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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 11. 4-27-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 11

11 Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.

Journal

Oh, my! What a beautiful paragraph this is. The following passage is very helpful in its simplicity.

If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there.

Every morning I pray for the people on my prayer list. My prayer is that they not be left alone in their guilt, and my visualization is one of drawing them into the circle of Atonement. This morning as I did this, I felt as if I was inviting them in and then holding them all in love as perfect as I can conceive of at this time. I was overwhelmed with joy.

On the other hand, if I imagine anyone as unworthy of the Atonement, I cast myself from within this circle of love. At this moment, I cannot imagine wanting to leave anyone out, so I asked Holy Spirit to point me to this error. Immediately I thought about my son and realized that I had imagined him outside the circle of Atonement.

I didn’t know that I was doing this until the Holy Spirit helped me to see it. My son was going through some tough times recently, and in my fear and frustration, I felt like it was his own fault. He seemed to me to be bent on self-destruction, and I was, in one moment, angry with him for that, in the next, I felt sorry for him and sad for him.

This judgment was from the ego mind, and it was the idea that he did not have a place in the circle. It also cast me out of that same circle. I felt fearful, guilty and unlovable. Like my judgment of him, I was being self-destructive and doing this to myself. Ha! The world really is a mirror, isn’t it. As I correct that error and refuse to leave my precious son alone with his guilt, I feel us both enfolded in the awesome love of God. I joined him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.

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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 10 4-26-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 10

10 The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego’s aim. It sees everyone as guilty, and by its condemnation it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness He would release from fear and re-establish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.

Journal

Jesus uses the symbol of crucifixion to help us see that we are crucifying ourselves and each other with guilt. When I think I am guilty, I am crucifying myself, that is, I am suffering at my own hand. When I choose guilt, it is a choice for death. It is a little harder to see how it is that I am crucifying someone else with guilt.

I do understand how I condemn another when I find that one guilty. In my mind, perhaps with my words, I condemn. But how is it that I restore guiltlessness to someone? How does my change of mind affect another? How could it be that my belief in your innocence will restore you? I honestly don’t know how to explain this, but I have experienced it. I suppose it must be true because we are one spirit, and we really cannot have private thoughts.

The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and I have the Holy Spirit in my mind. Therefore, I can see only guiltlessness. I need only choose to look with that mind. Yes, I am aware of my brother’s confusion and its effects in his life, but his confusion does not condemn him. I can know that he is guiltless because the Holy Spirit in me knows he is guiltless.

The way this has worked for me is that I give my desire to see with my holy mind rather than with my ego mind. If my desire for guiltlessness is what I want, that is what I will see because it is there for me to see. As guilt falls away, fear falls with it. My desire to love and my devotion to the Atonement grows each day. Each day, my sense of purpose becomes stronger.

I eagerly release guilt thoughts. I notice that I feel guilty or that I have projected guilt onto someone, and I let that thought die. I choose not to enliven it with my attention. Love overcomes fear and guilt falls away. There are still times when I have to work at this when the belief in guilt is compelling, but the process remains the same.

I have discovered that if I set the story aside and only look at the belief in guilt that the story represents, then the struggle wanes. For instance, there was a person in my life with whom I was uncomfortable. I projected this onto her and believed she was the problem.

Believing that she was the problem is the same thing as saying that she was to blame for my discomfort and so was guilty. She did so many things that seemed to prove my point, and the more I looked at our relationship, the harder it was to see that guilt wasn’t warranted. What I did, was to look past the story of this young woman and me.

I looked at what the story represented, and I saw that I found value in guilt. Seeing her as guilty in this story provided a way to avoid looking within where I thought guilt resided. That was the whole purpose of the story. Once I saw that this was not about her actions or my reactions, but that it was about guilt, I was able to allow healing. I returned to love and guilt fell away. Then there was no story.

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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 9. 4-25-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 9

9 Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us, but of our Father. In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me, and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father’s power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside, but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him, by teaching him his innocence.

Journal
As I teach innocence, I stand in the circle, and I teach of God and with Jesus, my brother. Do you see how simple this is? I want to be on that holy ground, and I want to teach peace. This is my only purpose. All that is required of me is that I not teach anyone he is guilty. Not only is it simple to teach innocence, it is easy. It only requires a certain faith and practice.

First I must have faith that innocence is true. I could simply trust that there is no guilt because that is what Jesus tells me. But Jesus does not ask us to go on blind trust. He helps us understand why we want to release this belief in guilt. Jesus explains that it is possible to let go of the belief in guilt because, not being a creation of God, it is not real. He then tells us how to release it.

