A Course in Miracles Chapter 25: The Justice of God

The title for chapter 25 is The Justice of God. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Link to Truth, The Savior from the Dark, Perception and Choice, The Light You Bring, The State of Sinlessness, The Special Function, The Rock of Salvation, Justice Returned to Love, and The Justice of Heaven.

Justice is a word we hear a lot in our society. When a crime is committed, when harm has been done to us in some way, when unfairness and discrimination occur, when genocide and terror occur, we cry out for individual and global justice. So, what exactly is justice, what is it we really want? I believe we want to be compensated for some type of loss we feel happened to us and we want the person who harmed us in some way to be punished for what they did. We want a winner and a loser. What was taken from us we want to be taken from the one who harmed us. We want them to feel the pain they caused us.  From our 3rd dimensional reality on planet earth, this makes perfect sense to us. However, from God’s perspective, justice looks very different.

When someone does something we deem “wrong,” something that harmed another person, we refer to that act as sin. We have been taught that sin deserves punishment and we call that justice. However, this course teaches that what we call sin, God calls a mistake and so the correct response is correction rather than punishment. Justice is taking the time to understand why this person did what they did and help them learn a better way to respond and interact with people. Justice is holding them accountable through love, understanding, correction, rehabilitation and forgiveness. “Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? God is wholly fair to everyone. Vengeance is alien to Gods Mind because he knows of justice. To be just is to be fair, and not be vengeful. Fairness and vengeance are impossible, for each one contradicts the other and denies that it is real. It is extremely hard for those who still believe sin is meaningful to understand the Holy Spirits justice. And, they perceive the threat of what God knows as justice to be more destructive to themselves and to their world than vengeance, which they understand and love.”

We learned last week that we like to make ourselves “special” better than others by looking down and punishing those who do not meet our standards of what is right or wrong. All of us are capable of doing evil and harm to others, when put in circumstances that bring this out in us. This course teaches that we are all one, the one who harmed you is your brother and one of God’s creations. To take vengeance on them, to want to punish them, is to want to do these things to yourself. To want to take from them for what they took from you is not justice. “How can the special really understand that justice is the same for everyone? To take from one to give another must be an injustice to them both, since they are equal in the Holy Spirits sight. Their Father gave the same inheritance to both. Who would have more or less is not aware that he has everything. For love and justice are not different. Because they are the same does mercy stand at Gods right Hand and gives the Son of God the power to forgive himself of sin. Without love is justice prejudiced and weak. And love without justice is impossible. In justice, then, does love correct mistakes, but not in vengeance. For that would be unjust to the innocence.”

Everything is based on perception. Everything that happens is neutral until you decide what value, beliefs, thoughts and feelings you want to attach to it. What you perceive as an evil act done to you will appear very differently by the one who committed the act. “Perception is a choice of what you want yourself to be; the world you want to live in, and the state in which you think your mind will be content and satisfied. The Holy Spirit has the power to change the whole foundation of the world you see to something else. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another alter where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness.”

This understanding of justice from heavens perspective is very different from what I have been taught and practice. It seems impossible that we could ever get to the place in our world where we could apply this type of justice on a national or global scale. However, I do believe we could begin to incorporate it into our individual lives in how we treat those who we deem have harmed us in some way. And when enough of us can consistently do this, God’s justice will begin to permeate through our society.

A Course in Miracles Chapter 24: The Goal of Specialness

The title for chapter 24 is The Goal of Specialness. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Specialness as a Substitute for Love, The Treachery of Specialness, The Forgiveness of Specialness, Specialness versus Sinlessness, The Christ in You, Salvation from Fear, and The Meeting Place.

This chapter defines specialness as thinking you are better than someone else. We see this in sports, music, academics, business, where we compete against each other to stand out above everyone else. We see this in religion where we view our religion as being superior to others and then make the leap that this means we must be superior to those people who believe something else. We do this through socioeconomic status, because we live in a certain neighborhood, make more money or drive a newer car, we are better than others. We build ourselves up by putting others down. Our self- esteem is based on being special or better than others. “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. 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. Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy, feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat.”

