Effortless and Joyful and Effective, by Ivor Sowton

Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL) leads us into an increasingly huge vision of who we are in truth and what the future can be like for us. Here’s from the Dialogues of ACOL (Ch. 13):
Join with your brothers and sisters in Christ and sharing becomes effortless and joyful and effective.

Effortless, joyful, and effective! So much is implicit here.

There is harmony, to start with! I mean look at the international news, so full of various forms of misery humanity is imposing upon itself so willfully through wars and sanctions and threats and provocation; there seems no harmony even available to some of these situations–seemingly hardwired vindictiveness runs rampant.

Disharmony also plagues our personal lives, for who doesn’t have right at this moment at least a few relationships which are fraught with some kind of painful negativity? These are our special relationships. If they stay the way they are now we’re stuck! So, big picture or little picture disharmony would both be the continued but completely unnecessary repetition of the old, when we could be in the new, says Jesus. All this disharmony is likened to self-imposed illness, poverty, dissing others:

This is precisely why you must choose not to keep the life of discomfort caused by perceived illness, the life of scarcity caused by perceived lack, the lack of stature caused by perceived disrespect. It is only by your choice that you will keep such things and only by your choice that these things will leave you. (T 3: 14.7)

So we really could be both seeing and creating much more harmony, even within an historical context of “some have been and will continue to be resistant.” These new possibilities will be joyful and effective, too, at least for us in our experience here; that is, in conflicted situations, we would be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. This would spark that same Spirit in others, so that increasing numbers of us really lighten up with a capital L! Via la difference!

The mechanism of the new is often spoken of as true joining with others, who then become part of us. To me this huge identity shift has to be respected as so revolutionary that its unfoldment has to be in charge of Jesus himself, or God, or your Guru–you know what I mean? This is because we all start with a lot of ego identification, meaning that we experience separation right now in varying degrees, and cannot wrench ourselves out of that state, but need Someone beckoning to us from a much greater state, often referred to by Jesus as the House of Truth.

When we are truly settled in the House of Truth we are joined with others in unity and relationship, and there is only harmony. Effortless, joyful and effective! Even now, in many ways we are called to act from this new consciousness, which is actually not new but had been just temporarily forgotten. Our greater identity antedated the ego separation, and, being eternal, is just waiting our remembrance. By envisioning it more and more we become it more and more:

You who have followed me beyond the walls of illusion are now called to begin the act of revealing and creating anew the life of heaven on earth. (T-3: 9.6)

The Atonement Is the Perfect Lesson

“The Atonement is therefore the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all the other lessons I taught are true. (T-3.I.7)”

This is Jesus talking, at least as believed by most of us who follow A Course in Miracles. When we accept Atonement as he describes it in ACIM, we know that he speaks aright. And we recognize that his means for salvation is correct. We know, in our inner being, that we are saved for a higher purpose, and we go about seeking to share, within reason, that higher purpose, listening, always, to the Holy Spirit for advice on what to do. Our part in Atonement is always being told to us, and it is not an odious part. We don’t have to struggle and work hard; the part that we take is perfectly fitted to our talents and abilities, as well as our experience in this world.

Jesus may be speaking in these words also about his earthly life, but he doesn’t make it clear to us. The lessons that he teaches in A Course in Miracles are yet to come, because this quotation comes from the very beginning of the Text. It therefore seems reasonable that he is talking about what is given in the New Testament about his life. His lessons were frequently parables, because people were not yet able to understand anything further (and often they did not understand the parables). His lessons in A Course in Miracles are sometimes dense, and appear complicated to the uninitiated, but once one has studied the whole of ACIM, the simplicity of the central concepts becomes apparent.

The way is smooth, the lives that we live, improved. Atonement works, as defined by Jesus. We forgive, we listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and we stay close to God as we understand Him. In this we have the correction that we have needed to have previously in our lives.

Miracles and the Atonement and Us

”I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. (T-1.III.4)”

Jesus makes the decision about which miracles we ought to perform. This is under his guidance. Strangely, he doesn’t place this responsibility under the Holy Spirit, but under he himself. And he holds our hand as we walk along.

Because Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, we know from him what he would have us do. Here the Holy Spirit also helps, making our way smooth and easy. We are assured that our tasks will be gentle, easy, that we will not have tough labors to carry out. This in itself is so different from the difficult way that our ego has governed us previously. We struggled so, thinking there was no other way to live our life. And we were so wrong. So very wrong.

Ask Jesus, in our minds, what role he would have us play in the Atonement. I don’t know how he is able to clone himself to answer everyone’s needs, but he has said many things that seem incomprehensible. We need to ask, and when the answer comes, we will be reassured about what its source has been.

All of us has a role in the Atonement. And that role will include miracles that Jesus has encouraged us to do. But we don’t make our own decisions about miracles that we think are needed. We don’t know enough to do that; it is not our purpose or role. We look to Jesus for the nod that tells us what to do. Consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided. So we let the inner essence of ourselves decide, with Jesus, what to say and do, what miracles to perform.

Then all is well.

Jesus Is in Charge of the Atonement

“I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. T-1.III.1)”

This quotation simply places Jesus at the center. He is our way, just as we learned in the New Testament. We do not know when Jesus “began” the Atonement, but we know that he culminated the first part in his resurrection, a miracle that we can’t begin to comprehend (and Jesus does not spell it out for us in A Course in Miracles, though he never denies it).

And Atonement is a process, of this we can be sure. We add our parts to the Atonement, making a chain that will be unbroken, a chain that allows salvation for all. All will eventually find our way back, though it may take millions of years (Jesus says this). But as long as the process has started, we can rest easy, because the end is certain.
All return to God. All end the dream of separation, the illusory mad idea of a reality in which we have erroneously believed.

Do we have part in the Atonement, or did Jesus do it all? We do have a part, in that we have a part in salvation, and salvation and Atonement are very linked in our faith. Jesus’s part is to be our leader, at least for those of us who have agreed to see him as leader. He makes a choice to bring us all home to God, and we ourselves know that this is our crying need.

We owe a lot to Jesus. And he says that he will hold our hand on the way back to God.

