A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

To gain the most from A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple, we recommend that
you read the corresponding chapter and section in the Text of the Second or
Third Edition of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.


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Preface & Introduction

How It Came

Why was “a little willingness” so important to Helen and Bill?

A key idea that stands out in this section is the fact that the Course came to Helen and Bill because of their “little willingness” to open to a better way of living their lives without the constant squabbling and conflict they were currently experiencing.

It is most likely that each one of us who is guided to the Course has at least some openness and readiness to receive the higher perspectives found in the content of the Course. The Course reflects a thought system that is the opposite in every way to the thinking of the world. If we already think we know it all and think we already have all the answers, we will not be open to these remarkable healing perspectives.

What is the purpose of A Course in Miracles?

The whole purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us find our own internal Teacher.

In the Epilogue of the Workbook for Students we are told that the Course is a beginning and not the end of our mind training. We are encouraged to spend the rest of our ‘life’ following the lead of our internal Teacher. “He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word.” (W-pII.Epilogue.3:3)

What do we have in common with Helen and Bill?

We all are like Helen and Bill, who forgot their true Identity and were lost in dreams of separation from their Source. Like Helen and Bill, we all need to reconnect with our Source through strengthening our connection with our internal Teacher, Who will lead us Home where we belong.

The Course was brought to us because we all have one common problem, and that is the problem of thinking that we really did separate from universal Love, our Source. We have thought that we really did make up a world of separation, where we are able to decide on our own what we are and where we are. We have believed that this world of separate bodies and separate things is real and that we are really here in this ‘real’ world of separation. Because of our mistaken beliefs, we are hallucinating a world that is not there and we need help from a Source outside our mistaken ego thought system. One form of help is A Course in Miracles, which brings us a mind training curriculum. As the Course helps us strengthen the habit of taking all our mistaken ideas to the Holy Spirit to be undone, we receive a gradual thought reversal in what we think is real.

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section VIII. Choose Once Again

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section VIII. (pages 666-669)

What is the lesson that temptation teaches?

Temptation teaches in all its forms that we are a body that is frail and eventually dies. Temptation teaches that we are bound by the body and limited by its strength. In this section Jesus asks that we move past the temptation to believe in the limitations of the body and choose instead the strength of Christ in us.

He tells us, “You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. An what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto Him, and He has given you His strength instead.” (1:3-7)

When we encounter trials and difficulties, what does Christ say to us?

He asks us to choose once again. Instead of choosing to believe in the weakness of the body, we are asked to choose the strength of God that resides in our right mind. “He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your mind from everything that hides His face from you. His holiness is yours because He is the only Power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self That God created as His only Son.” (3:5-7 italics added)

How does Jesus encourage us to look at every temptation to make the body real?

He encourages us to see temptation as another opportunity to let our minds be transformed by the only Power that is real in us. He sees it as a perfect opportunity to let our true Self heal our minds.

He tells us, “Be never fearful of temptation, then, but see it as it is; another chance to choose again, and let Christ’s strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before. For what appears to hide the face of Christ is powerless before His majesty, and disappears before His holy sight.” (4:2-3)

Who are the saviors of the world?

The saviors of the world are those who choose the strength of the Christ Mind instead of the weakness of the ego thought system. Jesus explains: “The saviors of the world, who see like Him, are merely those who choose His strength instead of their own weakness, seen apart from Him. They will redeem the world, for they are joined in all the power of the Will of God. And what they will is only what He wills.” (4:4-6 italics added)

When we feel tempted to believe in our weakness, how are we guided to respond?

When we find ourselves believing in limitation, suffering and pain, Jesus guides us to invite Christ’s strength in us to prevail. When we are tempted, he guides us to say:

“I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.” (5:2-4)

When we repeat this, we are inviting the Truth in our minds to take over. We are stepping back from past habits of making our weakness real by seeing ourselves as a separate body. “And thus are miracles as natural as fear and agony appeared to be before the choice for holiness was made. For in that choice are false distinctions gone, illusory alternatives laid by, and nothing left to interfere with truth.” (5:6-7)

How are we to see every brother?

The choice that brings healing and freedom is to see the Christ in every brother we see or even think of. As we choose to see the Christ in every brother instead of seeing him limited by the body, our mind is relieved of the pain and suffering that believing in the ego’s fearful thought system brings.

Jesus tells us: “Choose once again what you would have him be, remembering that every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is.” (6:5) As we see the Christ in our brother, we help him see It in himself. It also reinforces the truth of our own Identity as one with the Christ Mind.

How are we to give God’s gift to the world?

We are being guided to share Christ’s vision to bring in a vision of a different world. Jesus is inviting us to share his holy vision. He tells us, “Hear me, my brother, hear and join with me. God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.” (9:4-7)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section VII. The Savior’s Vision

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section VII. (pages 662-666)

What is salvation’s task?

In paragraph 1 Jesus tells us that, “…changing concepts is salvation’s task.” (1:3) The Holy Spirit uses bridges to lead us from where we think we are to where we are in truth. The Holy Spirit gradually leads us to the recognition that all concepts of the ‘self’ are meaningless in the end.

Our inner Teacher leads us past our individual ‘self’s’ belief in guilt and separation by helping us see the innocence of every brother we see in the dream of separation: “You cannot give yourself your innocence, for you are too confused about yourself. But should one brother dawn upon your sight as wholly worthy of forgiveness, then your concept of yourself is wholly changed. Your ‘evil’ thoughts have been forgiven with his, because you let them all affect you not. No longer do you choose that you should be the sign of evil and of guilt in him. And as you give your trust to what is good in him, you give it to the good in you.” (2:4-8)

We are being led to change our concepts of being individual selves. As we learn from our Inner Teacher to see past the ‘self’ of another, we are helped to release the idea that we are an individual ‘self.’ This forgiveness process of letting go of ego concepts of individuality and differences leads us back to the recognition that in truth we are united as one Self in the Mind of Love.

How do we let go of belief in bodies?

Jesus answers this very clearly in paragraph 2: “By focusing upon the good (Love) in him, the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good. And this will be your concept of yourself, when you have reached the world beyond the sight your eyes alone can offer you to see. For you will not interpret what you see without the Aid That God has given you. And in His sight there is another world.” (3:3-6)

It is the Holy Spirit in our mind that shows us the Light of Love that is the truth of every brother. The Love in every brother is not a dream but the eternal truth of What he is. It is our true Self that shows us this as we are ready and willing to receive the truth.

