ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 17

ACIM Reading for January 17

A Course in Miracles

How It Came into Being

In 1977 in response to many requests for a brief introduction to A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman wrote the following, which appears as the Preface to the Course. The first two parts: “How It Came” and “What It Is,” Helen wrote herself. The final part, “What It Says,” she scribed through the process of inner dictation.

How it Came

A Course in Miracles began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. They were anything but spiritual. Their relationship with each other was difficult and often strained, and they were concerned with personal and professional acceptance and status. In general, they had considerable investment in the values of the world. Their lives were hardly in accord with anything that the Course advocates. Helen, the one who received the material, describes herself:

“Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief, I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that, ‘there must be another way.’ As if on cue I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way.”

Although their intention was serious, they had great difficulty in starting out on their joint venture. But they had given the Holy Spirit the “little willingness” that, as the Course itself was to emphasize again and again, is sufficient to enable Him to use any situation for His purposes and provide it with His power.

To continue Helen’s first-person account:

“Three startling months preceded the actual writing, during which time Bill suggested that I write down the highly symbolic dreams and descriptions of the strange images that were coming to me. Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, “This is a course in miracles.” That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significance, I am sure, lies in that. I would take down what the Voice “said” and read it to him the next day, and he typed it from my dictation. I expect he had his special assignment, too. Without his encouragement and support I would never have been able to fulfill mine. The whole process took about seven years. The Text came first, then the Workbook for Students, and finally the Manual for Teachers. Only a few minor changes have been made. Chapter titles and subheadings have been inserted in the Text, and some of the more personal references that occurred at the beginning have been omitted. Otherwise the material is substantially unchanged.”

The names of the collaborators in the recording of the Course do not appear on the cover because the Course can and should stand on its own. It is not intended to become the basis for another cult. Its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 17

Workbook Introduction

A theoretical foundation such as the Text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this Workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this Workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the Text sets forth.

The exercises are very simple. They do not require a great deal of time, and it does not matter where you do them. They need no preparation. The training period is one year. The exercises are numbered from 1 to 365. Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day.

The Workbook is divided into two main sections, the first dealing with the undoing of the way you see now, and the second with the acquisition of true perception. With the exception of the review periods, each day’s exercises are planned around one central idea, which is stated first. This is followed by a description of the specific procedures by which the idea for the day is to be applied.

The purpose of the Workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world. The exercises are planned to help you generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is equally applicable to everyone and everything you see.

Transfer of training in true perception does not proceed as does transfer of the training of the world. If true perception has been achieved in connection with any person, situation or event, total transfer to everyone and everything is certain. On the other hand, one exception held apart from true perception makes its accomplishments anywhere impossible.

The only general rules to be observed throughout, then, are: First, that the exercises be practiced with great specificity, as will be indicated. This will help you to generalize the ideas involved to every situation in which you find yourself, and to everyone and everything in it. Second, be sure that you do not decide for yourself that there are some people, situations or things to which the ideas are inapplicable. This will interfere with transfer of training. The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. It is the opposite of the way you see now.

The overall aim of the exercises is to increase your ability to extend the ideas you will be practicing to include everything. This will require no effort on your part. The exercises themselves meet the conditions necessary for this kind of transfer.

Some of the ideas the Workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.

Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the Workbookcontains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.

 

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1385: Are there any pointers or guidelines you can offer to help people make their way through the Course material? How can we get the most out of our study of the three books?

A: We will offer some general comments and then recommend other discussions and resources on this Web site.

Study Methods:

First, in keeping with its theory, there is no best or single method for studying A Course in Miracles. It is a curriculum undertaken by the student under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Jesus, and as the manual for teachers specifically states, the training is “highly individualized” (M.9.1:5; M.29.2:6). Moreover, there can be no strict guidelines or rules that apply to every individual, as circumstances, backgrounds, and abilities, among other factors, differ greatly.

With regard to reading and studying the material, Jesus does not say which should be done first, the text, the workbook, or the manual. That decision is up to each student. There is no right or wrong way of proceeding with the material. Yet, to attain a comprehensive understanding of the thought system and a solid foundation for practicing the lessons, students are encouraged to study the text at some point in their process. Jesus advises us to study it carefully, but not proceed too quickly with it, lest we plunge unnecessarily into overwhelming fear (T.I.VII.4,5; see also Question #1163). Also, in the Introduction to the workbook he explains that the “theoretical foundation … the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful” (W.in.1:1). Thus, Jesus clearly expects his students to spend time with the text at some point in their process.

A Course in Miracles: Form and Content

The Course uses metaphors, and in form has many contradictory passages. That is why it cannot be read and understood exclusively on an intellectual level. Its content and loving message of forgiveness can be understood only with the willingness of the mind that opens to the truth that it reflects. The Course’s teaching that the world is an illusion and the separation never happened is seemingly contra­dicted by the very fact that the Course itself exists in form. Clearly, then, from its inception the Course lovingly accommodates its form to be helpful to the guilt-ridden part of the mind of God’s Son who believes he is irretrievably lost because of his terrible sin. According to the ego’s logic, the guilt that follows the “sin” of separation engenders tremendous fear of punishment from an angry God. When the Course tells us God weeps and is lonely without us (T.5.VII.4; T.2.III.5), the message is that He is not an angry, vengeful God, but One Who loves us and misses us. These symbolic images are helpful to us who are able to relate to the concept of a loving father more easily than to the abstract nature of God. As Jesus tells us, “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:7); and “Yet must It [Teacher of Oneness] use the language that this mind can understand, in the condition in which it thinks it is” (T.25.I.7:4).

