A Course in Miracles

Chapter 17 - Forgiveness & Healing

Fantasy and Distorted Perception

The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imagining. His reality is forever sinless. He need not be forgiven, awakened. In his dreams he has betrayed himself, his brothers and his God. Yet what is done in dreams has not been really done. It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are because of their illusion of reality. Only in waking is the full release from them, for only then does it become perfectly apparent that they had no effect on reality at all and did not change it. Fantasies change reality. That is their purpose. They cannot do so in reality, but they can do so in the mind that would have reality different.

It is, then, only your wish to change reality that is fearful because by your wish you think you have accomplished what you wish.

This strange position in a sense acknowledges your power. Yet by distorting it, and devoting it to “evil,” it also makes it unreal. You cannot be faithful to two masters who ask of you conflicting things. What you use in fantasy you deny to truth. Yet what you give to truth to use for you is safe from fantasy.

When you maintain that there must be order of difficulty in miracles, all you mean is that there are some things you would withhold from truth. You believe that truth cannot deal with them only because you would keep them from truth.

Very simply, your lack of faith in the power that heals all pain arises from your wish to retain some aspects of reality for fantasy.

If you but realized what this must do to your appreciation of the whole! What you reserve unto yourself, you take away from Him Who would release you. Unless you give it back, it is inevitable that your perspective on reality be warped and uncorrected.

As long as you would have it so, so long will the illusion of order of difficulty in miracles remain with you. For you have established this order in reality by giving some of it to one teacher and some to another. And so you learn to deal with part of truth in one way and in another way the other part. To fragment truth is to destroy it by rendering it meaningless. Orders of reality is a perspective without understanding, a frame of reference for reality to which it cannot really be compared at all.

Think you that you can bring truth to fantasy and learn what truth means from the perspective of illusions?

Truth has no meaning in illusion. The frame of reference for its meaning must be itself. When you try to bring truth to illusions, you are trying to make illusions real and keep them by justifying your belief in them. But to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal and thus enable you to escape from them. Reserve not one idea aside from truth, or you establish orders of reality which must imprison you. There is no order in reality because everything there is true.

Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him who knows the truth and in Whom all is brought to truth. [Salvation from separation will be complete or will be not at all.] Be not concerned with anything except your willingness to have this be accomplished. He will accomplish it; not you.

But forget not this:

When you become disturbed and lose your peace of mind because another is attempting to solve his problems through fantasy, you are refusing to forgive yourself for just this same attempt. And you are holding both of you away from truth and from salvation. As you forgive him, you restore to truth what was denied by both of you. And you will see forgiveness where you have given it.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 17 - Forgiveness & Healing or Bringing Fantasy to Truth

The Forgiven World

Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you?

In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely. Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness. And nothing will you value like unto this nor hold so dear. Nothing that you remember that made your heart seem to sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you. For you will see the Son of God. You will behold the beauty which the Holy Spirit loves to look upon and which He thanks the Father for. He was created to see this for you until you learn to see it for yourself. And all His teaching leads to seeing it and giving thanks with Him.

This loveliness is not a fantasy. It is the real world, bright and clean and new with everything sparkling under the open sun. Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven, and there are no fantasies to hide the truth. The bridge between that world and this is so little and so easy to cross that you could not believe it is the meeting place of worlds so different. Yet this little bridge is the strongest thing that touches on this world at all. This little step, so small it has escaped your notice, is a stride through time into eternity and beyond all ugliness into beauty that will enchant you and will never cease to cause you wonderment at its perfection.

This step, the smallest ever taken by anything, 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. The real world, in its loveliness, you learn to reach. Fantasies are all undone, and no one and nothing remains still bound by them, and by your own forgiveness, you are free to see. Yet what you see is only what you have made, with the blessing of your forgiveness on it. And with this final blessing of God's Son upon himself, the real perception, born of the new perspective he has learned, has served its purpose.

The stars will disappear in light, and the sun which opened up the world to beauty will vanish. Perception will be meaningless when it has been perfected, for everything that has been used for learning will have no function. Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations which made perception possible will occur. The perception of the real world will be so short that you will barely have time to thank God for it. For God will take the last step swiftly when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him.

The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness.

The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason which He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty which gentleness could release.

All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally transforms vision and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos and removing all illusions which had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder and a blade of grass a sign of God's perfection.

From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily into his home.

And there he knows that he has always rested there in peace. Even salvation will become a dream and vanish from his mind. For salvation is the end of dreams and with the closing of the dream will have no meaning. Who awake in Heaven could dream that there could ever be need of salvation?

How much do you want salvation? It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you. The eagerness of the Holy Spirit to give you this is so intense He would not wait, although He waits in patience. Meet His patience with your impatience at delay in meeting Him. Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer and walk with him in trust out of this world and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness.

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 17 - Forgiveness & Healing

Shadows of the Past

To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten.

Forgiveness is a selective remembering, based not on your selection. For the shadow figures you would make immortal are "enemies" of reality. Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do. The shadow figures are the witnesses you bring with you to demonstrate he did what he did not. Because you brought them, you will hear them. And you who kept them by your own selection do not understand how they came into your minds and what their purpose is.

1They represent the evil that you think was done to you. You bring them with you only that you may return evil for evil, hoping that their witness will enable you to think guiltily of another and not harm yourself. They speak so clearly for the separation that no one not obsessed with keeping separation could hear them. They offer you the "reasons" why you should enter into unholy alliances which support the ego's goals and make your relationships the witness to its power. It is these shadow figures which would make the ego holy in your sight and teach you what you do to keep it safe is really love.