He explains how guilt hurts us and gives us encouragement by telling us what it will be like when we let guilt go. He gives us lessons in releasing the false idea of guilt, and lessons in joining with our brothers instead of separating through guilt. He is very convincing that guilt has no value.

What I have done is to use this information for its practical nature and logic. It makes sense that there is no value in guilt and there is every reason to accept innocence. As I practice releasing guilt, the effects of doing so have motivated me to continue letting go of the belief in guilt. At first, it was more about looking for guilt thoughts in my mind, learning to recognize the effects of guilt, and then convincing myself that guilt held no value for me.

But now, something has shifted through this process. As more of the belief in guilt has been chipped away, I have discovered what lies beneath it. I have begun to uncover the love that I am. The way this appears is that I feel love toward everyone, even those who I once disliked, and those I didn’t trust, or even those I simply disregarded. I also found devotion, devotion to my brothers and to myself and to this work. I think this devotion I feel is perhaps a shadow of the devotion Jesus has for us.

This transformation I am experiencing is not complete. It isn’t stable yet. I still need to be vigilant for those thoughts of guilt in others and in myself. Though I don’t do it as often, I can still project guilt rather than to release it. But now, I want to find the guilt thoughts. I feel excited to find signs that I still choose to keep guilt alive. Each time I see this desire on my part, I choose again, and instead of encouraging it with my attention I just let the belief die. I have very little interest in fostering guilt, and a strong desire to cultivate innocence instead.

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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 8. 4-24-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 8

8 Peace, then, be unto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgment of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle, and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as teachers of Atonement, not of guilt.

Journal

The Circle of Atonement is one of my favorite sections of the Course. How great must be God’s love for us that He would have no one suffer guilt alone. His power attracts all to this circle of Atonement, to safety, love, and union. I desire to stand in peace within that circle, attracting all tortured minds to join me there.

Of course, in order to be that peaceful presence, I must give up conflict in all its forms. As I release conflict, I become an attractive force for those who would join me in the peace of God. I practice releasing all conflict now and will practice until I have mastered it and my mind is free, free to love and free to save the world.

This practice is going well, by the way. I am at peace more than not. I have used the Rules for Decision (Chapter 30) to release conflict. Sometimes I use the prayer I learned from Nouk Sanchez in her book, The End of Death. When I am conflicted about a situation or a person, I often say, “Holy Spirit, please help me to forgive myself for using this situation or this person to attack myself.” Sometimes I simply ask that He decide for me.

The processes and practices are helpful, but only to the extent that I truly desire peace. The practices are a way for me to express that desire. I want a mind free of attack thoughts because I want to stand in that circle a peaceful presence, and I want this all the time. Sometimes, it takes me awhile to untangle my thoughts, especially if fear is strong in my mind, but I am always willing and ready to do so.

I will to abide with Jesus within it, as a teacher of Atonement, not of guilt.

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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 7. 4-20-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 7
7 Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this. You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God’s creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.

Journal
In this section, Jesus is clear about the Atonement. He wants us to know that the way we join the circle of Atonement is to release guilt. In another section, Jesus tells us that Atonement means to undo. Releasing guilt is how we undo. We release ourselves from guilt, and we release those we have judged guilty. We bring everyone into the circle of Atonement and with each inclusion, our confidence in our own inclusion in the Atonement increases.

I have seen that guilt is deeply rooted in my consciousness. At first, it seemed impossible that I would release all the guilt in my mind. My practice led me to become aware of so many thoughts of guilt that I felt overwhelmed. Then I became aware of how stubbornly I clung to these guilt laden thoughts. I would no more release the belief that I or someone else was guilty than the belief would rise again.

Eventually, though, the thoughts became fewer and the burden lighter. At some point, I realized that the idea of guilt was an error. God did not create guilt; therefore it cannot exist. Rather than asking the Holy Spirit to help me see the situation or the person as innocent, I began to ask Him to help me see that guilt does not exist, and that this was the reason we are all innocent.

I still notice guilt thoughts that cross my mind, but they cannot have an effect unless I believe them and I seldom believe them. When I see these ideas, I release them to the Holy Spirit immediately. I want to keep my Circle of Atonement unbroken. I want to remain in it with those I have included, keeping us all safe and at peace.

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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 6. 4-19-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 6

6 Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this. There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt, to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to this points straight to Heaven, and the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching, and guarantees its limitless results.

Journal

This paragraph is about teaching the Atonement, which is the same thing as teaching innocence. Jesus refers to the Atonement as the unified curriculum and says that there is no unity of learning goals apart from this, and no conflict within it. It seems to me he is making it very clear that this teaching is of the utmost importance when he says that every teaching that points to the release of guilt (the Atonement) points straight to Heaven.