In ACIM it teaches that while we are all unique and different from each other, we are all equal, none more special than anyone else. God’s love is for all his children equally and so we should love everyone equally without judgment or discrimination. “Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. There is no difference. You would oppose this course because it teaches you, you and your brother are alike.” This is a difficult teaching to live out. When people hurt us or disagree with us, we want to attack them, see them as “lower” than us because of what they did or said. The chapter states that it is only through Jesus that we have the capability to understand that we do not have to be “special” to be loved. We are loved just for who we are, children of God. “The death of specialness is not your death, but your awakening into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. Christs hand holds all His brothers in Himself. He gives them vision for their sightless eyes, and sings to them of Heaven, that their ears may hear no more the sound of battle and of death. The sight of Christ is all there is to see. The song of Christ is all there is to hear. The hand of Christ is all there is to hold. There is no journey but to walk with Him. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still.”

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 23: The War Against Yourself

The title for chapter 23 is The War Against Yourself. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Irreconcilable Beliefs, The Laws of Chaos, Salvation without Compromise and Above the Battleground.

Throughout our day we can find ourselves at war against ourselves. We have expectations of who we want to be, what we want to do and find ourselves doing the opposite. We focus on our shortcomings, sins and failures, mentally beating ourselves up. We have expectations of others that go unmet, causing conflict between us. We spend our time attacking ourselves and attacking others, living a life of conflict rather than peace. “War is the condition in which fear is born and grows and seeks to dominate. Peace is the state where love abides, and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears.”

This chapter talks about the 4 laws of chaos we can sometimes find ourselves living by and how they can bring about the conflict and war within us. The first one is “the truth is different for everyone.” We believe that what we perceive as truth is The Truth and anyone who does not believe our truth becomes our enemy. This can be religious beliefs, political beliefs, child rearing beliefs, money beliefs; all kinds of different things. We justify our beliefs by attacking everyone else’s beliefs. If someone does not agree with us we become defensive, attempting to convince them that we are right and they are wrong. Increasing the conflict we feel within us and with the other person, creating separation between us.

The second is “each one must sin, and therefore deserves attack and death.”  We look at errors and mistakes as sin and therefore, the person who committed them deserves some kind of punishment rather than correction. You see this in the workplace, in parenting, in our penal system and even in how we view our relationship with God. We believe if we can instill fear in people it will stop them from doing something we perceive as wrong or bad. We use fear rather than love as a motivator. It puts fear in people that if they can’t do something right, they will be punished, therefore, many people do not even try to do something they have never done before. Once again it causes separation between us and other people.

The third is “Chaos is eternal.” This refers to the belief that everything we do on earth has eternal consequences. The punishment will continue when we die and cross over to the other side because God is a fearful, vengeful God of justice and hell is real. Now it becomes impossible for people to turn to God in their time of need for now “He has become the enemy who caused it, to whom appeal is useless.” This idea of eternal punishment is another belief man created to control others through fear. A God of love is incapable of inflicting eternal punishment on his own dearly beloved creation. If he did, he would be inflicting it on himself as we are all eternally one.

The fourth is “the belief you have what you have taken.” This comes from the idea that we are all separate from each other, therefore, we have enemies we must compete and fight against to get anything in life. Enemies are not going to freely share what they have with you, you must take them out to get what you want.

Fortunately, this chapter has the cure for how to live your life outside of these laws based on illusions of chaos, attack and war against yourself and others. It is to take a higher perspective. To allow yourself to step back from your everyday life and look at what is going on from a heavenly, eternal perspective. “When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. When they occur be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. And God Himself and the lights of Heaven will gently lean in to you, and hold you up.”

When you find yourself at war with yourself or those around you, get in the presence of God so you can have God’s perspective on what is happening. You will then receive the peace of God.

A Course in Miracles Chapter 22: Salvation and the Holy Relationship

The title for chapter 22 is Salvation and the Holy Relationship. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Message of the Holy Relationship, Your Brothers Sinlessness, Reason and the Forms of Error, The Branching of the Road, Weakness and Defensiveness, and The Light of the Holy Relationship.