The shadow figures always speak for vengeance, and all relationships into which they enter are totally insane.

Without exception, these relationships have as their purpose the exclusion of the truth about the other and of yourself. This is why you see in both what is not there and make of both the slaves of vengeance. And why whatever reminds you of your past grievances, no matter how distorted the associations by which you arrive at the remembrance may be, attracts you and seems to you to go by the name of love. And finally why all such relationships become the attempt at union through the body, for only bodies can be seen as means for vengeance. That bodies are central to all unholy relationships is evident. Your own experience has taught you this. But what you do not realize are all the reasons which go to make the relationship unholy. For unholiness seeks to reinforce itself, as holiness does, by gathering to itself what it perceives as like itself.

In the unholy relationship, it is not the body of the other with which union is attempted but the bodies of those who are not there.

Even the body of the other, already a severely limited perception of him, is not the central focus as it is or in entirety. What can be used for fantasies of vengeance and what can be most readily associated with those on whom vengeance is really sought are centered on and separated off as being the only parts of value. Every step taken in the making, the maintaining, and the breaking off of the unholy relationship is a move toward further fragmentation and unreality. The shadow figures enter more and more, and the one in whom they seem to be decreases in importance.

Time is indeed unkind to the unholy relationship. For time is cruel in the ego's hands, as it is kind when used for gentleness. The attraction of the unholy relationship begins to fade and to be questioned almost at once. Once it is formed, doubt must enter in because its purpose is impossible. The only such relationships which retain the fantasies that center on them are those which have been dreamed of but have not been made at all. Where no reality has entered, there is nothing to intrude upon the dream of happiness. Yet consider what this means-the more reality that enters into the unholy relationship, the less satisfying it becomes. And the more the fantasies can encompass, the greater the satisfaction seems to be.

The "ideal" of the unholy relationship thus becomes one in which the reality of the other does not enter at all to "spoil" the dream. And the less the other really brings to it, the "better" it becomes. Thus, the attempt at union becomes a way of excluding even the one with whom the union was sought. For it was formed to get him out of it and join with fantasies in uninterrupted "bliss." How can the Holy Spirit bring His interpretation of the body as a means of communication into relationships whose only purpose is separation from reality? What forgiveness is enables Him to do so.

If all but loving thoughts has been forgotten, what remains is eternal. And the transformed past is made like the present.

No longer does the past conflict with now. This continuity extends the present by increasing its reality and its value in your perception of it. In these loving thoughts is the spark of beauty hidden in the ugliness of the unholy relationship in which the hatred is remembered, yet there to come alive as the relationship is given to Him Who gives it life and beauty.

That is why Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone.

For separation must be corrected where it was made. The ego seeks to "resolve" its problems, not at their source, but where they were not made. And thus it seeks to guarantee there will be no solution.

The Holy Spirit wills only to make His resolutions complete and perfect, and so He seeks and finds the source of problems where it is and there undoes it. And with each step in His undoing is the separation more and more undone and union brought closer. He is not at all confused by any "reasons" for separation. All He perceives in separation is that it must be undone.

Let Him uncover the hidden spark of beauty in your relationships and show it to you. Its loveliness will so attract you that you will be unwilling ever to lose the sight of it again. And you will let it transform the relationship so you can see it more and more. For you will want it more and more and become increasingly unwilling to let it be hidden from you. And you will learn to seek for and establish conditions in which this beauty can be seen.

All this you will do gladly if you but let Him hold the spark before you to light your way and make it clear to you. God's Son is one. Whom God has joined as one, the ego cannot break apart. The spark of holiness must be safe, however hidden it may be, in every relationship. For the Creator of the one relationship has left no part of it without Himself.

This is the only part of the relationship the Holy Spirit sees because He knows that only this is true. You have made the relationship unreal and therefore unholy by seeing it where it is not and as it is not. Give the past to Him Who can change your mind about it for you. But first be sure you fully realize what you have made the past to represent and why.

In brief, the past is now your justification for entering into a continuing, unholy alliance with the ego against the present.

For the present is forgiveness. Therefore, the relationships which the unholy alliance dictates are not perceived nor felt as now. Yet the frame of reference to which the present is referred for meaning is an illusion of the past in which those elements which fit the purpose of the unholy alliance are retained and all the rest let go. And what is thus let go is all the truth the past could ever offer to the present as witnesses for its reality, while what is kept but witnesses to the reality of dreams.

It is still up to you to choose to be willing to join with truth or illusion. But remember that to choose one is to let the other go. Which one you choose, you will endow with beauty and reality because the choice depends on which you value more. The spark of beauty or the veil of ugliness, the real world or the world of guilt and fear, truth or illusion, freedom or slavery-it is all the same. For you can never choose except between God and the ego. Thought systems are but true or false, and all their attributes come simply from what they are. Only the Thoughts of God are true. And all that follows from them comes from what they are and is as true as is the holy Source from which they came.

My holy brothers, I would enter into all your relationships and step between you and your fantasies.

Let my relationship to you be real to you, and let me bring reality to your perception of your brothers. They were not created to enable you to hurt yourselves through them. They were created to create with you. This is the truth that I would interpose between you and your goal of madness. Be not separate from me, and let not the holy purpose of Atonement be lost to you in dreams of vengeance. Relationships in which such dreams are cherished have excluded me. Let me enter in the Name of God and bring you peace that you may offer peace to me.

 

 

 
 

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