These lines explain the metaphors used in the Course, as well as the levels of teaching. Since we believe we are in the world, Jesus teaches us from our level of experience. Having chosen to identify with the body, we think and act and “reason” like bodies, so the Course comes to us in a form we can understand, and uses numerous metaphors, poetic imagery, and symbols to speak to us of the Love we have denied and forgotten.

Again, the Course has to meet us where we are, and where we are is in a world that is very complex. But this is because our world has come from a very complex thought system, the thought system that dominates our minds. Therefore, if Jesus is going to be able to help us, the context of his teaching has to be this immense complexity of both our outer and inner worlds. That is what he means when he says, “This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed” (C.in.3:1). Complexity is the name of the ego’s game, he tells us in the text (T-15.IV.6:2). His teachings must address this complexity in order to undo it.

Thus, when we start out with the Course, it can indeed appear to be hopelessly complex, but, again, that is because it is meeting us where we are. Its purpose, though, is to lead us out of that complexity to the “simplicity of salvation” (T.31.I), when we will all finally realize that “what is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1). That is the simple truth, hidden behind the vast complexity of both the ego thought system in our minds and the world that has come from it.

Anyone at all can benefit from A Course in Miracles. One does not have to be an intellectual to learn from it and use it as a spiritual path. Nonetheless, it is obvious that it is written on a high intellectual level with sophisticated metaphysical, theological, and psychological concepts integrated into the teaching throughout the three books. Much of it is written in blank verse. Thus, a reader/student who is not intellectually inclined and has no background in these areas might have difficulty understanding a great deal of the material. This does not mean, though, that such a person could not be helped by read­ing through it and doing the exercises in the workbook. If the person comes away from the Course being more kind, more loving, and reassured of God’s Love, and less angry, depressed, and fearful, then its purpose has been fulfilled. On the other hand, there have been many highly educated people who were not able relate to the Course at all. They will find another path more suitable to their needs and inclinations.

The Course says of itself that it is only one among many thousands of other forms of the universal course (M.1.4). It does not have to be for everyone. Some religions have claimed that theirs is the only true religion, the only way to be reconciled with God. A Course in Miracles is not among them. Rather, the clear implication throughout the Course is that all people will eventually find a path that will lead them to God. It does not have to be this one.

Finally, the structure and flow of the text can be likened more to a symphony with themes introduced, set aside, reintroduced, and developed than to the linear progression of ideas usually found in an aca­demic textbook, which systematically increase in complexity. This results in an interlocking matrix in which every part is integral and essential to the whole, while implicitly containing that whole within itself. Thus, the same material consistently recurs, both within the Course as a thought system as well as in the learning opportunities in our personal lives. The process of learning, therefore, resembles the ascent up a spiral staircase, with the reader led in a circular pattern, each revolution leading higher until the top of the spiral is reached, which opens unto God. The lovely rhythm of blank verse in much of the text enhances the impact of recurring themes.

The only specifications for the workbook lessons are given in its Introduction: “Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day” (W.in.2:6). It is advisable for students to read this Introduction before beginning the lessons, and to reread it occasionally thereafter. Another important principle in the Introduction pertains to the student’s orientation: “Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required” (W.in.9).

Lessons may be repeated if desired. If it is a particularly meaningful or difficult lesson, it could be a good idea to stay with it for a couple of days or so. However, there is a risk in thinking that a lesson needs to be done perfectly before moving on to the next one. This would be a trap, because it is unlikely that many of us will ever do any of the lessons perfectly. If we could, we would have reached such an advanced state of spiritual growth that we would not need the lessons at all.

The middle of Lesson 95 is helpful in knowing what to do if several days or weeks are missed in practicing the lessons. Importantly, it is not necessary to begin all over again. The instruction in Lesson 95 focuses on recognizing the ways in which the ego creeps into the process, and that we ought to respond to “our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions” (W.pI.95.8:3) with forgiveness. That is the key. Jesus does not keep track of how punctual we are in following the instructions for the day; his interest is only in helping us train our minds to think more and more in terms of forgiveness, and then eventually to generalize our learning to every aspect of our lives and experience.

The core idea is that we be sincere in our attempts to study and practice what the workbook teaches, aware that we all have strong resistance, yet are willing to forgive ourselves for our often inadequate efforts. As long as we continue to study and apply the lessons as we are instructed, we will make progress. It is important to focus on the content, rather than the form. What matters is making a sincere effort to follow the instructions as carefully as we can, without judging ourselves when we fail. Indeed, we can say that the purpose of doing the lessons is to do them wrong and then forgive our mis­takes. This would reflect our ultimate forgiveness of ourselves for the mistake of separating from our Creator-Source.

