V. The Circle of Atonement
1. The only part of your mind that has reality is the part that links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God’s love, to share with all the lonely ones who have denied Him? God makes this possible. Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. This is forever changeless. Accept, then, the immutable. Leave the world of death behind and return quietly to Heaven. There is nothing of value here, and everything of value there. Listen to the Holy Spirit, and to God through Him. He speaks of you to you. There is no guilt in you, for God is blessed in His Son as His Son is blessed in Him.
2. Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy.
3. Blessed Son of a wholly blessing Father, joy was created for you. Who can condemn whom God has blessed? There is nothing in the Mind of God that does not share His shining innocence. Creation is the natural extension of perfect purity. Your only calling here is to devote yourself, with active willingness, to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand. The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. Deny them not what is their due, for you will not withhold it from them alone.
4. The inheritance of the Kingdom is the right of God’s Son, given him in his creation. Do not try to steal it from him, or you will ask for guilt and will experience it. Protect his purity from every thought that would steal it away and keep it from his sight. Bring innocence to light, and answer to the call of the Atonement. Never allow purity to remain hidden but shine away the heavy veils of guilt within which the Son of God has hidden himself from his own sight.
5. We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away, and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son. The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness that must have been denied to produce the need of healing. Do not withhold this glad acknowledgement, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange guilt for innocence, nor realize that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.
6. Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this. There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to these points straight to Heaven, and the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching and guarantees its limitless results.
7. Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this. You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God’s creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.
8. Peace, then, be onto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgement of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as a teacher of Atonement, not of guilt.
9. Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us, but of our Father. In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father’s power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him, by teaching him his innocence.
10. The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego’s aim. Is sees everyone as guilty, and by its condemnation it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness, He would release from fear and re-establish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.
11. Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace, which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.
Today we come to our devotional reading knowing that the only real thing about us is our holy Spirit which abides in our higher mind and links us with God. This is the part of us that goes beyond the physical realm of flesh and blood, that sees beyond the projection screen of the ego, which can share the message of God’s love to all who are trapped in the perceptual world. God gives this ability to us for we could never do it on our own – no matter how hard we tried to be “good,” no matter how much money we donated to charity, no matter how many crimes we solved, or criminals we brought to “justice.” So long as we deny the yearning inside of us for God, we are denying God for God yearns for us as we yearn for Him. There is not a one of us that can ever find happiness and certainty and forever without Him – we can watch all the false images of happiness that the world gives to us, we can believe all the lies that we can find everlasting happiness and joy and meaning in our special relationships, in our status and our wealth and in our technology but we are still flesh and blood, we are still craven egos, always needy and never gratified or satisfied.
Jesus urges us today to accept the immutable. We can leave the world of death behind! We can return our minds to Heaven. This requires quiet and peace and calm. For we listen to our holiness within. We go to Spirit and to God through Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit tells us what we really are. He speaks to us of our purity, of our created state, of our Sonship, of our worth to God and God’s worth to us.
Each one of us has a part to play in the Atonement. This means you. No matter where we are and what we are doing, what we have made of ourselves in the world, the message of Holy Spirit is the same – God’s Son is guiltless. I may say it one way and you may say it another but no matter how differently we say it, God’s message is one of love and power and sanity. It is not until we teach this to others and learn it for ourselves that our quest for God can be satisfied. When we share guiltlessness with others, we accept it for ourselves – the anxious, uneasy feeling of not being enough and not doing enough or the right thing will go away.
It is not God’s Will that we spend our lives chasing things that fail to satisfy our yearning for God and the purpose for which He calls us. Our Creator is the only one that knows us, for He made us like Himself and has shared everything He is with us. All of God’s wonderful attributes are our attributes. God did not create us to hoard all His gentleness, goodness, love, and peace and joy to Himself. Our happiness is God’s only lesson to us.
