ACIM Text Reading for October 21
Manual for Teachers
The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasises that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasises that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.
To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. It is a method of conversion. This is not done by words alone. Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less.
The curriculum you set up is therefore determined exclusively by what you think you are, and what you believe the relationship of others is to you. In the formal teaching situation, these questions may be totally unrelated to what you think you are teaching. Yet it is impossible not to use the content of any situation on behalf of what you really teach, and therefore really learn. To this the verbal content of your teaching is quite irrelevant. It may coincide with it, or it may not. It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self-doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.
This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. How could it be otherwise? Everyone who follows the world’s curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein is the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.
Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for the teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever. Who are they? How are they chosen? What do they do? How can they work out their own salvation and the salvation of the world? This manual attempts to answer these questions.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 21
Section 5. What is the Body?
The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love. Identifying with his safety, he regards himself as what his safety is. How else could he be certain he remains within the body, keeping love outside?
The body will not stay. Yet this he sees as double safety. For the Son of God’s impermanence is “proof” his fences work, and do the task his mind assigns to them. For if his oneness still remained untouched, who could attack and who could be attacked? Who could be victor? Who could be his prey? Who could be victim? Who the murderer? And if he did not die, what “proof” is there that God’s eternal Son can be destroyed?
The body is a dream. Like other dreams it sometimes seems to picture happiness, but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born. For only love creates in truth, and truth can never fear. Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it. But we can change the purpose that the body will obey by changing what we think that it is for.
The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother, and to help him walk along the road with him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill.
You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth, and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love, and find your Self.
God is my refuge and security.
I will identify with what I think is refuge and security. I will behold myself where I perceive my strength, and think I live within the citadel where I am safe and cannot be attacked. Let me today seek not security in danger, nor attempt to find my peace in murderous attack. I live in God. In Him I find my refuge and my strength. In Him is my Identity. In Him is everlasting peace. And only there will I remember Who I really am.
Let me not seek for idols. I would come, my Father, home to You today. I choose to be as You created me, and find the Son whom You created as my Self.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) If God did not create the world or the body, who did? Moreover, who are we and how did we get here?
A) This is among the most commonly asked questions, and is certainly an understandable one. Almost all people believe that they are physical and psychological selves, living in a material universe that pre-existed their coming, and which will survive their leaving. The difficulty in understanding that this is not the case lies in the fact that we are so identified with our individual corporeal selves, that it is almost impossible to conceive of our existence on the level of the mind that is outside the world of time and space.
When the thought of separation seemed to occur, A Course in Miracles explains that the Son of God seemed to fall asleep and dream a dream, the contents of which are that oneness became multiplicity, and that the non-dualistic Mind of Christ became fragmented and separate from its Source, split into insane segments at war with themselves. As the Course explains, these fragments projected outside the mind a series of dreams or scripts that collectively constitute the history of the physical universe. On an individual level, the serial dramas our ego personalities identify as our own personal lives are also projections of our split and fragmented minds.
Thus we are all actors and actresses on the stage of life, as Shakespeare wrote, living out a dream that we experience as our individual reality, separate and apart from Who we really are as Christ. Moreover, our minds have projected many different personalities in the collective dream of the fragmented Son, complicating the whole process. Therefore, the question “How did we get here?” must be understood from this perspective of the collective and individual dream. In other words, we are not truly here, but are dreaming that we are. As A Course in Miracles states: “[We] are at home in God, dreaming of exile” (text, 169; T-10.1.2: 1). And this is how the dream seemed to happen:
Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting [to laugh] did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects (T-27.VITI.6:2-3).
These “real effects” constitute the physical world we think is our home. The following passage is perhaps the best description in the Course of the process whereby this effect came into existence, once the Son took seriously the tiny, mad idea that there could be a substitute for the Love of God. As we shall now see, this resulted in the making of the physical universe which is believed to be an opposite to Heaven:
You who believe that God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was. That one error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it, and every special relationship that you have ever made is part of it.You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. What else could come of it? Its fragmented aspects are fearful enough, as you begin to look at them. But nothing you have seen begins to show you the enormity of the original error, which seemed to cast you out of Heaven, to shatter knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions, and to force you to make further substitutions.
That was the first projection of error outward. The world arose to bide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth. For truth extends inward, where the idea of loss is meaningless and only increase is conceivable. Do you really think it strange that a world in which everything is backwards and upside down arose from this projection of error? It was inevitable (T- 1 8.1.4:1-6.-5)
But A Course in Miracles further states that the world was made as an attack on God (W-pIl.3.2:1), and this was accomplished, again, by the collective split mind of the Son that believed in its hallucinatory dreaming that it had usurped First Cause. This is the beginning of the ego’s unholy trinity that was mentioned above in question 4 on page 4. The guilt over his seeming sin of separation and usurpation demanded that the Son be punished. Consequently, the fearful Son sought to flee from his own insane projection of a wrathful, vengeful god who wished to destroy him. Therefore the Son projected his illusory guilt and fragmented self out of the mind, thereby miscreating a physical world of time and space in which he could hide from the non-physical god he believed he had dethroned and destroyed. Within these multiple dreams, the one Son appeared to split into billions of fragments, each of which became encased in a body of individual insane dreams, believing that this would render personal “protection” against the ego’s image of a wrathful god’s ultimate punishment.
It is important to note still again that we are speaking about the collective mind of the separated Son as the maker of the world. Every seemingly separated fragment is but a split-off part of that original one mind that sought to replace the One Mind of Christ. Thus, the individual fragment is not responsible for the world, but it is responsible for its belief in the reality of the world.