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1. Healing is always certain. It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusion. Truth demonstrates illusions have no value. The teacher of God has seen the correction of his errors in the mind of the patient, recognizing it for what it is. Having accepted the Atonement for himself, he has also accepted it for the patient. Yet what if the patient uses sickness as a way of life, believing healing is the way to death? When this is so, a sudden healing might precipitate intense depression, and a sense of loss so deep that the patient might even try to destroy himself. Having nothing to live for, he may ask for death. Healing must wait, for his protection.

2. Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat. The instant it is welcome it is there. Where healing has been given it will be received. And what is time before the gifts of God? We have referred many times in the text to the storehouse of treasures laid up equally for the giver and the receiver of God’s gifts. Not one is lost, for they can but increase. No teacher of God should feel disappointed if he has offered healing and it does not appear to have been received. It is not up to him to judge when his gift should be accepted. Let him be certain it has been received, and trust that it will be accepted when it is recognized as a blessing and not a curse.

3. It is not the function of God’s teachers to evaluate the outcome of their gifts. It is merely their function to give them. Once they have done that they have also given the outcome, for that is part of the gift. No one can give if he is concerned with the result of giving. That is a limitation of the giving itself, and neither the giver nor the receiver would have the gift. Trust is an essential part of giving; in fact, it is the part that makes sharing possible, the part that guarantees the giver will not lose, but only gain. Who gives a gift and then remains with it, to be sure it is used as the giver deems appropriate? Such is not giving but imprisoning.

4. It is the relinquishing of all concern about the gift that makes it truly given. And it is trust that makes true giving possible. Healing is the change of mind that the Holy Spirit in the patient’s mind is seeking for him. And it is the Holy Spirit in the mind of the giver Who gives the gift to him. How can it be lost? How can it be ineffectual? How can it be wasted? God’s treasure house can never be empty. And if one gift is missing, it would not be full. Yet is its fullness guaranteed by God. What concern, then can a teacher of God have about what becomes of his gifts? Given by God to God, who in this holy exchange can receive less than everything?[1]

While healing is certain, it is not time-based; healing does not happen to impress others on what powerful teachers of God we are; healing does not ascribe to our expectations, to give those who heal more credit or more stars in our crown than those who do not heal.  We must realize that there is nothing for our human ego to hang upon in our role as teacher of God. We are not here to put on a show or to draw people to us for mere healing of the body. We are not teachers to make a name for ourselves – we are here to join with Christ quietly and with utmost respect. 

In that role, the Christ within offers others the necessary change of mind that brings healing – and healing will always come when the receiver is ready.  It is not my concern when and where this happens in time – if I make it my concern, I am not offering the gifts of God, I am offering my ego – there is a part of the lower mind that wants to latch on to the glory for God, I want to get some credit here, I want to get bragging rights, I want to make sure that you know it was me that saved you, that healed you, that delivered you from a belief system that made you sick and gave you one that made you well. 

As teachers of God we relinquish all concern about the gifts of God that operate in our lives. We cannot share these gifts properly if we insert our egos and our own judgments into our function.  As teachers of God, it is Holy Spirit that is in charge of help and healing through the encounters, circumstances, and events in our lives.  We are not to worry and fret over if we did it right, if we said the right words, if we used the right tone, or if we really made a difference or not.  We can relax and have fun with the people and situations in our lives. Like us they are gifts from God; like us they are teachers and because we are teachers of God, everything they teach us will be used for God whether that is their intention or not.  When we use everything we teach and learn for God, we offer healing without even knowing it, and this is a good thing. We are not to become overly aware of how we use the gifts God gives us or be overly nosy about the responses of others to our teaching and learning situations.  There are few things more off-putting than trying to get undue attention and credit for the things of God.  Jesus wants to spare us this embarrassment and free us from this limitation we would put upon our learning, teaching, and healing.

Read over this passage and see if you come to the same conclusion that I do. As teachers of God, we simply live for God, we propose a change of mind that gives us a healthy, well-adjusted belief system of God’s love and tenderness toward us. No longer accepting guilt and shame, thoughts of sin and punishment, sacrifice and separation, we know ourselves as Christ knows us, as part of the Sonship – worthy of all that God is and gives.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 6. Is healing certain? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 5. How is Healing Accomplished? I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness II. The Shift in Perception III. The Function of the Teacher of God


1. Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.  

I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness

1. Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election, a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

2. And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolizes the defeat of God’s Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognize. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his “life.” If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him, and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator. 

II. The Shift in Perception

1. Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognize certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker. Terms like “instincts,” “reflexes,” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

2. The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this.” There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.

3. What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this; the recognition that sickness is of the mind and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition “cost?” It costs the whole world you see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs; not with the world, but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

4. With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster, and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.

III. The Function of the Teacher of God

1. If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient’s mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their minds he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.

2. To them God’s teachers come to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted as true. As God’s messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God’s Son in his own Name. They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death. “Behold, you Son of God, what Life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?”

3. Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brothers believe. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose, and therefore are not really different. They seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer. And they remind him that he did not make himself and must remain as God created him. They recognize illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth; truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another, but by the union of the One Will with Itself. And this is the function of God’s teachers, to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God’s.[1]

Just as Christ healed others of their bodily diseases, disturbances, and premature deaths, so are we called to teach and foster healing in one another.  God loves us and has only tenderness, gentleness, and goodness in store for us.  God is not the author of pain, suffering, and punishment.  It is especially important that we recognize this fact and never try to get glory from or blame God for the guilt we inflict upon ourselves and each other, nor the sickness which comes with guilt. 

As teachers of God, we have no use for sickness of any kind. There is no glory in pain, in martyrdom, in self-abuse, or sacrifice.  While our traditional religious texts and doctrines may describe gods that choose favorites, throw temper tantrums, involve themselves in the lives of humans – giving their “darlings” unfair advantages while raining torments upon the rest, to be delivered from this ego-based theology and the disturbed, sick minds that it generates, we must be open-minded. We must look at what we have accepted as true about God and be willing to change our minds about Who and What God is to us and who and what we are to Him as His Son.  We have a right to question what we have accepted as true!  Only an unreasonable tyrant would deny us the right to question the insane belief systems that hold us in bondage and keep us from recognizing the love of our Father and the beloved place in His Heart we have as His Son. 

Because we will be studying the Manual for Teachers in depth during 2022, we will keep today’s post brief.  However, in your personal spiritual habit, read over the devotional text asking Holy Spirit to illuminate the concepts that are put forth for us. We are here to be healed and to teach healing to others.  When we accept the Christ within, we accept the Sonship of God. No longer defined by flesh and blood, we turn from death to Life, from sickness to health, from separation to oneness in Him Who created us whole.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 5. How is healing accomplished? I. The perceived purpose of sickness II. The shift in perception III. The function of the teacher of God.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 7. Should Healing Be Repeated?


1. This question really answers itself. Healing cannot be repeated. If the patient is healed, what remains to heal him from? And if the healing is certain, as we have already said it is, what is there to repeat? For a teacher of God to remain concerned about the result of healing is to limit the healing. It is now the teacher of God himself whose mind needs to be healed. And it is this he must facilitate. He is now the patient, and he must so regard himself. He has made a mistake and must be willing to change his mind about it. He lacked the trust that makes for giving truly and so he has not received the benefit of his gift.

2. Whenever a teacher of God has tried to be a channel for healing he has succeeded. Should he be tempted to doubt this, he should not repeat his previous effort. That was already maximal because the Holy Spirit so accepted it and so used it. Now the teacher of God has only one course to follow. He must use his reason to tell himself that he has given the problem to One Who cannot fail and must recognize that his own uncertainty is not love but fear, and therefore hate. His position has thus become untenable, for he is offering hate to one to whom he offered love. This is impossible. Having offered love, only love can be received.

3. It is in this that the teacher of God must trust. This is what is really meant by the statement that the one responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. The teacher of God is a miracle worker because he gives the gifts he has received. Yet he must first accept them. He need do no more, nor is there more than he could do. By accepting healing he can give it. If he doubts this, let him remember Who gave the gift and Who received it. Thus is his doubt corrected. He thought the gifts of God could be withdrawn. That was a mistake, but hardly one to stay with. And so the teacher of God can only recognize it for what it is and let it be corrected for him.

4. One of the most difficult temptations to recognize is that to doubt a healing because of the appearance of continuing symptoms is a mistake in the form of lack of trust. As such it is an attack. Usually it seems to be just the opposite. It does appear unreasonable at first to be told that continued concern is attack. It has all the appearances of love. Yet love without trust is impossible and doubt and trust cannot coexist. And hate must be the opposite of love, regardless of the form it takes. Doubt not the gift and it is impossible to doubt its result. This is the certainty that gives God’s teachers the power to be miracle workers, for they have put their trust in Him.

5. The real basis for doubt about the outcome of any problem that has been given to God’s Teacher for resolution is always self-doubt. And that necessarily implies that trust has been placed in an illusory self, for only such a self can be doubted. This illusion can take many forms. Perhaps there is a fear of weakness and vulnerability. Perhaps there is a fear of failure and shame associated with a sense of inadequacy. Perhaps there is a guilty embarrassment stemming from false humility. The form of the mistake is not important. What is important is only the recognition of a mistake as a mistake.

6. The mistake is always some form of concern with the self to the exclusion of the patient. It is a failure to recognize him as part of the Self, and thus represents a confusion in identity. Conflict about what you are has entered your mind and you have become deceived about yourself. And you are deceived about yourself because you have denied the Source of your creation. If you are offering only healing, you cannot doubt. If you really want the problem solved, you cannot doubt. If you are certain what the problem is, you cannot doubt. Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes. Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible.[1]

When we offer God’s help and healing to anyone in any situation or circumstance, we must believe that just as God helps and heals us, He helps and heals others. There is never any reason to continue to plead with God to heal someone or in a particular situation. We can trust in God to hear our prayer the first time we pray it for we belong to Him, and He does not put us on hold or deny our calls to Him. 

When problems arise in our lives, when our loved ones get sick and die, when our bodies age and we can no longer do the things that we did when we were young – we turn to God to help us. We trust in His love and care for us; we do not grovel before Him as if we are unworthy beggars – we come to Him as Sons asking for help and we trust in His Love to help us.  God withholds no good thing from us. 

When we begin to doubt God’s love and mercy, we are not offering ourselves or anybody else God’s gift of love and mercy; we are offering them hate. This was a difficult concept for me to understand at first. For those of you who have been studying the Course with me from the start, you may remember how I mentioned what it was like growing up with a faith healer mother. She did not take me to a doctor, she prayed for me.  And I either got better immediately or I got better eventually – but in either case she refused to “turn to man” for help.  I was raised with no medicine, no doctor’s appointments, and only the vaccinations and medical exams required by law for school and travel.  Many times when I did not feel well, I just kept quiet about it because I would otherwise be pummeled by her over-boisterous laying on of hands and commanding the foul spirits of whatever was troubling me to desist! In spite of her good intentions, her antics were particularly hard to bear and felt hateful, for if I did not get better as soon as she prayed for me, I was accused of entertaining foul spirits, evil thoughts, or engaging in secret sin.  This form of faith healing is a practice limited by lack of understanding, egoism, and it breeds hypocrisy – many times I feigned getting better to avoid the accusations and insinuations, which only encouraged the wrongdoing.    

When we practice miracles, there is no accusing anybody of anything. We are not to be concerned at all about how and when God answers our prayers for God is only responding to the Voice for God within us – we are, as His Son, simply inviting God into an otherwise hopeless and helpless seeming situation.   If we choose to hold a hand or place hands upon a patient’s shoulder or head it will be with the gentleness called forth by Holy Spirit, and always with consent!

We are never to bring doubt into any request we make from God for we pray for God’s Will, not the will of flesh. We happily keep our own demands, judgments, qualifications, and other impediments out of it.  We know that God is not the author of pain, sickness, mental illness, cruelty, or violence of any kind.  We know that God does not punish us by making us sick, causing bad things to happen to us, or denying us happiness and goodwill.  To doubt God’s good Will is not to know God, and when we do not know God’s Will, we will not know goodness, we will not know how to be truly loving, gentle, or kind. Doubt is the result of these conflicting ideas that we may have about God and the conflicting wishes that we have toward others. 

In your personal devotions today, read over this passage and let it rest in your mind and heart.  Bring all your worries, fears, and failures to God and let Holy Spirit sort them out. This is the most loving thing we can do because when we try to sort them out ourselves, they only loom larger in our minds, dragging us down.  This is how to develop trust in God and in the Voice for God within you.  As your mind is changed, you gladly accept the Christ within, for the Christ within is your real and eternal Self, the You which does, in confidence and certainty, offer healing, help, and forgiveness for others. What you offer, they receive. It is finished. You can have no doubt in this because this is a certain thing. Do not beg and plead and grovel before God but rest assured that God heard you the first time.  Relax and trust in the only One that can solve your problems, heal your ailments, and help and heal others.  When doubts arise, remind yourself Who God is and who you are in the Sonship.  Our certainty in God makes doubts and other fears disappear and our trust is deepened each time we practice faith in God and His Love for His Son. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 7. Should healing be repeated? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 4. What are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers? X. Open-Mindedness


1. The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognized. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God’s Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ image be extended to him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.

2. How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.

3. You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God’s teachers does not include things that are the Son of God’s inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge, and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God’s teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is “true learning” in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.[1]

An open mind is a mind that learns; a closed mind is a know-it-all mind, it believes in what it wants to believe in, it trusts its own small-minded, low-minded opinions, doctrines, and limited perceptions to judge the world and all that it encounters.  An open mind is a characteristic of God’s Teacher because it is the condition of the mind that has learned not to trust in the perceptions of flesh; it has learned that ego perceptions pervert and twist the truth of the matter. An open mind trusts in God’s judgment, it learns without limit, without judgment, without condemnation.  If my mind is open to you, it will not matter if I personally find you attractive or not in the flesh; it will not matter to me if you worship like me or think like me; it will not matter to me who you vote for and what your political beliefs are in the world.  With an open mind, I refuse to judge you according to all the standards of the world. I will not worry if you “click” with me, because with my open mind I will know that I am not the judge of you – God has created you and has deemed you worthy of Sonship and that is all I need to know! 

Having an open mind means that I can live in the world and yet abandon all that is in the world that would obscure the Kingdom of God. While I may have to live with my ego as long as I am in the world, with my open mind I will no longer be ruled by my ego but will be open to the Voice for God within me.  While you may be able to hurt my feelings by the things you say and do, my open mind will inform me that what happens in the world is only a learning experience, it is for my perfection and your perfection, the best use of my time then is not to worry about why you want to hurt me, but to go beyond your ego and my ego and be free of all that drama and trauma.  When I do not close my mind toward you, my mind is free to choose again and then again to share the forgiveness, mercy, and grace of God’s Kingdom.  When I do not put you in a mean little cage in my mind with all the other things that I personally find hard to bear about the world, the cages that I am in open and set me free. With my open mind I am free then – your opinion about me no longer shackles me in shame and in disgrace, for when I open all the cage doors of my own mind and set others free, I am freed as well. I can live out my days in the flesh fully aware that it can never define me, nor hold me captive to its meanness and spite, its decay and death. 

This is the best in the hellish realm. To reach for love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge, and eternal truth is meaningless for this is what we are in Spirit but never in flesh. These characteristics cannot be learned, for this is what we are made of and for and with.  In the world of time and space, flesh and blood, separation and attachment to thoughts of sin, sacrifice, and shame, our true Selves and what we truly are, what we truly know, the majesty and the power that are inherent to us as God’s Son is necessarily obscured to our lower minds. We must regain our trust in each other and our trust in God, we must regain our honesty, tolerance, gentleness, joy, and defenselessness. We must learn to accept God’s definition of generosity, practice patience, faithfulness, and finally achieve the open-mindedness that defines the teacher of God to undo the false teaching and learning of the world and bring the glad tidings of complete and utter forgiveness for it all.  This is our salvation, and it is for everybody and everything. God’s Kingdom comes and God’s Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven as we reach for, accept, learn, teach, practice, and develop these characteristics. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 4. What are the characteristics of God’s teachers? X Open-mindedness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 4. What are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers? VIII. Patience IX. Faithfulness


VIII. Patience

1. Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome at a time perhaps unknown to him as yet, but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes, nothing that did not serve to benefit the world, as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions, if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.

IX. Faithfulness

1. The extent of the teacher of God’s faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning, while keeping others apart? If so, his advancement is limited, and his trust not yet firmly established. Faithfulness is the teacher of God’s trust in the Word of God to set all things right; not some, but all. Generally, his faithfulness begins by resting on just some problems, remaining carefully limited for a time. To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. Nothing but that really deserves the name. Yet each degree, however small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.

2. True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain, it is joyous. And being confident, it is tolerant. Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God’s teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. It is to Them that faithfulness in the true sense is always directed. Toward Them it looks, seeking until it finds. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on That alone to Which all faithfulness is due.[1]

Patience is only necessary in time, and it is a natural virtue in the teacher of God. For we have learned the outcome and we can trust in the outcome with no anxiety. Just as I have no worries about my own perfection and salvation, nor do I have any worries or concerns about you.  My trust in God awards me patience; the time that I learn everything I need to learn from this realm may vary from the time you need to learn; the things I need to learn may vary from what you need to learn, the mistakes I make may not look like the mistakes you make, but all of it has worked together for our good and for the good of all.  We no longer look to our own understanding. We do not accept the labels that the world would put upon us. We no longer accept the ways in which some would shame us for our mistakes and label us as sinners and hold us as despicable forever. We no longer accept the pain and suffering that egoism and false doctrines would lay upon us, for we trust in God and the oneness that comes with Sonship.  And because of this patience is natural to us – because we trust in the Ultimate, the One Who judges us worthy forever.  Patience endures all things because we know the end of the story here is when our true Life begins. 

Patience indicates our faithfulness to God.  Our faithfulness is measured by how much we bring to our learning – do we bring everything without holding back?  Do we trust in God for our soul but yet not trust in God for the souls of our children and grandchildren, our friends and relatives? Do we lower our arms against some but reach for our weapons against others?  Do we forgive those who say they are sorry but refuse to forgive those who do not? Can we overlook some mistakes but hold others to a higher standard?  Do we see some people as worthy and others as not? 

Whatever we hold back from our learning and keep for our own judgment and discretion not only limits but takes away from establishing the trust of God necessary in our lives with Him.  We prolong the bands of time. Instead of freeing ourselves from the death cycles of this realm, we bind ourselves to them. When we bind ourselves we bind others who are involved with us, and so we do not prolong suffering for ourselves alone. 

Faithfulness is to give up all problems to the one Answer – and the one Answer is always our Oneness, the One for all and all for One.  This reverses the laws of this world which would keep us grubbily and greedily striving and conniving for our own separate selves and our own chosen few. While each small degree we move in the direction of Oneness is worth achieving, we do not reach faithfulness until we are faithful to bring all to God.    

This does not mean that we do not make mistakes, for if we did not make mistakes in this we would go directly to Spirit and no longer deal in flesh and blood.  We consistently take our mistakes to the Throne of God, we are honest, we do not hide our jealousy, greed, selfishness, and judgments – we bring them to the inner altar, and we lay them down – for as many times as they arise, we bring them and lay them down again – confident and unswerving in our desire to be free of all that would separate us from each other and from God.  We accept God’s Love, we accept the Voice for God in our hearts and minds; we accept that all are worthy of Sonship and nobody and nothing created by God and for God and in God can be rejected, abandoned, or destroyed.  Our faithfulness is always directed to God and the Sonship where we find our identity and our completion.  As teachers of God, we seek until we find it, and we teach this to others by the way we live it.  We do not seek a “following,” we do not make collections of people and name drop this one or that one to make ourselves special in any way, we do not hold ourselves to higher standards, or claim special privileges – but if we do, we accept forgiveness and knock it off!

Today in your devotional period, ask Holy Spirit to help you reach for faithfulness in every aspect of your life. Pray for the teachers of God that come from all religions and no religion. Instead of condemning, making fun, and despising other teachers for what you see as their mistakes, humble your ego and refuse to believe in your own judgment. Trusting in God, we realize that it is our mistakes and the mistakes of others, that advances our learning the most! Some of the best teachers in our lives are the ones we feel most hostile toward. Commit to faithfulness and rest in Him Who made us and makes us One. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 4. What are the characteristics of God’s teachers? VIII Patience IX Faithfulness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 4. What are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers? VI. Defenselessness VII. Generosity


VI. Defenselessness

1. God’s teachers have learned how to be simple. They have no dreams that need defense against the truth. They do not try to make themselves. Their joy comes from their understanding Who created them. And does what God created need defense? No one can become an advanced teacher of God until he fully understands that defenses are but foolish guardians of mad illusions. The more grotesque the dream, the fiercer and more powerful its defenses seem to be. Yet when the teacher of God finally agrees to look past them, he finds that nothing was there. Slowly at first he lets himself be undeceived. But he learns faster as his trust increases. It is not danger that comes when defenses are laid down. It is safety. It is peace. It is joy. And it is God.

VII. Generosity

1. The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God’s teachers this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means “giving away” in the sense of “giving up.” To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep. This has been emphasized throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world’s thinking. In the clearest way possible, and at the simplest levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.

2. The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest. This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realizes it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep, because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God, and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can given away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.[1]

When we answer the call of God in our lives, we learn that we have nothing at all to prove.  We have accepted that God is in charge; we have accepted that He loves us and would never abandon us; we have accepted that all that is not of God leads to nothing because it is nothing.

No defense is needed then. God certainly does not need us to defend Him; nor do we as God’s Son need to defend ourselves.  We walk in defenselessness then for this is our safety. We do not trust in weapons to defend us because when we turn to a defense of any kind, we reject our defense as God’s Son. 

This lesson may come slow to us, but just as it took time to teach us to arm ourselves against each other, so will it take time for us to be undeceived by the world’s constant stream of frets and threats and realize the divine in each other. When I can look past what I see as dangerous in you, I see the Christ in you.  And when I see the Christ in you, the Christ in you dawns upon your awareness. When this happens, we are no longer dangerous to each other, for we recognize our kinship. This is our safety, our peace, and our joy.  This is God in us.

Defenseless can only be developed in us after we learn to trust. Practicing defenselessness in our daily interactions, teaches us that we can depend upon it. Even when we make mistakes and go into defense, the results of our interactions will be so unacceptable to us that we will be more motivated to practice defenselessness the next time.  Defenselessness saves us from defending our mistakes, making excuses for poor behavior, and blaming others for the unloving, unkind, and mean ways in which we would typically respond to them. It takes a lot of psychic energy to live in defense of what has no defense!  As we give up defensive behavior, as we lay down our arsenal, as we stop devising stories and justifications, a generosity of spirit becomes us.       

Generosity of Spirit is a completely different attribute than what we consider generosity in the world. In the world we can only be generous with our time, our money, and the fruit of our efforts, all of which are finite and exhaustible.  The generosity we practice in the world comes with a terrible cost, with considerable strings and backlashes. Our generosity in the flesh spoils our children, our pets, and each other as we grow fat, diseased, and selfish. The world is full of givers and takers. The would-be givers, no matter how much they seem to enjoy caring and sharing, soon feel used and drained dry by the would-be takers in their lives. Generosity in the world creates false friends, associations, and entitlement.  When we shower others with gushiness, undeserved gifts, and expensive goodies, there is an underlying, conscious or unconscious agenda, and we are wise to examine our motives.

As teachers of God we learn that generosity is an attribute of God. We give to receive to give again. The practice of generosity is not the false generosity of this world for we give to others the attributes of God Himself. We are generous then with love, with joy, with peace. We are generous of Spirit and the Gifts of God’s mercy and grace.  We would not dream of withholding His Gifts from anyone for any reason for to withhold the attributes of God from others is to deny them in ourselves.  Our generosity as teachers of God stems from a realization that we can only gain by sharing love, by promoting peace. To be joyful, we must share joy. Salvation cannot be denied to anybody for any reason, it is only ours to give.  This is the generosity of God.

Today in your personal devotional practice, ask Holy Spirit to show you ways in which to practice defenselessness and true generosity in your daily interactions with the world. Understand that defenselessness means refusing to draw up sides or to take sides, that there is never a cause “good enough” to rise up in spite and meanness – that we are here to help and not to harm.  Understand that true generosity may look like downright stinginess to the uninitiated! We often have to say no to physical gifts and gift-giving, to giving and accepting flattery, to over-indulging each other with food, favors, playthings, and non-essentials.  We are here to learn, to practice, to develop the traits that will take us through eternity, awakening us from the dream of time-based constraints and the laws that govern this realm.  Many of the things we practice will seem unnatural at first for they are the exact opposite of what we devise to thrive and survive in a realm separate and distinct from God and from each other.  Our trust in God deepens and our understanding of Spirit is quickened by practical application, thus making the best use of time, for this is the way we give time to Him.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 4. What are the characteristics of God’s teachers? VI Defenselessness VII Generosity. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 4. What are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers? IV. Gentleness V. Joy


IV. Gentleness

1. Harm is impossible for God’s teachers. They can neither harm nor be harmed. Harm is the outcome of judgment. It is the dishonest act that follows a dishonest thought. It is a verdict of guilt upon a brother, and therefore on oneself. It is the end of peace and the denial of learning. It demonstrates the absence of God’s curriculum, and its replacement by insanity. No teacher of God but must learn – and fairly early in his training – that harmfulness completely obliterates his function from his awareness. It will make him confused, fearful, angry, and suspicious. It will make the Holy Spirit’s lessons impossible to learn. Nor can God’s Teacher be heard at all, except by those who realize that harm can actually achieve nothing. No gain can come of it.

2. Therefore, God’s teachers are wholly gentle. They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. To those who would do harm, it is impossible. To those to whom harm has no meaning, it is merely natural. What choice but this has meaning to the sane? Who chooses hell when he perceives a way to Heaven? And who would choose the weakness that must come from harm in place of the unfailing, all-encompassing and limitless strength of gentleness? The might of God’s teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God’s Son nor his Creator. Thus did they join their thoughts with Him Who is their Source. And so their will, which always was His Own, is free to be itself.

V. Joy

1. Joy is the inevitable result of gentleness. Gentleness means that fear is now impossible, and what could come to interfere with joy? The open hands of gentleness are always filled. The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation![1]

As we meditate upon our devotional text today we begin to see how our lessons in trust and our development of trust lay the foundation for all the other attributes that will establish us as teachers of God.  For without trust, our gentleness is only in spots. We can only be gentle with animals, or with babies, or perhaps with people who look like us and speak like us and worship the same way we do.  Our gentleness in the flesh is reserved for special, tender moments for to survive in this world we learn that we need to develop other traits that are not at all gentle!

For we forget that gentleness is our strength and not a weakness. The world looks upon the gentle with a touch of scorn and derision at best, and downright viciousness at worst.  But gentleness is what all of us crave – none of us thrive on cross words and mean tones. We know that physical and emotional trauma have long-term effects on our mental state and our physical well-being throughout the course of our lives.  Kids who grow up in homes where there is cursing, screaming, and abuse carry those memories in the cells of their bodies and in the recesses of their memory long into their adult lives.  We may have learned that screaming, cursing, and striking out is the only way we can get the attention of our kids and mates, but our Teacher shows us another way when we care to go within to our inner altar and learn from Him. 

In my own life, I have incidents in which my anger and rage drive me to strike out at others, say mean things, make me want to pinch them, slap them, pull their hair, or stomp about slamming doors and saying harsh words.  I could blame this on the way I was raised, I could say that I cannot help myself, I could say that hot tempers run in my bloodline, but I know better.

The call to gentleness is a gift from God that was given to me at my creation. Just as gentleness is God’s attribute, it is my attribute. It is part of me and who I am and what I am made of.  To not be gentle makes me sick inside because to harm anybody or anything with my words, thoughts, or deeds is against my nature, just as it is against your nature.  We were created to love and nurture, to help and support one another – not to go into rages and live under the pretense that others are responsible for the ways in which we respond to them.

To join with God is to come home to one’s Self.  To embrace and practice gentleness and a policy of no-harm is to align ourselves against the clamor of the world which would mock our efforts to live in harmony and love and peace and joy. 

Because Jesus tells us that joy comes to us in our gentleness. When I respond to others who irritate me, frighten me, or hurt my feelings with gentleness I have replaced my fear, judgment, and condemnation of them with trust. I trust that no matter how much of a show-off, no matter how hateful their words, no matter how scary their appearance or tone of voice, whether they tell me to get the hell away from them or spread lies about me, they cannot harm me.  Nothing they do in this world can hurt me because nothing and nobody can take away the Christ within me. Just as Holy Spirit transforms all my mistakes and shortcomings into my greatest strengths to share with others, so can I use any perceived attack against me to indicate that I need more practice in forgiveness, mercy, and grace!  As I accept these gifts from God, I am joyful for I know that I am beloved, just as you are beloved.  We are safe because the Voice for God directs us and is our constant companion in all things and in all ways. 

It is in this way that the teachers of God bring joy to the world.  And Christ thanks us for joining with Him in bringing gentleness and joy to the world for the world then is saved from the warring, unhappy ways which bring us nothing but sadness and sorrow.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 4. What are the characteristics of God’s Teachers? IV Gentleness V Joy. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS IV What are the characteristics of God’s Teachers? II Honesty III Tolerance

III. Honesty

1. All other traits of God’s teachers rest on trust. Once that has been achieved, the others cannot fail to follow. Only the trusting can afford honesty, for only they can see its value. Honesty does not apply only to what you say. The term actually means consistency. There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought; no act belies your word; and no word lacks agreement with another. Such are the truly honest. At no level are they in conflict with themselves. Therefore it is impossible for them to be in conflict with anyone or anything.

2. The peace of mind which the advanced teachers of God experience is largely due to their perfect honesty. It is only the wish to deceive that makes for war. No one at one with himself can even conceive of conflict. Conflict is the inevitable result of self-deception, and self-deception is dishonesty. There is no challenge to a teacher of God. Challenge implies doubt, and the trust on which God’s teachers rest secure makes doubt impossible. Therefore they can only succeed. In this, as in all things, they are honest. They can only succeed because they never do their will alone. They choose for all mankind; for all the world and all things in it; for the unchanging and unchangeable beyond appearances; and for the Son of God and His creator. How could they not succeed? They choose in perfect honesty, sure of their choice as of themselves.

III. Tolerance

1. God’s teachers do not judge. To judge is to be dishonest, for to judge is to assume a position you do not have. Judgment without self-deception is impossible. Judgment implies that you have been deceived in your brothers. How, then, could you not have been deceived in yourself? Judgment implies a lack of trust, and trust remains the bedrock of the teacher of God’s whole thought system. Let this be lost, and all his learning goes. Without judgment are all things equally acceptable, for who could judge otherwise? Without judgment are all men brothers, for who is there who stands apart? Judgment destroys honesty and shatters trust. No teacher of God can judge and hope to learn.[1]

As we quiet our minds and hearts and come to our devotional habit, read over today’s text with care and with prayer.  Ask Holy Spirit to teach you what you need to know about your honest practices and your dishonest practices.  True honesty comes when we are not afraid to examine our own hearts and minds, when we are not afraid to take a closer look at the role we play in the disharmony and disruption that is going on in our personal and public lives.  There can be no self-deception in our walk with God. We must come to God with a complete desire to be His Son and return to His Kingdom. We cannot take anything from this realm with us.  All the reasons in which we find ways to keep people away from us, to maintain separateness, to hold grudges and build cases must be put down honestly at the inner altar. We must ask for purity of mind and honesty in our walk with God in order to get the Help we need, for on our own we live in self-deception.

We come to God as we are in our humanity. We must know what we are “giving up.” If there is still something about your humanity that you love and feel a sense of sacrifice, identify it, be honest about it.  Our salvation requires total and continual honesty. If we are still hooked on our sexuality, if our past is still haunting us, if our tempers rage out of control – we must be truthful about it.  I cannot help you if I am deceiving myself; I cannot build trust in you if you are practicing self-deception and therefore would deceive me. 

I would much rather hear someone speak to me from their heart and with honesty about their earthly trials, temptations, and spiritual failures than spout off a hyped-up testimony about how Jesus changed their lives and set them free and now they are going up in the Rapture and leaving the rest of us behind.  None of us are interested in hypocrisy; whitewashing our human experience helps no one, elitism and leaving others behind is not what we teach or how we live.  What we choose for ourselves, we choose for everybody.  This is what we practice. And we practice it until we get it right.  So let’s tell the truth, and if we are not ready to tell the truth, then let’s stay quiet and ask Holy Spirit to speak through us.

Staying quiet is probably the best thing we can do until we master non-judgment. Judging others is a dishonest practice. When I judge you, I am judging your humanity. I am assuming that I know what is right and wrong in your life and that I have a right to declare if you are saint or sinner, if you are sane or insane, if you are honest or dishonest.  God has already judged you as His Son. That is all I need to know and agree with. Whatever you do with that Sonship is between you and God.  If you, in your seeming madness, pose a danger to me or others, I learn to trust by relying on Holy Spirit to keep me from any harm you plan for me.  There have been many times in my life when my resolve to not judge or go into attack deepened by witnessing healed relationships and peaceful minds.  Conversely, there have been many times when I learned to trust in Holy Spirit because I chose to judge others, getting angry, threatening to pull someone’s hair, giving someone the old social snub, or some other ego-based response. Recognize how stupid this kind of response is because it does not bring healing and correction, which is what we really want for ourselves and for everybody!  While it is entirely up to us how long it takes us to be established teachers of God, non-judgment is clearly a characteristic to reach for, to accept gladly from His Hand, and to practice until made perfect.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. IV. What are the characteristics of God’s teachers? ll. Honesty lll Tolerance. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS IV. What Are The Characteristics of God’s Teachers?


1. The surface traits of God’s teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body’s eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial “personalities” are quite distinct. Nor, at the beginning stages of their functioning as teachers of God, have they yet acquired the deeper characteristics that will establish them as what they are. God gives special gifts to His teachers because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary; set in time as a means of leading out of time. These special gifts, born in the holy relationship toward which the teaching-learning situation is geared, become characteristic of all teachers of God who have advanced in their own learning. In this respect they are all alike.

2. All differences among the Sons of God are temporary. Nevertheless, in time it can be said that the advanced teachers of God have the following characteristics:

1. Trust

1. This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfill their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning, because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a power that is in them but not of them. It is this power that keeps all things safe. It is through this power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.

2. When the power has been once experienced, it is impossible to trust one’s own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him? And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him? What is it that induces them to make the shift?

A. Development of Trust

3. First, they must go through what might be called “a period of undoing.” This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light? He is not yet at a point at which he can make the shift entirely internally. And so the plan will sometimes call for changes in what seem to be external circumstances. These changes are always helpful. When the teacher of God has learned that much, he goes on to the second stage.

4. Next, the teacher of God must go through “a period of sorting out.” This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it. He will find that many, if not most of the things he valued before will merely hinder his ability to transfer what he has learned to new situations as they arise. Because he has valued what is really valueless, he will not generalize the lesson for fear of loss and sacrifice. It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful. It is only to the extent to which they are helpful that any degree of reality should be accorded them in this world of illusion. The word “value” can apply to nothing else.

5. The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called “a period of relinquishment.” If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely. There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken. Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth. He has not realized as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless. Through this, he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy lightheartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift bestowed on him.

6. Now comes “a period of settling down.” This is a quiet time, in which the teacher of God rests awhile in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. “Give up what you do not want and keep what you do.” How simple is the obvious! And how easy to do! The teacher of God needs this period of respite. He has not yet come as far as he thinks. Yet when he is ready to go on, he goes with mighty companions beside him. Now he rests awhile and gathers them before going on. He will not go on from here alone.

7. The next stage is indeed “a period of unsettling.” Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless. And that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his own thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgment aside and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed!

8. And finally, there is a period of achievement. It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before becomes solid gains, to be counted on in all “emergencies” as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result, the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought, and full transfer. This is a stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would “go” anywhere if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquility for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this?[1]

Today we begin the study of the ten characteristics of God’s teachers. The characteristics are gifts that are given to those of us who commit ourselves to living for God and therefore to teach God. In no way should we judge ourselves against these characteristics – these attributes are God’s Attributes and God gives us His attributes as we learn, through trial and error throughout our lifetimes in separation, to turn to Him for our Help, guidance, and awakening.  They are special gifts only in the sense that the world can only give us substitutes and alternatives to the characteristics of God.  In fact it is the substitutes and alternatives that replace the attributes of God in our flesh lives that maintain and sustain the ego.  So special gifts are only special in the sense of the world.  There is nothing special about these gifts in the Kingdom of God, for they are for all and are held equally by all. 

Trust is the first characteristic that we will study because without trust we cannot hope to develop any of the other attributes which characterize solid teachers of God. If you are like me, you have become a teacher of God because you did not want to teach anything else that would distract from or obstruct the real call of God in your heart and mind.  When we choose to devote our life to God, we are really choosing to devote our life to attributes that we denote as God: Goodness, truth, mercy, grace, love, peace, and joy, each attribute expanding into more of itself. In the world of perception, this is as close to God as we can get!  Just as we are drawn to that which makes us feel joy, those who cherish us, those who share in our happiness so are we drawn into webs of deceit, attack and defense cycles, identifying with those who are only too happy to pervert us and make us pay for their “love,” “friendship,” and “nurturance.”  In a world of opposites, every truth has an alternate lie, every attribute of God has an opposite that poses as equal in strength and attractiveness.  This is our lot in the world, and it is bewildering and maddening at best.   

In such a world, we must develop trust in God and come to know with certainty that there is no other recourse. We develop trust in stages that are outlined here in our text.  Today in your personal devotional practice, read and listen closely to the words of our Teacher.  Ask Holy Spirit to show you in which developmental stage you fit and continue with patience and trust to apply yourself to this process.  As we use trust, we build trust; the more we call upon Holy Spirit to help us, the more we learn to rely upon the only source of Help that is truly helpful! 

We will take the next few days to study the characteristics of God, but for today our focus is on trust.  As we devote ourselves to developing trust, we will be given many opportunities which will look like trials and errors.  We are to practice perceiving every encounter, relationship, circumstance, and event in our daily lives as a means to develop trust.  We will make mistakes, but these are not sins or failures, only an indication that we did not choose what we really want in any given situation and therefore relied on our fretfulness, fear, anger, and lack of self-control rather than practicing trust in God.

Practicing trust in God puts our minds at ease.  We are no longer troubled by the world or the legions of worries and cares that besiege us on a daily basis.  Today stay with trust until you have a deepened understanding of why Jesus emphasizes this attribute first and foremost for without trust we cannot achieve the peace and tranquility required to get past the upheavals, twists, and turns that would otherwise characterize our egos and special relationships.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. IV. What are the characteristics of God’s teachers? I. Trust A. development of trust. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHER III. What Are The Levels of Teaching?


1. The teachers of God have no set teaching level. Each teaching-learning situation involves a different relationship at the beginning, although the ultimate goal is always the same; to make of the relationship a holy relationship, in which both can look upon the Son of God as sinless. There is no one from whom a teacher of God cannot learn, so there is no one whom he cannot teach. However, from a practical point of view he cannot meet everyone, nor can everyone find him. Therefore, the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other.

2. The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seems to be very casual encounters; a “chance” meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult “by chance,” two students “happening” to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. Each of them has the potential for becoming a teaching-learning situation. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another; perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come.

3. It is difficult to understand that levels of teaching the universal course is a concept as meaningless in reality as is time. The illusion of one permits the illusion of the other. In time, the teacher of God seems to begin to change his mind about the world with a single decision, and then learns more and more about the new direction as he teaches it. We have covered the illusion of time already, but the illusion of levels of teaching seem to be something different. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate that these levels cannot exist is simply to say that any level of the teaching-learning situation is part of God’s plan for Atonement, and His plan can have no levels, being a reflection of His Will. Salvation is always ready and always there. God’s teachers work at different levels, but the result is always the same.

