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

CHAPTER 8
The Journey Back

IX. Healing As Corrected Perception

80 We once said that the Holy Spirit is the Answer . He is the Answer to everything because He knows what the answer to everything is . The ego does not know what a real question is, although it asks an endless number. Yet you can learn this as you learn to question the value of the ego and thus establish your ability to evaluate its questions. When the ego tempts you to sickness, do not ask the Holy Spirit to heal the body, for this would merely be to accept the ego's belief that the body is the proper aim for healing. Ask rather that the Holy Spirit teach you the right perception of the body, for perception alone can be distorted. Only perception can be sick because only perception can be wrong .

81 Wrong perception is distorted willing, which wants things to be as they are not. The reality of everything is totally harmless because total harmlessness is the condition of its reality. It is also the condition of your awareness of its reality. You do not have to seek reality. It will seek you and find you when you meet its conditions. Its conditions are part of what it is . And this part only is up to you. The rest is of itself. You need do so little because it is so powerful that your little part will bring the whole to you. Accept then your little part, and let the whole be yours.

82 Wholeness heals because it is of the mind. All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening . They are attempts to reinforce unconsciousness out of fear of consciousness . This is a pathetic way of trying not to know by rendering the faculties for knowing ineffectual. "Rest in peace" is a blessing for the living, not the dead, because rest comes from waking , not from sleeping. Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining. Dreams are illusions of joining, taking on the ego's distortions about what joining means if you are sleeping under its guidance. Yet the Holy Spirit, too, has use for sleep and can use dreams on behalf of waking if you will let Him.

83 How you wake is the sign of how you have used sleep. To whom did you give it? Under which teacher did you place it? Whenever you wake dispiritedly, it was not of the Holy Spirit. Only when you awaken joyously have you utilized sleep according to the Holy Spirit's purpose. You can indeed be "drugged by sleep," but this is always because you have misused it on behalf of sickness. Sleep is no more a form of death than death is a form of unconsciousness. Unconsciousness is impossible . You can rest in peace only because you are awake.

84 Healing is release from the fear of waking and the substitution of the will to wake . The will to wake is the will to love, since all healing involves replacing fear with love. The Holy Spirit cannot distinguish among degrees of error, for if He taught that one form of sickness is more serious than another, He would be teaching that one error can be more real than another. His function is to distinguish only between the false and the true, replacing the false with the true.

85 The ego, which always weaken s the will, wants to separate the body from the mind. This is an attempt to destroy it, yet the ego actually believes that it is protecting it. This is because the ego believes that mind is dangerous and that to make mindless is to heal. But to make mindless is impossible, since it would mean to make nothing out of what God created. The ego despises weakness, even though it makes every effort to induce it. The ego wants only what it hates. To the ego this is perfectly sensible. Believing in the power of attack, the ego wants attack.

86 You have surely begun to realize that this is a very practical course which means exactly what it says. So does the Bible, if it is properly understood. There has been a marked tendency on the part of many of the Bible's followers and also its translators to be entirely literal about fear and its effects but not about love and its results. Thus, "hellfire" means "burning," but raising the dead becomes allegorical. Actually, it is particularly the references to the outcomes of love which should be taken literally because the Bible is about love, being about God.

87 The Bible enjoins you to be perfect, to heal all errors, to take no thought of the body as separate, and to accomplish all things in my name. This is not my name alone, for ours is a shared identification. The name of God's Son is one, and you are enjoined to do the works of love because we share this oneness. Our minds are whole because they are one. If you are sick you are withdrawing from me. Yet you cannot withdraw from me alone. You can only withdraw from yourself and me.

88 I would not ask you to do the things you cannot do, and it is impossible that I could do things you cannot do. Given this, and given this quite literally, there can be nothing which prevents you from doing exactl y what I ask, and everything which argues for your doing it. I give you no limits because God lays none upon you. When you limit yourself , we are not of one mind and that is sickness. Yet sickness is not of the body, but of the mind . All forms of dysfunction are merely signs that the mind has split and does not accept a unified purpose.

89 The unification of purpose , then, is the Holy Spirit's only way of healing. This is because it is the only level at which healing means anything. The re-establishing of meaning in a chaotic thought system is the only way to heal it. We have said that your task is only to meet the conditions for meaning since meaning itself is of God. Yet your return to meaning is essential to His because your meaning is part of His. Your healing, then, is part of His health since it is part of His Wholeness. He cannot lose this, but you can not know it. Yet it is still His Will for you, and His Will must stand forever and in all things.

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Lesson 96
Salvation comes from my One Self.

