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ACIM – CHAPTER 24 THE GOAL OF SPECIALNESS III. The Forgiveness of Specialness

1. Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusions, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still. And so he calls it “unforgivable,” and makes it sin. How can he then give his forgiveness wholly, when he would not receive it for himself? For it is sure he would receive it wholly the instant that he gave it so.  And thus his secret guilt would disappear, forgiven by himself.

2. Whatever form of specialness you cherish, you have made sin. Inviolate it stands, strongly defended with all your puny might against the Will of God. And thus, it stands against yourself; “your” enemy, not God’s. So does it seem to split you off from God, and make you separate from Him as its defender. You would protect what God created not. And yet, this idol that seems to give you power has taken it away. For you have given your brother’s birthright to it, leaving him alone and unforgiven, and yourself in sin beside him, both in misery, before the idol that can save you not.

3. It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you.  It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze. 

4. Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son is safe, resting on Him. It is your specialness that is attacked by everything that walks and breathes, or creeps or crawls, or even lives at all.  Nothing is safe from its attack, and it is safe from nothing.  It will forevermore be unforgiving, for that is what it is; a secret vow that what God wants for you will never be, and that you will oppose His Will forever.  Nor is it possible the two can ever be the same, while specialness stands like a flaming sword of death between them, and makes them enemies. 

5. God asks for your forgiveness. He would have no separation, like an alien will, rise between what He wills for you and what you will.  They are the same, for neither One wills specialness.  How could They will the death of Love Itself. Yet They are powerless to make attack upon illusions. They are not bodies; as one Mind They wait for all illusions to be brought to Them, and left behind. Salvation challenges not even death. And God Himself, Who knows that death is not your will must say, “Thy will be done” because you think it is.

6. Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life, of love and holiness, the perfect Father of a perfect Son, for your illusions of your specialness.  Here is the hell you chose to be your home.  He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this. The way is barred to love and to salvation. Yet if you would release your brother from the depths of hell, you have forgiven Him Whose Will it is you rest forever in the arms of peace, in perfect safety, an without the heat and malice of one thought of specialness to mar your rest. Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead.

7. The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see.  Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death, but only in the dream.  Open your eyes a little; see the savior God gave to you that you might look on him and give him back his birthright. It is yours.

8. The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your savior? God calls to you from him to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.[1]

God cannot make us special and for this we must forgive Him.  Our desire for specialness has kept us in a deep sleep, in a realm of uncertainty, chaos, enmity, and death, which can never touch forever.  Specialness keeps us bound in a sense of time, the safe place where dreams of power, control, status, and predominance replace the love and brotherhood of God’s Son. 

Creation is obscured to those who would be special.  There is freedom, peace, and joy always there, always waiting for us to awaken from the dream of death.  Read over this text carefully and prayerfully, with a calm and quiet mind, open to the ideas expounded upon here.  We must forgive God for our own waywardness, for our own desire to rise above each other, and to rise above Him, for not understanding that Love and Truth cannot be opposed.  We must forgive our Father for granting us our wishes and giving us the dream of what we asked for.

Recognize the fact that we are not special and we awaken to the loveliness of Creation as it was created – as one and complete and whole.  Reality was not opposed by fiction, dreams of dominance had not replaced the only power that exists.  God cannot enter this dream for it was not created in love and by love and for love.  It was made with the mad idea of separation and specialness.  God does not choose sides in a battle.  God does not have a chosen people.  God does not demand blood sacrifice nor is His Will manipulated by the praise and worship and flattery of flesh and blood. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus tells us that we are lost in dreams of specialness.  That we hate the call to awaken; that we curse God for not making our dreams come true.  The best He could do was let us wander in our illusions, trusting that we will eventually reclaim our birthright in the “us” that is one. 

And so here we find the one thing that bars us from Heaven, the one thing that we must recognize and expunge from our consciousness, the one thing that will keep us circling in the karmic cycles of birth, and suffering, death and dying.  We do not get to be special. My light can shine no brighter than your light.  There is no sin for the world and all that would fill our minds with dismay is a mirage.  God does not play favorites with lies.  The only power that exists is that which extends Itself, creates like Itself, does not defeat Itself by creating that which can be opposed by opposites or manipulated by neediness of any kind. When we accept this truth, our eyes begin to flutter open.  We become free of doctrines, dogma, and the discrepancy of God that would instill specialness as a substitute for God.

Spend some quiet time contemplating the message in the last paragraph of today’s text for here we see that when we turn upon our brother, we turn upon God.  When we would send our brother to hell for his sins, we are sending God to hell, for we are one with God and this could never be the Father’s Will.  Let us allow this concept to awaken our minds.  We are of God and in God; God Himself has extended Himself through us.  It is our desire for specialness that would crucify and condemn any part of the Sonship.  Be merciful to God by showing mercy to His Son, Whom He loves and refuses to make special.     

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. III The forgiveness of specialness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM – CHAPTER 24 THE GOAL OF SPECIALNESS II. The Treachery of Specialness

ACIM Chapter 24 II. The Treachery of Specialness

1. Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons. it is established by a lack seen in another, and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive. This does it see, and this it looks upon. And always whom it thus diminishes would be your savior, had you not chosen to make of him a tiny measure of your specialness instead. Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see. Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus.

2. Pursuit of specialness is always at the cost of peace. Who can attack his savior and cut him down, yet recognize his strong support? Who can distract from his omnipotence, yet share his power? And who can use him as the gauge of littleness, and be released from limits? You have a function in salvation. Its pursuit will bring you joy. But the pursuit of specialness must bring you pain. Here is a goal that would defeat salvation, and thus run counter to the Will of God. To value specialness is to esteem an alien will to which illusions of yourself are dearer than the truth.

3. Specialness is the idea of sin made real. Sin is impossible even to imagine without this base. For sin arose from it, out of nothingness; an evil flower with no roots at all. Here is the self-made “savior,” the “creator” who creates unlike the Father, and which made His Son like to itself and not like unto Him.  His “special” sons are many, never one, each one in exile from himself, and Him of Whom they are a part.  Nor do they love the Oneness which created them as one with Him.  They chose their specialness instead of Heaven and instead of peace, and wrapped it carefully in sin, to keep it “safe” from truth.

4. You are not special. If you think you are, and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers?  Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to.  And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its “mightiness.” You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you. 

5. You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it.  They speak a different language and they fall on different ears.  To every special one a different message, and one with different meaning, is the truth.  Yet how can truth be different to each one?  The special messages the special hear convince them they are different and apart; each in his special sins and “safe” from love, which does not see his specialness at all.  Christ’s vision is their “enemy,” for it sees not what they would look upon, and it would show them that the specialness they think they see is an illusion.

6. What would they see instead? The shining radiance of the Son of God, so like his Father that the memory of Him springs instantly to mind.  And with this memory, the Son remembers his own creations, as like to him as he is to his Father.  And all the world he made, and all his specialness, and all the sins he held in its defense against himself, will vanish as his mind accepts the truth about himself, as it returns to take their place.  This is the only “cost” of truth.  You will no longer see what never was, nor hear what makes no sound.  Is it a sacrifice to give up nothing, and to receive the Love of God forever?

