The answer to this problem is the miracle which it conceals.

[80] Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

5 I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this if I will let Him. And I will understand it is impossible that I could have a problem which has not been solved already.

6 These forms of the idea will be useful for specific applications:

7 I need not wait for this to be resolved. The answer to this problem is already given me if I will accept it.
Time cannot separate this problem from its solution.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 90
Review II ~ Lessons 79-80

We think the world gives us all kinds of problems. People attack us for things we don't deserve. Things break down. Germs seem to invade our bodies. The boss does not understand us. We don't like our work. A colleague turns on us. A relationship falls apart. We are behind in our rent. A friend betrays us. We lose our money. There are myriad seeming problems that cause us grief.

The source of all these problems seems to originate outside of us. We don't see ourselves as the cause of them all. Things just seem to happen to us, and we don't see ourselves as having anything to do with these happenings. Jesus tells us, "A child is frightened when a wooden head springs up as a closed box is opened suddenly, or when a soft and silent wooly bear begins to squeak as he takes hold of it. The rules he made for boxes and for bears have failed him, and have broken his 'control' of what surrounds him." (T.30.IV.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.30.V.50) He says that we are like those children, startled by unexpected events in the world that we seemingly have no control over. Things just seem to happen out of the blue.

The way we see our problems is much the same as children playing with toys that frighten them. What we call problems, he equates with toys, as they have no importance in reality. What we take seriously and what seems to create misery for us, can't threaten who we are. Nothing matters when looked at from the point of view of eternity. However, while we still identify with the body and the world, problems can have serious consequences for us. Our problems certainly seem very real, and we are often frightened by them, as they make us feel very vulnerable. We think they give us reason to attack and to set up defenses. To us, the world becomes a place where there is no safety because the rules we made and the expectations we have of how things should be are not being met

What Jesus is helping us to understand is that, regardless of how it looks to us, all problems can be traced back to the grievances we hold. We believe that our happiness depends on how things go for us in the world. When events, people, and circumstances don't go our way, we hold grievances. We hold others responsible and blame them for how we feel. We have given the situation the power to disturb us. Events have no meaning except the meaning we give them. In other words, what upsets us are not the events themselves, but the interpretation we give them. Our problems are illusory, as are the solutions. While a perceived problem may be addressed in form, it is never fully resolved. It will simply reoccur in another form until we recognize the source of all problems is the guilt in the mind.

When we have a problem, there is always a grievance lurking behind it. If I have a problem, I need to take the time to look at the grievance I am holding. What is the judgment behind it? Am I willing to let it go and accept the miracle instead of trying to control what happens? Can I just accept that perfect safety, perfect happiness, and perfect peace are available to me regardless of what is swirling around me? Can I remember that there is always an inner tranquility that nothing can disturb? When I uncover the cause of my upsets, "And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place," (W.90.1.6) the truth within is revealed. It is always there, and now we recognize that we don’t need anything to go our way in order to be tranquil.

When the separation was healed, all problems were solved for all time. If that is the case, the part of my mind that chooses with the Holy Spirit can experience a miracle instead. I can choose peace, regardless of what seems to be happening, if I am willing to take responsibility for my grievances instead of seeing the cause outside of my own mind. When I resist giving over my judgments of how I see the situation, I can ask for help so I might become willing. Regardless of the decision I make, I am nevertheless not guilty. I am simply not ready at the moment to let my grievances go and need to take time to come to readiness. Meanwhile, I can choose to rest with the disturbance, accept my current situation, and trust I will find my way through when I am ready. When we turn to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show us the situation as He sees it, we are shown another way of looking at every problem as an opportunity for forgiveness and healing.

Problems are how we maintain our investment in the world. We are convinced that we are the victims of an unfair world, which keeps us constantly occupied as we try to address one problem after another. Thus, we see the world as the cause and we are the effect. If this truly is the case, we would have reason for our grievances, but Jesus tells us it is the other way around. The mind is cause and the world is the effect. When we see the world as the cause, there is no way out, as the power is then outside us. If we believe problems are coming at us from outside of ourselves, we would continue to be hapless victims, and there would be no resolution possible and no reason for hope.

What God did not create cannot be true, and God did not create the world. The world is a projection of the thought system of separation. Thus, all our problems are illusory. They are all a projection of the guilt in our own minds, and guilt demands punishment. The situation we experience as a problem simply can't be real because perfect love would not have created it, and what is not real has no power over us. We think that if this situation were different, we would be happy, yet happiness is only a choice made in the mind. When the grievance is released, so is the problem. Every problem is some sort of grievance. When we hold grievances, we experience ourselves as alone and separate. A grievance separates me from whomever I hold a grievance against. The only way I can be happy is to let the grievance go so I can know that separation is not real.