1 Although you are One Self, you experience yourself as two—as both good and evil, loving and hating, mind and body. This sense of being split into opposites induces feelings of acute and constant conflict and leads to frantic attempts to reconcile the contradictory aspects of this self-perception. You have sought many such solutions, and none of them has worked. The opposites you see in you will never be compatible. But one exists.

2 The fact that truth and illusion cannot be reconciled, no matter how you try, what means you use, and where you see the problem, must be accepted if you would be saved. Until you have accepted this, you will attempt endless lists of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before and failing as the next one surely will.

3 Problems that have no meaning cannot be resolved within the framework they are set. Two selves in conflict could not be resolved, and good and evil have no meeting place. The self you made can never be your Self, nor can your Self be split in two and still be what it is and must forever be.

4 A mind and body cannot both exist. Make no attempt to reconcile the two, for one denies the other can be real. If you are physical, your mind is gone from your self-concept, for it has no place in which it could be really part of you. If you are Spirit, then the body must be meaningless to your reality.

5 Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self-expression. And the mind which serves the Spirit is at peace and filled with joy. Its power comes from Spirit, and it is fulfilling happily its function here. Yet mind can also see itself divorced from Spirit and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself. Without its function then, it has no peace, and happiness is alien to its thoughts.

6 Yet mind apart from Spirit cannot think. It has denied its Source of strength and sees itself as helpless, limited, and weak. Dissociated from its function now, it thinks it is alone and separate, attacked by armies massed against itself and hiding in the body's frail support. Now must it reconcile unlike with like, for this is what it thinks that it is for.

7 Waste no more time on this. Who can resolve the senseless conflicts which a dream presents? What could the resolution mean in truth? What purpose could it serve? What is it for? Salvation cannot make illusions real and solve a problem that does not exist. Perhaps you hope it can. Yet would you have God's plan for the release of His dear Son bring pain to him and fail to set him free?

8 Your Self retains its thoughts, and they remain within your mind and in the Mind of God. The Holy Spirit holds salvation in your mind and offers it the way to peace. Salvation is a thought you share with God, because His Voice accepted it for you and answered in your name that it was done. Thus is salvation kept among the thoughts your Self holds dear and cherishes for you.

9 We will attempt today to find this thought, whose presence in your mind is guaranteed by Him Who speaks to you from your One Self. Our hourly five minute practicing will be a search for Him within your mind. Salvation comes from this One Self through Him Who is the bridge between your mind and it.

10 Wait patiently, and let Him speak to you about your Self, and what your mind can do, restored to it and free to serve its will.

11 Begin by saying this:

12 Salvation comes from my One Self. Its thoughts are mine to use.

13 Then seek its thoughts, and claim them as your own.

14 These are your own real thoughts you have denied, and let your mind go wandering in a world of dreams, to find illusions in their place. Here are your thoughts, the only ones you have. Salvation is among them; find it there.

15 If you succeed, the thoughts that come to you will tell you you are saved and that your mind has found the function that it sought to lose. Your Self will welcome it and give it peace. Restored in strength, it will again flow out from Spirit to the Spirit in all things created by the Spirit as Itself. Your mind will bless all things. Confusion done, you are restored, for you have found your Self.

16 Your Self knows that you cannot fail today. Perhaps your mind remains uncertain yet a little while. Be not dismayed by this. The joy your Self experiences It will save for you, and it will yet be yours in full awareness. Every time you spend five minutes of the hour seeking Him Who joins your mind and Self, you offer Him another treasure to be kept for you.

17 Each time today you tell your frantic mind salvation comes from your One Self, you lay another treasure in your growing store. And all of it is given everyone who asks for it and will accept the gift. Think, then, how much is given unto you to give this day, that it be given you!

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 96
Salvation comes from my One Self.

Jesus tells us, "As you can hear two voices, so you can see in two ways. One way shows you an image, or an idol that you may worship out of fear, but will never love. The other shows you only truth, which you will love because you will understand it. Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. That is how God Himself created you; in understanding, in appreciation and in love. The ego is totally unable to understand this, because it does not understand what it makes, does not appreciate it and does not love it." (T.7.V.9.1-6) (ACIM OE T.7.VI.50)

We have two ways of seeing any situation. One way is to see through the ego's interpretation, which is to see each brother as an image or idol from whom we try to extract love. This way of seeing will always bring the fear that we will be abandoned, betrayed, or hurt. We see through our own persona and it is an image full of fear. We try to get the persona of the other to love us and to meet our needs, but it can never happen because the persona is not real. When they won't agree to our contract or hidden agenda, we feel angry and betrayed. The other way is to see them with vision, which is to look through the perception of the Holy Spirit. When this is the case, we are able to see our brother as a reflection of the innocence in our own mind. We see the sameness we share as our One Self. We can only see in this way when the blocks to love we hold in our own mind (guilt, fear, judgments, grievances) are removed through forgiveness. This requires taking responsibility for our projections and willingly releasing them to the Holy Spirit. When we turn to the ego as our teacher, we focus on what we can get from others, but with the Holy Spirit, our desire is to give with no expectations.

