"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
The Journey Back
VII. Communication and the Ego-Body Equation
physical. When attack in any form enters your mind, you are
yourself with a body. This is the ego's
of the body. You do not have to attack physically to accept this interpretation. You are accepting it simply by the belief that attack can
you something you want. If you did not believe this, the idea of attack would have no appeal for you. When you equate yourself with a body, you will
experience depression. When a Child of God thinks of himself in this way, he is belittling himself and seeing his brothers as similarly belittled. Since he can find himself
in them, he has cut himself off from salvation.
Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. Being the communication link between God and His separated Sons, the Holy Spirit interprets everything
have made in the light of what
is. The ego
through the body. The Holy Spirit
it to others. You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does because you do not interpret their bodies and yours solely as a means of joining their
and uniting them with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has
If you use the body for attack, it
harmful to you. If you use it only to reach the minds of those who believe they are bodies and teach them
the body that this is not so, you will begin to understand the power of the mind that is in both of you. If you use the body for this and
for this, you
t use it for attack. In the service of uniting, it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion
. This is God's way of making unlimited what you have limited. The Holy Spirit does not see the body as you do because He knows the
reality anything can have is the service it can render God on behalf of the function He has given it.
it. The body is beautiful or ugly, holy or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put. And in the body of another you will see the use to which you have put yours. If the body becomes for you a means which you give to the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of union of the Sonship, you will not see anything physical except as what it is. Use it for truth, and you will see it truly.
it, and you
misunderstand it because you have already done so
misusing it. Interpret
apart from the Holy Spirit, and you will mistrust it. This will lead you to hatred and attack
and loss of peace
Yet all loss comes only from your own misunderstanding. Loss of
kind is impossible. When you look upon a brother as a physical entity,
power and glory are lost
you, and so are
attacked him, but you
have attacked yourself first. Do not see him this way for your
salvation, which must bring him
. Do not allow him to belittle himself in
mind, but give him freedom from his belief in littleness and thus escape from
. As part of you,
is holy. As part of me,
are. To communicate with part of God Himself is to reach beyond the Kingdom to its Creator through His Voice, which He has established as part of
Rejoice, then, that of yourselves you can do nothing. You are not
yourselves. He of Whom you
has willed your power and glory
you, with which you can perfectly accomplish His holy Will for you when you so will it yourself. He has not withdrawn His gifts from you, but
have withdrawn them from Him. Let no Son of God remain hidden for His name's sake because His name is
Remember that the Bible says, "The Word (or thought) was made flesh." Strictly speaking this is impossible, since it seems to involve the translation of one order of reality into another. Different orders of reality merely
to exist, just as different orders of miracles do. Thought cannot be made into flesh except by belief, since thought is
physical. Yet thought
communication, for which the body
be used. This is the only
use to which it
be put. To use the body unnaturally is to lose sight of the Holy Spirit's purpose and thus to confuse the goal of His curriculum.
There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as to be placed in a curriculum which he cannot learn. His sense of adequacy suffers, and he
become depressed. Being faced with an impossible learning situation, regardless of why it is impossible, is the most depressing thing in the world. In fact, it is ultimately
the world is depressing. The Holy Spirit's curriculum is
depressing because it is a curriculum of joy. Whenever the reaction to learning is depression, it is only because the goal of the curriculum has been lost sight of.
In the world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions which bear little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. Guided by the ego, it
. Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is
. It becomes only a means by which the part of the mind you have separated from your Soul can reach beyond its distortions and
to the Soul. The ego's temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense, the body
become a temple to God because His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.
Healing is the result of using the body
for communication. Since this is natural, it heals by making whole, which is
natural. All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or
mind, is a fragmented (or sick) interpretation. Mind
be made physical, but it
be made manifest through the physical if it uses the body to go
itself. By reaching
, the mind extends itself. It does not
at the body, for if it does, it is blocked in its purpose. A mind which has been blocked has allowed itself to be vulnerable to attack because it has
turned against itself
The removal of the blocks, then, is the
way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind which is working
the body but not
it. If the mind believes the body is its
distort its perception of the body and, by blocking its own extension beyond it, will induce illness by fostering
. Perceiving the body as a
foster illness because it is not true. A medium of communication will
its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of
is an obvious confusion in purpose.
