1. The opposite of illusions is not disillusionment but truth. Only to the ego, to which truth is meaningless, do they appear to be the only alternatives, and different from each other. In truth they are the same. Both bring the same amount of misery, though each one seems to be the way to lose the misery the other brings. Every illusion carries pain and suffering in the dark folds of the heavy garments in which it hides its nothingness. Yet by these dark and heavy garments are those who seek illusions covered and hidden from the joy of truth.
2. Truth is the opposite of illusions because it offers joy. What else but joy could be the opposite of misery? To leave one kind of misery and seek another is hardly an escape. To change illusions is to make no change. The search for joy in misery is senseless, for how could joy be found in misery? All that is possible in the dark world of misery is to select some aspects out of it, see them as different, and define the difference as joy. Yet to perceive a difference where none exists will surely fail to make a difference.
3. Illusions carry only guilt and suffering, sickness and death, to their believers. The form in which they are accepted is irrelevant. No form of misery in reason’s eyes can be confused with joy. Joy is eternal. You can be sure indeed that any seeming happiness that does not last is really fear. Joy does not turn to sorrow, for the eternal cannot change. But sorrow can be turned to joy, for time gives way to the eternal. Only the timeless must remain unchanged, but everything in time can change with time. Yet if the change be real and not imagined, illusions must give way to truth, and not to other dreams that are but equally unreal. This is no difference.
4. Reason will tell you that the only way to escape from misery is to recognize it and go the other way. Truth is the same and misery the same, but they are different from each other in every way, in every instance and without exception. To believe that one exception can exist is to confuse what is the same with what is different. One illusion cherished and defended against the truth makes all truth meaningless, and all illusions real. Such is the power of belief. It cannot compromise. And faith in innocence is faith in sin, if the belief excludes one living thing and holds it out, apart from its forgiveness.
5. Both reason and the ego will tell you this, but what they make of it is not the same. The ego will assure you now that it is impossible for you to see no guilt in anyone. And if this seeing is the only means by which escape from guilt can be attained, then the belief in sin must be eternal. Yet reason looks on this another way, for reason sees the source of an idea as what will make it either true or false. This must be so, if the idea is like its source. Therefore, says reason, if escape from guilt was given to the Holy Spirit as His purpose, and by One to Whom nothing He wills can be impossible, the means for its attainment are more than possible, they must be there, and you must have them.
6. This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete. For if you have the means to let the Holy Spirit’s purpose be accomplished, they can be used. And through their use will you gain faith in them. Yet to the ego this must be impossible, and no one undertakes to do what holds no hope of ever being done. You know what your Creator wills is possible, but what you made believes it is not so. Now must you choose between yourself and an illusion of yourself. Not both, but one. There is no point in trying to avoid this one decision. It must be made. Faith and belief can fall to either side, but reason tells you misery lies only on one side and joy upon the other.
7. Forsake not now your brother. For you who are the same will not decide alone nor differently. Either you give each other life or death; either you are each other’s savior or his judge, offering him sanctuary or condemnation. This course will be believed entirely or not at all. For it is wholly true or wholly false and cannot be partially believed. And you will either escape from misery entirely or not at all. Reason will tell you that there is no middle ground where you can pause uncertainly, waiting to choose between the joy of heaven and the misery of hell. Until you choose heaven, you are in hell and misery.
8. There is no part of Heaven you can take and weave into illusions. Nor is there one illusion you can enter Heaven with. A savior cannot be a judge, nor mercy condemnation. And vision cannot damn, but only bless. Whose function is to save, will save. How He will do it is beyond your understanding, but when must be your choice. For time you made, and time you can command. You are no more a slave to time than to the world you made.
9. Let us look closer at the whole illusion that what you made has power to enslave its maker. This is the same belief that caused the separation. It is the meaningless idea that thoughts can leave the thinker’s mind, be different from it and in opposition to it. If this were true, thoughts would not be the mind’s extensions, but its enemies. And here we see again another form of the same fundamental illusion we have seen many times before. Only if it were possible the Son of God could leave his Father’s Mind, make himself different and oppose His Will, would it be possible that the self he made, and all it made, should be his master.
10. Behold the great projection but look on it with the decision that it must be healed, and not with fear. Nothing you made has any power over you unless you still would be apart from your Creator, and with a will opposed to His. For only if you would believe His Son could be His enemy does it seem possible that what you made is yours. You would condemn His joy to misery, and make Him different. And all the misery you made has been your own. Are you not glad to learn it is not true? Is it not welcome news to hear not one of the illusions that you made replaced the truth?
