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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Chapter 2: The Separation and the Atonement

Section III: The Altar of God

Read Chapter 2, Section III (pages 21-22)

What is the Altar to God?

The Light within us is what we Are. It is the Altar of God. We have deceived ourselves into thinking that the physical structure of the body is what we are. Believing in the reality of physical structures is a defense against accepting the inner altar, which brings us spiritual sight or Christ’s vision. Defending against the truth of our inner Light is painful and generates fear. There comes a point when the fear and pain become intolerable. This becomes a turning point when we become willing to open to a better way. Our mind, which has been closed to Spirit, becomes more open to spiritual vision, “simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight.” (3:8)

Why is it important to shift from physical sight to spiritual vision?

This section is telling us that we need to shift what we value from the physical to the spiritual. The reason we want to do this is because the beauty and truth of what we are is of Spirit and cannot be seen in physical form.

This world places great emphasis on physical beauty. Huge advertising budgets are dedicated to products that are supposed to help the body be more beautiful or in some way make the body “better.” Tourists flock to the Grand Canyon to revere its beauty. Tremendous investments are put into cathedrals and monuments. Yet this section is telling us this value is misplaced. “The real beauty of the temple cannot be seen with the physical eye.” (1:10)

If we are to behold the glory of what we are as God created us, we must learn to use spiritual vision to look past all form to the eternal Spirit that is one with God. This is the altar or heart of what we are. Because the truth of what we are remains united with our Creator and with all that is real, we must let go of all belief in separation in order to fully recognize our Self.

Our attempts to be separate, unique individuals make us unaware of our one, whole Self. The result is a feeling of being alone, isolated and lacking. It is very painful. Fortunately God gave us the Holy Spirit in our minds to Whom we can turn when the pain of separation becomes intolerable. And we all reach that point eventually. We don’t have to wait that long, but for most of us we need the pain to motivate us to seek a better way.

What happens as we accept spiritual sight?

As we learn to turn more and more to the Holy Spirit for His vision, we become less and less tolerant of the pain that comes with belief in separation. We more quickly turn to Him when we experience conflict or any lack of peace. This is how we release the inner Light of what we are and let our true Self shine forth. The Will of our true Self is to extend the Light of Love without limit, just as God Wills. Here is our joy. Here is our completion. Here is the Atonement.

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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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