CHAPTER 5: JESUS’S ROLE IN ATONEMENT

Jesus Cancels Errors that We Cannot

“My part in the Atonement is the cancelling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. (T-1.III.1)”

Here Jesus specifies that he cancels out the errors that we can’t. What a gift! And how very reassuring this word is. We don’t have to be perfect; Jesus is perfect for us. He rectifies what we could not. He finds a way to restore us to God and to our Self, and this Self is our original state, before illusory separation entered our picture.

We will, once this restoration has been effected, take our part in Atonement. We will reach out to others in a sharing that is as comprehensive as it is all-loving. We have a part to play, and we will be told (by the Holy Spirit) what that part is. We do not have to thrash about in mystery, lost in a fog. We will receive explicit instructions when we are ready to listen to guidance. And having accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will be open to receiving all the guidance that the Holy Spirit is wont to make.

The Atonement Is Healing of All Forms of Sickness

“The offer of Atonement is universal. It is equally applicable to all individuals in all circumstances. And in it is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness. (M-22.6)”

This quotation may seem hard to believe, because we have known saintly people who had emotional or physical illnesses that were never cured, regardless of their saintliness. Jesus says elsewhere in the Manual that to doubt healing because of the presence of continuing symptoms is not the way to go. The healing will be received when one is ready. In the meantime, we don’t try to repeat healing ceremonies or to imagine that the healing has not occurred because we see these lingering symptoms. The all-inclusive nature of healing is a healing that Jesus sees as inevitable. And God would brook no compromise in this pristine view of healing. We ask for healing, and it comes—despite physical evidence to the contrary. Only time separates, now, the request for healing and its culmination in a healed mind and body.

Perhaps an individual chooses now to leave this world. Most lay down the body through some illness. Is this a problem? Not as Jesus sees it. We give up the body when its usefulness is done, nothing more. We do not lose; we step into eternity.
All individuals have access to Atonement. It is a universal call. And it applies to all. God’s ways may seem mysterious, but they are that only in our own limited understanding. The truth of Atonement, a call to everybody, everywhere, stands over and above any doubts that we might have about its all-inclusiveness.

Jesus’s statements about Atonement and healing are in what might be termed the “ideal” interpretation of A Course in Miracles. We are not yet ready to see all forms of sickness disappear, including but not limited to physical healings. Sometimes we are not yet ready to see emotional healing. But we can know, on some level, that when we accept Atonement, this healing has come to us.

These are not easy statements. Jesus, though, accepts no compromise. Let us walk as far along into his interpretation as we can. We have not “failed” if we remain ill. We have just, so far, walked as far as we can. Jesus is concerned about our minds, and our minds may be healed even though our illusory bodies still show symptoms.

This is not a contradiction.

Holy Relationships

“It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. . .A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. (T-18.VII.4-5)”

We love our significant relationships, and when these are cleansed to become holy, rather than special, relationships, we have found the one person given to us to love. In our love of him, we find it in our heart to forgive entirely, and in the forgiveness do we speedily reach Awakening. We need “do” nothing. All is given to us in the fact of our holy relationship, spending instants of time in league with our brother and with God.

We can’t win by fighting against sin. We have, in the first place, only made mistakes, because there is no unforgivable sin. We find this hard to believe, of course, in part because of other teachings that we have taken to heart. But Jesus in A Course in Miracles makes it easy for us. He says that we are always forgiven for our mistakes. We rectify what we can, of course, and this is only common sense. But there are some mistakes that only Jesus can rectify, and he has said that he stands at the end of the pathway to salvation to resolve what we have found impossible to resolve.

If the universe is restored to us, we know reality. We are enlightened. We have Awakened. And for all this, we need only walk the pathway to salvation by holding our brother’s hand. This fact alone saves time, unlike years and years of what can be tedious contemplation. This means, with our brother, works. When we feel that we love purely, we have forgiven. And God will act immediately to lift us up to Awakening.

Give Up Blame!, by Ivor Sowton

Here’s a quote from Jesus in the 3rd Treatise of A Course of Love (ACOL). The context of this quote is that, having established that our only purpose here is to remember our true Selves, which will bring Heaven on earth, Jesus then tells us that to remember that true Self we first have to forget the false self:

The first think I ask you to forget is the need to find a place where blame can be placed. You who have been waiting to get to the “hard part” of this course of study may find it here. (10.3)

We’ll pick up with the rest of the quote in stages here, for (as usual!) each sentence bears great meaning for us. First let us note that we have been warned by the Master to expect resistance around this idea of renouncing blame. Knowing this, we can be more humble and open to the guidance that will see us through this great letting go.

How on earth, you might say, could it be such a big deal to let go of such a negative thing as placing blame? Let’s think here; if I’m depressed I am for sure (in my case, anyway!) blaming someone for it–someone else or myself. These are both very painful–for me–but they do let my ego stay separate from all those bad guys!

If I’m anxious I’m usually blaming myself. This also is very effective in making me feel separate and alone, with the ego as my only ally.

If I’m angry, well obviously it’s someone’s fault! Now I get to be both separated and vindicated by being right!
Hmm.

Some more of the quote:

The idea of blame is incongruous with the idea of a benevolent Creator and a benevolent Creation and as such is the only blasphemy. (10.3)

This chapter in the Third Treatise leads to the liberating idea that if we do what Jesus is suggesting here then everything that happens to us WILL be benevolent. Everything will be a lesson, and every lesson is a gift from our loving Father if we can but release this blaming reflex.

Now let’s get real. Do we really want unity in relationship–Heaven on earth? As who, though?! That’s the great ego fear, maintained by blame placing. Can I really dare give up my grievances? Who would I be then?! Would I even be an I? That’s the deep inquiry we’re being led into here.

Now, the ego really doesn’t care if we blame others or ourselves, for we get the same separation experience either way:

To blame yourself is just as senseless as blaming others and your inclination to place blame upon yourself must be given up. (Ibid.)

So, we can start to see that this IS a big undoing. To do it we have to watch our thoughts throughout the day with determined, loving attentiveness. I put in the loving part to get us out of the

” I should exercise but I don’t want to” syndrome. Jesus has so constantly reassured us of his completely constant love for us that maybe we are slowly coming to believe him on that. So now if he says it would be really good for us to forget blaming, we’re more inclined to trust that love and really try it out.