The manual for teachers, the third book, is the easiest and most approachable of the three. The Course helps us realize that we are all teachers and students of each other, and that there is no line separating teachers and students. As we teach we learn, and as we learn we teach; but this has nothing to do with a formal teaching setting. The meaning is that we teach by demonstration. A Course in Miracles is never concerned with form (body) but only content (mind). The manual comes in question and answer form, with the questions addressing some of the more important themes found in the Course itself. There is an appendix to the manual, which Helen took down a couple years after the Course was com­pleted. This is called the clarification of terms, which in a sense is like a glossary of some of the key terms that are used in the Course, the ostensible purpose being to define them for the Course’s stu­dents. What one finds, however, is that if you do not already know what the word means, the clarification of terms probably will not be helpful. What it is, however, is a lovely, and many times poetic summary of what these terms mean. It is another way of revisiting what we already have.
——–

Further discussion of the ideas discussed above, and other areas that may be of interest to those becoming acquainted with A Course in Miracles follow.

Clicking on any of the question numbers will take you to the full discussion of that issue. 

The Course’s Christian context and masculine language: 15

The Course’s nondualistic metaphysics: 6851059231096iv1118

The symphonic nature of the Course: 1145

The academic, intellectual level of the text: 4011501170

Levels of teaching: 2172431068

The goal of the Course: 204235429885941

Having a partner with whom to learn the lessons: 223

Joining a group: 12105276493

Practicing the Course while part of mainstream religion: 23; see also, ACIM/other thought systems

Jesus as the author of the Course: 1101564799401096ii

Being normal: 634

Best study methods: 105203782ii1163

Suggested Readings available on the Foundation’s Web site:

http://www.facim.org/teach.htm

Glossary of major terms used in the Course—http://www.facim.org/acim/glossary.htm
Summary of the Theory of A Course in Miracles—http://www.facim.org/acim/theory.htm
Excerpts Series, “The Metaphysics of Separation and Forgiveness.”—
http://www.facim.org/excerpts/mpseries.htm

Online Bookstore—http://www.facim.org/bookstore

All publications authored by Kenneth Wapnick:

Introductory-level programs: A Talk Given on “A Course in Miracles” (book); What Is “A Course in Miracles”? – Theory and Practice (cd, mp3); An Introduction to “A Course in Miracles” (dvd).

Line-by-line commentaries: Journey through the Workbook of “A Course in Miracles”; Journey through the Manual for Teachers of “A Course in Miracles”; “What It Says”: From the Preface of “A Course in Miracles.” Forthcoming: Journey through the Text of “A Course in Miracles.”

The scribing of A Course in Miracles: Absence from Felicity: Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of “A Course in Miracles.”

In-depth analysis of theory and practice: The Message of “A Course in Miracles” – Vol. One: All Are Called; Vol. Two: Few Choose to Listen.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Reading for December 23

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

       AWAKE IN STILLNESS

    Peace cover you, within without the same,
    In shining silence and in peace so deep
    No dream of sin and evil can come near
    Your quiet mind. And then in stillness wake.
    First there is silence; then awakening.
    Now is the time appointed for the end
    Of dreaming. Still the cradle where you come
    To be reborn. The Christ is stirring in
    The home that He has chosen as His Own.
    His vision rests upon your eyes, and soon
    You will behold His face, and will forget
    The fantasies that seemed to be so real
    Until the stillness came. The Son of God
    Has come to join you now. His shining hand
    Is on your shoulder. And God’s silent Voice
    Speaks ceaselessly of Heaven. You will hear
    His single message calling to His Own
    From His abiding place, to wake in God.

             By Helen Schucman,
             January 15, 1974
             From The Gifts of God©, p. 73
             Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace
***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 357

Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself.

Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #729: Are Buddha and Christ the same, and is Enlightenment some kind of amnesia?

A: From the point of view of A Course in Miracles, the difference between Buddha and Christ is that Christ always remains part of God in Heaven as “the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him” (C.5.3:1). Buddha would be considered, as would any other enlightened being, a symbol within the dream of separation representing the healed mind; that is, the separated mind that has accepted the Atonement and therefore knows the separation to be illusory. Christ, however, was never part of the illusion, but we retain within our minds (the right mind) the memory of our true Identity as Christ. Enlightenment, thus, is a remembrance, not a forgetting (amnesia), unless that were to mean forgetting everything that is not true. In the workbook Jesus explains his idea of enlightenment: “Why wait for Heaven? Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home” (W.pI.188.1).

See Question #261 for further comments about the path of Buddhism.


Q #730: Is there any method Jesus teaches in the Course about how we can deal with the fact that, while we may have mentally understood that forgiveness and waiting, etc., are the prime tools of “reaching” Christ consciousness/God/coming home (whatever you want to call it), the emotional body/ego may not want to oblige with this? Is there a method to “heal” the emotional body? Reading the Course or books by the Dalai Lama, which are all about love, has a very positive effect on me, and I seem to be touching that “undoing” moment every now and then, but is there any “method” that would make it easier to keep these feelings/attitudes up throughout the day? I found that telling these things “mentally” to me, won’t always do the job. Neither does “re-programming” or any of these “methods”. Would regular meditation (with the Course) do? Does Jesus recommend meditation?