This chapter revisits relationships. “For an unholy relationship is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not. They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other.” So many people are raised to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they’re not worthy of love. They feel the emptiness inside and look to people rather than God to fill this. The relationship becomes about what I can take from the other to feel better about me or making bargains with each other, I will do this for you if you will do that for me. It is these kinds of unspoken obligations that can destroy relationships. “A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take.” It is very difficult for us to understand that in God we are complete and we do not need other people to complete us. The illusion we live with is that there is something wrong with us and this is often confirmed by those around us in their words and behaviors toward us. However, from God’s eternal perspective, the truth is that we are perfect. He accepts us just as we are. Therefore, a relationship is not based on obligations but on the fact that you happen to enjoy being with one another, respect and appreciate each other.

The chapter talks about how we continue to go back and forth between living for ego/hell/illusions and living for Spirit/heaven/Truth and how we live in the illusion that it is possible to do this. Reason would state that either you are living for ego or you are living for spirit but you cannot live for both at the same time. This reminds me of the words of Jesus that we are to be hot or cold, not lukewarm. “Either you give each other life or death, either you are each other’s savior or judge, offering him sanctuary or condemnation. For it is wholly true or wholly false, and cannot be but partially believed. Reason will tell you that there is no middle ground where you even 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.  There is no part of Heaven you can take and weave into illusions. Nor is there one illusion you can enter Heaven with.” When we choose the holy relationship with God and others, we have made our decision to be led by Spirit, to allow ourselves to discern that the beliefs we have called truth are really illusions. The illusion is that we humans believe we can understand who God is by applying human characteristics to God. We make God into our own image. Meanwhile, God is trying to show us who he/she really is but because this does not line up with our preconceived beliefs, we deny this Truth.  God tells us we are all one and connected to him and we see ourselves as separate from each other and from God. God tells us we are wonderful, perfect, magnificent creations and we tell ourselves we are sinners, unworthy, victims of life. God tells us we are love and we believe we are fearful. “How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality. They go against what must be true.  For reason sees through errors, telling you what you thought was real is not. Only illusions need defense because of weakness. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none. Consider what the ego wants defenses for. Always to justify what goes against the truth, flies in the face of reason and makes no sense.” I found this interesting because in Christianity we have created apologetics which teaches us how to defend our faith against those who oppose it. If what God is saying is true, that Truth needs no defense, then either we do not have the truth since we feel such a strong need to defend it, or we do have the truth and need to quit trying to defend it.

“To all who share the Love of God the grace is given to be the givers of what they have received. Those who would let illusions be lifted from their mind are the worlds saviors, walking the world with their Redeemer, and carrying His message of hope and freedom and release from suffering to everyone who needs a miracle to save him.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 21: Reason and Perception

The title for chapter 21 is Reason and Perception. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Forgotten Song, The Responsibility for Sight, Faith, Belief and Vision, The Fear to Look Within, The Function of Reason, Reason versus Madness, The Last Unanswered Question, and The Inner Shift.

What we project out into the world around us is like a mirror of what we are thinking and feeling inside. If we do not understand this we will look around at the world we live in and complain about everything we do not like and blame it on everyone but ourselves, expecting others to fix the problems. “Projection makes perception. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”

As long as I can remember I have been taught to embrace painful situations, that it is through these that we grow and mature. You all know the phrases, no pain no gain. Thank God for the hard times of your lives. If this is what you believe, this is what you will manifest in your life. Reading through this book has caused me to question this idea and change my belief that everything I need to learn to grow and mature can come through happy experiences. I have found this a much more enjoyable way to live. “There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget.”

We have been taught that we have little control over what happens to us and sometimes it does feel like this.  It is a hard concept to accept when “bad” things happen to us that it is because we asked for them. Yet this is what this course teaches. I am still working to fully understanding how this works. “I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked. Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. It is impossible the Son of God (mankind) be merely driven by events outside of him. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it.”

This chapter asks 5 interesting questions:

  1. Do I desire a world I rule instead of one that rules me?
  2. Do I desire a world where I am powerful instead of helpless?
  3. Do I desire a world in which I have no enemies and cannot sin?
  4. Is this what I would see? Do I want this?
  5. And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?