Taking away the idea of placing blame will change your thought processes beyond your wildest imagining…what you will find will come in the place of blame is an idea of acceptance of what is, an idea that is needed now. (10.4-6)

For to Jesus, what is is the eternal love of God? To live in that, always. Heaven on earth. As he says later, are you ready for that?!
So, having had our resistance predicted, we begin:

All you need do is catch yourself in the act of placing blame and say to yourself “I was placing blame again and I choose to do so no longer.” (10.4)

And then we heroically put our minds on something positive right away and we don’t let ourselves slip back into blame. Heavy lifting! You’ll see what I mean I’m pretty sure. Even looking at it from our very limited scientific perspective in terms of neural pathways, we have literally built our entire previous identity on fault-finding, establishing huge default connections–neural super highways– which have become completely automatic and almost completely effective at keeping us feeling separate from others–almost all of them, all the time!

So, yes, this is a big job. But this is the holiest of work, this forgetting of Illusion so the truth can dawn again upon our waking hearts. What makes it possible for us to undertake this practice sincerely and for the long haul?

For me, I need faith here, and a lot of it. God has given me enough proof of His Love for me to go on and follow through with this practice on faith. I think we will all find our own formula here, which will be the expression of our own True Self in us. As the Buddhists wisely say, we can call upon the Teacher, the teachings, and the company of truth-seekers at any time for help. We can all do that.

In a later ACOL chapter of the same name Jesus says all are chosen. That is, God loves us all, every last one of us, as misguided as we may be! So if we can relate to being chosen of God to be supremely happy all the time if we but can but remember that state, and if we can take Jesus at his word in saying we have to forget untruth first–well hey, bring it on!!
(This is) the thought system of Unity. It is your true thought system and will be easily remembered once you begin to let it automatically replace the old. (10.12)

The Criteria for Awakening/Enlightenment

“This step [to Awakening], the smallest ever taken, is still the greatest accomplishment of all in God’s plan of Atonement. All else is learned, but this is given, complete and wholly perfect. No one but Him Who planned salvation could complete it thus. (T-17.II.3)”

This is the epitome for those of us living in this world. And this world ceases to be in illusion for us when we have Awakened. We live in the real world, in truth and in reality. This quotation praises God, though elsewhere we have been told that He does not need our praise. Jesus is in awe, I think, from the perfection of the plan. God restores us to full awareness of what, in actuality, we never left but thought we had: Heaven on earth.

God’s gift of Awakening is a free gift, given as soon, and just as quickly, as we are ready. He does not brook delay; He will act as soon as we have fulfilled the criteria, which are an end to self-doubt, a failure to attack, a cessation of judgment of ourselves and others, and a stop to planning, obsessive planning, against contingencies to come (a defense, and all defenses are anathema to God). This sounds like a lot, but just one thing, fully done will resolve all complexity. When we truly forgive our brother, Awakening will be granted to us. We live in happiness and we offer salvation when we have forgiven. And those are our function as children of God.

Enlightenment as a Shift to Vision

“Once you have accepted it [shift to vision] as the only perception you want, it is translated into knowledge by the part that God Himself plays in the Atonement, for it is the only step in it He understands. Therefore, in this there will be no delay when you are ready for it. God is ready now, but you are not. (T-15.IV.1)”

This quotation explains the movement made by God to raise us up to Awakening. We are told here that God does not understand some things about our illusion. The Holy Spirit, God’s Voice, however, does. And the Holy Spirit guides us to the only perception that works: the perception that leads to true vision.

Vision is not of the physical eyes. It sees reality instead, and we do not have to look with physical eyes to identify reality. Once we have vision, we also have knowledge, which is a step beyond perception (according to ACIM) to what is really true. Knowledge cannot be taught, but comes from God when we are ready. And He Himself decides when that is. He calls us to Awaken.

When we Awaken, our channels of communication with God are once again open. He knows that we no longer sleep and need to be Awakened. His metaphorical loneliness is healed, and, not incidentally, our loneliness as well. We had taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator. Now we do communicate, our minds returned to His.

Jesus says that we are not yet ready. We will know the readiness as soon as it appears possible in our experience. God will not delay; He wants us to come to Him as Awakened beings with a knowledge of Love.

The Release from Guilt by Guiltlessness

“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. (T-14.V.10)”

This quotation states categorically what I have explained earlier. Here Jesus says it himself: the crucifixion did not atone; the resurrection did. The resurrection was achieved by one (Jesus) who was guiltless, and in this act he symbolized for us what is the reality for us: We live in an eternity. We never die. We simply move from one dimension to another. We live in the Now, the present, with time an illusion that nevertheless allows us to experience life in this world.

This assertion flies in the face of traditional Christianity. But Jesus is not trying to be controversial. The idea of a God who required His only Son to die in order that we might live suggests egoic tendencies in our God. And that, according to A Course in Miracles, would be impossible, for the ego is mad, and God is sane. Our God, even of the New Testament, is a loving God, and how might he require of His perfect Son such a sacrifice?

I have long believed that Jesus saw in the sacrifice of small birds and animals in his day the germ of an idea that might draw all men and women to him. If a human being who had helped many, healed many, and was believed by many to be the Christ, were to die—would this not be a sacrifice to end all sacrifices? Would this not be what would draw all men, steeped in the ego, to him?

But what he actually did was put an end to the idea of death. He does not make clear what survived the cross. He notes that he died, but he doesn’t say that his resurrection was physical or ethereal. He leaves that to our discretion to decide. He allows us to see the truth as we need to see it.

Jesus is always practical in A Course in Miracles. If he delved into controversy, he would divide his students. And he has no wish to do that.

It is enough just to see that Jesus’s leadership of the Atonement was made certain by the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This will be enough for us to contemplate.

Everyone Has a Special Part to Play in the Atonement

“Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. (T-14.V.2)”

When we fell away into our illusion of separation, we did not do anything that is unforgivable, and therefore we do not, actually, have anything to feel guilty about.

We find this hard to believe. Jesus notes elsewhere that we think that we are deep in sin, terrible things, from which we cannot be redeemed. We think that what we have done is so dark that God Himself could not look upon us with love. Of course, we don’t say these things very often, because our traditional religions have taught us otherwise. Yet the lingering doubt about our goodness still clings to us, wherever we go and whatever we do. We try to justify ourselves by good behavior, sometimes behavior made in fighting against sin, but we find that this doesn’t work very well. So what are we to do now?