A: The approach of A Course in Miracles to resistance is different from what one would normally expect. Jesus teaches us that what would be most helpful is just to be aware of our resistance and not to fight it or force ourselves — via affirmations, for example — to say and think what we are “supposed” to think and say (the exercises in the lessons). An essential part of the healing process is the humble acknowledgment that in one part of our minds we are terrified of accepting the truth about ourselves and therefore strenuously resisting learning and practicing the Course. We do not want to lose this self, though false, that we have made such an effort to sustain; we do not want to have to admit that we have been wrong about everything. Those fears would account for our “forgetting” or not being able to keep the experiences of the holy instant when we have for the moment set aside our egos.

Thus, while this is a course in mind training, the focus of the training is largely on searching our minds for ego thoughts and then looking at them without judgment, while recognizing at the same time that these thoughts are costing us the awareness of the love and peace that also reside in our minds: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2).

The lessons in the workbook are carefully designed to start us off where we are — namely, strongly identified with a physical/emotional self — and gradually lead us inward to the identity we have repressed, that of a decision-making mind that lucidly chooses every minute of every day to reinforce its belief that it is separate from God or to undo that belief through recognizing that we all share the same interest and goal. In general, this is Jesus’ approach to resistance. There is nothing wrong in your meditating, if that is helpful to you, but meditation is not a major aspect of the Course’s mind-training process.

Your concern is shared by most students, and we have discussed it in several other Questions — see, for example numbers: 3592125129210, and 302.

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Reading for December 22

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

Lesson 356

Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #731: I was brought up to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient, knowing everything that is, that has been, and that ever will be. So before God created the world, He must have known what exactly was going to happen — who was going to go to hell and who wasn’t. So if, as A Course in Miracles says, the world is a dream that I am making up, then is what I have written just my ego strategy to hold God responsible for my sin and not myself, to say that I cannot be a sinner because I never really had a choice anyway since it was all pre-ordained in God’s Mind? Thus when I stand before God to be judged and my name is not in the book of life, I can present this as my defense to God before being cast into the lake of fire, to avoid damnation or at least to try to. But if God knows everything in advance, then God is powerless to change the future and He cannot be omnipotent. Is this my get-out- clause to avoid an imaginary punishment from God, my ego’s attempt to be innocent, to see itself or me as just an innocent victim not responsible for its own sin at all, putting the guilt on God and not myself?

A: You can look at what you’ve described, as you say, simply as your ego’s efforts to shift blame outside yourself onto an unfair, victimizing God, if you note these apparent contradictions but do not seriously question the basic premises you seemed to learn as a child. But you can also look at what you’re thinking as the beginning of a right-minded realization that there is something wrong with this traditional concept of God that is found in most religions of the world, where God is the Creator of the world, Who put you here along with everyone else. For there are some logical contradictions in this traditional view of an infinite and perfect God as the Creator of a finite and imperfect world, that many of the greatest religious and spiritual thinkers and philosophers across the ages have not been able to reconcile.

The Course is relatively unique among the world’s spiritualities in asserting that God has nothing to do with and can in no way be responsible for the limited world of time and space — some of the Gnostic teachings of two thousand years ago held to a similar position and presented arguments much like the ones you offer above (for a comprehensive presentation of these issues as found in the Western spiritual tradition, see Kenneth Wapnick’s Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles). And of course, the Course goes one step further to assert that this world is an illusion and does not exist in reality (e.g., W.pI.132.6:1,2,3), despite our experiences to the contrary.

If there were any force, personal or impersonal, outside of our own minds, that could be held responsible for any aspect of the world and our experience in it, then we would indeed be victims. But the Course’s position on this is uncompromising, presented clearly early in the workbook: “I am not the victim of the world I see” because “I have invented the world I see” (W.p.I.31,32). And so it is central to the Course’s teaching that neither God nor Jesus nor the Holy Spirit can intervene in either the world or in our minds (e.g., T.2.VII.1:4,5,6). For if they could, we would not have complete responsibility for our experience, and we could legitimately feel victimized by their failure to intervene. It is the purpose of the Course to return to our awareness the power of our mind to choose, and not to look outside of ourselves to find someone else either to blame or to supplicate.

In the Course’s own words, “Let us today be truly humble, and accept what we have made as what it is. The power of decision is our own. Decide but to accept your rightful place as co- creator of the universe [of spirit], and all you think you made [the world of bodies] will disappear. What rises to awareness then will be all that there ever was, eternally as it is now. And it will take the place of self-deceptions made but to usurp the altar to the Father and the Son” (W.p.I.152.8).

HelenandBillat1W.81stStreetNYC

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 20

ACIM Reading for December 20

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BENEDICTION
Angels are Thoughts that come from God to you.
Secure in their protection may you rest;
Quiet in certainty that comes from them,
At peace in mind and heart and holiness;
Unmindful of the world, and sure that they
Are with you, watching over you, and fixed
In their determination to maintain.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 20

Lesson 354

We stand together, Christ and I, in peace 
And certainty of purpose. And in Him 
Is His Creator, as He is in me.