Jesus encourages us to receive God’s peace as we see only the Love: “Have faith in him who walks with you, so that your fearful concept of yourself may change. And look upon the good in him, that you may not be frightened by your ‘evil’ thoughts because they do not cloud your view of him. And all this shift requires is that you be willing that this happy change occur. …And let the cruel concept of yourself be changed to one that brings the peace of God.” (5:1-3, 7)

What brings us sadness or a ‘bitter sense of deep depression’?

In paragraph 6 we learn that it is the concept of an individual self that we hold that brings us the depression, aloneness and sadness that we experience in the dream of separation. We are encouraged to let this false concept be changed instead of insistently holding on to this false idea. Jesus tells us, “Give it (our concept of self) to Him Who understands the changes that it needs to let it serve the function given you to bring you peace that you may offer peace to have it yours. Alternatives are in your mind to use, and you can see yourself another way.” (6:4-5)

What are we brought to see with willingness?

The truth is that we are all the same identical Light of God. There are no individual selves. Jesus helps us move past these false concepts of individuality when he says, “All things you see are images, because you look on them as through a barrier that dims your sight and warps your vision, so that you behold nothing with clarity. The light is kept from everything you see. At most, you glimpse a shadow of what lies beyond. At least, you merely look on darkness, and perceive the terrified imaginings that come from guilty thoughts and concepts born of fear.” (7:2-5)

As we are willing to lay down the concept of the individual self, we are returned to the truth of oneness. “And in this single vision does he see the face of Christ, and understands he looks on everyone as he beholds this one. For there is light where darkness was before, and now the veil is lifted from his sight.” (8:6-7)

What is entrusted to us as we learn to see the Light in every brother?

We receive the answer to this question in paragraph 10: “Who has learned to see his brother not as [a separate self] has saved himself, and thus is he a savior to the rest. To everyone has God entrusted all, because a partial savior would be one who is but partly saved. The holy ones whom God has given you to save are but everyone you meet or look upon, not knowing who they are; all those you saw an instant and forgot, and those you knew a long while since, and those you will yet meet; the unremembered and the not yet born. For God has given you His Son to save from every concept that he ever held.” (10:3-6)

How do we call forth the holiness that is really there?

As we become willing to let go of or forgive our concept of self, we are shown the Light of peace and Love that is our true Identity. This willingness to see the Light then extends to all we see. Jesus explains it this way: “For holiness is seen through holy eyes that look upon the innocence within, and thus expect to see it everywhere. And so they call it forth in everyone they look upon, that he may be what they expect of him. This is the savior’s vision; that he see his innocence in all he looks upon, and see his own salvation everywhere. He holds no concept of himself between his calm and open eyes and what he sees. He brings the light to what he looks upon, that he may see it as it really is.” (11:3-7)

What is the simple choice we make with all seeing?

Jesus explains how all our seeing depends on whether we want to see hell or Heaven, separation or oneness, the body or the Light of God that is the truth. He tells us, “For seeing can but represent a wish, because it has no power to create. Yet it can look with love or look with hate, depending only on the simple choice of whether you would join with what you see, or keep yourself apart and separate.

“The savior’s vision is as innocent of what your brother is as it is free of any judgment made upon yourself. It sees no past in anyone at all. And thus it serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look on only what the present holds. It cannot judge because it does not know. And recognizing this, it merely asks, ‘What is the meaning of what I behold?’ Then is the answer given. And the door held open for the face of Christ to shine upon the one who asks, in innocence, to see beyond the veil of old ideas and ancient concepts held so long and dear against the vision of the Christ in you.” (12:5-6, 13:1-7)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section VI. Recognizing the Spirit

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section VI. (pages 660-662)

What are our only two options for vision?

Jesus tells us very simply: “You see the flesh or recognize the spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or spirit in your own belief.” (1:1-6)

If we choose to focus on a world of separate bodies as what is real, we will think we are a body and be limited by our own choice. We will forget our true Identity and think we are weak, limited and alone.

What happens when we choose to remember that we are Spirit?

Jesus encourages us to let go of this belief in limitation and individuality and open up to the truth that we are united as one in Spirit. He says, “But choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.” (1:8)

Because we see either one or the other, we must let go of the false notion that separate bodies are real. As we are willing to let it go, Heaven returns to our awareness.

How does Jesus describe salvation?

Salvation is the undoing of our belief that we are a separate body with a separate mind. It is letting go of the false notion that we could be unique and different from the whole. It is letting go of the false ideas of birth and death. If we are one in Spirit, we are eternal. We are changeless. We are one with all of God, our Source.

Jesus explains salvation this way: “Salvation is undoing. If you choose to see the body, you behold a world of separation, unrelated things, and happenings that make no sense at all. This one appears and disappears in death; that one is doomed to suffering and loss. And no one is exactly as he was an instant previous, nor will he be the same as he is now an instant hence. Who could have trust where so much change is seen, for who is worthy if he be but dust? Salvation is undoing of all this.” (2:1-6)

What will salvation undo?

Jesus says, “It is your world salvation will undo, and let you see another world your eyes could never find.” (3:4 italics added) It is being made very clear to us that it is not our job to do the undoing because it has already been accomplished. He says about this: “How is this done? It is not done at all. What could there be within the universe that God created that must still be done?” (3:9-11) Our job in all of this is to be willing to accept what is real and let go of what is not real.

What changes as we become willing to let go of what is not real?

The concept of the self is changed. What and where we think we are is changed. We realize that our will and the Will of God are the same. Jesus explains it this way: “One vision, clearly seen, that does not fit the picture as it was perceived before will change the world for eyes that learn to see, because the concept of the self has changed.” (5:4)

As we are willing to let go of the belief that we are a body, the truth that we, along with everyone, are still one with God returns to our awareness. With this awareness of oneness in God, we know we are invulnerable. We know that we cannot harm or be harmed. The concepts of self we held on to before are replaced with Christ’s vision.

Jesus tells us, “Are you a spirit, deathless, and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of our trust; a happy place to rest in for a while, where nothing need be feared, but only loved. Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent? (6:7-10)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section V. Self-Concept versus Self

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section V. (pages 656-660)

To the ego, what is the purpose of the world?

