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.
Read “What It Says” paragraph’s 1-7. (pages x-xi)
The opening statement of A Course in Miracles, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” can become a key idea we return to again and again to help us return to the Truth — especially as we realize that we are not in a peaceful state of mind.
It is particularly helpful to remember applying it when we read in the news about such fearful things as terrorist attacks. If there is anything that seems frightening to us, we can remember this opening statement and it can remind us again that we need not make illusions of attack and death real in our mind. We can return to the Truth. It is our choice. We need not make the sharp edged children’s toys of belief in separation real in our mind. We can ask the Holy Spirit for a different way to see what seems to be in front of us. The Holy Spirit reminds us that there is only Love or a call for Love. And no matter which it is, the appropriate response is Love.
If we experience fear, it is always coming from the ego mind. When we experience fear, it is the signal that we have joined with the ego thought system — which is to make separation real — and fear is the effect.
The way out of this is to take every fearful thought (which includes blame and anger, scarcity and lack, sickness and death) as it comes up to the Source of Love in our mind to be healed. Once we learn and understand the difference between the real and the unreal, we no longer feel a need to continue energizing these fearful thoughts. We can remember at any time that only Love is real, no matter what images appear to show up in our dream. We can consciously choose to return to the peace of God. We need not be frightened by dreams of attack and defend. With the Holy Spirit, we can learn to see them for what they are and gently let them go. Learning this and reinforcing this is why we need the mind training reinforcement that comes with studying this Course.
Paragraphs 2-3 introduce some key ideas for recognizing the difference between what is real and what is unreal. It tells us that only God created what is real. His creation is under the law of Love because He is Love. What He creates is Truth, which is changeless, beyond time and has no opposite.
The world of perception is unreal, always changing, based on interpretation, not on facts. A fact must be based on reality and reality must be all inclusive because it was created by God. Since everything we perceive is based on selective perception that is not all inclusive, our interpretations are not based on fact and must be inaccurate. They are based on illusions that exclude what we do not want to be real. Thus we make real in our minds an illusory world that fits what we want to believe is real and denies what we do not want to be real. There are no facts in this world of perception. Its keynote is instability and change. The keynote of the world of Reality is certainty and changelessness.
We can use these attributes as a yard stick to determine whether whatever what we are perceiving is real or not. It tells us that everything we see when we look out through the body’s eyes cannot be real because there is not one thing my body’s eyes see that does not change. This is certainly a radically different view than what we have been taught about this world. It is why the Course says it is leading us to a complete thought reversal. This is so radically different that it is not something we can embrace all at once. The Course recognizes that changing our thinking is a process. It is why it gives us 365 lessons to facilitate that process and then tells us that is only the beginning. We will continue to be taught by our inner Teacher as we practice bringing all our ideas to Him for His interpretation.
In paragraph 4 Jesus is very clear how we learn to perceive a world of “opposites and separate wills, in perpetual conflict with each and with God.” He tells us we learn to perceive through what we choose to believe. What we want to see is what we will lend our belief to.
The thought system we choose to join with is the cause of the world we see. The thought system is based on separation from others and God is unreal, but we will see it as if it were real until we are willing to forgive, or let it go. In applying this to our own life, this tells us that what we are seeing with the body’s eyes is what we are wanting to see and nothing more. Wanting to see guilt outside us does not make it real. Seeing that we are separate from others and God does not make it real.
In paragraph 5 it becomes clear that we cannot let go of this false thought system on our own. It is the very belief that we think we are on our own that is at the core of the problem. We need help from outside the box we have put ourselves into. We need help from the real part of our mind that does not believe in dreams of separation. This help comes from the Holy Spirit, Who is always there in our mind, waiting to reverse our thinking. The Holy Spirit has one goal, and that is to help us recognize that what we are seeing is just a dream of separation and that it could never be real in truth. As we make the decision to take all our perceptions to the Holy Spirit, He will help us to let go of all our false ideas so that we can be brought to the truth.
The mediation role of the Holy Spirit is described more in the Workbook, Part II, 7. What is the Holy Spirit on page 437. It is expanded on more in 6. The Holy Spirit on page 89 of the Clarification of Terms, found at the end of the Manual for Teachers.
Paragraph 6 introduces the idea that projection makes perception. This idea is central to understanding how forgiveness frees us from the world of perception. Because our perception is a projection that coming from our own mind, we have complete control over what we perceive. We change what we perceive by changing our minds (forgiveness). The process of projection is concisely described in three sentences in Workbook Lesson 325.1:1-3. It goes on to describe what happens to our perception when we change our minds from the insane wishes of the ego to forgiveness, which sees a gentle world of mercy and kindness.
In paragraph 6 we also get a very clear description of how A Course in Miracles defines forgiveness. The following two sentences provide an important foundation for what the Course is all about and how we can free ourselves from the chains of false perception: “As we learn to recognize our perceptual errors, we also learn to look past them or ‘forgive.’ At the same time we are forgiving ourselves, looking past our distorted self-concept to the Self That God created in us and as us.” It is with the help of our inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit, that we learn to recognize our perceptual errors. ACIM is one teaching aid the Holy Spirit has made for us to use in this learning process.
In other places in the Course, Jesus describes forgiveness as seeing that what we made is not real, overlooking what never happened, and being willing to see past separation to oneness. An especially helpful definition of forgiveness is found in the Workbook, Lesson 122. In paragraph 3 it states, “Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world. It lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind.” It is also helpful to refer to, “What is forgiveness?” on page 401 of the Workbook (W-pII.1.)
In paragraph 7 Jesus gives us an important new definition of “sin” that is totally different from what we learned as we were growing up. In most Christian religions, we were taught that we were born in sin (original sin) and that we are all sinners. We were also taught that Jesus saved us from the eternal fires of damnation by dying on the cross for our sins. In this crazy thought system, we made up a God that requires the sacrifice of His Son to atone for our sins. When we really look at it with clarity, it would be quite a wild and crazy God that would have such a requirement to be appeased.
It is such a blessing to learn that sin means simply, “lack of love” and is just a mistaken idea to be corrected. Jesus helps us understand that what we thought we did in our desire to be separated from Love, our Source, never happened in truth. He helps us understand that we are just dreaming of being in a world of separation. In truth, we are still Love, as Love created us. We may believe in sin or “lack of Love,” but we can never make it the truth.
Jesus also helps us understand why we so often feel weak, inadequate and unworthy. He helps us understand why we experience scarcity and lack in our ‘lives.’ He wants us to see that our experience of lack stems from the belief that we separated from Love, our Source. He helps us see that the world we are experiencing through our body’s senses is just the effect of our belief in being separate from Love. We could never separate from Love and therefore we could never sin. The ‘life’ we think we are living is just a myth. It never happened in truth, since nothing but our oneness in Love could ever be real. The idea of punishment only comes from the ego thought system. As we learn to forgive, or let go of the ego thought system, we awaken to the fact that the dream of separation never happened.
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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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