4. Each teaching-learning situation is maximal in the sense that each person involved will learn the most that he can from the other person at that time. In this sense, and in this sense only, we can speak of levels of teaching. Using the term in this way, the second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son.

5. The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. This does not mean that they necessarily recognize this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviors of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs.[1]

When we decide to become a teacher of God, we are simply deciding to live for God, for as we live we teach.  While within this context there seem to be levels of teaching, in the unity and oneness of Spirit, there can be no levels.  My chance encounter with you may result in us both leaving the interaction a bit more enlightened.  I may think, “That woman smiled at me like she knew me, and I felt as if I knew her as well, and yet it is impossible that we would know each other in the flesh.  It must be that we met before.” And my consciousness for that moment and for every moment that I think of you ever after will be expanded, for I recognized you in the Spirit and you recognized me in return.  These would seem like superficial teaching-learning situations, yet they come to us when we need them and remind us of our everlasting connection. We are pulled out of the small, petty, self-centered, fictional realm of isolation and separation, into the universal realm of God in these moments. We step out of our body-consciousness and into a spirit-consciousness where our affection, love, and devotion to each other was never broken or tarnished by thoughts of specialness, self-gain, or setting up a kingdom outside the reality of God. 

Processing our relationships in the manner which Jesus sets forth in this section is the only sane way in which to escape the ego’s sense of guilt, shame, or specialness.  The relationships we are offered in the world come with all manner of strings, baggage, demands, obligations, and calls for sacrifice.  And when they end for whatever reason, the best way to view what happened is to look with honest objectivity at what was taught and what was learned. It may not be pretty, it may be painful, it may very well make you want to hang your head in shame or go after someone with vengeance, but when we take responsibility for our relationships and bring them to holiness, we learn what we taught, and we teach what we learned. 

The world would have our relationships end in bitterness, accusations, victimhood, and ongoing battles enlisting others to take our side against our would-be enemy.  But the holy way in which to process the end of our relationships is to learn all we can from them and give them to God.  To fall into bitterness is an assault against God and our brothers, and in that realm all manner of terrible things happen to those we love the most because we do not give the ending of our relationships to God.  We force our friends and family members to take sides. We rely on judges and jurors to make decisions about our children’s lives because we seem incapable to end a “second-level” teaching-learning relationship in peace and love and joy. We enrich the pockets of greedy lawyers who would much rather see us duke it out in court than to end our relationships with dignity, forgiveness, high regard, and mutual respect. 

Second-level relationships do not refer only to marriages, but to friendships, organizational memberships, and other would-be lifelong commitments that end.  When any relationship ends it simply means that we have taught one another all we can from that extended encounter at this time.  The endings of second-level relationships are not real endings, for we are all Sons of God and have an eternal connection.  When we accept and embrace this teaching, all of our previous relationships that we viewed with shame or sorrow are imbued with a sense of purpose and meaning.  I thought that you treated me very shabby – and now instead of hating you for teaching me this, I love you for it. I thank you. By your shabby treatment I learned that I am worthy of being loved and cherished and I knew to look for that in my next relationship. 

When we use the concept of levels of teaching as a learning aid in our Teacher of God training, we then learn to appreciate and recognize the life-long teaching-learning relationships for what they are. We do not expect them then to be rosy and perfect. If they were rosy and perfect, we would not be here having to learn and teach! If I did not have struggle so much to control my temper, to not go on rants, to not expect too much from myself and others, I would not be here to teach and learn with you.  Our life-long teaching-learning relationships are perfectly designed and timed to teach us the skills for life eternal, if we can accept them for what they are and avoid idolizing, attacking, and judging them according to the world’s standards.  We are here to teach and learn the Christ in each other, to accept ourselves as sinless and blameless and perfectly worthy of our Father’s love.  Accepting this and practicing this elevates our consciousness, restoring our minds and gracing us with the loveliness of God.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. III. What are the levels of teaching? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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1. Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the call. They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding. His pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain. Again, it is only a matter of time. Once he has chosen to fulfill his role, they are ready to fulfill theirs. Time waits on his choice, but not on whom he will serve. When he is ready to learn, the opportunities to teach will be provided for him.

2. In order to understand the teaching-learning plan of salvation, it is necessary to grasp the concept of time that the course sets forth. Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. Further, the plan for this correction was established and completed simultaneously, for the will of God is entirely apart from time. So is all reality, being of Him. The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.

3. The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach. Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at anytime you choose, and only then will you realize that it was always there. As the course emphasizes, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you will learn it. You are free however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned.

4. Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before. The pupil comes at the right time to the right place. This is inevitable, because he made the right choice in that ancient instant which he now relives. So has the teacher, too, made an inevitable choice out of an ancient past. God’s will in everything but seems to take time in the working-out. What could delay the power of eternity?

5. When pupil and teacher come together, a teaching-learning situation begins. For the teacher is not really the one who does the teaching. God’s teacher speaks to any two who joined together for learning purposes. The relationship is fully because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His spirit into any holy relationship. In the teaching-learning situation, each one learns that giving and receiving are the same. The demarcations they have drawn between their roles, their minds, their bodies, their needs, their interests, and all the differences they thought separated them from one another, fade and grow dim and disappear. Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal. And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him. He has seen in another person the same interests as his own.[1]

In today’s blog post Jesus once again reiterates that pupils and their teachers are the same.  Nobody has more to teach than another – and when we dedicate our minds and hearts, our very Being to God we come to one another in a “new” attitude – as equals, as I will teach you what I know and you will teach me what you know and we will return to God together, thus informed! 

We see each other and every circumstance in our life with the view of what does this have to teach me? What thing have I learned about my need for return to God?  What good can come from this? Has my love and patience for Creation been deepened because of this circumstance? In this way even the worst situations, the embarrassing incidents, the times we lose our tempers and strike out at each other, the times we say insulting things or forget to use our manners – can be changed into an opportunity to deepen our resolve to draw closer to the Christ within rather than shrink back from the Christ within.  For we know that there is no shame! There is no reproof! There is no sin and eternal shame and punishment! There is only a call within to accept our place in God’s Kingdom as Christ calls to us to return to Him. 

When we come to study any spiritual path, let us be wary of any body or organization that would make themselves big and important in our lives, which would impose and impact us with their personality, which would require from us attention, money, adoration, or any kind of following.  We follow the Christ within each other in a spirit of brotherhood and mutuality.  We do not try to make money from each other. We do not use other people to gain a sense of belonging or specialness.  This is idolatry and not Sonship. You will never teach me more than I teach you; I will never teach you more than you teach me.   No matter how long you have been studying or devoting yourself to any spiritual path, including this Course, we meet in that holy instant, as we were created – as one, as equal Sons of God. 

Jesus informs us in paragraph two that the plan of salvation was complete from the first thought we had of separation. God devised the plan of return, the plan that would save us from ourselves, that would awaken us from the fiction of isolation and bewilderment to the reality of all that ever was and ever will be.

In your personal devotional habit today, meditate upon the last paragraph of today’s passage.  As you go to the holy altar within, allow the demarcations that separate you from others melt away, practice seeing others as you see yourself, commit to seeing others as equal to yourself without any judgment, condemnation, or comparison. This is the practice of salvation for nobody is saved until we are all saved – for we are one. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. II. Who are their pupils? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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1. A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s. Once he has done that, his road is established, and his direction is sure. A light has entered the darkness. It may be a single light, but that is enough. He has entered an agreement with God even if he does not yet believe in Him. He has become a bringer of salvation. He has become a teacher of God.

2. They come from all over the world. They come from all religions and from no religion. They are the ones who have answered. The call is universal. It goes on all the time everywhere. It calls for teachers to speak for It and redeem the world. Many hear It, but few will answer. Yet it is all a matter of time. Everyone will answer in the end, but the end can be a long, long way off. It is because of this that the plan of the teachers was established. Their function is to save time. Each one begins as a single light, but with a call at its center it is a light that cannot be limited. And each one saves a thousand years of time as the world judges it. To the call itself time has no meaning.

3. There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation.” It can be taught by actions or thoughts, in words or soundlessly, in any language or in no language, in any place or time or manner. It does not matter who the teacher was before he heard the call. He has become a savior by his answering. He has seen someone else as himself. He has therefore found his own salvation and the salvation of the world. In his rebirth is the world reborn.

4. This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome. They merely save time. Yet it is time alone that winds on wearily, and the world is very tired now. It is old and worn and without hope. There was never a question of outcome, for what can change the Will of God? But time, with its illusions of change and death, wears out the world and all things in it. Yet time has an ending, and it is this that the teachers of God are appointed to bring about. For time is in their hands. Such was their choice, and it is given them.[1]

When we answer the call of God, we become teachers of God. It does not matter who we are, it does not matter if we feel qualified or not, it does not matter what background we come from, the styles of our communication, appearance, age, culture, or gender.  A call of God is one that goes out to everybody and at all time.  God is calling to us to awaken, God is calling to us to come Home. 

So today the Christ in me urges the Christ in you to step forward, to commit yourself to answer the call.  Do not worry if people hold your past against you! Do not worry if you have a potty mouth or a tendency to go into rants and rages! Do not worry about all your personality flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are – simply answer the call of God in your life.  Commit yourself to see the Christ in me even as I commit to see the Christ in you. Commit yourself to teach the innocence of God’s Son – for when I see you as not guilty, only then can I accept my own guiltlessness. 

Time has an ending, Jesus tells us, and the end of time is in the hands of God’s teachers.  For when we teach and learn of God, we commit ourselves to a process of shedding our humanity and taking up our divinity. This practice looses us from the birth and death cycles of the world and restores us to the freedom and liberty of Spirit. The time this takes is entirely up to you and to me.

Today in your personal devotional time ask Holy Spirit to make this passage clear to you. Without this understanding, we consider time a commodity that is quickly depleted by each passing second. Time becomes our enemy – it flies by as we age; we lose our faculties, we die. Or it drags out torturously when we are sentenced to “doing time” for a perceived sin or crime.  Weary, worn, and sad, the days of our lives simply fail to live up to their promise.

When we understand time as a means of salvation and return, time is our friend. We have as much of it as we need to learn all we must learn to free ourselves from our love and fascination for lies, for intrigue, for specialness. Time as a means to return to God elevates our consciousness and the consciousness of everyone and everything we encounter. Using time for salvation saves thousands of years of ongoing drama and trauma that we inflict upon each other otherwise.  Today let the call of God rest in your mind and speak to your heart, for this is the best possible use of your time. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers, I. Who are God’s Teachers? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For 2021 daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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1. The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.

2. To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thoughts systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with the means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. It is a method of conversion. This is not done by words alone. Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less.

3. The curriculum you set up is therefore determined exclusively by what you think you are, and what you believe the relationship of others is to you. In the formal setting in the formal teaching situation, these questions may be totally unrelated to what you think you are teaching. Yet it is impossible not to use the content of any situation on behalf of what you really teach, and therefore really learn. To this the verbal content of your teaching is quite irrelevant. It may coincide with it, or it may not. It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self-doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.

4. This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. How could it be otherwise? Everyone who follows the world’s curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is where he is not. Herein is the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.

5. Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for the teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever. Who are they? How are they chosen? What do they do? How can they work out their own salvation and the salvation of the world? This manual attempts to answer these questions.[1]

For those of you following the syllabus, I apologize for the delay in our study of the Manual for Teachers. Our Thanksgiving travels lasted a few more days than expected, and it has taken me a few days to regroup and get back to the public devotional.  I trust that you have continued with your personal lessons and devotional readings.  Thank you for all the kind emails and words of appreciation upon the completion of the Text.  It has been lovely to read the different ways in which the study has impacted your lives! We are blessed to have this Course available to us.

I am intentionally keeping my commentary as slight as possible not only because of the delay but also because we will study the Manual in depth throughout the coming year, focusing on practical and personal application on a daily basis.   

Today I have good reason however to stress that while this is a manual for the teachers of God, we are not perfect!  If we were perfect, we would not be here. We study this Course and we become teachers of God because we believe in the perfection of God and His Son.  To lose sight of God and His Son as perfect is to lose sight of who and what we really are and accept that we are flesh and ego and separate from one another and from God forever. 

Our mission then as teachers of God is to remember and reacquaint ourselves with the Christ within, and as we demonstrate, no matter how clumsily or awkward, no matter how many mistakes we make or how much we stumble, we come to Sonship by expressing through our words, thoughts, and deeds how to go about this until we get it right. We are in this process together.  To judge ourselves or others throughout this process is to impede our spiritual awakening.  So please be forgiving of yourself through all of this and no matter how jolly mad your fumbles and stumbles, remember: We are made perfect only through our trials and errors – this is what we learn when this is what we teach. 

Except for this teaching and teachers who are willing to demonstrate this concept, the world becomes dreary and weary, without meaning and purpose, full of pain, sorrow, shame, self-reproach, and disappointment.  Our religions let us down, our special relationships drive us batty, our bodies fail us, our wits and wiles stop working. The flesh withers on the bone and falls off. The world is a hellish realm to those who are deceived by it. 

This is a manual for those of us ready to demonstrate through the process of our perfection the attributes of God. It is a practice; it is both a calling and a response to a call, it is a simultaneous working out of our individual salvation as well as the salvation of all. We prepare for God’s Kingdom by teaching God’s Kingdom in whatever capacity we can. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for teachers. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For 2021 daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 VIII Choose Once Again

1. 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. It sets the limits on what he can do; its power is the only strength he has; his grasp cannot exceed its tiny reach. Would you be this, if Christ appeared to you in all His glory, asking you but this:

Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviors of the world, or would remain in hell, and hold your brothers there.

For He has come, and He is asking this.

2. How do you make the choice? How easily it is explained! You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto Him, and He has given you His strength instead.

3. Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” He would not leave one source of pain unhealed, nor any image left to veil the truth. He would remove all misery from you whom God created altar unto joy. He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your mind from everything that hides His face from you. His Holiness is yours because He is the only power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self that God created as His only Son.

4. The images you make cannot prevail against what God Himself would have you be. Be never fearful of temptation, then, but see it as another chance to choose again, and let Christ’s strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before. For what appears to hide the face of Christ is powerless before His majesty and disappears before His holy sight. The saviors of the world, who see like Him, are merely those who choose His strength instead of their own weakness, seen apart from Him. They will redeem the world, for they are joined in all the power of the Will of God. And what they will is only what He wills.

5. Learn, then, the happy habit of response to all temptation to perceive yourself as weak and miserable with these words:

I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.

Thus is Christ’s strength invited to prevail, replacing all your weakness with the strength that comes from God and that can never fail. And thus are miracles as natural as fear and agony appeared to be before the choice for holiness was made. For in that choice are false distinctions gone, illusory alternatives laid by, and nothing left to interfere with truth.

6. You are as God created you, and so is every living thing you look upon, regardless of the images you see. What you behold as sickness and as pain, as weakness and as suffering and loss, is but temptations to perceive yourself defenseless and in hell. Yield not to this, and you will see all pain, in every form, wherever it occurs, but disappear as mists before the sun. A miracle has come to heal God’s Son and close the door upon his dreams of weakness, opening the way to his salvation and release. Choose once again what you would have him be, remembering that every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is.

7. Deny me not the little gift I ask, when in exchange I lay before your feet the peace of God, and power to bring this peace to everyone who wanders in the world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. For it is given you to join with him, and through the Christ in you unveil his eyes and let him look upon the Christ in him.

8. My brothers in salvation, do not fail to hear my voice and listen to my words. I ask for nothing but your own release. There is no place for hell within a world whose loveliness can yet be so intense and so inclusive it is but a step from there to Heaven. To your tired eyes I bring a vision of a different world, so new and clean and fresh you will forget the pain and sorrow that you saw before. Yet this a vision in which you must share with everyone you see for otherwise you will behold it not. To give this gift is how to make it yours. And God ordained, in loving kindness, that it be for you.

9. Let us be glad that we can walk the world and find so many chances to perceive another situation where God’s gift can once again be recognized as ours! And thus will all the vestiges of hell, the secret sins and hidden hates be gone. And all the loveliness which they concealed appear like lawns of Heaven to our sight, to lift us high above the thorny roads we travelled on before the Christ appeared. Hear me, my brothers, hear and join with me, God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.

10. I thank You Father for these holy ones who are my brothers as they are Your Sons. My faith in them is Yours. I am as sure that they will come to me as You are sure of what they are and will forever be. They will accept the gift I offer them because You gave it me on their behalf. And as I would but do Your holy Will, so will they choose. And I give thanks for them. Salvation’s song will echo through the world with every choice they make. For we are one in purpose and the end of hell is near.

11. In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny, scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell and giving thanks to You.

12. And now we say “Amen.” For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly and all creation recognizes You and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one and we are home, where You would have us be. [1]

Blessings and congratulations are due. We have come to the end of the Course text. Today spend as much time as you can with our text reading over this last section, praying for illumination of its beautiful meaning, asking Holy Spirit to guide and direct you to those who are ready to awaken and join the saviors of the world.  Do not allow your carnal mind to sneer and jab at your dedication to return to the High Mind of Christ.  This is our salvation.  Our attempts to reach for the Christ within may be awkward and clumsy. We will make mistakes. We will say and do things that later we will be tempted to judge and grow discouraged.  These are all opportunities for growth and development. Learn to look at your spiritual practice as a means to “choose again.” For this is what our life in flesh will be – a means to choose again and again and again. 

Temptation lies in the form of accepting the status quo, of believing that there is no hope for a world that is not as God created it, to believe that we are divided and only some get to return to Heaven while the rest of us are too sinful and unworthy to ever hope of seeing God, let alone being called His Son.  The temptation lies in dividing the Sonship into goats and sheep, into male and female, into chaff and wheat, into the good boy who stays at home and helps out dad and the one that runs off and takes up with whores and hoodlums.  As we go within to find the Self that never dies, the outer realm is proved to be unreal – it cannot define us, it cannot determine our worth or tell us who and what we are, it cannot touch the reality of Christ within each living thing.  The outer realm may have us at each other’s throats, but the Inner Kingdom is unaffected by such insanity – for there we are eternally one in spirit; unified forever as God’s Son, as God’s Creation, as God’s Kingdom. 

Christ calls us to join Him in the salvation of the world.  Return your mind and heart to oneness and to unity.  Refuse to be tempted by the world and choose again the beautiful brotherhood we find in Sonship.  If this all sounds like pie-in-the-sky rhetoric that will never hold up in your daily practice begin right where you are with the people, situations, and circumstances that surround you.  This is your learning field, your mission field, your call to practice the Kingdom principles and choose again the way of return to God. View each living thing in your daily life as the sacred trust that God has given you and experience for yourself the heightened consciousness, the expansion of God’s Kingdom within, the loving, joyful, healing of relationships infused with the Divine.  

As we journey on our spiritual path to God we shed our grievances, we shed our ranting and raving, we shed our perceptions of enmity, our habits of finding fault, backstabbing, and pointing fingers.  We learn to rely not upon our human perceptions but on the mercy and grace of Christ within us, the Holy Spirit Who knows all things and sees all things with eyes of love.  We cannot bring anything of this world Home with us.  When this world has taught us everything we need to know, it no longer has any meaning to us. When it has convinced us that all alternatives to love and joy and peace end in hatred, sorrow, and war, that making lies is no replacement for honesty, communication, and communion, that preying upon creation is no substitute for loving it we are ready to go Home. 

Joining with the saviors of the world is a beautiful invitation that Christ within calls forth in us.  We choose again!  As we share this message with one another, we are lifted out of the miry clay of despair and sense of hopelessness we would otherwise have in a world that offers no real hope of happiness, certainty, and safety.  When we elect to join with Christ, the tiny, scattered threads of melody that now ring here and there across the stretch of time and space become one inclusive chorus of a world redeemed from hatred, brokenness, sin, and death. Rising in a song of gratitude and praise to God for delivering us from our own devices and divinations, we are not separated from those we love over mean little differences, spiteful judgments, and human mistakes. We are lifted out them. Our time in the world is over when everybody’s time in the world is over; nobody is left behind; nobody is denied all the opportunities they need to choose again.  For our Father is Love and He created us in Love and for Love and to be Love like Himself.  

Speaking of love, I loved going through this Course with you. There were many days I did not feel up to this task. There were days when I could not bear the sound of my own voice. There were days I went on rants against the world, resenting the circumstances and people who have taught me the most about my need for salvation and who and what I really am in Sonship and in Christ. There were days that my ego gave me pause and did its best to interfere in my spiritual path, making the world seem so real to me that to deny its reality seemed like insanity.  And yet the daily devotional practice is a time of seeing beyond the world and what I see in that place is the realest thing, because it is my Home, the place where I belong, the place in which I not only find my own Being, but I find yours there with me.  In that place is where the journey ends – right where it all began!

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision viii. choose once again. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 THE FINAL VISION VII. The Savior’s Vision 9-15

ACIM CHAPTER 31 VII The Savior’s Vision 9-15

9. The veil across the face of Christ, the fear of God and of salvation, and the love of guilt and death, they all are different names for just one error; that there is a space between you and your brother, kept apart by an illusion of yourself that holds him off from you, and you away from him. The sword of judgment is the weapon that you give to the illusion of yourself, that it may fight to keep the space that holds your brother off unoccupied by love. Yet while you hold this sword, you must perceive the body as yourself, for you are bound to separation from the sight of him who holds the mirror to another view of what he is, and thus what you must be.

10. What is temptation but the wish to stay in hell and misery? And what could this give rise to but an image of yourself that can be miserable, and remain in hell and torment? Who has learned to see his brother not as this has saved himself, and thus is he a savior to the rest. To everyone has God entrusted all, because a partial savior would be one who is but partly saved. The holy ones whom God has given you to save are but everyone you meet or look upon, not knowing who they are; all those you saw an instant and forgot, and those you knew a long while since, and those you will yet meet; the unremembered and the not yet born. For God has given you His Son to save from every concept that he ever held.

11. Yet while you wish to stay in hell, how could you be the savior of the Son of God? How would you know his holiness while you see him apart from yours? For holiness is seen through holy eyes that look upon the innocence within, and thus expect to see it everywhere. And so they call it forth in everyone they look upon, that he may be what they expect of him. This is the savior’s vision; that he see his innocence in all he looks upon and see his own salvation everywhere. He holds no concept of himself between his calm and open eyes and what he sees. He brings the light to what he looks upon, that he may see it as it really is.

12. Whatever form temptation seems to take, it always but reflects a wish to be a self that you are not. And from that wish a concept rises, teaching that you are the thing you wish to be. It will remain your concept of yourself until the wish that fathered it no longer is held dear. But while you cherish it, you will behold your brother in the likeness of the self whose image has the wish begot of you. For seeing can but represent a wish because it has no power to create. Yet it can look with love or look with hate, depending only on the simple choice of whether you would join with what you see, or keep yourself apart and separate.

13. The savior’s vision is as innocent of what your brother is as it is free of any judgment made upon yourself. It sees no past in anyone at all. And thus it serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look on only what the present holds. It cannot judge because it does not know. And recognizing this, it merely asks, “What is the meaning of what I behold?” Then is the answer given. And the door held open for the face of Christ to shine upon the one who asks, in innocence, to see beyond the veil of old ideas and ancient concepts held so long and dear against the vision of the Christ in you.

14. Be vigilant against temptation, then, remembering that it is but a wish, insane and meaningless, to make yourself a thing that you are not. And think as well upon the thing that you would be instead. It is a thing of madness, pain and death; a thing of treachery and black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die and end the dream of fear. This is temptation; nothing more than this. Can this be difficult to choose against? Consider what temptation is and see the real alternatives you chose between. There are but two. Be not deceived by what appears as many choices. There is hell and Heaven, and of these you choose but one.

15. Let not the world’s light, given unto you, be hidden from the world. It needs the light, for it is dark indeed, and men despair because the savior’s vision is withheld and what they see is death. Their savior stands, unknowing and unknown, beholding them with seeing eyes and offers them forgiveness with his own. Can you to whom God says, “Release My Son!” be tempted not to listen, when you learn that it is you for whom He asks release? And what but this is what this course would teach? And what but this is there for you to learn? [1]

When we see each other as separate entities, when there is something between us, when I judge you or you judge me unworthy of love, of Christ, of Sonship – we keep ourselves in a state of hell and misery.  For as long as I see you with my flesh eyes and judge you according to my human perceptions, I will not know you. I cannot know you. I will think that your mistakes define you. I will misinterpret the wonderful things you do as a way to get brownie points. I will think that all your goodness only serves to be a cover for your ultimate deceit and treachery.  Our whole relationship will be governed on a moment-to-moment basis of how much we are willing to sacrifice to it, to pour into it, to be special together.  When one or the other makes a mistake, pulls out, or goes on to make new friends, finds a new church, or marries someone we are not crazy about, we will be as strangers to one another.  This is the way of human relationships. They are not based upon truth or reality – they are based upon an image of one another that is either displeasing or pleasing at any given time, but never the one true thing of Christ. 

When we learn to see only Christ in each other, we not only save ourselves, but we save everyone involved.  Each of us are entrusted with the savior’s vision.  We behold each other not as merely another human form, a body, a good person or a bad person, a soul which is saved or unsaved, a friend or an enemy, we behold each other and everyone we meet with the sanctity we give Christ.  It does not matter if we behold a liberal or a conservative, a Muslim or a Christian, a Catholic or a Protestant.  Rich and poor, black and white, big-mouth or quiet, the free and the imprisoned – God has entrusted us to one another saving us from every false image and mean concept that we would make ourselves to be.  This is the vision of Christ, and it is ours.

As long as we are content to call each other names, to get our feathers ruffled over slights and slurs, to let the news feed steal our peace, joy, and well-being, we withhold the savior’s vision. When we lose track of that which is holy, pure, and good in one another, we lose track of that which is holy, pure, and good in us!  We call forth holiness in one another when we choose to see holiness in each other, when we choose to have faith in each other as we would have faith in God Who created us. We call forth all that is good and pure and righteous in each other by choosing to see past and give no credence to all that would oppose goodness, purity, and righteousness. 

In paragraph 11, Jesus informs us that the savior’s vision is one that sees innocence everywhere.  The savior’s vision has no judgment. It lets go of all concepts that would oppose the truth of God.  So when you come to me to tell me of the spite and vengeance of a certain someone, instead of believing in spite and vengeance, my calm and open eyes, dedicated to the savior’s vision brings light to what I look upon that I may see it as it really is.  Because you chose to perceive spite and vengeance, I must trust that you brought this to me out of purity and a real desire to protect me. Yet I must also choose not to perceive any concept that would oppose peace and deceive my perceptions.  This is not a practice in self-deceit. This is a practice in choosing to see with a heightened perception. When we choose to see with the Vision of Christ we release ourselves from the dim view.  Our understanding is broadened. We see from a higher vantage point. We go from the low mind of fault-finding, blame, and shame to the high mind of understanding, trust, forgiveness, and love. 

When we are tempted to join in with the low-minded take on others, events, and circumstances, we are enticed to give up the Christ in us, to become an enemy of God, to join the ranks of those who would oppose the healing of the Sonship and the return to God’s Kingdom.  See yourself as a gossiper, a lover of deceit and treachery, a vulnerable little victim lashing out at those who ruined your life and stole your joy, you will seem to be exactly what this concept of yourself tells you that you are. This is a choice you make. This concept of yourself will be your self-concept until you realize it is not you.  As long as you cherish this concept of yourself, you will look on others as either “for you,” or “against you.” You will spend your days looking for happiness, protection, meaning, and sustenance outside of yourself.  And all of the things you seek will come and go, never gratifying or making you happy. 

When we give up such concepts of our selves and reach for that which is holy and pure inside of us, we are set free from all judgment, self-pity, and condemnation. We accept ourselves and each other in the present moment.  We do not remind each other of our wrongdoing. We do not tease each other about old mistakes. We do not compare our outward appearances with others. We realize that we simply cannot judge ourselves or each other because we do not know ourselves or each other! If I do not know the reasons why I did the things I did, how can I be expected to know about you? If I do not remember what I was going through, how could I know what you were going through?  Recognize that we are incapable of making any kind of pronouncements upon anything at all, our minds are free to reach for meaning from the Higher Source.  Only there is the answer given. 

As long as I judge you on what I think I know about you, how you treated me and my family, how lazy you are, how mean and spiteful, how misguided and misdirected, convinced that I have every right to condemn you and refuse to see you as Christ, I am an enemy of God, I am in opposition to love, I am trusting in the low-minded realm of flesh and not in the high mind of Christ.

We are to be vigilant against this temptation for we are never to place ourselves as judge and juror over our brothers.  The world will give us many seemingly good reasons to oppose the savior’s vision, to condone vengeance, to fail to put our trust in God. We will be tempted to take up arms against each other and feel justified in doing so. We will be tempted to believe the rampant lies about each other, the trumped-up charges, the images of hate and stupidity.  We are not to believe the madness, pain, and death that our news feeds would nurture us upon.  We are not to believe the spin that would obscure the truth of Christ in each other.  We are not to be deceived by all the reasons we would have to turn upon each other with intent to harm and to kill.  This is temptation.  Do not fall for it. 

We are the light of the world because Christ is in us. When we hide our Sonship from each other, we are blinded, we weaken, we get sick, we lose our minds, we maim and kill each other, we die.  God calls us to awaken, to release each other from the nightmare of discord, disunity, and death. We are created in Love, in Joy, and in Peace – this is our Identity, our function, this is who and what we are.  This is all this course would teach and this is all there is to learn.  

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision vii. the savior’s vision 9-15. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 VII. The Savior’s Vision

1. Learning is change. Salvation does not seek to use a means as yet too alien to your thinking to be helpful, not to make the kinds of change you could not recognize. Concepts are needed while perception lasts, and changing concepts is salvation’s task. For it must deal in contrasts, not in truth, which has no opposite and cannot change. In this world’s concepts are the guilty “bad;” the “good” are innocent. And no one here but holds a concept of himself in which he counts the “good” to pardon him the “bad.” Nor does he trust the “good” in anyone, believing that the “bad” must lurk behind. This concept emphasizes treachery and trust becomes impossible. Nor could it change while you perceive the “bad” in you.

2. You could not recognize your “evil” thoughts as long as you see value in attack. You will perceive them sometimes but will not see them as meaningless. And so they come in fearful form, with content still concealed, to shake your sorry concept of yourself and blacken it with still another “crime.” You cannot give yourself your innocence, for you are too confused about yourself. But should one brother dawn upon your sight as wholly worthy of forgiveness, then your concept of yourself is wholly changed. Your “evil” thoughts have been forgiven with his because you let them all affect you not. No longer do you choose that you should be the sign of evil and of guilt in him. And as you give your trust to what is good in him, you give it to the good in you.

3. In terms of concepts, it is thus you see him more than just a body, for the good is never what the body seems to be. The actions of the body are perceived as coming from the “baser” part of you, and thus of him as well. By focusing upon the good in him, the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good. And this will be your concept of yourself, when you have reached the world beyond the sight your eyes alone can offer you to see. For you will not interpret what you see without the Aid That God has given you. And in His sight there is another world.

4. You live in that world just as much as this. For both are concepts of yourself, which can be interchanged but never jointly held. The contrast is far greater than you think, for you will love this concept of yourself, because it was not made for you alone. Born as a gift for someone not perceived to be yourself, it has been given you. For your forgiveness, offered unto him, has been accepted now for both of you.

5. Have faith in him who walks with you, so that your fearful concept of yourself may change. And look upon the good in him, that you may not be frightened by your “evil” thoughts because they do not cloud your view of him. And all this shift requires is that you be willing that this happy change occur. No more than this is asked. On its behalf, remember what the concept of yourself that now you hold has brought you in its wake, and welcome the glad contrast offered you. Hold out your hand, that you may have the gift of kind forgiveness which you offer one whose need for it is just the same as yours. And let the cruel concept of yourself be changed to one that brings the peace of God.

6. The concept of yourself that now you hold would guarantee your function here remain forever unaccomplished and undone. And thus it dooms you to a bitter sense of deep depression and futility. Yet it need not be fixed, unless you choose to hold it past the hope of change and keep it static and concealed within your mind. Give it instead to Him Who understands the changes that it needs to let it serve the function given you to bring you peace, that you may offer peace to have it yours. Alternatives are in your mind to use, and you can see yourself another way. Would you not rather look upon yourself as needed for salvation of the world, instead of as salvation’s enemy?

7. The concept of the self stands like a shield, a silent barricade before the truth, and hides it from your sight. All things you see are images, because you look on them as through a barrier that dims your sight and warps your vision, so that you behold nothing with clarity. The light is kept from everything you see. At most, you glimpse a shadow of what lies beyond. At least, you merely look on darkness, and perceive the terrified imaginings that come from guilty thoughts and concepts born of fear. And what you see is hell, for fear is hell. All that is given you is for release; the sight, the vision, and the inner Guide all lead you out of hell with those you love beside you, and the universe with them.

8. Behold your role within the universe! To every part of true creation has the Lord of Love and Life entrusted all salvation from the misery of hell. And to each one has He allowed the grace to be a savior to the holy ones especially entrusted to his care. And this he learns when first he looks upon one brother as he looks upon himself and sees the mirror of himself in him. Thus is the concept of himself laid by, for nothing stands between his sight and what he looks upon, to judge what he beholds. And in this single vision does he see the face of Christ, and understands he looks on everyone as he beholds this one. For there is light where darkness was before, and now the veil is lifted from his sight. [1]

When I look upon you with gentle recognition of the Christ in you, I am seeing you beyond your body, beyond your mistakes, beyond all the ways you get on my nerves and fail to meet my expectations of you.  When I look at you and see what is in you, I can no longer judge you or hold you accountable for things that you said and did in the past, because the things I have done and the things I have said in the past are gone, my mistakes and your mistakes have taught us what we needed to learn from them, we are corrected, we are healed, and they is no longer a use for them on our record. From now on I will trust the good within you and because I trust the good in you, the good within me is trustworthy.    

This goes beyond judging you as “good” according to how nice you are to me personally!  I have no right to judge you in this regard. Whether you suit me as a person or you do not, whether I like the way you look, the way you smell, the way you style your hair, or the political party you support has nothing to do with the Christ in you.  For now I see you beyond your body, and what is good in you and what is good in me is from the Christ within. When we say the Christ within, we are speaking of Sonship here. We are speaking of who we are to God, who we are to each other in God, not in bodies. 

Jesus tells us that we live in that world just as much as this one.  One concept we have of ourselves is of our image, our form, our flesh and blood bodies; the other one is our Spirit, our Mind, our Oneness with God.  The contrast between these two concepts is far greater than we can imagine, for we love the one concept of us because it was made for all.  It was a given, it was our true creation, it was in love and for love and to Be love. 

When we practice faith in one another, we develop faith in our Self. When we look upon the Christ in each other, we can no longer be afraid of that which is not Christ in us.  It no longer has any meaning.  The mistakes we make, the times we use vulgar words and prance an angry jig because things are not going our way, the times we murmur and complain and find fault, do not cloud our vision of the Christ in us. We can laugh at my mistakes and we can laugh at yours.  They hold no power over us, they do not change the facts about us.  We do not have to strive and connive to please God; we do not have to weep and wail and beat our chests in sorrow over our failure to be perfect in the flesh.  We simply put our trust in the Christ within, we ask that we know ourselves as Christ, we welcome and embrace this happy change in our awareness. 

This is a lovely way of Being. There is no guilt involved. There is no fear of hell and torment. There is no punishment. There is no judgment.  Hold our old self-concept of miserable sinner, unworthy flesh-monger, a species not deserving of love, joy, and peace – and we will be miserable, we will sicken ourselves pleading with God trying to change ourselves, attempting to placate His supposed anger, wheedling and groveling and forsaking the real call of Christ in our minds and hearts. 

As long as we believe that Christ is a separate and special entity – the Lone Ranger of salvation, our function as savior remains unaccomplished and undone.  This belief dooms us to depression and futility for we will fail to see our parents, our siblings, our friends, our very children as Christ. We will believe that they are going to burn in hell if they do not read their Bibles, attend church, or say their prayers a certain way.  When we see Christ in all, we no longer judge this one as good and this one as bad. We no longer say this one is saved and this one is unsaved. We give all of Creation to Him Who in our giving gives to us.  When we see each other as Christ sees us, we see each other as savior, and when we see each other as savior, we see ourselves as Christ.  Seeing ourselves as Christ expands our consciousness from one that pushes and keeps others out, separates and divides, hurts and maims and kills to one of inclusion, of unity, oneness, healing, love, peace, joy, and extender of everlasting life. 

Today we will end with paragraph eight and continue tomorrow with the last eight paragraphs of The Savior’s Vision.  In your personal devotional practice today, meditate upon the first half of this section. Dare to picture your role within the universe.  The Lord of Love and Life has entrusted salvation to us.  By grace we are called to join with the Christ, our true Self within.  There is no room for judgment between us for when I look upon you with the savior’s vision, I see myself, I see the face of Christ, and I see everyone as I see you.  In other words I see love, I see joy, I see peace.  I see all that is real and nothing that is unreal.  The light has come and there is no more darkness, the truth has dawned upon my consciousness and the world of opposites disappears. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision vii. the savior’s vision 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 THE FINAL VISION VI. Recognizing the Spirit

ACIM CHAPTER 31 VI Recognizing the Spirit

1. You see the flesh or recognize the spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or spirit in your own belief. If you choose flesh, you never will escape the body as your own reality, for you have chosen that you want it so. But choose the spirit and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless. 

2. Salvation is undoing. If you choose to see the body, you behold a world of separation, unrelated things, and happenings that make no sense at all. This one appears and disappears in death; that one is doomed to suffering and loss. And no one is exactly as he was an instant previous, nor will he be the same as he is now an instant hence. Who could have trust where so much change is seen, for who is worthy if he be but dust? Salvation is undoing of all this. For constancy arises in the sight of those whose eyes salvation has released from looking at the cost of keeping guilt, because they chose to let it go instead.

3. Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice. For you can see the body without help, but do not understand how to behold a world apart from it. It is your world salvation will undo, and let you see another world your eyes could never find. Be not concerned how this could ever be. You do not understand how what you see arose to meet your sight. For if you did, it would be gone. The veil of ignorance is drawn across the evil and the good, and must be passed that both may disappear, so that perception finds no hiding place. How is this done? It is not done at all. What could there be within the universe that God created that must still be done?

4. Only in arrogance could you conceive that you must make the way to Heaven plain. The means are given you by which to see the world that will replace the one you made. Your will be done! In Heaven as on earth this is forever true. It matters not where you believe you are, nor what you think the truth about yourself must really be. It makes no difference what you look upon, nor what you choose to feel or think or wish. For God Himself has said, “Your will be done.” And it is done to you accordingly.

5. You who believe that you can choose to see the Son of God as you would have him be, forget not that no concept of yourself will stand against the truth of what you are. Undoing truth would be impossible. But concepts are not difficult to change. One vision, clearly seen, that does not fit the picture as it was perceived before will change the world for eyes that learn to see, because the concept of the self has changed.

6. Are you invulnerable? Then the world is harmless in your sight. Do you forgive? Then is the world forgiving, for you have forgiven it its trespasses, and so it looks on you with eyes that see as yours. Are you a body? So is all the world perceived as treacherous and out to kill. Are you a spirit, deathless, and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of your trust; a happy place to rest in for awhile, where nothing need be feared, but only loved. Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent?