To communicate is to join and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously with the
suffer? Perception of the body can be unified only by
purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights and gives it over
to the One Light in Which it can be really understood at all. To confuse a learning device with a curriculum
is a fundamental confusion. Learning can hardly be arrested at its own aids with hope of understanding either the aids
the learning's real purpose. Learning must lead
the body to the reestablishment of the power of the mind in it. This can be accomplished
if the mind extends to other minds and does not
itself in its extension.
The arrest of the mind's extension is the cause of
illness because only extension is the mind's function. The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God's joyous Teacher, and you must be learning amiss. To see a body as anything except a means of pure extension is to limit your mind and
. Health is therefore nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, the body becomes whole because the
one. Attack can only be an
purpose of the body because
from the mind the body
has no purpose at all
limited by the body, and thought
be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and
does not interpret it as limitation
. Whenever you see another as limited
the body, you are imposing this limit
. Are you willing to
this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to
from limitations? To conceive of the body as a means of attack of any kind and to entertain even the possibility that joy could
result is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum and is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his
Joy is unified purpose, and unified purpose is
God's. When yours is unified, it
His. Interfere with His purpose, and you
salvation. You have condemned yourself, but condemnation is
of God. Therefore, it is not true. No more are any of the
of your condemnation. When you see a brother as a body, you are condemning him
you have condemned yourself. Yet if all condemnation is unreal, and it
be unreal since it is a form of attack, then it can
Do not allow yourselves to suffer from the results of what is not true. Free your minds from the belief that this is
. In its complete impossibility and your full awareness
its complete impossibility lie your only hope for release. But what other hope would you want? Freedom from illusions lies only in not
no attack, but there
unlimited communication and therefore unlimited power and wholeness. The power of wholeness is extension. Do not arrest your thought in this world, and you will open your mind to creation in God.
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A Course in Miracles
I am as God created me.
Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone. You are as God created you. The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea. Here is salvation accomplished. Here is sanity restored.
True light is strength, and strength is sinlessness. If you remain as God created you, you must be strong and light must be in you. He Who ensured your sinlessness must be the guarantee of strength and light as well. You are as God created you. Darkness cannot obscure the glory of the Son of God. You stand in light, strong in the sinlessness in which you were created and in which you will remain throughout eternity.
Today we will again devote the first five minutes of each waking hour to the attempt to feel the truth in you. Begin these times of searching with these words:
I am as God created me. I am His Son eternally.
Now try to reach the Son of God in you. This is the Self that never sinned nor made an image to replace reality. This is the Self which never left its home in God to walk the world uncertainly. This is the Self which knows no fear nor could conceive of loss or suffering or death.
Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside, go past the long list of attributes, both "good" and "bad," you have ascribed to yourself and wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail.
If you do not meet the requirement of practicing for the first five minutes of every hour, at least remind yourself hourly:
I am as God created me. I am His Son eternally.
Tell yourself frequently today that you are as God created you. And be sure to respond to anyone who seems to irritate you with these words:
You are as God created you. You are His Son eternally.
Make every effort to do the hourly exercises today. Each one you do will be a giant stride toward your release and a milestone in learning the thought system which this course sets forth.
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I am as God created me.
This is a very significant idea and thus it is repeated many times.
"I am as God created me."
(W.94) What that really means is that the image or persona I have made of myself and the way I have defined myself, both good and bad, cannot be the truth. It seems to me that the behaviors I exhibit define me. It seems to me when I get angry, say nasty things, gossip, and do things I know are not well intentioned, I build a personal record that is less than honorable. As I look at this record, I judge myself as guilty and sinful, which is not the truth. The truth is that I have not changed myself from how I have been created by God, but I have made judgments, about myself, real in my mind. Now I think this self is what I am and judge myself as guilty and deserving of punishment. The fact is that I have simply made a mistake. I am mistaken in who I think I am. In the decision for the ego thought system, I have chosen to believe I have separated myself from love. While I judge myself for what I think I have done, I nevertheless value my individual special self.