11. Only your thoughts have been impossible. Salvation cannot be. It is impossible to look upon your savior as your enemy and recognize him. Yet it is possible to recognize him for what he is, if God would have it so. What God has given to your holy relationship is there. For what He gave the Holy Spirit to give to you He gave. Would you not look upon the savior that has been given you? And would you not exchange, in gratitude, the function of an executioner you gave him for the one he has in truth? Receive of him what God has given him for you, not what you tried to give yourself.
12. Beyond the body that you interpose between you and your brother and shining in the golden light that reaches it from the bright, endless circle that extends forever, is your holy relationship, beloved of God Himself. How still it rests, in time and yet beyond, immortal yet on earth. How great the power that lies in it. Time waits upon its will, and earth will be as it would have it be. Here is no separate will, nor the desire that anything be separate. Its will has no exceptions, and what it wills is true. Every illusion brought to its forgiveness is gently overlooked and disappears. For at its center Christ has been reborn, to light His home with vision that overlooks the world. Would you not have this holy home be yours as well? No misery is here, but only joy.
13. All you need do to dwell in quiet here with Christ is share His vision. Quickly and gladly is His vision given anyone who is but willing to see his brother sinless. And no one can remain beyond this willingness, if you would be released entirely from all effects of sin. Would you have partial forgiveness for yourself? Can you reach Heaven while a single sin still tempts you to remain in misery? Heaven is a home of perfect purity, and God created it for you. Look on your holy brother, sinless as yourself, and let him lead you there.
Illusion and disillusionment are the same thing. Fall for someone unworthy and then become disillusioned with their seeming charm and beauty – Jesus calls it the same thing because it brings about the same amount of misery. You may think you were happy when you fell head over heels for the little JoJo, but every illusion brings pain and suffering and to become disillusioned of an illusion and mourn your happy days when you were still deceived would be just plain silly if it were not so pitiful. Jesus calls our besottedness with illusion dark folds of heavy garments which hide the nothingness, and when we fall for lies, for shams, for the replacement of truth, we have no joy. We may have a crumb or two of happiness, we may have the thrill of the chase or being chased; we may experience the little rush of adrenaline, the flush of the racing heart and the chemicals that surge through our system when we get attention or make a conquest, but it will not be real for happiness is not fleeting, and joy is everlasting.
Only truth offers joy. To become disillusioned with one illusion and seek another one to take its place is hardly an escape from misery but rather to make no change at all. To search for happiness in the world is a hopeless endeavor for the happiness of the world is to select some aspects of it and see them as standing out from the rest and call that specialness happiness. And so we try to find our happiness in that special someone, that special car, that special career, that special membership, that special neighborhood or house or whatever it may be that will stand out and give us happiness. In America we have what we call the American Dream which many depict as owning a house, having a yard, and a white picket fence to establish one’s territory. However, the American dream is actually an idealistic illusion of freedom being found in hard work, lack of governmental power and control, with legislative support for collecting wealth and enjoying financial independence. And so, we become very patriotic to this dream and we work hard, and we get the house, the yard, the picket fence or its equivalent and we are still far from free. While we may enjoy relative wealth and freedom in comparison to citizens of another country, we lose freedom in that chase for happiness in misery; we die from the chase; we lose our loved ones in the chase; we lose our health and our ability to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the small daily pleasures that can only be found in quietness, relaxation, and appreciation.
For illusions only carry guilt and suffering, sickness and death to their believers. No matter what form of illusion we chase, we find that any happiness that comes does not last. Joy is eternal – it does not disappoint or disillusion for it is timeless. Eventually, no matter how entrenched and entranced we are with the illusion – it will teach us of its nothingness and we will turn to truth – because at the end of illusion there is only truth!
Reason will tell us that to escape misery is to recognize it and go the other way. In paragraph four Jesus emphasizes that there is no exception to the stark difference between the sameness of truth and the sameness of illusion – it is important that we never get them confused. For to believe that one exception can exist is to confuse the truth with fiction. If I uphold one lie and cherish it and defend it against the truth – all truth is then meaningless to me, and all illusions are real. There is no compromise with the power of belief. When I put my faith in innocence and yet would withhold Atonement from one living part of Creation, keeping it separate, barring it from the love and peace and joy of the Kingdom within, my faith is not in Atonement, my faith is in sin.
In paragraph five we see how the High Mind of Christ and the low mind of ego demand our full allegiance. However, the low mind will tell us that it is impossible to offer forgiveness to everyone for the living are guilty and guilt must be punished. As long as we hold others, even if it is only one here or one there, accountable for their crimes against the world, toward us, towards God Himself, our belief is in the power of sin. Instead of leaving sin in the temporal world and letting it pass away with the past, we want to take it to eternity with us, which is impossible.