Unfortunately, many of us were taught through our society, families and religion that we have little control over our lives, that we are helpless to change anything and that we need to fear anyone who is “different” from us, turning them into enemies. This is what the ego teaches us to keep us in a state of apathy, helplessness and fear. It takes courage to honestly ask ourselves what we really do believe and why we continue to believe these things. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the Truth of God that we are magnificent, creative, powerful and loving people. How different the world will look when we choose to believe this. “Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you to see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are hopeless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. Do you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that you are powerless? If you choose to see a world without an enemy, in which you are not helpless, the means to see it will be given you.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 20: The Vision of Holiness

The title for chapter 20 is The Vision of Holiness. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Holy Week, The Gift of Lilies, Sin as an Adjustment, Entering the Ark, Heralds of Eternity, The Temple of the Holy Spirit, The Consistency of Means and End, and The Vision of Sinlessness.

The chapter talks about how we can choose what we want to set our vision on. We can focus on the ego and the fearful illusions it creates in and around us or we can focus our vision on the spirit, the truth it reveals and the love it creates. We are taught in our society to see separation between ourselves and others, which the course refers to as our “brother.” The course teaches that the best way to know yourself is through your brother because we are all interconnected.

  • If I want someone to show me kindness, I need to show kindness to them.
  • I cannot love others until I first love myself so I have love to give others.
  • If I judge others, I am judging myself because they are an extension of me.
  • I set myself free by forgiving and setting others free

The chapter talks about the honesty of love. We say we love others, spouses, friends, God. And yet we hold back and are not completely honest in our relationships with them. We fear being vulnerable in that they could use this against us. We allow our fears of how they could hurt us build walls of protection between us. Therefore, we create unholy relationships. “Love wishes to be known, completely understood and shared. It has no secrets; nothing that it would keep apart and hide. It walks in sunlight, open eyed and calm, in smiling welcome and in sincerity so simple and so obvious it cannot be misunderstood.” We learn how to do this through our relationship with God and are then able to transfer this to our relationships with others. “The meaning of the Son of God lies solely in his relationship with his Creator. And this is wholly loving and forever. One of union and unbroken continuity.” This is one of the reasons this course stresses so much that God is love, not fear. If you fear God as some of us were taught to do, you will never be able to be honest and open with God.

The chapter continues with the theme of illusions created by our fears and how proper vision from the Holy Spirit will help us see through the illusions to the truth within.  Do you like what you have made? A world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear. You made this up. It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself. Have you not wondered what the world is really like; how it would look through happy eyes?” There is incredible power in the unity of mind to create strife or create peace on earth. The choice is up to us. We can believe the illusions of the ego and manifest a fearful world or we can believe the truth of the Holy Spirit and manifest a loving world.

“Each herald of eternity sings of the end of sin and fear. Each speaks in time of what is far beyond it. Two voices raised together call to the hearts of everyone, to let them beat as one. And in that single heartbeat is the unity of love proclaimed and given welcome. Peace to your holy relationship, which has the power to hold the unity of the Son of God together.”

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 19: The Attainment of Peace

The title for chapter 19 is The Attainment of Peace. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Healing and Faith, Sin versus Error, The Unreality of Sin and the Obstacles to Peace.

There is an interesting contrast between faith and faithlessness. Faithlessness destroys and separates, imposing illusions between us and our creator God. Faith unites and heals, removes all obstacles that rise between us and our creator God, and is dedicated to truth rather than illusions. Faith is the opposite of fear. With faith, we can look at everyone around us and acknowledge our oneness with them rather than see them as the enemy. When we can see Christ in everyone, we are able to offer forgiveness to them, bringing healing to them and ourselves. When we no longer fear those that do not look, act or believe like us, and release our demands and expectations of them, peace can arise within us. “Faith is the gracious acknowledgment of everyone as a Son of your most loving Father, loved by Him like you, and therefore loved by you as yourself. You see the Christ in him, and he is healed because you look on what makes faith forever justified in everyone.”

