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

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

Lesson 91
Miracles are seen in light.

1 It is important to remember that miracles and vision necessarily go together. This needs repeating and frequent repeating. It is a central idea in your new thought system and the perception which it produces. The miracle is always there. Its presence is not caused by your vision; its absence is not the result of your failure to see. It is only your awareness of miracles that is affected. You will see it in the light; you will not see it in the dark.

2 To you, then, light is crucial. While you remain in darkness, the miracle remains unseen. Thus you are convinced it is not there. This follows from the premises from which the darkness comes. Denial of light leads to failure to perceive it. Failure to perceive light is to perceive darkness. The light is useless to you then, even though it is there. You cannot use it because its presence is unknown to you. And the seeming reality of the darkness makes the idea of light meaningless.

3 To be told that what you do not see is there sounds like insanity. It is very difficult to become convinced that it is insanity not to see what is there and to see what is not there instead. You do not doubt that the body's eyes can see. You do not doubt the images they show you are reality. Your faith lies in the darkness, not the light.

4 How can this be reversed? For you it is impossible, but you are not alone in this. Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support. Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish. Today we will devote ourselves to the attempt to let you feel this strength. When you have felt the strength in you which makes all miracles within your easy reach, you will not doubt. The miracles your sense of weakness hides will leap into awareness as you feel the strength in you.

5 Three times today, set aside about ten minutes for a quiet time in which you try to leave your weakness behind. This is accomplished very simply, as you instruct yourself that you are not a body. Faith goes to what you want, and you instruct your mind accordingly. Your will remains your teacher, and your will has all the strength to do what it desires. You can escape the body if you choose. You can experience the strength in you.

6 Begin the longer practice periods with this statement of true cause and effect relationships:

7 Miracles are seen in light. The body's eyes do not perceive the light. But I am not a body. What am I?

8 The question with which this statement ends is needed for our exercises today. What you think you are is a belief to be undone. But what you really are must be revealed to you. The belief you are a body calls for correction, being a mistake. The truth of what you are calls on the strength in you to bring to your awareness what the mistake concealed.

9 If you are not a body, what are you? You need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit uses to replace the image of a body in your mind. You need to feel something to put your faith in, as you lift it from the body. You need a real experience of something else, something more solid and more sure, more worthy of your faith, and really there.

10 If you are not a body, what are you? Ask this in honesty, and then devote several minutes to allowing your mistaken thoughts about your attributes to be corrected, and their opposites to take their place. Say, for example:

11 I am not weak, but strong.
 I am not helpless, but all powerful.
 I am not limited, but unlimited.
 I am not doubtful, but certain.
 I am not an illusion, but a reality.
 I cannot see in darkness, but in light.

12 In the second phase of the exercise period, try to experience these truths about yourself. Concentrate particularly on the experience of strength. Remember that all sense of weakness is associated with the belief you are a body, a belief that is mistaken and deserves no faith. Try to remove your faith from it, if only for a moment. You will become accustomed to keeping faith with the more worthy in you as we go along.

13 Relax for the rest of the practice period, confident that your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His Thoughts. It is from Them your strength will come. It is through Their strong support that you will feel the strength in you. They are united with you in this practice period in which you share a purpose like Their own. Theirs is the light in which you will see miracles because Their strength is yours. Their strength becomes your eyes that you may see.

14 Five or six times an hour at reasonably regular intervals remind yourself that miracles are seen in light. Also, be sure to meet temptation with today's idea. This form would be helpful for this special purpose:

15 Miracles are seen in light. Let me not close my eyes because of this.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 91
Miracles are seen in light.

We are finished with the Review and now have a long Lesson in front of us. "Miracles are seen in light." (W.91) It follows the Review of Lesson 89, which reminds us that grievances hide miracles. "The miracle is always there. Its presence is not caused by your vision; its absence is not the result of your failure to see. It is only your awareness of miracles that is affected." (W.91.1.4-6)

Just because we don't see them does not mean they are not there. The reason they are always there is because the truth is already in our minds. The Holy Spirit is in our minds, but we block awareness of His presence with our ego thought system of guilt, fear, attack, and grievances.

Miracles are only seen in light. "You will see them in the light; you will not see them in the dark." (W.91.1.7) When we continue to turn to the ego for answers, we will experience darkness. While this darkness, which we think of as our reality, persists, it makes the idea of light meaningless to us. Only the darkness seems meaningful and real to us. This is because we put our faith in what the body's eyes show us and the interpretation we give to everything we see.

What is this darkness? Darkness is our judgments, our belief that what we see with our eyes is reality, our belief that we are bodies, our grievances, our perceptions of differences, and indeed it is our conditioned, deceived mind. The conditioning comes from everything we have learned in the past and everything we have taught ourselves, which Jesus describes as a "giant learning feat," (T.31.I.2.7) (ACIM OE T.31.I.2) and "is indeed incredible." (T.31.I.2.7) (ACIM OE T.31.I.2) It is so incredible, Jesus tells us, that the entire world was made by the power of this ability.