Joy was created for you and for me! Nobody can condemn us for we are blessed of God. Why sit here fretting about this one and that one holding grudges against us for things we have done in the past? Purity extends itself, naturally and in every encounter, in every thought, in every word, in every deed. Our calling is to devote ourselves to guiltlessness in every form.
The grandsons are with us this summer and our quiet, reflective mornings with coffee and devotions are not quite the same! I have started a garden which needs near constant tending. Our house continues to be under major renovations. James sustained an injury to his knee. I didn’t seem to have the time or inclination this past month to look at the honey bee course James and I are taking. My blog posts got a few days behind. Last night when the boys and I came back from our daily swim, I felt totally wiped out. There were the supper dishes in the sink, there was a load of laundry in the dryer that needed to be folded and put away, there was an instant pot full of yogurt to be bottled. The floor needed mopped; the coffee pot needed filled for the morning; the eggs needed washed and put away. The boys hung up their wet things and crashed in the living room eagerly waiting for Grammy to come and watch a movie with them. I got very grumpy and told them to go upstairs. In my head it was their fault that I was so tired, that my devotions, blog posts, housekeeping, and bee course had been neglected!
When I finally got a chance to sit down and quiet my mind and heart and rest my body, I was in a state of turmoil. I read the text and felt so annoyed at the way it was written. I said to Holy Spirit, I am just not getting anything out of this tonight. Why can’t it be written in such a way that I don’t have to think so hard? It all sounds like mumbo-jumbo. Maybe I am not cut out for this. I just feel old and tired and cranky. How do I know if any of this is true?
This may sound like a mean way to speak to Holy Spirit, but it was me, not putting on any false spirituality – it was me in my humanity crying out for help, saying that I was tired, that my higher mind and the holiness of the Spirit that resides there were too far above me to reach for, that I was sinking into the fatigue and anxiety of passing time, not being able to keep up with the young ones, not meeting all the expectations that I have for myself here at the Friar Patch. It was me saying I need help! I don’t know how to do it all! I am sorry for blaming my grandsons for wearing me out when it was the choices and expectations I made for myself that were overtaxing me.
Holy Spirit teaches us of our inheritance given to us in creation. As I sat there, Holy Spirit showed me the difference between doing it my way and doing it the holy way. There is a way to live in the world with the perfect gentleness of God, protecting our purity from every false thought that would rob us of our joy and keep it from our awareness. When I brought the innocence of my grandsons to light, I remembered how much they helped me in the garden earlier in the day, how they ran to get things for me, the joy on their faces while we splashed around at the rec center, how they carried the bags of gardening supplies and put them in the trunk of my car. It was not the extra laundry, cooking, washing up, and cleaning that they bring, it was their joy and helpfulness and love that shone away the aches and pains of blame which would have hidden how blessed we are from my sight.
Atonement saves us all by restoring our unity. No message of guilt and unworthiness will restore full communion and communication between the Father and the Son. When we deny guiltlessness we deny God. We need restoration; we need healing; we need reunification. Our guiltlessness releases us from sorrow and suffering of every kind – nobody wants to be in pain. For those of us who have not yet learned that guiltlessness is our salvation, for those of us who still may teach that guilt is useful and necessary for salvation to be realized, we bear no ill will. We teach guiltlessness, not attack. Going into rants against those who have hurt us in the name of God, those who have lied to us and made us believe in guilt and sin, shame and unworthiness Jesus calls a failure in learning.
When we teach innocence we join together in a unified curriculum that teaches Atonement. Teach another gospel and we will not have unity for guilt tears people apart. A sense of unworthiness begets unworthiness; a sense of sin and shame beget sin and shame. We teach a curriculum of joyous release from guilt for we are creations of God Who made us from Love.
The Circle of Atonement has no end. We join with Christ as we bring everyone we know and have ever had any dealings with into the safety and perfect peace of no blame, no shame, no guilt – only God’s beloved Son – holy and pure and good. A virtuous circle which ever expands, here we find our everlasting safety, our peace, and our perfect joy. Here we find the meaning of love for there is no specialness, there are no favorites; there are no laws except the laws of love, which is one for all and all for one.
