ACIM Text Reading for May 20
Chapter 16 ~ The Forgiveness of Illusions
II. The Power of Holiness
You may still think that holiness is impossible to understand, because you cannot see how it can be extended to include everyone. And you have been told that it must include everyone to be holy. Concern yourself not with the extension of holiness, for the nature of miracles you do not understand. Nor do you do them. It is their extension, far beyond the limits you perceive, that demonstrates you do not do them. Why should you worry how the miracle extends to all the Sonship when you do not understand the miracle itself? One attribute is no more difficult to understand than is the whole. If miracles are at all, their attributes would have to be miraculous, being part of them.
There is a tendency to fragment, and then to be concerned about the truth of just a little part of the whole. And it is but a way of avoiding, or looking away from the whole, to what you think you might be better able to understand. For this is but another way in which you would still try to keep understanding to yourself. A better and far more helpful way to think of miracles is this: You do not understand them, either in part or in whole. Yet they have been done through you. Therefore your understanding cannot be necessary. Yet it is still impossible to accomplish what you do not understand. And so there must be Something in you that does understand.
To you the miracle cannot seem natural, because what you have done to hurt your mind has made it so unnatural that it does not remember what is natural to it. And when you are told what is natural, you cannot understand it. The recognition of the part as whole, and of the whole in every part is perfectly natural, for it is the way God thinks, and what is natural to Him is natural to you. Wholly natural perception would show you instantly that order of difficulty in miracles is quite impossible, for it involves a contradiction of what miracles mean. And if you could understand their meaning, their attributes could hardly cause you perplexity.
You have done miracles, but it is quite apparent that you have not done them alone. You have succeeded whenever you have reached another mind and joined with it. When two minds join as one and share one idea equally, the first link in the awareness of the Sonship as one has been made. When you have made this joining as the Holy Spirit bids you, and have offered it to Him to use as He sees fit, His natural perception of your gift enables Him to understand it, and you to use His understanding on your behalf. It is impossible to convince you of the reality of what has clearly been accomplished through your willingness while you believe that you must understand it or else it is not real.
How can faith in reality be yours while you are bent on making it unreal? And are you really safer in maintaining the reality of illusions than you would be in joyously accepting truth for what it is, and giving thanks for it? Honour the truth that has been given you, and be glad you do not understand it. Miracles are natural to the One Who speaks for God. For His task is to translate the miracle into the knowledge which it represents, and which is hidden to you. Let His understanding of the miracle be enough for you, and do not turn away from all the witnesses that He has given you to His reality.
No evidence will convince you of the truth of what you do not want. Yet your relationship with Him is real. Regard this not with fear, but with rejoicing. The One you called upon is with you. Bid Him welcome, and honour the witnesses who bring you the glad tidings He has come. It is true, just as you fear, that to acknowledge Him is to deny all that you think you know. But what you think you know was never true. What gain is there to you in clinging to it, and denying the evidence for truth? For you have come too near to truth to renounce it now, and you will yield to its compelling attraction. You can delay this now, but only a little while. The host of God has called to you, and you have heard. Never again will you be wholly willing not to listen.
This is a year of joy, in which your listening will increase and peace will grow with its increase. The power of holiness and the weakness of attack are both being brought into your awareness. And this has been accomplished in a mind firmly convinced that holiness is weakness and attack is power. Should not this be a sufficient miracle to teach you that your Teacher is not of you? But remember also that whenever you listened to His interpretation the results have brought you joy. Would you prefer the results of your interpretation, considering honestly what they have been? God wills you better. Could you not look with greater charity on whom God loves with perfect love?
Do not interpret against God’s Love, for you have many witnesses that speak of it so clearly that only the blind and deaf could fail to see and hear them. This year determine not to deny what has been given you by God. Awake and share it, for that is the only reason He has called to you. His Voice has spoken clearly, and yet you have so little faith in what you heard, because you have preferred to place still greater faith in the disaster you have made. Today, let us resolve together to accept the joyful tidings that disaster is not real and that reality is not disaster. Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything. There is no greater love than to accept this and be glad. For love asks only that you be happy, and will give you everything that makes for happiness.
You have never given any problem to the Holy Spirit He has not solved for you, nor will you ever do so. You have never tried to solve anything yourself and been successful. Is it not time you brought these facts together and made sense of them? This is the year for the application of the ideas that have been given you. For the ideas are mighty forces, to be used and not held idly by. They have already proved their power sufficiently for you to place your faith in them, and not in their denial. This year invest in truth, and let it work in peace. Have faith in Him Who has faith in you. Think what you have really seen and heard, and recognise it. Can you be alone with witnesses like these?
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ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 20
Only salvation can be said to cure.
“Cure” is a word that cannot be applied to any remedy the world accepts as beneficial. What the world perceives as therapeutic is but what will make the body “better.” When it tries to heal the mind, it sees no separation from the body, where it thinks the mind exists. Its forms of healing thus must substitute illusion for illusion. One belief in sickness takes another form, and so the patient now perceives himself as well.
He is not healed. He merely had a dream that he was sick, and in the dream he found a magic formula to make him well. Yet he has not awakened from the dream, and so his mind remains exactly as it was before. He has not seen the light that would awaken him and end the dream. What difference does the content of a dream make in reality? One either sleeps or wakens. There is nothing in between.
The happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings are different from the dreaming of the world, where one can merely dream he is awake. The dreams forgiveness lets the mind perceive do not induce another form of sleep, so that the dreamer dreams another dream. His happy dreams are heralds of the dawn of truth upon the mind. They lead from sleep to gentle waking, so that dreams are gone. And thus they cure for all eternity.
