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A Course in Miracles

Chapter 21 - Imagined World

Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that; but though it is no more than that, it is not less.

Therefore, to you it is important.

It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition.

"As a man thinketh," so does he perceive. Proverbs 23:7

Therefore, seek not to change the world, but will to change your mind about the world.

Perception is a result, not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything; and where there is no meaning, there is chaos.

Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God.

If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him.

If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free.

There is no choice that lies between these two decisions, and you will see the witness to the choice you made, and learn from this to recognize which one you chose.

The Imagined World

Never forget the world the sightless “see” must be imagined, for what it really looks like is unknown to them.

They must infer what could be seen from evidence forever indirect; and reconstruct their inferences as they stumble and fall because of what they did not recognize, or walk unharmed through open doorways which they thought were closed. And so it is with you.

You do not see.

Your cues for inference are wrong, and so you stumble and fall down upon the stones you did not recognize, but fail to be aware you can go through the doors you thought were closed, but which stand open before unseeing eyes, waiting to welcome you.

How foolish it is to attempt to judge what could be seen instead.

It is not necessary to imagine what the world must look
like. It must be seen, before you recognize it for what it is. You can be shown which doors are open, and you can see where safety lies; and which way leads to darkness, which to light.

Judgment will always give you false directions, but vision shows you where to go.

Why should you guess?

There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget. It is not this you would deny.

Your question is whether the means by which this course is learned will bring to you the joy it promises.

If you believed it would, the learning of it would be no problem. You are not happy learners yet, because you still remain uncertain that vision gives you more than judgment does, and you have learned that both you cannot have.

The Blind

The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome; and still
believing this, they hold those lessons dear and cling to them because they cannot see.

They do not understand the lessons keep them blind.

This they do not believe, and so they keep the world they learned to “see” in their imagination, believing
that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain, and everything they think is in it, serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived.

Thus they define their life and where they live, adjusting to it as they think they must, afraid to lose the little that they have. And so it is with all who see the body as all they have, and all their brothers have.

They try to reach each other, and they fail, and fail again.

And they adjust to loneliness, believing that to keep the body is to save the little that they have.

Listen—Can You Remember?

Listen, and try to think if you remember what we will speak of now.

Listen—perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered.

Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little whisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular; but you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you. The notes are nothing. Yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you.

You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then; and yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this.

 

A Course in Miracles Original Edition

A Course in Miracles is a self-study curriculum that guides students toward a spiritual way of life by restoring their contact with what it calls the Holy Spirit.

WHAT IS A COURSE IN MIRACLES?

PRODIGAL SON STORY

WHAT ARE THE WORKBOOK EXCERCISES FOR?

 

What Vision Can Show You

Listen—and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago, and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.

Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle; and all the circle fills with light before your eyes.

The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all.

The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining, and with no break or limit anywhere.

Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity, nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.

This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well.

Here is the sight of him who knows his Father. Here is the memory of what you are; a part of this, with all of it within, and joined to all as surely as all is joined in you.

Accept the vision which can show you this, and not the body.

You know the ancient song, and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn the Son of God sings to his Father still.

And now the blind can see! For that same song they sing in honor of their Creator gives praise to them as well.

The blindness which they made will not withstand the memory of this song.

And they will look upon the vision of the Son of God, remembering who he is they sing of.

What is a miracle but this remembering?

And who is there in whom this memory lies not?

The light in one awakens it in all; and when you see it in each other, you are remembering for everyone.

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A Course in Miracles

Chapter 21 - Responsibility For Sight

We have repeated how little is asked of you to learn this course. It is

  • the same small willingness you need to have your whole relationship transformed to joy;
  • the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit for which He gives you everything;
  • the very little on which salvation rests;

the tiny change of mind by which the crucifixion is changed to resurrection. And being true, it is so simple that it cannot fail to be completely understood.

Rejected yes, but not ambiguous—and if you choose against it now, it will not be because it is obscure, but rather that this little cost seemed, in your judgment, to be too much to pay for peace.

This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

“I am responsible for what I see.
I chose the feelings I experience, and I decided on the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
I asked for, and received as I had asked.”

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him.

It is impossible that the happenings that come to him were not his choice.

His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing.

Sufferand you decided sin was your goal.

Be happyand you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you.