7. Your will be done, you holy child of God. It does not matter if you think you are in earth or Heaven. What your Father wills of you can never change. The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, pure as light, as innocent as love itself. And you are worthy that your will be done! [1]

When we look out into the world with our physical eyes we see only change. Nothing stays the same! From one moment to the next things happen.  First you smile upon me and then you frown. You say something nice, and I think one thing, and then you make a cutting remark and my entire perception of you changes.  We learn to exist in this place by staying alert, being wary of not only the stranger, but the acquaintance, and our beloved friends and family members.  We work awfully hard to keep the peace, be hospitable, overlook bad manners and lack of appreciation and then admit defeat, wondering how we could have been so stupid to try so hard when nobody else would lift a finger.  This is what happens in the perceptual world. It is not only in my circles but in your circles. It is the story of this world. This world is not God’s Kingdom; it is that which opposes God’s Kingdom.  It is a place of change and then change again and cycles of one thing and then its opposite.  It is the place where grudges are stored and remembered and never forgiven. It is a place where all kinds of things can happen that never happened and you can be held accountable for what you never did or said or even dreamed of doing.  It is a place where vaults are kept with fictional records of wrongdoing; lies are cherished more than truth; separation and division rather than wholeness and unity. It is a place that values punishment over correction, the silent treatment over honest communication, a fascination with disease and sickness over healing and health. 

Salvation undoes the realm of opposites.  Salvation is the choice for certainty and constancy; salvation is the letting go of all that would make guilty and ashamed.  Salvation does not ask us to not see with our flesh eyes, it simply asks that we choose to recognize the Spirit.  We do not need help in the flesh to see the flesh world, but we do need help to see the other world which lies beyond.

We are not to concern ourselves with the mechanics of how this works.  We cannot fathom it at this state of consciousness for a veil of ignorance is drawn across the world of opposites.  As we come to this veil of ignorance we find that we have few words to describe our spiritual insights, our dimmed wits can barely grasp that there is a world beyond the world of perception, we have to reach and stretch for the things of the Spirit for they seem supernatural to us rather than the natural, God-given state of Being in which we were created. 

Many times in the Course commentary I feel that I must make what is apparent to me plain to those who read my blog.  When I find myself agonizing over my failures to get my points across, this is arrogance on my part.  The means are given to each one of us to see the world beyond the one we made.  God’s Love would not abandon you to rely on my insights and commentary alone.  And we should only be thankful for this. For God has placed Himself inside of each of us and it is God within which brings us back to Him – you inform me, and I inform you – for our completeness and wholeness in Spirit and in Truth. 

It is our choice to stay asleep or to awaken.  Try to make the Son of God over your own image, you stay asleep in dreams of change, doubt, and death because no concept of yourself will stand against the truth of who and what you are. Truth cannot be undone, but concepts can.  Changing your self-concept to one of holiness and Spirit changes not only your life, but the world you now see.  For in Sonship we are invulnerable, and the world is therefore harmless in our sight. In Christ we forgive, and the world is forgiving. 

When we no longer identify with division, decay, and death, the world becomes stable, trustworthy, a restful, happy place, a place of love and not of fear.  We have no enemies, we encounter no bullies, our path is clear, our mind is pure, our thoughts toward each other are ones of innocence and goodwill.  This is the will of Sonship, and the will of Sonship is done.  There is no bickering or scheming, no conniving or striving to get there first or to win more favor. There is no bragging and putting ourselves out there as some sort of guru or expert or Thee Enlightened One.  We simply accept the Will of God as His Son and know that what is true about us can never change. 

The truth about you and me is within us. Radiant. Pure. Innocent as Love Itself. Today recognize the Spirit in contrast with the flesh and do not be afraid to let it shine. This is our natural state of Being. We are worthy and this is our will for it is the Will of God.   

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision vi. recognizing the spirit. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 THE FINAL VISION V Self-Concept versus Self

ACIM CHAPTER 31 V. Self-Concept versus Self

1. The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self adjusted to the world’s reality. It fits it well. For this an image is that suits a world of shadows and illusions. Here it walks at home where what it sees is one with it. The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach “maturity” you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands.

2. A concept of the self is made by you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God. The concept of the self the world would teach is not the thing that it appears to be. For it is made to serve two purposes, but one of which the mind can recognize. The first presents the face of innocence, the aspect acted on. It is this face that smiles and charms and even seems to love. It searches for companions, and it looks at times with pity, on the suffering, and sometimes offers solace. It believes that it is good within an evil world.

3. This aspect can grow angry, for the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good. This aspect never makes the first attack. But every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its innocence, provoking it to irritation, and at last to open insult and abuse.

4. The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self- defense, for is it not a well- known fact the world deals harshly with defenseless innocents? No one who makes a picture of himself omits this face, for he has need of it. The other side he does not want to see. Yet it is here the learning of the world has set its sights, for it is here the world’s “reality” is set, to see to it the idol lasts.

5. Beneath the face of innocence there is a lesson that the concept of the self was made to teach. It is a lesson in a terrible displacement, and a fear so devastating that the face that smiles above it must forever look away, lest it perceive the treachery it hides. The lesson teaches this: “I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am.” On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape.

6. Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mist below the face of innocence. And in the shrouded vaults are all his sins and yours preserved and kept in darkness, where they cannot be perceived as errors, which the light would surely show. You can neither be blamed for what you are, nor can you change the things it makes you do. Your brother then is symbol of your sins to you who are but silently, and yet with ceaseless urgency, condemning still your brother for the hated thing you are.

7.  Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they cannot be used to demonstrate the world is real. For all of them are made within the world, born in its shadow, growing in its ways and finally “maturing” in its thought. They are ideas of idols, painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.

8. A concept of the self is meaningless, for no one here can see what it is for, and therefore cannot picture what it is. Yet is all learning that the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world’s laws, and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realize the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach you that you are something else. For otherwise, you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.

9. Thus are the Holy Spirit’s lesson plans arranged in easy steps, that though there be some lack of ease at times and some distress, there is no shattering of what was learned, but just a re-translation of what seems to be the evidence on its behalf. Let us consider, then, what proof there is that you are what your brother made of you. For even though you do not yet perceive that this is what you think, you surely learned by now that you behave as if it were. Does he react for you? And does he know exactly what would happen? Can he see your future and ordain, before it comes, what you should do in every circumstance? He must have made the world as well as you to have such prescience in the things to come.

10. That you are what your brother made of you seems most unlikely. Even if he did, who gave the face of innocence to you? Is this your contribution? Who is, then, the “you” who made it? And who is deceived by all your goodness, and attacks it so? Let us forget the concept’s foolishness, and merely think of this; there are two parts to what you think yourself to be. If one were generated by your brother, who was there to make the other? And from who must something be kept hidden? If the world be evil, there is still no need to hide what you are made of. Who is there to see? And what but is attacked could need defense? 

11. Perhaps the reason why this concept must be kept in darkness is that, in the light, the one who would not think it true is you. And what would happen to the world you see, if all its underpinnings were removed? Your concept of the world depends upon this concept of the self. And both would go, if either one were ever raised to doubt. The Holy Spirit does not seek to throw you into panic. So he merely asks if just a little question might be raised.

12. There are alternatives about the thing that you must be. You might, for instance, be the thing you chose to have your brother be. This shifts the concept of the self from what is wholly passive, and at least makes way for active choice, and some acknowledgement that interaction must have entered in. There is some understanding that you chose for both of you, and what he represents has meaning that was given it by you. It also shows some glimmering of sight into perception’s law that what you see reflects the state the perceiver’s mind. Yet who was it that did the choosing first? If you are what you chose your brother be, alternatives were there to choose among, and someone must have first decided on the one to choose and let the other go.

13. Although this step has gains, it does not yet approach a basic question. Something must have gone before these concepts of the self. And something must have done the learning which gave rise to them. Nor can this be explained by either view. The main advantage of the shifting to the second from the first is that you somehow entered in the choice by your decision. But this gain is paid in almost equal loss, for now you stand accused of guilt for what your brother is. And you must share his guilt, because you chose it for him in the image of your own. While only he was treacherous before now must you be condemned along with him.

14. The concept of the self has always been the great preoccupation of the world. And everyone believes that he must find the answer to the riddle of himself. Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the escape from concepts. It does not concern itself with content of the mind, but with the simple statement that it thinks. And what can think has choice and can be shown that different thoughts have different consequences. So it can learn that everything it thinks reflects the deep confusion that it feels about how it was made and what it is. And vaguely does the concept of the self appear to answer what it does not know.

15. Seek not your Self in symbols. There can be no concept that can stand for what you are. What matters it which concept you accept while you perceive a self that interacts with evil, and reacts to wicked things? Your concept of yourself will still remain quite meaningless. And you will not perceive that you can interact but with yourself. To see a guilty world is but the sign your learning has been guided by the world, and you behold it as you see yourself. The concept of the self embraces all you look upon, and nothing is outside of this perception. If you can be hurt by anything, you see a picture of your secret wishes. Nothing more than this. And in your suffering of any kind you see your own concealed desire to kill.

16. You will make many concepts of the self as learning goes along. Each one will show the changes in your own relationships, as your perception of yourself is changed. There will be some confusion every time there is a shift but be you thankful learning of the world is loosening its grasp upon your mind. And be you sure and happy in the confidence that it will go at last and leave your mind at peace. The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you. Yet have no fear it will not be undone.

17. The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. 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.

Yet in this learning is salvation born. And what you are will tell you of Itself. [1]

The more time we take to spend with this passage, the more meaningful it becomes to us.  This is the third day I spent with this and each time I read it; I get closer to the beautiful way in which our true identity is slowly revealed to us. The world of images proves itself meaningless, while the truth shines on behind the ruse, seeming to dawn as the clouds dissipate. There is no war, no great destruction, no meanness or spite involved. When the untruth fails us, when we no longer cling to our illusions, there is the truth the same as it always was, unchanged and certain. 

As babies, everyone else gets to tell us who we are – we are pronounced human, named, our fingers and toes are counted.  Healthy or malformed, well or unwell. We are assigned a gender, we are cared for or neglected, we learn the rules of our household, our community, our schools and churches. When we express any kind of angst about the meaning of our lives or the truth about our identity, we are sent to counselors, religious gurus, or reprimanded about how thankful we should be for our daily provisions!  We learn to smile when we are sad; we learn to laugh at cruelty; we learn to plot and scheme.  This is what we have to do to survive in the world and of course we would never do it if it were not for them, they asked for it, they deserve it, they did this to us and deserve the spite we devise for them.  We blame our parents, our siblings, our friends, and neighbors for the loss of our innocence.  But Jesus assures us that we chose to come in the world, we wanted to be more than our brothers, we chose specialness and separateness, we came here because we opposed the oneness and unity of God, of Love, of Sonship.

This may be hard for us to accept when we look at the image of our precious little babies. They seem so new and undefiled. We will do everything in our power to protect them, to keep them safe from the bullies of the world, from being laughed at, from being scorned, from being beaten and torn.  But no matter what you do, you cannot protect them from the world or from what they chose. We come to the world because we asked to come to the world. We come here to learn in time and space the world of opposition and opposites.  We get to live out our own conceptions.  We get to live in the marvelous, magical realm of image, forms, of spaces and outlines between us rather than the oneness and unity of God.  In the magical realm, I can gain on you.  I can get more likes. I can, if I am charming and enchanting enough, if I work at it, if I am incredibly lucky, make you feel at a great disadvantage next to me! For my increase is your decrease.  All that is mine comes to me at great cost and I must hoard things and I must protect what I have, and I must treat you suspiciously because you may steal it from me, you may plot to murder me if you are next in line to my throne, your jealousy will target me and blame me for all your ills and suffering.  My wealth and privilege are a cause for you to hate me not rejoice with me.  This is what we get in the realm of marvels and magic, of space and time, of form and flesh.  And it all spells death. 

And so we come here to preoccupy ourselves with the self-concept. Who am I as defined by the world? I am a human. I am a woman. I have crooked teeth. I have lumpy thighs.  I love to read. I like to travel. I am a teacher. I am a sister, a daughter, a mother, an aunt, a granddaughter. I am smart in some ways and incredibly stupid in other ways.  Some days I love my looks, other days not so much!  Some days I am productive, other days I am lazy. No matter what I think of myself, on any given day, I am very much devoted to my self-concept. I work hard to show off my advantages and hide my disadvantages. I blame those who used their power against me. I tend to idolize those who used their power for me. I look in the mirror a lot to find out more about this concept I have of myself.  Your opinion of me matters to my self-concept, and I will hold you personally responsible if my self-concept is tainted in any way – it will be your fault for you spoke to me in grievous tones, you snubbed me at the last class reunion, you mocked my efforts to improve myself.  You did not congratulate me properly when I won the game of Scrabble by a landslide. 

This self-concept is at variance with our true and holy Self. This self-concept helps us to survive in madness because it is itself insane!  It has no meaning. It merely exists from moment-to-transient-moment in an illusion of life, a dream which keeps changing, a dream which keeps leading nowhere, going about in circles, dashing all hope, keeping us so involved in nothingness that we take little to no time to question its validity and veracity.  It is a self-concept that is always on edge, never long at ease, always questioning and trying to prove itself by comparing it to others and their self-concepts.  It can never walk in true fellowship or joyous peace for it is jealous and full of spite and always comparing its experiences and privileges against those it sees in others.  This self-concept smiles outwardly but behind its seeming innocence and well-wishing, its pretty gifts and trite offerings, it is in love with mystery and murder, spite and judgment.   

Jesus tells us quite plainly that our Self, our true Being is not found in symbols.  We cannot find our Self in flesh and forms, in passions and other people or in other places. All of that will pass away with no worry and no fret because this spells freedom.  Freedom from all accusations, expectations, blame, and condemnation that appear to us in so many forms as long as we seek our identity in flesh.  When we no longer accept the way the world defines us, when we no longer identify with flesh and all the roles that flesh assigns to us, our minds are finally open to the truth about who and what we really are.  There we are, in all our shining glory – past all the blood and guts and gore of where we tried to find our beauty and our bliss. 

The best place to be saved from the nothingness of this realm is the very place that the world is afraid of the most.   For only when we admit that we cannot find our Self or know our Being in our roles, in our passions, in our likes and dislikes, in our friends and enemies, in our flesh and in our bloodlines, in what we are doing or where we are going or how we look or what we are looking for in the world, can we see past all that would obscure the Self within.

This is where our salvation lies. It is the laying down of the ego and all of the concepts that would make and maintain the fragile, faulty, false self-image of the world.  The world’s first response to such a state is to panic, to find a therapist, to take to drinking, to leave your spouse and take up with someone half your age, to start a war, to go back to school, to get a new degree to add to your collection.  If it is your child who does not find meaning in the world, you will do your best to keep them engaged in the world, get them into sports, find them a musical instrument to master, put them on meds, find them a new tutor, or remind them to be grateful for their sustenance and all the sacrifices others make for them.  The world fears those who go within, for they do nothing for the status quo, they cannot be tempted by the world’s charms, they raise to question and to doubt all assumptions that cannot stand the light.

But have no fear!  This is where our salvation is born. This is where our Sonship is remembered.  This is where our everlasting Self reasserts Itself within our consciousness and is reborn. 

Read over this passage carefully and prayerfully and ask Holy Spirit to teach you the difference between the self-concept and the Self.  Spend as much time as it takes with this passage.  Do not worry about the syllabus! This is a particularly beneficial use of our time in this study. We will never lose our place in the Kingdom of God. All that stands between is merely a matter of awakening to that which never left us and has always been within.     

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision v. self-concept versus self. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 IV The Real Alternative

1. There is a tendency to think the world can offer consolation and escape from problems that its purpose is to keep. Why should this be? Because it is a place where choice among illusions seems to be the only choice. And you are in control of outcomes of your choosing. Thus you think, within the narrow band from birth to death, a little time is given you to use for you alone; a time when everyone conflicts with you, but you can choose which road will lead you out of conflict and away from difficulties that concern you not. Yet they are your concern. How, then, can you escape from them by leaving them behind? What must go with you, you will take with you whatever road you choose to walk along.

2. Real choice is no illusion. But the world has none to offer. All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness, and death. There is no choice in its alternatives. Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped. Be not deceived by all the different names its roads are given. They have but one end. And each is but the means to gain that end, for it is here that all its roads will lead, however differently they seem to start; however differently they seem to go. Their end is certain, for there is no choice among them. All of them will lead to death. On some you travel gaily for a while before the bleakness enters. And on some the thorns are felt at once. The choice is not what will the ending be, but when it comes.

3. There is no choice where every end is sure. Perhaps you would prefer to try them all before you really learn they are but one. The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another. Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point and go beyond it. It is true indeed there is no choice at all within the world. But this is not the lesson in itself. The lesson has a purpose, and in this you come to understand what it is for.

4. Why would you seek to try another road, another person or another place, when you have learned the way the lesson starts, but do not yet perceive what it is for? Its purpose is the answer to the search that all must undertake who still believe there is another answer to be found. Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world. But do not judge the lesson that is but begun with this. Seek not another signpost in the world that seems to point to still another road. No longer look for hope where there is none. Make fast your learning now and understand you but waste time unless you go beyond what you have learned to what is yet to learn. For from this lowest point will learning lead to heights of happiness, in which you see the purpose of the lesson shining clear, and perfectly within your learning grasp.

5. Who would be willing to be turned away from all the roadways of the world unless he understood their real futility? Is it not needful that he should begin with this, to seek another way instead? For while he sees a choice where there is none, what power of decision can he use? The great release of power must begin with learning where it really has a use. And what decision has power if it be applied in situations without choice?

6. The learning that the world can offer but one choice, no matter what its form may be, is the beginning of acceptance that there is a real alternative instead. To fight against this step is to defeat your purpose here. You did not come to learn to find a road the world does not contain. The search for different pathways in the world is but the search for different forms of truth. And this would keep the truth from being reached.

7. Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense and cannot be the way. To you who seem to find this course to be too difficult to learn, let me repeat that to achieve a goal you must proceed in its direction, not away from it. And every road that leads the other way will not advance the purpose to be found. If this be difficult to understand, then is this course impossible to learn. But only then. For otherwise, it is a simple teaching in the obvious.

8. There is a choice that you have power to make when you have seen the real alternatives. Until that point is reached you have no choice, and you can but decide how you would choose the better to deceive yourself again. This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. All choices in the world depend on this; you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when all the lesson’s purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost, and what he gains is what is given you.

9. He has not left His Thoughts! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love. No pathway in the world can lead to Him, nor any worldly goal be one with His. What road in all the world will lead within, when every road was made to separate the journey from the purpose it must have unless it be but futile wandering? All roads that lead away from what you are will lead you to confusion and despair. Yet has He never left His Thoughts to die, without their Source forever in themselves.

10. He has not left His Thoughts! He could no more depart from them than they could keep Him out. In unity with Him do they abide, and in their oneness Both are kept complete. There is no road that leads away from Him. A journey from yourself does not exist. How foolish and insane it is to think that there could be a road with such an aim! Where could it go? And how could you be made to travel on it, walking there without your own reality at one with you?

11. Forgive yourself your madness and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. They have no meaning. You cannot escape from what you are. For God is merciful and did not let His Son abandon Him. For what He is be thankful, for in that is your escape from madness and from death. Nowhere but where He is can you be found. There is no path that does not lead to Him. [1]

Let us rest assured that all paths lead us to God. The world has many paths – some seem benign and others malignant, some lead to riches and others poverty, some lead to a sense of happiness, fun, and belonging while others lead to sorrow, hardship, and isolation.  When we work hard, make wise decisions about our money, maintain our health, do our best to get along with our neighbors, family, and have a considerable amount of good luck – things may seem to work out for us in the world. Our relationships stable, our bank accounts fat, our health and our wealth and our well-being, check, check, check, and then what? It is a dead end. No matter how honest you are in your business dealings, no matter how faithful you are to your spouse, no matter how decent and upright and regular you are at attending mass, singing in the choir, and paying your tithes – you are upholding a kingdom that will die, you are walking a path that leads to a dead end, a path whose promises always fail.  No matter how well you present your humanity, no matter how hard you work, no matter how many temptations you do not fall for – you and yours will succumb.    

Many people die in this state of bewilderment and dismay. They cannot bear the truth about the world’s lies. It is too hard for them. But Jesus says that death is not our escape. We must all come to the bottom of the world.  Because only at the bottom of the world is the real Alternative to be found.  The world and its “choices,” its array of religions, philosophies, passions, and lifestyles, all its devils and all its gods, its sinners and saints, its realm of good and evil, offers no real alternatives.  This is what we come here to find – we are not to lose heart over this fact, let it not be sad nor take it to heart. Let us not bemoan how long it took us to learn – it is the purpose of the world for us to seek and to not find. To come to the bottom of the world then is our release, it is our salvation, it is our awakening. For only at the bottom of the world do we find our guarantee that all paths lead to God – eventually! 

For what do we do when we find that all that we have pinned our hopes for in the world leads to disappointment, dismay, and death?  We turn from the world to that which lies beyond.  But first we must reach the end of the world.

Do not begrudge others for their contentment in the world. Do not scold them, preach at them, or give them lectures on how they should behave themselves.  They are here to find the bottom of the world. Let them experience this for themselves – for this is vital to what we came here to learn. We have one guarantee from the world: It is bound to disappoint because it goes nowhere and cannot bring happiness.  And we were created for happiness, happiness is what we are as Sons of God.

Jesus tells us quite plainly in this section that all roads that lead us away from what we are lead to confusion and despair. The world gives us legions of choices, each one predicated upon the practice of what I take from you is your loss and my gain; what I give to you is my loss and your gain, and so we maintain this artificiality between us, this cycle of giving and getting, gaining and losing, never expanding, but cycling round and round in attention-seeking, greed, mistrust and suspicion. 

This is not Sonship for Sonship is oneness and the realization and practice of: I give to receive, and I receive to give.  This is truth, there is nothing artificial about it. My happiness is predicated upon your happiness. There is no Heaven for me without you in it. There is no gain for me unless you are beside me, joined with me, one with me. 

We are not here to change the world, to attack it and make it behave properly, to declare war on the rich and make them support the poor, or to attack the poor and make them serve the rich. The world is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.  It is not kind. Red in tooth and claw, we are not here to saw off the world’s fangs and amputate its talons.  We are not here to try to make it play nice. We are in the world to get past the world. To get to the real Alternative.

We find ourselves in God. And God is within us, as part of us, as one with us. There is no escape from what we are! Today forgive yourself for the lives you spent chasing after the world’s promise, seeking a road that does not exist in the world to bring you Home to who you are and ever will be.  Encourage others to forgive themselves their madness. Proving ourselves apart from God is the same as proving ourselves apart from each other. Once we come to understand and accept this, we begin our practice of Sonship in earnest. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision iv. the real alternative. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 III The Self-Accused

1. Only the self-accused condemn. As you prepare to make a choice that will result in different outcomes, there is first one thing that must be overlearned. It must become a habit of response so typical of everything you do that it becomes your first response to all temptation, and to every situation that occurs. Learn this, and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize. You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours, and therefore meriting a “just” attack.

2. Why should his sins be sins, if you did not believe they could not be forgiven in you? Why are they real in him if you did not believe that they are your reality? And why do you attack them everywhere except you hate yourself? Are you a sin? You answer “yes” whenever you attack, for by attack do you assert that you are guilty and must give as you deserve. And what can you deserve but what you are? If you did not believe that you deserved attack, it never would occur to you to give attack to anyone at all. Why should you? What would be the gain to you? What could the outcome be that you would want? And how could murder bring you benefit?

3. Sins are in bodies. They are not perceived in minds. They are not seen as purposes, but actions. Bodies act, and minds do not. And therefore must the body be at fault for what it does. It is not seen to be a passive thing, obeying your commands, and doing nothing of itself at all. If you are sin you are a body, for the mind acts not. And purpose must be in the body, not the mind. The body must act on its own and motivate itself. If you are sin you lock the mind within the body, and you give its purpose to its prison house, which acts instead of it. A jailer does not follow orders but enforces orders on the prisoner.

4. Yet is the body prisoner, and not the mind. The body thinks no thoughts. It has no power to learn, to pardon, nor enslave. It gives no orders that the mind need serve, nor sets conditions that it must obey. It holds in prison but the willing mind that would abide in it. It sickens at the bidding of the mind that would become its prisoner. And it grows old and dies because that mind is sick within itself. Learning is all that causes change. And so the body, where no learning can occur, could never change unless the mind preferred the body change in its appearances, to suit the purpose given by the mind. For mind can learn, and there is all change made.

5. The mind that thinks it is a sin has but one purpose, that the body be the source of sin, to keep it in the prison house it chose and guards and holds itself at bay, a sleeping prisoner to the snarling dogs of hate and evil, sickness and attack, of pain and age, of grief and suffering. Here are the thoughts of sacrifice preserved, for here guilt rules and orders that the world be like itself; a place where nothing can find mercy, nor survive the ravages of fear except in murder and in death. For here are you made sin, and sin cannot abide the joyous and the free, for they are enemies which sin must kill. In death is sin preserved and those who think that they are sin must die for what they think they are.

6. Let us be glad that you will see what you believe and that it has been given you to change what you believe. The body will but follow. It can never lead you where you would not be. It does not guard your sleep, nor interfere with your awakening. Release your body from imprisonment, and you will see no one as prisoner to what you have escaped. You will not want to hold in guilt your chosen enemies, nor keep in chains, to the illusion of a changing love, the ones you think are friends.

7. The innocent release in gratitude for their release. And what they see upholds their freedom from imprisonment and death. Open your mind to change, and there will be no ancient penalty exacted from your brother or yourself. For God has said there is no sacrifice that can be asked; there is no sacrifice that can be made. [1]

There is a term in psychology called “overlearn.” To overlearn something is to go beyond proficiency, to continue to practice this and go over it and apply it on a moment-to-moment basis if necessary.  Jesus asks us to overlearn this principle – That the innocent release others from guilt. The innocent do not attack. The innocent do not project. Because of my innocence, you cannot be guilty.  You may make mistakes. You may say and do things that hurt my feelings or even jeopardize the peace and well-being of all whom I love, but I will not make you guilty for in my innocence I can only share innocence, I can only share blanket forgiveness, I can only see you as a mutual Son of God who has mistakenly accepted a false identity.

Let me suggest that you go over this section carefully and prayerfully and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate its meaning to you.  Upon my first reading of it I was confused because it seemed as if this particular section contradicted what we have learned before about the body and the mind. It was not until I read it over several times in depth with no hurry or reliance upon my own intellect that the meaning of this passage became apparent.

In paragraphs one through three Jesus asks us to contemplate the meaning of attack and come to not only understand and accept but to overlearn the concept of the first sentence: Only the self-accused condemn.  To come to know this and to understand the underlying principles of this is to practice seeing, knowing, and recognizing this in every person, encounter, and circumstance of our daily walks.  If condemnation rises in me toward my husband, sister, brother, son, friend, or social figures of any kind, I have secret, hidden self-hatred that needs to be brought to holiness, that needs to be brought to the light, forgiven, and healed. Even my resentment toward my chickens for not producing eggs can be an indication to me that I accuse myself for not having been the productive, dependable contributor that I am called to be! My judgment against a cousin who says terrible things about her daughter and blames others for her own failure to take the upper hand and correct situations that were easily correctable is an indication to me that I know the inconsolable sorrow that comes from making unkind pronouncements upon my own daughters.  To see someone else engaging in this is a call for correction, not condemnation.   It is a call to deeper commitment to bring that sadness to the inner altar, to accept forgiveness, to be healed and corrected.

When we are tempted to condemn a certain behavior, failure, an appearance, a habit in another, holiness impels us to reinterpret the temptation as a call to go within. It is not a call to make a big stink, to point out the mistakes of others, to build cases and take sides, to blame and condemn – it is a call to heal and to correct, to join and not to separate. We cannot learn on our own. The very ones who tempt us to condemn are merely showing us that we have not accepted our own innocence, that we have not healed, that we have something especially important to learn from this encounter. This is a wonderful way to root out all the hidden and secret attachment to guilt and shame in our own mind as well as give us helpful insight into the mind of others. It is a call for mutual healing then.

When I can not only speak of, but live and teach by example, the power of forgiveness, the nothingness of the past, the unholiness of blame and shame and guilting another for my own failures with those who are still failing to accept their own innocence, what was designed to be an instrument of destruction and division becomes an instrument of holiness and healing.  We must overlearn this instrumentation because otherwise we are pawns of the flesh. In the flesh, we see each other as separate, as possible friends or enemies, but never as one with us.  We trap one another in separateness – you are your body over there separate from me. It is quite apparent to me what you are doing with that body of yours, but it is not apparent to me what I am doing until you show me.  You are my mirror; you reflect me to me.  So when I get angry over your immodesty, your gossipy ways, your idolatry, the ways in which you enjoy toying with others and being rude– and see it as a call to condemn, I am not being an instrument of holiness. I am going to build a case against you. I am going to stay clear of you. I am going to be afraid of you and your mean games and your spiteful ways.

I can only condemn you if I think of myself as a sin. Jesus asks us throughout our study to know ourselves as He knows Himself – as Son of God. As long as we think of ourselves as miserable sinners we relegate ourselves to pathetic little flesh-mongers who, created by a lesser god made us imperfect and unworthy so that we would be grateful, wheedling servants to it forever.  As we accept Sonship from our Loving Father, this changes all our wrongful concepts of who and what we are.  We are brothers who made a mistake and having been given the opportunity to practice our mistakes in a realm that opposes the everlasting love of Sonship, all of us will eventually conclude that God’s Love is the Truth, the Life, the Way.  The ancient ways are a thing of the past!  There are no penalties for all that happens in separation disappears when we return to Love. In Love there is no separation, there is no condemnation, there is no punishment, no sacrifice, and nobody and no thing is ever lost or left behind. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision iii. the self-accused. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM Chapter 31 The New Beginning II Walking With Christ

ACIM CHAPTER 31 II Walking With Christ

1. An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known nor fought against to lose to truth’s appeal. There is no battle that must be prepared; no time to be expended and no plans that need to be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?

2. Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards, the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish you set two choices to be made, each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both, before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made, that this might be obscured to you.

3. What you would choose between is not a choice, and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.

4. Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader’s role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.

5. And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice, because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other and you join with him and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you, because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.

6. Before you answer, pause to think of this:

The answer that I give my brother is what I am asking for. And what I learn of him is what I learn about myself.

Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard, remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.

7. Because he is your equal in God’s Love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers, and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only son.

8. Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.

9. Forgive your brother all appearances, that are but ancient lessons you have taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Here but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.

10. An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for, will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want and needs the same as you. It takes, perhaps, a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive for you have come with but one purpose; that you learn you love your brother with a brother’s love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself in truth.

11. Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is one who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and shortness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He who travels with you has the light. [1]

To walk with Christ we must learn to relate to the Christ in others. We do not have to look far and wide for others like us and draw them to us, shunning our family, friends, and neighbors because they do not have Christ in them.  We do not have to get our family members on board with our line of thinking, our church doctrines, or our spiritual practices. We simply relinquish all that would blind us and tempt us to disregard the appearances and forms that obscure the light of Christ within us all. 

Nobody is closer to the truth. Nobody loves Jesus more. Nobody is going to fly away with Jesus and live forever – happily enjoying the pleasantness of God while the rest of us burn.  These concepts of God and salvation are ancient lessons that divide and separate Creation and do nothing to restore our minds to Sonship.  To believe and promote these ancient lessons is to keep the perceptual world going – the cycles of birth and death, of limits, of your loss is my gain and your gain is my loss. When we worship a god who would turn upon its own creation, we worship a god made after our own image.  We give our allegiance to illusory powers made real through our belief and practice. 

To live in such a state of being makes us uncertain and afraid. Our yearning for righteousness is met by the unrighteous. Our yearning for communication, communion, and unity goes woefully unfulfilled by those who reject our gestures of friendship and sneer at the concept of Christ.  We exist in this state of confusion and bewilderment – sometimes up and sometimes down, sometime ahead and sometimes behind – but rarely if ever side by side. 

Jesus instructs us today to walk with Christ.  Walking with Christ does not put us ahead of our brothers, there is no “us and them” in Christ, there are no specials or pets or elite in God’s Kingdom – the Sonship is a joint inheritance.  Let the Christ in you find Christ in the one next to you, forgiving all that would obscure the light that leads the way. In our personal application practice this with joy. See every opportunity to see all slights and slurs, ignorant responses, and dim-witted retorts as a means to practice miracles.  Do not allow the mean-spirited rejoinders of others to obscure the light of Christ.  For the Christ within you has the Light and it is shared by all.     

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision ii. walking with Christ. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 31 THE FINAL VISION I. The Simplicity of Salvation

ACIM CHAPTER 31 I. The Simplicity of Salvation

1. How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred and can have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is false can not be true, and what is true can not be false. You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other, and just what to do if you become confused. Why, then, do you persist in learning not such simple things?

2. There is a reason. But confuse it not with difficulty in the simple things salvation asks you learn. It teaches but the very obvious. It merely goes from one apparent lesson to the next, in easy steps that lead you gently from one to another, with no strain at all. This cannot be confusing, yet you are confused. For somehow you believe that what is totally confused is easier to learn and understand. What you have taught yourself is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible. But you accomplished it because you wanted to and did not pause in diligence to judge it hard to learn or too complex to grasp.

3. No one who understands what you have learned, how carefully you learned it, and the pains to which you went to practice and repeat the lessons endlessly, in every form you could conceive of them, could ever doubt the power of your learning skill. There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by it and even now depends on nothing else. The lessons you have taught yourself have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you, and even you are someone else.

4. Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy? Yet you have learned more than this. You have continued, taking every step, however difficult, without complaint, until a world was built that suited you. And every lesson that makes up the world arises from the first accomplishment of learning; an enormity so great the Holy Spirit’s Voice seems small and still before its magnitude. The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten, and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourself the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you!

5. Learning is an ability you made and gave yourself. It was not made to do the Will of God, but to uphold a wish that it could be opposed, and that a will apart from it was yet more real than it. And this has learning sought to demonstrate, and you have learned what it was made to teach. Now does your ancient overlearning stand implacable before the Voice of truth and teach you that Its lessons are not true; too hard to learn, too difficult to see, and too opposed to what is really true. Yet you will learn them, for their learning is the only purpose for your learning skill the Holy Spirit sees in all the world. His simple lessons in forgiveness have a power mightier than yours because they call from God and from your Self to you.

6. Is this a little Voice, so small and still It cannot rise above the senseless noise of sounds that have no meaning? God willed not His Son forget Him. And the power of His Will is in the Voice That speaks for Him. Which lesson will you learn? What outcome is inevitable, sure as God, and far beyond all doubt and question? Can it be your little learning, strange in outcome and incredible in difficulty will withstand the simple lessons being taught to you in every moment of each day, since time began, and learning had been made?

7. The lessons to be learned are only two. Each has its outcome in a different world. And each world follows surely from its source. The certain outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety you can make that ever will succeed. There is no joy that you can seek for here and hope to find. Yet this is not the only outcome which your learning can produce. However, much you may have overlearned your chosen task, the lesson that reflects the Love of God is stronger still. And you will learn God’s Son is innocent and see another world.

8. The outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft eternal calling of each part of God’s creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.

9. There is no living thing that does not share the universal Will that it be whole, and that you do not leave its call unheard. Without your answer is it left to die, as it is saved from death when you have heard its calling as the ancient call to life and understood that it is but your own. The Christ in you remembers God with all the certainty with which He knows His Love. But only if His Son is innocent can He be Love. For God were fear indeed if he whom He created innocent could be a slave to guilt. God’s perfect Son remembers his creation. But in guilt he has forgotten what he really is.

10. The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God’s Love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world. You do not understand Who calls to you beyond each form of hate; each call to war. Yet you will recognize Him as you gave Him answer in the language that He calls. He will appear when you have answered Him, and you will know in Him that God is Love.

11. What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn, and have an outcome that you do not want? It is the recognition that it is a state of mind unwanted that becomes the means whereby the choice is reassessed, another outcome seen to be preferred. You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. Hear not the call for this within yourself. But listen, rather, to the deeper call beyond it that appeals for peace and joy. And all the world will give you joy and peace. For as you hear, you answer. And behold! Your answer is the proof of what you learned. Its outcome is the world you look upon.

12. Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.

13. Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him without the past that sentenced him to die and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free because an ancient learning passed away and left a place for truth to be reborn. [1]

In this world, we learn two lessons – one of appearances of guilt and one of faith and trust in our innocence as Sons of God. The lesson of guilt keeps us trapped in a realm of separation and thoughts of sin, pain, loss, and death – the lessons of innocence lead to our salvation, our return to love between the Sonship and to God. 

In your personal devotions today pay particular attention to paragraphs 12 and 13.  When we make a decision to forget the lessons of guilt, grudges, and separation, to forget the lessons that lead to death and despair, to forget the deceptions and delusions – all that is left is our innocence.  Your innocence and mine. For if you are innocent so am I; we are one.

While this is a simple concept to practice and understand we make it difficult for ourselves by stubbornly and willfully defending the cause of conflict, hatred, and fear by insisting that our judgments against our brothers, against the events and circumstances in the world are true, upright, moral, and just.  We cling to our small-minded, low-minded version of things based upon our small, low, extremely limited perceptions and call it truth, call it holy, call it intelligence and righteousness. To disengage from the constant judgment between good and evil seems a sacrifice that costs too much, that takes too much away from us.  But until we honestly face the fact that we can know nothing in our flesh and blood forms, that we have spent a lot of time learning about a world that has no basis in reality, that is always in a state of change and instability, that ends in decay and death can we reach for the Christ within and let the world be born again as it was created in love, in innocence, in truth. 

I will not let my personal commentary belabor the finer points of this section for salvation is simple.  Let us not make it difficult but rather simply accept the freedom from judgment that salvation brings. Let everything be reborn – hold Creation not captive in the judgments that you make upon it. When we accept Christ, the outer world loses its hold upon us and when the outer world’s hold is loosened for us, we are in a position to loosen it for others. Otherwise miracles will not flow through us because we cherish our grudges, our condemnations, our petty likes and dislikes more than we treasure our real and holy Selves.

When we can only be touched by the Christ in each other and see all else as an opportunity for healing and an occasion for help offered or accepted, we have learned the lessons of Sonship, we have fully accepted the function of Christ and the divinity of Christ as our true Self.  To recognize that there is absolutely no other worthy function is to recognize the God in us and become a place for truth to be reborn.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The final vision i the simplicity of salvation. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 VIII Changeless Reality

1. Appearances deceive but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearances you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form, and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real, and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.

2. The miracle is means to demonstrate that all appearances can change because they are appearances and cannot have the changelessness reality entails. The miracle attests salvation from appearances by showing they can change. Your brother has a changelessness in him beyond appearance and deception, both. It is obscured by changing views of him that you perceive as his reality. The happy dream about him takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed. This demonstrates that it was never real and could not stem from his reality. For that is changeless and has no effects that anything in Heaven or on earth could ever alter. But appearances are shown to be unreal because they change.

3. What is temptation but a wish to make illusions real? It does not seem to be the wish that no reality be so. Yet it is an assertion that some forms of idols have a powerful appeal that makes them harder to resist than those you would not want to have reality. Temptation, then, is nothing more than this: a prayer the miracle touch not some dreams but keep their unreality obscure and give to them reality instead. And Heaven gives no answer to the prayer, nor can a miracle be given you to heal appearances you do not like. You have established limits. What you ask is given you, but not of God Who knows no limits. You have limited yourself.

4. Reality is changeless. Miracles but show what you have interposed between reality and your awareness is unreal and does not interfere at all. The cost of the belief there must be some appearances beyond the hope of change is that the miracle cannot come forth from you consistently. For you have asked it be withheld from power to heal all dreams. There is no miracle you cannot have when you desire healing. But there is no miracle that can be given you unless you want it. Choose what you would heal, and He Who gives all miracles has not been given freedom to bestow His gifts upon God’s Son. When he is tempted, he denies reality. And he becomes the willing slave of what he chose instead.