The High Mind of Christ reasons with us in light of our holiness. Escape from guilt is the purpose of Holy Spirit given to us by God. God wills that none are lost. God wills that all return to His Kingdom. Nothing God Wills can be unaccomplished. Therefore, there is a way and we must have the way available to us right here and right now. We would never dream of withholding Atonement from any living thing for any reason.
This is a critical moment for you and for me as we study the Course and separate ourselves from the ego completely. I have the means; you have the means to use for the accomplishment of Holy Spirit’s purpose. We can know our holiness; we can accept our place in Atonement. Intellectually we can understand and deeply appreciate that all are saved, and nobody is lost forever. However, until we consciously use the means to practice Atonement, our faith in Atonement will be weak and not have any practical application.
We are going to have resistance to this idea because the ego, the “something else” about us that we made to take the place of Sonship – does not believe in any of this! The “something else” we made likes it just the way it is – because we will have a false sense of elitism, for we study the Course, we know we are saved and so is everybody else; we can sail through the rest of our lives knowing this and resting in this and never really have to make a commitment at all. The ego has no problem with our intellectual acceptance of a theory as long as we remain its friend, as long as we hold on to some thoughts of guilt and shame, as long as there are at least a few people in our lives we condemn and refuse to forgive, as long as we think we are special and therefore others are not.
We make the decision now; there is no point putting it off. We can put our faith and belief in the god of sin, guilt, and shame continuing with a miserable belief system that sends our brothers to hell, that sees God as fearsome and egotistical, that cherishes the idea of revenge and punishment rather than forgiveness and correction. Or, we can place our faith and belief in the gracious God of love and peace and joy; we can commit ourselves fully to mercy and grace; we can practice the power of Atonement which overlooks all mistakes made in ignorance and corrects all mistakes made by the lost and confused. In other words, we can choose misery, or we can choose joy.
We give each other life or death; we save each other or judge each other; we offer a safe haven or a dungeon of despair. There is no partial belief. Our escape from misery is complete or not at all. There is no middle ground where we can wait and choose between joy and misery, Heaven and hell, because as long as we wait, we are in misery; we are in hell.
We cannot bring Heaven to hell, and we cannot take illusion to Heaven. A savior cannot be a judge. Mercy cannot be condemnation. Vision does not damn us but rather blesses us and saves us. The logistics of salvation is up to God; the time of salvation is up to us. For we are no more a slave to time than we are to any other illusion.
We are to look at the world through eyes that would heal, not with eyes of terror and fear. We are part of God and His Will is now our will. We no longer think of ourselves as the puny enemies of a great big scary God, but rather we know ourselves and each other as His Son. The joy of God is our joy; the misery we have made is not of God and therefore cannot be true. Salvation cannot be impossible and the means in which God gives us salvation is through the holiness we bring to our relationships. We heal the separation by seeing each other as Christ sees us, as one in Him. It is impossible for me to look upon you as my enemy when I only see Christ in you, when I only see you as my Savior, my Brother, my Friend. It is impossible for me to hate you, to be afraid of you, to talk mean about you, or prey upon you when I see you through the eyes of Sonship.
Our love for one another is holy and blessed by God Himself. There is no body between us, no differences, no misunderstanding, only our mutuality in the bright, endless circle that extends forever. We can rest assured in our love. I do not have to chase you. I do not have to constantly check in with you. I do not have to broadcast my love for you or show off your love for me. Our love is quiet, calm, and forever. There is great power in the love we have for one another – time waits upon it; the earth will be as our love would have it be. I am not making this up. This is what Jesus teaches us. For our love is true and so what it wills is God’s Will – no separation, no opposition, no opposites. All illusion forgiven, overlooked, and dissolved. Christ is reborn in our love for one another and in the light of His vision the world is reborn. No misery – only joy.
Today in your personal devotion, commit yourself to share in the Vision of Christ. Devote yourself to cherishing innocence, grace, forgiveness, mercy, and correction. Give unto everybody what you want for yourself – released from guilt, sorrow, despair, and all effects of sin. Do not withhold Atonement from anybody for any reason for we find our salvation in our pure regard for one another. Let your mercy, grace, and forgiveness rest upon the world and refuse to see anybody or anything as beyond redemption. Keep, in the face of all accusations, fear, blame, and shame being broadcast abroad, your brother sinless even as you keep yourself. This is the Will of God. You are God’s Will, and I am God’s Will and our love for each other will lead us Home.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 22 Salvation and the holy relationship. II. Your brother’s sinlessness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
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