My oneness with the Christ establishes me as Your Son, beyond the reach of time, and wholly free of every law but Yours. I have no self except the Christ in me. I have no purpose but His Own. And He is like His Father. Thus must I be one with You as well as Him. For who is Christ except Your Son as You created Him? And what am I except the Christ in me?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #305: Does “I need do nothing” mean that it’s not OK to consciously try to develop new habits to replace the old fear based ones, like avoiding eye contact or speaking softly or giving up too soon, etc….How can I get over these things if I don’t do anything about them? Lesson 135 in A Course in Miracles says that planning for things is a defense and should be avoided. However, I feel that if I don’t plan or practice ahead of time I won’t be able to function: I won’t know what to say or do when the moment arises. I am really quite stalled here. Perhaps I am misinterpreting all of this. Can you somehow clear this up for me?

A: When A Course in Miracles says: “I need do nothing except not to interfere” (T.16.I.3:12) it is telling us primarily not to interfere, because that is what we do. It is not telling us to do nothing in the world or with the body. We need do nothing to be who we are (God’s Son), except remove all the beliefs that oppose that truth. That is why the Course describes the ego thought system in all its diverse forms and expressions. Lesson 135 of the workbook is a very good example of this. It exposes the defense system that is set in motion when the mind chooses to identify with the body. In no way does it suggest that any of the defenses or behaviors should be changed or avoided. That is not its goal. The goal of the Course is clearly expressed in the following instruction: “…seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”(T.21.in.7:1). We can paraphrase this important line replacing “the world” with “the body,” “your behavior,” “your habits,” “your defenses.” This is a Course in mind training, and nothing else. Understanding this distinction is essential to understanding, and more importantly, applying the principles of the Course.

Whenever the Course describes all the things we do as bodies, and the beliefs we hold, it does not tell us not to do them, nor not to believe them. It teaches by showing us the contrast between the effect of the ego belief system (pain) with the effect of the Holy Spirit’s thought system (peace). It tells us that what we do on the level of form neither causes nor resolves the problem of the separation on the level of the mind. Therefore, changing your behavioral habits because it will make you feel better about yourself is just as acceptable as any of the things we do to take care of our bodies, our houses, or our cars. As long as we believe we are bodies living in the world these things must be maintained in working order, and taken care as best we see fit.

Until our minds are healed of all belief in the separation and in our identity as bodies, our only goal must be to uncover all our hidden beliefs so they can be exchanged for the belief system of the Holy Spirit. Then the mind that is free of guilt will use the body, as described in this lesson, without defenses. This does not mean that the body will then be perfect, or not need food, or sleep, or eye glasses. It means the mind will not confuse itself with the body and will not look to it for safety or for anything. In the process of healing, we are not asked not to plan, or to try to live as if our minds were healed while they are still sick. It is always important in reading the Course to remember that it is addressing the decision making part of the mind. We are asked to choose which teacher we will consult in making our plans. The Holy Spirit tells us that as we make our plans we can remember to search our minds for all of the insane beliefs that interfere with our being able to allow His wisdom to lead us to our truth.

Webmaster’s note: see also questions #293 #289 #90.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 21

ACIM Reading for December 21

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

QUIETNESS
The world knows not of quiet. Restlessness
Is its abiding law. From there it goes
To pain and joylessness, and back again
To the unceasing restlessness on which
It stands, uncertain, insecure and frail,
Prey to illusions, victimized by guilt.
Yet quietness comes over it at last.
For when forgiveness comes, its certain gift
Is stillness, in which all the world is hushed;
A silence where the littleness of sin
Shrinks into nothingness before the Love
Forgiveness represents. And in His Name
Is everyone acknowledged as the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 21

Lesson 355

There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word. Why not today?

Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #303: My question is about grace. I’m working on Lesson 168-9 of A Course in Miracles…which says grace is not learned and grace is not the goal this course aspires to attain.…grace is the means to get vision first with knowledge but an instant later…I’m just trying to understand exactly what grace is and how one should try to attain it.

A: In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, grace is defined as “our natural state as spirit” and “an aspect of God’s love in this world (p.46). It may be helpful in reading passages in the Course which use the term grace, such as the Lessons you mention, to remember it is referring to the truth of who we are as spirit, and the reflection of God’s love present in our minds: “Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever” (T.1.III.5:4,5,6). Grace is not, therefore, something that needs to be attained, nor can it be taught or learned. It is simply the truth that will be revealed of its own when we no longer believe in our guilty, sinful selves identified with the body. Our goal is to become aware of our true identity as spirit because it is what God created us to be. God’s grace, His gift, is the identity we share with Him. The process of forgiveness, whereby we uncover all the hidden beliefs about ourselves that are in opposition to this truth, is what will lead us to the awareness of this identity and acceptance of His grace.

In other places, however, grace is spoken about somewhat differently. Grace is vision in that it is awareness of our natural state. In the passage you refer to, the Course tells us that the vision of who we are in truth will be followed instantly by knowledge of our Oneness with God, and in that instant awareness of the world disappears. That is our goal, that is grace. It is “an aspect of God’s love in this world” (Glossary, p.46) because our minds hold the memory of God’s love and the memory of our true identity as spirit, God’s innocent Son. Whenever we are willing to choose to identify with this part of our minds, rather than with the ego, we accept the grace that is ours:“Grace is acceptance of the Love of God within a world of seeming hate and fear” (W.pI.169.2:1).