5. Because reality is changeless is a miracle already there to heal all things that change and offer them to you to see in happy form, devoid of fear. It will be given you to look upon your brother thus. But not while you would have it otherwise in some respects. For this but means you would not have him healed and whole. The Christ in him is perfect. Is it this that you would look upon? Then let there be no dreams about him that you would prefer to seeing this. And you will see the Christ in him because you let Him come to you. And when He has appeared to you, you will be certain you are like Him, for He is the changeless in your brother and in you.

6. This will you look upon when you decide there is not one appearance you would hold in place of what your brother really is. Let no temptation to prefer a dream allow uncertainty to enter here. Be not made guilty and afraid when you are tempted by a dream of what he is. But do not give it power to replace the changeless in him in your sight of him. There is no false appearance but will fade if you request a miracle instead. There is no pain from which he is not free if you would have him be but what he is. Why should you fear to see the Christ in him? You but behold yourself in what you see. As he is healed are you made free of guilt, for his appearance is your own to you. [1]

Miracles heal our perception. When I can see past all your humanity to the Son of God within you, I will see you only in happiness and joy. I will no longer see the things about you that annoy or irritate me; I will not remember all your past wrongdoing and ruminate upon it in my mind. Because the miracle sweeps away all temptation I would have to make you over in the image of what I want you to be to me, now I see you as the Christ you are. Now I can look on you with only thoughts of healing and wholeness. Now I hold nothing back from you, worried that you may get ahead of me, that your light may shine brighter, that my light may grow dim.  All the fears and concerns that I would be tempted to have about you, the miracle washes away for they were fears and concerns based upon appearances and not the reality of you.

As we practice these concepts in our daily life with the people, circumstances, and events that provide daily grist for the mill, we will recognize how seemingly impossible these are to apply in the flesh. For in the flesh, appearances are all we have!  It is impossible for me to see past the ways you let me down, fail to live up to my expectations, and leave a trail of detritus behind you unless I ask for the miracle.  And unless I ask for the miracle, I would keep you unhealed and unholy, separated from me, punished for your imperfection for without the miracle I cannot see the perfect Christ in you, nor could you ever see it in me! 

This is the time for decision in our lives.  We make the choice to see the Christ in each other and nothing else.  We will have hundreds if not thousands of times each day to make this choice until we make it without decision, until the miracle becomes natural to us through our devotion and commitment to Christ and to each other. 

Christ is the changeless in us and Christ is past all appearances – every single one.  To choose whom we are going to see Christ in is not our function.  We see Christ in all, or we continue to defeat ourselves, to flop about in uncertainty, doubt, and inconsistent miracle working which only prolongs time and suffering, making our journey to God circuitous and torturous. 

Jesus instructs us not to judge who is worthy of Christ and who is not. Although we may still be tempted to mistake our dreams of the world and each other for reality, we are to give no power to any appearance of unholiness. Nothing can change the Son of God – not in Heaven nor in earth.  Appearances will deceive us only when we trust in them and give them the power of our belief.  And they will always change, thus proving their unreality. 

In our daily practice, we learn to look upon each other beyond appearances.  To do this we ask for the miracle. We go to Holy Spirit within, we ask our inner Christ to let us see past the perceptions we have of one another in the flesh – to hear beyond the whiny or argumentative tone, to see past the unjust and cruel, the tedious and boring, the idolatry we have with youth and beauty, the fear we have of aging and death.  Appearances are false for they change, and they fade, and when we ask for a miracle this becomes so immediately apparent to us so that we can see past all perception of form to the Christ within.

When I see you as Christ, I see Christ in me, for how I decide to look for and what I decide to see in you is how I decide to look for and what I decide to see in me. This is how we are healed. Jesus instructs us not to look for healing outside of this miracle practice, for if we do, our healing will fade, the drugs will fail us just as the hope we have in any illusion will never see us through for it is only when we reach for Christ within that true healing can occur. In Christ we find the joining that restores our sense of wholeness and well-being. 

Yesterday I found myself getting so worked up over what I saw as wrongful charges on my credit card bill.  I was dismayed over a subscription that had automatically been renewed and charged me for services I no longer need.  I was finding it particularly trying to think of a certain someone as Christ!  When I realized that these thoughts were bringing me low, I asked Holy Spirit to let me see Christ where no appearance of Christ seemed to be.  I asked James to pray with me, and almost immediately the troubled state of mind was replaced by one of peace. I spoke with kindness to all the people I dealt with on the phone. Each issue became an opportunity to practice what I teach.  It is much easier to instruct and encourage others to take each circumstance that comes up in their lives to Holy Spirit than to always remember to do it myself. 

Today ask Holy Spirit to help you see past all appearances.  Do not be afraid to see Christ in every encounter but look for Christ. For when we reach for Christ in each other, we reach Christ in ourselves, and we are healed.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning viii changeless reality. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 VII. The New Interpretation

1. Would God have left the meaning of the world to your interpretation? If He had, it has no meaning. For it cannot be that meaning changes constantly and yet is true. The Holy Spirit looks upon the world as with one purpose, changelessly established. And no situation can affect its aim but must be in accord with it. For only if its aim could change with every situation could each one be open to interpretation which is different every time you think of it. You add an element into the script you write for every minute in the day, and all that happens now means something else. You take away another element and every meaning shifts accordingly.

2. What do your scripts reflect except your plans for what the day should be? And thus you judge disaster and success, advance, retreat, and gain and loss. These judgments all are made according to the roles the script assigns. The fact they have no meaning in themselves is demonstrated by the ease with which these labels change with other judgments, made on different aspects of experience. And then, in looking back, you think you see another meaning in what went before. What have you really done, except to show there was no meaning there? But you assigned a meaning in the light of goals that change, with every meaning shifting as they change.

3. Only a constant purpose can endow events with stable meaning. But it must accord one meaning to them all. If they are given different meanings, it must be that they reflect but different purposes. And this is all the meaning that they have. Can this be meaning? Can confusion be what meaning means? Perception cannot be in constant flux and make allowance for stability of meaning anywhere. Fear is a judgment never justified. Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script and are afraid accordingly. But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself.

4. A common purpose is the only means whereby perception can be stabilized, and one interpretation given to the world and all experiences here. In this shared purpose is one judgment shared by everyone and everything you see. You do not have to judge for you have learned one meaning has been given everything, and you are glad to see it everywhere. It cannot change because you would perceive it everywhere, unchanged by circumstance. And so you offer it to all events and let them offer you stability.

5. Escape from judgment simply lies in this; all things have but one purpose, which you share with all the world. And nothing in the world can be opposed to it, for it belongs to everything, as it belongs to you. In single purpose is the end of all ideas of sacrifice, which must assume a different purpose for the one who gains and him who loses. There could be no thought of sacrifice apart from this idea. And it is this idea of different goals that makes perception shift and meaning change. In one united goal does this become impossible, for your agreement makes interpretation stabilize and last.

6. How can communication really be established while the symbols that are used mean different things? The Holy Spirit’s goal gives one interpretation, meaningful to you and to your brother. Thus can you communicate with him, and he with you. In symbols that you both can understand the sacrifice of meaning is undone. All sacrifice entails the loss of your ability to see relationships among events. And looked at separately they have no meaning. For there is no light by which they can be seen and understood. They have no purpose. And what they are for cannot be seen. In any thought of loss there is no meaning. No one has agreed with you on what it means. It is a part of a distorted script, which cannot be interpreted with meaning. It must be forever unintelligible. This is not communication. Your dark dreams are but the senseless, isolated scripts you write in sleep. Look not to separate dreams for meaning. Only dreams of pardon can be shared. They mean the same to both of you.

7. Do not interpret out of solitude, for what you see means nothing. It will shift in what it stands for, and you will believe the world is an uncertain place, in which you walk in danger and uncertainty. It is but your interpretations which are lacking in stability, for they are not in line with what you really are. This is a state so seemingly unsafe that fear must rise. Do not continue thus, my brother. We have one Interpreter. And through His use of symbols are we joined, so that they mean the same to all of us. Our common language lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them forgiveness has been given to us all, and thus we can communicate again. [1]

The meaning of the world is not up to us or to our separate and therefore little, meaningless judgments upon it.  To wake up one day and proclaim the world wonderful because the sun is shining and the coffee is rich and dark and delicious and all my family members are alive and thriving and wake up the next morning and proclaim the world a dark and dangerous place because a storm has destroyed our house, ravaged the crops, and swept my children away cancels out all meaning and judgments that I would make upon the world.  When we align our minds with the Holiness that is our true Self, there is one changeless purpose for the world.

We forgive the world for being the dream we dreamed in place of reality.  This is our only purpose and no situation can change this aim. Forgive it for everything it gives and then takes away. For only when we forgive the world, can we forgive ourselves and each other and join hands to return to the Father as one. 

When we give up our plans for the world and reconcile ourselves to forgiveness, we give up writing the scripts for what constitutes winning and losing, getting ahead or falling behind, becoming rich or growing poorer.  We stop competing and comparing, not because we are weak and afraid but because we understand that competing and comparing, judging, praising and condemning have no meaning in themselves.  What constitutes winning for me would be your loss. If I run ahead then you must be behind me but never beside me. If I judge you worthy today because I like the way you look and smell and behave yourself, I may judge you unworthy tomorrow when you fail to comb your hair, take a bath, and misbehave.  I will always judge you and everything else depending upon false assumptions and limited perception.  And as long as I do this, I assign meaning that changes, that cannot be trusted or depended upon. 

We find constant purpose in forgiveness for it is applicable and understood by everything and everybody. It gives consistent meaning with no differences between one event and another, no differences between people, place, or things.  There is no confusion about forgiveness – it simply wipes away any thought of wrongdoing, any reality in that which is not of God, any thought of punishment or guilt or shame.  Fear disappears in the face of forgiveness for fear cannot be a factor of forgiveness. When I forgive you for snubbing me and not returning my friendly gestures, I am consciously choosing to overwrite a fear-based script between us. I am taking any fear that I have of you and your power to hurt me and taking its meaning away.  I am practicing holiness and accepting our reality in Sonship when I no longer accept any hurt from you because I consciously and intelligently choose forgiveness.  I overlook your humanity, its envy and greed, its meanness and spite, and just forgive it because it no longer has any meaning to me.

When we adopt a devotion to forgiveness towards all people, events, and circumstances of the world, toward all our experiences here, we no longer judge each situation, event, and person separately – one meaning has been given to everything we encounter.  We are relieved of all that would necessitate our judgment, opinions, the side we would take of one against another.  Nothing can change our mind about forgiveness because it applies to everything and everybody. Whether someone endears themselves to us or betrays our trust – we forgive.   When we consciously choose forgiveness, we practice our way back to Love, and returning to Love returns us to God.  When we practice forgiveness with devotion and without change, we become changeless, stable, and unswerving.

Forgiveness is the universal language, it is the universal gift, it spells the end of all that would come between us.  Forgiveness means that we owe no debts, no sacrifice or punishment is due, nobody is left out or forsaken.  Forgiveness joins us and makes our goal the same. We no longer engage in separate goals that take us in thousands of different directions that go nowhere and accomplish nothing – joining in forgiveness as our goal returns our minds to peace and brotherhood – the new interpretation of the meaning of the world.

The goal of Holy Spirit is union, and we are united through communication. I cannot communicate with you when I judge you, but I can communicate with you when I forgive you and wash your slate clean from all my misperceptions about who and what you are to me. When I recognize you as one with me, all that I want for myself, I give to you. When I see events and circumstances that come up in the world through the eyes of forgiveness, I see the world as one with me. Instead of a mean-spirited place of darkness and death, my scripts about the world are forgiving ones that offer pardon, peace, and goodwill.  The world is no longer a battlefield but rather a place to practice compassion, gentleness, kindness, and goodness. 

Jesus tells us not to wheedle personal meaning out of the world for all that we see, hear, and feel will shift about so much that we will be in an ongoing state of uncertainty and fear. One day we will be up and others down; some days we will have vim and vigor, other days we will be weary and worn out. One day our friends will bring us joy; the next day we may find them irritating and overwhelming.  To depend upon our personal interpretations of the world, is to lose our true Identity in chaos and change.  To accept Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world we let go of all of our own interpretations, all of our reasons to push away and keep apart.

Today in your personal practice ask for the new interpretation of the world. Embrace Holy Spirit as your one Interpreter.  Forgive the forms of the world for they only symbolize the separated state of being which would obscure the Oneness and Wholeness of the Father and His Son. In devotion to the Sonship we choose the clean slate for only when you see me as having no spot and I see you the same can we communicate and become one. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning vii the new interpretation. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 THE NEW BEGINNING VI. The Justification for Forgiveness

1. Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests and is but natural. You are not asked to offer pardon where attack is due and would be justified. For that would mean that you forgive a sin by overlooking what is really there. This is not pardon. For it would assume that, by responding in a way which is not justified, your pardon will become the answer to attack that has been made. And thus is pardon inappropriate, by being granted where it is not due.

2. Pardon is always justified. It has a sure foundation. You do not forgive the unforgiveable, nor overlook a real attack that calls for punishment. Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. Instead, it merely asks that you respond appropriately to what is not real by not perceiving what has not occurred. If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack. But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed.

3. This understanding is the only change that lets the real world rise to take the place of dreams of terror. Fear cannot arise unless attack is justified, and if it had a real foundation pardon would have none. The real world is achieved when you perceive the basis of forgiveness is quite real and fully justified. While you regard it as a gift unwarranted, it must uphold the guilt you would “forgive.” Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons “sinners” sometimes but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives.

4. This is the false forgiveness which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive. And recognizing God is just, it seems impossible His pardon could be real. Thus is the fear of God the sure result of seeing pardon as unmerited. No one who sees himself as guilty can avoid the fear of God. But he is saved from this dilemma if he can forgive. The mind must think of its Creator as it looks upon itself. If you can see your brother merits pardon, you have learned forgiveness is your right as much as his. Nor will you think that God intends for you a fearful judgment that your brother does not merit. For it is the truth that you can merit neither more nor less than he.

5. Forgiveness recognized as merited will heal. It gives the miracle its strength to overlook illusions. This is how you learn that you must be forgiven too. There can be no appearance that can not be overlooked. For if there were, it would be necessary first there be some sin that stands beyond forgiveness. There would be an error that is more than a mistake; a special form of error that remains unchangeable, eternal, and beyond correction or escape There would be one mistake that had the power to undo creation, and to make a world that could replace it and destroy the Will of God. Only if this were possible could there be some appearances that could withstand the miracle, and not be healed by it.

6. There is no surer proof idolatry is what you wish than a belief there are some forms of sickness and of joylessness forgiveness cannot heal. This means that you prefer to keep some idols, and are not prepared, as yet, to let all idols go. And thus you think that some appearances are real and not appearances at all. Be not deceived about the meaning of a fixed belief that some appearances are harder to look past than others are. It always means you think forgiveness must be limited. And you have set a goal of partial pardon and a limited escape from guilt for you. What can this be except a false forgiveness of yourself, and everyone who seems apart from you?

7. It must be true the miracle can heal all forms of sickness, or it cannot heal. Its purpose cannot be to judge which forms are real, and which appearances are true. If one appearance must remain apart from healing, one illusion must be part of truth. And you could not escape all guilt, but only some of it. You must forgive God’s Son entirely. Or you will keep an image of yourself that is not whole and will remain afraid to look within and find escape from every idol there. Salvation rests on faith there cannot be some forms of guilt that you cannot forgive. And so there cannot be appearances that have replaced the truth about God’s Son.

8. Look on your brother with the willingness to see him as he is. And do not keep a part of him outside your willingness that he be healed. To heal is to make whole. And what is whole can have no missing parts that have been kept outside. Forgiveness rests on recognizing this and being glad there cannot be some forms of sickness which the miracle must lack the power to heal.

9.  God’s Son is perfect, or he cannot be God’s Son. Nor will you know him, if you think he does not merit the escape from guilt in all its consequences and its forms. There is no way to think of him but this if you would know the truth about yourself.

I thank you Father for Your perfect Son, and in his glory will I see my own.

Here is the joyful statement that there are no forms of evil that can overcome the Will of God; the glad acknowledgement that guilt has not succeeded by your wish to make illusions real. And what is this except a simple statement of the truth?

10. Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is His Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance? [1]

In today’s devotional text Jesus teaches us the justification for forgiveness – God is not wrong about His Son; we are as we are created.  What happens in the dream stays in the dream.  To awaken, we must first forgive all the bad plays and all the bad players in the dream.  To awaken we must fully accept that this is not reality, but some alternate form of creation that allowed us our illusions in place of truth.

God created us perfect, to be forever, to know who and what we are, and to have unlimited love, peace, joy, and freedom.  When I recognize God’s Son in you, I recognize God’s Son in me.  There are absolutely no forms of evil that can take God’s Son out of you and make you into something else.  If there were, then forgiveness would not be justified, and pardon would be impossible. But you are as God created you or you are nothing.  Nothing can change what God has made.  To see you as anything but God’s Son is to see the image, to make an idol, to believe your human form and your human foibles define you. 

Our only purpose in this realm is to forgive.  If we are born into the world, we chose an illusion over truth, we chose specialness and separateness, we thought that there was more than God. I wanted to be more than you and you wanted to be more than me.  Forgiveness is the key.  I forgive you striving to be more than me, and you forgive me for striving to be more than you. I forgive you for all your privileges, gifts, and status that I do not share. You forgive me for what you perceive are mine. I forgive you everything! For nothing you can do in this realm has any meaning when we awaken.  What happens in the dream stays in the dream and it is all gone when we come to our senses. 

Today I felt a grudge toward my friend Allene for something she had teased me about.  All day long the snide little comment she made replayed through my head and I could not seem to shake it.  I started to think that she was not my friend after all as I recalled other things she had said or failed to say throughout the course of our friendship.  But only when I see past all that to the holiness of Allene and recall all the fun times we have had together, all the trips we have taken together, the beautiful meals she has prepared for us, the twinkle in her eyes and the little spring in her steps when she walks through our door, can I see Christ in myself.  Jesus asks us to consciously choose to look beyond all that would blur or otherwise obscure the Christ within each one of us.  We are not to cherish these things but rather look at them honestly, judge them as having no reality or meaning, and then forgive them.  When we forgive each other, we awaken to bring forth the Holy Christ within each one of us.  We join hands. We come to the Father together and not apart. 

When I say: “I thank you Father for Your perfect Son. In Allene’s glory will I see my own,” I am freeing my mind from all that would obscure my love for her and her love for me. I am refusing to take the bait and let a cheap remark stand in the place of who and what she really is.

This is an example that can stand for all examples. When we realize the unreality of this realm, we forgive it all.  A little bit of teasing seems a small thing compared to murder, rape, robbery, and other calls to hate and take revenge, but as we read over the text today, we learn that wholeness can have no missing parts and forgiveness rests upon recognizing this and being glad that nothing can keep us apart from who and what we were created to Be.

Today in your personal devotional practice, go over the prayer that is found in paragraph nine. Meditate upon the words and think of those whom you harbor resentment, ill will, grief, and disappointment.  Find your glory in the ones you are called to forgive as you train your mind to be free of all that would stand between you and the Christ within.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning VI the justification for forgiveness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 V The Only Purpose

1. The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness. Fear is not its goal, for the escape from guilt becomes its aim. The value of forgiveness is perceived and takes the place of idols, which are sought no longer, for their “gifts” are not held dear. No rules are idly set, and no demands are made of anyone or anything to twist and fit into the dream of fear. Instead, there is a wish to understand all things created as they really are. And it is recognized that all things must be first forgiven, and then understood.

2. Here, it is thought that understanding is acquired by attack. There, it is clear that by attack is understanding lost. The folly of pursuing guilt as goal is fully recognized. And idols are not wanted there, for guilt is understood as the sole cause of pain in any form. No one is tempted by its vain appeal, for suffering and death have been perceived as things not wanted and not striven for. The possibility of freedom has been grasped and welcomed, and the means by which it can be gained can now be understood. The world becomes a place of hope because its only purpose is to be a place where hope of happiness can be fulfilled. And no one stands outside this hope, because the world has been united in belief the purpose of the world is one which all must share if hope be more than just a dream.

3. Not yet in Heaven quite remembered, for the purpose of forgiveness still remains. Yet everyone is certain he will go beyond forgiveness, and he but remains until it is made perfect in himself. He has no wish for anything but this. And fear has dropped away because he is united in his purpose with himself. There is a hope of happiness in him so sure and constant he can barely stay and wait a little longer, with his feet still touching earth. Yet is he glad to wait till every hand is joined, and every heart made ready to arise and go with him. For thus is he made ready for the step in which is all forgiveness left behind.

4. The final step is God’s, because it is but God Who could create a perfect Son and share His Fatherhood with him. No one outside of Heaven knows how this can be, for understanding this is Heaven itself. Even the real world has a purpose still beneath creation and eternity. But fear is gone because its purpose is forgiveness, not idolatry. And so is Heaven’s Son prepared to be himself, and to remember that the Son of God knows everything His Father understands and understands it perfectly with Him.

5. The real world still falls short of this, for this is God’s Own purpose; only His, and yet completely shared and perfectly fulfilled. The real world is a state in which the mind has learned how easily do idols go when they are still perceived but wanted not. How willingly the mind can let them go when it has understood that idols are nothing and nowhere and are purposeless. For only then can guilt and sin be seen without a purpose and as meaningless.

6. Thus is the real world’s purpose gently brought into awareness, to replace the goal of sin and guilt. And all that stood between your image of yourself and what you are, forgiveness washes joyfully away. Yet God need not create His Son again, that what is his be given back to him. The gap between your brother and yourself was never there. And what the Son of God knew in creation he must know again.

7. When brothers join in purpose in the world of fear, they stand already at the edge of the real world. Perhaps they still look back, and think they see an idol that they want. Yet has their path been surely set away from idols toward reality. For when they joined their hands it was Christ’s hand they took, and they will look on Him Whose hand they hold. The face of Christ is looked upon before the Father is remembered. For He must be unremembered till His Son has reached beyond forgiveness to the Love of God. Yet is the Love of Christ accepted first. And then will come the knowledge They are one.

8. How light and easy is the step across the narrow boundaries of the world of fear when you have recognized Whose hand you hold! Within your hand is everything you need to walk with perfect confidence away from fear forever, and to go straight on, and quickly reach the gate of Heaven itself. For He, Whose hand you hold was waiting but for you to join Him. Now that you have come, would He delay in showing you the way that He must walk with you? His blessing lies on you as surely as His Father’s Love rests upon Him. His gratitude to you is past your understanding for you have enabled Him to rise from chains and go with you, together, to His Father’s house.

9. An ancient hate is passing from the world. And with it goes all hatred and all fear. Look back no longer, for what lies ahead is all you ever wanted in your heart. Give up the world! But not to sacrifice. You never wanted it. What happiness have you sought here that did not bring you pain? What moment of content has not been bought at fearful price in coins of suffering? Joy has no cost. It is your sacred right and what you pay for is not happiness. Be speeded on your way by honesty and let not your experiences here deceive in retrospect. They were not free from bitter cost and joyless consequence.

10. Do not look back except in honesty. And when an idol tempts you, think of this:  There never was a time an idol brought you anything except the “gift” of guilt. Not one was bought except at cost of pain, nor was it ever paid by you alone.  Be merciful unto your brother, then. And do not choose an idol thoughtlessly, remembering that he will pay the cost as well as you. For he will be delayed when you look back, and you will not perceive Whose loving hand you hold. Look forward, then; in confidence walk with a happy heart that beats in hope and does not pound in fear.

11. The Will of God forever lies in those whose hands are joined. Until they joined, they thought He was their enemy. But when they joined and shared a purpose, they were free to learn their will is one. And thus the Will of God must reach to their awareness. Nor can they forget for long that it is but their own. [1]

We make a habit of our devotional meditations and prayers because our hearts yearn for meaning, for purpose, to know God, to know who and what we really are.  Today Jesus tells us that to attain the real world which is the state of mind which opens Heaven’s gate is to learn, embrace, and practice forgiveness.  Forgiveness sets us free from the fear we have toward each other, from the guilt we want to put upon each other, from the sad and sorrowful, mean and bullish attitudes and behaviors we exercise toward one another from pre-Kindergarten to our dying days. 

Jesus tells us that when forgiveness takes the place of idols in our lives, we are set free from holding others accountable for our happiness and unhappiness, for demanding that they follow rules and regulations, for practicing a code of ethics that is beyond their ability to grasp.  When I prayed and asked Holy Spirit to show me what these idols are I was shown how eagerly we point our fingers and blame people for the terrible things that go wrong in their lives.  We are witnesses to crimes against Creation every day and in thousands of separate ways.  We think it is perfectly sane to find the guilty culprit and to publicly denounce and punish them for all the ways they failed to be a decent, caring human being.  

Forgiveness toward humanity is a practice of the High Mind of Christ that understands the weakness of the flesh, which understands that a little chemical imbalance, a childhood deprived of love and nurturance, a chance encounter, a hungry belly, a longstanding grudge fueled by fear, suspicions, gossip, and slander is all it takes to turn a “decent, caring human being” into a dangerous killer.  Forgiveness strips our mind from any hallucinations that the world is a safe and happy place where only the undeserving are denied abundance, comforts, and pleasures.  Forgiveness washes away any trust we have developed in our idols – whether they be people, nature, our education, our careers, our political party, our religious institutions, our justice systems and government.  Forgiveness – the way that Jesus teaches it – is an ideal that does not belong in God’s Kingdom for there is nothing to forgive in a Kingdom of unity and love. 

However forgiveness is the only purpose of this world and to practice it consistently and with devotion, is the only way that we can reach the place of our return.  For as long as I am holding your human form accountable for my peace, my love, and joy, you will be on my friend list and my shit list.  I will say cordial things about you, and I will discuss your faults and failings.  Without forgiveness all our relationships are doomed to the difficulties that we have come to accept as normal in the world.  In the world, we discuss each other with vengeance, we tell stories about each other, we discuss personal details and make assumptions. While underneath all this yak there is a deep yearning to connect, to know, to understand – we are making an idol to stand in for the person, situation, or event we are making guilty. For we want them to suffer for what they did wrong, and we want to be the innocent party, the ones who did no wrong, who would not dream of sinking that deplorably low. 

In forgiveness we are not tempted by making guilty or causing pain.  Suffering and death are not the answer – they do nothing to correct and heal.  If I would whip you for all the ways you disappointed and shamed me, the disappointment and shame would only be increased, the distance between us would only become wider, and it would never be just between you and me.  Our friends and relatives would take sides and join in and soon we would have generations of people taking up arms against each other, dragging each other through the mud instead of having fun together and sharing good times! 

When our brother offends us, we must not look to the offense but what is beyond the offense.  His offense is a message to us.  If I come to your house and you treat me coldly and do not welcome me in, I can take offense and vow to never darken your doorstep again, but this only makes the gap and the fear we have toward each other wider and bleaker and full of meaningless, go-nowhere clutter.  Forgiveness compels us to reach for honest communication, forgiveness compels me then to ask you if I have offended you. Forgiveness compels me to let you off the hook, to know that you as a human could be having a dreadful day, you may be ashamed that you did not clean your house, you may have just had a fight with your spouse.  Forgiveness is a friendly gesture, a practice that moves us away from the pettiness, low-mindedness, and meanness that divided the Sonship of God. 

When you find your purpose in forgiveness and I find my purpose in forgiveness we stand for hope, and when we practice this gentle caring way of being, we do not preach it, we teach it.  When I saw my dear friend Hannah practicing gentle, loving, non-judgmental forgiveness, she did not have to tell me to be like her, I wanted to be like her.  Her kindness and love worked miracles not only in her patients but in those who observe her at work.

Our walks with God in the world are walks with each other. For the Sonship can only be the Sonship when we turn our backs upon our idols and learn to love and honor all of Creation. Forgiveness teaches us that there is no part of Creation more important or more worthy, less important or less worthy – we are one in Sonship and in Truth.  We cannot bring our separate selves to God; we can only bring Sonship for Sonship is the Christ, and Christ must be one. 

Today read over this text and see if you get the same message from it that I do.  God is our enemy until our hands are joined as one.  And we cannot join hands until we forgive each other our humanity – in whatever form it takes, in whatever image, in whatever idol would stand between us and our love.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning v. the only purpose. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 THE NEW BEGINNING IV. The Truth Behind Illusions

ACIM CHAPTER 30 IV. The Truth Behind Illusions

1. You will attack what does not satisfy, and thus you will not see you made it up. You always fight illusions. For the truth behind them is so lovely and so still in loving gentleness, were you aware of it you would forget defensiveness entirely, and rush to its embrace. The truth could never be attacked. And this you knew when you made idols. They were made that this might be forgotten. You attack but false ideas, and never truthful ones. All idols are the false ideas you made to fill the gap you think arose between yourself and what is true. And you attack them for the things you think they represent. What lies beyond them cannot be attacked.

2. The wearying, dissatisfying gods you made are blown-up children’s toys. A child is frightened when a wooden head springs up as a closed box is opened suddenly, or when a soft and silent woolly 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. And he is afraid because he thought the rules protected him. Now must he learn the boxes and the bears did not deceive him, broke no rules, nor mean his world is made chaotic and unsafe. He was mistaken. He misunderstood what made him safe and thought that it had left.

3. The gap that is not there is filled with toys in countless forms. And each one seems to break the rules you set for it. It never was the thing you thought. It must appear to break your rules for safety, since the rules were wrong. But you are not endangered. You can laugh at popping heads and squeaking toys, as does the child who learns they are no threat to him. Yet while he likes to play with them, he still perceives them as obeying rules he made for his enjoyment. So there still are rules that they can seem to break and frighten him. Yet is he at the mercy of his toys? And can they represent a threat to him?

4. Reality observes the laws of God, and not the rules you set. It is His laws that guarantee your safety. All illusions that you believe about yourself obey no laws. They seem to dance a little while, according to the rules you set for them. But then they fall and cannot rise again. They are but toys, my child, so do not grieve for them. Their dancing never brought you joy. But neither were they things to frighten you, nor make you safe if they obeyed your rules. They must be neither cherished nor attacked, but merely looked upon as children’s toys without a single meaning of their own. See one in them and you will see them all. See none in them and they will touch you not.

5. Appearances deceive because they are appearances and not reality. Dwell not on them in any form. They but obscure reality, and they bring fear because they hide truth. Do not attack what you have made to let you be deceived, for thus you prove that you have been deceived. Attack has power to make illusions real. Yet what it makes is nothing. Who could be made fearful by a power that can have no real effects at all? What could it be but an illusion, making things appear like to itself? Look calmly at its toys and understand that they are idols which but dance to vain desires. Give them not your worship, for they are not there. Yet this is equally forgotten in attack. God’s Son needs no defense against his dreams. His idols do not threaten him at all. His one mistake is that he thinks them real. What can the power of illusions do?

6. Appearances can but deceive the mind that wants to be deceived. And you can make a simple choice that will forever place you far beyond deception. You need not concern yourself with how this will be done, for this you cannot understand. But you will understand that mighty changes have been quickly brought about when you decide one very simple thing: you do not want whatever you believe an idol gives. For thus the Son of God declares that he is free of idols. And thus is he free.

7. Salvation is a paradox indeed! What could it be except a happy dream? It asks you but that you forgive all things that no one ever did; to overlook what is not there, and not to look upon the unreal as reality. You are but asked to let your will be done and seek no longer for the things you do not want. And you are asked to let yourself be free of all the dreams of what you never were and seek no more to substitute the strength of idle wishes for the Will of God.

8. Here does the dream of separation start to fade and disappear. For here the gap that is not there begins to be perceived without the toys of terror that you made. No more than this is asked. Be glad indeed salvation asks so little, not so much. It asks for nothing in reality. And even in illusions it but asks forgiveness be the substitute for fear. Such is the only rule for happy dreams. The gap is emptied of the toys of fear, and then its unreality is plain. Dreams are for nothing. And the Son of God can have no need of them. They offer him no single thing that he could ever want. He is delivered from illusions by his will, and but restored to what he is. What could God’s plan for his salvation be, except a means to give him to Himself? [1]

Salvation is the simple coming to Christ moment when we realize that the perceptual realm is the place where our minds experience the impossible; the things that simply cannot be; the place where the ever-loving come to mistrust each other and betray; the place where the ever well and lasting come to get sick and fade away; the place where Creation learns an opposite to What can never be opposed. 

We can only be happy in such a place when we think of it as a dream full of dream figures, circumstances, and events that would keep us in a state divided between the good and evil, the love and hate, the peace and war, the joy and the sorrow.  Bewildered, uncertain, and mistrustful, we can never find our reality in each other or in God for you are not you in the place of opposition and opposites and God is not God.  In such a state we make up crazy stories and substitute them for truth.  We try to find answers in a place where every bit of pleasantness is canceled out by all the grief that rises to take its place.  Attach ourselves to any little thing with the sure knowledge that our love and cherishment will turn to some form of boredom, sorrow, hatred, or hostility over time.  All that would make us smart ends up dumbing us down. All that would make us well, sickens us.  All that promises life ends up in the grave. 

Salvation then becomes a simple matter of remembering the truth of who we are.  As perfect Sons of God our dreams cannot defile or defeat us.  We are as we were created and ever will be.  When we begin to see the perceptual world as a toddler’s dream, as we become awake in a dream state of babies who have lost their way, who have made a world unfit for all who know their worth, who have never weaned themselves from frightful tales of terror and the crypt – we do what we must to reach for the truth behind the dream.  We forgive the mistaken world. We forgive its wars and senseless bloodshed; we forgive its rape and incest; we forgive its gods and devils; we forgive its broken promises, its loneliness, and despair. 

In reaching for the truth behind the illusion, we assert that on the other side of childish dreams of counterparts, of specialness, and having more is the light that never fades; the love that never fails; the joy that never turns to sorrow. Today we can make a simple choice that delivers us from all deception about the world.  Understanding will come only as we practice our devotion and commitment to the truth behind it all.  We take a stand against the dream and all it would offer us in place of the Reality of God. We do not want whatever we thought that it would offer us.  We do not want its fame or riches; we do not want its status or its so-called pleasures. We do not want anything from it at all.  We are through with idols and with all we thought that serving them would bring us.  And in our declaration of freedom, the Son of God is free.   

Our liberty begins where the dream of separation starts to fade and disappear.  Here is where the gap that comes between us is no longer filled with deceit, betrayals, mockery, and scorn.  In the space I see between us I no longer see weapons that would destroy me, shatter my peace, and steal my joy.  And soon my happy dream yields to reality and when I see you, I see myself and the Sonship which has no need for division and deceit.  Divisive dreams divide us and divided we are but wisps of vapor that come and go and leave but a bad or sad hint of waste and whatnot.

Today give up your dream of idols and be restored to your reality in Christ – the beautiful holy and created Son to Him Who gives us everything.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning iv the truth behind illusions. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 III Beyond Idols

1. Idols are quite specific. But your will is universal, being limitless. And so it has no form, nor is content for its expression in the terms of form. Idols are limited. They are the belief that there are forms that will bring happiness, and that, by limiting, is all attained. It is as if you said, “I have no need of everything. This little thing I want, and it will be as everything to me.” And this must fail to satisfy because it is your will that everything be yours. Decide for idols and you ask for loss. Decide for truth and everything is yours.

2. It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Father’s Love? What form can take the place of all the love in the Divinity of God the Son? What idol can make two of what is one? And can the limitless be limited? You do not want an idol. It is not your will to have one. It will not bestow on you the gift you seek. When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose. So you see your will within the idol, thus reducing it to a specific form. Yet this could never be your will, because what shares in all creation cannot be content with small ideas and little things.

3. Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete, can only mean that you believe some form is missing. And by finding this, you will achieve completion in a form you like. This is the purpose of an idol; that you will not look beyond it, to the source of the belief that you are incomplete. Only if you had sinned could this be so. For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.

4. It never is the idol that you want. But what you think it offers you, you want indeed and have the right to ask for. Nor could it be possible to be denied. Your will to be complete is but God’s Will, and this is given you by being His. God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms that have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms, made but to fill a gap that is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God. What idol can be called upon to give the Son of God what he already has?

5. Completion is the function of God’s Son. He has no need to seek for it at all. Beyond all idols stands his holy will to be but what he is. For more than whole is meaningless. If there were change in him, if he could be reduced to any form and limited to what is not in him, he would not be as God created him. What idol can he need to be himself? For can he give a part of him away? What is not whole cannot make whole. But what is really asked for cannot be denied. Your will is granted. Not in any form that would content you not, but in the whole completely lovely Thought God holds of you.

6. Nothing that God knows not exists. And what He knows exists forever, changelessly. For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them. And in the Mind of God there is no ending, nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change. Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind Which thought of you. And so there are no separate parts in what exists within God’s Mind. It is forever one, eternally united and at peace.

7. Thoughts seem to come and go. Yet all this means is that you are sometimes aware of them, and sometimes not. An unremembered thought is born again to you when it returns to your awareness. Yet it did not die when you forgot it. It was always there, but you were unaware of it. The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot.

8. The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its light grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.

9. Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky that holds it safe, forever lifted up and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time that keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know the star is there.

10. Beyond all idols is the Thought God holds of you. Completely unaffected by the turmoil and the terror of the world, the dreams of birth and death that here are dreamed, the myriad of forms that fear can take; quite undisturbed, the Thought God holds of you remains exactly as it always was. Surrounded by a stillness so complete no sound of battle comes remotely near, it rests in certainty and perfect peace. Here is your one reality kept safe completely unaware of all the world that worships idols, and that knows not God. In perfect sureness of its changelessness and of its rest in its eternal home, the Thought God holds of you has never left the Mind of its Creator, Whom it knows as its Creator knows that it is there.

11. Where could the Thought God holds of you exist but where you are? Is your reality a thing apart from you, and in a world which your reality knows nothing? Outside you there is no eternal sky, no changeless star and no reality. The mind of Heaven’s Son in Heaven is, for there the Mind of Father and of Son joined in creation which can have no end. You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one. An idol or the Thought God holds of you is your reality. Forget not, then, that idols must keep hidden what you are, not from the Mind of God, but from your own. The star shines still; the sky has never changed. But you, the holy Son of God Himself, are unaware of your reality. [1]

We come to our devotional practice because we want to know who and what we are. We have tried to find completion in the world of form, the world of birth and death cycles, the world of eating and drinking, the world of accumulating, the world that offers that which is good and that which is evil.  We have come to the end of the realm of idols, the idolatry and the idolatrous.  We want to know our Creator, our Father, the meaning and purpose beyond the realm of idols. 

When we try to find completion in this realm, we are looking to one little part of Creation and saying, “These few things will complete me. I will not be happy or settle down until I have a million dollars, until I am happily married, until I have a baby, until I own some land or write a best seller.” We all think that if we get this, we will be satisfied, that the hungry, yearning part of us that cannot be still or happy or at peace will finally calm down and settle in and be content with growing old and eventually dying, surrounded by all that we have accumulated and accomplished.  But when we decide for this, we ask for loss for we have continued asking for that which everyone else who has gone before us asked for.  To every generation, the idols seem more modern, shinier, newer, and grander, but they are the same repeating cycles of those who have gone before, trying to find completion and satisfaction outside ourselves, leaving us bankrupt, bewildered, confused, and empty in the end. We hand down traditions of this lie, pretending to some great wisdom, pretending that there is a point to all the years we seem to live before we die.  And we carry forward this realm where we live to please the outward eyes, the outward approval, the outward acceptance of a world that kills us off in the end.  Looking to idols to complete us, we find only depletion and death.   