Now we need help in undoing what we have made. It is not something we can do on our own because the ego will never undo itself. We have over-learned what the ego has taught us as true, and we have faith in what we see with our eyes. We believe our eyes show us what is real. "You do not doubt the images they show you are reality." (W.91.3.4) This is where we put our faith. "Your faith lies in the darkness, not the light." (W.91.3.5) We look out on the devastation with our eyes and believe what we see is real, but what our eyes show us is not true. It is all part of the darkness. Physical sight, according to the Course, is not real seeing. In order to really see, we need vision.

That is why it takes a lot of time and a lot of work to unlearn it all. Our identification with our body, our personality, and our self-concept is very much held up by our investment in it. The world was made as evidence that what we see and experience is the truth. What we are now being taught is a new way of seeing. This is not about what our eyes see, but it is about our state of mind and our perspective. In essence, we ultimately come to see as the Holy Spirit "sees" - through the eyes of forgiveness. When we see through His perception, we see our dark thoughts, but we see them without judgment. Now, instead of seeing a dark world, we see the real world that shines with innocence and beauty. We see beyond appearances.

This is a challenging process for us because we are so very invested in our individuality and our special, unique self, seemingly trapped in these bodies. Therefore, it seems that what we are told by Jesus is fiction and what we experience in our lives is fact. What we believe about ourselves and the world seems to be more solid and more true than what he is showing us. That is why, until we are willing to admit we are wrong about how we perceive, we won't take this first step on the road to truth. We are actually seeing and experiencing what is not there. It is all illusory, yet behind the veil is the truth. Just because we don't accept this does not mean it is not there. We block it by searching for answers where they are not. When we are willing to admit that our way has not brought us happiness, we become willing to look for a better way. It requires that we begin to withdraw our faith from our investment in the world and the body and surrender our way of seeing.

The miracle is simply the correction for our current thinking. It shifts our perception from how we now see. The Holy Spirit is that Correction. When we see that our way is wrong and our happiness cannot be found in the world, we are then willing to ask for the Correction. That is a great beginning.

If we are doing this Course, we have a degree of willingness to change. Jesus says that it is impossible for us to reverse our faith from the darkness to the light by ourselves. However, we are assured that our small willingness and our little efforts have strong support! "Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support. Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish." (W.91.4.1-2) At the core of change is simply our desire for it.

We are not doing this work by ourselves. We walk with mighty companions who reinforce every step we take on this journey. If you realized just how great the strength is that is available to you, "your doubts would vanish." (W.91.4.2)

Only when we feel this strength will we no longer have doubt, and this is what "makes all miracles within your easy reach." (W.91.4.4) The only thing that hides miracles from us is our "sense of weakness." (W.91.4.5) We feel weak, helpless, and limited when we think our reality is limited by our bodily identity and all the vulnerability that entails. We feel weak when we rely on our limited understanding, looking for answers where they don't exist.

Bodies do have limitations. When we invest our belief in the reality of the body, we feel weak and vulnerable. We won't let go of our belief that we are bodies unless we know there is something better to take its place. We will continue to believe in our reality as a body unless we have an experience of something else. This "something else" is more than an awareness or a feeling. It is an experience of the Self we are. It is what the entire Course is leading us to. When we have the experience of letting go of our bodily reality, even for a brief moment, something shifts in our minds. This is the miracle. The miracle changes how we see things. It changes our perception. It changes our investment in the body where we see it as an end in everything we do. Jesus is showing us that the body is simply a tool, a communication device, and need not be the focus of all our attention. Its well-being is assured when the mind is healed.

It does not happen all at once, or it would be too terrifying for us. Blocking the truth of our reality, judgments, grievances, and attacks, conceals the truth. The miracle undoes these thoughts when we turn them over to the Holy Spirit. It takes great willingness to allow our mistaken thoughts to be corrected. Our stubborn resistance hurts us. It is harder to stay in resistance than it is to surrender to the truth within. When you are tempted to judge a brother today, turn to Jesus and ask him to help you see your brother as he does. When we hold feelings of unworthiness, shame, specialness, anxiety, or guilt the Holy Spirit assures us that we are innocent, worthy beyond measure, and perfect in our holiness. As we allow all of our mistaken thoughts to be corrected, we experience peace and joy.

Jesus demonstrated that his true reality in his resurrection. "The Resurrection demonstrated that NOTHING can destroy truth. Good can withstand ANY form of evil, because light abolishes ALL forms of darkness. The Atonement [the resurrection] is thus the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all of the other Lessons which I taught are true." (UrText.T.3.C.11.) According to this, the resurrection was a demonstration that nothing can destroy three things: truth, goodness, and light. Jesus is clearly the symbol for us of that truth, goodness, and light. He appeared to have been destroyed and yet he wasn't because, like us, his reality was not his body. He emerged from the experience intact and unscathed.