7. You who have chained your savior to your specialness, and given it his place, remember this: he has not lost the power to forgive you all the sins you think you placed between him and the function of salvation given him for you.  Nor will you change his function, any more than you can change the truth in him and in yourself.  But be you certain that the truth is just the same in both.  It gives no different messages and has one meaning.  And it is one you and your brother both can understand, and one that brings release to both of you.  Here stands your brother with the key to Heaven in his hand, held out to you. Let not the dream of specialness remain between you.  What is one is joined in truth.   

8. Think of the loveliness that you will see within yourself, when you have looked on him as on a friend. He is the enemy of specialness, but only friend to what is real in you. Not one attack you thought you made on him has taken from him the gift that God would have him give to you. His need to give it is as great as yours to have it. Let him forgive you all your specialness and make you whole in mind and one with him. He waits for your forgiveness only that he may return it onto you. It is not God Who has condemned His Son, but you, to save his specialness and kill his Self.

9. You have come far along the way of truth; too far to falter now. Just one step more, and every vestige of the fear of God will melt away in love. Your brother’s specialness and yours are enemies, and bound in hate to kill each other and deny they are the same. Yet it is not illusions that have reached this final obstacle which seems to make God and His Heaven so remote that they cannot be reached. Here in this holy place does truth stand waiting to receive you and your brother in silent blessing, and in peace so real and so encompassing that nothing stands outside. Leave all illusions of yourself outside this place, to which you come and hope in honesty.

10. Here is your savior from your specialness. He is in need of your acceptance of himself as part of you, as you for his. You are alike to God as God is to himself. He is not special, or he would not keep one part of what he is onto Himself, not given to His Son but kept for Him alone. And it is this you fear, for if He is not special, then He willed His Son to be like Him, and your brother is like you. Not special, but possessed of everything, including you. Give him but what he has, remembering God gave Himself to you and your brother in equal love, that both might share the universe with Him who chose that love could never be divided, and kept separate from what it is and must forever be.

11. You are your brother’s; part of love was not denied to him. But can it be that you have lost because he is complete? What has been given him makes you complete, as it does him. God’s love gave you to him and him to you because He gave Himself. What is the same as God is one with Him. And only specialness could make the truth of God and you as one seem anything but Heaven, with the hope of peace at last in sight.

12. Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love. Whatever serves its purpose must be given to kill. No gifts that bear its seal but offers treachery to giver and receiver. Not one glance from eyes it veils but looks on sight of death. Not one believer in its potency but seeks for bargains and for compromise that would establish sin love’s substitute and serve it faithfully. And no relationship that holds its purpose dear but clings to murder as safety’s weapon, and the great defender of all illusions from the “threat” of love.

13. The hope of specialness makes it seem possible God made the body as the prison house that keeps His Son from Him.  For it demands a special place God cannot enter, and a hiding place where none is welcome but your tiny self. Nothing is sacred here but unto you, and you alone, apart, and separate from all your brothers, safe from all intrusions of sanity upon illusions, safe from God and safe for conflict everlasting.  Here are the gates of hell you closed upon yourself to rule in madness and in loneliness your special kingdom, apart from God, away from truth and from salvation.

14. The key you threw away, God gave your brother, whose holy hands would offer it to you when you were ready to accept His plan for your salvation in the place of yours. How could this readiness be reached saved through the sight of all your misery, and the awareness that your plan has failed, and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind? Through this despair you travel now, yet it is but illusion of despair. The death of specialness is not your death, but your awaking into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you.[1]

In your personal devotional today, take all the time you need to go over each paragraph and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate each passage.  We have come too far in our Course study to falter now, and yet as long as we hold on to any illusion of our separateness and specialness, we will not be able to accept our real and everlasting Self as God created us. 

You are not special!  God does not love you any more than He loves everybody else.  Your righteous works, nice demeanor, church attendance, and popularity can do nothing to make you better than anyone else.  The crimes you commit, the lies you tell, the ways in which you use your wit and intelligence against others instead of for others, will never detract from who and what God created you to be.  God created us in Love, for Love, and to be Love.  And that is what we are – no matter how our egos have seemed to pervert this truth.  I cannot be reunited with the Sonship without you and you cannot be reunited with the Sonship without me.  This  is not a burden or a curse upon us for resisting our Brotherhood.  Rather it is our salvation, it is our cure for our sense of loneliness and despair.  It is our remedy for the treachery in which our desire for specialness, to stand above our brothers, to oppose the Love of God destroys us and keeps us from Love.

When I desire to be more special than you, I make of you an enemy.  Every one of us, no matter how seeming humble, no matter how seeming self-effacing, desire in our hearts to be the chosen, to find some way in which to be special.  This desire to rise to the top and look down in smug satisfaction from our perches can make us look silly at best and drive us to do mean and violent acts at worst.  If we cannot get to any height by our own steam, we will join organizations, choose professions, and marry into a family or business that will elevate our prestige, to make others envious, to establish our specialness.  Such conniving is not based upon love, but upon what our Course calls specialness.  We can substitute the word status for better clarification. 

Specialness is treacherous because it can be threatened. If what makes me feel special is the intelligence, good looks, and fitness level of our family and one of our children struggles intellectually, is not that cute, and has little to no desire to exercise or restrict calories – my sense of specialness will make of my child an “enemy.”  While I may cloak my enmity toward my child as concern, I will wreak havoc upon my family by focusing too much attention on trying to fix the kid who does not meet my picture of our above-average  family.  I will exert my will over him.  I will worry how his failures are going to besmirch our family’s good name.  Instead of loving my child and seeing him as my savior from specialness, I will harbor resentment and cherish feelings of guilt, shame, and ill will toward him. 

We will often seek our specialness from our mates, marrying for what they seem to offer us and then being taken aback in shock and dismay when they fail to live up to our imagined ideals of specialness.  Rather than accepting them as mutual Sons of God suffering the bonds of humanity right along with us, we expect them to make us special, to make us shine, to give us a good name, to work hard and deny themselves their own glorious freedom and liberty in order to maintain our specialness. When you marry me for my youth and my beauty, you are not marrying me, you are marrying specialness.  The “love” you profess for me depends upon me  living up to the ego’s unstable and impossible ideals of youth and beauty. 

Bringing specialness to holiness is freedom and liberty from the shallow, superficial, ego-centered ideals. When our relationships are not governed by our desire for specialness, we are free to truly love and appreciate others.  We do not hold others responsible to match our pictures of what they should be, what we want them to do with their lives, or what roles they must play in our lives.  We no longer have a sense of owning others or forcing our wills upon them.  For we recognize in each other’s supposed flaws and shortcomings our mutual need for a savior, for an awakening, for an acceptance of our Selves as God created us. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. II The treachery of specialness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM – CHAPTER 24 THE GOAL OF SPECIALNESS I. Specialness as a Substitute for Love

1. Love is extension.  To withhold the smallest gift is not to know Love’s purpose. Love offers everything forever. Hold back but one belief, one offering, and love is gone, because you asked a substitute to take its place. And now must war, the substitute for peace, come with the one alternative that you can choose for love. Your choosing it has given it all the reality it seems to have.

2. Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognized belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not. And many senseless outcomes have been reached, and meaningless decisions have been made and kept hidden, to become beliefs now given power to direct all subsequent decisions. Mistake you not the power of these hidden warriors to disrupt your peace. For it is at their mercy while you decide to leave it there. The secret enemies of peace, your least decision to choose attack instead of love, unrecognized and swift to challenge you to combat and to violence far more inclusive than you think, are there by your election. Do not deny their presence nor their terrible results. All that can be denied is their reality, but not their outcome.

3. All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognized, is faith in specialness. This takes many forms, but always clashes with the reality of God’s creation and with the grandeur that He gave His Son. What else could justify attack? For who could hate someone whose Self is his, and whom he knows? Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.

4. What God created cannot be attacked, for there is nothing in the universe unlike itself. But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone “better,” someone incapable of being like what he condemns, “above” it, sinless by comparison with it. And thus does specialness become a means and end at once. For specialness not only sets apart but serves as grounds from which attack on those who seem “beneath” the special one is “natural” and “just.” The special ones feel weak and frail because of differences, for what would make them special is their enemy. Yet they protect its enmity and call it “friend.” On its behalf they fight against the universe, for nothing in the world they value more.

5. Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended.  Illusions can attack it, and they do. For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you?

6. Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? Could you attack him if you realized you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? You are his enemy in specialness, his friend in a shared purpose. Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardized. Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?

7. Your brother is your friend because His Father created him like you. There is no difference. You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. What you keep is lost to you. God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. And so it is the only one you have. Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome or would let you think that you are better off apart. Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? Is not this the “enemy” that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?

8. The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance. Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. You would oppose this course because it teaches you you and your brother are alike. You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you.  For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancy judgment on themselves?

9. Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. This is what he attacks, and you protect. Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him. Here must be your enemy and not your friend. Never can there be peace among the different. He is your friend because you are the same.[1]

Holy relationships are relationships that have been consciously cleared of the goal of specialness.  I love you and you love me and we do not seek specialness of any kind.  Your gifts do not elevate you in the eyes of God nor do they give me cause to idolize you in any way.  You simply have been given gifts, even as I have been given gifts, and while our gifts may complement one another, they never make us separate or set us apart from others.  

Any hint of specialness is a defense against the truth of our oneness in Sonship.  Specialness is an attack against the Everything of God for it would take something apart from the Will of God and make of it an idol, something to draw attention to and say, but this particular bit of creation, this particular relationship, this particular person is better and has more value to me than all that is. 

When we make something special, something rare, something better than – it must be protected.  It must be held closely.  It must be jealously guarded against our worry that someone or something will come along and snatch it from us.  Therefore, there is no real love in special relationships for love is about being free and having liberty and including all things and not excluding. 

In your personal devotional practice today, ask Holy Spirit to show you the special relationships in your life and ask that they may be made holy.  Jesus is not asking us to leave our spouses, children, friends, and families.  He is not asking us to forsake our responsibilities and obligations to those we love.  He is simply asking us to take our egos out of our relationships, to stop substituting love with flattery, bargains, idolatry, popularity, numbers, ratings, and glorification of separateness and distinction over the everlasting value and beauty of Creation as a whole. 

When we expand our consciousness to take in all of Creation and see it as equally worthy, innocent, and pure we expand our minds past the little alliances, the boastful claims, and the false obligations and demands of special relationships.  We free ourselves of the need to defend for when our relationships are holy there is no need for defense – I am not here to get more stars in my crown than you are – I am here because you are here and my only way of return to God is through the love and purity and innocence we share in our hearts and minds toward each other.  My family and your family have equal worth and value for we all contribute equally to the Kingdom of God.  Just as we are not competing for the Father’s Love, nor do we compete for worldly acclaim or recognition.  All the ways in which the world would divide us through a sense of specialness are gone for we accept our mutuality as Sons of God.  And united in the Love that is God, the Kingdom is reestablished in our minds and hearts forever. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. I. Specialness as a substitute for love. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM-24 The Goal of Specialness Introduction

1. Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace.  Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained. It is not necessary to tell Him what to do. He will not fail. Where He can enter, there He is already. And can it be He cannot enter where He wills to be? Peace will be yours because it is His Will. Can you believe a shadow can hold back the Will that holds the universe secure? God does not wait upon illusions to let Him be Himself. No more His Son. They are. And what illusion that idly seems to drift between Them has the power to defeat what is Their Will?

2. To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure, but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Everyone has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything that you believe. It is the outcome of belief and follows it as surely as does suffering follow guilt and freedom sinlessness. There is no substitute for peace. What God creates has no alternative. The truth arises from what He knows. And your decisions come from your beliefs as certainly as all creation rose in His Mind because of what He knows.[1]

This course is about getting and keeping the state of peace.  Peace is a state of mind that is from God.  There is no substitute for it.  It is a quiet state of mind.  The monkey chatter goes away.  When the monkey chatter goes away, God is remembered in the quietness that is there.  Because there is nothing that would distract the Mind then from what It is. 

There is no need to pray and ask God to do things for us.  God already knows all we have need of – He knows what makes us happy.  He knows our meaning and purpose.  He made us and so He knows.  Because God is Love He will not fail us.  Where there is peace and quiet He is welcomed and He is there already, waiting to be recognized and welcomed.  He is a not a Guest.  He is the Father.  He is Within us; He is us.  Peace is ours because He is peace; peace is His Will; it is what He wants and has and is. 

What we have here is merely a shadow and a shadow cannot hold back the peace of God for the Peace of God, the Will of God holds the universe secure.  All dreams that would oppose this are illusions.  All made up versions of reality are simply illusions, they are alternate realities, they are substitutes for the real thing.  God has no fear of illusions for they are only insane dreams and fictional accounts.  God does not have to wait around twiddling His thumbs waiting upon the dreamers to wake up to go back to being Himself.  Nor does His Son.  A Son who dreams is merely not awakened.  No matter what that Son may dream, it has no effect upon His reality as God’s Son.  God is and His Son is – forever.  Nothing can destroy them or affect their holy unity as Father and Son.  There is nothing that happens in a realm of nothingness that can hinder this or take it away.  No matter how evil and depraved the dreams in time – nothing will destroy their purity and innocence and love. 

This is a course in miracles.  To learn this course we must rethink what we consider a miracle.  To learn this course, we must bring all that is dark, all that is secretive, all that is hidden in our psyches, in our past, in our belief systems to the light.  If we cherish any little thing that is worthless, any little thing that opposes the Love that God is, if we hold in our minds a secret passion for murder in any form and call it by another name, we will not be able to learn what miracles are or how to give and thus receive them. 

