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ACIM – CHAPTER 21 REASON AND PERCEPTION VIII. The Final Shift

ACIM – Chapter 21:VIII

1.  Are thoughts, then, dangerous? To bodies, yes! The thoughts that seem to kill are those that teach the thinker that he can be killed. And so, he “dies” because of what he learned. He goes from life to death, the final proof he valued the inconstant more than constancy. Surely, he thought he wanted happiness. Yet he did not desire it because it was the truth, and therefore must be constant.

2. The constancy of joy is a condition quite alien to your understanding. Yet if you could even imagine what it must be, you would desire it although you understand it not. The constancy of happiness has no exceptions, no change of any kind. It is unshakable as is the Love of God for His creation.  Sure in its vision as its Creator is in what He knows, happiness looks on everything and sees it is the same.Is sees not the ephemeral, for it desires everything be like itself, and sees it so. Nothing has power to confound its constancy, because its own desire cannot be shaken. It comes as surely unto those who see the final question is necessary to the rest, as peace must come to those who choose to heal and not to judge.

3.  Reason will tell you that you cannot ask for happiness inconstantly. For if what you desire you receive, and happiness is constant, then you need ask for it but once to have it always. And if you do not have it always, being what it is, you did not ask for it. For no one fails to ask for his desire of something he believes holds out some promise of the power of giving it. He may be wrong in what he asks, where, and of what. Yet he will ask because desire is a request, an asking for, and made by one whom God Himself will never fail to answer.  God has already given all that he really wants. Yet what he is uncertain of, God cannot give. For he does not desire it while he remains uncertain, and God’s giving must be incomplete unless it is received.

4.  You who complete God’s will and are His happiness, whose will is powerful as His, a power that is not lost in your illusions, think carefully while you have not yet decided how you would answer the final question. Your answer to the others has made it possible to help you be already partly sane. And yet it is the final one that really asks if you are willing to be wholly sane.

5.  What is the holy instant but God’s appeal to you to recognize what He has given you? Here is the great appeal to reason; the awareness of what is always there to see, the happiness that could be always yours. Here is the constant peace you could experience forever. Here is what denial has denied, revealed to you. For here the final question is already answered, and what you ask for given. Here is the future now, for time is powerless because of your desire for what will never change. For you have asked that nothing stand between the holiness of your relationship and your awareness of its holiness.[1]

Where is the world in which we have all power and are not the least bit helpless?  It is our High Mind where we join with Christ in Sonship, where we no longer deny our Identity as God’s beloved Son, where our thoughts are holy – pure, loving, and based fully and constantly on all that makes happy. In the flesh state everything, even life, must have an opposite and come to an end.  When we treasure our belief in opposition,  we “die,” trapped in maddening cycles where we accept scraps of existence that pose as life and pass with time.  In today’s text Jesus, appealing to our reason, defines for us the final question which leads to the inner shift from the low mind of flesh and ego to the High Mind of Christ and Sonship. 

The constancy of true happiness defies our finite understanding!  For happiness has been doled out to us in tiny increments, a dose of it here and a dose of it there, the happiness we get today turns to our biggest sorrow tomorrow when it finds someone new, moves away, fades away, or hits bottom.  We learn to distrust happiness in the world.  We grow afraid of happiness in fear of losing it, making a fool of ourselves over it, for inviting the jealousy and envy of our so-called friends and loved ones.  And yet Jesus tells us that happiness can only be happiness if it is constant, if it does not change, if nothing can topple it or defeat it.  Happiness is not dependent then on anything in the temporal realm – for happiness looks on everything and remains the same.  Happiness is not affected by starvation, drowning, genocide, or prolicide.  Happiness comes when we answer the final question and see how necessary it is to our return to God.  When we see only the truth, we perceive the world only as the fiction it is.  By understanding our part in the separation, we do not judge it but choose to heal it. 

Paragraph three sets us free from ever begging God for anything again.  Begging and pleading with God is not worthy of His Son nor is it worthy of God for begging and pleading denote being able to wrangle something from God which He does not want to give us.  When we desire happiness, we only need to ask for it once to have it always.  God has already given us everything we could possibly want.  He has shared Himself with us, His Son.  Everything we need, everything we want, everything that could possibly make us happy is ours for the taking, for the accepting, for the receiving.  When we learn this of God, we will never be uncertain, wavering, unworthy beggars in our own eyes again.  For as uncertain, wavering, unworthy beggars we have not accepted our Identity in Him. 

Today think carefully about who you are.  You are God’s Will.  You complete God’s Will. You are God’s happiness.  God made you and gave you His Voice, His Mind, His power as part of your Being.  God did not take it back.  God did not hide it from you.  God did not decide against His own Will or His own Son.  What you are you ever will be.  Anything that does not agree with your Identity is the mad belief that you are something else, that you can find yourself in another creation, that you can make another world apart from God’s Kingdom and call it home. 

Are you willing to be wholly sane, wholly powerful, wholly sinless, wholly blameless?  Do you want to take the moments that your reality is crystal clear and unobscured by the lies and illusions of the mistaken world and devote yourself completely to the truth that never fails?  We are already partly there, for we have dropped our mad belief in fear and have learned to love again.  But are we ready to see what we denied about ourselves – you and me?  Are we ready to stop believing the horrible history of our world and put our complete faith and trust in the bright and beautiful reality of God and of each other?  Can we look past the hologram of time, the blood and gore of nature gone rogue, the mockery and scorn we made for each other and accept our glory as God’s Son?   

At this point in our journey, we go to the holy instant when we remember the holy instant.  We struggle on our own with some issue and then it occurs to us – oh yes, I can take this to the holy instant.  I do not have to carry this.  I do not have to let this jar my joy or steal my peace.  I can take this to the only safe place that exists to me right now and leave it there for Holy Spirit to cleanse, transform, heal, or simply wash away.  And this is a beautiful experience for us.  We can only know how beautiful this is when we practice it.  We can only know how peaceful this is when we struggle with something on our own for a while and then remember and see the sharp contrast between our struggles and the peace that comes when we bring our troubles to the inner altar and communicate there in spirit and in truth.

In the holy instant, God’s appeal is no longer obscured to us.  We know His Love, His Devotion, His never-failing happiness and everlasting peace.  In the high mind of Christ, our reason for Being is made perfectly plain to us. The constancy and the certainty wash away what denial had made in its place.  In the holy instant the final question has been answered, and all that we would ask for is given us.  We enter into the eternal present where all is now, and the tension and tenses of time lose their hold upon our consciousness. 

As we close the chapter of Reason and Perception, spend some time today contemplating the state of Being where our relationship with God, with each other, with all of Creation is one of purity, reverence, love and peace and joy.  In that shimmering, blissful state of Being we are only aware of the unchanging vibration of Being without fear, without needs of any kind, without anything between us.  This is a state of communion, adventure, beauty, wonder, and grace.  There is no fear. There is no coercion.  There are no power struggles.  No jealousy, spite, or vengeance of any kind.  There is no time or space between us.  There are no obstacles of any kind to our communication and our fellowship.  This is our Kingdom.  This is our Being.  This is our Sonship.  This is our reality, this is our divine state of Being, this is the awareness and the acceptance of who and what we really are.  Here we have answered the final question; we experience the inner shift where all that we are is made real to us once more.


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 21 Reason and perception. VIII. The Inner Shift. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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