A Course in Miracles Lesson 200

There is no peace except the peace of God.

When we learn that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists then we know the peace of God, and when we know the peace of God, there is nothing left to seek because there is nothing left to know. Nothing is missing.

This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of choas, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. Attempt no more to win through losing, nor to die to live (W-pI.200.2:1-2).

We do not need to suffer. Suffering is optional. If there is anything A Course in Miracles aims to teach us it is this. If we want to know peace and happiness, and if we are willing to recognize that the only obstacles to knowledge are the ones we impose on our own self, then we will remember peace.

Why is the law? Because it is how God created us. It is the way life is, when we no longer resist life, when we no longer insist it appear this way or that. To ask for what we already have must succeed (e.g., W-pI.200.3:3).

This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone (W-pI.200.4:3-5).

All that we need to do is change our mind about the purpose of the world. It is not given to bind us in chains of sorrow and loss but rather to learn that we cannot be bound. This is a gift that we give to ourselves, and we do so every time we give it to a brother or sister.

We remember what we are in truth when we realize that all we want to extend to the world is blessing – we don’t even have to extend the blessing. Simply acknowledging that love is our will, and that we share that will with God, is sufficient. Peace is the bridge that we all cross as we leave the world of suffering and pain (e.g., W-pI.200.8:1).

Today’s lesson invites us to hold no goal but the goal of happiness, and it also invites us to remember that the way to reach the goal – to BE happy – is to give happiness to others, without qualification or condition. Nothing else is worthy of us.

The idols to which the lesson refers are the false gods of social status, possession, past grievances, and personal ambition. Can we – for a few minutes – set them aside? Can we discover what is real when what is unreal is laid gently to rest?

Is it possible that when we set the gaudy trinkets and false goals of the egoic self down that we will no longer want to pick them up? And even when we do, find that they no longer fit our hands?

. . . we have found a simple, happy way to leave the world of ambiguity, and to replace our shifting goals and solitary dreams with single purpose and companionship. For peace is union, if it be of God (W-pI.200.11:5-6).

There is nothing left to find, and there never was. There is only – there was always only – the peace of God. Together we make it so.

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The Thirtieth Principle of A Course in Miracles

By recognizing spirit, miracles adjust the levels of perception and show them in proper alignment. This places spirit at the center, where it can communicate directly (T-1.I.30:1-2).

By affirming our identity as spirit and de-emphasizing our identity with the body, the miracle brings all levels of perception into alignment with Truth. This creates a sense of peace and order in us which naturally extends outward to all our brothers and sisters. We call this extension “communication.”

“Alignment” here does not refer to a straight line or to a hierarchy but rather to a more general harmony, where all is well and all things are in their rightful place. You could imagine a baseball diamond with all the players in their proper positions. Everything is in order; there is no deviation.

Our bodies perceive the world – bring it forth really – through varying senses such as sight or sound or smell. Emotions arise – accelerated heart beat, sweaty palms, tension headaches. These felt experiences are named and categorized by the intellect, which is yet another level of physical experience. Every thought, every emotion, every sensation reflects perception.

At the center of all this activity – the center where it still and quiet – Spirit resides. Spirit interprets all the data, discerning patterns that add up to love or the cry for love. And it knows – because of Who created it, and from Whom it cannot be apart – that love is always the right response to both.

“Center” here can be understood to refer to the core of awareness or consciousness. At the center is the true self, from which the light of God emanates, and in which all experience is recognized and known. At the center is Christ.

When Christ is our center, then we know order, and perception of the divine becomes inevitable. We know that we are extensions of God in Creation, and that share this identity with all of life. In this way, communication is enhanced, both with our brothers and sisters, and with the Holy Spirit and ultimately with God.

Miracles restore a sense of order to our living by placing us in direct contact with the Voice for God, Whose direction and guidance always lead us to a state of happiness and peace, allowing us to become of greater service to one another, reinforcing the order to our living. Miracles are iterative and generative.

It is helpful to remember that perception is inherently flawed, because the ego always interprets in terms of the past, which can only serve its goal of sustained conflict. Yet the past, because it is gone, has no causative power. It is fundamentally illusory.

The miracle allows us to release this flawed approach to understanding perception, and to interpret it instead with the Holy Spirit, Who sees only opportunities to learn – yet again – that we are Love Itself and Love holds everything. This is all we need to know, and all we can know.