Later in Chapter 7 we read, "Your mind is dividing its allegiance between two kingdoms, and you are totally committed to neither." (T.7.VI.9.1) (ACIM OE T.7.VII.63) "Perceived problems in identification at any level are not problems of fact. They are problems of understanding, since their presence implies a belief that what you are is up to you to decide. The ego believes this totally, being fully committed to it. It is not true. The ego therefore is totally committed to untruth, perceiving in total contradiction to the Holy Spirit and to the knowledge of God." (T.7.VI.9.4-8) (ACIM OE T.7.VII.64)

Here, we are reminded that we have a divided allegiance between the right mind and wrong mind. The right mind is where truth resides. This is where we connect with our eternal Being and One Self. It is the part we can't change, no matter how we feel about ourselves. In other words, we are still as God created us. The wrong mind is the kingdom ruled by the ego. It contains our self concepts, our values, and our beliefs. It is the false self that has no reality. It is who we think we are--the self that seems to be living in a body and in the world. With our investment in the ego, we value our individuality, uniqueness, and specialness. We believe that this is where we have control over our lives and our decisions.

We believe that we have made what we are and our lives are up to us. This belief totally obscures God and our reality. It obscures who we truly are as divine beings. Instead, we believe that what is real is the body, the world, the concepts of ourselves, and our problems. While we hold onto this reality and experience ourselves as bodies, we cannot know who we are as the Christ Self. Our wholeness and limitless power and our consistent peace and joy are still in the mind; they are just hidden from our awareness.

The fact is that we are only One Self, but our experience is of two selves in conflict. We say we want peace, joy, and happiness, yet there seems to be this part of us that resists or actively sabotages what we say we want. We say we want peace, we want joy, we want love, we want truth, and we want God, but we also want the things of this world. We try to spiritualize the illusion by trying to bring truth to the illusion and trying to have a better dream here. We try to make ourselves spiritual, but it will not work. We say we want light, yet we hold onto the darkness. We say we want peace, yet we do everything to be rid of it. Jesus asks us, "Would you let a little bank of sand, a wall of dust, a tiny seeming barrier stand between your brothers and salvation." (T.19.IV.A.2.9) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.41) Unfortunately, so often we do cherish this "little remnant of attack," (T.19.IV.A.2.10) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.41) but when we do, we set up a barrier between ourselves and our brothers.

We hold onto our way of seeing things, our grievances, judgments, and specialness. Only by releasing the dark thoughts, the self-concepts, the grievances, and the belief that things of this world (idols) can ever satisfy us, can we open to the truth of who we really are. The idols are things, circumstances, situations, special relationships, and objects we deem important and use to try to complete ourselves. We follow the ego's mantra to keep seeking for our happiness outside of ourselves, but happiness and peace will always elude us. We will never find what we are seeking for in the world. The only completion is to know who we are as the Christ Self. Everything else leaves us always feeling limited and lacking. In other words, no matter what we seek for in this world, we will never be satisfied.

Our typical response to this inner conflict is to try to reconcile what we see as the different parts of ourselves, but this will never work. "You have sought many such solutions, and none of them has worked. The opposites you see in you will never be compatible. But one exists." (W.96.1.3-5) We will continue to experience the conflict until we are ready to release the false identity we have accepted as our reality.

We have become so preoccupied with the body that we have lost sight of spirit. We will never find any safety, comfort, happiness, or wholeness in guilt and fear, yet that is what we try to do. We try to carve out some sense of safety and security in the world of form, whether it is in our special relationships, money, status, material goods, job, or any number of things. In our lives, we "attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before, and failing as the next one surely will." (W.96.2.2) We are constantly trying to solve the problem of the anxiety and emptiness we feel, but we can never solve it in our own way. The problem is not in the body or in the world but in our decision for separation, and only there lies the solution.

There simply is no happiness possible in this state of insanity. We have put our energy toward serving the body's seeming existence instead of investing it in waking up to the truth of our reality. We work very hard to try to make our experience here as good, comfortable, pleasurable, safe from harm, beautiful and indestructible as we can. Thus, the mind is focused on what can never serve our own best interests. "Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit, and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself." (W.96.4.4) It [the mind] has lost sight of spirit, for its true function is to serve spirit, and only when we put our mind to this function will we be happy and know peace. Our wrong-minded thought system of sin, guilt, and fear holds others responsible for our lack of fulfillment. Even if we seem to hold ourselves responsible by blaming ourselves for our inadequacies, we still hold someone else responsible for those inadequacies. Blaming ourselves or others is still the same thing.