Q #304: I keep thinking about what A Course in Miracles refers to as the “authority” problem. I understand it to mean that there is a constant struggle within me between what I believe is the “reason” for being here and for my life, and what God “believes” is the reason for my being here and for my life. Unfortunately — like most concepts the Course teaches — I have a feeling my understanding is missing the mark. Am I even close?

A: Actually, you are not far off the mark at all. Someone once said: “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!” Jesus tells us that the problem is much deeper than that: “The authority problem is still the only source of conflict, because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father” (T.11.in.2:3,4). This obviously is insane, as Jesus himself remarks in the continuation of that passage; yet we continue to allow this conflict to rage in our minds and to project itself out all over the place in many forms, because we believe that to submit to God as our Author and Source would be a sentence of death. Or at the very least, we could not exist as we would like to.

Jesus explains: “The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours. In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict. God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want.…You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear” (T.11.9:1,2,3; 10:3,4).

So to the extent that you value an individual, autonomous existence, you will unconsciously believe that you usurped God’s power in order to get and keep that existence and that He is coming after you to get it back. This is the one-or-the-other principle at the heart of the ego thought system, and fear is its unfortunate consequence. “To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments. This strange perception isthe authority problem” (T.3.VI.10.6,7).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 14

ACIM Reading for December 14

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

SONG TO MY SELF
I cannot be replaced. I am unique
In God’s creation. I am held so dear
By Him that it is madness to believe
That I could suffer pain or loss or fear.
Holy am I; in sinlessness complete,
In wisdom infinite, in love secure,
In patience perfect, and in faithfulness
Beyond all thought of sin, and wholly pure.
Who could conceive of suffering for me?
Surely the mind that thought it is insane.
I never left my Father’s house. What need
Have I to journey back to Him again?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 14

Lesson 348

I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

Father, let me remember You are here, and I am not alone. Surrounding me is everlasting Love. I have no cause for anything except the perfect peace and joy I share with You. What need have I for anger or for fear? Surrounding me is perfect safety. Can I be afraid, when Your eternal promise goes with me? Surrounding me is perfect sinlessness. What can I fear, when You created me in holiness as perfect as Your Own?

God’s grace suffices us in everything that He would have us do. And only that we choose to be our will as well as His.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #691: Discerning the Voice of Holy Spirit is a most important but very ambiguous issue in practicing A Course in Miracles. Helen heard this Voice clearly and unambiguously. I’m inclined to think that many lessons of the workbook took this capability of Helen into account. The designed short period of practice (one year) reinforces that in my opinion. One year seems to be too short for radically reversing the thought system of the average person. What made Helen so sensitive and attuned to this Voice? Could we be helped by inquiring into this, so that we might develop this capability?

A: Kenneth talks about Helen’s “hearing” ability in his biography of Helen, Absence from Felicity. Her hearing was somewhat “rusty” at first, he reports, but then the interferences that were there initially cleared up and the Voice was heard in its purity from then on. The lessons began about three and a half years after the scribing commenced in 1965. What made Helen “so sensitive and attuned to this Voice” was her willingness to set aside her ego completely and be in her right mind. She did not regard this as anything exceptional that she alone could do. She always told people who were tempted to see her as spiritually blessed that they could do exactly what she did; all that was required was the willingness to set aside their ego, if only for an instant. The abstract presence of love is part of everyone’s mind and hearing the Voice is only one form in which that love can be experienced. Each of us will experience it in the form we can best relate to and accept without excessive fear. The form is illusory and will fade when enough fear subsides to allow the full experience of that love into one’s awareness. Therefore, it would not make sense to make the form into a big deal.

Moreover, there is no way of our knowing where we are on our Atonement path, or where anyone else is, either. Comparisons therefore are not likely to be spiritually beneficial. Learning and practicing this Course is carried out in the context of the relationship between the student and the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The events and circumstances of our lives are meaningful, thus, only to the extent that they reflect back to us whether we have chosen the ego or Jesus as our teacher.

Finally, there certainly are lessons and parts of lessons that assume an advanced spiritual state, yet there are many others that explicitly refer to a process of learning and practice that could extend over many years, even lifetimes. And then at the very end of the workbook Jesus tells us that “this course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1). Similarly, toward the end of the text, the beginnings of chapters 30 and 31, Jesus is basically telling Helen that she is moving along well but has not yet reached the end of her process. The ability to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit is simply the process of learning to let go of one’s ego, as Jesus so clearly states in this passage, to single out one of many such passages: “You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears” (T.24.II.5:1,2). That was the essence of Helen’s process and is ours as well.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 13

ACIM Reading for December 13

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

With Thanks

No one can know just what his part will mean

When God from little lights completes a star

From what we give to Him. Each is unseen

Until the other parts from near and far

Are joined by Him into a form that He

can use to light the darkness.  In His hand

The stars are born, to shine upon the sea

And to enchant all things upon the land

And raise them Heavenward. Perhaps your gift

Is set upon a star tip, or perhaps

It shimmers at the center point, to lift

A heart from sadness. Or perhaps it caps

a silver star-side. Do not then forget

In what we value little God may see

A new-born star, unknown to us as yet

Who cannot look on glory still to be.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 13

Lesson 347

Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from me.