Every belief we have and hold dear to us dictates each decision we make.  If I believe in sin of any kind, my decisions about you will be based on whether I believe you are a sinner or if you are “saved” like me.  If I conclude that you are willfully rejecting your salvation and continuing to enjoy and adhere to a life of sin, I will make you guilty and because I make you guilty I will make myself guilty for I can only have what I give to others.  The only way I can be free of sin, is to give the state of sinlessness to everyone for we are all one – you and me and all of humanity.  There is no substitute for the peace that comes from knowing this truth and practicing it in the face of all illusions and opposition that would separate, vilify, and crucify  the Sonship. 

For we are created by God. There is nothing that can oppose the truth, the reality of God.  God is in us and of us and for us.  If we believe otherwise, our decisions about ourselves and each other will lead nowhere.  We will experience chaos instead of peace.  Instead of the Creation of God we will exist as miscreants in a realm of opposites and opposition going in all different directions with no order, meaning, or ultimate purpose!  Our brief, uncertain lives will be driven by meaningless passions, irrelevant pursuits, and ignorance.  Ignorant of what is worthwhile we will spend our lives nosing in the affairs of others, gossiping, and digging in the past to find juicy morsels in which to pin our interest.  We will will make up stories about each other and call them the truth. We will idolize some relationships as special and holy, and thus destroy every relationship we attempt to have in the flesh.   

To learn this Course, we must be willing to question every value we have.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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ACIM CHAPTER 23 IV Above the Battlefield

1. Do not remain in conflict, for there is no war without attack. The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death. Yet He remains the only place of safety. In Him is no attack, and no illusion in any form stalks Heaven. Heaven is wholly true. No difference enters, and what is all the same cannot conflict. You are not asked to fight against your wish to murder, but you are asked to realize the form it takes conceals the same intent. And it is this you fear, and not the form. What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack. Every illusion is an assault on truth. And everyone does violence to the idea of love because it seems to be of equal truth.

2. What can be equal to the truth, yet different? Murder and love are incompatible. Yet if they both are true, then must they be the same, and indistinguishable from one another. So will they be to those who see God’s Son a body. For it is not the body that is like the Son’s Creator. And what is lifeless cannot be the Son of life. How can a body be extended to hold the universe? Can it create, and be what it creates? And can it offer its creations all that it is and never suffer loss?

3. God does not share His function with the body. He gave the function to create on to His Son because it is His Own. It is not sinful to believe the function of the Son is murder, but it is insanity. What is the same can have no different function. Creation is the means for God’s extension, and what is His must be His Son’s as well. Either the Father and the Son are murderers, or neither is. Life makes not death, creating like itself.

4. The lovely light of your relationship is like the Love of God. It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of your brother is not completed yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation. Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognize for what it is, limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all. Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty. Also, He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part; to realize that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.

5. Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realize it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognized if murder is your choice?

6. When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the light of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.

7. See no one from the battle ground, for there you look on him from nowhere. You have no reference point from where to look, where meaning can be given what you see. For only bodies could attack and murder, and if this is your purpose, then you must be one with them. Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one. The body has no purpose of itself and must be solitary. From below, it cannot be surmounted. From above, the limits it exerts on those in battle still are gone, and not perceived. The body stands between the Father and the Heaven He created for His Son because it has no purpose.

8. Think what is given those who share their Father’s purpose, and who know that it is theirs. They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. Only the light they love is in awareness, and only love shines upon them forever. It is their past, their present and their future; always the same, eternally complete and wholly shared. They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. Perhaps you think the battleground can offer something you can win. Can it be anything that offers you a perfect calmness, and a sense of love so deep and quiet that no touch of doubt could ever mar your certainty? And that will last forever?

9. Those with the strength of God in their awareness could never think of battle. What could they gain but loss of their perfection? For everything fought for on the battleground is of the body; something it seems to offer or to own. No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body’s offerings. The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground. What can conflict with everything? And what is there that offers less, yet could be wanted more? Who with the love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make? [1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus asks us to be aware of how all forms of attack are in direct opposition to love.  When we believe that we can go into battle for God, when we can make enemies of unbelievers, when we can prophecy doom and gloom upon those who do not believe like us or worship the same way we do, when we can wish harm of any kind on anyone or anything for any reason, we choose murder over love.  We oppose the Kingdom of God every time we offer others anything but a miracle.  God is Love and in God is our only safety.  When we stay in Love, we are above the battlefield, we are safe, we offer mercy and forgiveness for the illusion of separation rather than join in the illusion! 

In our daily application of this principle, we will find many occasions to practice our function.  For this is our function – we are to overlook the battlefield of this world.  We are to be lifted up above it and never engage in it again.  We will not be drawn in by religious or philosophical debates; we will not get caught up in political battles; we will not take sides, build cases, or cast aspersions on anybody for any reason.  We are not hiding our head in the sand; we are not refusing to look upon the battles that go on; we are not to ignore the suffering, the shame, the sorrow.  We are called to look upon it and offer a miracle to everyone who still believes it is real. 

The other day I ran across something that turned my blood cold.  A historical happening, it took place hundreds of years ago; and yet when I read this account, I felt outraged and sick inside.  I felt bitter.  I had to put the book down; I did not want to read another word, to know another bit.  My heart and my mind felt dismayed by the world’s meanness.  I just can’t take it, I said to Holy Spirit.  I really hate it here. I despise these people. I despise what they stand for.  How could God ever let that happen in His Name?  Even in a dream?

Jesus tells us to look upon all the dark things that fill us with terror, dread, and shame of our humanity from the high Mind of Christ.  In the High Mind of Christ we are freed from our attachment to the bodies who would attack and murder and use people in disrespectful and hateful ways.  When we live from the low-minded realm of ego and flesh, we cannot surmount the body; when we reach for the High Mind of Christ, we can – for the limits of our flesh are not perceived in any way with Christ’s vision.  We are no longer bound to flesh by terror, we have no attachment to it for in our holiness, it cannot stand between our Father and the Heaven He created for us. 

How do we reach the High Mind of Christ where we can surmount the body and look from above on the battleground?  We consciously choose to walk only in mercy and forgiveness.  No matter how tempted we are to pick up a weapon against our enemy, to get into mouth battles with those who do not agree with us; to rant and rail against those who promote lies and twist the truth – we offer only forgiveness, mercy, and love.  For our destination is Heaven, and Heaven is not complete without those who are still engaged in warfare, violence, and murder.  We must learn to look upon the ego’s blame, bloodthirst, and carnage with no fear, but only love’s desire to help, to heal, to make better.  This is our function.  

Overlooking the battlefield, we come to understand the pointlessness of all attack, all pain, sorrow, and suffering. It only follows that we offer miracles in place of murder and revenge.  In so doing, we are kept strong and invulnerable in the quiet trust of God, in certain safety, eternal peace, and a sense of love so deep it goes forever. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 23 The war against yourself. IV Above the battleground. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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

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Chapter 23:III Salvation Without Compromise

1. Is it not true you do not recognize some of the forms attack can take? If it is true attack in any form will hurt you and will do so just as much as in another form that you do recognize, then it must follow that you do not always recognize the source of pain. Attack in any form is equally destructive. Its purpose does not change. Its sole intent is murder, and what form of murder serves to cover the massive guilt and frantic fear of punishment the murderer must feel? He may deny he is a murderer and justify his savagery with smiles as he attacks. Yet he will suffer and will look on his intent in nightmares where the smiles are gone, and where the purpose rises to meet his horrified awareness and pursue him still. For no one thinks of murder and escapes the guilt the thought entails. If the intent is death, what matter the form it takes?