Today Jesus tells us that we are already complete and forever.  There is no striving for God’s Love for this is a given.  He would not have created us to make us work and earn His Love and His devotion.  We do not have to jump through hoops of any kind. We do not have to perform rites and rituals that would cleanse us from the stains of sin in a world of form and fiction. We do not chase after idols that suck up our time, money, and effort and waste us in return.  In other words, we do not ask for what is already ours.  Only in a world of form, separated from the whole, could we feel a need of any kind.  There are no idols, no forms of any kind that could give us what we already have in Christ. To ask for idols is to ask God for what has no meaning to Him and therefore has no meaning at all. 

When the memory of our Sonship stirs within us, it is a call to awaken.  When you awaken, you do not have to shout and scream and be otherwise discourteous to those who still sleep content in their separate dreams of form and fiction. The desire to awaken others before you yourself are fully awakened is just another form of idolatry, of seeking without that which can only be found within. Today take time to go within to the Kingdom beyond idols, to your Holy Self that never lost its mind to dreams that would oppose the Love of God.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning iii beyond all idols. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 II. Freedom of Will

1. Do you not understand that to oppose the Holy Spirit is to oppose yourself?  He tells you but your will; He speaks for you. In His Divinity is but your own. And all He knows is but your knowledge, saved for you that you may do your will through Him. God asks you do your will. He joins with you. He did not set His Kingdom up alone. And Heaven itself but represents your will, where everything created is for you. No spark of life but was created with your glad consent, as you would have it be. And not one Thought that God as ever had but waited for your blessing to be born. God is no enemy to you. He asks no more than that He hear you call Him “Friend.”

2. How wonderful it is to do your will. For that is freedom. There is nothing else that ever should be called by freedom’s name. Unless you do your will you are not free. And would God leave His Son without what he has chosen for himself? God but ensured that you would never lose your will when He gave you His perfect Answer. Hear It now, that you may be reminded of His Love and learn your will. God would not have His Son made prisoner to what he does not want. He joins with you in willing you be free. And to oppose Him is to make a choice against yourself and choose that you be bound.

3. Look once again upon your enemy, the one you chose to hate instead of love. For thus was hatred born into the world, and thus the rule of fear established there. Now hear God speak to you, through Him Who is His Voice and yours as well, reminding you that it is not your will to hate and be a prisoner to fear, a slave to death, a little creature with a little life. Your will is boundless; it is not your will that it be bound. What lies in you has joined with God Himself in all creation’s birth. Remember Him Who has created you, and through your will created everything. Not one created thing but gives you thanks, for it is by your will that it was born. No light of Heaven shines except for you, for it was set in Heaven by your will.

4. What cause have you for anger in a world that merely waits your blessing to be free? If you be prisoner, then God Himself could not be free. For what is done to him whom God so loves is done to God Himself. Think not He wills to bind you. Who has made you co-creator of the universe along with Him. He would but keep your will forever and forever limitless. This world awaits the freedom you will give when you have recognized that you are free. But you will not forgive the world until you have forgiven Him Who gave your will to you. For it is by your will the world is given freedom. Nor can you be free apart from Him Whose holy Will you share.

5. God turns to you to ask the world be saved, for by your own salvation is it healed. And no one walks upon the earth but must depend on your decision, that he learn death has no power over him, because he shares your freedom as he shares your will. It is your will to heal him, and because you have decided with him, he is healed. And now is God forgiven, for you chose to look upon your brother as a friend. [1]

To oppose the quiet call for God within is to oppose our true and holy Self, for we are created in holiness, and we are created in Spirit, and we are Holy, and we are Spirit.  To oppose Holy Spirit then is to oppose our divine Selves and our divine knowledge and our divine love, peace, and everlasting joy.  God is not at a distance from us, holding us away from Him, keeping us at bay.  He is our Father and our Friend and what He does He does for us and with us and because of us.  When our consciousness expands past the traditional teachings of the fearful, angry, temperamental God and we come to know God as Father and Friend, we lose our fear of Him, we lose all our false images of Him, and we love Him with the love of sons for their fathers without any of the human perversions that would interfere and subvert that love and sense of gratitude and awe.

And so we should never make fun of our holiness or be ashamed of our holiness in the dream and otherwise, we should never confound others by making fun of their attempts to understand and enlighten themselves, for when we seek truth and holiness we are seeking life, freedom, and liberty. We may get it wrong, but we are seeking in the right direction.  When we seek for Truth, we are seeking freedom from the chemicals, drives, and bondage to flesh and blood and the devices that would make of us sad, little stooges upon the alter-self’s stage. For we recognize that this cannot be our true identity – this little self that struts and swears, that lifts itself up above others, that preys upon creation, that gossips and makes up stories, that sneers and judges and is only kind and good in spots, here and there.  We are reaching for divinity, for that Which is holy through and through; the Self whose goodness is not canceled out by that which would oppose it and make of it a void. 

While it takes devotion to remember our true and holy Being, our Holiness is there, It never left us, It is God’s perfect Answer there at the core of our Being whether we dream or awaken, for our Holiness is with us no matter where we find ourselves.  It does not take A Course in Miracles to hear God’s Voice within. It does not take reading your bible or any other holy text. We find our true Being when we go within and hear God’s Love for all, hear the Voice for God calling to us to free ourselves from enslavement to the whims of flesh and to return to our will, the Will of God, Who is Freedom and Liberty and the Expansiveness of All. 

It is not our will that we are little and afraid, vulnerable and sad, making enmity between ourselves.  Nor is it our will that we look upon one another with fear and loathing. Our will is God’s Will, without borders and boundaries. Who and What we are is joined with God in Creation, all that came into being was because of God’s Love and Will to please us, to give to us what is awesome and majestic, to give to us all that would fill our minds with joy and gratitude to Him, the All in All. 

As we remember our true state of Being, there is absolutely no reason for us to be angry or depressed about the state of the world. It is not worthy of us to slam the table in our rage over the politics, greed, and injustice that is designed to steal our joy and whet our appetites for hatred and division.  We are not here to fix the world, put a bandage on the world, and let it limp along forever in a hellish realm of opposites and opposition. Nor are we trapped here against our will, awaiting the Second Coming so we can fly away with Jesus and let the world burn. We are here to bless the world and set it free.

We set the world free by recognizing our own freedom in Him Who never bound us, Who never abandoned us, Who gave His Will to us.  It is by This Will that the world is saved, that the world gives up its opposites and opposition, that the world is given freedom from the ill will that has tried to steal Its place in our hearts and minds.    

We cannot do this on our own for we are not our own!  And to believe that we are, destines us for depression for no matter how hard we try to attain our godhood with our ego devices, with our flesh and blood, with our human strivings for justice and the ideals of righteousness, they are empty of all meaning without the One who Is all Meaning and all Truth. 

If you must forgive God for this, then forgive Him His sovereignty. Forgive Him your dream of opposites and opposition, forgive Him His established Will that will never make you special and of different worth and value than the rest of all Creation.  Forgive Him your dream of death and doom. 

It is up to you and me to save the world for the world cannot be saved without us.  Nothing and no one are ever abandoned or past the Love of God.  Death has no power over Life, for God and His Son are Life and They, together, give Life.  There are no opposites or opposition to what Is and Always Was.  To come to this truth, is to begin awakening from the elaborate deception that would stand in its place, countering its Truth.

Today take the time necessary to go over this text, asking Holy Spirit to bring it to life in your mind.  Forgive God for all the ways in which you feel He fails you in your dreams of death and sorrow.  Forgive God for all the loved ones who have abandoned you, disappointed you, or otherwise fill your heart with grief and regret.  When we forgive God for all that we see so easily correctable by a powerful Being, we realize how small and insignificant we are to demand from God to fix our little lives, our little dreams, our little pet peeves and different forms of enmity.  How easily we break our little dream vows and promises to Him for who are we to make such guarantees in our fleshiness and chanciness and all the things that constantly go wrong? 

When we forgive each other our small little lives, we forgive God for being so big and strong and not making us the superheroes we would want to be without Him. We forgive Him for not joining in our nightmare world and fixing all the things that go wrong within it. We forgive Him the crucifixion of His Son on the cross. This is not His dream for God exists in Reality; God enjoys His Being in Truth, in Love, in Life, in Joy, and Peace. There are no opposites in which to go to battle in the Kingdom of His Love.  And so we forgive Him for not making our enemy fall over dead in his tracks when he attacks us, and instead we make of our enemy our friend.  We join with him in our holy minds and realize that he is worthy as we are worthy. We realize that if we would make him unworthy, then we would be unworthy ourselves.  This is the way to God’s Kingdom. This is the wise use of time – we use it to heal our brother and to awaken the Sonship within. This is our will free from deception and deceit, free from fear, and free to join with God and accept our divinity as Christ, His Son.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning II. freedom of will. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 30 INTRO & I. Rules for Decision

1. The new beginning now becomes the focus of the curriculum. The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone, your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgment to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear. They are not new to you, but they are more ideas than rules of thought to you as yet. So now we need to practice them awhile, until they are the rules by which you live. We seek to make them habits now, so you will have them ready for whatever need.

I. Rules for Decision

1. Decisions are continuous. You do not always know when you are making them. But with a little practice with the ones you recognize, a set begins to form which sees you through the rest. It is not wise to let yourself become preoccupied with every step you take. The proper set, adopted consciously each time you wake, will put you well ahead. And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready. Do not fight yourself. But think about the kind of day you want and tell yourself there is a way in which this very day can happen just like that. Then try again to have the day you want.

2. (1) The outlook starts with this:  Today I will make no decisions by myself.  This means that you are choosing not to be the judge of what to do. But it must also mean you will not judge the situations where you will be called upon to make response. For if you judge them, you have set the rules for how you should react to them. And then another answer cannot but produce confusion and uncertainty and fear.

3. This is your major problem now. You still make up your mind, and then decide to ask what you should do. And what you hear may not resolve the problem as you saw it first. This leads to fear because it contradicts what you perceive and so you feel attacked. And therefore angry. There are rules by which this will not happen. But it does occur at first, while you are learning how to hear.

4. (2) Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience, and say: If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me. These two procedures, practiced well, will serve to let you be directed without fear, for opposition will not first arise and then become a problem in itself.

5. But there will still be times when you have judged already. Now the answer will provoke attack, unless you quickly straighten out your mind to want an answer that will work. Be certain this has happened if you feel yourself unwilling to sit by and ask to have the answer given you. This means you have decided by yourself and can not see the question. Now you need a quick restorative before you ask again. 

6. (3) Remember once again the day you want and recognize that something has occurred that is not part of it. Then realize that you have asked a question by yourself and must have set an answer in your terms. Then say: I have no question. I forgot what to decide. This cancels out the terms that you have set, and lets the answer show you what the question must have really been.

7. Try to observe this rule without delay, despite your opposition. For you have already gotten angry. And your fear of being answered in a different way from what your version of the questions asks will gain momentum, until you believe the day you want is one in which you get your answer to your question. And you will not get it, or it would destroy the day by robbing you of what you really want. This can be very hard to realize, when once you have decided by yourself the rules that promise you a happy day. Yet this decision still can be undone, by simple methods that you can accept.

8. (4) If you are so unwilling to receive you cannot even let your question go, you can begin to change your mind with this: At least I can decide that I do not like what I feel now. This much is obvious and paves the way for the next easy step.

9. (5) Having decided that you do not like the way you feel, what could be easier than to continue with: And so I hope I have been wrong. This works against the sense of opposition and reminds you that help is not being thrust upon you but is something that you want and that you need, because you do not like the way you feel. This tiny opening will be enough to let you go ahead with just a few more steps you need to let yourself be helped.

10. Now you have reached the turning point, because it has occurred to you that you will gain if what you have decided is not so. Until this point is reached, you will believe your happiness depends on being right. But this much reason have you now attained; you would be better off if you were wrong.

11. (6) This tiny grain of wisdom will suffice to take you further. You are not coerced, but merely hope to get a thing you want. And you can say in perfect honesty: I want another way to look at this. Now you have changed your mind about the day and have remembered what you really want. Its purpose has no longer been obscured by the insane belief you want it for the goal of being right when you are wrong. Thus is the readiness for asking brought to your awareness, for you cannot be in conflict when you ask for what you want and see that it is this for which you ask.

12. (7) This final step is but acknowledgment of lack of opposition to be helped. It is a statement of an open mind, not certain yet, but willing to be shown: Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking? Thus you now can ask a question that makes sense, and so the answer will make sense as well. Nor will you fight against it, for you see that it is you who will be helped by it.

13. It must be clear that it is easier to have a happy day if you prevent unhappiness from entering at all. But this takes practice in the rules that will protect you from the ravages of fear. When this has been achieved, the sorry dream of judgment has forever been undone. But meanwhile, you have need for practicing the rules for its undoing. Let us, then, consider once again the very first of the decisions which are offered here.

14. We said you can begin a happy day with the determination not to make decisions by yourself. This seems to be a real decision in itself. And yet, you cannot make decisions by yourself. The only question really is with what you choose to make them. That is really all. The first rule, then, is not coercion, but a simple statement of a simple fact. You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God. And you ask help of anti-Christ or Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do.

15. Your day is not at random. It is set by what you choose to live it with, and how the friend whose counsel you have sought perceives your happiness. You always ask advice before you can decide on anything. Let this be understood, and you can see there cannot be coercion here, nor grounds for opposition that you may be free. There is no freedom from what must occur. And if you think there is, you must be wrong.

16. The second rule as well is but a fact. For you and your adviser must agree on what you want before it can occur. It is but this agreement that permits all things to happen. Nothing can be caused without some form of union, be it with a dream of judgment or the Voice for God. Decisions cause results by you and your adviser, for yourself and for the world as well. The day you want you offer to the world, for it will be what you have asked for, and will reinforce the rule of your adviser in the world. Whose kingdom is the world for you today? What kind of day will you decide to have?

17. It needs but two who would have happiness this day to promise it to all the world. It needs but two to understand that they cannot decide alone, to guarantee the joy they asked for will be wholly shared. For they have understood the basic law that makes decision powerful and gives it all effects that it will ever have. It needs but two. These two are joined before there can be a decision. Let this be the one reminder that you keep in mind, and you will have the day you want, and give it to the world by having it yourself. Your judgment has been lifted from the world by your decision for a happy day. And as you have received, so must you give. [1]

When we decide for a peaceful, joyful day, we hand our days in the dream over to God.  The ego’s hold upon our consciousness is loosened for as we reach for the higher state of consciousness, we come to understand that when we make decisions without holiness, we can never have a happy day – there is always something amiss, there are conflicts, there are unloving, resentful perceptions, our happiness comes with an element of sacrifice, defensiveness, and underlying fear.

There are going to be times we forget to practice the simple rules for the forgiving dream.  There are times I will wake up in the morning predetermined that things have to be done.  And whether it makes me happy for not, today is the day of accomplishment.  I will resent anything or anybody that stands in my way.  I will have a burning inside to get at whatever I determined needs attention and many times a sense of grumpiness will overtake me. There will be no song of Heaven ringing in my heart!  I will weary myself with all the demands I put upon myself and feel depressed and defeated when my energy levels plummet and I cannot accomplish all I set out to do.

The remedy for times like this is to remember to choose the happiness of holiness.  I decided on my own and set out to accomplish a goal.  It seems innocent enough. Afterall, this is the normal way to go about things in the world.  However, normal or not, when we do not consciously choose the Voice for God within in which to guide and direct us, we choose ego by default. And when ego is our guide we are never going to have the peace and joy that constitute a delightful day!  We may be working hard and getting our jobs done, but our minds will ruminate upon sour things from the past, clouding our vision.  When friends call or drop by needing a favor, we will greatly resent them and not see them for who and what they really are.  When our energy flags, we will berate ourselves. We will hurt ourselves by working too hard attempting to get “credit” from the perceptual realm rather than the Kingdom of God within. Without making a conscious choice to join with Holy Spirit, we will practice anti-Christ modes of relating to ourselves, others, and the world at large.  

Time gives us an opportunity to practice the rules of the Kingdom, to prepare ourselves for the long haul of eternity, to get our minds and hearts in the right place so that we are never tempted again to choose a realm of opposition and opposites to the Reality of God.  This is the way to develop the habits of holiness, to learn the rules in the here and now of time, to understand their value and their worth is to fully appreciate the laws of the Kingdom.  In the realm of opposites, we have a sharp contrast in which to compare the outcome of the decisions we make with the anti-Christ-like ego vs the outcome of our decision to consciously choose Holy Spirit as guide. 

This is never a fight or a conflict. If you find that you are simply not ready for this kind of practice, continue to try to find the joy you are looking for in making at least some decisions against Christ. Refuse to ask Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Ascertain that you do know all the answers without the help of the Voice for God. Be proud of your judgments, condemnation, and vengeance, and speak boastfully of all the people you shamed, put in their place, or otherwise confounded. Take up arms against your enemies; blame your lack of happiness on them. Mock and make fun of others. Gad about wherever you choose accomplishing all the grandiose things you believe you are accomplishing.  But perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can we lose by asking Him Who knows? For eventually, weary of the low-minded, fearful, and worthless, we all conclude that without Him we are nothing. Prodigals all, we all make our way Home to God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The new beginning. Introduction. I Rules for decision. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 IX The Forgiving Dream

1. The slave of idols is a willing slave. For willing he must be to let himself bow down in worship to what has no life and seek for power in the powerless. What happened to the holy Son of God that this could be his wish; to let himself fall lower than the stones upon the ground, and look to idols that they raise him up? Hear, then, your story in the dream you made, and ask yourself if it be not the truth that you believe that it is not a dream.

2. A dream of judgment came into the mind that God created perfect as Himself. And in that dream was Heaven changed to hell, and God made enemy unto His Son. How can God’s Son awaken from the dream? It is a dream of judgment. So must he judge not, and he will waken. For the dream will seem to last while he is part of it. Judge not, for he who judges will have need of idols, which will hold the judgment off from resting on himself. Nor can he know the Self he has condemned. Judge not, because you make yourself a part of evil dreams, where idols are your “true” identity, and your salvation from the judgment laid in terror and in guilt upon yourself.

3. All figures in the dream are idols, made to save you from the dream. Yet they are part of what they have been made to save you from. Thus does an idol keep the dream alive and terrible, for who could wish for one unless he were in terror and despair? And this the idol represents and so its worship is the worship of despair and terror, and the dream from which they come. Judgment is an injustice to God’s Son, and it is justice that who judges him will not escape the penalty he laid upon himself within the dream he made. God knows of justice, not of penalty. But in the dream of judgment you attack and are condemned; and wish to be the slave of idols, which are interposed between your judgment and the penalty it brings.

4. There can be no salvation in the dream as you are dreaming it. For idols must be part of it, to save you from what you believe you have accomplished and have done to make you sinful and put out the light within you. Little child, the light is there. You do but dream, and idols are the toys you dream you play with. Who has need of toys but children? They pretend they rule the world and give their toys the power to move about and talk and think and feel and speak for them. Yet everything their toys appear to do is in the minds of those who play with them. But they are eager to forget that they made up the dream in which their toys are real, nor recognize their wishes are their own. 

5. Nightmares are childish dreams. The toys have turned against the child who thought he made them real. Yet can a dream attack? Or can a toy grow large and dangerous and fierce and wild? This does the child believe, because he fears his thoughts and gives them to the toys instead. And their reality becomes his own because they seem to save him from his thoughts. Yet do they keep his thoughts alive and real, but seen outside himself, where they can turn against him for his treachery to them. He thinks he needs them that he may escape his thoughts, because he thinks the thoughts are real. And so he makes of anything a toy, to make his world remain outside himself, and play that he is but a part of it.

6. There is a time when childhood should be passed and gone forever. Seek not to retain the toys of children. Put them all away, for you have need of them no more. The dream of judgment is a children’s game, in which the child becomes the father, powerful, but with the little wisdom of a child. What hurts him is destroyed; what helps him, blessed. Except he judges this as does a child, who does not know what hurts and what will heal. And bad things seem to happen, and he is afraid of all the chaos in a world he thinks is governed by the laws he made. Yet is the real world unaffected by the world he thinks is real. Nor have its laws been changed because he does not understand.

7. The real world still is but a dream. Except the figures have been changed. They are not seen as idols which betray. It is a dream in which no one is used to substitute for something else, nor interposed between the thoughts the mind conceives and what it sees. No one is used for something he is not, for childish things have all been put away. And what was once a dream of judgment now has changed into a dream where all is joy because that is the purpose that it has. Only forgiving dreams can enter here, for time is almost over. And the forms that enter in the dream are now perceived as brother, not in judgment, but in love.

8. Forgiving dreams have little need to last. They are not made to separate the mind from what it thinks. They do not seek to prove the dream is being dreamed by someone else. And in these dreams a melody is heard that everyone remembers, though he has not heard it since before all time began. Forgiveness, once complete, brings timelessness so close the song of Heaven can be heard, not with the ears, but with the holiness that never left the altar that abides forever deep within the Son of God. And when he hears this song again, he knows he never heard it not. And where is time when dreams of judgment have been put away?

9. Whenever you feel fear in any form, – and you are fearful if you do not feel a deep content, a certainty of help, a calm assurance Heaven goes with you, – be sure you made an idol, and believe it will betray you. For beneath your hope that it will save you lie the guilt and pain of self-betrayal and uncertainty, so deep and bitter that the dream cannot conceal completely all your sense of doom. Your self-betrayal must result in fear, for fear is judgment, leading surely to the frantic search for idols and for death.  

10. Forgiving dreams remind you that you live in safety and have not attacked yourself. So do your childish terrors melt away and dreams become a sign that you have made a new beginning, not another try to worship idols and to keep attack. Forgiving dreams are kind to everyone who figures in the dream. And so they bring the dreamer full release from dreams of fear. He does not fear his judgment for he has judged no one, nor has sought to be released through judgment from what judgment must impose. And all the while he is remembering what he forgot, when judgment seemed to be the way to save him from its penalty.[1]

As we practice perceiving others as Christ, getting past their form, their stories, the things we heard about them, the things we judged them for – we awaken from the dream of separation and sin.  Yes, we are still here in the flesh perceiving with our little eyes looking outside of ourselves, but now instead of judging what we spy with our little eyes, we bring it in to the Kingdom. We bring it in by forgiving it, by refusing to judge it, by confessing to ourselves that we simply have no way of knowing anything at all about what is outside of us unless we bring it to the Sonship where the Brotherhood of Christ makes us one.

We practice the Kingdom of God in the dream by what Jesus calls the forgiving dream. It is a beautiful, gentle way in which to awaken to the Reality of God and to return our consciousness to His Kingdom.  We will no longer be a willing slave to idols.  We will no longer bow to what is doomed to die, to be forgotten, to return to dust.  We will no longer be entrapped in a fictional realm of opposition and opposites to all that would bring us everlasting peace and joy.  In other words we recognize this realm as the hell it is and do what it takes to save God’s Son. 

Whenever we look upon anyone or anything with the slightest sense of fear, bewilderment, confusion, or doubt we are engaging with idols and associating our reality with that which opposes Christ.  Our awakening begins when we stop judging each other by the forms and images that appear to be our reality in the world of perception. When I stop judging everything with my lower mind, with its self-interested, extremely limited human perception, and devote myself to only gentleness and kindness to the Christ within all the figures in the dream change. They are transformed into that which could never hurt me or touch me in a way that would betray my certainty in Christ. 

In this state of consciousness and in this practice of forgiveness, the dreams become a melody of love.  It is a melody that rings throughout the Sonship, one which we all remember, one that reminds us of who and what we really are and what we are about.  Forgiveness brings timelessness so close that the song of Heaven once again resounds within us, and the dirges we sang to take its place are forgotten, put away forever.

Forgiving dreams are the signal for a new beginning.  Consciously choosing to forgive brings us full release from all nightmares based on fear.  Being kind to everyone and everything in the dream teaches us who and what we are.  For in our gentle kindness all judgments are undone, releasing us from the dream of judgment to our reality in God and in Christ, His Son.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening ix the forgiving dream. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 VIII The Anti-Christ

1. What is an idol? Do you think you know? For idols are unrecognized as such, and never seen for what they really are. That is the only power that they have. Their purpose is to obscure, and they are feared and worshipped, both, because you do not know what they are for, and why they have been made. An idol is an image of your brother that you would value more than what he is. Idols are made that he may be replaced, no matter what their form. And it is this that never is perceived and recognized. Be it a body or a thing, a place, a situation or a circumstance, an object owned or wanted, or a right demanded or achieved, it is the same.

2. Let not their form deceive you. Idols are but substitutes for your reality. In some way, you believe they will complete your little self, for safety in a world perceived as dangerous, with forces massed against your confidence and peace of mind. They have the power to supply your lacks and add the value that you do not have. No one believes in idols who has not enslaved himself to littleness and loss. And thus must seek beyond his little self for strength to raise his head and stand apart from all the misery the world reflects. This is the penalty for looking not within for certainty and quiet calm that liberates you from the world, and lets you stand apart, in quiet and in peace.

3. An idol is a false impression, or a false belief, some form of anti-Christ, that constitutes a gap between the Christ and what you see. An idol is a wish, made tangible and given form, and thus perceived as real and seen outside the mind. Yet it is still a thought and cannot leave the mind that is its source. Nor is its form apart from the idea it represents. All forms of anti-Christ oppose the Christ. And fall before His face like a dark veil that seems to shut you off from Him, alone in darkness. Yet the light is there. A cloud does not put out the sun. No more a veil can banish what it seems to separate, nor darken by one whit the light itself.

4. This world of idols is a veil across the face of Christ, because its purpose is to separate your brother from yourself.  A dark and fearful purpose, yet a thought without the power to change one blade of grass from something living to a sign of death. Its form is nowhere, for its source abides within your mind where God abideth not. Where is this place where what is everywhere has been excluded and kept apart? What hand could be held up to block God’s way? Whose voice could make demand He enter not? The “more-than-everything” is not a thing to make you tremble and to quail in fear. Christ’s enemy is nowhere. He can take no form in which he ever will be real.

5. What is an idol? Nothing! It must be believed before it seems to come to life and given power that it may be feared. Its life and power are its believer’s gift, and this is what the miracle restores to what has life and power worthy of the gift of Heaven and eternal peace. The miracle does not restore the truth; the light the veil between has not put out. It merely lifts the veil and lets the truth shine unencumbered, being what it is. It does not need belief to be itself, for it has been created; so it is.

6. An idol is established by belief, and when it is withdrawn the idol “dies.” This is the anti-Christ, the strange idea there is a power past omnipotence, a place beyond the infinite, a time transcending the eternal. Here the world of idols has been set by the idea this power and place and time are given form and shape the world where the impossible has happened. Here the deathless come to die, the all-encompassing to suffer loss, the timeless to be made the slaves of time. Here does the changeless change; the peace of God, forever given to all living things, give way to chaos. And the Son of God, as perfect, sinless, and as loving as his Father, come to hate a little while, to suffer pain, and finally to die.

7. Where is an idol? Nowhere! Can there be a gap in what is infinite, a place where time can interrupt eternity? A place of darkness set where all is light, a dismal alcove separated off from what is endless, has no place to be. An idol is beyond where God has set all things forever and has left no room for anything to be except His Will. Nothing and nowhere must an idol be, while God is everything and everywhere.

8. What purpose has an idol, then? What is it for? This is the only question that has many answers, each depending on the one of whom the question has been asked. The world believes in idols. No one comes unless he worshipped them, and still attempts to seek for one that yet might offer him a gift reality does not contain. Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess. It must be more. It does not really matter more of what, more beauty, more intelligence, more wealth, or even more affliction and more pain. But more of something is an idol for. And when one fails another takes its place, with hope of finding more of something else. Be not deceived by forms the “something” takes. An idol is a means for getting more. And it is this that is against God’s Will.  

9. God has not many sons, but only one. Who can have more, and who be given less? In Heaven would the Son of God but laugh if idols could intrude upon his peace. It is for him the Holy Spirit speaks and tells you idols have no purpose here. For more than Heaven can you never have. If Heaven is within, why would you seek for idols that would make of Heaven less, to give you more than God bestowed upon your brother and on you, as one with Him? God gave you all there is. And to be sure you could not lose it; did He also give the same to every living thing as well. And thus is every living thing a part of you, as of Himself. No idol can establish you as more than God. But you will never be content with being less. [1]

Jesus instructs us not to let the forms in this world deceive us for they substitute for our reality, they do not complete us, they do not offer us safety, no matter how many of them we get to be on our side, they cannot take the place of the Christ within us.  In other words, if we mistake forms for the reality which they obscure, we will give them power and believe that it is the images we summon that supply our needs and adds value to our little lives in the flesh.  We will consider ourselves superior to those who have less; and bow to those who have more.  In other words, we enslave ourselves to the idols of this world by believing they are the source of our happiness. 

We fall into idolatry by seeking outside the Sonship for our strength and our purpose.  We believe we need the trinkets of the world to increase our worth and keep us safe from all that would take it away.  We penalize ourselves by not going to the inner Kingdom where the truth about us relieves us from the worries and cares of the perceptual world.  While others are trumpeting for this candidate or that one to save them from despair, worrying and fretting about the trending diseases and calamities, losing sleep over the misdeeds of others – we go to the Christhood within and there we find our freedom from the constant worries and mounting cares of this realm, there in the certainty of Sonship we find our peace.  The idols of this world cannot give this peace to us, nor can the idols take it away.  The inner Kingdom is always there for It is what we are, It is who we are, It is our reason for Being.   

You are not your body; you cannot be defined by your weight, your beauty, your hair, your ethnic background, or your private parts. Your name is not the name that God gave you.  When all that I perceive about you is false, it is anti-Christ because my flesh eyes can only see what obscures the Christ in you!  All the facts that I have gathered about you form little meaningless stories in my mind that determine how I am going to see you and how I am going to keep seeing you.  I may make up a story that determines you are one of the good guys or I may make up a story that you are one of the bad guys or perhaps you have your days when you are good and other days when you are not.  It does not matter what I make up about you – it is all an idol.  It can never be you as God created you because all my perceptions about you are based upon the gap between us.  All my perceptions about you oppose our oneness and unity in Christ and so they are anti-Christ. 

My perceptions of you do not take anything away from Christ or the Sonship for which Christ stands.  Just because I cannot see Christ in you with my flesh eyes, certainly does not banish it from existence.  But because I cannot see it, I will feel separate from you. I will feel it is perfectly reasonable for me to make up stories about you and believe in them, and yet what I am making up about you does not exist in any world, in any time.  It is a figment of my imagination and when I share it with another person, I am sharing an anti-Christ perception. 

There is no place for the anti-Christ perception in the reality of God.  There is no place for falsehoods and idols in the beautiful, certain, and everlasting Kingdom of God.  There is no place for that kind of specialness that would want something other than perfection, peace, love, and joy.  To make something other than that up is the stuff of nightmares and illusions.  And nightmares and illusions are not real, and they can never become real, no matter how much we believe in them, no matter how many people martyr themselves for their false gods and selfish beliefs, no matter how much money we spend trying to make it real.  An idol is not true because it is nothing. As all figments of imagination it passes away, it dissolves in the dust, it is eventually forgotten because it fails to bring us happiness and peace. 

When we believe in the perceptual world, we give life and power to that which opposes Christ.  In the midst of the legions of images, forms, and idols, the miracle restores our true vision.  The miracle does not restore Reality, for it was not Reality that changed or went away.  Our enchantment with the perceptual world never changed the Sonship.  The miracle simply sweeps away all that would blind us to it! 

Our world deserves no allegiance for the world of idols is based upon the mad idea that there is something more than All that is and so we dream impossible dreams that creep us out in fear of each other.  Here in the perceptual world our separate forms and images take the place of Creation, we come to duke it out and kill each other off, to gain and lose, to enslave ourselves to work that does not satisfy us or bring us joy.  In the false kingdom all that is changeless changes, peace is sought through war, love is sought through hate, justice is sought through murder, revenge, and punishment.  Here the perfect Son of God created in Love and by Love and for Love comes to hate, to suffer pain, and to die a thousand little deaths and then some. 

The world believes in idols because the perceptual world is an idol and like all idols it opposes the oneness and unity of Christ.  We come to the world to worship idols, to believe in opposites and practice opposition.  We make idolatrous gods who give us more, who make us special, who pit one part of the Sonship against the other. 

There is only one Son, and this is the Christhood.  In Christ, our equality and mutuality are made manifest – there are no favorites and no special treatments.  To save one is to save all.  The Kingdom of Heaven cannot be contained in forms and images – there is no purpose for forms and images in the place where all are One.  There is no more to be had than the Kingdom and as we stop seeking outside of ourselves for God and go within, the idols of the perceptual world lose all meaning, all cause for fear and lack and worry.  I have no reason to want your jewels, your hair, your privilege, your car, your mansion in the Home where I belong for in the Kingdom God has given All there is to all there is.  And thus we belong to each other even as we belong to Him. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening viii the anti-Christ. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 THE AWAKENING VII. Seek Not Outside Yourself

ACIM CHAPTER 29. VII Seek Not Outside Yourself

1. Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol fails. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth, and not to seek for it outside yourself.

2. No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself, and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not. This is the purpose he bestows upon the body; that it seek for what he lacks and give him what would make himself complete. And thus he wanders aimlessly about, in search of something that he cannot find, believing that he is what he is not.

3. The lingering illusion will impel him to seek out a thousand idols, and to seek beyond them for a thousand more. And each will fail him, all excepting one; for he will die, and does not understand the idol that he seeks is but his death. Its form appears to be outside himself. Yet does he seek to kill God’s Son within and prove that he is victor over him. This is the purpose every idol has, for this the role that is assigned to it, and this the role that cannot be fulfilled.

4. Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body’s betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack and lack is death. To sacrifice is to give up, and thus to be without and to have suffered loss.  And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation but prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.

5. Idols must fall because they have no life, and what is lifeless is a sign of death. You came to die, and what would you expect but to perceive the signs of death you seek? No sadness and no suffering proclaim a message other than an idol found that represents a parody of life which, in its lifelessness, is really death, conceived as real and given living form. Yet each must fail and crumble and decay because a form of death cannot be life, and what is sacrificed cannot be whole.

6. All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself.

7. Let us forget the purpose of the world the past has given it. For otherwise the future will be like the past, and but a series of depressing dreams in which all idols fail you, one by one, and you see death and disappointment everywhere.

8. To change all this and open up a road of hope and of release in what appeared to be an endless circle of despair, you need but to decide you do not know the purpose of the world. You give it goals it does not have, and thus do you decide what it is for. You try to see in it a place of idols found outside yourself, with power to make complete what is within by splitting what you are between the two. You choose your dreams, for they are what you wish, perceived as if it had been given you. Your idols do what you would have them do and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream because you want their power as your own.

9. Yet where are dreams but in a mind asleep? And can a dream succeed in making real the picture it projects outside itself? Save time, my brother; learn what time is for. And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy mind is altar unto God, and where He is no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol, which you must protect against the light of truth. And all the world becomes the means by which this idol can be saved. Salvation thus appears to threaten life and offer death.

10. It is not so. Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists. The sacrifice of death is nothing lost. An idol cannot take the place of God. Let Him remind you of His Love for you, and do not seek to drown His Voice in chants of deep despair to idols of yourself. Seek not outside your Father for your hope. For hope of happiness is not despair. [1]

The Kingdom of God is within us.  We do not have to look anywhere else for love, peace, and joy for that is what we are as God’s Son, as God’s Creation.  In today’s text, Jesus reminds us that what is not of God is an idol.  It is a substitute for God’s Voice, for God’s Call upon our minds and hearts.  When I try to find love, peace, and joy in the things of this world, I will have stress, anxiety, disappointment, and a bitter end.  Every pain comes from the futile search for lasting happiness, comfort, safety, and meaning in a world that is built upon opposition to God. 

If we woke up this morning in this world, we are still looking outside of ourselves for what God has placed within us.  We are looking for someone or something to latch onto that will make us more than God’s Son, which will distinguish us above our brother, which will give me more of something than what you have.  When I deny the truth about the love, peace, and joy that is my Being, I seek to break apart from you, taking what I can from you to become more of me.  This is the purpose I give my body – to tell me and you apart, to create a gap between us filled with time and space, to find whatever it is that I am seeking to complete me with little to no regard for your completion.  And so I will wander about, lost and confused, in search of something that I cannot find, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I apply myself, no matter what it is that I devote myself to – trying to complete myself in the illusional world of trinkets and tokens, myths and legends, ongoing sagas and twisted paths that lead nowhere.

There are thousands of idols available in which to pursue our meaning and when we get through with the first few thousand, there are thousands more to take their place.  Every idol we chase fail, for they all end in death.  The purpose of the body is to crucify God’s Son and prove that death can kill the eternal Being within.  This is the purpose of idols – and while it can seem to defy and defile the form without, all that is created by God lives on and cannot die.

When we live for our bodies, we enslave and sacrifice ourselves to idols. We spend our lives chasing after all the otherwise lifeless body lacks and seems to demand.  Our wits dimmed by lies and delusions, we cling to the devastation of flesh, organs, blood, and bones rather than to look within at our beautiful, everlasting Sonship, to own our knowledge, intelligence, innocence, purity, and love. 

Born in the world to die, we live in fear of life, not death.  We will hug our sadness and our sorrow close and sing ballads, write sagas, act out dramas and make jokes about all the ways in which our idols fail us.  We will complain to our friends and family about how this idol stole our money, ran off with the next-door neighbor, blabbed our secrets, or turned out to be a druggie.  We will look out from our jail cells and blame our parents, our friends, the cops, and the school system for our current state of woe.  At the core of every single instance of our unhappiness, our depression, our anger, and sorrow, we find an idol that failed us.  And while we can blame the idol and put all the blame on that which is outside ourselves, what we are called to do is look past the idolatry to the truth within.

Stop pledging our allegiance to the perceptual world, stop chasing anyone or anything that the perceptual world would offer us in place of our completion in Sonship, we find the goodness of God within.  We find our wholeness in Him.  There is nothing that can take His place! This does not mean that we stop taking care of our bodies, that we leave our homes and families, our jobs and our other responsibilities. It simply means we stop idolizing them, we stop holding them accountable for our happiness, we take our mind off of them and put it where it belongs. 

God is not in in the perceptual world. God is not in the lands or the cities that the world proclaims as holy – God is within us, at the core of our very Being.  There are no saints, priests, or ministers that could ever be more holy than the God within you and the God within me.  No matter how beautiful and ornate the cathedral, temple, or mosque – God is within us.  It is within us where we seek to know Him and to find our Being in Him. 

Jesus calls to us to forget the traditions of the world that would keep the mistakes of the past and project them into the future, thus prolonging the depressing dreams in which our idols fail us, where we bicker at best and terrorize and torture each other at worst over our chosen idols that would tear us and keep us apart.  To change all this heartbreak, to hear the sounds of life, laughter, and love ringing throughout the Sonship, to break free from an ongoing cycle of sorrow and sadness, stop thinking about the world, stop trying to figure it out, stop giving it goals it can never accomplish, and stop trying to draw joy from joyless forms and fiction.  When we fall for the perceptual world, we encounter legions of enticements that are designed to keep our minds engaged in nothingness.  We live lives of fear and distrust, we keep secrets, we shut down our lines of communication, we tell lies, and play mean, discourteous games rather than heed the Voice for God within.  This is the way to death, not life!       

When we fail to look within, our minds remain in the dark sleep; we fail to understand what time is for.  Instead of using time as a means to heal, to correct, to restore sanity to the Sonship, we engage with our trite and meaningless dreams; we make them real to us; we hold tight to the mistakes of the past and project them into the future because we have come to like the lies we made, we have accustomed ourselves to death and dying; we have embraced the lives of flesh and blood and forgotten Who and What we are. 