Father, I want what goes against my will, and do not want what is my will to have. Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick. But You have offered freedom, and I choose to claim Your gift today. And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me. He sees what I behold, and yet He knows the truth. He looks on pain, and yet He understands it is not real, and in His understanding it is healed. He gives the miracles my dreams would hide from my awareness. Let Him judge today. I do not know my will, but He is sure it is Your Own. And He will speak for me, and call Your miracles to come to me.

Listen today. Be very still, and hear the gentle Voice for God assuring you that He has judged you as the Son He loves.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #850What does the successful completion of A Course in Miracles look like? I was disappointed to read that Helen did not make it. When I was reading Absence from Felicity , I was horrified to read about the nature of Helen’s death; it seemed gruesome. How could this be? One year ago I read about the illusion of sickness and what it means. I was a chronically sick person, but once I believed that sickness was an illusion like the Matrix, I never was never sick again. This made quite an impression on me. How could Helen have died that way when I could remove sickness with a minor revelation?

A: It appears that you are confusing form and content by concluding that Helen “did not make it” because of the nature of her death. Most people would look to that as a kind of criterion of her spiritual advancement; but it would be a mistake to do so. Kenneth also stated in his account of her death that there was a totally peaceful look on her face. Jesus had told her that he would come for her when she died, and her peaceful countenance seemed to confirm that.

When we use the nature of a person’s death as a criterion, we would have to ask ourselves, Well, what about Jesus? His death was rather gruesome if you judge entirely by what appeared to happen to his body. Yet he tells us in the Course that he did not experience it as a gruesome event at all (T.6.I.5) . That was the lesson he was passing on to us and asking us to demonstrate as well: “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4) . The condition of one’s body (the form) is not necessarily an indicator of the content of one’s mind — of whether or not Jesus lives in us. In this sense, there is no way of saying what the successful completion of the Course would look like, perhaps other than to say that an inner state of undisturbed peace would somehow radiate through a person who would appear to be “normal” in every other respect. This could be a person paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, the plumber who just fixed a broken pipe in your kitchen, or the surgeon who just transplanted a liver. The beginning of Lesson 155 says of such a person that he or she would “smile more frequently” (W.pI.155.1:2) . That is all that would stand out, so to speak.

There is no way we can know the whole of another person’s Atonement path, anymore than we can know our own, and therefore we should not judge where we think a person is, spiritually. As we move along in our journey back to God and our true Self, Jesus encourages us to approach everything in our lives as classrooms in which we can gradually and gently learn that everything outside Heaven, including our individual selves, is an illusion. Thus, when we are sick or even dying, Jesus can guide us through that experience to help us learn that the peace in our minds cannot be affected by anything of the body. What a valuable lesson! He starts with wherever we are at, whatever the condition of our bodies, and he just invites us to ask him in as our teacher. That is the way most of us learn.

As your experience testifies, though, we can also learn in one instant that our bodies are completely under the control of our minds, and then there would no longer be any symptoms, unless the mind chose to use the body that way. That is not necessarily an indicator of spiritual advancement, though. We do have very powerful minds, and our bodies do only what our minds tell them to do; but the completion of our Atonement path involves much more than that.

Question #262 discusses the suffering and death of enlightened beings, along with other pertinent issues about death.

 

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 12

ACIM Reading for December 12

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Risen Sun

Be still, my soul, and rest upon the Lord
In quiet certainty. For He has come
To rescue you from doubt. And now you stand
In blazing glory of a risen sun
That cannot set. It will forever be
Exactly as it is. You stand with Him
Within a radiance prepared for you
Before time was and far beyond its reach.
Be still and know. And knowing, be you sure
Your Lord has come to you. There is no doubt
That stands before His countenance, nor can
Conceal from you what He would have you see.
The sun has risen. He has come at last.
Where stands his Presence there can be no past.
Be still, my soul, and rest upon the Lord
Who comes to keep the promise of His Word
.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 12

Lesson 346

Today the peace of God envelops me,
And I forget all things except His Love.

Father, I wake today with miracles correcting my perception of all things. And so begins the day I share with You as I will share eternity, for time has stepped aside today. I do not seek the things of time, and so I will not look upon them. What I seek today transcends all laws of time and things perceived in time. I would forget all things except Your Love. I would abide in You, and know no laws except Your law of love. And I would find the peace which You created for Your Son, forgetting all the foolish toys I made as I behold Your glory and my own.

And when the evening comes today, we will remember nothing but the peace of God. For we will learn today what peace is ours, when we forget all things except God’s Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #194: You explain in many places that A Course in Miracles is uncompromising about the fact that this world does not exist. Could you list the passages from the text and/or the workbook that explain that this is so?