2. Is death in any form, however lovely and charitable it may seem to be, a blessing and a sign the voice for God speaks through you to your brother? The wrapping does not make the gift you give. An empty box, however beautiful and gently given, still contains nothing. And neither the receiver nor the giver is long deceived. Withhold forgiveness from your brother and you attack him. You give him nothing and receive of him but what you gave.

3. Salvation is no compromise of any kind. To compromise is to accept but part of what you want; to take a little and give up the rest. Salvation gives up nothing. It is complete for everyone. Let the idea of compromise but enter, and the awareness of salvation’s purpose is lost because it is not recognized. It is denied where compromise has been accepted, for compromise is the belief salvation is impossible. It would maintain you can attack a little, love a little, and know the difference. Thus, it would teach a little of the same can still be different, and yet the same remain intact, as one. Does this make sense? Can it be understood?

4. This course is easy just because it makes no compromise. Yet it seems difficult to those who still believe that compromise is possible. They do not see that, if it is, salvation is attack. Yet it is certain the belief that salvation is impossible cannot uphold a quiet, calm assurance it has come. Forgiveness cannot be withheld a little. Nor is it possible to attack for this and love for that and understand forgiveness. Would you not want to recognize assault upon your peace in any form, if only thus does it become impossible that you lose sight of it? It can be kept shining before your vision, forever clear and never out of sight, if you defend it not.

5. Those who believe that peace can be defended, and that attack is justified on its behalf, cannot perceive it lies within them. How could they know? Could they accept forgiveness side by side with the belief that murder takes some forms by which their peace is saved? Would they be willing to accept the fact their savage purpose is directed against themselves? No one unites with enemies, nor is at one with them in purpose. And no one compromises with an enemy but hates him still, for what he kept from him.

6. Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is over. The door is open; you have left the battleground. You have not lingered there in cowering hope that it will not return because the guns are stilled an instant, and the fear that haunts the place of death is not apparent. There is no safety in a battleground. You can look down on it in safety from above and not be touched. But from within it you can find no safety. Not one tree left still standing will shelter you. Not one illusion of protection stands against the faith in murder. Here stands the body, torn between the natural desire to communicate and the unnatural intent to murder and to die. Think you the form that murder takes can offer safety? Can guilt be absent from a battlefield?[1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus tells us that all are saved, or none are saved.  There can be no compromise in this. We cannot offer someone guilt and not be guilty ourselves. For we are one. And when we forgive, we forgive wholly.  We do not forgive our brothers for this but not for that.  We do not make the projections of sin, guilt, shame, or any call at all for attack of any kind on anyone for anything because our faith is not in this world’s illusions.  Our faith is not in sin, our faith is in Christ, our faith is in the perfect Sonship of God.

Salvation does not make deals with the world for God’s Creation is His Creation and cannot exist outside of Heaven. Salvation does not come for an elect for there are no elect – we are equal Sons of God and each one of us, no matter how the world may try to label us and discount our worth, no matter how low on the totem pole, no matter how crass and crude and cruel – are beloved of God and perfect in His sight.  As Sons of God, as part of the Brotherhood of Christ, we would never see any of our brothers suffer; we would not dream of going up in the Rapture and letting anybody behind to suffer torments forever; we could never enter the joy and bliss of eternity knowing that our brothers were trapped in torment, agony, and despair. 

There is no peace in a salvation plan that would promote attack, conflict, judgment, and condemnation.  A salvation plan with no peace is not salvation but rather another form of hell. If your salvation does not bring you peace, if your salvation means you leave your loved ones behind, if your salvation is a constant battle with the devil, with evil, with suffering and pain – it is not the salvation plan of God.  For God’s salvation plan is complete and there is no compromise in it.  If I am saved you are saved and if we are saved, all are saved – for there is no kindness, goodness, forgiveness, or mercy in saving one and not all. 

We never have to defend this truth for truth needs no defense.  Our traditional holy books and sacred texts teach that salvation is only for those who latch on to God’s Chosen people, who pray a certain way, who believe in the blood of Jesus, who revere the blessed virgin, who are baptized in water.  We are all free to believe what we choose to believe, but there is only one truth and it is the same for all and it applies to all.  If God is Love, He cannot be a God of vengeance and of wrath.  If God is our Father, our Creator, and His Love never fails, Creation can never fail. If God is Everything, there cannot be anything except for God.  When we take this to the final conclusion, we know then that anything that is not perfect love and peace and joy, can only be an illusion, it can only be a dream, it can only be a fictional realm of what could be if it were possible for truth to also be a lie; for love to also be fear; for peace to also be conflict; for joy to also be sorrow. 

As long as we believe in opposites and opposition we engage in the imaginary battle between the forces of good and evil.  To be saved from these meaningless, ongoing, fictional conflicts is to leave the battleground!  When we reach for the Higher Mind of Christ, we awaken to the realm beyond the illusion, we see through the veil of sin, we no longer try to find safety in attack, murder, and taking sides.  There is no compromise in this – when I awaken I awaken you and you awaken and you awaken the next guy and so forth.  All around the world, the light comes on.  All around the world, Christ returns – not in the sky to whisk the ones who are better than all the rest of us away to their eternal bliss – but in our minds and hearts that we are reestablished as God’s Beloved Son together, as One.  

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 23 The war upon yourself. III. Salvation without compromise. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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II. The Laws of Chaos[1] – Commentary

In yesterday’s post we read the entire 22 paragraphs of “The Laws of Chaos.”  In today’s post we will take a calm and careful look at these principles in order to see beyond them.  We will not attempt to understand the actual laws themselves for they mean nothing, but we will understand what they are for they appear to be an obstacle to reason and to truth.  The purpose of the laws of chaos is to make our existence meaningless and to deny the truth not only about who and what we are, but also to deny the reality and truth of God and the Love which He is and has for all that is.    

The laws of chaos are the laws that rule the world of perception.  But just as perception is not truth, neither are the laws that govern it.  As we take a quiet, peaceful approach to our study today and look upon each of the five laws, let us take as much time as we need to understand and find application illustrations in our daily lives to drive these lessons home in our minds and expand our conscious awareness of how these laws seem to operate in the world and keep us trapped in an illusion of separation from God and Creation.   Yesterday as our ACIM study group discussed this section together we were astounded at how this section of the Course answered so many of the questions and issues we were puzzling over in our personal lives. 