This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gave to you to give yourself; for by this gift is given you the power to release your Savior, that he may give salvation unto you.

Begrudge not then this little offering.

Withhold it, and you keep the world as now you see it. Give it away, and everything you see goes with it. Never was so much given for so little.

In the holy instant is this exchange effected and maintained. Here is the world you do not want brought to the one you do, and here the one you do is given you because you want it.

Yet for this, the power of your wanting must first be recognized.

You must accept its strength, and not its weakness. You must perceive that what is strong enough to make a world can let it go, and can accept correction if it is willing to see that it was wrong.

The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right.

This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony. and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true.

You did this to yourself.

See only this, and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your “seeing” rests. This was not given you. This was your gift to you, and to your brother. Be willing, then, to have it taken from him and be replaced with truth; and as you look upon the change in him, it will be given you to see it in yourself.

Perhaps you do not see the need for you to give this little offering.

Look closer, then, at what it is. And, very simply, see in it the whole exchange of separation for salvation.

All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things should happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own.

This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be.

This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless, and so to take it for himself and leave himself without what God has willed for him.

This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars and which you worship, and anything which threatens this seems to attack your faith, for here is it invested.

Think not that you are faithless, for your belief and trust in this is strong indeed.

The Holy Spirit can give you faith in holiness and vision to see it easily enough, but you have not left open and unoccupied the altar where the gifts belong. Where They (faith in holiness & vision to see it) should be, you have set up your idols to something else. This other will, which seems to tell you what must happen, you gave reality. And what would show you otherwise must therefore seem unreal.

All that is asked of you is to make room for truth.

You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognize again the presence of what you thought you gave away.

Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see.

The holy instant is not an instant of creation, but of recognition, for recognition comes of vision and suspended judgment. Then only it is possible to look within and see what must be there, plainly in sight, and wholly independent of inference and judgment.

Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not.

 

Faith and desire go hand in hand, for everyone believes in what he wants.

We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible.

Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose.

What you desire you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced, to make it so.

When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable. The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes.

Long ago, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire.

The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny, and so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both.

It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake.

Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over you; and if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father; effect and Source.

The Son’s creations are like his Father’s. Yet in creating them, the Son does not delude himself that he is independent of his Source.

His union with It is the Source of his creating; apart from this he has no power to create, and what he makes is meaningless. It changes nothing in creation, depends entirely upon the madness of its maker, and cannot serve to justify the madness.

Your brother thinks he made the world with you. Thus he denies creation. With you, he thinks the world he made made him. Thus he denies he made it.

Yet the truth is you were both created by a loving Father, Who created you together and as one.

See what “proves” otherwise, and you deny your whole reality. But grant that everything which seems to stand between you, keeping you from each other and separate from your Father, you made in secret, and the instant of release has come to you.

All its effects are gone because its source has been uncovered. It is its (effect's) seeming independence of its source that kept you prisoner. This is the same delusion that you are independent of the Source by which you were created, and have never left.

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A Course in Miracles

Chapter 21 - Faith and, Belief and Vision

All special relationships have sin as their goal, for they are bargains with reality, toward which the seeming union is adjusted.

Forget not this; to bargain is to set a limit, and any brother with whom you have a limited relationship you hate.

You may attempt to keep the bargain in the name of “fairness,” sometimes demanding payment of yourself, perhaps more often of the other. Thus in the “fairness” you attempt to ease the guilt that comes from the accepted purpose of the relationship.

And that is why the Holy Spirit must change its purpose to make it useful to Him and harmless unto you.

If you accept this change, you have accepted the idea of making room for truth. The source of sin is gone. You may imagine that you still experience its effects, but it is not your purpose, and you no longer want it.

No one allows a purpose to be replaced while he desires it, for nothing is so cherished and protected as is a goal the mind accepts. This it will follow,
grimly or happily, but always with faith and with the persistence that faith inevitably brings.

The power of faith is never recognized if it is placed in sin. But it is always recognized if it is placed in love.

Why is it strange to you that faith can move mountains?

This is indeed a little feat for such a power. For faith can keep the Son of God in chains as long as he believes he is in chains, and when he is released from them, it will be simply because he no longer believes in them, withdrawing faith that they can hold him and placing it in his freedom instead.