This chapter makes a distinction between sin and error. Sin calls for punishment, guilt and fear, a concept created by the ego.  Error calls for correction and growth and is rooted in love. When you do something you deem “wrong” and call it sin, you will feel guilt over what you did and will most likely beat yourself up for a while over this. You will feel fear about how God sees you. You will agonize over if you will ever be able to overcome this. You will feel like you should somehow be punished for what you did and find ways to inflict punishment upon yourself. Therefore, you will be unable to feel peace.  However, if you call it error, you will feel no guilt and will be able to quickly forgive yourself and ask God how you can learn and grow from the experience, feeling God’s love for you which will bring you peace.

When we fear death, it is impossible to feel peace. The ego wants us to fear death because anytime we are in a state of fear, we are not feeling love so peace is unattainable.  Death is one of the biggest fears of man. It is based in the concept of sin and guilt, that we will be punished by death in hell if we do repent from our wicked ways. Jesus states in this chapter, “For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so atonement is achieved through murder. Salvation is looked upon as a way by which the Son of God was killed instead of you. No one can die for anyone, and earth does not atone for sin. The body does appear to be a symbol for sin while you believe that it can get you what you want. What has the body really given you that justifies your strange belief that in it lies salvation? Do you not see that this is the belief in death? Here is the source of the idea that love is fear. When you accepted the Holy Spirits purpose in place of the egos you renounced death, exchanging it for life. Death is the result of the thought we call the ego, as surely as life is the result of the Thought of God. One thing is sure; God, Who created neither sin nor death, wills not that you be bound by them. What would you feel and think if death held no attraction for you? Very simply, you would remember your Father. The Creator of life, the Source of everything that lives, the Father of the universe and of the universe of universes, and of everything that lies even beyond them would you remember.”

When you need peace, stop and ask yourself what you are doing that prevents peace from coming to you. Are you in faith or faithlessness? Have you forgiven self and others? Are you focused on sin rather than error? Are you fearing death and God? Are you living from fear rather than love? “Every obstacle that peace must flow across is surmounted in just the same way; the fear that raised it yields to the love beyond, and so the fear is gone. And now you stand in terror before what you swore never to look upon. Your eyes look down, remembering your promise to your “friends.” The “loveliness” of sin, the delicate appeal of guilt, the “holy” waxen image of death, and the fear of vengeance of the ego you swore in blood not to desert, all rise and bid you not to raise your eyes. It seems to you that they would utterly abandon you if you but raise your eyes. Yet all that will occur is you will leave the world forever. This is the re-establishment of your will. Look upon it, open-eyed, and you will never more believe that you are at the mercy of things beyond you, forces you cannot control, and thoughts that come to you against your will. For what attracts you from beyond the veil is also deep within you, unseparated from it and completely one. You are the center from which peace radiates outward, to call the others in. You are its home; its tranquil dwelling place from which it gently reaches out, but never leaving you.”

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 18: The Passing of the Dream

The title for chapter 18 is The Passing of the Dream. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Substitute Reality, The Basis of the Dream, Light in the Dream, The Little Willingness, The Happy Dream, Beyond the Body, I Need do Nothing, The Little Garden and The Two Worlds.

There is a running theme throughout this book that is difficult for most people to comprehend as it goes in opposition to what we have be taught about the world around us. I will do my best to explain it so you can understand it, but if you struggle to grasp it, that is okay, it took me years to comprehend it and you will receive it when you are ready.

Throughout these blogs I have discussed the conflict between the ego and the Holy Spirit. We are now going to go deeper into this teaching. This world we all live in and see with our physical eyes is just an illusion or a dream state, none of it is real. The real world is the inner spiritual world. When mankind substituted that God was fearful rather than loving, the world of illusion was born. “You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of Illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it. You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. The world arose to hide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth.” The ego wants to keep you living in the illusion and the Holy Spirit wants to set you free to live in the truth of God’s love.

Since God created each one of us, his light of truth is within us to guide us out of the illusion into the truth. We are all interconnected so as each one of us begins to emerge from the darkness of illusion, we will all experience more light within us until all of mankind is living in the light of God’s love rather than the darkness of fearful illusions. “The Holy Spirit takes you gently by the hand, and retraces with you your mad journey outside yourself, leading you gently back to the truth and safety within. He brings all your insane projections and the wild substitutions that you have placed outside you to truth. He reverses the course of insanity and restores you to reason.” Depending on your spiritual orientation, this process is referred to as the holy instant, ascension, enlightenment or salvation. All that is required of us is the willingness to acknowledge that we don’t fully understand everything from God’s perspective and to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us. “Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. God did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him. The holy instant is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of Gods will. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven.  You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirits are so extremely disproportionate.”