Jesus answers this when he tells us, “The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self, and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach ‘maturity’ you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands.” (1:5-7 italics added)

This concept of a ‘self’ that we build is not what we are but serves the purpose of the ego thought system we have willingly joined with. It is like a child playing a game in a sandbox. The child pretends his identity is limited to one of the toys and makes up a story where the toy (body) he identifies as his ‘self’ interacts with the other toys (bodies) in the sand box.

What is ‘the face of innocence’?

The face of innocence is part of the mask or body/personality identity the self concept wears that is presented to the world. Jesus describes this face: “This is the face that smiles and charms and even seems to love. It searches for companions and it looks, at times with pity, on the suffering, and sometimes offers solace. It believes that it is good within an evil world.” (2:7-9)

Let us remember that this ‘face of innocence’ is simply part of the made up thought system that has the purpose of reinforcing the idea of a separate self for which it unconsciously feels guilty. This guilt is intolerable, so in this pretend sandbox world, the guilt now gets projected out onto the other toys (bodies) it sees in the sandbox. The other toys now become other ‘selves,’ which are inherently guilty.

Jesus describes how this little sandbox game in this world works: “This aspect [face of innocence] can grow angry, for the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good. This aspect never makes the first attack. But every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its innocence, provoking it to irritation, and at last to open insult and abuse.” (3:1-4)

It is very helpful to us to understand how the thought system works in this children’s game we are playing. It is helpful to see the thoughts for what they are when they show up in our minds. We can recognize these thoughts and, instead of taking them seriously, we can see them as just part of the sharp-edged children’s toys we have been ‘toying’ with. We can learn to lay down these toys [ideas based on separation] because we see that they are fleeting and do not bring us the lasting happiness we really want.

Why do we feel a need to wear this ‘face of innocence’?

If we want to hold on to this ‘children’s game’ of being a separate ‘self,’ we need to wear this face. Jesus tells us, “No one who makes a picture of himself omits this face, for he has need of it. The other side [of the face] he does not want to see. Yet it is here the learning of the world has set its sights, for it is here the world’s ‘reality’ is set, to see to it the idol lasts.(4:2-4 italics added)

What is the lesson that lies beneath the face of innocence?

In order to keep up the charade of having an individual ‘self,’ Jesus gives us the key to how this childish game is maintained: “The lesson teaches this: ‘I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am.’ On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape.” (5:3-4)

“Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. [This accusing finger] points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mists below the face of innocence. And in these shrouded vaults are all his sins and yours preserved and kept in darkness, where they cannot be perceived as errors, which the light would surely show.” (6:1-6)

It is helpful to see the core elements of the ego’s thought system that are hidden within its folds. It is helpful to recognize the projection of guilt when it is showing up in our minds. Once we see that the guilt is not really out there in another person but is just an ego impulse to look for and find fault outside us, we are more inclined to let it go or forgive it instead of continuing to play this projection game of searching for guilt and finding fault with those around us. We see that this is how the ego keeps us in hell instead of finding the happiness and freedom the Holy Spirit brings to our mind.

Why is it so important to play the perfect victim in this sandbox story?

Jesus explains the central motive behind the world’s consistent stories of victimhood. The ego’s defense says that if you identify with being the perfect victim, “You can be neither blamed for what you are, nor can you change the things it makes you do. Your brother then is symbol of your sins to you who are but silently, and yet with ceaseless urgency, condemning still your brother for the hated thing you are.” (6:7-8) This line of thinking ensures that our brother will be eternally guilty and the ego can continue on in safety. When we are buying into this insane thinking, we do not realize that it is keeping us in prison.

What do we do with these concepts that maintain the world?

The Holy Spirit wants us to recognize that these concepts are false and that we can let them go. He tells us, “Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. …[These concepts] are ideas of idols, painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.” (7:1-5, 10)

We free ourselves when we learn that these concepts are meaningless. “Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something else. For otherwise, you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.” (8:3-5)

How does the Holy Spirit deal with our fear of loss?

The Holy Spirit works with us where we are and gently builds a bridge that carries us to the truth. In paragraph 12 we see how the ways we look at the world could be changed from thinking that we are the victim of the world: “There are alternatives about the thing that you must be. You might, for instance, be the thing you chose to have your brother be. …There is some understanding that you chose for both of you, and what he represents has meaning that was given it by you. It also shows some glimmering of sight into perception’s law, that what you see reflects the state of the perceiver’s mind.” (12:1-2, 4-5)

It is helpful to take these steps in releasing the concepts of the world, but we must go beyond realizing that we are the decision maker of our experience. If we stay in this place we will just blame ourselves for what we think our brother is. We must go beyond all concepts if we are to find peace. To this the Holy Spirit brings us to the next step: “Seek not your Self in symbols. There can be no concept that can stand for what you are. (15:1-2)

What is the final stage of our letting go of the learning of the world?

In the final stage we understand that when we no longer want the images of separation, they will no longer be there to see. Jesus tells us, “There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt.” (17:2-5)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section IV. The Real Alternative

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section IV. (pages 653-655)

In this world, what does every road lead to in the end?

In this section we learn that in this world we seem to be the decision makers. There seems to be an endless choice of paths that we can travel. But in this section we are learning that, in this world, our only choice is between illusions and that all roads in this world lead to death in the end.

In this world we encounter a constant series of problems. We think we are a separate body who is in charge of solving our problems through our individual choices. Now we see that if we are in a state of mind where we think we are on our own, these thoughts are coming from the thought system that has our death as its goal because the ego thought system is built on the foundation that we are guilty for our ‘sin’ of separating from our Source.

Why does Jesus say that there is no choice at all within the world?

In paragraph 3 Jesus answers this question: “There is no choice [in the world] where every end is sure. Perhaps you would prefer to try them all, before you really learn they are but one. The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another.” (3:1-3) We are now seeing that the purpose of every ‘life’ in this world is to make illusions of separation appear to be real. We are attempting to be something other than our true Self.

We have tried again and again to learn this lesson of separation, but eventually we come to understand its futility. “Who would be willing to be turned away from all the roadways of the world, unless he understood their real futility? Is it not needful that he should begin with [seeing the world’s futility], to seek another way instead?” (5:1-2)

What is the beginning of acceptance that there is a real alternative?

