“Today’s idea but states the simple truth that makes the thought of sin impossible. It promises there is no cause for guilt, and being causeless it does not exist…” Workbook page 294, Lesson 156
Lesson 156 deals with a key concept of A Course in Miracles: ideas or thoughts cannot leave their source; this premise is the key to the Atonement. Following on from the quotation above, we read: “It follows surely from the basic thought so often mentioned in the text; ideas leave not their source. If this be true, how can you be apart from God? How could you walk the world alone and separate from your Source?” If we remain an idea in the Mind of God, and ideas do not leave their source, then we are still one with God and with each other. This implies that the separation or the fall never took place, and so we have nothing to feel guilty about, as the passage quoted above states.
In Chapter 26 of the Text the above point is explained in detail in the section entitled The Laws of Healing. We are told that this world is a projection and appears to be outside us but this is an illusion. “Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them. Ideas are of the mind. What is projected out, and seems to be external to the mind, is not outside at all, but an effect of what is in, and has not left its source.” T554. The world of form appears to exist but the Course insists that it only exists in our minds. The fact the vast majority of us actually believe there is a world out there doesn’t make it true. “Illusions are illusions and are false. Your preference gives them no reality. Not one is true in any way, and all must yield with equal ease to what God gave as answer to them all…” T555.
Then it is explained that our only function here is forgiveness as it will replace our feelings of guilt with joy. “Perhaps you do not see the role forgiveness plays in ending death and all beliefs that rise from mists of guilt. Sins are beliefs that you impose between your brother and yourself. They limit you to time and place, and give a little space to you, another little space to him…” T555. In other words, our beliefs make us appear to be separate from others but this is simply a result of projection from the mind because we want to be individuals and have autonomy from God. But through forgiveness we can overcome these feelings of separation. “Forgiveness takes away what stands between your brother and yourself. It is the wish that you be joined with him, and not apart…” The discussion about forgiveness takes place in the section entitled, The Laws of Healing, precisely because forgiveness will heal us and bring about our salvation. It is useful to remember that forgiveness in ACIM means letting go of illusions. As we let go of our illusions, we remember our unity with God and with each other.
“Salvation, perfect and complete, asks but a little wish that what is true be true; a little willingness to overlook what is not there; a little sigh that speaks for Heaven as a preference to the world that death and desolation seem to rule…” T556. If we think about it, death and desolation do appear to rule our world. All living things must die, and during our lives we will, at one time or another, experience loss and desolation. How could a loving God be responsible for this transient world of form? The only thing responsible for the world is the ego but, fortunately, it is not a real world but an unreal one, projected out from the mind and appearing to be real. If we remember that then we can smile and remind ourselves: “I walk with God in perfect holiness.”
The following evocative passage in Lesson 156 talks about our holiness and the holiness of all living things. “There is a light in you which cannot die; whose presence is so holy that the world is sanctified because of you. All things that live bring gifts to you, and offer them in gratitude and gladness at your feet. The scent of flowers is their gift to you. The waves bow down before you, and the trees extend their arms to shield you from the heat…The light in you is what the universe longs to behold. All living things are still before you, for they recognize Who walks with you. The light you carry is their own. And thus they see in you their holiness, saluting you as savior and as God…” W294. Notice the reference in this passage to the fact that the divine light within us is shared with all living things. Perhaps we should treat all living things—people, animals, trees, plants and Mother Earth herself—with respect and love. Perhaps we should remember to say Namaste to all living things, since we are all holy and we are all One.
Lesson 156 entreats us to ask ourselves: “Who walks with me?” And when we finally set aside our doubts and acknowledge that God walks with us, perhaps we will awaken from our dream world altogether.
“I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world,
I light my mind and all the minds which God created one with me.” W295.
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