Jesus emphasizes the order of the laws in such a way that it would behoove us to remember them in the order in which He instructs us for the first of the laws leads into the second and so forth.  They are:

1.  Truth is different for everyone.  

2.  Everyone must sin.

3.  We get to define God as separate from ourselves.

4.  We have what we have taken. 

5.  There is a substitute for love.

The first chaotic law maintains that each individual has a different set of thoughts which make him unique from others.  This comes from believing that there is a hierarchy of illusions – some hallucinations work better or are more “true” than others. Every separate person establishes a reality about himself and makes it true by attacking what somebody else values.  This can be justified and rewarded accordingly because everybody makes up a different “reality,” and then fights to make it true against those who have a different “reality.”  My religion is not your religion.  My religion is the right religion – yours is wrong and sinful and therefore you are my enemy unless you choose to come to your senses and join with me in my reality.  This is the basis of all “holy” wars and all conflict in general. 

The first principle of miracles tells us that there are no degrees of truth in illusion.  Illusion is illusion – and all belief systems are equally untrue – miracles apply to everyone – one lie is no more difficult to bring to truth than another.  When I bring my illusions to you and you bring your illusions to me, all we can do is argue.  But when we bring our illusions to truth, they simply disappear.  We do not have to suffer shame, regrets, or hellish torments – we made a mistake, we thought it was this way but now we know better.  Yay for us.  An illusion, a lie, a mistake – nothing about any of these can be more resistant to the truth than another.  Truth cannot be tampered with, and it is the same for everyone. 

When we take a careful look at the second law of chaos, we can see how much the world’s religions cherish sin because sin pays big dividends. Sin sells!  Sin entices us all and we shiver and quiver at thoughts of sin.  I can remember growing up in the Pentecostal religion and being so thrilled at all the testimonies people gave about being set free from their lives of sin.  I could hardly wait to grow up and sin myself so I would have an exciting testimony to share!  The preachers loved to preach against sin, they passed collection plates to gather tithes and offerings that would go to missions to deliver those still living in sin and bound for hell.  For sin was a powerful force that could cause God to punish His Son, to turn against His Own Creation and place the sinner in a place beyond correction and beyond forgiveness. 

When we look upon each other as born into sin and that we must sin in order to need salvation, we are saying that the Will of God created us in such a way that our own destruction is inevitable.  This does not turn our hearts and minds to love God but rather to fear Him.  This does not make us trust God but rather mistrust Him for what Father would turn upon His Own and vilify His Son for making a mistake and make him bleed and suffer and die in order to win His favor and affection. 

God the Father then is different from His Son.  God is big and powerful and grudgingly merciful and grudgingly loving only in certain cases and with certain people.  Even those pet relationships that God has with His chosen are tales of opposition, outrage, divine wrath, uncertainty, and torment.  One must become weak in defeat and supplicate to the one who has conquered.  This is not a God that we go to with perfect trust and happiness, joy and respect but rather a God we dread, that brings us low to make Himself look bigger and stronger, a God we always have to make excuses for, wonder why He didn’t answer our prayers, wonder why He took our loved ones, wonder why those He says He loves the most seem to suffer just like everyone else! 

Accepting the illusion that we are all sinful, that we must all sin and fall short of the Glory of God, leads directly to the third preposterous belief that makes the separation from God go on forever.  When we believe we are born into sin, we believe in a God that holds us accountable for what we cannot help, and we cannot truly love Him.  For only the corrupt would make us pay for something we cannot help. And so our love for God is tainted by the idea that we have been cursed for something that we are ignorant of doing, that we cannot help, that we cannot escape.  That God is not for us, but against us.   

I have come to see that this lack of understanding is why so many beautiful Christian people I know, and love, are always “fighting the devil,” “going to battle with the enemy,” and going to great lengths to prove their love for God through good works, pleading the blood of Jesus, and believing that God requires a blood sacrifice for their salvation. They choose to fear God rather than love God.

It is impossible to love that which we fear, for fear is the opposite of love.   When we believe that God is bloodthirsty, must be appeased and worshipped, adored and flattered, we deny ourselves the unity and oneness with God for Which we were created. No matter how hard we pray, no matter how many times we go to church, no matter how much we read the bible, we will always feel as if we are not enough, we will always feel as if God did us a big favor, but what did we really do that was all that wrong?  Our salvation then will be a series of going to battle with the devil, an ongoing conflict which seems to stretch throughout eternity.

This is the ego’s version of salvation, and it can never save us for it is chaotic, it makes no sense, and it keeps us in conflict with one another and with God.  In this version of salvation, God which is All in All, has an opposite, which would make God not be All in All.  For if God is Everything than anything that is not of God must be nothing.  It is unworthy of the Brotherhood of Christ to give the notion of sin, the devil, of Satan, or Lucifer power in our lives or in the lives of others.  When we give credence to such teaching, Atonement becomes a myth, for as long as we have to keep doing battle with an imaginary enemy, we are not taking a stand for truth and accepting the truth of God. 

When we look at the fourth law of chaos, we realize that the false idea we have about ourselves, the ego, only value what it takes.  When we believe that we can gain from the loss of another, we are not practicing the law of God’s Kingdom which is to receive, to truly have, we must give to receive.  We can never take something away from someone else, for if I steal something from you, I am stealing the most important thing I have from myself. I am forgetting our oneness, our Brotherhood, our unity in Christ. 

Yet the first three of the ego’s laws must lead to this idea of taking from others to gain for ourselves.  It is the law of this world.  We will take from the rich and give to the poor, and no matter how much we try to do this or how miserably it fails, we keep trying to do this and it never works.  Nobody gets riches; everyone becomes poorer.  Enemies do not give willingly to those who despise them; enemies do not value sharing the things they value, and so our whole aim then is to take what they would keep from us by force.  We will make them give it to us because if they are hiding it from us and not sharing it then it must be worth having. 

Pay particular attention to paragraph ten and reflect upon how we justify taking by force what we feel someone else is withholding from us.  We learn early on that the kind cannot survive in this world and we learn just as early on that we must take or else be taken from.

But what is this precious thing that other people have, and we do not?  Why do we feel so justified in our anger and dismay over what others seem to have that we do not?  They always seem to have something we want but cannot seem to figure out how to get it.  And then suddenly it dawns upon us that they took it from us, they hid it from us, they had it in their power to be nice, gentle, generous, and good to us, but they purposefully chose to withhold all that and give us the dregs, shun us, deny us, and make us feel empty, lost, confused, and poor. 

They hid it where we would never think to look!  They hid it in their body – underneath their skin, the perfect hiding place for what belongs to us not them.  And so, we justify our attacks upon each other’s body – we justify war and weapons of mass destruction, we sacrifice each other’s body so that we can have all that they were keeping from us.  We hate each other to the death for the other took this precious pearl from us and hid it from us and would let us suffer and die.  So, when I attack you for what I think you are hiding from me, I only attack you in self-defense.  You deserve my anger, my wrath, my wishes of death upon you. 

But what were you hiding from me?  What did you do to me that you should die so that I can live?  And that is where the final law of chaos comes in – for it would hold that there is a substitute for love.  This substitute for love is the magical cure for all our pain – it gives us a good reason to attack each other, it justifies our desire to take vengeance, it is the ego’s form of salvation for as salvation calls for us to love each other; ego’s salvation is born of enmity.  Whereas holy relationships are born of two equals joining to add love and peace and joy to God’s Kingdom, unholy relationships are based upon the substitute for love – we will wrest from each other what the other has hidden from us and we will wrangle together for power and control, we will make unhappy, and we will call it love.