We take the part that God has assigned to us in the Atonement. We take the part that says we are really guiltless. A Course in Miracles becomes our way home, for those of us who read it faithfully and who take the Workbook lessons. We move into Awakening, and then we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that what Jesus has been telling us in ACIM is true. We have made mistakes only in illusion, and so those mistakes are not only forgivable, they never actually happened in truth.

We move to the real world in an Awakened state, letting others know, in whatever way we are led, that they too are guiltless. We accept with finality that Jesus knows what he is talking about in ACIM. Our love takes on the fervor of what God feels, if only in a minute amount. God’s Love, being all-encompassing, is so far beyond what we can feel that our feelings pale in comparison. Yet we do get a glimpse of what His love is like. And with that we commune with Him in silence, our communication with Him restored.

Separation and the Ego Are Actually Impossible

“The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that the separation never occurred. The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred. (T-6.II.10)”

The separation occurred only in illusion, when our minds became mad from a “tiny, mad idea” about which we forgot to “laugh.” Because we are a part of God, separation is actually impossible. This is the full awareness that the quotation tries to cover.

We need to turn aside from the ego, and we can do so, particularly, when we realize that this “part of belief” about ourselves never actually occurred. The ego will not be destroyed, but will simply cease to seem to be. We will be Awake, and these vestiges of madness, insanity, will fall away.

The future looks bright with such a prognosis, doesn’t it? We simply turn aside from belief in that which could actually never be, and we return to being co-creators with God, creating in like Mind and living in the Love with which He created us. What this creation will look like, nobody can say. But it will be free of pain and suffering in the illusion that we made for ourselves. We will dwell in peace. And what more could we ask?

Sharing Purely in Salvation

“The Atonement must be understood as a pure act of sharing. (T-5.IV.2)”

How did Jesus, in the Atonement which he fulfilled, share with us? He shared an example of someone who overcame death. Never does he say in what form he arose. He leaves that a mystery, for our faith to decipher in whatever way we choose. But he does say in A Course in Miracles that his part in the Atonement was fulfilled by the resurrection, not the crucifixion—and this is a departure from the doctrine of traditional Christianity.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit shares with us; we share with others. So the line of giving is complete, and giving and receiving, as we have previously learned in A Course in Miracles, is the same.

Jesus set the example; indeed, he says elsewhere (A Course of Love) that his is the example life. He reached out to all of humanity with his great gift of teaching and, most of all, his God-granted right to resurrection, a gift that would let us know that eternity is ours.
Few of us have ever known “pure” acts. But when we listen to guidance, we will understand that what the Holy Spirit shares with us, we will want to extend to others in a pure act of sharing.
And Jesus says that he is with us also, when we ask. He says to imagine that he holds our hand, and that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

Some aspects of traditional Christianity are not interpreted differently by A Course in Miracles, and the Trinity is certainly portrayed similarly. The plan of salvation includes our openness to God, and His to us; our relationship to the Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Guide; and our brotherhood with Jesus, who says he has nothing that we cannot also have. Let us take these reassuring words and walk with them in our everyday life.

Bitterness of Heart, by Ivor Sowton

Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL) brilliantly introduces and then links to more and more of our lives the idea of “bitterness of the heart.” He refers to the idea of suffering, the one thing that went wrong with all of creation, as the cause of this bitterness. It is thus very deep and metaphysical here in addition to being very personal indeed. He explains that once we identified with our egos we needed objects to blame for the obvious distress of the separated state—the inevitability of physical death, of illness and pain of numerous kinds, emotional as well as physical. From that place we quickly slide into a vengeful state because we have become so bitter about the futility of it all, just as one example.

So the consciousness of suffering will cut us off from a sense of well-being, from a sense of being loved and supported by God. We get bitter at heart, waiting to die in an isolated state. This makes us vengeful.
Jesus then connects bitterness of the heart to the desire for reward also. The major example he gives (in chapter 3 of the Second Treatise) is in comparison, where we experience unequal reward going on around us, and when we are denied the reward someone else seems to be getting, we get bitter and vengeful. Jesus lets us know here that we may have very limited awareness over how much of our lives have been co-opted by bitterness of heart. He says in that chapter that bitterness is to the heart what ego is to the mind, that everyone has this bitterness, often unconsciously, and that its hold on us has become so great that it, like the ego, must be consciously released.

So I think he’s saying we really have to look at our own personal bitterness of heart before we can choose again for love. It’s like we have to forgive ourselves, others, and God for all the perceived suffering in our lives. He says that the Time of Tenderness and of The Embrace have brought such a softening to our hearts that we can really do a lot of releasing of this bitterness now IF we so choose.

It’s often said that there will be one or two real challenges in each life—situations that becomes real cross-roads of choice for us. It feels like many, many of us have chosen bitterness many times in the past. There seemed so much evidence warranting bitterness right within those cardinal challenges: we got very ill, or we were bereaved, or we lost a career or a marriage. I think you get the idea!

My sense is that this is deep work for most of us. To let go of all those feelings of being ripped-off, disappointed by life, by others and by ourselves—we have to work sensitively here with the guidance of our gentle Teacher. There will be a favorable pace and rhythm to it that we can be shown if we are willing. Jesus speaks of the healed heart as the very altar of Christ Consciousness at our center. The healed heart has released all bitterness and all desire for reward in the ego world. This is whole-heartedness, from which we automatically assume the ability to be elevated within these very forms.

So, Jesus seems to be encouraging us to hang in there and let our hearts be healed of this deep bitterness that has held us back for so long. The results are so worth it and so within our grasp, with his help.

Let us pray for this release for ourselves and all our loved ones, and may we be more and more aware that everyone is our Loved One. And let us daily become more and more like him who said:

“I walked the earth in order to reveal a God of Love.” (3rd treatise, 5.6)

Life following the Holy Spirit Is “in the Flow”

“The Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the separation; the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating. (T-5.II.2)”

This is what these quotations in this Atonement series have been leading up: the primacy of the Holy Spirit. We follow His guidance, and thus we know what to do every minute and every second. Life assumes a flow, an easy flow—and life becomes easy. Which of us would not like that?