When we fear God, we fear the loss of idols.  Our reality is always with us. We are not afraid of losing that – but we are very afraid of losing our idols.  My loathing of you is something that my dim mind has come to enjoy ruminating upon, plotting up fresh reasons to loathe you more!  And as my mind fixates on how much I despise you, I die for I cannot hate you without hating myself.  My holy mind is an altar to God and where God is no idols can abide.  I cannot bring my flesh and blood to God.  I cannot bring my hatred for you to the goodness within me.  I cannot bring all my dirty thoughts and wicked deeds to the Kingdom which is at my core.  And so the world becomes the means which protect me from the God within.  I will engage with what is outside of me, so I do not have to look within and give up all I have come to like about the opposition and the opposites to God I worship in His place. 

Only life exists.  Idols can never take the place of God and as long as I engage with them, I am engaging with death, not life.  Whether I love an idol or I hate it, the end is always the same.  There is no life outside of God. 

Today in your devotional habit, ask Holy Spirit to show you the idols that come between you and the Love of God.  Hope in idols is to despair.  God is in us and of us and part of us as we are part of God.  Go to your inner altar as often as you are able.  Turn off the many voices that would call to you from the world and go within to find God. He is our Father, and He created us to share in His beauty and bliss.  Hoping for happiness in Him is the first step in accepting that our happiness is His delight, His Will, the reason for our Being.  When we come to know the happiness of God, the idols of the world grow dim and disappear.  And this is cause for celebration, not despair!     

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening vii seek not outside yourself. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 THE AWAKENING VI. Forgiveness and the End of Time

ACIM – Chapter 29 VI Forgiveness and the End of Time

1. How willing are you to forgive your brother? How much do you desire peace instead of endless strife and misery and pain? These questions are the same, in different form. Forgiveness is your peace, for herein lies the end of separation and the dream of danger and destruction, sin and death, of madness and murder, grief and loss. This is the “sacrifice” salvation asks, and gladly offers peace instead of this.

2. Swear not to die, you holy Son of God! You make a bargain that you cannot keep. The Son of Life cannot be killed. He is immortal as his Father. What he is cannot be changed. He is the only thing in all the universe that must be one. What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is. God’s Son can never change by what men made of him. He will be as he was and as he is, for time appointed not his destiny, nor set the hour of his birth and death. Forgiveness will not change him. Yet time waits upon forgiveness that the things of time may disappear because they have no use.

3. Nothing survives its purpose. If it be conceived to die, then die it must unless it does not take this purpose as its own. Change is the only thing that can be made a blessing here, where purpose is not fixed, however changeless it appear to be. Think not that you can set a goal unlike God’s purpose for you and establish it as changeless and eternal. You can give yourself a purpose that you do not have. But you can not remove the power to change your mind and see another purpose there.

4. Change is the greatest gift God gave to all that you would make eternal, to ensure that only Heaven would not pass away. You were not born to die. You cannot change because your function has been fixed by God. All other goals are set in time and change that time might be preserved, excepting one. Forgiveness does not aim at keeping time, but at its ending, when it has no use. Its purpose ended; it is gone. And where it once held seeming sway is now restored the function God established for His Son in full awareness. Time can set no end to its fulfillment nor its changelessness. There is no death because the living share the function their Creator gave to them. Life’s function cannot be to die. It must be life’s extension, that it be as one forever and forever, without end.

5. This world will bind your feet and tie your hands and kill your body only if you think that it was made to crucify God’s Son. For even though it was a dream of death, you need not let it stand for this to you. Let this be changed and nothing in the world but must be changed as well. For nothing here but is defined as what you see it for.

6. How lovely is the world whose purpose is forgiveness of God’s Son! How free from fear, how filled with blessing and with happiness! And what a joyous thing it is to dwell a little while in such a happy place! Nor can it be forgot, in such a world, it is a little while till timelessness comes quietly to take the place of time.[1]

When we seek to awaken we come to our devotional practice with a heart and mind dedicated to see past the world’s history of suffering, loneliness, and death.  We are tired of the bloody saga of our world.  We are tired of entertaining ourselves with public hangings, whipping posts, and other humiliations and hungers that only serve to whet our appetites for more of the same.  We are weary of the trite and meaningless sacrifices, sad tales, and overrated, overpriced notions and potions that promise to save us from sickness and despair. 

Today Jesus informs us of the simple equation of awakening: Forgiveness = peace; unforgiveness = ongoing strife, misery, and pain.  When we hold on to grudges, resentments, and conflict, when we take mean-spirited delight in the sin and suffering of others, we pledge ourselves to death, but this is a promise we cannot keep. The Son of Life lives on as immortal as God Who created us.  We cannot change Who and What we are.  We are One with God, and yet we sleep.  When we awaken, our flesh senses disappear; all that we think that we understand about time and space, the beginning and ending, love, peace, hatred, and conflict dissipates.  Time did not give us life and it cannot kill us.  While our forgiveness of each other will not change our reality, forgiveness does awaken us from the dreams of time.

To seek purpose and meaning in the dreams we dream, we find a world enchanted with perceptual idols.  Thousands of different dreams and then thousands more glorify the opposites and opposition of time’s realm.  The quarrel between right and wrong, the good and evil, the innocent and the guilty!  We are the good guys trying to accomplish great things in the world against all the greedy, jealous, lustful, evil, blood thirsty, low-down and dirty bad guys.  It is the formula for a seemingly endless supply of drama and trauma. Round and round we go, where it stops nobody knows!

We fall into idolatry when we seek for gratification and satisfaction outside the Being within.  We remain enchanted by dreams of blame and shame.  I cannot latch on to you and call you my bestie without making you accountable for my happiness and my unhappiness.  And when you fail me, I will build a case against you in my mind for not being there when I needed you most.  I will not forgive you for liking him as well as me!  I may smile and pretend all is cool between us but each time you fail to meet my expectations I will harbor resentment and ill will toward you. And until I forgive you for my idolatry, I cannot forgive myself for it, because I will not see it, I will not perceive it as my wrongdoing.  I will have other players in the dream take my side and agree with me that you are the bad guy in this scenario, and I am the good one!  This conflict carries through, no matter how many different forms I may take over the course of time, I cannot take this pettiness, this secret dream and desire for specialness and besties to God’s Kingdom.  I must work this out in and through time until I learn the equation – forgiveness = peace; unforgiveness = ongoing cycles of unhappiness and estrangement. 

To awaken to the peace of God, we must forgive the dreams of death.  The God within us completes us.  No single thing from the dream takes His place for God is the All in all.  To have this settle upon our awareness, we let go of the meaningless, chaotic collage of separateness and specialness that defines “life” in this realm.

We do not have to cluck over the sins of the past nor point fingers of judgment and condemnation.  We must leave it where it is for to not forgive it, is to drag it all out and replay its tired, wearing, wearying scenes again and again.  Such things sicken us by darkening our minds. And while sickness can often serve as a call to awaken, it is much happier and saner to awaken by letting the wrongs of the past stay in the past.  To dig about in it, recalling the inconsiderate and unkind only serves to keep regurgitating different forms of death. 

Today commit to your devotional practice by practicing forgiveness.  Anything or anybody that crops up in your mind and attempts to dim the loveliness of Creation and your fearlessness in Sonship lightly brush away by reaching for forgiveness, by learning and understanding how our quiet inward practice of forgiveness is our return to the peace and timelessness of God.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening vi forgiveness and the end of time. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 THE AWAKENING V. The Changeless Dwelling Place

ACIM CHAPTER 29. V. The Changeless Dwelling Place

1. There is a place in you where this whole world is forgotten, where no memory of sin and of illusion lingers still. There is a place in you which time has left, and echoes of eternity are heard. There is a resting place so still no sound except a hymn to Heaven rises up to gladden God the Father and the Son. Where Both abide are They remembered, Both. And where They are is Heaven and is peace.

2. Think not that you can change Their dwelling place. For your Identity abides in Them and where They are forever must you be. The changelessness of Heaven is in you, so deep within that nothing in this world but passes by, unnoticed and unseen. The still infinity of endless peace surrounds you gently in its soft embrace, so strong and quiet, tranquil in the might of its Creator, nothing can intrude upon the sacred Son of God within.

3. Here is the role the Holy Spirit gives to you who wait upon the Son of God and would behold him waken and be glad. He is a part of you and you of him, because he is his Father’s Son, and not for any purpose you may see in him. Nothing is asked of you but to accept the changeless and eternal that abide in him, for your Identity is there. The peace in you can but be found in him. And every thought of love you offer him but brings you nearer to your wakening to peace eternal and to endless joy.

4. This sacred Son of God is like yourself; the mirror of his Father’s Love for you, the soft reminder of his Father’s Love for which he was created, and which still abides in him as it abides in you. Be very still and hear God’s Voice in him, and let It tell you what his function is. He was created that you might be whole for only the complete can be a part of God’s completion, which created you.

5. There is no gift the Father asks of you but that you see in all creation but the shining glory of His gift to you. Behold His Son, His perfect gift, in whom his Father shines forever, and to whom is all creation given as his own. Because he has it is it given you, and where it lies in him behold your peace. The quiet that surrounds you dwells in him, and from this quiet come the happy dreams in which your hands are joined in innocence. These are not hands that grasp in dreams of pain. They hold no sword for they have left their hold on every vain illusion of the world. And being empty they receive, instead, a brother’s hand in which completion lies.

6. If you but knew the glorious goal that lies beyond forgiveness, you would not keep hold on any thought, however light the touch of evil on it may appear to be. For you would understand how great the cost of holding anything God did not give in minds that can direct the hand to bless and lead God’s Son onto his Father’s house. Would you not want to be a friend to him, created by his Father as His home? If God esteems him worthy of Himself, would you attack him with the hands of hate? Who would lay bloody hands on Heaven itself and hope to find its peace? Your brother thinks he holds the hands of death. Believe him not. But learn, instead, how blessed are you who can release him, just by offering him yours.

7. A dream is given you in which he is your savior, not your enemy in hate. A dream is given you in which you have forgiven him for all his dreams of death; a dream of hope you share with him, instead of dreaming evil separate dreams of hate. Why does it seem so hard to share this dream? Because unless the Holy Spirit gives the dream its function, it was made for hate, and will continue in death’s services. Each form it takes in some way calls for death. And those who serve the lord of death have come to worship in a separate world, each with his tiny spear and rusted sword, to keep his ancient promises to die.

8. Such is the core of fear in every dream that has been kept apart from use by Him Who sees a different function for a dream. When dreams are shared they lose the function of attack and separation, even though it was for this that every dream was made. Yet nothing in the world of dreams remains without the hope of change and betterment, for here is not where changelessness is found. Let us be glad indeed that this is so and seek not the eternal in this world. Forgiving dreams are means to step aside from dreaming of a world outside yourself. And leading finally beyond all dreams, unto the peace of everlasting life. [1]

In our daily practice we come to the changeless dwelling place within.  We take time out of our day to go beyond time and place, the many roles we play in this realm, the demands which we take upon ourselves, and go to the resting place where we remember God the Father and the Son.  This is a beautiful way in which to describe our devotional practice, our spiritual habit.  It is the place where we find our sacred and holy Self apart from the illusional selves we make in the world of ego, flesh, and neediness. 

There is nothing we can do in the flesh or otherwise to change the peaceful place of God within us. This is the place where nothing can disturb us, the world passes by without our intervention and support, without our seeking to change it in any way, to look for but never find the peace, love, and joy that can be found only in the Kingdom within.  Here in this place, the world cannot touch us with its judgments against us, its condemnation, accusations, and false claims upon us.  Here in Christ, in our Holiness, Divinity, and Sonship we fulfill none of the roles assigned to us in the world – I am not your mother, sister, aunt, or coworker. I am not a minister, a teacher, a wife, or friend. I am as Christ to you as you are to me.  For in the Holy Place within us we have no body, no hungers, no yearnings, no needs of any kind for we have everything in Him.  In this Holy Place we step out of the dream of fear into the Reality of God’s Kingdom. 

As we come to know God and His Kingdom, as we come to know God and His Son, we wait upon the Son of God.  We wait for one another to come to accept the Sonship, to awaken from the dream even as we seek our own awakening.  We do not rudely shake each other awake and scream into each other’s ears with dire warnings of doom and gloom.  We wait gently and kindly for the Sonship to awaken in their own time and in their own way.  We are part of the Son, and He is part of us – and we do not assign any other purpose to the Son.  You are not my sister or my friend – you are part of me and the whole of God’s Son.  My Identity, my lovely, holy Self can only be found in you, God’s Kingdom within me, can only be mine when I see God’s Kingdom within you.  When we learn this, accept this, and practice this – healing, restoration, and salvation comes – for every thought of love I offer you brings me closer to that place within. 

In our daily practice then, we learn through application that as we choose to see the Savior in each other, our dreams are made happy, pure, and good just as when we choose to see otherwise in each other, when we choose to dig about in the past and bring up grievances, failures, and grudges our dreams are made sad, angry, and depressing.  It is through our practice that we learn to choose to see in all of Creation the shining glory of God’s gift to us.  When I look at you, I decide for Holiness.  I see God’s Son, His perfect shining eternal gift to me, a magnificent Being of light, love, and laughter.  In you is all of Creation made manifest. In you I find my joy and peace. 

This is the gift we bring to God – that we behold His Son in each other.  This is where we find the happiness that will sustain us through the dreams of despair and death that seem to surround us in the realm of separateness and sin.  You cannot know your holiness until I see it within you just as I cannot know my holiness without you seeing it in me.  In this dream of healing, we walk hand in hand to God, finding our wholeness in each other.  In the dream that heals us, we find the way to our eternal Home, to the glorious goal that lies beyond forgiveness.  In our healing dreams, we learn to give up every thought that has the slightest hint of ill will in it. 

This realm was made as a place to practice attack and separation, to make a world that opposed the truth of God, to make an opposite to love and peace and joy.  Opposing truth, the world we know can not be real, and so we do not seek for truth outside the Holy Place within us. We do not make war upon the outer world for it is but a dream. I am not going to blame you for your role in it, nor accept your blame for mine! From the Changeless Dwelling Place within we point no fingers of accusation; we do not engage in cynicism and despair. From the Changeless Dwelling Place within I seek out your beauty, love, and light!  Our dreams will thus involve a lot of forgiveness and overlooking.  It may seem like work, but it is only hard when we try to do this with the ego as our friend.  Letting go of ego, Holy Spirit gives us miracles – for forgiving dreams are healing dreams, our salvation until the Sonship no longer opposes the Truth of God and His Creation.    

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening v the changeless dwelling place. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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1. Do you believe that truth can be but some illusions? They are dreams because they are not true. Their equal lack of truth becomes the basis for the miracle, which means that you have understood that dreams are dreams and that escape depends, not on the dream, but only on awakening. Could it be some dreams are kept and others wakened from? The choice is not between which dreams to keep, but only if you want to live in dreams or to awaken from them. Thus it is the miracle does not select some dreams to leave untouched by its beneficence. You cannot dream some dreams and wake from some, for you are either sleeping or awake. And dreaming goes with only one of these.

2. The dreams you think you like would hold you back as much as those in which the fear is seen. For every dream is but a dream of fear, no matter what the form it seems to take. The fear is seen within, without, or both. Or it can be disguised in pleasant form. But never is it absent from the dream, for fear is the material of dreams, from which they all are made. Their form can change, but they cannot be made of something else. The miracle were treacherous indeed if it allowed you still to be afraid because you did not recognize the fear. You would not then be willing to awake, for which the miracle prepares the way.

3. In simplest form, it can be said attack is a response to function unfulfilled as you perceive the function. It can be in you or someone else, but where it is perceived it will be there it is attacked. Depression or assault must be the theme of every dream for they are made of fear. The thin disguise of pleasure and of joy in which they may be wrapped but slightly veils the heavy lump of fear that is their core. And it is this the miracle perceives and not the wrappings in which it is bound.

4. When you are angry, is it not because someone has failed to fill the function you allotted him? And does not this become the “reason” your attack is justified? The dreams you think you like are those in which the functions you have given have been filled, the needs which you ascribe to you are met. It does not matter if they be fulfilled or merely wanted. It is the idea that they exist from which the fears arise. Dreams are not wanted more or less. They are desired or not. And each one represents some function that you have assigned, some goal which an event, or body, or a thing should represent and should achieve for you. If it succeeds you think you like the dream. If it should fail you think the dream is sad. But whether it succeeds or fails is not its core, but just the flimsy covering.

5. How happy would your dreams become if you were not the one who gave the “proper” role to every figure which the dream contains. No one can fail but your idea of him, and there is no betrayal but of this. The core of dreams the Holy Spirit gives is never one of fear. The coverings may not appear to change, but what they mean has changed because they cover something else. Perceptions are determined by their purpose; in that they seem to be what they are for. A shadow figure who attacks becomes a brother giving you a chance to help, if this becomes the function of the dream. And dreams of sadness thus are turned to joy.

6. What is your brother for? You do not know, because your function is obscure to you. Do not ascribe a role to him that you imagine would bring happiness to you. And do not try to hurt him when he fails to take the part that you assigned to him, in what you dream your life was meant to be. He asks for help in every dream he has, and you have help to give him if you see the function of the dream as He perceives its function, Who can utilize all dreams as means to serve the function given Him. Because He loves the dreamer, not the dream, each dream becomes an offering of love. For at its center is His Love for you, which lights whatever form it takes with love. [1]

We are not going to find truth in illusion – everything we dream, every encounter, every circumstance, every interaction that we have is the illusion of separateness.  I am not going to find you in the gaps between us or in the outline of your body sitting next to me or sitting across the world from me.  All I will encounter is a dream figure playing a role which I have assigned to you to play.  Coming to this, understanding this, and accepting this is the basis for the miracle which heals us, restores our sense of unity and thereby awakens us to our completion in each other and in God.

When we realize it is the dream itself which would deceive us and keep us separate from each other, we do not select between what forms of separation are acceptable to us and which are not.  Miracles do not select some aspects of the illusion to lull us back to sleep out of fear of disturbing our slumber.  A dream is a dream whether it is a pleasant one or an unpleasant one, and all dreams are dreams based upon fear.  While dreams can masquerade as ones we like and hold dear, we must not let them hold us back from our enlightenment and salvation.  For every single dream in this realm can and does change in an instant.  Bosom buddies turn on you with vengeance over some imagined slight! Our beloved children are snatched away never to be seen or heard from again. Fame, wealth, and power are stripped away by soured public opinion, political unrest, or the jealousy and envy of would-be friends. There is nothing safe, sacred, or certain in dreams.

While it is often the dream’s peril and uncertainty that provokes us to reach for what lies beyond, how do we awaken?  We know that illusions exist because of our belief in them, and our fear of their “reality.” When we hold others accountable for not fulfilling the roles we assign to them in the manner in which we think they should, we live in fear of their failure to keep us warm, safe, and properly armed for the world.  We make them responsible for making us happy or unhappy, for keeping us safe or putting us in danger, for doing us proud or making us feel ashamed.  Whether it is me expecting this of you or you expecting this from me, there is the fear between us that no matter how well you are performing your duties today and making me happy, safe, and proud, someday and in someway you may not fulfill your function.  Cycles of depression and assault are the underlying themes that keep such dreams going.  At the core of every relationship, every encounter, every single event or circumstance – there is this fear. We seldom address this squarely or honestly.  But today we do.  We face it. We no longer deny it. We look at fear and we choose not to be afraid.  

In paragraph four, Jesus explores our responsibility in maintaining the dream. My anger with you stems from how you failed to uphold the role I assigned to you.  Now I have every right to go into depression over how you failed me, and I have every right to build a case and attack you for what you did to me.  Conversely, my happiness and pride in you will be based upon how willing you were to fulfill the role I made up for you to fill.  I will be happy that you showed up on time, you did not show up empty-handed, you practiced good manners while you were a guest in my home.  You complied with what I said would make me happy.  In other words, I had expectations which you fulfilled.  But what about next time?  And how long will it be before my expectations of you will change? Perhaps I will expect more and more from you until no matter what you do – I will not be happy.

Fears arises from the roles and expectations we assign to other dreamers and the dream itself.  When we are ready to awaken we let such role assignments go. We let go of the ego’s need to have an opinion about the meaning and purpose of the interactions, encounters, and events in the dream.  Because there is nothing in dreams that represents or achieves reality, we should not see this as frightening, but rather enlightening.  While I am not here to make you happy; neither are you here to make me happy – our happiness will never be achieved in any aspect of this dream, and so we do not have to jump through the hoops and work so hard to endear ourselves to each other.  We can simply relax and know that our only function is to awaken. 

In this state of mind, our dreams become happy because once we are free of assigning roles to all our loved ones, coworkers, and the world at large nobody can fail us unless we give him a role in which to fail us.  As we walk through the dream guided by Holy Spirit, we offer only grace and mercy, beauty and light for that is what we have and to have is to give.  We live our dream lives only to awaken others for to dream of a Heaven without each other, is the dream of hell. 

Read the last paragraph carefully, asking Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind to the concept that Jesus is teaching.  We simply are not in a position to know what the role of others is in our lives as long as our own function is not clear to us.  When we stop assigning roles to others in our efforts to make them responsible for our happiness, well-being, and social support, we stop attacking them when they fail to fulfill the parts they seem to play in keeping us from the life we were “meant” to have.  Nobody is standing in our way to Reality. Nobody is denying us anything.  It is all part of the crazy-making illusion. This is the realm for us who have forsaken and forgotten who and what we really are. We will keep showing up in each other’s dreams, assigning roles, making others responsible for protecting us from the nightmare of fear, until we realize we are not here to make dreams come true.  Dreams are dreams because they are not real and never can be.  The only worthwhile function in all dreams – seemingly pleasant or otherwise – is to awaken.  Every dreamer in every dream, no matter what role or form, is a call to love.  The Voice for God in you and the Voice for God in me compels us to love the dreamer, but not the dream.  

Today in your spiritual practice, examine the dreamers in your dream and begin to free each one from all roles that you have assigned to them. Only when we are willing to step out of the blame and shame cycles that assign others to make us happy and keep us safe, can we awaken the Sonship that makes us one. Be gentle, kind, and above all quiet. Do not judge your own process. 

Our family and friends believe they know us, but they only know us in the dreams they dream about us.  They only know us in the roles they have assigned to us. They may or may not understand what we are reaching for – and it is best if we do not let this concern us.  Awakening is a quiet, personal, inward journey that we are not compelled to share with others until led by Holy Spirit.  The simple act of deciding for Christ, to see Christ in all, frees us from any weird separatist practices that would require a following, financial support, and denominational backing.  When we reach for Christ, we reach for our true Identity as Sons of God. Stay close to Holy Spirit and go to Him often for He is our only Friend who knows us as we were created. Holy Spirit never fails to remind us of our true Identity in Sonship.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening iv dream roles. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 III God’s Witnesses

1. Condemn your savior not because he thinks he is a body. For beyond his dreams is his reality. But he must learn he is a savior first before he can remember what he is. And he must save who would be saved. On saving you depends his happiness. For who is savior but the one who gives salvation? Thus he learns it must be his to give. Unless he gives he will not know he has, for giving is the proof of having. Only those who think that God is lessened by their strength could fail to understand this must be so. For who could give unless he has, and who could lose by giving what must be increased thereby?

2. Think you the Father lost Himself when He created you? Was He made weak because He shared His Love? Was He made incomplete by your perfection? Or are you the proof that He is perfect and complete? Deny Him not His witness in the dream His Son prefers to his reality. He must be savior from the dream he made, that he be free of it. He must see someone else as not a body, one with him without the wall the world has built to keep apart all living things who know not that they live.

3. Within the dream of bodies and of death is yet one theme of truth; no more, perhaps, than just a tiny spark, a space of light created in the dark, where God still shines. You cannot wake yourself. Yet you can let yourself be wakened. You can overlook your brother’s dreams. So perfectly can you forgive him his illusions he becomes your savior from your dreams. And as you see him shining in the space of light where God abides within the darkness, you will see that God Himself is where his body is. Before this light, the body disappears as heavy shadows must give way to light. The darkness cannot choose that it remain. The coming of the light means it is gone. In glory will you see your brother then and understand what really fills the gap so long perceived as keeping you apart. There, in its place, God’s witness has set forth the gentle way of kindness to God’s Son. Whom you forgive is given power to forgive you your illusions. By your gift of freedom is it given unto you.

4. Make way for love, which you did not create, but which you can extend. On earth this means forgive your brother, that the darkness may be lifted from your mind. When light has come to him through your forgiveness, he will not forget his savior, leaving him unsaved. For it was in your face he saw the light that he would keep beside him, as he walks through darkness to the everlasting Light.

5. How holy are you, that the Son of God can be your savior in the midst of dreams of desolation and disaster. See how eagerly he comes and steps aside from heavy shadows that have hidden him, and shines on you in gratitude and love. He is himself, but not himself alone. And as his Father lost not part of him in your creation, so the light in him is brighter still because you gave your light to him, to save him from the dark. And now the light in you must be as bright as shines in him. This is the spark that shines within the dream; that you can help him waken and be sure his waking eyes will rest on you. And in his glad salvation you are saved.[1]

For those of us who have not yet learned that we cannot lose love by sharing it with all of Creation, Jesus uses Creation itself to teach us this concept.  Did God lose Himself when He created you?  Was God weakened by sharing His Love?  Is God depleted through our perfection and completion?  When we contemplate God as the eternal Ideal of Love, of course we do not consider Creation as His death sentence, but as a natural expression of His Love for love, as we all experience it, must be shared to be love.  I cannot love my cat without there being a cat to love!  I cannot love you without there being a you to love.  I cannot even love myself without there being a me to love.  Love must be shared to be love.  It is not like money, or tobacco, or any tangible substance.  Love must be expended to exist at all.  And so as we come to envision our Father as the Attribute of Love we implicitly understand that God cannot be depleted by extending more of Himself.

This then is the key to salvation, for learning, accepting, and applying this concept saves us from the realm that opposes love, which has made opposites for every aspect of the truth.  As our minds are enlightened, the cloudy, stormy world of love and hate, good and evil, peace and war, joy and sorrow gives way to the Kingdom which never fluctuates, which never goes back and forth between two opposites.  This Kingdom is the truth of God, it is Reality and not the bewildering maze of choosing between legions of opposing viewpoints and dead-end paths.  We are delivered from the ongoing downward cycle of untruth, the frivolous pursuit of truth and purpose and meaning where it cannot be found. 

We can step out of condemnation, out of the pet peeves we have toward this behavior and that one, we can stop disliking one another for our human foibles, for our crassness and bad manners, for our crimes against humanity, ridiculous self-promotion, and small-minded opinions that we promote as “truth!”  I can look at you and see beyond all that to your reality.  Beyond all your gossipy ways, your digging about in the past to find meaning and purpose, your mean-spirited, spiteful mannerisms to the real and beautiful you.  And I give that You to you when I overlook and “forgive” all that other stuff that happens in the gap of separation, in the dream of you not being You. 

When I give You to you, I am not being the bigger and better human giving out of my so-called generosity and goodness to the under-privileged, to a lesser intellect, to get my name in the paper or to give myself a little silver star for being nice to the unworthy.  When I see Christ in you, the Christ in me does not get smaller and weaker.  As long as I cherish any form of faithlessness in my giving You to you, I am kidding myself!  My religion is a dead thing, an empty belief system that only perpetuates the gap between us.  When I give You to you, I am finding in You my salvation. I am finding Christ in you because until I see the Christ in you I will never come to the Christ in me. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph three that we cannot wake ourselves, but we find our awakening in each other.  Unlike the world’s call to be “awoke,” pointing fingers of blame and shame, making enemies, calling for enforced reforms, as God’s Witnesses we awaken each other by overlooking the pointless squabbles and accusations of the world, by forgiving humanity’s dream of good and evil.  As God’s witness, we step out of that realm.  We are not looking for anyone or anything to blame.  Instead we are called to see each other from beyond the body, we are called to see each other past the misperceptions and illusions made to keep us apart and give us reason to despise and prey upon each other, thus deserving of decay and death. 

In the realm of bodies and death – the truth about us remains in each shattered piece, in every shard that puts space and outlines between us.  And this is the light of God.  It is in you, and it is in me, it is there with you in your mansion, in your barracks, in your cell, in your house, in your office, and it is in everything and everybody you spy with your little human eyes.  You are part of God and God is part of you and yet you will not awaken to this beautiful everlasting truth until you overlook all that keeps you apart from me and completely and perfectly forgive every single aspect of any illusions that would pull us and keep us apart. 

You can profess Christ as your savior all you want, but until you see Christ in me, all of your professions are empty of meaning.  Before the light of God, all that would separate us, all the twisted doctrinal beliefs, all the “thou shalls and thou shalt nots,” all our different body parts, all our array of so-called sins and self-righteous posturing melts away!  The coming of the Light means all the darkness is gone.  In place of all that judgment, condemnation, and intent to punish and avenge, the witnesses to God set forth the gentle way – whom you forgive is given power to forgive you – see the living Christ in me and the freedom and liberty of resurrection and everlasting life is given you!

God’s witnesses make way for love, for when we make way for love, we make way for God Which is Love.  Here this means that we forgive each other to lift the darkness from our minds.  When you forgive me, you are not doing me a favor, for when you unlock me from the dark chambers of your mind, you are setting yourself free from the dark chambers of your mind.  As long as you would imprison me there, judging my every word and thought and deed, harboring and cherishing my wrongdoing, my failures and foibles, my ignorance and shame – you imprison yourself in that dim dungeon, reeking of vermin, waste, and filth.  This is why we do not demand apologies from others or hold them to vows to “never do that again.”  We overlook what happens in this realm for what we overlook is only fiction, it could never have any substance or eternal say in our identity, unless we would hold on to it, keeping it close, getting it out every once in a while for a chew, trying to find some nutrition in it.  As witness to God we reach past any sickly impulse to derive pleasure from such madness. 

The Christ in you is only as bright as the Christ in me!  You can only be truly awoke when you get past the dream of blame and shame and see me as the means to your salvation – not your condemnation, vengeance, or spite.  For only when you see me as part of the Sonship of God will you be able to accept your own Sonship.  This is the way to God for in God we are one and forever. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening iii God’s witnesses. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 THE AWAKENING II. The Coming of the Guest

ACIM CHAPTER 29. II The Coming of the Guest

1. Why would you not perceive it as relief from suffering to learn that you are free? Why would you not acclaim the truth instead of looking on it as an enemy? Why does an easy path, so clearly marked it is impossible to lose the way, seem thorny, rough, and far too difficult for you to follow? Is it not because you see it as the road to hell instead of looking on it as a simple way, without a sacrifice or any loss, to find yourself in Heaven and in God? Until you realize you give up nothing, until you understand there is no loss, you will have some regrets about the way that you have chosen. And you will not see the many gains your choice has offered you. Yet though you do not see them, they are there. Their cause has been effected, and they must be present where their cause has entered in.

2. You have accepted healing’s cause and so it must be you are healed. And being healed, the power to heal must also now be yours. The miracle is not a separate thing that happens suddenly as an effect without a cause. Nor is it, in itself, a cause. But where its cause is must it be. Now is it caused, though not as yet perceived. And its effects are there, though not yet seen. Look inward now, and you will not behold a reason for regret but cause indeed for glad rejoicing and for hope of peace.

3. It has been hopeless to attempt to find the hope of peace upon a battleground. It has been futile to demand escape from sin and pain of what was made to serve the function of retaining sin and pain. For pain and sin are one illusion, as are hate and fear, attack and guilt but one. Where they are causeless their effects are gone, and love must come wherever they are not. Why are you not rejoicing? You are free of pain and sickness, misery and loss, and all effects of hatred and attack. No more is pain your friend and guilt your god, and you should welcome the effects of love.

4, Your Guest has come. You asked Him and He came. You did not hear Him enter, for you did not wholly welcome Him. And yet His gifts came with Him. He has laid them at your feet and asks you now that you will look on them and take them for your own. He needs your help in giving them to all who walk apart, believing they are separate and alone. They will be healed when you accept your gifts, because your Guest will welcome everyone whose feet have touched the holy ground whereon you stand, and where His gifts for them are laid.

5. You do not see how much you now can give, because of everything you have received. Yet He Who entered in but waits for you to come where you invited Him to be. There is no other place where He can find His host, nor where His host can meet with Him. And nowhere else His gifts of peace and joy, and all the happiness His Presence brings, can be obtained. For they are where He is Who brought them with Him, that they might be yours. You cannot see your Guest, but you can see the gifts He brought. And when you look on them, you will believe His Presence must be there. For what you now can do could not be done without the love and grace His Presence holds.

6. Such is the promise of the living God; His Son have life and every living thing be part of him, and nothing else have life. What you have given “life” is not alive and symbolizes but your wish to be alive apart from life, alive in death, with death perceived as life, and living, death. Confusion follows on confusion here, for on confusion has this world been based, and there is nothing else it rests upon. Its basis does not change, although it seems to be in constant change. Yet what is that except the state confusion really means? Stability to those who are confused is meaningless, and shift and change become the law on which they predicate their lives.

7. The body does not change. It represents the larger dream that change is possible. To change is to attain a state unlike the one in which you found yourself before. There is no change in immortality and Heaven knows it not. Yet here on earth is has a double purpose, for it can be made to teach opposing things. And they reflect the teacher who is teaching them. The body can appear to change with time, with sickness or with health, and with events that seem to alter it. Yet this but means the mind remains unchanged in its belief of what the purpose of the body is.

8. Sickness is a demand the body be a thing that it is not. Its nothingness is guarantee that it can not be sick. In your demand that it be more than this lies the idea of sickness. For it asks that God be less than all He really is. What, then, becomes of you, for it is you of whom the sacrifice is asked? For He is told that part of Him belongs to Him no longer. He must sacrifice your self, and in His sacrifice are you made more, and He is lessened by the loss of you. And what is gone from Him becomes your god, protecting you from being part of Him.

9. The body that is asked to be a god will be attacked, because its nothingness has not been recognized. And so it seems to be a thing with power in itself. As something, it can be perceived and thought to feel and act and hold you in its grasp as prisoner to itself. And it can fail to be what you demanded that it be. And you will hate it for its littleness, unmindful that the failure does not lie in that it is not more than it should be, but only in your failure to perceive that it is nothing. Yet its nothingness is your salvation, from which you would flee.

10. As “something” is the body asked to be God’s enemy, replacing what He is with littleness and limit and despair. It is His loss you celebrate when you behold the body as a thing you love or look upon it as a thing you hate. For if He be the Sum of everything, then what is not in Him does not exist, and His completion is its nothingness.  Your savior is not dead, nor does he dwell in what was built as temple unto death. He lives in God, and it is this that makes him savior unto you, and only this. His body’s nothingness releases yours from sickness and from death. For what is yours cannot be more or less than what is his. [1]

When we invite Christ into our lives it is the end of suffering and pain. It is the end of thoughts of sin, death, doom, and gloom.  There is no hurt in His Coming. There is no sorrow.  There is no arduous labor, sacrifice, or loss of any kind.  The Coming of Christ is not the thorny, rough, and difficult road that we would make it out to be.  When Christ emerges in the darkened consciousness there is light, there is ease, there is freedom and liberty. 

In today’s devotional text Jesus tells us that until we realize the truth about our salvation, we will have regrets about it!  We will worry and fret about our “unsaved” loved ones.  We will have a choice to either go to heaven without them or turn our backs on God, and it will put a terrible strain upon us.  We will wonder why everybody is not jumping up and down with glee that we are not longer sinners like them.  We will wonder why getting religion is not selling like hotcakes, why others mock and point fingers and roll their eyes. We will get a persecution complex when others avoid us, call us names, and take us down. We will believe that the Coming of Christ is a call to martyr ourselves to His Name and hope that we get our reward in Heaven when all those who turned their back on the Good News are burning in hell, begging us for a sip of water.  This ignorance of the message of His Coming calls us to be ruthless because while it breaks our hearts it makes of us punishing, vengeful individuals who must choose more separation and division from our brothers rather than the healing and completion and oneness of Creation.

When Christ comes to our awareness and restores our identity in Sonship, we accept the cause of healing, and because cause and effect are one, we are healed.  The power of Christ is ours – it is not apart from us. It is not something that we have to call down from Heaven for a particular person, event, or occasion and then wonder if and when God will hear our cry and respond to our distress signal. When Christ comes, the Cause has come and brings with Him the effects, even though we may not be aware of them.  And this is why Jesus teaches us to look within.  For when we look within we behold no reason at all for regret – for as Christ comes He becomes us and all that He is we are.  Salvation is not for you alone, you are saved to save others! To stand with Christ to save others.

In paragraph three, we find that the image of the “holy war” and the “Christian soldier,” is hopeless. for peace does not come from a battleground between “good” and “evil.”  To demand that the body be sinless and without pain is futile – we do not find our holiness in flesh and blood.  Our bodies were made as a means for separation from God not by God Himself.  We know what we have been taught but now we know better.  God Who is Love and Life Itself could never and would never make something that opposed His Own Reality! 

Our very minds rebel against such a view of God, and rightfully so.  For we cannot ever put our trust in such a concept for it is a humanized version of God, this god of opposites and opposition, this god of favorites and specialness.  When we invite Christ into our consciousness, when we reach for the High Mind of Sonship, we get past this humanized version of God for we are drawn to where Christ has come to us.  There in His Presence we accept His Gift of Himself. He has come again.  His Light has rolled back the darkness that corrupted our minds and held us bound to heartbreaking doctrines that divided the Sonship.  His Coming heals us and saves us – not to fly away in the sky to let our loved ones, friends, and neighbors behind, but to do what we could never do without the love and grace His Presence holds. In the rapture that takes place within our minds and hearts, every knee bows, and every tongue comes to know their truth in Sonship, in Christ, in the Oneness of All. In the light of forgiveness, mercy, and grace teachings of escapism, of elitism, of condemnation and punishment lose all meaning.    

This is God’s Promise to us and our promise to Him.  There is no life without Him.  A body without a Son is a bit of nothingness, tossed about by the sea of change, sometimes up and sometimes down, sometimes here and sometimes there, sometimes on this side of the opposition and sometimes the other.  The whole realm of good versus evil is a realm that cannot exist for God has no opposite. 

When we make God over our own image, we set ourselves up for attack.  Your humanized God will attack my humanized God – we will go to great lengths to prove each other wrong.  We will divide up into religious groups, denominations, and cults claiming that we have a special illumination of what the bible or any holy text really means.  People will lay claim to all kinds of visions; make all manner of promises; hold out all manner of hope if only we jump on their lifeboat and let everyone else behind, if we hate the world, if we hate our bodies, if we hate the ones who are not true believers like we are. 

Belief systems like this replace Who and What God is with littleness, limits, and despair.  We lose God when we engage in anything that is tainted with opposites, which divides us, which judges and condemns rather than heals and saves and makes us one.  God is Everything there is, and that which is not in God cannot be.  It is a figment of imagination. It is a misperception of those who would oppose Reality. It is a simulated reality made in dreams of fear and hate. 