We must come to the point of accepting that what the world offers (illusions of separation) is not really what we want. It will not bring us lasting happiness. Jesus tells us, “Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense, and cannot be the way.” (7:1-2)

What does Jesus say A Course in Miracles attempts to teach?

Jesus answers this in paragraph 8: “There is a choice that you have power to make when you have seen the real alternatives. Until that point is reached you have no choice, and you can but decide how you would choose the better to deceive yourself again. This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake.” (8:1-3 italics added to sentence 3)

What are we to learn about every brother in this mistaken world?

We are to learn that nothing has happened to change God’s one Son. We are to learn that every brother is still as God created Him — as perfect Love that still resides in the Mind of Love. 

Jesus brings us to the real alternative when he tells us: “He (God) has not left His Thoughts! He could no more depart from [His Sons] than they could keep Him out. In unity with Him do they abide, and in their oneness Both are kept complete. There is no road that leads away from Him. A journey from yourself does not exist.” (10:1-5) Here we see that in reality there is no world and every dream of separation does not exist.

What are we to forgive ourselves for?

Jesus tells us, “Forgive yourself your madness, and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. They have no meaning. You cannot escape from what you are. For God is merciful, and did not let His Son abandon Him. For what He is be thankful, for in that is your escape from madness and from death.” (11:1-5)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section III. The Self-Accused

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section III. (pages 651-653)

When we condemn or judge another, what does it tell us about ourselves?

When we judge another or look down on them, we can now understand that we are simply saying that this is how we unconsciously think of ourselves. Jesus explains that we see only what is in our mind in this section: “You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours, and therefore meriting a ‘just’ attack. Why should his sins be sins, if you did not believe they could not be forgiven in you? Why are they real in him, if you did not believe that they are your reality?” (1:5-6, 2:1-2)
Jesus has told us often in the Course that ideas leave not their source. Ideas of condemnation come from the mind of condemnation. Entertaining thoughts of judging another as unworthy or guilty means that we are joining with the false ego mind. When we join with the ego mind we think we are the ego mind. We think the ego’s thoughts are our thoughts and we believe in them. We are now learning that when we do this we are lost in dreams from our true Identity as one in God.

How does belief in separate bodies relate to belief in sin?

(It is helpful to understand that paragraph 3 is the ego’s perception and paragraph 4 explains the Holy Spirit’s correction of the ego’s false perception.) In paragraph 3, Jesus explains that, to the ego, sin is an action taken by a body, for which it is guilty. The ego thought system always equates what we are with what the body does. This helps us understand that as long as we think we are a body we will think that we are sinners because being guilty for our actions as a body is central to the ego’s whole thought system.

To keep its punishing game hidden from our awareness, the ego always focuses on the idea that we are bodies and not mind. If we knew that we were not the body but purely mind, we would not see the body as guilty and we would not punish or attack the body because we see the body as merely an effect of the thoughts we hold in our mind and not a cause.

What does the Holy Spirit want us to understand about the body and the mind?

In paragraph 4 the Holy Spirit tells us, “Yet is the body prisoner, and not the mind. The body thinks no thoughts. It has no power to learn, to pardon, nor enslave. [The body] gives no orders that the mind need serve, nor [does the body] set conditions that [the mind] must obey. [The body] holds in prison but the willing mind that would abide in it. [The body] sickens at the bidding of the mind that would become [the body’s] prisoner. And [the body] grows old and dies, because that mind is sick within itself.” (4:1-7)

Once we realize that it is our mind that is sick, we can be more open to letting our mind be healed by the Holy Spirit. “For mind can learn, and there is all change made.” (4:10)

How does the ego thought system preserve thoughts of sacrifice and guilt in our mind?

Jesus clarifies what we are believing in so that we can see how we have trapped ourselves into a ‘life’ cycle of guilt, attack, pain and suffering. He tells us, “The mind that thinks it is a sin has but one purpose; that the body be the source of sin, to keep [the mind] in the prison house (the body) it chose and guards and holds itself (mind) at bay, a sleeping prisoner to the snarling dogs of hate and evil, sickness and attack; of pain and age, of grief and suffering. Here are the thoughts of sacrifice preserved, for here guilt rules, and orders that the world be like itself; a place where nothing can find mercy, nor survive the ravages of fear except in murder and in death. For here [in the mind that thinks it is a body] are you made sin and sin cannot abide the joyous and the free, for they are enemies which sin must kill.” (5:1-3)

What happens when we open to letting the Holy Spirit heal our ego thoughts?

As we are willing to let go of the ego thought system, we free ourselves from a belief system that has brought us the experience of guilt, fear, pain and death. “Open your mind to change, and there will be no ancient penalty exacted from your brother or yourself. For God has said there is no sacrifice that can be asked; there is no sacrifice that can be made.” (7:3-4)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section II. Walking with Christ

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section II. (pages 648-651)

In the battle being waged against the truth, why does truth not respond?

The truth knows that nothing is real except the truth, so why would truth fight against what is untrue and therefore not really there? At the beginning of the course Jesus tells us, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (Intro.2:2-4) This is why truth does not battle with illusion. To fight illusions would be to make them real.

In paragraph one, Jesus tells us: “Who could be hurt in such a war, unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?” (1:5-7)

Is freedom of choice simply an illusion made up by the ego?

The ego thought system makes it look like we have freedom of choice, but now we are learning that we are simply choosing between illusions when we think we have a choice. In the ego thought system it appears as if there are differences and things to choose between. We think that we are establishing the truth by what we decide. Now we are learning that there is only one Will and that is the Will of God. We have made up an illusion that there could be another choice, but now we are learning to let that illusion go and return to the only choice that is eternally ours because it is the only choice that is real.

Jesus tells us, “What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all.” (3:1-2)

Why does Jesus say, “The voice you hear in him is but your own?

In paragraphs 3-6 Jesus shows us that the only choice we have is to choose between illusion and the truth. If we are choosing to see our brother as separate from us, we are choosing only to dream up dreams of differences. We are only projecting our own thoughts out onto a perceived ‘other.’ If we choose to believe in dreams of uniqueness, we are choosing ‘nothingness’ and are trying to make it appear to be real.