We join with Christ and are blessed – now and forever. We do not rely on our human power which is small and futile and will do nothing for us in the end. We rely on the power of Love which comes from God. We know God not in our strutting and boasting, our me, me, me, our visions that put us on a pedestal, our battles which drown the whole world in sorrow and shame, our sacrifices and our crucifixes, our calling forth the blood of Jesus and making of his long past human blood and suffering an idol which keeps us in darkness. We teach the Love of God; we teach His perfect peace; we teach His yearning for us even as we yearn for Him.
We learn of God in our tenderness toward one another, we learn of God through our compassion and love for others. We live our lives to restore the Sonship, to remind our brothers that we are loved, cherished, and missed. This is our only real meaning in the world, for otherwise we get caught up in it and begin to think that it is okay to live in a realm of opposites and opposition trapped in cycles of nothingness. We think it is perfectly natural to bring little babies into a world of death and decay, into vulnerability and guilt.
We are blessed when we teach the resurrection for in the resurrection the ego and all of its torments and wishes for death upon us is reversed. The resurrection releases us from guilt for what resurrects – resurrects forever because guilt stays in time. When we heap guilt upon another, we join with the ego in crucifixion; when we release others from guilt we restore purity joining with Christ in the resurrection. Be not deceived by the ego for the ego’s wish for you and for me is crucifixion. The ego plays with us, leads us on, breaks its promises time after time. Finally its condemnation kills us so it can start again where it left off in our next weary go-round.
We break this vicious cycle when we join Christ in the Circle of Atonement. When we stay attuned to Holy Spirit we release others from their guilt. The laws of love are reestablished in our hearts and minds forever. The world makes fun of sincerity and purity and tenderness but make no mistake – this is our power for it is the power of love which is the only power there is. There is no wish for harm in it – crucifixion and mistaken beliefs in any power of darkness cannot be found in it. When we give our lives to God and to His purpose we are joining with Christ in restoring Creation. What we give to God becomes ours forever; what we give to ego we lose and must come around again to seek it in another vain attempt to find meaning in nothingness.
Pay particular attention to last paragraph for here Jesus gives us explicit instruction on how we enter and stay within the Circle of Atonement. There is a way in and there is a way out as long as we remain in our humanity. We enter through offering everyone we meet the blessing of guiltlessness. We refuse to judge them by their humanity. We see past all their unrighteousness, their meanness, ignorance and viciousness. We see past all their privilege, their intelligence, their bodies, their seeming superiority that fascinates the stupid part of us which is easily impressed by that which enslaves us to nothingness. We see only peace where the ego offers us conflict. We come to understand that everyone is seeking what is inside this Circle and it is within our power to bring them in with the Mind of Christ.
In your personal devotional practice ask Holy Spirit to teach you this, to show you the Circle of Atonement. Go over this lesson as many times as you can for it teaches us diligence in undermining the ego’s use of time – keeping us trapped in ongoing cycles of death and decay. The Circle of Atonement is our means of return to God’s Kingdom. Holy Spirit has given my imagination a visual of a beautiful gleaming ever-expanding Holy Saucer – which hovers in the higher mind and calls forth everyone. Those within the Saucer call forth those without. Those within the Saucer lose their place upon it when they would refuse another welcome. For as long as we think we can get to God’s Kingdom by bringing our grudges, injuries, and spite we are only kidding ourselves. There is nobody standing at the entrance of the Circle of Atonement demanding to see qualifications, checking belief systems, judging others for things that happened in darkness.
This is my visual. Holy Spirit may give you a different visual, but the message will always be the same. Bring them in with no judgment and no condemnation. Hold only guiltlessness in your holy mind toward your brothers for only in guiltlessness will we know Love. And Love is God even as God is Love.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. V The circle of atonement. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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