Our Sonship is not dead, nor do we truly live in these bodies made for death.  We only live in God, and this is what makes you my savior and me yours.  When we invite Christ in, we accept our Sonship.  You accept me as you accept Christ, for only in recognition of our mutual Sonship can we be released from the body, its disease and certain death.  And this is what brings us such ease and bliss, for when I come to the place past my body and accept Christ, I accept all that Christ is and ever will be.  When I accept Sonship, I extend it to you because what is mine cannot be more or less than what is yours.  There is no work here.  There is no confusion, bewilderment, or heartbreak.  I understand the world for what it is, and therefore, it can no longer hurt me in any way, shape, or form.  I understand who I am and who you are and all my concerns for the both of us are over.  My trust is completely in the Love of God and the dark dream of time and space, flesh and blood, death and dying are washed away for my Guest has come and called me to Him and given me Sonship forever.  And I could never withhold this from you for any reason, for your life is in Him even as mine.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening ii the coming of the guest. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 29 THE AWAKENING I. The Closing of the Gap

ACIM CHAPTER 29 I. The Closing of the Gap

1. There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent. There is nothing to be feared. There is no way in which a gap could be conceived of in the wholeness that is His. The compromise the least and littlest gap would represent in His eternal love is quite impossible. For it would mean His love could harbor just a hint of hate, His gentleness turns sometimes to attack, and His eternal patience sometimes fail. All of this do you believe when you perceive a gap between your brother and yourself. How could you trust Him, then? For He must be deceptive in His Love. Be wary, then, let Him not come too close, and leave a gap between you and His Love, through which you can escape if there be need for you to flee.

2. Here is the fear of God most plainly seen. For love is treacherous to those who fear since fear and hate can never be apart. No one who hates but is afraid of love, and therefore must he be afraid of God. Certain it is he knows not what love means. He fears to love and loves to hate, and so he thinks that love is fearful; hate is love. This is the consequence the little gap must bring to those who cherish it and think that it is their salvation and their hope.

3. The fear of God! The greatest obstacle that peace must flow across has not yet gone. The rest are past, but this one still remains to block your path, and make the way to light seem dark and fearful, perilous and bleak. You had decided that your brother is your enemy. Sometimes a friend, perhaps, provided that your separate interests made your friendship possible a little while. But not without a gap perceived between you and him, lest he turn again into an enemy. Let him come close to you, and you jumped back; as you approached, did he but instantly withdraw. A cautious friendship, and limited in scope, and carefully restricted in amount became the treaty that you had made with him. Thus you and your brother but shared a qualified entente, in which a clause of separation was a point you both agreed to keep intact. And violating this was thought to be a breach of treaty not to be allowed.

4. The gap between you and your brother is not one of space between two separate bodies. And this but seems to be dividing off your separate minds. It is the symbol of a promise made to meet when you prefer and separate till you and he elect to meet again. And then your body seemed to get in touch, and thereby signify a meeting place to join. But always is it possible for you and him to go your separate ways. Conditional upon the “right” to separate will you and he agree to meet from time to time, and keep apart in intervals of separation, which do protect you from the “sacrifice” of love. The body saves you, for it gets away from total sacrifice and gives to you the time in which to build again your separate self, which you truly believe diminishes as you and your brother meet.

5. The body could not separate your mind from your brothers unless you wanted it to be a cause of separation and of distance seen between you and him. Thus do you endow it with a power that lies not within itself. And herein lies its power over you. For now you think that it determines when your brother and you meet and limits your ability to make communion with your brother’s mind. And now it tells you where to go and how to go there, what is feasible for you to undertake, and what you cannot do. It dictates what its health can tolerate, and what will tire it and make it sick. And its “inherent” weaknesses set up the limitations on what you do and keep your purpose limited and weak.

6. The body will accommodate to this if you would have it so. It will allow but limited indulgence in “love,” with intervals of hatred in between. And it will take command of when to “love,” and went to shrink more safely into fear. It will be sick because you do not know what loving means. And so you must misuse each circumstance and everyone you meet and see in them a purpose not your own.

7. It is not love that asks a sacrifice. But fear demands the sacrifice of love, for in Love’s presence fear cannot abide. For hate to be maintained, love must be feared; and  only sometimes present, sometimes gone. Thus is love seen as treacherous, because it seems to come and go uncertainly, and offer no stability to you. You do not see how limited and weak your allegiance is, and how frequently you have demanded that love go away and leave you quietly alone in “peace.”

8. The body, innocent of goals, is your excuse for variable goals you hold, and force the body to maintain. You do not fear its weakness, but its lack of strength or weakness. Would you know that nothing stands between you and your brother? Would you know there is no gap behind which you can hide? There is a shock that comes to those who learn their savior is their enemy no more. There is a wariness that is aroused by learning that the body is not real. And there are overtones of seeming fear around the happy message, “God is love.”

9. Yet all that happens when the gap is gone is peace eternal. Nothing more than that, and nothing less. Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His Love? Would you allow the body to say “no” to Heaven’s calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your self be lost by being found? [1]

When we look upon each other with suspicion and hatred, recall old wounds, fail to address what needs to be addressed in our efforts to protect our vulnerability and to cherish being a victim of another, when we fail to love and trust each other we see God as absent, as leaving us hanging, as not caring about us or our needs.  We live in a realm where God is a mystery, a “thing” that others devise to use against us, to manipulate us, to make us feel bad, to keep us in a lower state of mind so God can always loom too large and holy to conceive as being part of me, as being one with me.  And so we live in this gap of unbelief, this dream of death and dying, this dream of being against each other instead of for each other.  I can go there, to the gap, when God fails me and I can take care of things myself, the way I want them to turn out.  Me and my little universe that I rule and reign all by myself and without the love and support of anyone else, where I am King of Kings and Lord of Lords – I will go there and reign forever on my throne.  And there I sit on my lonely little pretend throne looking about and blaming everybody else for its pretense and wondering why everybody else wants to sit on their throne when they know in their hearts that the throne is mine and where I belong! 

It is scary to sit on my own throne. I know that I am not King of Kings or Lord of Lords, nor do I really want to be.  I know nothing about anything at all. I want people to love and adore me, but I do not know how to love and adore them.  I am afraid to love others because if I love them I am sharing power and I must come down from my throne and deign to return to them what is their due.  And to do that, I must leave the only thing about me that is special and dear and distinguishes me from the masses.  I would rather despise them than to love them and to be one with them.  How dare they expect me to love them?  And so in separation from love, I turn love to hate and hate to love. And this is the consequence that comes from living in separation, from making an opposite to love, to opposing the reality that has no opposite. 

This is the story of our lives. We feel as if other people diminish us, or at the very least do not add to our vitality and strength.  They take far more from us than they could ever give in return.  But this is not true!  God is represented in our brothers. My thoughts about you are my thoughts about God. If I do not trust you, I do not trust the God in you. I am relating to you as a body and not the holy Self you are.  When I relate to you as a body I will not be honest with you, I will not communicate with you, I will talk about you behind your back, I will make up stories about you, I will believe and share the stories that I make up about you, but I will never take the time to get to know the real you for you are merely another body, and I choose to keep it that way.

The body is innocent of all this.  It is the excuse for the opposing goals we keep in our mind. We want to be close and intimate with our family members, but their rudeness and ingratitude keep us apart. We want to see the best in others, to love them, cherish them, and hold them dear, but their bristly personality disorders and their constant gossiping keep us apart.  It is not our body’s weakness that frightens us so much as its lack of either strength or weakness, its complete neutrality, its complete dependence upon what we have chosen.  For we made it to hide from love, to keep our brothers separate from us, to be a piece of meat looking out licking our chops over other pieces of meat, devouring as much of creation as we can before creation devours us.

Jesus points out the obvious – the devices that we made for separation do nothing to protect us from each other or keep us apart. Our minds will ever be one. It may come as a shock to us to find that we are all one mind having one hallucination with many different forms, but the oneness that we would hide from is our salvation.  To fear oneness is to fear Love, for the body cannot stand between us and Creation, it cannot stand between us and the Father, it cannot stand between you and me.  As long as we believe the body protects us from each other, we give the body a pretense of power that it simply does not have.   

We end this section with the promise of eternal peace for when there is no longer a gap between us, when I can see you only as my brother and with the perception of Christ, peace is established between us.  Peace is all we need.  All of the cares of the world disappear.  Our food and shelter needs, our warmth and comfort needs, our sense of belonging needs, our need for freedom, fun, and adventure needs – all of them are covered in the peace of God.  For only in peace can our needs be met without conflict, without stress and anxiety, for our peace does not hinge upon another’s unrest, our peace in God does not come at the cost of war, it is not tentative but certain and everlasting. 

We close the gap between us and God by this final hurdle – we lose our fear of God. We lose our fear of each other.  Your fear of me is not good for us; I am not here to hurt you or to put you down.  I may have made mistakes. I may have said and done things that seemed to hurt you and take something away from you – but mistakes are of the past, they are limited to the past, they cannot go into the future or remain in the present unless we choose to cherish them, to dwell upon them, to vomit them up and swallow them again.  When you get over your fear of me, when you are no longer willing to abandon me, to put me out to pasture, to take me off your friend list, you move closer to God for I am your salvation, and you are mine.  Let there be no gap between us!  For we go to God together in peace – or not at all.

In your personal devotions today pay particular attention to paragraph nine and ask the light of Holy Spirit to shine upon your fear of losing self in finding God.  Examine what you call your self and what is so special about this self you are afraid of losing – for your body was not made for the Reality of God but for the realm in which we relate to one another in separation, division, uncertainty, and confusion. As much as we may cherish our bodies, we cannot find our Self in them! Our salvation comes from recognizing, remembering, and reaching for God’s Promise.  And you are God’s promise to me, and I am God’s promise to you. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening i. the closing of the gap. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 28 VII The Ark of Safety

1. God asks for nothing, and His Son, like Him, need ask for nothing. For there is no lack in him. An empty space, a little gap, would be a lack. And it is only there that he could want for something he has not. A space where God is not, a gap between the Father and the Son is not the Will of Either, Who have promised to be one.  God’s promise is a promise to Himself, and there is no one who could be untrue to what He wills as part of what He is. The promise that there is no gap between Himself and what He is cannot be false. What will can come between what must be one and in Whose Wholeness there can be no gap?

2. The beautiful relationship you have with all your brothers is a part of you because it is a part of God Himself. Are you not sick, if you deny yourself your wholeness and your health, the Source of help, the Call to healing and the Call to heal? Your savior waits for healing, and the world waits with him. Nor are you apart from it. For healing will be one or not at all, its oneness being where the healing is. What could correct for separation but its opposite? There is no middle ground in any aspect of salvation. You accept it wholly or accept it not. What is unseparated must be joined. And what is joined cannot be separate. 

3. Either there is a gap between you and your brother, or you are as one. There is no in between, no other choice, and no allegiance to be split between the two. A split allegiance is but faithlessness to both, and merely sets you spinning round, to grasp uncertainly at any straw that seems to hold some promise of relief. Yet who can build his home upon a straw, and count on it as shelter from the wind? The body can be made a home like this because it lacks foundation in the truth. And yet, because it does, it can be seen as not your home, but merely as an aid to help you reach the Home where God abides.

4. With this as purpose is the body healed. It is not used to witness to the dream of separation and disease. Nor is it idly blamed for what it did not do. It serves to help the healing of God’s Son and for this purpose it cannot be sick. It will not join a purpose not your own, you have chosen that it not be sick. All miracles are based upon this choice and given you the instant it is made. No forms of sickness are immune because the choice cannot be made in terms of form. The choice of sickness seems to be of form, yet it is one, as is its opposite. And you are sick or well, accordingly.

5. But never you alone. This world is but the dream that you can be alone and think without affecting those apart from you. To be alone must mean you are apart, and if you are, you cannot but be sick. This seems to prove that you must be apart. Yet all it means is that you tried to keep a promise to be true to faithlessness. Yet faithlessness is sickness. It is like the house set upon straw. It seems to be quite solid and substantial in itself. Yet its stability cannot be judged apart from its foundation. If it rests on straw, there is no need to bar the door and lock the windows and make fast the bolts. The wind will topple it and rain will come and carry it into oblivion.

6. What is the sense in seeking to be safe in what was made for danger and for fear? Why burden it with further locks and chains and heavy anchors when its weakness lies, not in itself, but in the frailty of the little gap of nothingness whereon it stands? What can be safe that rests upon a shadow? Would you build your home upon what will collapse beneath a feather’s weight?

7. Your home is built upon your brother’s health, upon his happiness, his sinlessness, and everything His Father promised him. No secret promise you have made instead has shaken the Foundation of his home. The winds will blow upon it and the rain will beat against it, but with no effect. The world will wash away and yet this house will stand forever, for its strength lies not within itself alone. It is an ark of safety, resting on God’s promise that His Son is safe forever in Himself. What gap can interpose itself between the safety of this shelter and its Source? From here the body can be seen as what it is and neither less nor more in worth than the extent to which it can be used to liberate God’s Son unto his home. And with this holy purpose is it made a home of holiness a little while, because it shares your Father’s Will with you. [1]

As God’s Son we have everything we need in the spiritual realm, and it is only in Oneness that we have no needs, no lack, no sense of loss – for we are united with all there is. There is nothing at all that can come between us and Who and What we are and Who and What we belong to.  This is a promise; this is our ark of safety – the realm that we exist in as humans is not a reality, but a realm based upon lies and illusions.  In a realm of lies and illusions there are all kinds of needs; there are all kinds of wants; there are all kinds of sorry things that happen; and all kinds of sorry dreamers that only add more nothingness to what already never was! 

When we accept this, we do not allow what goes on in the world to interfere with our peace.  We forgive the lies and illusions that fill the gaps between us.  We do not make the mistake of adding to a mistake; we do not make the mistake to believe that what happens in a dream is our reality. The only thing that corrects separation is joining, and in joining there is no half-joining, there is no I will join you sometimes and the rest of the time we will stay apart.  When we are joined, I become you and you become me. What I say, think, and feel about you, you will know and what you say, think, and feel about me, I will know.  We are joined in Spirit, and nothing can separate us.

In the perceptual world we can not grasp this oneness – for we see only spaces and outlines of one another with our flesh eyes.  I cannot know you in the flesh for you are not the flesh nor are you the works of the flesh.  You are not one with me in the flesh for you live in your house and I live in mine, and we go off in different directions.  To try to reach oneness in the flesh is a senseless endeavor.  We will always be at odds at least in some areas!  We will get our wires crossed. I will need your body to come and help me with the garden, and you will take your body and help someone else. You may accuse me of having an ulterior agenda; I may believe that your good works are only a facade. We are not going to have an ark of safety in our bodies.  Our flesh and blood and bones cannot protect us, and they are not our home.

The only purpose we have for our bodies is as aid to help us reach our Oneness, the Home of God, the place where we belong.  When we no longer see our bodies as our ark of safety but as a means to reach our ark of safety – we are healed.  We no longer use our body’s perception to support the dream of separation and disease.  We do not blame our bodies for failing us, for leading us apart, for maintaining the distance between us. When we use our body as a means to heal the Sonship, it cannot be sick.  Every single miracle is based upon this choice: “I will use my body for healing and not for separation.”  There are no forms of sickness that are immune to the miracle because the statement “I will use my body for healing and not for separation,” cannot be made in terms of form.  In other words I do not say, “I will use my body for healing cancer and not for separation.” Or, “I will use my body for healing and not for gossiping about my neighbors.”  There is no form of sickness just as there is no form of health.  One is either one or the other.  Do not support the illusion by making up and partaking in the different forms of sickness that the world seems to generate.  There is sickness and there is health.  And it is a choice.  

We are one in this decision – and the choice we make, the thoughts we think, the things we say and do affect the whole. Sickness comes from not realizing our oneness, from believing that we are separate and independent of each other and of God.  Sickness means we tried to keep a promise to separation; it is this faithlessness that is sickness itself.  Separation is a house built upon straw – the house itself seems solid enough but its foundation renders it incapable of shelter nor can it protect its occupants from intruders.  Inclement weather will take it down and carry it off. 

The Kingdom of Heaven is built upon all that is good about you: Your health, happiness, holiness, your love, peace, and joy, your laughter and your goodwill.  I find my Home in all that is of God about you.  No thoughts of separation, no thoughts of your ill will, no thoughts of all the mistakes you made back in the 1970’s, no thoughts of all the unnecessary drama that seemed to characterize your life and relationships. To return Home, I must let all the stuff that came between us in our separation be a thing of the past. I must let the past sweep it away and realize it never was nor could be.  When someone tries to make it real, when the world will dig about in the past and try to come up with a sin in which to pin you to the dartboard and make a target of you, when others will mock and make fun and try to hide their sins behind yours, my Home in your Holiness will stand. 

Why will it stand? Because it does not stand alone.  It is an ark of safety, resting on God’s promise that His Son is safe forever in Himself.   This is our promise when we choose to join rather than be separate.  This is our safety because God is our Source, and His promise is our comfort. 

Today in your personal devotions, contemplate the effects of choosing to heal, to join, to stop aiding and abetting the separation.  What does this look like in our daily lives? How do we begin to make of each other our ark of safety, to find our Home in God in each other?  Each one of us have at least one concrete example of God and His Son in which to practice. It may be our husband or wife, our sister or brother, our son or daughter. It may be a coworker, a best friend, the bartender where we hang out after work.  When we pick one person in which to find our ark of safety, we commit to see only holiness in them, to practice only holiness with them, to let all that is unworthy be a thing of the past and to start now, in the blessed present and holy instant. 

Being Christ in our brother’s life is quiet work.  We are not in it for the fame and glory. We are not in it to get credit for the miracles that occur. We do not plot and scheme and manipulate circumstances in order to get others to confess Christ as their Savior.  We do not preach or spout off Scripture or quote A Course in Miracles.  Finding your ark of safety is simply allowing your holiness to shine in a world which values the fleshy over the everlasting ideals of God.  And so we go forth in grace and mercy, forgiving the wrongs that are done in separation by overlooking all that is crazy, weird, and unkind, and focusing instead on what is loving, peaceful, and kind.   

Our holiness directed to and given to another is the miracle, for it forgives the separation and joins us in the promise God made to us and we made to Him.  When I find my ark of safety in you, I see the body for what it is. Its only worth is how useful it is in freeing the Sonship and bringing us Home.  Today commit your body to be a home for Christ for the little while you walk the earth.  Choose kind and forgiving, tender and gentle thoughts.  Let your communication be quiet, calm, cheerful, grateful, and honest. Choose actions that reflect the Father’s Will for oneness and return.  When we decide for holiness we reach for the High Mind of Christ; we become Christ as Christ becomes us.  This is just another way of saying that we accept the Sonship; we accept our identity in God.  We no longer try to find our identity in separateness, in cynicism, condemnation, in judgement, in rubbing the faces of our brothers in the dirt we dig up about them. When I reach for the best which is in you, I reach for the best that is in me.  And the best in us is the God in us, and the God in us is our Ark, and the Ark will bring us Home.    

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear vii the ark of safety. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 28 VI The Secret Vows

1. Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap is seen and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told, without attack.

2. It is indeed a senseless point of view to hold responsible for sight a thing that cannot see and blame it for the sounds you do not like, although it cannot hear. It suffers not punishment you give because it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set. And if that path is changed, it walks as easily another way. It takes no sides and judges not the road it travels. It perceives no gap because it does not hate. It can be used for hate, but it cannot be hateful made thereby.

3. The thing you hate and fear and loathe and want, the body does not know. You send it forth to seek for separation and be separate. And then you hate it, not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it. You shrink from what it sees and what it hears and hate its frailty and littleness. And you despise its acts, but not your own. It sees and acts for you. It hears your voice. And it is frail and little by your wish. It seems to punish you, and thus deserve your hatred for the limitations that it brings to you. Yet you have made of it a symbol for the limitations that you want your mind to have and see and keep.

4. The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self, and that, without it, would your self be lost. This is the secret vow that you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return.

5. Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another’s secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, “There is no gap between my mind and yours” has kept God’s promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.

6. Let this be your agreement with each one, that you be one with him and not apart. And he will keep the promise that you make with him, because it is the one that he has made to God, as God has made to him. God keeps His promises; His Son keeps his. In his creation did his Father say, “You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.” His Son remembers not that he replied, “I will,” though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified. His secret vows are powerless before the Will of God, Whose promises he shares. And what he substitutes is not his will, who has made promise to himself to God. [1]

We make a secret vow with all our brothers who would walk apart. We renew our oaths every time we see them as against us and not for us.  I cannot suffer as long as I fail to see you as my victimizer; I cannot suffer as long as I lose nothing by an attack against me.  But I pledge my body to sickness every time you fail me, every word you say against me, every time you take what is mine and leave me with nothing. When I give you the power to take away my sunshine and my life, I pledge myself to the insanity that keeps the illusion going.  It is a promise I make to you – you will always hurt me, disappoint me, do something that will let me down and make me frown.  And it gives me the right to attack you and maintain the sick cycles of the world.  This is our secret promise to each other – you make me sick and therefore I will make you sick.  If you make me so sick that I cannot stand it anymore, I will exchange you for someone else and replay the same secret vow with the one in which I substitute for you.  You can rest assured that what happened between you and me is going to happen between the next brother and me.  It is an unconscious desire to blame someone else and let them disempower us so that we have every right to pour out our anger and spite upon them, to whine and complain, to have an excuse for why we never go after the gold, why we never reach for the High Mind, why we content ourselves with nothingness when we are really all there is. 

We are insane to take out revenge upon a body.  The body is not capable of anything on its own.  It knows nothing. It functions solely upon the thoughts and will of what inhabits it.  It is unable to give any meaning to anything that happens in the spaces between the broken parts of God.  The body is not what suffers punishment because it has no feeling on its own.  It is not the “chooser.” It makes no decisions.  Jesus tells us that it is not born and does not die.  It just follows aimlessly on the path to which it has been set.  Change the path, and it follows along the changed path just as easily as it did the last one.  The body does not side with evil and it does not determine the path we choose.  It does not love or hate, though it can be used for hate and made by hate. 

In other words there is no reason at all to hate our bodies. The body is what we chose to substitute for the spiritual essence which is our Being.  While the body represents our independence, our separation from the whole, the space that we put between ourselves and God, it is not evil on its own. According to A Course in Miracles, the body is what we made, not what God made. 

The body is nothing without us. We may end up hating the body for its frailty, for its lack of knowledge, for its inability to make us happy, but whom we really hate is ourselves.  The body is a physical representation of the gap between the low mind of ego and the higher mind, the Mind of Christ, our true and holy Spirit/Self.  Those of us who end up in the realm of the low mind chose to leave the Big Picture and take a little picture of our own, each of us the mini-me of our own fictional kingdom, the center of our tiny, limited universe, the keeper of our grandiose ideas about ourselves.  And when this fails, when our grandiose plan is met with the resistance and opposition by those who simply do not see how special we are, we get angry.  Our anger can take the form of self-pity. It can take the form of grumpiness. It can take the form of violence and cruelty.  But whatever form it takes, it is searching for someone or something to blame.

No matter where we direct our anger, it always comes back to us. We will suffer physical pain.  Our bodies cannot but fail us, for they mirror our sense of separation, sin, and shame.  Disease is the effect of the secret vow we make in this realm to hold ourselves apart from each other, of blaming, shaming, and punishing others for what we chose for ourselves. 

However, it only takes one of us to decide to step out of our vow to be apart, to be sick, to choose enmity and despair.  Whichever one of us commits themselves to healing, who says, “There is no gap between us,” is healed and thereby heals the other. 

This applies to every atrocity there is. This principle applies to all manner of rudeness and ill will. There is no powwow in the world that can stand against it and stop healing from taking place when one Son of God, Brother of Christ, claims oneness by denying the separation, by giving no support to specialness, by offering only the Reality of Creation in place of the perceptual world. 

Jesus calls to us to let this be the agreement we have with each other – that we are one with each other and not apart.  When I keep this promise with you, it is the promise I made with God and God has made with me.  Just as God keeps His promises; so must I keep mine!  When God created us, He said, “You are my Beloved and I am your Beloved.  You are perfect as I am perfect, and you can never be apart from Me.”  And we said, “We will,” and in that promise we were created.  There was no breaking the promise because it was a promise of God. 

We are reminded of this promise every time we do not keep our secret oath of separateness, sickness, and attack.  The peace of God is restored to our awareness when we deny the gap between us, when we put down our weapons, when we step up to our rightful place in His Kingdom.  Reach for the High Mind today and remember the beautiful perfect Love of which we are a part.  Those ignorant vows we took to flesh and blood, to shame and blame, to separation and specialness, to sin and punishment have absolutely no power before the Will of God.  The promise God made to us and the promise we made to God cancels out every vain oath and stupid agreement that would obscure our beauty, purity, and goodness in Him. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear vi the secret vows. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 28 THE UNDOING OF FEAR V. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear

ACIM CHAPTER 28. V. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear

1. What is a sense of sickness but a sense of limitation? Of a splitting off and separating from? A gap that is perceived between you and your brother, and what is now seen as health? And so the good is seen to be outside, the evil, in. God is the Alternate to dreams of fear. Who shares in them can never share in Him. But who withdraws his mind from sharing them is sharing Him. There is no other choice. Except you share it, nothing can exist. And you exist because God shared His Will with you, that His creation might create.

2. It is the sharing of the evil dreams of hate and malice, bitterness and death, of sin and suffering and pain and loss, that makes them real. Unshared, they are perceived as meaningless. The fear is gone from them because you did not give them your support. Where fear has gone there love must come, because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one that you accept, because it is the only one you wish to have.

3. You share no evil dreams if you forgive the dreamer and perceive that he is not the dream he made. And so he cannot be a part of yours, from which you both are free. Forgiveness separates the dreamer from the evil dream, and thus releases him. Remember if you share an evil dream, you will believe you are the dream you share. And fearing it, you will not want to know your own Identity, because you think that It is fearful. And you will deny your Self and walk upon an alien ground which your Creator did not make, and where you seem to be a something you are not. You will make war upon your Self, Which seems to be your enemy and will attack your brother, as a part of what you hate. There is no compromise. You are your Self or an illusion. What can be between illusion and the truth? A middle ground, where you can be a thing that is not you, must be a dream, and cannot be the truth.

4. You have conceived a little gap between illusions and the truth to be the place where all your safety lies, and where your Self is safely hidden by what you have made. Here is a world established that is sick, and this the world the body’s eyes perceive. Here are the sounds it hears; the voices that its ears were made to hear. Yet sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is, what listening is for. It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It can not think and so it cannot have effects.

5. What is there God created to be sick? And what that He created not can be? Let not your eyes behold a dream; your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that can make no sound. Yet are there other sounds and other sights that can be seen and heard and understood. For eyes and ears are senses without sense, and what they see and hear they but report. It is not they that hear and see, but you, who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make a witness to the world you want. Let not the body’s ears and eyes perceive these countless fragments seen within the gap that you imagined and let them persuade their maker his imaginings are real.

6. Creation proves reality because it shares the function all creation shares. It is not made of little bits of glass, a piece of wood, a thread or two, perhaps, all put together to attest its truth. Reality does not depend on this. There is no gap that separates the truth from dreams and from illusions. Truth has left no room for them in any place or time. For it fills every place and every time and makes them wholly indivisible.

7. You who believe there is a little gap between you and your brother do not see that it is here you are as prisoners in a world perceived to be existing here. The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real. The gap is carefully concealed in fog and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever unsubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is nothing. And there are no awesome secrets and no darkened tombs where terror rises from the bones of death. Look at the little gap and you behold the innocence and emptiness of sin that you will see within yourself when you have lost the fear of recognizing love. [1]

There is only sickness and insanity, sin and shame in the sense of separation that has splintered our perception of Creation.  While we may consider it healthy to have spaces between us, to separate our bodies from each other, to erect boundaries to keep us safe from each other, we fail to recognize that the spaces and outlines between us are not reality.  Creation is complete and whole and forever joined.  When we mistake the brokenness and the fear and suspicions that come between us for reality, we share an unwholesome realm that turns us into something we are not.

God did not create us to be predators upon Creation.  God did not create us to be full of fear, to live behind locked doors, to carry weapons formed to maim and kill other parts of Creation.  God did not create a world that has its teeth set us against us.  God did not create a world where we must sweat and labor and sacrifice for every morsel of our subsistence.  Share this realm, stay involved in its drama and trauma, cherish its mysteries and murders, become addicted to its hate and malice, bitterness and death, and we make the evil dreams real.   

But stop sharing in it, step out of the dreams, refuse to become involved, keep your mind focused upon the reality of God’s love and the dreams of this world can torment us no longer.  We are free of them because love comes to us when we stop supporting and sharing the dreams of fear, of blame, of sin and shame.  There is one Alternate to dreams of fear and it is God the Father and Creator of all that is and ever will be.  This is our Father, and our Father is Love.  Deny all that would oppose Love and Love is all that remains.  Deny all that would oppose Truth and Truth remains.  There is no other alternative.  I am my Self only when I refuse to be a poor substitute for what I really am.  What stands between the illusion of me and the truth about me? What stands between the truth about you and the illusion of you?  A middle ground, a gap, a space, a separation, a divide.  And in that gap between us, we make up stories about each other.  You will blame me, and I will blame you for whatever comes between us.  I will see things my way and you will see things your way for we have broken up into pieces.  In that gap we cannot ever see Reality for we are looking with our flesh eyes and our flesh ears designed to see and hear things that keep us broken.  We are looking from eyes designed to exist in a world of limitations, a world of hierarchies, a world devised on a belief in opposition and opposites. 

In paragraph six, Jesus teaches that Creation proves reality – it is not made of little bits and pieces of this and that.  Reality does not depend on anything you can “prove.” Reality is – it has not divisions that separate it from unreality.  There is no room in reality for doubts and uncertainties, for questions and arguments.  Reality fills every place and every time and is whole and indivisible. 

Today in your personal devotions, invite Holy Spirit to help you understand the Alternate to dreams of fear.  There is nothing in the gap between you and me.  There is nothing in the gap between us and God.  Look carefully and prayerfully at the empty spaces perceived by your flesh eyes that stand between you and all of Creation and see that it simply cannot be.  There is only innocence.  Sin has no meaning. All that would seem to take place in those empty spaces is as nothing when we lose our fear of recognizing the Love of our Father that created us as one. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear v the alternate to dreams of fear. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 28.IV The Greater Joining

1. Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone’s dream of sickness and of death. It means that you share not his wish to separate and let him turn illusions on himself. Nor do you wish that they be turned, instead, on you. Thus have they no effects. And you are free of dreams of pain because you let him be. Unless you help him, you will suffer pain with him because that is your wish. And you become a figure in his dream of pain, as he in yours. So do you and your brother both become illusions, and without identity. You could be anyone or anything, depending on whose evil dream you share. You can be sure of just one thing; that you are evil, for you share in dreams of fear.

2. There is a way of finding certainty right here and now. Refuse to be a part of fearful dreams whatever form they take, for you will lose identity in them. You find yourself by not accepting them as causing you and giving you effects. You stand apart from them, but not apart from him who dreams them. Thus you separate the dreamer from the dream, and join in one, but let the other go. The dream is but illusion in the mind. And with the mind you would unite, but never with the dream. It is the dream you fear, and not the mind. You see them as the same because you think that you are but a dream. And what is real and what is but illusion in yourself you do not know and cannot tell apart.

3. Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, “hero” of the dream, your brother. It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him. Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood. His body and his dreams but seem to make a little gap, where yours have joined with his.

4. And yet, between your minds there is no gap. To join his dreams is thus to meet him not, because his dreams would separate from you. Therefore release him, merely by your claim on brotherhood, and not on dreams of fear. Let him acknowledge who he is, by not supporting his illusions by your faith, for if you do, you will have faith in yours. With faith in yours, he will not be released, and you are kept in bondage to his dreams. And dreams of fear will haunt the little gap, inhabited but by illusions which you have supported in your brother’s mind.

5. Be certain, if you do your part, he will do his, for he will join you where you stand. Call not to him to meet you in the gap between you or you must believe that it is your reality as well as his. You cannot do his part, but this you do when you become a passive figure in his dreams, instead of dreamer of your own. Identity in dreams is meaningless because the dreamer and the dream are one. Who shares a dream must be the dream he shares, because by sharing is a cause produced.

6. You share confusion, and you are confused, for in the gap no stable self exists. What is the same seems different because what is the same appears to be unlike. His dreams are yours because you let them be. But if you took your own away would he be free of them, and of his own as well. Your dreams are witnesses to his, and his attest the truth of yours. Yet if you see there is no truth in yours, his dreams will go, and he will understand what made the dream.

7. The Holy Spirit is in both minds, and He is One because there is no gap that separates His Oneness from Itself. The gap between your bodies matters not, for what is joined in Him is always one. No one is sick if someone else accepts his union with him. His desire to be a sick and separated mind can not remain without a witness or a cause. And both are gone if someone wills to be united with him. He has dreams that he was separated from his brother who, by sharing not his dream, has left the space between them vacant. And the Father comes to join His Son the Holy Spirit joined.

8. The Holy Spirit’s function is to take the broken picture of the Son of God and put the pieces into place again. This holy picture, healed entirely, does He hold out to every separate piece that thinks it is a picture in itself. To each He offers his Identity, Which the whole picture represents, instead of just a little, broken bit that he insisted was himself. And when he sees this picture he will recognize himself. If you share not your brother’s evil dream, this is the picture that the miracle will place within the little gap, left clean of all the seeds of sickness and of sin. And here the Father will receive His Son because His Son was gracious to himself.

9. I thank You, Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. Your holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part.

10. Join not your brother’s dreams but join with him, and where you join His Son the Father is. Who seeks for substitutes when he perceives he has lost nothing? Who would want to have the “benefits” of sickness when he has received the simple happiness of health? What God has given cannot be a loss, and what is not of Him has no effects. What, then, would you perceive within the gap? The seeds of sickness come from the belief that there is joy in separation, and its giving up would be a sacrifice. But miracles are the result when you do not insist on seeing in the gap what is not there. Your willingness to let illusions go is all the Healer of God’s Son requires. He will place the miracle of healing where the seeds of sickness were. And there will be no loss, but only gain. [1]

As long as we react to one another in fear, judgment, and suspicion we are choosing to fill the gap between our perceptions of each other with the nothingness that ensnares us in the perceptual world.  When we live in the flesh world, it would seem that we must be keenly aware of our surroundings.  We must determine who is dangerous and who is safe, who can be trusted with our confidences and who cannot be trusted with the tiniest shred!  I will base all my perception of you on the past – were you someone who lifted my spirits and supported my dreams or were you someone who sucked up my time and energy with your constant complaints and grievances and plotted against me, secretly desiring to see me fail?  Will I react to all that I have held against you, or will I forgive the things that went wrong between us and welcome the miracle to clear the illusions of our alienation? 

The seeds of sickness come from the belief that there is joy in separation.  There is no sacrifice in giving up the fractures, friction, and fiction that come between us, for a miracle takes place when we choose to give up the dreams we made up about each other.  We let illusions go.  We take a stand for the reality of the oneness of God’s Son.  When I no longer react to you based upon the perceptions I made to fill the gap between us, the miracle of healing takes the place of the anger and hostility, the disease and dread that seemed to fill that space before.  A miracle of healing is a gain in love, peace, and joy – not only for me and for you in this instant, but for the Kingdom of God forever. 

Jesus tells us very explicitly to stop sharing the evil dream with others.  Do not take part in gossip and slander, in blame and shame.  Do not preach sin and sacrifice, doom and gloom.  Do not blame the problems of the world on any part of God’s Creation for the whole of Creation is in each part and every aspect of the Body of Christ is just as the same as every other part.  Do not partake in the bad dreams of others but join with their reality in Christ, for when we join with our brothers. we join with God.  We are not set apart from others; we are one with them.

In paragraph nine we have a lovely prayer which we can paraphrase with words and phrases that best match our own personal devotional practice. Today pray this prayer of gratitude and ask the Father for a deepened understanding of the greater joining which heals all of our brokenness and restores us to the completion of God’s Son! 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear iv the greater joining. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 28. III The Agreement to Join

1. What waits in perfect certainty beyond salvation is not our concern. For you have barely started to allow your first, uncertain steps to be directed up the ladder separation led you down. The miracle alone is your concern at present. Here is where we must begin. And having started, will the way be made serene and simple in the rising up to waking and the ending of the dream. When you accept a miracle, you do not add your dream of fear to one that is already being dreamed. Without support, the dream will fade away without effects. For it is your support that strengthens it.

2. No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with your brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate.

3. The miracle does nothing just because the minds are joined and cannot separate. Yet in the dreaming has this been reversed and separate minds are seen as bodies, which are separated, and which cannot join. Do not allow your brother to be sick, for if he is, have you abandoned him to his own dream by sharing it with him. He has not seen the cause of sickness where it is, and you have overlooked the gap between you, where the sickness has been bred. Thus are you joined in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him. Fight not His coming with illusions, for it is His coming that you want above all things that seem to glisten in the dream.

4. The end of dreaming is the end of fear, and love was never in the world of dreams. The gap is little. Yet it holds the seeds of pestilence and every form of ill because it is a wish to keep apart and not to join. And thus it seems to give a cause to sickness which is not its cause. The purpose of the gap is all the cause that sickness has. For it was made to keep you separated, in a body which you see as if it were the cause of pain.

5. The cause of pain is separation, not the body, which is only its effect. Yet separation is but empty space, enclosing nothing, doing nothing, and as unsubstantial as the empty place between the ripples that a ship has made in passing by. And covered just as fast, as water rushes in to close the gap, and as the waves in joining cover it. Where is the gap between the waves when they have joined and covered up the space which seemed to keep them separate for a little while? Where are the grounds for sickness when the minds have joined to close the little gap between them, where the seeds of sickness seemed to grow?

6. God builds the bridge, but only in the space left clean and vacant by the miracle. The seeds of sickness and the shame of guilt He cannot bridge, for He can not destroy the alien will that He created not. Let its effects be gone and clutch them not with eager hands to keep them for yourself. The miracle will brush them all aside and thus make room for Him Who wills to come and bridge His Son’s returning to Himself.

7. Count, then, the silver miracles and golden dreams of happiness as all the treasures you would keep within the storehouse of the world. The door is open, not to thieves, but to your starving brothers, who mistook for gold the shining of a pebble and who stored a heap of snow that shone like silver. They have nothing left behind the open door. What is the world except a little gap perceived to tear eternity apart, and break it into days and months, and years? And what are you who live within the world except a picture of the Son of God in broken pieces, each concealed within a separate and uncertain bit of clay?

8. Be not afraid, my child, but let your world be gently lit by miracles. And where the little gap was seen to stand between you and your brother, join him there. And so sickness will now be seen without a cause. The dream of healing in forgiveness lies, and gently shows you that you never sinned. The miracle would leave no proof of guilt to bring you witness to what never was. And in your storehouse it will make a place of welcome for your Father and your Self. The door is open, that all those may come who would no longer starve, and would enjoy the feast of plenty set before them there. And they will meet with your invited Guests the miracle has asked to come to you.

9. This is a feast unlike indeed to those the dreaming of the world has shown. For here, the more that anyone receives, the more is left for all the rest to share. The Guests have brought unlimited supply with Them. And no one is deprived or can deprive. Here is a feast the Father lays before His Son and shares it equally with him. And in Their sharing there can be no gap in which abundance falters and grows thin. Here can the lean years enter not, for time waits not upon this feast, which has no end. For Love has set its table in the space that seemed to keep your Guests apart from you. [1]

All the dreams that happened in the gaps between us fade away when we agree to join.  This is the miracle that ends all fear.  We do not bring our dreams of fear to our Father.  We do not come to tattle about all the things we dreamed up that our brothers did to us in the space and time that made them out to be our enemies.  We come in happy acceptance of the brotherhood.  We come as Christ Who is the Son – as one, healed of all that would set us against each other, healed of all that would separate me from you and you from me. 

Sickness is bred in minds that agree to be at war with one another.  Take your mind out of all agreements that would set you against the Son and there is nobody and nothing that can project its guilt upon you.  When I unite my mind with yours and accept my part in making you my enemy, I prevent the madness from taking place.  For joining with your mind, recognizing you as part of me and not apart from me prevents both the cause of sickness and all its perceived effects. 