Jesus says, “The voice you hear in [your brother] is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you, because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want. Before you answer, pause to think of this: The answer that I give my brother is what I am asking for. And what I learn of him is what I learn about myself.” (5:11-14, 6:1-3)

Here we see that we are always walking with Christ. What we decided before about our brother was not the truth. Now we are learning to join with our true Will and are forgiving all appearances that are unlike the truth. Jesus is very helpful to us when he says, “Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.” (6:8-9)

What are we to listen to in every brother?

We are to listen to the Christ calling to us through every brother. Jesus explains this in paragraph 7. “Because he is your equal in God’s Love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers, and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.” (7:1-6)

How do we return home together with every brother?

We return together when we remember the journey’s only true goal. As we practice letting go of the ancient lesson where we learned to think that separation was real, Jesus tells us, “The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. …Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want.” (8:3,6)

As we practice consistently joining with Jesus in what we really want, we will just naturally “Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be.” (9:2) We will just naturally “…decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.” (9:5-7)

We are helped with this remembrance that we are joined as we practice joining with Jesus in every aspect of our lives. “For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.” (11:7-9)

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Chapter 31: The Final Vision

Section I. The Simplicity of Salvation

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, Section I. (pages 645-648)

What does Jesus say about the power of our learning skill?

He tells us, “There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by [the power of your learning skill], and even now depends on nothing else. The lessons you have taught yourself have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you and even you are someone else. Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy?” (3:2-5, 4:1)

What was the first accomplishment of learning that made up this world?

Jesus tells us: “The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten, and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourself the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you! …Learning is an ability you made and gave yourself. It was not made to do the Will of God, but to uphold a wish that [the Will of God] could be opposed, and that a will apart from It was yet more real than [the Will of God]. (4:5-6, 5:1-2 italics added)

What are the lessons the Holy Spirit would have us learn?

The Holy Spirit would have us learn lessons in forgiveness. With His lessons, we learn the Son of God is innocent instead of guilty. He would have us see the face of Christ instead of separate bodies that are vulnerable and alone. The Holy Spirit would have us remember God, our Source, our true Identity. The Holy Spirit would have us return to the truth of our oneness.

What is the outcome of our learning the ego’s lesson that God’s Son is guilty?

Jesus describes what happened when we followed the ego’s lesson: “The certain outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guilty is the world you see. It is a world of terror and despair. Nor is there hope of happiness in it. There is no plan for safety you can make that ever will succeed. There is no joy that you can seek for here and hope to find.” (7:4-8)

What happens when we learn the lesson that reflects the Love of God?

The lesson the Holy Spirit teaches shows us that God’s Son is innocent and is still united in God’s perfect oneness. We learn that nothing has really happened to change God’s one Son. Jesus describes what we will experience as we learn His lesson:

“The outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call [for Love] that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear [the call for Love] and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft eternal calling of each part of God’s creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.” (8:1-8)

When we thought God’s Son was guilty, we saw a world of fear and victimhood. As we learn Holy Spirit’s lesson that everyone is really calling for Love, we see them as our friend and brother and only want to offer God’s Love to them. We see that they are calling out for Love as much as we are. Even the apparent terrorist is really only calling for Love. We see that they are simply lost in dreams of being separate and alone and are struggling with what they learned from the ego’s lessons of separation the best they know how.

What comes from the ego’s lesson that God’s Son is guilty?

In paragraph 10 Jesus tells us that when we join with the ego’s lesson of believing in anyone’s guilt, we will fear God and be attracted to build up barriers to defend against God returning to our awareness. This means that when we believe that anyone is guilty, we are running away from God, our true Identity.

Jesus tells us, “The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God’s Love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear, and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world.” (10:1-3)

How do we free ourselves from the habit of seeing guilt in our brothers?

Jesus explains exactly how to free ourselves of ego thoughts: “Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.

“Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him, and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him, without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free, because an ancient learning passed away, and left a place for truth to be reborn.” (12, 13)

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Chapter 30: The New Beginning

Section VIII. Changeless Reality

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 30, Section VIII. (pages 642-644)

When are we deceived?

We are deceived when we look at separate images that are in a constant state of change and think that they are reality. Because everything in this world is in a constant state of change, it cannot be real.

Jesus makes this clear to us when he says, “Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real, and keeps [Reality] separate from all appearances. [Reality] must transcend all form to be itself. [Reality] cannot change. (1:6-8)

What does the miracle show us?

The miracle shows us that appearances (what we see through the body’s eyes) are simply appearances of the false idea of separation and nothing more. Because these appearances change, they are not reality. To these changing appearances, the Holy Spirit always offers us the miracle of healed perception.

Healed perception shows us the truth that: “Your brother has a changelessness in him beyond appearance and deception, both. …The happy dream about him takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle (healed perception) is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed. ” (2:3, 5-6)

How does the Course define temptation?

In paragraph three we see that temptation is just a reflection of how appealing some forms of separation may still be to us. We may still want some forms of differences to be reality instead of Love’s changeless oneness. We may still be tempted to think that some forms of limitation and lack of Love are real. We still resist seeing the truth regarding our chosen forms of believing in uniqueness (separate special bodies that are in a constant state of change).

Jesus explains, “Temptation, then, is nothing more than this; a prayer the miracle touch not some dreams, but keep their unreality obscure and give to them reality instead. …You have established limits. What you ask is given you, but not of God Who knows no limits. You have limited yourself.” (3:4, 6-8)

Why is desire so important to healing?

Because of the power of our mind, we are always seeing what we desire to see. As long as we still want to see separation, that is what we will see. But desiring to see stories of separate bodies does not make the stories real. It only makes them seem real. The miracle that comes from our true Self shows us that these stories are not real. In paragraph 4 we learn: “There is no miracle you cannot have when you desire healing. But there is no miracle that can be given you unless you want it.” (4:5-6) So here we see that it is up to us when we will receive the miracles of healed perception that is always there from our true Self when we are ready. When we truly want peace instead of conflict, that is when we will receive healed perception, which releases us from the fearful thoughts of the ego.

What does the miracle show us?