In our lives, the meaning of the resurrection can be captured in the following lines, which are worth spending some time on:

No matter how much people attack me, they can't destroy the truth in me.
No matter how much they misperceive me, they can have no influence at all on what I am.
No matter how much malice assaults me, the life in me can't be changed in any way.
The good in me can withstand any form of evil.
The light in me abolishes all forms of darkness.
No matter what the world does to me, my life remains unlimited, for I am God's Son.

That is what Jesus demonstrated through his resurrection. It was not God's demonstration that Jesus was divine but Jesus' demonstration that we are all divine and all deathless (in the fullest sense of the word). "The resurrection demonstrated that nothing can destroy truth." (T.3.I.7.6) (ACIM OE T.3.III.18) "Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you." (T.11.VI.7.3-4) (ACIM OE T.10.VII.65)

It is not helpful simply to deny that we are a body and hope that the idea sinks in. Jesus is asking us to see that we have been wrong about ourselves. It is because we have been listening to the wrong teacher. Jesus is talking to the part of our minds that is always making the choice for the ego or for the Holy Spirit. He is not asking us to give up the body, only to think more deeply about our reality. "If you are not a body, what are you?" (W.91.7.1) When we ask this question, Jesus recognizes the answer is terrifying to us, and it must be replaced with something else. "You need to feel something to put your faith in, as you lift it from the body. You need a real experience of something else, something more solid and more sure; more worthy of your faith and really there." (W.91.7.3-4)

He is gently leading us from our belief in the reality of this world and our individual self to recognizing there truly is something beyond our egos. "I am not weak, but strong. I am not helpless, but all powerful. I am not limited, but unlimited. I am not doubtful, but certain. I am not an illusion, but a reality. I cannot see in darkness, but in light." (W.91.8.4-9) In order to experience the truth of these statements, we need to recognize how we are blocking the truth, be willing to look at our interfering thoughts, and bring them to the light. It is the beginning of recognizing that maybe we have been wrong about ourselves.

Not to know who we are is terrifying to us. We are told, "There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself." (T.31.V.17.6-7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.59,60)

Putting all we believe about ourselves to question is the beginning of the undoing of the thoughts system of the ego. We begin by looking at our mistaken thoughts about our attributes and allow them to be corrected. (W.91.8.2) We bring our illusions of ourselves to the truth; yet to do so requires a great deal of awareness. Watching our thoughts is important. Looking at our inadequacies, unworthiness, self-hatred, jealousies, and neediness, all requires great honesty. By looking at these thoughts without judgment and merely taking an inventory of what comes up, healing can happen.

"Relax for the rest of the practice period, confident that your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His Thoughts." (W.91.10.1) Remember, it is the application of these thoughts in our day-to-day lives, that brings about vision. With each opportunity to choose again, the Holy Spirit substitutes the happy dream where thoughts of peace replace attack thoughts.

It is very easy to join with weakness if we listen to the ego. We can get discouraged on this journey, but the perfect Lesson appears just when we need to hear the truth. Today, I experienced doubt thoughts, feelings of helplessness, limitation, and frustration, and noticed how the ego tries to hang onto these emotional tantrums. I am reminded today by this Lesson that the part of the mind that remembers the truth is the strength in me and is always there. Some days the challenges that show up in my day make the application of the Lessons even more compelling. While I am determined to bring the darkness to the light, I recognize there is resistance. I try not to fight myself, because when I do, the ego gets more resistant.

I am willing to concede that I don't understand anything today. I only know that these mistaken thoughts can be corrected. "At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now." (T.30.I.8.2) (ACIM OE T.30.II.15,16) Jesus reminds us that there is another way to look at every situation, and we can choose again for what we really want. I know that I am choosing the feelings I experience so another choice can be made when I am ready. Delay is painful and need not be.

By being willing to look at my interfering thoughts and to take responsibility for them, I can experience the miracle. Bringing these thoughts to the truth is how I can experience that the thoughts I identify with today are not the truth about me. While my efforts may seem meager today, they are fully supported by the strength of God. He reminds me today, "Remember that all sense of weakness is associated with the belief you are a body, a belief that is mistaken and deserves no faith." (W.91.9.3) This is where all my sense of unworthiness and suffering comes from. When I can try to remove my faith from the body, "if only for a moment," (W.91.9.4) a shift will be made to that which is "more worthy in you as we go along." (W.91.9.5) We make this effort today to bring all that is false to the truth so the miracle can shine forth. We meet each temptation to hold onto false concepts with the words of this Lesson. The truth is true and nothing else is true.

Be confident today "that your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His Thoughts. It is from Them that your strength will come." (W.91.10.1-2)

Love and blessings, Sarah


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