How do we hear the Holy Spirit? He speaks in a myriad of ways, but a personal “feeling” is the way that He speaks most often. We have earlier called this intuition, and we would be right to think of it in this secular fashion if it makes us more comfortable. The Holy Spirit nudges; He does not command. We are led to think, “Wouldn’t this make me happier?” The Holy Spirit often speaks through our sense of happiness, for is not happiness something that Jesus has said is our function?

The whole mind will return to creating when we have embodied the Self. This is the mind that we enjoy when we have Awakened. This is the mind that we all want, and, indeed, that we deserve to have.

A close following of the guidance of the Holy Spirit will bring that Awakening (chosen by God) sooner rather than later.

CHAPTER 4: ATONEMENT AND HEALING

Jesus Is in Charge of the Atonement

“I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. (T-4.VI.6)”

This is an exact statement from Jesus that he is in charge of the Atonement, that he is our leader. God has so chosen him, we have so chosen him, and he accepts that designation.

When we falter, he will right our posture. We will do it right, with the guidance that Jesus sends to us. We don’t have to question our abilities; we need perhaps to question our dedication. When dedication is strong, and motivation is strong, with Jesus’s help we cannot fail.

Jesus says elsewhere that his part in the Atonement 2,000 years ago was the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This statement is in direct contrast to what traditional Christianity has long taught. But he wasn’t “punished” because we “were bad”! He actually says this in ACIM! He asserts that the wholly benign view of his part is lost when we cling to the rugged cross.

The cross, according to Jesus, just displayed his defenselessness, the fact that he made no move to attack his betrayers overtly. This, he says, is a benign lesson. But we get lost when we think that a savage God required sacrifice of a good man, of a perfect man. We get lost, and we blame God for such a travesty. We cannot imagine requiring such of our children, and that is the only reference that we have.

Jesus says, in other words, that the theology that we have been taught has it all wrong. He proved eternal life by his resurrection, though nowhere does he say how his resurrection actually happened. He does not say if it was a physical resurrection or an ethereal one. And we can only guess, or something more if guidance leads us to a different answer.

We need to follow Jesus’s lead. He says that we can imagine that he is holding our hand, and that this imagery will be no “idle fantasy.”

He is right here, with us. We can’t understand how this is true, but we can believe that someone who had it so right about so much (as exemplified by A Course in Miracles, our lodestone) must have it right again.

Atonement Was Planned Eons Ago, at the Point of Need

“It was only after the separation that the Atonement and the conditions necessary for its fulfillment were planned. (T-2.II.4)”

We thought that we separated from God, and the separation itself, for the myriad of us, happened over millions of years (according to A Course in Miracles). The return will happen, similarly, over millions of years—or maybe longer (as we are also told). But in that moment when the first entities (that’s us) separated from God, had the “tiny, mad idea” about which we “forgot to laugh,” in that instant did God provide the Answer. We can imagine that entities got involved in the planning for Atonement and the conditions necessary for its fulfillment. But we cannot know. Divine guidance led the way, of that we can be sure.

So we move into healing, finally healing, after we have separated. And the Atonement, and Jesus’s leadership in it, were planned. We are just now making our way back. The conditions for Awakening have not been propitious for the 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth. But things are improving now. We are very weary of this weary world. And, like Helen and Bill, who scribed ACIM, we know that there is another way. We know that this other way is better.

And so we sign on to it.

We can’t know if the conditions will be ripe for each of us to experience Awakening this time around, this lifetime. And we are encouraged in ACIM not to speculate about reincarnation, because this would be a separating factor between us—some who believe in reincarnation would turn off those who don’t, and vice versus. We are told that we live in the Now, the present, and so reincarnation cannot be the issue, now or in the future. It would only divide us theologically, and Jesus doesn’t want that. So we are to focus on this moment in time. And we are to do our part, whatever we are led to understand, for salvation. Each of us does have a part, however great or however small, and it behooves us to ask God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit, what that part is. He will answer, and He will answer as soon as we are ready to hear. He is presumably just as eager for us to ask as we are to hear the Answer.

So we move into healing the separation. And we don’t dwell on how long it might take, though “millions” of years sounds depressing, on first hearing of it. But we can, each of us, only live one moment at a time, and Jesus encourages us to be happy in that moment. Happiness is one of the several functions that he attributes to us. (The others are forgiveness and salvation.)

Ask for healing today. We can do more for others when we ourselves have gotten right with God. Indeed, we can do little until we have gotten this fundamental issue of our relationship to God, settled. The Divine is within and surrounding us, according to A Course in Miracles. He is not distant. He is nearer than our heartbeat; we are part of Him. And in this understanding do we know a serenity that may elude us previously.

Healing is always for today. The Now is our point of entry, according to Eckhart Tolle, enlightened spiritual teacher of our time.

The Holy Spirit and the Atonement Will Resolve Problem Areas

“The progress of the teacher of God may be slow or rapid, depending on whether he recognizes the Atonement’s inclusiveness, or for a time excludes some problem areas from it. In some cases, there is a sudden and complete awareness of the perfect applicability of the lesson of the Atonement in all situations, but this is comparatively rare. (M-22.2)”

The solution that Atonement offers to us in trying to get out of the mess that we have made is to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We often don’t want to do so, because we think that following Another’s guidance is personally insulting. (Jesus says this in ACIM.) We need to exclude no “problem areas” in our lives. The Holy Spirit can really help us in every respect when we bar Him nowhere, but let Him in willingly and with gladness.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is a way to know how to do and say whatever is right? That we don’t have to wander in darkness anymore?

The benefits are great; the drawbacks missing entirely. Let us try to encompass as much willingness in opening to the Holy Spirit as is humanly possible.

Then our trust will grow, as we see that the Holy Spirit’s way is best.

From time to time, we will recognize that all problems areas are resolved when turned over to the Holy Spirit, when we recognize guidance. Some will recognize this resolution all the time, but Jesus says that this reaction is rare. We need to enlarge our perspectives, to recognize that regardless of how angry we get, the Holy Spirit can take that anger and dissipate it. Many people get angry only when stressed, and this is something to consider. But virtually all of us live with stress every day; our lives are sometimes consumed by stress. And so stress is not a good excuse.