A Course in Miracles Lesson 198

Only my condemnation injures me.

The power of belief is such that we can believe that we are vulnerable to injury; the evidence that we do believe this is evident in our condemnation of our brothers and sisters. We receive what we offer. As we condemn – as we make illusion appear real to us – we are in turn condemned.

Condemn and ou are made a prisonder. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception (W-pI.198.2:1-3).

Yet perceptions “laws” are illusory; to believe them is to believe a lie. In truth, condemnation is impossible. Yet so long as we believe in it, then it is real for us.

A Course in Miracles – and the practice of forgiveness informing it – is an illusion wielded by the Holy Spirit that our willingness to indulge illusion at all might be undone.

Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multipy a thousandfold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking (W-pI.198.3:1-4).

Forgiveness – and that which is perceived under its influence – is not truth itself, but it points to what is true, and to God, with a certainty that cannot be denied by any Child of God.

Given this means of salvation, why do we not avail ourselves of it? Why do we insist on suffering when perfect happiness and peace are offered without condition or qualification?

The lesson invites us not to analze that question, but to answer it once and for all. It is tempting to use the intellect to tease apart of the meaning of the words, to explore the myriad possibilities they entail.

It is not a crime against God or nature to play with langauge this way! Analysis is not forbidden! But there is a space in which the intellect avails us nothing, and some other means of understanding and acting must be evoked. As Abhishiktananda said, logos (language and logic) get us to the entrance of the Cave to the Heart but they do not help us enter.

We are haunted, yes. We fear there is no mercy anywhere. We believe in death and dread hell.

And yet.

The stillness of your Self remains unmoved, untouched by thoughts like these, and unaware of any condemnation which could need forgiveness . . . today we practice letting freedom come to make its home with you (W-pI.198.8:1, 9:1).

It is a simple prayer to understand. It is difficult – murderously so – to practice.

Only my condemnation injures me.
Only my own forgiveness sets me free

A Course in Miracles invites us – begs us, really – to “accept one illusion which proclaims there is no condemnation in God’s Son,” which naturally restores Heaven to awareness, and unveils Christ, all in one fell swoop (W-pI.198.10:1).

This is the gift the Holy Spirit holds for your from God your Father. Let today be celebrated both on earth and in your holy hoe as well. Be kind to Both, as you forgive the trespasses you through Them guilty of, and see your innocence shining upon you from the face of Christ (W-pI.198.10:2-4).

When we accept this gift – when we are even willing to consider accepting the gift – the Word of God echoes in our heart and spreads a soft light over the world. It is no longer possible to fear nor doubt; we reject no brother or sister.

Our joy becomes our union with all of life, and our sincere desire to celebrate our holiness in and with it.

This celebration is the final instant of perception. For in it, all symbols are undone, and all that remains is the Mind of God which knows its Child as one with Him.

There is no condemnation in him. He is perfect in his holiness. . . . In this vision of the Son, so brief that not an instant stands between this single sight and timelessness itself, you see the vision of yourself, and then you disappear forever into God (W-pI.198.12:1-2, 6).

This is the future; this has not yet occurred. We are not ready. But we are given the means by which to bring it as close to us as the next breath. Let us pray together, and let nothing come between us to disturb the stillness that we share as Christ.

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The Twenty-Ninth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles praise God through you. They praise Him by honoring His creations, affirming their perfection. They heal because they deny body-identification and affirm spirit-identification (T-1.I.29:1-3).

Yet the miracle does not merely transform us as individuals; it does not induce forms of healing that reinforce the experience of separation. Their capacity for healing includes our brothers and sisters by definition. To leave anyone out would no longer be love (e.g. T-7.V.5:7).

Inclusion here is a form of love. We honor our brothers and sisters – we respect them – because they are God’s creations. Critically, our recognition of their relationship with God is simultaneously our recognition of our relationship with God.

In this way, miracles unite us directly with all our brothers and sisters (T-1.II.3:6). They are “a sign of love among equals” (T-1.II.3:4).

God’s creations are perfect because they exist in perfect communion with their Creator; we are not made in the image of the physical but of the spiritual. Miracles are healing precisely because they correct the misperceptions of ego, the false belief that we are bodies, which belief is what separates us from our true nature, and thus from Creation itself.