Jesus tells us: “The Christ in [your brother] is perfect. Is it this that you would look upon? Then let there be no dreams about him that you would prefer to seeing this. And you will see the Christ in him because you let Him come to you. And when He has appeared to you, you will be certain you are like Him, for He is the changeless in your brother and in you.” (5:5-9 italics added)

Here we are seeing that our real purpose at all times is to receive the miracle of healed perception. Through healed perception we will remember (return to the truth) that the perfect Love in every brother is all that is real about him. Through healed perception we will see that only Love is there. The special forms we see in the dream of birth and death could never be real. We can relax now. We can let go of these false thoughts because they were never real.

Jesus encourages us to accept the miracle when he says, “There is no false appearance but will fade, if you request a miracle instead. There is no pain from which he is not free, if you would have him be but what he is. Why should you fear to see the Christ in him? You but behold yourself in what you see. As he is healed are you made free of guilt, for his appearance is your own to you.” (6:5-9)

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Chapter 30: The New Beginning

Section VII. The New Interpretation

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 30, Section VII. (pages 640-642)

Do all our many diverse interpretations of the world have any real meaning?

In paragraph one we see that the answer is no. Because the world is the effect of the thought of separation, and the thought of separation has no meaning to God, the world of separation has no meaning and is therefore meaningless. Throughout the Course we are told that the Holy Spirit sees only one value in this world and that value is forgiveness, or letting go of our perceptions of separation. Through Holy Spirit’s forgiveness, our perception of a world of separate bodies is undone and we return to the awareness of our changeless Reality.

What does the confusing experience of constant change mean?

The experience of constant change just means that the script that we are writing is constantly changing. When we write a constantly changing script, all we are doing is demonstrating the instability of the ego thought system we have joined with.

Jesus explains this clearly when he says, “What do your scripts reflect except your plans for what the day should be? And thus you judge disaster and success, advance, retreat, and gain and loss. These judgments all are made according to the roles the [separation] script assigns. The fact [that your judgments] have no meaning in themselves is demonstrated by the ease with which these labels change with other judgments, made on different aspects of experience. And then, in looking back, you think you see another meaning in what went before. What have you really done, except to show there was no meaning there? But you assigned a meaning in the light of goals that change, with every meaning shifting as [the goals] change.” (2:1-7)

How do we bring stability to this confusing experience that is constantly changing?

Jesus helps us see that we have written a script that reflects a purpose that is different from Holy Spirit’s one purpose. He explains: “Perception cannot be in constant flux, and make allowance for stability of meaning anywhere. Fear is a judgment never justified. Its presence has no meaning but to show [that] you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly. But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself.” (3:7-10) 

If we are to bring peace to our minds, we need to follow the constant purpose of the Holy Spirit’s lifting the veil of separation in order to stabilize our perception to see that only Love is there. In paragraph four we are told, “A common purpose (of seeing only the truth of Love’s oneness) is the only means whereby perception can be stabilized, and one interpretation given to the world and all experiences here. In this shared purpose is one judgment shared by everyone and everything you see. You do not have to judge, for you have learned one meaning has been given everything, and you are glad to see [Love] everywhere. [Love] cannot change because you would perceive It everywhere, unchanged by circumstance. And so you offer [Love] to all events, and let [these events of only Love] offer you stability.” (4:1-5)

What makes perception shift and meaning change?

Jesus answers this in paragraph five: “And it is this idea of different goals that makes perception shift and meaning change. In one united goal does this become impossible, for your agreement makes interpretation stabilize and last.” (5:5-6) When we choose a different goal than Love’s oneness and choose to write a script of separation instead, we ask for fear and pain instead of the peace and happiness that comes with our eternal Nature as one with God.

What meaning are we to give the thought of loss?

Jesus helps us let go of these thoughts when he tells us, “In any thought of loss there is no meaning. No one has agreed with you on what it means. It is a part of a distorted script, which cannot be interpreted with meaning. It must be forever unintelligible. This is not communication. Your dark dreams are but the senseless, isolated scripts you write in sleep.” (6:10-15 italics added)

What advice does Jesus give us to heal our fears and sense of uncertainty?

He asks us to give up our interpretations and judgments on what the world is for. He says, “It is but your interpretations which are lacking in stability, for they are not in line with what you really are. This is a state so seemingly unsafe that fear must rise. Do not continue thus, my brother. We have one Interpreter. And through His use of symbols are we joined, so that they mean the same to all of us. Our common language [of seeing only Love] lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them forgiveness has been given to us all, and thus we can communicate again.” (7:3-8)

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Chapter 30: The New Beginning

Section VI. The Justification for Forgiveness

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 30, Section VI. (pages 638-640)

How is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror?

We are able to become aware of the real world as we accept in every situation the fact that, “Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation.” (1:1-2)

As long as we think there is a just reason to be angry or even mildly irritated or disgruntled, we still have forgiveness work to do. We are still holding on to barriers that hide the real world from our awareness. As long as we think there is just reason for seeing guilt outside us, we are still thinking the unreal is real and so we still have forgiveness work to do. We have not escaped from fearful dreams as long as we believe that these dreams of separate bodies are real. As long as we believe in separation, we still have forgiveness work to do.

So it is very important that we remember Jesus’ helpful message to us that anger is never justified and that attack could never really happen. This message is so important that Jesus summed up the whole message of the Course in his introduction: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (Intro.2:2-4) This healing idea is so important that all of forgiveness rests on learning this one lesson.

How does true pardon fully replace anger and attack?

In paragraph two we learn that true pardon comes from true forgiveness. Jesus explains true forgiveness this way: “Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. Instead, it merely asks that you respond appropriately to what is not real by not perceiving what has not occurred. If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack. But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed.” (2:4-9 italics added)

Why is forgiveness always unjustified to the ego?

The ego mind is always looking to project guilt. Hurling guilt is perceived as its salvation. It is always looking for the next “guilt fix” to feed its addiction to seeking and finding guilt outside itself in order to relieve the pain of its own guilt.

Jesus explains how the ego mind in this world works: “While you regard [forgiveness] as a gift unwarranted, it must uphold the guilt you would ‘forgive.’ Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons ‘sinners’ sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives. This is the false forgiveness which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive.” (3:4-8, 4:1)

When we join with ego thinking, why is fear of God inevitable?

When we join with ego thinking, we inherently feel guilty and unworthy of forgiveness. In ego thinking we cannot believe that forgiveness is justified and therefore we must be guilty and feel forgiveness is not merited for us or our brothers. (Think how many churches teach that we are all sinners.)