We need God’s help, and this He gives when we submerge our emotions in the largess of His greatness.

Do so today, and so if problems don’t disappear likes mists in the sun.

Atonement Solves ALL Problems

“The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. (M-22.1)”

We know that Jesus in A Course in Miracles often talks of our function, and he uses different labels: forgiveness, salvation, happiness. Here he says that our function is accepting Atonement. Jesus is equating all these terms, and may he not do so with impunity? We know that we cannot do little for this world or for God when we are lost in mistakes, following an egoic pathway to nowhere. The only thing left for us to take our place among the saviors of the world is to accept correction, and this is what Atonement is all about.

Are all of us really “saviors”? We don’t think of ourselves this way, mainly because to do so sounds so very egotistical. Yet Jesus would say that we all have a place in salvation, that we all have something to do—once we have gotten on our own pathway and are trying to live a good life in religious terms.

I don’t see myself as a “savior,” because it does seem too egotistical. A word like savior is reserved for Jesus, to my mind. Yet he welcomes us to do what we can, and if we can save another, that too is very, very good.

We need to realize that sometimes what we think is egotism is actually the ego telling us that we are being egotistical, thinking that it [the ego] will reel us in.

We don’t want to be reeled in. We want to following the footsteps of Jesus, helping others to the best of our abilities. We want to live good lives, following the highest and best that we know.

Let us seek to understand what our function really is today. It may be forgiveness, salvation, happiness, accepting Atonement. All are one in Jesus’s eyes, for he melds all of our life here on earth into something that can save us. And we reach out to others, trying to encourage their good sense to rise up and follow the ways of Jesus as well.

The day holds promise, if we practice the functions that Jesus has given to us in these words of A Course in Miracles. Let us ask that this day will hold promise for us. Let us thrust aside tiredness and jadedness, and walk into the sunlight with Jesus.

Accept Atonement and Find Healing

“Partial Atonement is a meaningless idea, just as special areas of hell in Heaven are inconceivable. Accept Atonement and you are healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible? Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished. (M-22.1)”

“Accept Atonement and you are healed.” A glorious statement, but do we really believe it?

This healing is, of course, healing of the mind, for the body is an outgrowth of the mind and is illusory (as are its sicknesses). We cannot choose this healing just a little bit, a partial Atonement, for this makes no sense, and it is sense that we are after now.

We are in Heaven now, but we often don’t recognize this, and so we make hell for ourselves. But this hell is illusory, along with this world that gave such an idea birth.

If we accept God at His Word, we will know that our healing is immediate, not a matter of time at all. We are well, we have rescued minds, and we are now following God’s way. What more could we really ask?

Living by the Laws of Love, by Ivor Sowton

Remain who you are and continue to live by the laws of love in every circumstance, and you bring love to every circumstance. (Jesus in the Third Treatise of A Course of Love (T2:17))

If forgiveness is the default response to all circumstances recommended in A Course in Miracles, living by the laws of love is the updated automatic response to all circumstances Jesus is now recommending to us all in A Course of Love. This is very helpful because love is usually in the positive because of our associations to the very real love we have received and have given to others in the past, whereas forgiveness is often associated with “I need to do this but I don’t want to.”

So we are urged to remember love now at all times and in all places. We are just to do our part here by trying to bring love into our present experience of life as much as we can. Some others may be very much helped by us if we can do that, but Jesus tells us that some will not respond to our love–but he assures us that timing is the only issue here because “none will be forever lost to his or her own Self”(T2:17).

I just had a funny thing happen as an example of trying to live by this new recommendation of trying to always bring love. The scene was just before an important meeting I needed to help host at our home. The tension was rising and I was starting to sweat. That is just when our cat started yowling loudly. I assumed that she was just needing attention and tried to ignore her. She just kept upping the volume! I started getting angry at her. I assumed that she was picking up my own up-tightness, but now was not the time! I was about to raise my voice at her when finally I remembered to try and bring love to every circumstance. I quickly went and found our cat, and lo and behold she was standing in front of her cat door, which had become jammed shut. She had been trying to tell me she was about to have an accident inside! I was petting her as she made a purr-ful exit.

Now in the past I’m almost sure I would have blown this one; maybe I would have grabbed the cat and thrown her outside, scaring her and hurting the trust in our relationship. She would have had to forgive me, and I would have to forgive myself! What a bunch of extra work!
This example is also illustrative of another very helpful recommendation Jesus makes to us–that is to practice on the small stuff. We have several friends who like to just “drop in” without calling first, which has always been challenging to my equanimity when I’m busy. If it had been one of those friends suddenly showing up right then I would have had a much harder time remembering to love! So practice, practice, practice while the stakes are small; then the love habit will be forming to help you with the bigger things that come along!

In psychology there is a useful distinction made between content and process. The factual content of any situation (e.g. my cat is yowling) is completely different from my inner process around that event (she shouldn’t be doing that and I’m angry about that!) Jesus is telling us in ACOL that our inner process is everything, really, for it doesn’t matter at all what I’m outwardly doing or not doing; what people will feel and be affected by is my energy, my intent–that is, they will feel my love or lack of love for them. Jesus says in T20:16: “These calls go out from love to love. It is not the words of your mouth that will be heard, or the language of your mind that will be responded to. It is the love within your heart that will sound the call. . .All you need do is open the door through which love can enter.”

So our spiritual practice is to bring love.

There is only one distinction that need be made: what comes of love and what comes of fear. All expressions of love are of maximal benefit to everyone. (Jesus in T19.8).

Accept Atonement, Choose Miracles, & Offer Healing

“This [being a teacher of God as a channel for healing] is what is really meant by the statement that the one responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. (M-7.3)”

We cannot heal if we have not accepted the Atonement for ourselves. Any healing that might occur will be temporary, lacking in staying power. But we can invite miracles as one who accepts Atonement. And these miracles are forever, with healing often being an aspect of the miracle.

So we have to do only one thing if we wish to be miracle workers. Do we so wish? I think all of us do, and certain all of us who have read this far. We have no choice. We must accept Atonement for ourselves. We must have expressed the willingness to have all our mistakes undone for us—and this will come about through the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose guidance we now follow.

We need more healing in our lamentable world. So sorrowful, so downhearted, so violent. This world needs our help, needs a healing.