When our spirit/soul decided to experience life on planet earth, it created a physical body which serves as a fence around our spirit/soul, keeping us separated from others in our own kingdom of self. “Within the kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. Each body seems to house a separate mind, a disconnected thought, living alone. Within its barricades is still a tiny segment of the Son of God, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what you think surrounds it. The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees, and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all the illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, the vengeance and the betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place. Do not accept this little, fenced-off aspect of yourself. The Thought of God surrounds your little kingdom, waiting at the barrier you built to come inside and shine upon the barren ground. The holy instant is your invitation for love to enter into your bleak and joyless kingdom, and to transform it into a garden of peace and welcome.”

Our minds are a form of energy, of consciousness that communicates with all the other minds God created and with all of creation through energetic communication. Telepathy, empath abilities, out of body experiences, near death experiences and astral travel are some examples of this. “Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. It is a sudden unawareness of the body, and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you and you unite with it. And both become whole as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union. You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting your mind be limited by it. This can occur regardless of the physical distance that seems to be between you and what you join; of your respective positions in space; and of your differences in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present or anticipated. The something can be anything and anywhere; a sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you join it without reservation and so you rush to meet it, letting your limits melt away, suspending all the “laws” your body obeys and gently setting them aside. You are not really “lifted out” of the body; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of Self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body.”

“There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. For God created only this, and He did not depart from it nor leave it separate from Himself. The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of the Son of God, who left not his Father and dwells not apart from Him. Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else’ nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.”

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 17: Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

The title for chapter 17 is Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Bringing Fantasy to Truth, The Forgiven World, Shadows of the Past, The Two Pictures, The Healed Relationship, Setting the Goal, The Call for Faith, and The Conditions of Faith.

Oftentimes when we are in “special relationships” we believe we are experiencing love. As we saw in last week’s chapter, ACIM considers this type of love an illusion and not real love. “All sorts of fanciful and fragmented illusions of love, set with dreams of sacrifice and self-aggrandizement.” What we tend to do is justify this love or add to it what we would consider real love. This chapter states that the Holy Spirit wants us to learn how to give up all our illusions about what love is and replace them for the truth of what relational love really is, so we can transform it into a holy relationship. “When you try to bring truth to illusions, you are trying to make illusions real, and keep them by justifying your belief in them. But to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal, and thus enable you to escape from them. This is done through faith in the act of forgiveness which literally transforms vision, and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos, removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten.” To transform a relationship is a difficult thing for us humans to do and brings great disruption to the relationship if both members are not in agreement that they want to transform their relationship into a holy relationship. It is a challenge to forgive and release both our past and that of our relational partner. For those that are willing to commit to it, the Holy Spirit has promised to be there to guide you through the process. “If all but loving thoughts have been forgotten, what remains is eternal. And the transformed past is made like the present. No longer does the past conflict with now. That is why Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone. For separation must be corrected where it was made.

This chapter also address problem solving. When we have a problem, the ego works to distract and confuse us so we cannot figure out how to resolve the issue. “The ego seeks to resolve its problems, not at their source, but where they were not made. And thus, it seeks to guarantee there will be no solution. The Holy Spirit wants only to make His resolutions complete and perfect, and so He seeks and finds the source of problems where it is, and there undoes it.” When you have a problem, ask the Holy Spirit to help you locate the root cause of the problem for this, when found, is what brings the solution to the problem.  When making decisions it suggests that you begin with the end in mind. “In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is “What do I want to come of this? What is it for?” The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning for it is this which will determine the outcome. The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.”

“It is still up to you to choose to join with truth or with illusion. The spark of beauty or the veil of ugliness, the real world or the world of guilt and fear, truth or illusion, freedom or slavery – it is all the same. For you can never choose except between God and the ego. Only the Thoughts of God are true.”