A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 20: The Vision of Holiness

Section II: The Gift of Lilies

Read ACIM Chapter 20, Section II (pages 426-28)

Why does the ego want the body for the pleasure it brings but hate the body at the same time?

In paragraph one Jesus reveals how the insane ego thought system is: The ego made the body to be the vehicle to see separation as real, but at the same time it hates the body because it projects the guilt that goes with belief in separation onto the body. The ego sees the body as guilty of the sin of separating from God and consequently punishes it with dreams of suffering and death. The ego sees this as a small price to pay in order to maintain the fantasy of separation. The ego uses the body to obtain its idea of pleasure, but at the same time it believes the body is an unworthy and hateful thing.

What is the ego’s answer to its belief that the body is an unworthy and hateful thing?

To try to counteract this belief in unworthiness, the ego tries to make the body attractive to other bodies in the attempt to make it more worthy and acceptable for its purposes. Jesus tells us, “Would you employ this hated thing to draw your brother to you and to attract his body’s eyes? Learn you but offer him a crown of thorns, not recognizing [the body] for what it is, and trying to justify your own interpretation of [the body’s] value by his acceptance. Yet still the gift [of the adorned body] proclaims his worthlessness to you, as his acceptance and delight acknowledges the lack of value he places on himself.” (1:4-6) With these conflicting and insane thoughts within the ego thought system, no wonder the body always ultimately fails to bring us the happiness we are seeking.

What choices do we have in our valuing — what we want to receive and give?

In paragraph two Jesus emphasizes that we have a choice of what we want to value and therefore of what gifts we want to give and receive. “Only the mind can value, and only the mind decides on what it would receive and give.” (2:3) We have the choice of valuing the body or valuing the eternal Spirit in every brother. What we value is what we will want to give and receive. “And every gift [the mind] offers depends on what it wants. It will adorn its chosen home most carefully, making it ready to receive the gift it wants by offering them to those who come unto its chosen home, or those it would attract to it. And they will exchange their gifts [of body or Spirit], offering and receiving what their minds judge to be worthy of them.” (2:4-6)

Jesus helps us see how we can be mistaken in our valuing and therefore what we would give and receive. “Gifts are not made through bodies, if they be truly given and received. For bodies can neither offer nor accept; hold out nor take.” (2:1-2) Our chosen home (or where our mind chooses to reside) is either with the ego’s values (valuing the sight of separate bodies) or the Holy Spirit’s values (remembering Love’s wholeness).

What we want to give and receive is what we will identify with as what we are. “Here is the value that you lay upon your brother and on yourself. Here is your gift to both; your judgment on the Son of God for what he is. Forget not that it is your savior to whom the gift is offered. Offer him thorns and you are crucified. Offer him lilies and it is yourself you free.” (3:5-9) Because lilies are the symbol for the Holy Spirit’s vision, we set ourselves free by seeing through the Holy Spirit’s eyes. The Holy Spirit sees no strangers and no one is outside of His loving sight.

We have learned to believe in what the body’s eyes show us, but the good news is that we can choose a different kind of sight. “You look still with the body’s eyes, and they can see but thorns. Yet you have asked for and received another sight. Those who accept the Holy Spirit’s purpose as their own share also His vision. And what enables Him to see His purpose shine forth from every altar now is yours as well as His. He sees no strangers; only dearly loved and loving friends. He sees no thorns [bodies] but only lilies [the Spirit of Love], gleaming in the gentle glow of peace that shines on everything He looks upon and loves.” (5:1-6)

What do we receive as we accept Holy Spirit’s vision?

Easter and lilies are symbols for seeing each brother as he truly is. They are symbols for recognizing the innocence and radiance of the risen Christ that is the truth of every brother. When seeing through the eyes of the Holy Spirit is all we want to see, it is given us. “The Holy Spirit’s vision is no idle gift, no plaything to be tossed about a while and laid aside.” (6:5)

As we accept Holy Spirit’s vision, this is what we will receive: “You have the vision now to look past all illusions. It has been given you to see no thorns, no strangers and no obstacles to peace. The fear of God is nothing to you now. Who is afraid to look upon illusions, knowing his savior [your brother as the risen Christ] stands beside him? With him [every brother] your vision has become the greatest power for the undoing of illusion that God Himself could give.” (7:1-5)

How could Jesus be more clear about how to free ourselves from the illusion of ego’s crucifixion of God’s one Son? And because the Holy Spirit is always in our mind, waiting to give us His vision, we always have what we need available to us. And it is free for the taking. All we need do is accept the truth that the Holy Spirit brings to our crucified mind. Jesus reinforces this when he says, “Yet all you need you have. Your home has called to you since time began, nor have you ever failed entirely to hear. You heard, but knew not how to look, nor where. And now you know.” (8:4-7)

We are learning to accept Love as Love is and not try to change it into something else. Accepting Holy Spirit’s vision is how we see that we never really left Home. We have seen illusions of separation for awhile, but now we see that it is not true. “And there will be no fear in us, for in our vision will be no illusions; only a pathway to the open door of Heaven, the home we share in quietness and where we live in gentleness and peace, as one together.” (8:12)

What is the easiest way to let Holy Spirit’s vision enter our mind?

All this comes with making the Holy Spirit’s vision our highest priority. We do this by stepping back and letting the Holy Spirit take the lead… We soften and quiet our troubled mind… We stop making up the world or deciding what anything in this world means… We hand over the reins… We hand over control… We let peace in because our mind is open to receiving it… In this peaceful state of mind, we listen in a state of quietness and openness to the Holy Spirit’s way of seeing the world… We allow ourselves to be filled with the peace and contentment that the Holy Spirit brings…

We can relax now… We know we are being carried… We follow… We would not make decisions about what is real on our own… We let the veil of fear be lifted… We let the Holy Spirit show us our brother’s innocence… We would give lilies instead of thorns…

With Holy Spirit’s vision, what is our one gift to give?

Instead of the crucifixion of duality, we now have only the resurrection of oneness. As one together, there are no ‘others.’ There are no strangers — only our dearest friends to walk with together as we welcome forgiveness — the last illusion of returning Home to where we never really left. Here is the journey’s end. Here is our resurrection. “Would you not have your holy brother lead you there? His innocence will light your way, offering you its guiding light and sure protection, and shining from the holy altar within him where you laid the lilies of forgiveness. Let him be to you the savior from illusions, and look on him with the new vision that looks upon the lilies and brings you joy.” (9:1-3)

We have only one gift to give because that is what we value, and that is what we would receive. “Each gift is an evaluation of the receiver and the giver.” (3:1) We would recognize our worthiness as God’s Son by recognizing our brother’s worthiness as he is the same Son of God.

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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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