Let’s do what we can today by first vowing to be willing to have all our mistakes corrected.

What Am I? Accept Atonement and You Will Know

“I will accept Atonement for myself. Here is the end of choice. For here we come to a decision to accept ourselves as God created us. And what choice except uncertainty of what we are? There is no doubt that is not rooted here. There is no question but reflects this one. There is no conflict that does not entail the single, simple question, ‘What am I?” (WB-139)”

We fail to sustain our Awakening when we allow self-doubt to walk into our minds. This is the all-important secret, the reason that accepting Atonement as a reconciled child of God is so important.

We have long wondered about what we really are. This quotation makes this clear, though we know if also from our personal experience. This quotation also recommends that we leave this uncertainty behind. If we accept Atonement, accept the correction that we need, what is there to be uncertain about?

Nothing. We are home free at last.

Start Walking the Right Pathway, Led by the Holy Spirit

“Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. (WB-101)”

At this point we need to take a look at the contents of our minds. Do we still believe that we are failures,that we don’t measure up, that we are not “good” enough? These beliefs will drag us down like nothing else.

We are not devils at all. We are good people, children of God, who have only made mistakes. And in many cases, these mistakes are correctable. Even when not correctable, the mistakes are, and always will be, forgivable.

We have nothing to fear. God is on our side. The only thing that we have to do is to accept the Atonement, the correction, so that we start walking the right pathway. We choose to do things aright, and in that choice we find our way home again. The Holy Spirit guides us when we are willing to listen. And that is the secret: Listening to guidance.

A Part of Heaven Is Laid in Our Relationships

“Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake.’ And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given!” (T-22.VI.5)

We can easily accept Atonement when we accept it through our special relationships turned holy. A holy relationship, we are told, is a means of saving time. And when we turn to our brother, overlooking his mistakes as just mistakes (not sins), then we see Heaven itself in our relationship. We have walked further toward the grace that is always held out to us.

We have been confused when we fail to overlook mistakes in our brother. Of course, overlooking is hard when we believe ourselves to have really been attacked, and to have suffered from this attack. But to think in such a way is to compound the error, the mistake.

Our brother had only attacked us because his mind is lost in illusion, and we ourselves are attached to that illusion as well. Our real Self has not been harmed in any way. We are intact. And being intact, we can show our brother an innocent face, a face that has not been hurt, and in the showing of this unhurt face, our brother will receive (as do we) a part of Heaven itself.

Lifted Out of Pain and Destruction by the Atonement

“No one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who prefer pain and destruction. (T-18.VII.1)”

We are lost in pain and destruction when we remain oblivious to Atonement, or correction. We are caught in an imprisoned will, a will that because of our insanity in the ego, does not know any better way to do anything. This imprisoned will also doesn’t know how to correct itself.

There remains only one option, to look to another as our source of correction, and Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles that he is in charge of the Atonement. For those of us who have chosen Jesus as our leader, this is the answer. We accept correction from the one, Jesus, whom we have come to love. We don’t wander, mindlessly, in madness any longer.

If we think that we are giving up our free will by choosing Atonement, we will muddle along in pain and destruction for eons more (maybe). We will be like adolescent children, still in rebellion against our Parent, God. We need to realize that we don’t want to do wrong things, we don’t want to make the mistakes that we, in our befuddled attitudes, will think are sinful. When we sin deliberately, we will think that we are cutting ourselves off from God. And we will feel guilty. And we will be lost in pain and destruction.

Give up this insanity today. There is another way, a better way. And Jesus is pointing it out to us in ACIM. We turn from our mistakes, with the help of guidance, and we walk in the pathway toward salvation by recognizing that we need help. We recognize that we did not make ourselves, God created us, and we cannot save ourselves either. We need Someone Who knows better, and that Someone is God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit. He will guide us very gently out of the morass, and we will soon—yes, soon—be home at last.

The Holy Spirit Guides Us to Fulfill Our Part in Atonement

“Your part is only to offer Him [Holy Spirit] a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven. On your little faith, joined with His understanding, He will build your part in the Atonement and make sure that you fulfill it easily. (T-18.V.2)”

Once we have accepted Atonement, we will want to share what we have discovered. We are encouraged to leave our part up to the Holy Spirit, Who alone can guide us rightly. We will realize that we don’t have to “do” anything, that we are accepted by God exactly as we are. But we will want to do something. And this quotation tells us how to make decisions about what that something will be.

It is exactly what our decisions have been prior to accepting Atonement, if we are following A Course in Miracles. We learn in the Manual that we need to turn over our erroneous judgments (and all are erroneous) to the Holy Spirit. We need to let Him make our decisions for us, even in the little things.

Not many of us follow this guidance to the letter, but those who do lead charmed lives. All of our decisions become right when we follow our guidance. What more could we ask? Would we not all want to lead charmed lives?

We will fulfill our part in Atonement easily, because it is through the Holy Spirit that we will act. Our conflicts and our struggles, our times of discontent and ennui—all are part of the egoic past. Struggle is not part of God’s plan for our transformed lives.

Please reread the quotation and be glad. And say a little prayer of thanksgiving.

Purification Is of God Alone, but for Us

“In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. (T-18.IV.5)”

This is another of the very reassuring passages in A Course in Miracles. We don’t need to “do” anything to “get ready” for Atonement. We just need to be open to receive. God will do the rest. He makes the decision about when we are ready for enlightenment, Awakening. He (metaphorically) reaches down to lift us up, and then nothing is ever the same again—nothing, that is, if we sustain the Awakening. We will in all likelihood have glimpses of Awakening from time to time before we will respond wholeheartedly enough to sustain what is happening to us.

Nobody can tell you what Awakening is really like, until those glimpses have come. Jesus does say one thing of great importance, the dawning on our minds at this point that “I need do nothing!” This is a masterful signal to our minds and hearts that God does not require things of us. He only wants us as we were created to be. We will want to do things for God, once we are Awakened, but we will know that nothing takes the place of the glorious sense that we are accepted just as we are, because we don’t have to merit anything.

Those Who Accept the Atonement Know Invulnerability

“Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. (T-14.III.10)”

Often we think that vulnerability is to be desired, that it makes us more loving people, more willing to share. But is there not fear in this? We don’t have to feel vulnerability to be loving. This quotation actually indicates just the opposite. We will, of course, be more loving to ourselves and others when we have accepted the Atonement for ourselves, and in this, Jesus says, we will be invulnerable. What a promise!