Again, what is it that you are hiding from me inside your body that I have a right to attack you for, this substitute for love?  What is it that I am willing to see you die that I may take from you?  What is it that you want from me and which you will never stop attacking me for stealing from you?  In paragraph 13, even God seems to take vengeance out upon us for withholding this substitute for love from Him. 

When I asked Holy Spirit to show me what the substitute for love was, it became clear to me that it was our desire to be “special,” to distinguish ourselves, to be more than and greater than and brighter than all the rest.  We get married with the idea that our mates will make us special, we make a bargain – you will be special to me, and I will be special to you and all hell breaks loose when one or the other or both in many cases fail to make the other feel special.  The religious texts that I was taught when I was growing up all revolved around God’s need to be loved, adored, worshipped, praised, and made to feel special by His chosen ones.  We want our friends, followers, classmates, workmates, cellmates, and others to make us feel special because specialness is the substitute we accept in place of love. 

And yet Jesus says that we will never be special, for we are mutual Sons of God and God created us to be like Him in oneness.  There is no room for specialness in love, for love is all-encompassing and to love one is to love all. 

These are the laws of chaos; we will never find meaning in them.  They will not save us for they substitute for the love, peace, and joy which is rightfully ours as God’s Son.  To believe in them is to uphold insanity and reverse the laws of God.  When we follow these laws, we look forward to dying, to get out of what we call life in the flesh.  To believe in them is to believe in flesh and to disregard who and what we really are.  When we practice the laws of chaos, we are blind to what they really are – for they have no meaning, no worth, and no value. 

We know that attack in any form at all cannot be love; that murder no matter what form it takes is always death; that condemnation is never a blessing.  We find our salvation in each other, not through attack, not through trying to find our specialness in each other, not through taking to have, but by sharing our love and accepting no substitute.  I cannot find my salvation in you by harming you in any way.  The salvation that you hold out for me and that I hold out to you is not found in judgment or condemnation.  No matter how physically beautiful you are, no matter how sexy, no matter how much personal charm, wit, and intelligence you may possess – your light will never outshine mine nor will my light make yours look dim.  If you seek specialness from me, you are not my friend nor can I be yours, for the desire for specialness is our destruction.   

Be careful that you do not think that you are above believing the laws of chaos, for Jesus tells us that we do believe in them; that we continue to dress up the symbols of death and decay, sin and punishment in an attempt to preserve the laws of chaos.  We believe in these laws for the form they takes speaks to our traditional religions, our “holy” rites and rituals, our beloved hymns, and patriotic practices.  We have come to love the idea of specialness – our country is special among all the nations of the earth, our church is special, our political party is special, our family, our community, our spouses, our houses.  It only seems natural to seek to distinguish ourselves, to desire recognition, to make our loved ones proud and our enemies jealous.  Many of our religious practices are based upon the assumption that only a few are saved while the rest will perish.  We are taught that God wages war upon the world and upholds the slaughter of all who are different from us.  Jesus asks us to look beyond the form that the laws of chaos take and look calmly at the content to find how we have followed these laws, perhaps unwittingly. 

In paragraph nineteen, Jesus states that any realm apart from Heaven is illusion. There is no life except in Heaven.  Dead or alive in the world, it matters not at all for we are in an illusion of our own making.   A realm which makes opposites and substitutes for reality cannot exist except in illusions, and yet these illusions seem an eternal barrier to Heaven.  When we lack faith in love, chaos becomes our reality.  Believe we are sinners, faith in chaos follows.  The fall from Heaven begins in the practice of chaos; the fall from Heaven ends when we begin to examine and question and see beyond. 

As we draw to a close in today’s commentary, Jesus asks us to refrain from taking one step in the descent to hell.  It is a slippery slope – take one step and the rest will follow.  When we lose our faith in love it is all too easy to practice attack, judgement, condemnation, and ill will.  When we fall into the lower realm it takes but an instant to regain our footing, to know our place in Heaven, to be certain in our trust and know where we belong and Whom we belong to.  All we have to do is ask, to remember our holiness, to walk hand in the hand with our Holy Brother and Friend. 

[1] A Course in Miracles, Chapter 23 The war against yourself. II The laws of chaos. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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1. The “laws” of chaos can be brought to light, though never understood. Chaotic laws are hardly meaningful, and therefore out of reason’s sphere. Yet they appear to be an obstacle to reason and to truth. Let us, then, look upon them calmly, that we may look beyond them, understanding what they are, not what they would maintain. It is essential it be understood what they are for, because it is their purpose to make meaningless and to attack the truth. Here are the laws that rule the world you made. And yet they govern nothing and need not be broken; merely looked upon and gone beyond.

2. The first chaotic law is that the truth is different for everyone. Like all these principles, this one maintains that each is separate and has a different set of thoughts that set him off from others. This principle evolves from the belief there is a hierarchy of illusions; some are more valuable and therefore true. Each one establishes this for himself and makes it true by his attack on what another values. And this is justified because the values differ, and those who hold them seem to be unlike, and therefore enemies.

3. Think how this seems to interfere with the first principle of miracles. For this establishes degrees of truth among illusions, making it seem that some of them are harder to overcome than others. If it were realized that they are all the same and equally untrue, it would be easy, then, to understand that miracles apply to all of them. Errors of any kind can be corrected because they are untrue. When brought to truth instead of to each other, they merely disappear. No part of nothing can be more resistant to the truth then can another.

4. The second law of chaos, dear indeed to every worshipper of sin, is that each one must sin, and therefore deserves attack and death. This principle, closely related to the first, is the demand that errors call for punishment and not correction. For the destruction of the one who makes the error places him beyond correction and beyond forgiveness. What he has done is thus interpreted as an irrevocable sentence upon himself, which God Himself is powerless to overcome. Sin cannot be remitted, being the belief the Son of God can make mistakes for which his own destruction becomes inevitable.

5. Think what this seems to do to the relationship between the Father and the Son. Now it appears that they could never be one again. For one must always be condemned, and by the other. Now are they different, and enemies. And their relationship is one of opposition, just as separate aspects of the Son meet only to conflict but not to join. One becomes weak, the other strong by his defeat. And fear of God and of each other now appears as sensible, made real by what the Son of God has done both to himself and his Creator.

6. The arrogance on which the laws of chaos stand could not be more apparent than emerges here. Here is a principle that would define what the Creator of reality must be; what He must think and what He must believe; and how He must respond, believing it. It is not seen as even necessary that He be asked about the truth of what has been established for His belief. His Son can tell Him this, and He has but the choice whether to take his word for it or be mistaken. This leads directly to the third preposterous belief that seems to make chaos eternal. For if God cannot be mistaken, He must accept His Son’s belief in what He is and hate Him for it.