When we appeared to separate from God, He immediately provided us with the Answer. The Answer is the Holy Spirit---a symbol of God's love in our right minds. This love shines forth when we release our grievances. The only problem is choosing to separate from the Love of God, and the only solution is to bring our mistaken choice to the truth. "The miracle behind this grievance will resolve it for me. The answer to this problem is the miracle that it conceals." (W.90.2.3-4)

Nothing has to change outside. The only change possible is in our own minds. If we really believed that everything starts in our own minds and that the power rests with us to choose the miracle instead, the solution would be immediately available to every problem. Why do we experience such resistance to letting go of our worries, anger, depression, and frustrations? This is because, with the separation and all that has come with it (the body and the world), we now value our separate identity and don't want to let go of our unique and special self. This explains our investment in this world. However, while we are invested in the world, we don't want the responsibility for having created it. Instead, we want to see ourselves victimized and betrayed so others could be blamed for our condition and the condition of the world. This keeps us invested in the world and all the problems that arise as a result. Until we truly accept that clinging to our separate self is the source of all our unhappiness, all our suffering, and all our pain, we will not be willing to let it go.

Jesus goes on to explain the way we see it. "I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out." (W.90.3.3) That is the belief we hold and that is precisely how we misuse time. We don't see that the problem and answer are actually simultaneous so that at the moment of separation the Answer was given. Isn't that what an all powerful, loving Father would do? Why would he want us to suffer? When we think that we have problems and that God is not providing us with the answer, it is because we refuse to accept the miracle available right then. We are the ones holding back the healing and the help available to us. We do that by holding onto, and indeed cherishing, the grievance. This is something to really reflect on and ask for His help in releasing the grievance and accepting the miracle. He gives us specific practices for this purpose, asking us to recognize today that we need not wait for any problem to be resolved. The answer to the problem has already been given, and we simply need to accept it. Time cannot separate the problem from the solution unless we allow it.

Jesus is not asking us to ignore the problems that seem to show up in our lives. He is merely asking us to consider the real solution, which is to let go of the grievance. When we do, the answer is given immediately. In the world, whatever the problem, the resolution may indeed take some time, but our function is to recognize it is never our real problem. Our real problem is that we have excluded ourselves from love. We have forgotten who we are. When we let the Holy Spirit help us, truth will dawn on our minds. We will experience the peace and joy of our Self where our true freedom lies. Through forgiveness, we are released from the cycle of guilt and fear. Now we can see that problems in our lives provide opportunities for healing. They are part of the script we have called into our lives.

"Let me realize today that the problem is always some form of grievance that I would cherish." (W.90.1.2) We can all relate to how we like to hang onto our grievances. This reminds me of the Psychotherapy Pamphlet, where Jesus says we don't shun guilt but embrace it, hug it close and shelter it, seeing it as protecting us and thus defending it, instead, against the love. "'God may not enter here' the sick repeat, over and over, while they mourn their loss and yet rejoice in it." (P.2.VI.1.4) Often, we find that we really don't want to let go of grievances. We still see "order of difficulty in miracles." (T.1.I.1.1) (ACIM OE T.1.1) To us, some problems seem bigger and more difficult; yet Jesus reminds us they are all the same because they are all illusory.

I don't know what the outcome of any perceived problem will actually be, but what I need to do is accept that the problem has already been solved. There is a miracle behind every perceived problem. Jesus makes it clear that the miracle will manifest in a way we can understand. It may be in form, and it may not. Today, we are asked to recognize the problem has already been solved, and we can be freed of the temptation to blame and see anyone as responsible for keeping us in fear. If I am in fear, it is my choice; and my responsibility is to do the healing work by giving over the fear to the Holy Spirit, Who will reinterpret the way I perceive it.

Today, I ask for the willingness to recognize my problems have been solved. I ask for help in having faith in those who seemingly cause me difficulties and in the Holy Spirit. Let me see every problematic situation through the eyes of Love. Let me know every grievance will be replaced with a miracle and everything has already been resolved. "The working out of all correction takes no time at all. Yet the acceptance of the working out can seem to take forever." (T.26.VIII.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.26.IX.72,73)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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