We are spending too much time studying this course to overlook the beautiful lesson in healing that is provided here.  Today ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this passage to your mind and instill within it the devotion to healing that has been assigned to us.  Sickness is the effect of separate minds; healing is the effect of minds that are joined. 

Miracles actually do nothing for minds are already joined and it is impossible for my mind to be separate from you.  We are one Body in Christ and as God’s Son.  Yet in the perceptual world of ego and separation – you seem to have your own body, separate and different from mine, with ideas and behaviors that are alien to me and thus I cannot perceive the two of us being eternally linked and yet holding opposing viewpoints and going in opposite directions.  There are things about your body that will always frighten me. You may be bigger than me and thus I am afraid you will step on me and crush me, eat all my food, or infringe upon my space.  Or you may be so small I am afraid of your vulnerability and weakness, afraid you may shatter or expecting me to walk about on my tippy toes to protect your fragility and sensitivity.  Your skin may be the color of those who would blame me for all their earthly sorrows or conversely your skin may be the color of those who have oppressed me and held me back from all my potential and denied me access to the world’s advancement and acclaim.  The private parts of your body may offend me by their very nature and all the things that have been said and done by people with the same private parts with which you were born!  Or perhaps your private parts will drive me wicked with desire for what you have and hold dear, and I have not.  And I will spend my life chasing after what you have, and I have not! 

In this state we cannot be joined.  But in this state we can agree to be joined.  We can see past the body and all the craziness that seems to pop up in the spaces between our bodies.  The miracle is the simple recognition that the emptiness that fills the empty spaces between us cannot be real for they have no value. The miracle does nothing but sweeps away the nothingness so that the truth of our joining is made apparent.  There is no need for signs and wonders.  There is no need for holy water, holy hands, or holy lands.  There are no such things as special prayers or blessings for all that is done in love is done in God and in Love there is no partiality, no specialness, no favorites, no hierarchies.  It is God and His Son as one.   

The end of dreaming is the end of separation, it starts with the agreement to join, it starts by recognizing the sad substitute for love that the world of dreams would offer us to stay in the gap of nothingness, to not accept our reality as Christ, the resurrected Son, but to stay on the cross in a bleeding, dying, humiliated body that seems to be the cause of all our pain.

The separation is the cause of all our pain, the body the effect of separation.  Just as eternity cannot be broken up in days and nights, minutes and hours, weeks, months, and years, neither can the Son of God be broken into pieces contained in separate shards of clay.  We do not hold the body accountable for sin for it is only an effect of separation. Forgive the body and it will serve us well through time; hold it accountable and it will not. 

A miracle is nothing to be afraid of – a miracle is gentle; its light is truth, and its outcome is sure.  A miracle closes the gap between you and me for we meet there where we can see no cause for the insanity that would sour us, sicken our minds and bodies, and come between the Father and the Son.  Do not harden your mind toward mercy and grace for mercy and grace are the healing agents of the world which stand for agreement to join. 

Make of your empty storehouse a festival of God’s Love.  Let it be a feast where God’s mercy and grace are extended to all the broken bits and pieces that stand in place of the Son.  Here there is nobody who goes hungry, who is lonely or afraid for this is a festival in honor of the Father, the honored Guest, Who shares in His unlimited abundance.  Nobody who joins can deprive or be deprived; here all that is belongs to all that is and ever was and ever will be. Welcome the feast of Love to fill the gap between ourselves and our misconceptions of God’s Love. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear iii. the agreement to join. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 28 THE UNDOING OF FEAR II. Reversing Effects and Cause

ACIM Chapter 28. II Reversing Effects and Cause

1. Without a cause there can be no effects, and yet without effects there is no cause. The cause a cause is made by its effects, the Father is a Father by His Son. Effects do not create their cause, but they establish its causation. Thus, the Son gives Fatherhood to his Creator, and receives the gift that he has given Him.  It is because he is God’s Son that he must also be a father, who creates as God created him. The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end.

2. Fatherhood is creation. Love must be extended. Purity is not confined. It is the nature of the innocent to be forever uncontained, without a barrier or limitation. Thus is purity not of the body. Nor can it be found where limitation is. The body can be healed by its effects, which are as limitless as is itself. Yet must all healing come about because the mind is recognized as not within the body, and its innocence is quite apart from it, and where all healing is. Where, then, is healing? Only where its cause is given its effects. For sickness is a meaningless attempt to give effects to causelessness, and make it be a cause.

3. Always in sickness does the Son of God attempt to make himself a cause, and not allow himself to be his Father’s Son. For this impossible desire, he does not believe that he is Love’s effect, and must be cause because of what he is. The cause of healing is the only Cause of everything. It has but one effect. And in that recognition, causelessness is given no effects and none is seen. A mind within a body and a world of other bodies, each with separate minds, are your “creations,” you the “other” mind, creating with effects unlike yourself. And as their “father,” you must be like them.

4. Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself, and but a part of someone else’s dream. The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is. It teaches you there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. Do you wish for dreams of healing, or for dreams of death? A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you.

5. An empty storehouse, with an open door, holds all your shreds of memories and dreams. Yet if you are the dreamer, you perceive this much at least: That you have caused the dream and can accept another dream as well. But for this change in content of the dream, it must be realized that it is you who dreamed the dreaming that you do not like. It is but an effect that you have caused, and you would not be cause of this effect. In dreams of murder and attack are you the victim in a dying body slain. But in forgiving dreams is no one asked to be the victim and the sufferer.  These are the happy dreams the miracle exchanges for your own. It does not ask you make another; only that you see you made the one you would exchange for this.

6. This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible, and no design exists that could be found and understood. What else could be expected from a thing that has no cause? Yet if it has no cause, it has no purpose. You may cause a dream, but never will you give it real effects. For that would change its cause, and it is this you cannot do. The dreamer of a dream is not awake but does not know he sleeps. He sees illusions of himself as sick or well, depressed or happy, but without a stable cause with guaranteed effects.

7. The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up. The fear was held in place because he did not see that he was author of the dream and not a figure in the dream. He gives himself the consequences that he dreams he gave his brother. And it is but this the dream has put together and has offered him, to show him that his wishes have been done. Thus does he fear his own attack but sees it at another’s hands. As victim, he is suffering from its effects, but not their cause. He authored not his own attack, and he is innocent of what he caused. The miracle does nothing but to show him that he has done nothing. What he fears is cause without the consequences that would make it cause. And so it never was.

8. The separation started with the dream the Father was deprived of His Effects, and powerless to keep them since He was no longer their Creator. In the dream, the dreamer made himself. But what he made has turned against him, taking on the role of its creator, as the dreamer had. And as he hated his Creator, so the figures in the dream have hated him. His body is their slave, which they abuse because the motives he has given it have they adopted as their own. And hate it for the vengeance it would offer them. It is their vengeance on the body which appears to prove the dreamer could not be the maker of the dream. Effect and cause are first split off, and then reversed, so that effect becomes a cause, the cause, effect.

9. This is the separation’s final step, with which salvation, which proceeds to go the other way, begins. This final step is an effect of what has gone before, appearing as a cause. The miracle is the first step in giving back to cause the function of causation, not effect. For his confusion has produced the dream, and while it lasts will wakening be feared. Nor will the call to wakening be heard because it seems to be the call to fear.

10. Like every lesson that the Holy Spirit requests you learn, the miracle is clear. It demonstrates what He would have you learn and shows you its effects are what you want. In His forgiving dreams are the effects of yours undone, and hated enemies perceived as friends with merciful intent. Their enmity is seen as causeless now because they did not make it. And you can accept the role of maker of their hate because you see that it has no effects. Now are you freed from this much of the dream; the world is neutral and the bodies that still seem to move about as separate things need not be feared. And so they are not sick.

11. The miracle returns the cause of fear to you who made it. But it also shows that, having no effects, it is not cause, because the function of causation is to have effects. And where effects are gone there is no cause. Thus is the body healed by miracles because they show the mind made sickness, and employed the body to be victim, or effect, of what it made. Yet half the lesson will not teach the whole. The miracle is useless if you learn but that the body can be healed, for this is not the lesson it was sent to teach. The lesson is the mind was sick that thought the body could be sick, projecting out its guilt caused nothing, and had no effects.

12. This world is full of miracles. They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. They are the dream’s alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream. They are the glad effects of taking back the consequence of sickness to its cause. The body is released because the mind acknowledges “this was not done to me, but I am doing this.” And thus the mind is free to make another choice instead. Beginning here, salvation will proceed to change the course of every step in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone. [1]

There can be no Father without His Son.  There can be no creation without a Creator.  Only in a dream can creation arise that has no lasting substance, no definite purpose, no communication or communion.  The mind which does not perceive the Father is an empty storehouse with an open door collecting useless shreds of memories and pipe dreams – the more it gathers the emptier it becomes for it is not certain and true.  In a mind in which the Son has seemed to lose His Father, the mind sickens and becomes addicted to the outside world where all stand apart and separate from him.  In such a realm decay, disease, and death are his certain doom which the son must face alone and afraid.   

The miracle that heals us informs us that we dream a dream. We are not at the mercy of the dream of our brothers’ but seem to suffer the consequences of what we dream for others, making ourselves the victim of another’s spite.  In the dream I dream and the dream you dream, we fail to see that what we have made is a reversal of cause and effect.  Cause and effect are no longer one but separated and therefore the meaning is lost.  Just as a father must have a son to give meaning to fatherhood, so must a cause have effect to be cause. 

The first step in the miracle is to come to this understanding – that God is not God without us, and we do not exist without Him for we are the Son and God the Father.  All perceptions of distance between us are part of a crazy notion that would reverse the universe of no beginning and no end, a perpetual, ever-expanding cause effect Reality. To devise such a reversal is to enter a dream of madness, a dream of war and strife, sorrow and sadness, a dream in which there is a Father without a Son and a Son which would be father to nothingness.  A dream in which Creation turns upon itself to devour what gives it life and fulfills its purpose. 

The miracle demonstrates what God would have us learn.  Our minds sickened by this dream sicken our bodies. Miracles are only necessary in a realm which forgot that the Father and His Son cannot be separate.  The miracle heals the mind, and the miracle mind heals the body for as long as it is necessary.  This world is full of miracles apparent to those who quietly accept the unity of Cause and Its Effects.  Miracles are the beautiful recognition that all pain and suffering, sin and guilt, disease and death are simply the result of what could be if it were possible for the Father to oppose His Son and the Son oppose the Father. 

The miracle informs us of the untrustworthiness of the dream that would reverse Cause and Its effects.  When you no longer see me as the culprit of the crimes against you, and I no longer see you as the one responsible for my pain and sorrow, we recognize we only bear the consequences of what we wished upon each other for cause and its effects are one.  If I see you as guilty, then the guilt is upon myself; when I see you as innocent; your innocence is mine as well.

Today ask Holy Spirit to enlighten your understanding so that you can see the role you have played in all that others have seemed to do to you.  When we stop partaking in the dream of opposition and opposites, separation and sin we close the gaping gap between us.  Holy Spirit gives us happy dreams of forgiveness and salvation, free of fear and suspicion, retracing all the steps that led to the hell we made in the spaces between ourselves and God. The Father and His Son is not a ghastly mystery that requires blood and blame, it is a simple understanding that Love must extend Itself and cannot be separated from Its effects. To accept this is to undo the hellish dream, and to awaken to our Father’s love.    

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear ii. reversing effect and cause. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992)

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear ii. reversing effect and cause. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992)

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit:

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ACIM Chapter 27. I The Present Memory

1. The miracle does nothing. All it does is undo. And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done. It does not add, but merely takes away. And what it takes away is long since gone but kept in memory appears to have immediate effects. This world was over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that thought of them and loved them for a little while. The miracle but shows the past is gone, and what has truly gone has no effects. Remembering a cause can but produce illusions of its presence, not effects.

2. All the effects of guilt are here no more. For guilt is over. In its passing went its consequences, left without a cause. Why would you cling to it in memory if you did not desire its effects? Remembering is as selective as perception, being its past tense. It is perception of the past as if it were occurring now, and still were there to see. Memory, like perception, is a skill made up by you to take the place of what God gave in your creation. And like all the things you made, it can be used to serve another purpose, and to be the means for something else. It can be used to heal and not to hurt, if you so wish it be.

3. Nothing employed for healing represents an effort to do anything at all. It is a recognition that you have no needs which mean that something must be done. It is an unselective memory, that is not used to interfere with truth. All things the Holy Spirit can employ for healing have been given Him, without the content and the purposes for which they have been made. They are but skills without an application. They await their use. They have no dedication and no aim.

4. The Holy Spirit can indeed make use of memory, for God Himself is there. Yet this is not a memory of past events, but only of a present state. You are so long accustomed to believe that memory holds only what is past, that it is hard for you to realize it is a skill that can remember now. The limitations on remembering the world imposes on it are as vast as those you let the world impose on you. There is no link of memory to the past. If you would have it there, then there it is. But only your desire made the link, and only you have held it to a part of time where guilt appears to linger still.

5. The Holy Spirit’s use of memory is quite apart from time. He does not seek to use it as a means to keep the past, but rather as a way to let it go. Memory holds the message it receives and does what it is given it to do. It does not write the message, nor appoint what it is for. Like to the body, it is purposeless within itself. And if it seems to serve to cherish ancient hate, and gives you pictures of injustices and hurts that you were saving, this is what you asked its message be that it is. Committed to its vaults, the history of all the body’s past is hidden there. All of the strange associations made to keep the past alive, the present dead, are stored within it, waiting your command that they be brought to you and lived again. And thus do their effects appear to be increased by time, which took away their cause.

6. Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself. Time neither takes away nor can restore. And yet you make strange use of it, as if the past had caused the present, which is but a consequence in which no change can be made possible because its cause has gone. Yet change must have a cause that will endure, or else it will not last. No change can be made in the present if its cause is past. Only the past is held in memory as you make use of it, and so it is a way to hold the past against the now.

7. Remember nothing that you taught yourself, for you were badly taught. And who would keep a senseless lesson in his mind, when he can learn and can preserve a better one? When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone. And so you cannot understand what they are for. Let not the cause that you would give them now be what it was that made them what they were or seemed to be. Be glad that it is gone, for this is what you would be pardoned from. And see, instead, the new effects of cause accepted now, with consequences now. They will surprise you with their loveliness. The ancient new ideas they bring will be the happy consequences of a Cause so ancient that it far exceeds the span of memory which your perception sees.

8. This is the Cause the Holy Spirit has remembered for you when you would forget. It is not past because He let It not be unremembered. It has never changed because there never was a time in which He did not keep It safely in your mind. Its consequences will indeed seem new because you thought that you remembered not their Cause. Yet was It never absent from your mind, for it was not your Father’s Will that He be unremembered by His Son.

9. What you remember never was. It came from causelessness which you confused with cause. It can deserve but laughter when you learn you have remembered consequences that were causeless and could never be effects. The miracle reminds you of a Cause forever present, perfectly untouched by time and interference. Never changed from what It is. And you are Its effect, as changeless and as perfect as Itself. Its memory does not lie in the past, nor waits the future. It is not revealed in miracles. They but remind you that It has not gone. When you forgive It for your sins, It will no longer be denied.

10. You who have sought to lay a judgment on your own Creator cannot understand it is not He Who laid a judgment on His Son. You would deny Him His Effects, yet have They never been denied. There was no time in which His Son could be condemned for what was causeless and against His Will. What your remembering would witness to is but the fear of God. He has not done the thing you fear. No more have you. And so your innocence has not been lost. You need no healing to be healed. In quietness, see in the miracle a lesson in allowing Cause to have Its Own effects, and doing nothing that would interfere.

11. The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still. It reaches gently from that quiet time and from the mind it healed in quiet then, to other minds to share its quietness. And they will join in doing nothing to prevent its radiant extension back into the Mind Which caused all minds to be. Born out of sharing, there can be no pause in time to cause the miracle delay in hastening to all unquiet minds, and bringing them an instant’s stillness, when the memory of God returns to them. Their own remembering is quiet now, and what has come to take its place will not be wholly unremembered afterwards.

12. He to Whom time is given offers thanks for every quiet instant given Him. For in that instant is God’s memory allowed to offer all its treasures to the Son of God, for whom they have been kept. How gladly does He offer them unto the one for whom He has been given them! And His Creator shares His thanks because He would not be deprived of His Effects. The instant’s silence that His Son accepts gives welcome to eternity and Him and lets Them enter where They would abide. For in that instant does the Son of God do nothing that would make himself afraid.

13. How instantly the memory of God arises in the mind that has no fear to keep the memory away! Its own remembering has gone. There is no past to keep its fearful image in the way of glad awakening to present peace. The trumpets of eternity resound throughout the stillness yet disturb it not. And what is now remembered is not fear but rather is the Cause that fear was made to render unremembered and undone. The stillness speaks in gentle sounds of love the Son of God remembers from before his own remembering came in between the present and the past, to shut them out.

14. Now is the Son of God at last aware of present Cause and Its benign effects. Now does he understand what he has made is causeless having no effects at all. He has done nothing. And in seeing this, he understands he never had a need for doing anything, and never did. His Cause is Its Effects. There never was a cause beside It that could generate a different past or future. It effects are changelessly eternal, beyond fear, and past the world of sin entirely.

15. What has been lost, to see the causeless not? And where is sacrifice when memory of God has come to take the place of loss? What better way to close the little gap between illusions and reality than to allow the memory of God to flow across it, making it a bridge an instant will suffice to reach beyond? For God has closed it with Himself. His memory has not gone by and left a stranded Son forever on a shore where he can glimpse another shore that he can never reach.  His Father wills that he is lifted up and gently carried over. He has built the bridge and it is He Who will transport His Son across it. Have no fear that He will fail in what He wills. Nor that you be excluded from the Will that is for you. [1]

In quietness today as we come to our devotional practice, we accept the certain Love of God. All else just fades away.  There is nothing to fight against, nothing to beg for, no commanding the powers that be to give us what we want, All that we are and All that we long for can be found in simple acceptance of God is the Cause and we are His Effects.  All that we have made to take the place of this beautiful truth cannot be.  It is not a sacrifice to give up sacrifice. It is not a loss to give up loss.  It is not fear to be awakened from a nightmare and be assured it was not real!

Spend time today with this text and let its meaning rest upon your mind. Do not hurry through it but linger with it in an attitude of the sense of freedom, joy, and laughter that it brings.  When we can calmly look upon the insanity of the world and know that it cannot be true, we know our time of madness is over.  There is no struggle, no ongoing striving and conniving to make sure we believe in the right doctrine and promote the right religion, no worry if we have been barking up the wrong tree, no concern at all with the failings and shortcomings of flesh.  Our Father has not forsaken us, and we have not forsaken our Father.  It could not happen.  And if we believe it did, then we have believed in illusions, we have made of ourselves a nightmare, we made a different story and forgot it was not true. 

Today remember the present memory which is established in every moment that we take away from the world and all its legends from the past and bring to Holiness.  Let the quiet instants spent with Holy Spirit today remind you of your true Identity in Him Who has never taken His Memory from our minds, has never taken His Devotion from our hearts, has always called for us to awaken to the Kingdom that could never and will never be divided.  Ask Holy Spirit to make this real to you in your daily application. Let its message deliver you from any fear that God would ever exclude you from your everlasting love, and peace, and joy.

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear i. the present memory. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992)

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ACIM Chapter 27. VIII The “Hero” of the Dream

1. The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern, its comfort is its guiding role. It tries to look for pleasure and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.

2. The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things that it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that it may protect it and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies that can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.

3. The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms and seems to show a great variety of places and events where in its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect and cannot be its cause.

4. Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.

5. How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do? Then let us merely look upon the dream’s beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief. We can remember this if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear.

6. Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which this Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.

7. A timelessness in which is time made real, a part of God that can attack itself, a separate brother as an enemy, a mind within a body all are forms of circularity whose ending starts at its beginning, ending at its cause. The world you see depicts exactly what you thought it you did. Except that now you think that what you did is being done to you. The guilt for what you thought is being placed outside yourself, and on a guilty world that dreams your dreams and thinks your thoughts instead of you. It brings its vengeance, not your own. It keeps you narrowly confined within a body, which it punishes because of all the simple things the body does within its dream. You have no power to make the body stop its evil deeds because you did not make it and cannot control its actions nor its purpose nor its fate.

8. The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them. How childish is the petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself, but never letting go! It is not easy to perceive the jest when all around you do your eyes behold its heavy consequences, but without their trifling cause. Without the cause do its effects seem serious and sad indeed. Yet they but follow. And it is their cause that follows nothing and is but a jest.

9. In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause and looks not too effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him awhile. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears. But hear Him say, “My brother, holy Son of God, behold your idle dream, in which this could occur.” And you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother’s joined with His.

10. The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream.

11. This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, whatever form it takes. The Holy Spirit will repeat this one inclusive lesson of deliverance until it has been learned, regardless of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer takes away the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the single cause of all of them, no matter what their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect this simple statement, “I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo.”

12. Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees no differences where none exists, and He will teach you how each one is caused. None has a different cause from all the rest, and all of them are easily undone by but a single lesson truly learned. Salvation is a secret you have kept but from yourself. The universe proclaims it so. Yet its witnesses you pay no heed at all. For they attest the thing you do not want to know. They seem to keep it secret from you. Yet you need but learn you chose but not to listen, not to see.

13. How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognized! When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins. This is the obvious; a secret kept from no one but yourself. And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world, and kept your brother separate from you. Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other, that they both be true. This is the only secret yet to learn. And it will be no secret you are healed. [1]

The way we escape the body’s serial adventures through time, is by learning the secret of salvation.  When we finally weary of the trite melodramas, the ongoing wars and battles and vengeance seeking, the diseases, deaths, and losses, the limitations and restrictions, the demands and vulnerability of the body – we reach for the higher consciousness of Holy Spirit.  We cannot find our Self in the body for the body is only “real” in the dream of time, it is a mere construct in which to enforce limits on that which can have no limits. 

We awaken from the dream we dream by disengaging from it.  Each of us will come to see it for what it is.  To take responsibility for the role we play in it, to understand the difference between cause and effects, we bring everything to Holy Spirit within us.  Crying, sighing, dying, weary, frustrated, or bored – we come away from the encounter with joy and laughter.  It was merely a dream. The sins we made up that came between us and God’s love never happened. It was a figment of our imagination, a dream of specialness, separation, and fear.  A false reality that opposed the reality of God.   

You may have a different dream than mine, it may take a completely different form than mine – but your dream and my dream have the same source, the same cause.  It is a dream of separation, it is a dream of specialness, it is a dream where my innocence makes you guilty and you and your kind are to blame for my unhappiness and strife.  As long as I choose to live in this dream, time will bind me to the laws of this world – seek but do not find; ask but deny the straight and true answer, yearn for love but settle for a fear-driven vain substitute of loneliness, looking forward to death.

We believe our dreams unique and distinct from others.  We cherish our murders and mysteries, our pain and suffering, our hurt and disappointment, our boredom, frustration, and weariness as long as we can name it or blame it on someone else. But you are the dreamer of your dream, and I am the dreamer of mine, and the world we made divides us, makes us decidedly different and remarkably weird to each other. Only a dream would make of us a puzzle, going about in circles, chasing after meaning, purpose, and truth, while the very universe proclaims the oneness of our reality. 

Today in your personal devotions, ask Holy Spirit to show you the difference between cause and effects. See the cause as separation, see the results of separation as the call to unity. The one thing that is impossible is for me to awaken without you for Heaven will not be Heaven without you, and you and I must awaken together as one.  Picture this state in your mind as one of laughter, the joy of being together, of truly communicating and Being.  In this state we do not substitute the bliss of our Being with gossip, slander, and intrigue, blame and shame. These subjects hold no interest to us for we see each other in our true and liberated form.  We have no need for rules or limitations for we are pure.  As we reach for the higher consciousness of Holy Spirit, the adventures are no longer serial ones limited by a flesh body with all its dull demands and vulnerabilities, but one everlasting happy state of Being filled with certainty and surety of purpose – that we Be as God created us to be.  Like Him in the Ideals that have no rival or reversals. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 27 The healing of the dream. viii. the “hero” of the dream. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM CHAPTER 27 The Healing of the Dream VII The Dreamer of the Dream

ACIM Chapter 27. VII The Dreamer of the Dream

1. Suffering is an emphasis upon all that the world has done to injure you. Here is the world’s demented version of salvation clearly shown. Like to a dream of punishment, in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this “something else,” a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself.

2. Now you are being shown you can escape. All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved? Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity. The choice will not be difficult, because the problem is absurd when clearly seen. No one has difficulty making up his mind to let a simple problem be resolved if it is seen as hurting him, and also very easily removed.

3. The “reasoning” which the world is made, on which it rests, by which it is maintained, is simply this: “You are the cause of what I do. Your presence justifies my wrath, and you exist and think apart from me. While you attack I must be innocent. And what I suffer from is your attack.” No one who looks upon this “reasoning” exactly as it is could fail to see it does not follow and it makes no sense. Yet it seems sensible because it looks as if the world were hurting you. And so it seems as if there is no need to go beyond the obvious in terms of cause.

4. There is indeed a need. The world’s escape from condemnation is a need which those within the world are joined in sharing. Yet they do not recognize their common need. For each one thinks that if he does his part, the condemnation of the world will rest on him. And it is this that he perceives to be his part in its deliverance. Vengeance must have a focus. Otherwise is the avenger’s knife in his own hand and pointed to himself. And he must see it in another’s hand if he would be a victim of attack he did not choose. And thus he suffers from the wounds a knife he does not hold has made upon himself.

5. This is the purpose of the world he sees. And looked at thus, the world provides the means by which this purpose seems to be fulfilled. The means attest the purpose but are not themselves a cause. Nor will the cause be changed by seeing it apart from its effects. The cause produces the effects, which then bear witness to the cause, and not themselves. Look, then, beyond effects. It is not here the cause of suffering and sin must lie. And dwell not on the suffering and sin, for they are but reflections of their cause.

6. The part you play in salvaging the world from condemnation is your own escape. Forget not that the witness to the world of evil cannot speak except for what has seen a need for evil in the world. And this is where your guilt was first upheld. In separation from your brother was the first attack upon yourself begun. And it is this the world bears witness to. Seek not another cause, nor look upon the mighty legions of its witnesses for its undoing. They support its claim on your allegiance. What conceals the truth is not where you should look to find the truth.

7. The witnesses to sin all stand within one little space. And it is here you find the cause of your perspective on the world. Once you were unaware of what the cause of everything the world appeared to thrust upon you, uninvited and unasked, must really be. Of one thing you were sure: of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them. Nor did you in any way request them for yourself. This is how all illusions came about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dream’s reality because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.

8. No one can awaken from a dream the world is dreaming for him. He becomes a part of someone else’s dream. He cannot choose to awaken from a dream he did not make. Helpless he stands, a victim to a dream conceived and cherished by a separate mind. Careless indeed of him this mind must be, as thoughtless of his peace and happiness as is the weather or the time of day. It loves him not but casts him as it will in any role that satisfies its dream. So little is his worth that he is but a dancing shadow, leaping up and down according to a senseless plot conceived within the idle dreaming of the world.

9. This is the only picture you can see; the one alternative that you can choose, the other possibility of cause, if you be not the dreamer of your dreams. And this is what you choose if you deny the cause of suffering is in your mind. Be glad indeed it is, for thus are you the one decider of your destiny in time. The choice is yours to make between a sleeping death and dreams of evil or a happy awakening and joy of life.

10. What could you choose between but life or death, waking or sleeping, peace or war, your dreams or your reality? There is a risk of thinking death is peace because the world equates the body with the Self which God created. Yet a thing can never be its opposite. And death is opposite to peace because it is the opposite of life. And life is peace. Awaken and forget all thoughts of death, and you will find you have the peace of God. Yet if the choice is really given you, then you must see the causes of the things you choose between exactly as they are and where they are.

11. What choices can be made between two states, but one of which is clearly recognized? Who could be free to choose between effects, when only one is seen as up to him? And honest choice could never be perceived as one in which the choice is split between a tiny you and an enormous world, with different dreams about the truth in you. The gap between reality and dreams lies not between the dreaming of the world and what you dream in secret. They are one. The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its starting, both. Yet was it started by your secret dream, which you do not perceive although it caused the part you see and do not doubt is real. How could you doubt it while you lie asleep, and dream in secret that its cause is real?

12. A brother separated from yourself, an ancient enemy, a murderer who stalks you in the night and plots your death yet plans that it be lingering and slow; of this you dream. Yet underneath this dream is yet another, in which you become the murderer, the secret enemy, the scavenger and the destroyer of your brother and the world alike. Here is the cause of suffering, the space between your little dreams and your reality. The little gap you do not even see, the birthplace of illusions and of fear, the time of terror and of ancient hate, the instant of disaster, all are here. Here is the cause of unreality. And it is here that it will be undone.

13. You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awakening, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice That calls with love to waken him; a gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. God willed he waken gently and with joy and gave him means to waken without fear.

14. Accept the dream He gave instead of yours. It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized. Rest in the Holy Spirit and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death. He brings forgiving dreams, in which the choice is not who is the murderer and who shall be the victim. In the dreams he brings there is no murder and there is no death. The dream of guilt is fading from your sight although your eyes are closed. A smile has come to lighten up your sleeping face. The sleep is peaceful now, for these are happy dreams.

15. Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindness instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see is offering both life and death to you.

16. Brother, He gives but life. Yet what you see as gifts your brother offers represent the gifts you dream your Father gives to you. Let all your brothers’ gifts be seen in light of charity and kindness offered you. And let no pain disturb your dream of deep appreciation for his gifts to you.[1]

We have darkened our consciousness with fearful dreams of all that would oppose our Father’s love, and I must take responsibility for this even as you must take responsibility for it.  It seems like we have been victimized, that we came into the world an innocent and that it was the fault of others that our lives have been blighted, that we have lived in fear, that others are more privileged than we are.  The list seems long and legion of all the ways in which we were born into the wrong family, kept from the right crowd, denied our basic human rights and failed to gain as much as others who worked far less than we did.  The sins and sorrows of the world weigh heavy upon us.  We pledge allegiance to belief systems that teach us to fear each other, to hold each other in deep suspicion, to wish hellfire and brimstone upon those who are not one of us. 

But Jesus says we dream the dream which this realm rests.  It is me and it is you.  We are to stop cherishing and practicing the false ideas that keep the nightmare in place.  I must not wait for others to see this and take responsibility. We must stop dreaming the dream of fear and hate, disease and death and accept the dream God gives us instead. 

God gives us forgiving dreams full of mercy and grace.  In these dreams, I am not judging who is good and who is evil.  Because in the dreams God gives, there is no evil.  In the dreams God gives there is no danger, no disease, no death.  Our darkened consciousnesses are healed in this dream that prepares us for our return to His Kingdom.  In the dream God gives us, we live in the world, but we are not of the world for I accept the dream of your goodness instead of all the ways you fail to measure up.  When the mean things you said and did come to my mind, I decide to remember all your thoughtful, generous deeds instead.  I no longer keep account of how dangerous it is to confide in you because I remember how precious you are and what a good friend.  No longer do I overlook the ways you have enriched my life because you are as Christ to me, you represent the Father, and you give me life. 

God’s dream is one of charity and kindness, tenderness and mercy.  There is no pain in the dream that prepares us for our return to Him.  There are no whippings, no humiliation, no shame, and no blame – only our deepest gratitude and love for each other, because together we realize our oneness as His Son.   Today take responsibility for the dream you dream, let your dreams of guilt and shame be transformed into ones of mercy and grace and be awakened gently and with joy. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 27 The healing of the dream. vii. the dreamer of the dream. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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ACIM Chapter 27. V. The Healing Example

1. The only way to heal is to be healed. The miracle extends without your help, but you are needed that it can begin. Accept the miracle of healing, and it will go forth because of what it is. It is its nature to extend itself the instant it is born. And it is born the instant it is offered and received. No one can ask another to be healed. But he can let himself be healed, and thus offer the other what he has received. Who can bestow upon another what he does not have? And who can share what he denies himself? The Holy Spirit speaks to you. He does not speak to someone else. Yet by your listening His Voice extends because you have accepted what He says.

2. Health is the witness unto health. As long as it is unattested, it remains without conviction. Only when it has been demonstrated is it proved and must provide a witness that compels belief. No one is healed through double messages. If you wish only to be healed, you heal. Your single purpose makes this possible. But if you are afraid of healing, then it cannot come through you. The only thing that is required for all healing is a lack of fear. The fearful are not healed and cannot heal. This does not mean the conflict must be gone forever from your mind to heal. For if it were, there were no need for healing then. But it does mean, if only for an instant, you love without attack. An instant is sufficient. Miracles wait not on time.

3. The holy instant is the miracle’s abiding place. From there, each one is born into this world as witness to a state of mind that has transcended conflict and has reached to peace. It carries comfort from the place of peace into the battleground and demonstrates that war has no effects. For all the hurt that war has sought to bring, the broken bodies and the shattered limbs, the screaming dying and the silent dead, are gently lifted up and comforted.

4. There is no sadness where a miracle has come to heal. And nothing more than just one instant of your love without attack is necessary that all this occur. In that one instant you are healed, and in that single instant is all healing done. What stands apart from you when you accept the blessing that the holy instant brings? Be not afraid of blessing, for the One Who blesses you loves all the world, and leaves nothing within the world that could be feared. But if you shrink from blessing, will the world indeed seem fearful, for you have withheld its peace and comfort, leaving it to die.

5. Would not a world so bitterly bereft be looked on as a condemnation by the one who could have saved it, but stepped back because he was afraid of being healed? The eyes of all the dying bring reproach, and suffering whispers, “What is there to fear?” Consider well this question. It is asked of you on your behalf. A dying world asks only that you rest an instant from attack upon yourself, that it be healed.

6. Come to the holy instant and be healed, for nothing that is there received is left behind on your returning to the world. And being blessed you will bring blessing. Life is given you to give the dying world. And suffering eyes no longer will accuse but shine in thanks to you who blessing gave. The holy instant’s radiance will light your eyes and give them sight to see beyond all suffering and see Christ’s face instead. Healing replaces suffering. Who looks on one cannot perceive the other, for they cannot both be there. And what you see the world will witness and will witness to.

7. Thus is your healing everything the world requires, that it may be healed. It needs one lesson that has perfectly been learned. And then, when you forget it, will the world remind you gently of what you have taught. No reinforcement will its thanks withhold from you who let yourself be healed that it might live. It will call forth its witnesses to show the face of Christ to you who brought the sight to them, by which they witnessed it. The world of accusation is replaced by one in which all eyes look lovingly upon the Friend who brought them their release. And happily your brother will perceive the many friends he thought were enemies.

8. Problems are not specific, but they take specific forms, and these specific shapes make up the world. And no one understands the nature of his problem. If he did, it would be there no more for him to see. Its very nature is that it is not. And thus, while he perceives it he can not perceive it as it is. But healing is apparent in specific instances and generalizes to include them all. This is because they really are the same, despite their different forms. All learning aims at transfer, which becomes complete within two situations that are seen as one, for only common elements are there. Yet this can only be attained by One Who does not see the differences you see. The total transfer of your learning is not made by you. But that it has been made in spite of all the differences you see, convinces you that they could not be real.

9. Your healing will extend and will be brought to problems that you thought were not your own. And it will also be apparent that your many different problems will be solved as any one of them has been escaped. It cannot be their differences which made this possible, for learning does not jump from situations to their opposites and bring the same results. All healing must proceed in lawful manner, in accord with laws that have been properly perceived but never violated. Fear you not the way that you perceive them. You are wrong, but there is One within you Who is right.

10. Leave, then, the transfer of your learning to the One Who really understands its laws, and Who will guarantee that they remain unviolated and unlimited. Your part is merely to apply what He has taught you to yourself, and He will do the rest. And it is thus the power of your learning will be proved to you by all the many different witnesses it finds. Your brother first among them will be seen, but thousands stand behind him, and beyond each one of them there are a thousand more. Each one may seem to have a problem that is different from the rest. Yet they are solved together. And their common answer shows the questions could not have been separate.

11. Peace be to you to whom is healing offered. And you will learn that peace is given you when you accept the healing for yourself. Its total value need not be appraised by you to let you understand that you have benefited from it. What occurred within the instant that love entered in without attack will stay with you forever. Your healing will be one of its effects as will your brother’s. Everywhere you go, will you behold its multiplied effects. Yet all the witnesses that you behold will be far less than all there really are. Infinity cannot be understood by merely counting up its separate parts. God thanks you for your healing, for He knows it is a gift of love unto His Son, and therefore is it given unto Him.[1]

In your personal devotions today ask Holy Spirit to make you a healing example.  To come to healing we must simply desire love with no attack on anybody.  We must say good-bye to all fear, dismay, disease, and death.  We must let go of all need for guilt, shame, sin, and sacrifice.  In the fairness and goodness of Holy Spirit, we may falter at times; we may begin to believe in the reality of the perceptual realm at times; we may get our feelings hurt or think there are good reasons to hurt the feelings of others – but all healing needs is one holy instant in which we wish nobody harm, in which we take all the sting and shame and sin off of all those we would condemn and offer only forgiveness, mercy, and love. 

This is our healing.  This not only heals us, but it heals the world.  For every time we offer one holy instant to the world, we lift the consciousness of the whole of it.  When I accept God’s love and mercy; God’s Grace in me extends it to you, and you can only extend it to keep it.  The healing you and I experience in accepting God’s love and mercy will extend far beyond our own personal problems.  The world is healed for no matter how many different forms of sickness the world can come up with, there is only one source, and it is fear. 

Without fear we rely upon our Holiness for only in our higher consciousness do we understand the reality of God’s Kingdom, the Laws of Love, the absolute invulnerability we have in Spirit.  Apply what we are learning to ourselves, and our holy Spirit does the rest.  We must not worry or fret about our progress – this is something we would never come to on our own for there is nothing that would benefit the ego to what we are doing!  We are reaching to a higher consciousness than can be found in the perceptual realm; we are reaching beyond the world of flesh and bones; we remember our real Kingdom and our real Home. 

The world cannot be healed without your healing example.  There is only one perfectly learned lesson that is required – while problems are all the same they take different forms, and it is the forms of the one problem that make up the whole perceptual world.  If we understood the nature of our problems we would not be able to see them anymore.  They would simply dissipate in our knowledge of their unreality, their falsity, their insubstantial lies.  If you are born into the world, you still have something that you believe is real in the world that is worth seeking in place of God’s Kingdom.  And because you believe even one thing in the illusion is worth separating yourself from God and His Son, you will have problems – not because God gave you problems in order to teach you a good lesson, but simply because you have entered a realm that opposes reality, that makes opposites, that chooses to be different than God rather than the same as God. 

We cannot learn this lesson on our own.  We cannot be delivered from the illusion with our human perceptions, our human intellect, our human ability to cipher and sleuth.  We can only learn this lesson by One Who can look upon what we have made and know that it is not real.  In our humanity we will always get it wrong, but Holy Spirit is always right. 

There is nothing perceived in this world as a problem that has any reality whatsoever.  All problems no matter how diverse are solved as one – only God is Real. God is Love, and Love has no fear in it, no problems in it, no cares, concerns, or conflicts. 

This is where we find our peace and with peace comes healing just as healing comes with peace.  In the eternal present moment we find love without attack of any kind, and it will stay with us forever.  Healed, we will stay healed and give healing everywhere we go.  Jesus tells us in the last paragraph that while we will have many witnesses that testify to our healing examples, there will be far more than what we can now imagine for infinity cannot be understood by counting up its separate parts! 

Let it be you God thanks for your healing for it is a gift of love unto His Son.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 27 The healing of the dream. v. the healing example. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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