7. See how the fear of God is reinforced by this third principle. Now it becomes impossible to turn to Him for help in misery. For now He has become the “enemy” who caused it, to whom appeal is useless. Nor can salvation lie within the Son, whose every aspect seems to be at war with Him, and justified in its attack. And now is conflict made inevitable, beyond the help of God. For now salvation must remain impossible, because the Savior has become the enemy.

8. There can be no release and no escape. Atonement thus becomes a myth, and vengeance, not forgiveness, is the will of God. For where all this begins, there is no sight of help that can succeed. Only distraction can be the outcome. And God Himself seems to be siding with it, to overcome His Son. Think not the ego will enable you to find escape from what it wants. That is the function of this course, which does not value what the ego cherishes.

9. The ego values only what it takes. This leads to the fourth law of chaos, which, if the others are accepted, must be true. This seeming law is the belief you have what you have taken. By this, another’s loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you can never take away save from yourself. Yet all the other laws must lead to this. For enemies do not give willingly to one another, nor would they seek to share the things they value. And what your enemies would keep from you must be worth having, because they keep it hidden from your sight.

10. All of the mechanisms of madness are seen emerging here: the “enemy” made strong by keeping hidden the valuable inheritance that should be yours; your justified position and attack for what has been withheld; and the inevitable loss the enemy must suffer to save yourself. Thus do the guilty ones protect their “innocence.” Were they not forced into this foul attack by the unscrupulous behavior of the enemy, they would respond with only kindness. But in a savage world the kind cannot survive, so they must take or else be taken from.

11. And now there is a vague unanswered question not yet explained. What is this precious thing, this priceless pearl, this hidden secret treasure, to be wrested in righteous wrath from this most treacherous cunning enemy? It must be what you want but never found. And now you “understand” the reason why you found it not. For it was taken from you by this enemy and hidden where you would not think to look. He hid it in his body, making it the cover for his guilt, the hiding place for what belongs to you. Now must his body be destroyed and sacrificed, that you may have that which belongs to you. His treachery demands his death, that you may live. And you attack only in self-defense.

12. But what is it you want that needs his death? Can you be sure your murderous attack is justified unless you know what it is for? And here a final principle of chaos comes to the “rescue.” It holds there is a substitute for love. This is the magic that will cure all of your pain; the missing factor in your madness that makes it sane. This is the reason why you must attack. Here is what makes your vengeance justified. Behold, unveiled, the ego’s secret gift, torn from your brother’s body, hidden there in malice and in hatred for the one to whom the gift belongs. He would deprive you of the secret ingredient that would give meaning to your life. The substitute for love, born of your enmity to your brother, must be salvation. It has no substitute, and there is only one. And all your relationships have but the purpose of seizing it and making it your own.

13. Never is your possession made complete. And never will your brother cease attack on you for what you stole. Nor will God end His vengeance upon both, for in His madness He must have this substitute for love and kill you both. You who believe you walk in sanity with feet on solid ground, and through a world where meaning can be found, consider this: these are the laws on which your “sanity” appears to rest. These are the principles which make the ground beneath your feet seem solid. And it is here you look for meaning. These are the laws you made for your salvation. They hold in place the substitute for Heaven which you prefer. This is their purpose: they were made for this. There is no point in asking what they mean. That is apparent. The means of madness must be insane. Are you as certain that you realize the goal is madness?

14. No one wants madness, nor does anyone cling to his madness if he sees that this is what it is. What protects madness is the belief that it is true. It is the function of insanity to take the place of truth. It must be seen as truth to be believed. And if it is the truth, then must its opposite, which was the truth before, be madness now. Such a reversal, completely turned around, with madness sanity, illusions true, attack a kindness, hatred love, and murder benediction, is the goal the laws of chaos serve. These are the means by which the laws of God appear to be reversed. Here do the laws of sin appear to hold love captive and let sin go free.

15. These do not seem to be the goals of chaos, for by the great reversal they appear to be the laws of order. How could it not be so? Chaos is lawlessness and has no laws. To be believed, its seeming laws must be perceived as real. Their goal of madness must be seen as sanity. And fear, with ashen lips and sightless eyes, blinded and terrible to look upon, is lifted to the throne of love, its dying conqueror, its substitute, the savior from salvation. How lovely do the laws of fear make death appear. Give thanks unto the hero on love’s throne, who saved the Son of God for fear and death!

16. And yet, how can it be that laws like these can be believed? There is a strange device that makes it possible. Nor is it unfamiliar; we have seen how it appears to function many times before. In truth it does not function, yet in dreams, where only shadows play the major roles, is seems most powerful. No law of chaos could compel belief but for the emphasis on form and disregard of content. No one who thinks that one of these laws is true sees what it says. Some forms it takes seem to have meaning, and that is all.

17. How can some forms of murder not mean death? Can an attack in any form be love? What form of condemnation is a blessing? Who makes his savior powerless and finds salvation? Let not the form of the attack on him deceive you. You cannot seek to harm him and be saved. Who can find safety from attack by turning on himself? How can it matter what the form this madness takes? It is a judgment that defeats itself, condemning what it says it wants to save. Be not deceived when madness takes the form you think is lovely. What is intent on your destruction is not your friend.

18. You would maintain, and think it true, that you do not believe these senseless laws, nor act upon them. And when you look at what they say, they cannot be believed. Brother, you do believe them. For how else could you perceive the form they take, with content such as this? Can any form of this be tenable? Yet you believe them for the form they take, and do not recognize the content. It never changes. Can you paint rosy lips upon a skeleton, dress it in loveliness, pet it and pamper it, and make it live? And can you be content with an illusion that you are living?

19. There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion. At best it seems like life, at worst, like death. Yet both are judgments on what is not life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusion stands; senseless, impossible, and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal barrier to Heaven. Illusions are but forms. Their content is never true.

20. The laws of chaos govern all illusions. Their forms conflict, making it seem quite possible to value some above the others. Yet each one rests as surely on the belief the laws of chaos are the laws of order as do the others. Each one upholds these laws completely, offering a certain witness that these laws are true. The seeming gentler forms of the attack are no less certain in their witnessing, or their results. Certain it is illusions will bring fear because of the beliefs that they imply, not for their form. And lack of faith in love, in any form, attests to chaos as reality.

21. From the belief in sin, the faith in chaos must follow. It is because it follows that it seems to be a logical conclusion; a valid step in ordered thought. The steps to chaos do follow neatly from their starting point. Each is a different form in the progression of truth’s reversal, leading still deeper into terror and away from truth. Think not one step is smaller than another, nor that return from one is easier. The whole descent from Heaven lies in each one.  And where your thinking starts, there must it end.

22. Brother, take not one step in the descent to hell. For having taken one, you will not recognize the rest for what they are. And they will follow. Attack in any form has placed your foot upon the twisted stairway that leads from Heaven. Yet any instant it is possible to have all this undone. How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel? Is peace in your awareness? Are you certain which way you go? And are you sure the goal of Heaven can be reached? If not, you walk alone. Ask, then, your Friend to join with you, and give you certainty of where you go.[1]

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 23 The war against yourself. II. The laws of chaos. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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

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