Jesus helps us move past this false idea when he says: “And recognizing God is just, it seems impossible His pardon could be real. Thus is the fear of God the sure result of seeing pardon as unmerited. No one who sees himself as guilty can avoid the fear of God. But he is saved from this dilemma if he can forgive. The mind must think of its Creator as it looks upon itself. if you can see your brother merits pardon, you have learned forgiveness is your right as much as his. Nor will you think that God intends for you a fearful judgment that your brother does not merit. For it is the truth that you can merit neither more nor less than he.” (4:2-9)

Why does Jesus say, “There can be no appearance that can not be overlooked”?

In paragraphs 5-8 Jesus talks about the importance of bringing all appearances of separation (separate forms) to the truth of oneness. He tells us, “Be not deceived about the meaning of a fixed belief that some appearances are harder to look past than others are. It always means you think forgiveness must be limited. And you have set a goal of partial pardon and a limited escape from guilt for you. What can this be except a false forgiveness of yourself, and everyone who seems apart from you?” (6:4-7)

We are learning that all illusions (images of separation) are equally untrue and holding on to just one illusion still binds us to the ego’s belief in guilt. “Salvation rests on faith there cannot be some forms of guilt that you cannot forgive. And so there cannot be appearances that have replaced the truth about God’s Son. Look on your brother with the willingness to see him as he is. And do not keep a part of him outside your willingness that he is healed. To heal is to make whole.” (7:7-8, 8:1-3)

Why do we need to see every brother as the perfect Son of God he is?

If we think anyone is guilty, we will not know the truth about him or ourselves. We will not know that he is still as God created him and that the appearance we are seeing is just a projected illusion of separation from our Source. Jesus gives us a statement of gratitude to help us remember the truth:

“I thank You, Father, for Your perfect Son, and in his glory will I see my own.” (9:4)

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Chapter 30: The New Beginning

Section V. The Only Purpose

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 30, Section V. (pages 635-638)

What is the only purpose of the real world?

The only purpose of the real world is forgiveness instead of the guilt the ego mind focuses on. This means that the purpose of the real world is to see the innocence the Holy Spirit sees behind every ‘separate’ body or personality. This purpose of forgiveness leads us to see that everyone in the dream is still the same as God created them, and that in reality nothing has happened to change God’s one Son. As we open to the real world through forgiveness, we recognize that we are still united as Love in the Mind of Love. Forgiveness, or letting go of the ego’s false ideas of separation, is seen as all the world is for. (also see Workbook Lesson 122: Forgiveness offers everything I want on page 217.)

What is the sole cause of pain?

Jesus helps us see that the cause of all pain comes from believing that separation from our Source really happened. Belief in attack thoughts (thoughts that attack God’s oneness) brings guilt with them and therefore pain.

Jesus tells us in paragraph two that in the real world we see how silly it is to believe in thoughts of separation and guilt: “The folly of pursuing guilt as goal is fully recognized. And idols are not wanted there, for guilt is understood as the sole cause of pain in any form. [In the real world] no one is tempted by [guilt’s] vain appeal, for suffering and death have been perceived as things not wanted and not striven for.” (2:3-5)

How are we made ready for God’s final step?

Jesus explains this in paragraph three: “There is a hope of happiness in him so sure and constant he can barely stay and wait a little longer, with his feet still touching earth. Yet is he glad to wait till every hand is joined, and every heart made ready to arise and go with him. For thus is he made ready for the step in which is all forgiveness left behind. The Final step is God’s, because it is but God Who could create a perfect Son and share His Fatherhood with him.” (3:5-7, 4:1 italics added)

How does Jesus define the real world?

He tells us, “The real world is a state in which the mind has learned how easily do idols go when they are still perceived but wanted not. How willingly the mind can let them go when it has understood that idols are nothing and nowhere, and are purposeless. For only then can guilt and sin be seen without a purpose, and as meaningless.” (5:2-4 italics added)

Jesus makes it clear here that the real world is a state of mind where we no longer want to see separation. We are willing to take every perception of separation to the Holy Spirit to be undone for us because we see that these perceptions only bring us pain and suffering. We no longer want to see a gap between ourselves, every brother and God.

When do we stand at the edge of the real world?

The key to returning to the real world is to join Jesus or the Holy Spirit in the one purpose of returning to God, our Source. “For when they joined their hands it was Christ’s hand they took, and they will look on Him Whose hand they hold.” (7:4) As we join with Jesus, we are reminded of our real purpose. We are brought to a state of mind where we remember that there are no differences and, because we have not really left God, we remain as God created us.

How is our Father remembered?

Jesus tells us, “The face of Christ is looked upon before the Father is remembered.” (7:5) At the end of this section we see that when we let go of the idea that there is ‘a little gap’ between us, we willingly join with every brother.

He tells us, “The Will of God forever lies in those whose hands are joined. Until they joined, they thought He was their enemy. But when they joined and shared a purpose, they were free to learn their will is one. And thus the Will of God must reach to their awareness. Nor can they forget for long that it is but their own.” (11:1-5)

What are we to think of when we are tempted by an idol?

Jesus knows that we are still in a stage where we can still be tempted by the idols of the world. He helps us with this by telling us:

“Do not look back except in honesty. And when an idol tempts you, think of this: There never was a time an idol brought you anything except the ‘gift’ of guilt. Not one was bought except at cost of pain, nor was it ever paid by you alone.” (10:1-4)

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Chapter 30: The New Beginning

Section IV. The Truth behind Illusions

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 30, Section IV. (pages 633-635)

What can never be attacked?

Jesus reminds us that we cannot attack the truth by making up illusions of separation, even if we think we did. That is why we are still innocent, still safe in God. We are still as God created us. It is important that we remember this because it dissolves the guilt we think belongs to us.

He tells us, “You attack but false ideas, and never truthful ones. All idols are the false ideas you made to fill the gap you think arose between yourself and what is true. And you attack [the false images] for the things you think they represent. What lies beyond them cannot be attacked.” (1:7-10) The false ideas we still cling to are judgments on God’s Son as we try to displace or project the guilt we feel onto the “wearying, dissatisfying gods you made.” (2:1)

How does Jesus refer to our false images?