It is impossible to place equal faith in opposite directions. What faith you give to sin you take away from holiness; and what you offer holiness has been removed from sin.

Faith and belief and vision are the means by which the goal of holiness is reached.

Through them the Holy Spirit leads you to the real world, and away from all illusions where your faith was laid. This is His direction, the only one He ever sees. And when you wander, He reminds you there isbut one.

His faith and His belief and vision are all for you, and when you have accepted them completely instead of yours, you will have need of them no longerl; for faith and vision and belief are meaningful only before the state of certainty is reached. In Heaven they are unknown. Yet Heaven is reached through them.

It is impossible that the Son of God lack faith, but he can choose where he would have it be.

Faithlessness Is Not Lack of Faith

Faithlessness is not a lack of faith, but faith in nothing. Faith given to illusions does not lack power, for by it does the Son of God believe that he is
powerless.

Thus is he faithless to himself, but strong in faith in his illusions about himself.

For faith, perception and belief you made as means for losing certainty and finding sin. This mad direction was your choice, and by your faith in what you chose, you made what you desired.

The Holy Spirit has a use for all the means for sin by which you sought to find it. But as He uses them, they lead away from sin, because His purpose lies in the opposite direction.

He sees the means you use, but not the purpose for which you made them. He would not take them from you, for He sees their value as a means for what He wills for you.

You made perception that you might choose among your brothers, and seek for sin with them.

The Holy Spirit sees perception as a means to teach you that the vision of a holy relationship is all you want to see.

Then will you give your faith to holiness, desiring and believing in it because of your desire. Faith and belief become attached to vision, as all the means that once served sin are redirected now toward holiness. For what you think is sin is limitation, and whom you try to limit to the body, you hate because you fear.

In your refusal to forgive him, you would condemn him to the body because the means for sin are dear to you, and so the body has your faith and your belief.

But holiness would set your brother free, removing hatred by removing fear, not as a symptom, but at its source.

Those who would free their brothers from the body can have no fear. They have renounced the means for sin by choosing to let all limitations be removed. Desiring to look upon their brothers in holiness, the power of belief and faith goes far beyond the body, supporting vision, not obstructing it.

But first they chose to recognize how much their faith had limited their understanding of the world, desiring to place its power elsewhere should another point of view be given them.

The miracles which follow this decision are also born of faith. For all who choose to look away from sin are given vision and are led to holiness.

 

Faith In Sacrifice

Those who believe in sin must think the Holy Spirit asks for sacrifice, for this is how they think their purpose is accomplished.

Brothers, the Holy Spirit knows that sacrifice brings nothing.

He makes no bargains; and if you seek to limit Him, you will hate Him because you are afraid.

The gift that He has given you is more than anything that stands this side of Heaven.

The instant for its recognition is at hand. Join your awareness to what has been already joined.

The faith you give each other can accomplish this.

For He Who loves the world is seeing it for you, without one spot of sin upon it, and in the innocence which makes the sight of it as beautiful as Heaven.

Your faith in sacrifice has given it great power in your sight; except you do not realize you cannot see because of it.

For sacrifice must be exacted of a body, and by another body. The mind could neither ask it nor receive it of itself, and no more could the body.

The intention is in the mind, which tries to use the body to carry out the means for sin in which the mind believes.

Thus is the joining of mind and body an inescapable belief of those who value sin. And so is sacrifice invariably a means for limitation, and thus for hate.

Think you the Holy Spirit is concerned with this?

He gives not what it is His purpose to lead you from.

You think He would deprive you for your good, but “good” and “deprivation” are opposites and cannot meaningfully join in any way.

It is like saying that the moon and sun are one because they come with night and day, and so they must be joined; yet sight of one is but the sign the other has disappeared from sight, nor is it possible that what gives light be one with what depends on darkness to be seen.

Neither demands the sacrifice of the other; yet on the absence of the other does each depend.

The body was made to be a sacrifice to sin, and in the darkness, so it still is seen; yet in the light of vision it is looked upon quite differently.

You can have faith in it to serve the Holy Spirit’s goal, and give it power to serve as means to help the blind to see, but in their seeing they look past it, as do you.

The faith and the belief you gave it belongs beyond.

You gave perception and belief and faith from mind to body. Let them now be given back to what produced them, and can use them still to save itself from what it made.

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