There are behaviors I see as good, loving, and even spiritual about myself as well, but when I look more deeply, they too are based on false perceptions of who I am as special and unique. Who I am in truth is still untouched by all the thoughts I hold about myself, which are connected to the body and personality.
"Littleness is the offering you give yourself. You offer this in place of magnitude, and you accept it."
(T.15.III.1.3-4) (ACIM OE T.15.IV.22) In other words, let us not be content with the self we made, but instead, let us allow the Holy Spirit to reinterpret our misperceptions of ourselves and others until we come to know the truth of what we really are.
If we did not accept our littleness and instead connected with the magnificence of our true Self as created by God, we would know our reality. Through striving in this world for those things we believe will bring us joy, satisfaction, and peace,
"you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory."
(T.15.III.1.6) (ACIM OE T.15.IV.22) We always choose one at the expense of the other. We always choose littleness or glory in every circumstance.
"It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home."
(T.15.III.2.4-6) (ACIM OE T.15.IV.23)
Thus, we are tempted to define ourselves based on attributes we see in ourselves. Our identity as a separate, individual self living in a body seems to have a very strong hold on us.
"Temptation has one lesson it would teach, in all its forms, wherever it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty, and bound by what it orders him to feel."
(T.31.VIII.1.1-2) (ACIM OE T.31.VIII.83) Yet if the separation never happened, everything the ego tells us we are must be false. If I truly am as God created me, everything I have made of myself is not true. None of my actions have altered who I really am. This elicits fear in me because I identify myself with what I have made of myself, and thus it leaves me not knowing who I am.
The moment we were born into these bodies, everybody treated us as a body and a personality, and it is now all we know of ourselves. It would be nice if we were treated as a soul and as an eternal being of light and love because that is what we are. We get into routines in our lives, and the routines are the melodramas that captivate our consciousness, but we can free ourselves from the box of our personality and our physical self with which we identify. This is what the practice is about. We are now much more aware of this limited self, so our focus in our healing is to try to get in touch with the Christ Self. What this requires is that we watch our thoughts and keep bringing them to the inner altar of light.
"Healing occurs as a patient begins to hear the dirge he sings, and questions its validity. Until he hears it, he cannot understand that it is he who sings it to himself."
This dirge is based on the guilt we hold and constitutes all the stories we tell of how we have been hurt and abused. Jesus says that we hang onto this guilt and hug it close, sheltering it and turning to it for its loving protection. That is quite a statement about our investment in guilt and the thoughts we hold close and even defend. We think there is safety in the defenses we have set up to protect ourselves. Jesus tells us that the ugliness of our thoughts has so deceived us that we have covered them over with sounds that seem beautiful to us. This is how we defend against the love we are. Yet
"Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth."
We have not screwed up the Self that God created. We can't corrupt what He has created. It is arrogant to think we can do anything to change this Self. We are as God created us and remain in His image. Whatever we have done in the world, in this illusion, has no effect on who we really are. We can forgive it all by no longer protecting this image and no longer continuing to defend against the truth.
"You stand in light, strong in the sinlessness in which you were created, and in which you will remain throughout eternity."
(W.94.2.6) When we choose to see sin in others and see ourselves as innocent, we deny our responsibility for making this body and this world, and we deny our responsibility in separating from God.
Connecting with the truth of who we truly are invalidates everything we think we are. The truth is that we are the Son of God, who has never left His home in God.
"This is the Self that never sinned, nor made an image to replace reality."
(W.94.3.6) While we think we are in this world and walking around uncertainly, our true reality, who we really are, has never left our home in God, knows no fear, and can't even conceive of loss, suffering, nor death. Every time we connect with the truth,
"I am as God created me,"
(W.94) we accept the Atonement for ourselves. In other words, we accept the healing or correction for ourselves. The Atonement makes it impossible to be anything except what God created, even though we can stay unaware of this truth.