Thus, the healing that miracles bring forth always include a realized shift in our identity away from the physical and towards the spiritual. We realize that we are not bodies, and that our brothers and sisters are not bodies either, which ensures our utter equality and freedom.

By affirming our spiritual nature, miracles remind us of our inherent wholeness, which is untouched by the fears, guilt and other limitations that are hallmarks of our experience of the physical body and world.

Again, the miracle is a shift in identification away from that level of experience. It does not denigrate experiece; rather, it teaches us how to see beyond it to what God creates perfectly. This shift in seeing benefits all our brothers and sisters, uniting us in the shared healing of the mind that believes it can be separate from its Creator.

Finally, it can be helpful to remember that miracles are forms of praise – they praise God and Creation by recognizing in all things only the divine Light of God, in which and by which all the world and all life are brought forth and have their meaning.

The Twenty-Eighth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are a way of earning release from fear. Revelation induces a state in which fear has already been abolished. Miracles are thus a means and revelation is an end (T-1.I.28:1-3).

Use of the word “earning” here is distracting – it implies contingency. If I do this, then God will do that. And God does not work that way.

Rather, it is helpful to think that miracles are the means by which release from fear is experienced in a context of separation. Fear is not real; yet our belief in separation causes it to seem very real indeed. The miracle penetrates the erroneous belief in separation and fear, and induces as much healing as we are capable of accepting in that moment.

Bargaining and negotiation never enter into it. Quid pro quo never enters into it.

Still, miracles are a means to an end, where the end is the personal experience of revelation, which “reflects the original form of communication between God and His creations, involving the extremely personal sense of creation sometimes sought in physical relationships (T-1.II.1:2).

Revelation is temporary, but in that state fear is completely abolished. In that state, there is only the total realization of oneness with God, which is our true identity.

Here, A Course in Miracles is breaking with much of traditional Christianity. In ACIM, revelation is a direct experience of unity with God; it is not an exchange of information, resulting in updated scripture or other texts. It is more in the nature of a cosmic hug.

Always, the focus in ACIM is on our personal interior transformation. We move from separated being alone in the cosmos, pitted against fate, and doomed to die, to Christ, in which the knowledge that Love holds everything brings about the end of doubt and fear. This transformation is reflected in our acceptance of Love over fear, which is the very experience the miracle induces.

This is not a matter of attainment. There is nothing special about the one who experiences the miracle. And in revelation, there is no individual at all to subsequently claim some special insight or gift.

Indeed the focus of the miracle is in undoing any egoic inclination to specialness or uniqueness. As the eighteenth principle of miracles makes clear, miracles establish our equality before and as God. There is no difference anywhere.

The Twenty-Seventh Principle of A Course in Miracles

A miracle is a universal blessing from God through me to all my brothers. It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgiven (T-1.I.27:1-2).

Miracles extend through Jesus to all the world, which makes clear the interconnectedness of all life without consideration of the limits imposed by time. Jesus blesses us now; Christs to come bless us now. And we are the means by which the miracle is extends, throughout time and space, ultimately transcending both.

The principle makes clear that forgiveness – informed by miracles and creating miracles – is a gift from God to us, and that as we remember our nature in Creation, we naturally extend the remembance to our brothers and sisters. We remember the cause for peace together, and we become happy together.

“Privilege” is an interesting word in this context. It comes from the Latin for privacy and law, essentially suggesting that our personal transformation – deeply intimate, the Holy Spirit meeting us right where we are – creates a resonsibility for sharing. Healing, to be healing, must be shared.

This is the first moment in the text when Jesus assumes the first person (note that it is not the first time Jesus used the first person in early drafts of the material). The effect is nontrivial. Relationship with Jesus is essential to our program of salvation. It is in that relationship that our right relationship to Creation and, by extension, to God, is established and clarified.

We have a function in salvation: we are called to love in a loveless place, to accept the Atonement for our own selves, and to become responsible for projection. Collectively, these actions bring forth healing. Thus, the principle emphasizes the personal application A Course in Miracles intends for its students.

The Course meets us where we are, but it is incumbent on us to meet the Course as well, and to go with it as far as forgiveness invites us to go. This is not merely “paying salvation forward” or even “back.” Rather, it is the living embodiment of healing.