A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 17: Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

Section II: The Forgiven World

Read ACIM Chapter 17, Section II (pages 352-54)

What is the effect of believing in a world of separate bodies?

In the fantasy world of the ego we look out on a crazy world, a guilty world, a world where nothing is exactly like us. In a TV sitcom a few years back I remember a ‘joke’ line that went like this: “Sometimes I think that everyone in this world is crazy except you and me. And there are times I am not sure about you.” Everyone laughed at this, but this line in the script reflects very well the way ego thoughts work in our minds. In order to maintain separation, the ego must focus on differences, conflict and division. The ego must project guilt onto others who we perceive are different from us. We project the crazy thoughts onto others who we see as not like us.

When we do this we are not realizing that what we are seeing is merely the effect of joining with the insane ego mind. In the last section Jesus explained to us, “When you become disturbed and lose your peace of mind because another is attempting to solve his problems through fantasy [the ego], you are refusing to forgive yourself for just this same attempt. And you are holding both of you away from truth and from salvation.” (T-17.I.6:5-6) The ego sees fantasies through the thought system of separation. The Holy Spirit reflects the truth — the awareness of unity and oneness — which brings us joy and peace. Joined with the Holy Spirit, we feel safe and abundant. Joined with the ego we feel distrusting, judgmental, fearful, unsafe and lacking. We do not feel peaceful or happy.

What happens when we are willing to look past bodies to see the face of Christ?

In the Clarification of Terms, Section 4, Jesus tells us, “A world forgiven cannot last. It was the home of bodies. But forgiveness looks past bodies. This is its holiness, this is how it heals.” (C-4.5:1-2 italics added) Here we have the key to being able to experience the forgiven world. In the forgiven world we have learned to look past bodies to see the face of Christ. In this section Jesus tells us, “Nothing that you remember that made your heart sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you. For you will see the Son of God. You will behold the beauty the Holy Spirit loves to look upon, and which He thanks the Father for.” (1:5-7)

Where does our true happiness lie?

Because we want to be happy instead of judgmental and fearful, we are seeing that we truly want to join with the Holy Spirit. We are seeing here that this is where all our true happiness lies. We see that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us to return us to our natural state. “He was created to see this for you, until you learned to see it for yourself. And all His teaching leads to seeing it and giving thanks with Him.” (1:8-9)

How does Jesus describe the forgiven world?

Many people have asked, “How do I know if the thoughts in my mind are coming from the ego or the Holy Spirit?” Here we see that if it is focusing on what bodies say and do it is coming from the ego. If it is looking past bodies to the face of Christ, it is coming from the Holy Spirit. The ego sees separation and differences. The Holy Spirit looks past every form to the eternal truth in everyone. Jesus reminds us, “This loveliness is not a fantasy. It is the real world, bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun. Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven and there are no fantasies to hide the truth.” (2:1-3)

As we open to the Holy Spirit’s instruction, what happens in our mind?

Because we want to be happy, this is the focus of all our learning now. Our one goal now is to forgive, or let go of the world of differences we saw before. We now see that it is just a fantasy world and has no meaning. We would practice daily joining with the Holy Spirit to let all our false notions be undone. “The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world, and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason that He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness.” (5:2-4)

What determines whether we hear the Holy Spirit or not?

In the light of this understanding, we cannot continue to say that we do not have the Answer to our perceived problems. The Answer is always right there in our minds, waiting patiently to heal our insane perceptions. It is only our willingness to hear the Answer that determines whether we hear the Holy Spirit or not. Jesus encourages us to be willing to look upon the world with forgiving eyes. “For forgiveness literally transforms vision, and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos, removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past.” (6:2)

It is through joining with the united mind of the Holy Spirit that we let go of seeing a world of separation. It is through the Holy Spirit that all perception of guilt is removed. The Holy Spirit comes from our true Self in a form that suits our present need. “Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer, and walk with Him in trust out of this world, and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness.” (8:5)

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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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