There is nothing teaching guiltlessness cannot overcome. When we teach innocence, we are fully supported. The power of God Himself supports this teaching. Its results are limitless. So how am I a teacher of guiltlessness? What is it I am supposed to do? Am I expected to stand on a street corner and tell each passerby that they are innocent? Ha! I guess I could, but I think there are other ways in which I teach innocence.

I cannot effectively teach what I do not believe in, so the first thing I must do is accept my own guiltlessness. I do this each time I reject the ego thought of guilt. When I accuse myself of something, I stop immediately and ask the Holy Spirit to show me how to see it differently. I ask Him to correct my thinking. In this way, I have changed my mind.

Now when I do see myself as guilty, I readily and more easily let that thought go. I used to try to rid myself of guilt by projecting it onto others. Now that I have this more efficient way of dealing with guilt, I don’t do that nearly so often, though occasionally I do. This past weekend, I was in a painful situation, and I noticed myself projecting guilt.

In projecting guilt, I was teaching guilt. I teach it to the person I am projecting onto, and I teach myself that guilt is real. After all, if it were not real, I would not feel so strongly about the need to rid myself of it. When I saw what I was doing, I stopped. I asked the Holy Spirit to decide for me what all of this meant and what I should do about it. In this way, I returned to teaching innocence and the fear and pain of the situation diminished.

Because of past practice, it was easier than it used to be to do this. Teaching innocence is the easiest of things to do. Only fear blocks this awareness and if I persist, if I refuse to teach fear, I have all the power of Love fortifying my resolve. It is simply a choice. I can teach guilt, fear, and hatred, or I can choose to teach love, innocence, and guiltlessness. The power of God supports the latter choice. How could I fail?

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Study of Text, C 14: V. The Circle of Atonement, P 5. 4-18-17

V. The Circle of Atonement, P 5

5 We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away, and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son. The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness that must have been denied to produce the need of healing. Do not withhold this glad acknowledgement, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange guilt for innocence, nor realize that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.

Journal

We separated and now we must join. There is only one way that we can join in this world. We must acknowledge our guiltlessness. We do this without exception or it is not done at all. Joining in this way is how separation is undone; it is the Atonement. The Atonement is our purpose while we are here. We can call it forgiveness and it is the same thing.

When we have all joined in acknowledging our innocence, we are restored to our natural state. We remember that we are the Sonship, and full communication is restored between ourselves and God, between the Father and the Son. In this state, there is no pain and no suffering. There is neither guilt nor death. All is one and complete and so there is no sense of lack or loss, nor any memory of these things.

I have had something very upsetting occur in my life. I am using it to undo my belief in guilt. What I see is that fear is an overriding emotion, and that I need help in releasing the fear. So I am pausing frequently to sit, if only for a few moments, in stillness. I simply say, “Here I am, Lord.” Then I rest in God for as long as I can, allowing my mind to be healed.

Two things are obvious to me as I do this practice. First, guilt promotes fear, and it blocks forgiveness. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me how this is happening in this particular case. I became instantly aware that I was projecting guilt on everyone involved in this situation. I followed the guilt all the way to Jesus. I blamed him for making this release sound like it was going to be easy when it really feels nearly impossible.

The other thing I discovered is that I cannot release the fear as long as I believe in the story. The story is going to keep pulling me back into fear and guilt. I understand that everything I see with my eyes is an illusion. It is the thoughts and beliefs in my mind projected outward. It all comes from the split mind, and it is not real. Holding onto that concept in the face of the present experience may be simple, but it is not easy.

My experience of this has been a real roller coaster ride. I realize that I cannot do this by myself. I must have help from the Holy Spirit if I am going to know that the world I see is not real. I can’t do this as an act of will. I cannot think my way into the truth. What I can do is become willing to have my thoughts purified. I can surrender my efforts and allow this to be done for me. It seems that surrendering is the hard part. I keep taking it back, giving it up, taking it back. Jeez.

But I am determined to see. I am determined to see differently. I am determined to see with Christ Vision. I am making strides in this. I am at peace with the situation for longer periods of time. I am often surprised by a surge of joy that occurs, seemingly without cause. An outpouring of love that has no specific target surprises me. I find that I long to connect with my brothers. If there is an opposite to the fear and the guilt that has plagued me, then it is this experience of love moving through me.

As I said, I am riding the roller coaster of my thoughts and my feelings. I know that I will, inevitably, choose innocence and stay with that. Soon, I hope.

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