He calls them “blown-up children’s toys.” (2:1) The false images (a world of separate bodies that are different and alone) are simply a way to make the thought of separation appear to be real to us. We are seeing that we are simply playing the game of separation and have forgotten it is just a children’s game and not the truth. We made up the rules for separation, thinking that they protected us from the truth that we are still joined in God’s eternal oneness.

Jesus explains how we are released from this childish game that has brought us into a fearful state of mind: “Now must he learn the boxes and the bears did not deceive him, broke no rules, nor mean his world is made chaotic and unsafe. He was mistaken. He misunderstood what made him safe, and thought that [what made him safe] had left.” (2:5-7 italics added)

Once we are willing to see that we simply made a mistake but we remain as God created us, we free our minds to know that our real safety lies not in the world, but in God. We no longer choose to think in terms of separation and are willing to see beyond the foolish toys of separation to the truth of our oneness in God.

Why are the childish toys not really a threat to us?

Jesus is bringing us to a point where we are willing to see that what could never be cannot hurt us. What we have pretended to be true could never be true. “You can laugh at popping heads and squeaking toys, as does the child who learns they are no threat to him.” (3:6)

Jesus knows that the most lavish and beautiful toys we think we made — special places, special things, special bodies, special food and drink — may still tempt us to reinforce our belief in the dream toys of separation we made. That is why he tells us, “Dwell not on them in any form. They but obscure reality, and they bring fear because they hide the truth. Do not attack what you have made to let you be deceived, for thus you prove that you have been deceived. Attack has power to make illusions real. Yet what it makes is nothing. Who could be made fearful by a power that can have no real effects at all? (5:2-7)

A key here is for us to see that all our toys of separation bring fear with them because they hide the truth. When the truth of our Identity as part of God is hidden, we feel weak and vulnerable. We feel guilty and unworthy. That is why our dreams become filled with stories of sickness and death. The good news is that none of this is true. These childish toys have no real effects at all. We continue eternally as the Love that God created us to be.

How do we free ourselves from our belief in idols?

Jesus gives us a very precise and important answer to this question in paragraph 6: “Appearances can but deceive the mind that wants to be deceived. And you can make a simple choice that will forever place you far beyond deception. You need not concern yourself with how this will be done, for this you cannot understand. But you will understand that mighty changes have been quickly brought about, when you decide one very simple thing; you do not want whatever you believe an idol gives. For thus the Son of God declares that he is free of idols. And thus is he free.” (6:1-6 italics added)

As long as we want to see differences, that is what we will see. But as soon as we no longer want to see specialness or differences, we let the veil be lifted to see the oneness of God’s Light behind all childish toys of separation.

What does the happy dream ask of us?

In paragraph 7 we are told: “It asks you but that you forgive all things that no one ever did; to overlook what is not there, and not to look upon the unreal as reality. You are but asked to let your will be done, and seek no longer for the things you do not want. And you are asked to let yourself be free of all the dreams of what you never were, and seek no more to substitute the strength of idle wishes for the Will of God.” (7:3-5 italics added)

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Chapter 30: The New Beginning

Section III. Beyond All Idols

Read A Course in Miracles, Chapter 30, Section III. (pages 630-633)

What is an idol?

An idol is a specific form in the ego’s world of differences that we believe will bring us happiness. When we ask for specific things, we are trying to replace God’s oneness with special, unique things that are different from the all-ness of God’s universal Beingness as Love. When we ask for idols, we ask for the experience of fear because we ask to be separate from our completion. And so we seek for completion outside ourselves where it cannot be found.

Jesus tells us, “It is as if you said, ‘I have no need of everything. This little thing I want and it will be as everything to me.’ And this must fail to satisfy because it is your will that everything be yours. Decide for idols and you ask for loss. Decide for truth and everything is yours.” (1:6-10)

When we ask for idols, what are we really seeking for?

When we seek for special things and special people in a world of differences we are seeking for completion. When we think we have separated off from what is whole, we feel an underlying sense of lack and incompletion. We feel we are lacking something. We feel a hole and we try to fill it up with specific forms (special bodies and special forms) that we think will bring us the feeling of completion we so desperately want.

What is the Course’s definition of sin?

In paragraph three Jesus tells us: “For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.” (3:7-8 italics added)

With this definition we see that when we identify with being separate and alone, or think that anyone in this world of separation is separate and alone, we are believing in the false idols of the ego. This belief in sin (being separate and alone) is what hell is. This belief in sin brings with it feelings of guilt, unworthiness, sadness, loneliness and incompletion. This false sense of being incomplete leads us to looking for idols (separate forms) ‘outside’ ourselves for happiness and completion.

Is completion God’s Will?

Now we are seeing that we have been looking for completion in all the wrong places. We are learning that when we accept God’ gift of everything instead of unique forms of special bodies or special forms, that we will feel complete.

Jesus tells us, “God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms that have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms, made but to fill a gap that is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God. What idol can be called upon to give the Son of God what he already has?” (4:5-10) Here we see that God has already given us completion.

What is our true function?

It is our true function to accept what has already been given to us in our Creation. Here we are told, “Completion is the function of God’s Son. He has no need to seek for it at all. Beyond all idols stands his holy will to be but what he is. For more than whole is meaningless. If there were change in him, if he could be reduced to any form and limited to what is not in him, he would not be as God created him.” (5:1-5)

Here we see that our true function is to be as we were created, whole, perfect and complete. We are one with our Father and we cannot be without Him. Our completion lies in our accepting all that God has given us. Here we have and are all that is. Here we are not trying to be something else other than what we are in our Creation.

Our function is to accept the fact that we are still as God created us. We have not changed anything. Love is. God is. There is nothing else. As we accept what is eternally true, we feel complete. We know and experience complete joy and peace as we are willing to be the universal, limitless Love we already are.

What do the Thoughts of God wait for?

Jesus tells us, “The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering.” (8:1-3 italics added)

Here we see that we will be aware of God’s Thoughts (our true Identity as one with God) as we are willing to remember what is always true. We are still Love in the Mind of Love and this will never change. We may dream about false idols, of being separate and alone, weak and vulnerable, but we can never make these false ideas our reality. 

We are still safe in the Mind of God. We have not changed anything. As we give welcome to the truth, we will remember where we have always been, safe in the Mind of our Father, safe in Heaven — our completion — forever.

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.
 

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