How can we know any of this is true? We can only know it when we
". . . lay all idols and self images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth."
(W.94.4.1) Without the experience of corrected perception of ourselves, we have no reason to believe what Jesus is telling us. That is why we are urged to enter the place where we can have some experience of the truth. What is required for this to happen? All we need to do is recognize how we worship the idol of the self we think we are and bring these thoughts of specialness to the Holy Spirit, Who will reinterpret them for us. Don't we take great pride in our thoughts, ideas, opinions, independence, and beliefs about ourselves, whether good or bad? We hold them in place, saying, "That is just the way I am," as if it were an immutable fact.
What we need to understand is that we don't have to strive for our magnitude because we already have it. It is just that we don't know it. Striving is of the ego. We think that we can add something to God's creation through our own efforts, and that we can make ourselves better or more spiritual. Our part is only to bring our attributes, beliefs, and self-concepts to light, nothing else. We can’t add anything of value to the truth.
The Lesson today is repeated seventeen more times in the Course and said in many ways throughout the text. Jesus keeps reminding us over and over of this truth about ourselves. Again, it is something we need to
"attempt to feel"
(W.94.3.1) rather than just to verbalize. It is important to realize that there is nothing we need to strive for. Our reality belongs to us, but to know it, we need the Holy Spirit’s help. Our part is to look at our illusions of ourselves and the thoughts we hold and bring them to the light of the Atonement. We must do our part. It will not be done for us, but when we bring our perceptions to the truth, the Holy Spirit does the rest. The truth can only be revealed through our willingness as we
". . . wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail."
Clearly, if we want to know the truth about ourselves, we have to go through the darkness of the ego thought system. We can't just do a spiritual bypass by affirming truth. He makes it clear that we must take responsibility for our thoughts, attachments, all our self-concepts, belief in the body, and all our attributes. They have all been held in place by our decision to separate from the truth and must be laid aside. This is the part we must do if we want to experience the peace of God. It will never be imposed on us.
Today, we meditate on this idea for the first five minutes of every hour. That is quite a commitment! Are we willing to make this commitment? He asks that we make every effort to do so and calls this a giant stride toward our release. How motivated are you to arrange your schedule today to attempt this holy mission? I have to be honest and admit I have never been totally diligent in following these requirements in the years I have studied this Course. Although, I am struck today by the impact of being told that this is another giant stride Lesson, following up on the two previous giant stride Lessons 61 and 66. I am compelled to give it my best today. We are simply asked to do our best; and if we fail at any point, we forgive ourselves and pick it up again as soon as we realize our failure. Forgetting is another opportunity to look at our resistance. It is not intended to induce more guilt in us.
We start the practice today by laying aside all idols and self-images. We review how we think of ourselves in terms of our attributes, both good and bad, our roles, and the images we hold of ourselves and then
"wait in silent expectancy"
(W.94.4.1) for our true Self to be revealed. We wait in confidence and stillness. We watch our thoughts go by and let the truth dawn upon our minds. Throughout the hour, we remind ourselves as frequently as possible,
"I am as God created me."
Also, remember that when someone irritates or upsets you that this is another opportunity for you to look at the upset in your own mind and bring it to the truth. You can choose not to throw your peace away by what others do. Apply the Lesson very specifically if you feel discouraged, angry, or distressed in any way. The upset may be a thought in your mind about someone or it may be someone you have in your life who irritates you. Do not succumb to the temptation to blame or judge, but rather, take responsibility for the thoughts in your mind and ask for help to release them. Remember, what you are seeing outside yourself is just a split-off part of your own mind, an outside picture of your own inner condition.
"And be sure to respond to anyone who seems to irritate you with these words:
You are as God created you. You are His Son eternally.
(W.94.5.5-7) Apply the Lesson throughout the day, whenever you see yourself unfairly treated or victimized, recognizing that this is not the truth. We are one Self. Our interests are the same. I love you dearly as part of that One Self.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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