When we identify ourselves with the body and personality, the mind is completely in the service of this existence. We see ourselves as "helpless, limited and weak." (W.96.5.2) We feel alone, separated, and a victim of the world. The body becomes a "frail support" (W.96.5.3) where we try to hide. So much of our attention in this world goes into the care and maintenance of these bodies, and we live in fear of anything untoward happening to them. They are indeed very frail and they continually deteriorate. This is because he tells us that mind apart from spirit has "denied its Source of strength." (W.96.5.2) Only by undertaking our function of forgiveness where we no longer hold others responsible for our condition can we reclaim the power in us.

"If you are physical, your mind is gone from your self-concept, for it has no place in which it could be really part of you." (W.96.3.6) In other words, if we truly are bodies, then the spirit cannot be part of us. When we join with spirit, we can't be a body. "If you are spirit then the body must be meaningless to your reality." (W.96.3.7) When we recognize ourselves as One Self, united with our Creator, the body is not our reality. We simply are not these frail beings at the mercy of a cruel world. When we identify ourselves as bodies, we have actually left the mind, which is where truth resides. The Holy Spirit calls us to return to the truth of who we really are. The Holy Spirit resides in our right minds.

In each moment and in each decision that we make, we choose: a grievance or a miracle, the separation or our reality. It depends on which teacher we turn to---the ego or the Holy Spirit. This is a question of whether we choose to defend our specialness and individuality, or we choose forgiveness and thus the truth. In each decision we make, we choose: Heaven or hell, truth or illusion, body or spirit.

For healing to occur, we must bring all our worries, depression, feelings of victimhood, attack thoughts, expectations of outcomes, fantasies, and wishes, to the light. Then we must be willing to let them go. To waste our time listening to the ego and going where it takes us, leads us nowhere. It is like trying to resolve things in our nighttime dreams. What is the point? I spent the whole night in my dream last night packing to go on a journey and being concerned about taking everything I needed. However, in spite of my dedication and commitment to this task, it was to no avail, which only became apparent to me when I woke up.

Fortunately for us, the Holy Spirit has been placed in our right minds as a bridge to help us with this awakening. He entered our minds the instant the decision for the wrong mind (separation) was made. He calls us constantly to give up our futile attempts at finding happiness in the physical world and urges us to open our minds to the truth. This is the Divine Help that brings our minds back to our true function to serve the spirit, connect with the love we are, and bring this reflection to the world as an extension of God's Being. "Your mind will bless all things." (W.96.10.4) That is the case when we reclaim the truth of who we are through our function of forgiveness. This is how we rejoin with the Source of our strength.

Our self-deceptions can’t change the truth about us, no matter how lost we are in this dream. We remain as God created us and can never be separated from our Creator. While we have deceived ourselves about who we are and have believed in the reality of the body, the truth of our reality as the Christ Self has never changed. Isn't that a reassuring thought? Nothing we have done has changed our reality. Nothing we have believed about ourselves is true. Through forgiveness, we release the untrue and reconnect to spirit, leaving aside all the distractions of the world as we enter into His Presence. We are reminded, "The ego's whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled." (T.7.IX 3.4-5) (ACIM OE T.7.X.93)

The Self we seek is not something outside of us, but it is what we are. "Perhaps your mind remains uncertain yet a little while. Be not dismayed by this." (W.96.11.2-3) We may not be ready yet for the experience of awakening, but we should not feel discouraged because of this lack of readiness. It will be ours when we are ready. Every time you do the practice, you "offer Him another treasure to be kept for you." (W.96.11.5) Therefore, nothing is ever lost. As we do this practice, we just keep filling our storehouse with treasures. From this storehouse, we draw these treasures, which are then extended as blessings and miracles. We need to be patient with ourselves in this process. We can relax, knowing that time is being used for its intended purpose. We do the work by applying these Lessons to our daily lives. As we do this, the Self rejoices, even if the joy has not yet penetrated the conscious mind.

I share these thoughts with you, knowing I am talking to myself, reminding myself of the truth as I write. I join with you in gratitude and willingness to heal my mind so I can remember who I am as spirit. Salvation comes from my One Self, which I share with you. Through that One Self, we bring salvation to the world. As we receive, we give. "Think, then, how much is given unto you to give this day, that it be given you!" (W.96.12.3)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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