What does it mean to be invulnerable? It know that nothing can harm us. In the cosmology of ACIM, it says that we are living in an insane and illusory world in which the attacks of others do not harm us because they are not true. This sense of invulnerability will protect us from the slings and arrows that only seem to hurt us. In actuality, these slings and arrows do nothing.

Jesus: Not One Day Is Meant to Be Lived in a Struggle with What It Brings, by Ivor Sowton

Now I will tell you something else and I hope you will remember it and bid it true. Each day is a Creation and Holy too. Not one day is meant to be lived in a struggle with what it brings.

This is Jesus being very direct and personal with us in the context of A Treatise on the New ( 2.21) in A Course of Love (ACOL).

Now, with the coming of the New Year, I for one am realizing that New Year’s resolutions can be a very good thing. For instance, what if I resolve to live by what Jesus is saying here? Something like, “In the New Year I resolve to see each day as a new opportunity, ripe with lesson-blessings that can lead only to the greater good of all?”

Jesus in ACOL is teaching us that a new time is really upon us. He says that we chose to take physical bodies as a holy and creative act, and that we were not more holy or good before the “separation” than we were after it. But he says that something went wrong with this innocent choice we all made as one. We got out of synch with God as our Source somehow. We somehow fell out of unity and relationship with God and with our brothers and sisters, or rather, with the active remembrance of that. But now we are in a different age–the time of Christ. It is actually easier for us to remember that unity and relationship now!

As the master teacher that he is, Jesus emphasizes that this does not at all imply any superiority we might claim to those who have come before us (besides which he tacitly acknowledges reincarnation, so if we are judging “them”, we are judging us). He says that the truth is the truth and has always been available to people’s memories. But the age is now more favorable to direct knowing, through observation of what is, as it actually is. Before this age we needed contrast as the teaching device that would differentiate Godward leading attitudes from ego attitudes of separation.

There is a bandwagon we can jump on now. This New Year!

Now, I don’t know about you, but my ego is quite strong still. Like, I still want to be separate quite a bit, even though I know it’s not the way to go. So I take great encouragement from the idea that the new is here and that I can indeed find huge reinforcement for any longing for the restoration of unity and relationship that I can muster up in this New Year. Like, enough suffering already! God is not vengeful, not mad at me. And my brothers and sisters are not lost to me, though it sometimes still feels like that. Each day can indeed be a new day, a new chance for this slow learner!

Jesus talks in this Treatise of the New of the children being born now as being ready for the time of Christ. He says “Those born in the Time of Christ will settle for nothing less than the truth and will soon begin looking earnestly for it. Even the ego-self will be perceived clearly by these, and they will not want it for their identity…” (1.26) Those of us with grey hairs are spoken of as at a real choice point. We could die in the old consciousness, the old school of hard knocks–and that wouldn’t make us wrong or bad. But we could also open up to the vast new positive influence of the time of Christ. I don’t know about you, but this is the perfect sop to my self-image–like I’ll be darned if I’m going to pass up a golden opportunity for higher consciousness just because I’ve got a few more years on the chassis than these young whippersnappers coming in now!

The time of Christ seems characterized by a much greater Self-authority than before, by which I mean, there is a natural gradient now toward awakening to unity, and our greater Selves know this. It will be much more fluid, with you being the teacher today and me being the teacher tomorrow, and with neither of us having an ego-investment in that. Truth is the teacher now, and we are here to help each other tune into that. Of course we don’t know it perfectly all the time, but any need for shame about that is entirely obsolete. Each day brings lessons that are blessings and only blessings, for they are leading toward ynity in relationship, where all is love and only love.

So, in this New Year, make some good resolutions! You are beloved of God. You cannot lose. You can slumber more. . .OR you can open up to a great Godward current operating now in this new time of Christ. Just try to take each day as new, fresh, unencumbered by past fears and misunderstandings. If there is fear there is also Help available for seeing things in a new and loving Light. If there is pain, there is also Hope in the same experience.

May each day be truly new for you and yours in this New Year. Happy New Year indeed!

The embrace is inclusive. All are chosen. (Jesus in 1.12, A Treatise on the New, A Course of Love)

Forgive Your Brother and the Atonement Is Mutual

“He [your brother, everyone] can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you tell him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist. (T-14.III.7)”

Our true reality has not been affected by hurts, pain, suffering inflicted on us in this illusory world. Our brother has not really hurt us in any actually “true” way. It is all madness.

It sometimes helps, when a brother is attacking us, to think, “This is insanity. He is just being insane.” This is the absolute truth, and saying this type of understanding, silently, touches our hearts with the truth, and we can overlook what is happening. Because nothing has actually happened, in truth, there is nothing to forgive. But forgiveness is the one illusion that doesn’t build on others. Our forgiveness in this illusory world paves the way for the true reality, the real world. And our forgiveness softens our heart toward our brother.

In this quotation, Jesus is speaking on the level that to forgive is not even required, because nothing real has happened. Sometimes, in A Course in Miracles, Jesus speaks on another level, when he encourages us to forgive as the pathway to salvation. On this other level, forgiveness is seen as our function in this illusory, ruled by the ego of both ourselves and that of our brother.

In Accepting Atonement, Give Up Guilt and Its Madness

“When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realize there is no guilt in God’s Son. (T-13.I.6)”

We give up guilt by accepting correction, by accepting the Atonement! So this gives us motivation indeed. We don’t realize yet that it is guilt that has driven us mad (though A Course in Miracles tells us this). We easily and willingly will give up guilt when we know that there is a better way to live. We think that we are not good enough, that we have made sinful mistakes that keep us from being justified. But our mistakes are imminently forgivable. Jesus tells us that our concept of a mistake as a sin is largely causing us all of our misperceptions.

We think that we are guilty of deep, dark wrongs that can, in truth, never be corrected. But this is not so.
We know that mistakes are correctable, even in our deluded world. At least some mistakes. And Jesus says that all mistakes are forgivable.

What more do we really need to know? Isn’t this motivation the real reason that we are intrigued with the concept of Atonement?