A: We are listing a number of references here, and we also refer you to Q #111. This is an important issue, which actually is the foundation of the whole thought system of A Course in Miracles. You might also find our Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracleshelpful — under “world.” When the main principles are identified, then you can see how they are expressed in many different ways. For example, if only what God creates exists, and God creates only what is eternal and infinite, then anything not of God does not and could not exist, i.e., the changing, limited cosmos.

A sampling of statements:

1) “Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge.…In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist” (W.pI.43.1:1,2; 2:1,2).

2) “There is no world! This is the central concept the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3). There are other statements within this lesson that state the unreality of the world; e.g., “How can a world of time and place exist, if you remain as God created you?” (9:4); “There is no world because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His Wholeness. Can a world which comes from this idea be real? Can it be anywhere?” (13:1,2,3).

3) “I am as God created me”; “What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of love. Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created” (W.pI.158.1:1,2,3).

4) “Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts that are untrue. They are the ‘proof’ that what has no reality is real. Sin ‘proves’ God’s Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more” (W.pII.4.3).

5) “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,ff.)

6) “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion…Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19.1,2,6).

7) “God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere [through the Holy Spirit]. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him…” (T.24.III.2).

8) “This world is causeless…” (T.28.II.6:1).

9) “They [your eyes and ears] were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that make no sound” (T.28.V.5:4).

10) “What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is” (T.29.VI.2:7,8,9,10).

11) “Can what has no beginning really end? The world will end in an illusion, as it began” (M.14.1:1,2).

12) “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end” (C.4.1).

13) “What is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1).

14) “How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all” (T.31.I.1:1,2,3,4).

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 10

ACIM Reading for December 10

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE SINGING
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 10

Lesson 344

Today I learn the law of love; that what
I give my brother is my gift to me.

This is Your law, my Father, not my own. I have not understood what giving means, and thought to save what I desired for myself alone. And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me? Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth. Let my forgiven brothers fill my store with Heaven’s treasures, which alone are real. Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You.

How near we are to one another, as we go to God. How near is He to us. How close the ending of the dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #192: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly” (T.4.VI.6:3). This line has always had a strong emotional impact on me (it made me cry, boosted my confidence, etc.), but sometimes I think this line perhaps was meant only personally for Helen?

A: It must always be remembered that A Course in Miracles came for Helen and Bill in response to their joining together to find a better way of relating. Therefore, many of the comments — especially in the early chapters — were meant for them; but clearly they can be seen as applying to all of us who struggle with the same issues with which they struggled. The statement you refer to, therefore, in no way implies that they were special, a meaning our egos would immediately see in it, as the ego knows only of separation. Helen did not see herself as specially blessed in any way, and very quickly corrected anyone who regarded her as special.

Connecting this statement with two other key statements further clarifies the meaning: “All my brothers are special” and “All are called” (T.1.V.3; T.3.IV.7). While using the language of the Bible, Jesus clearly corrects the traditional view that singles out certain special people: “many are called, but few are chosen,” or groups of people: “the chosen people.” He is basically telling us that we are not mistaken in thinking that we are dear to him.

At the beginning of Lesson 93, he describes the horribly negative self-concept we harbor deep within our minds — sometimes not very far beneath the surface. And then he tells us that we are so convinced that this is the truth about us that it is difficult for him to help us see that it is all based on nothing (W.pI.93.1,2). That explains why we would tend to think that Jesus was referring only to Helen and Bill, not us, a trend of thought he later calls arrogant. When we think that way, we ought to stop and reflect on where those thoughts are coming from, and how in feeling unworthy we are really telling Jesus he is wrong about us.

 

Then, too, we must remember that although our experience at first may be that of being chosen, that is not the reality. As we get further up the ladder, our experience will be that we are really allowing ourselves to experience love more and more, and resisting it less and less.

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ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 9

ACIM Reading for December 9

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

BRIGHT STRANGER
Strange was my Love to me. For when He came
I did not know Him. And He seemed to me
To be but an intruder on my peace.
I did not see the gifts He brought, nor heard
His soft appeal. I tried to shut Him out
With locks and keys that merely fell away
Before His coming. I could not escape
The gentleness with which He looked at me.
I asked Him in unwillingly, and turned
Away from Him. But He held out His hand
And asked me to remember Him. In me
An ancient Name began to stir and break
Across my mind in gold. The light embraced
Me deep in silence till He spoke the Word,
And then at last I recognized my Lord.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 9

Lesson 343

I am not asked to make a sacrifice
To find the mercy and the peace of God.

The end of suffering can not be loss. The gift of everything can be but gain. You only give. You never take away. And You created me to be like You, so sacrifice becomes impossible for me as well as You. I, too, must give. And so all things are given unto me forever and forever. As I was created I remain. Your Son can make no sacrifice, for he must be complete, having the function of completing You. I am complete because I am Your Son. I cannot lose, for I can only give, and everything is mine eternally.

The mercy and the peace of God are free. Salvation has no cost. It is a gift that must be freely given and received. And it is this that we would learn today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1044My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, “He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear.” I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone’s peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.

A: It is important to know the context of Helen’s comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict — between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus’ will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her — meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love — and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course’s teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite — she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).

Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.

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