Atonement heals with certainty, and cures all sickness. For the mind which understands that sickness can be nothing but a dream is not deceived by forms the dream may take. Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come, for it is but another form of guilt. Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. For sickness now is gone, with nothing left to which it can return.
Peace be to you who have been cured in God, and not in idle dreams. For cure must come from holiness, and holiness can not be found where sin is cherished. God abides in holy temples. He is barred where sin has entered. Yet there is no place where He is not. And therefore sin can have no home in which to hide from His beneficence. There is no place where holiness is not, and nowhere sin and sickness can abide.
This is the thought that cures. It does not make distinctions among unrealities. Nor does it seek to heal what is not sick, unmindful where the need for healing is. This is no magic. It is merely an appeal to truth, which cannot fail to heal and heal forever. It is not a thought that judges an illusion by its size, its seeming gravity, or anything that is related to the form it takes. It merely focuses on what it is, and knows that no illusion can be real.
Let us not try today to seek to cure what cannot suffer sickness. Healing must be sought but where it is, and then applied to what is sick, so that it can be cured. There is no remedy the world provides that can effect a change in anything. The mind that brings illusions to the truth is really changed. There is no change but this. For how can one illusion differ from another but in attributes that have no substance, no reality, no core, and nothing that is truly different?
Today we seek to change our minds about the source of sickness, for we seek a cure for all illusions, not another shift among them. We will try today to find the source of healing, which is in our minds because our Father placed it there for us. It is not farther from us than ourselves. It is as near to us as our own thoughts; so close it is impossible to lose. We need but seek it and it must be found.
We will not be misled today by what appears to us as sick. We go beyond appearances today and reach the source of healing, from which nothing is exempt. We will succeed to the extent to which we realize that there can never be a meaningful distinction made between what is untrue and equally untrue. Here there are no degrees, and no beliefs that what does not exist is truer in some forms than others. All of them are false, and can be cured because they are not true.
So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines, our chants and bits of magic in whatever form they take. We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, which will cure all ills as one, restoring saneness to the Son of God. No voice but this can cure. Today we hear a single Voice which speaks to us of truth, where all illusions end, and peace returns to the eternal, quiet home of God.
We waken hearing Him, and let Him speak to us five minutes as the day begins, and end the day by listening again five minutes more before we go to sleep. Our only preparation is to let our interfering thoughts be laid aside, not separately, but all of them as one. They are the same. We have no need to make them different, and thus delay the time when we can hear our Father speak to us. We hear Him now. We come to Him today.
With nothing in our hands to which we cling, with lifted hearts and listening minds we pray:
Only salvation can be said to cure.
Speak to us, Father, that we may be healed.
And we will feel salvation cover us with soft protection, and with peace so deep that no illusion can disturb our minds, nor offer proof to us that it is real. This will we learn today. And we will say our prayer for healing hourly, and take a minute as the hour strikes, to hear the answer to our prayer be given us as we attend in silence and in joy. This is the day when healing comes to us. This is the day when separation ends, and we remember Who we really are.
For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Workbook Lesson, Click HERE
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1318 : I’m confused. Am I living in a hologram that provides for every possibility, depending upon what choice I make, or am I living a script that is closed to anything other than what has already happened?
A: Time can be viewed as holographic in the sense that it is not linear. But our choices, as minds, are only between two alternatives: the ego’s thought system and the Holy Spirit’s thought system. That is the only content in our minds, and we are never choosing anything else. Time and form blind us to that, which is why Jesus says: “Nothing so blinding as perception of form. For sight of form means understanding has been obscured” (T.22.III.6:7,8), and time is “a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion . . . .” (W.pI.158.4:1). Time, the world, and our seeming choices in the world are all part of the ego’s strategy to keep us split off from the truth that we never truly left God. The instant the separation seemed to happen, the correction of that error occurred as well. That is what Jesus is teaching us in saying, “This world was over long ago. The thoughts that made it are no longer in the mind that thought of them and loved them for a little while” (T.28.I.1:6,7). In this sense, we are “living a script that is closed to anything other than what has already happened,” as the workbook tells us: “ The script is written. . . . we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, look back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by” (W.pI.158.4:3,5; see also W.pI.169.8:3). Our scripts are important, however, because they provide the curriculum that our Teacher can use to help us realize that we are merely dreaming that we are separate from each other and from God: “The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true” (T.28.II.7:1).
We could continue with this for many pages, but space limitations here do not allow for that. We hope, however, that this brief summary will be of help in unconfusing you. A major impediment to achieving full clarity is that our human conceptual/linguistic framework is itself an ego-derived defense against the truth, as this passage, among many others, acknowledges: “Yet time is but another phase of what does nothing. It works hand in hand with all the other attributes with which you seek to keep concealed the truth about yourself” (T.28.I.6:1,2). We have no other reference point, though, until we regain a sense of ourselves as decision-making minds and then realize we do not need defenses. Fortunately, that is exactly the kind of help Jesus provides in his course. We have listed below some other passages that pertain to your question, and we also refer you to Kenneth’s comprehensive study of time in his book, A Vast Illusion: Time According to “A Course in Miracles.”
“Each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds, you but relive the single instant when the time of terror took the place of love” (T.26.V.13:1).
“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit is the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed, because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion” (T.14.III.4:1,2,3,4).
“. . . while time lasts in your mind there will be choices. Time itself is your choice. If you would remember eternity, you must look only on the eternal. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time. As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other. If you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours” (T.10.V.14:3,4,5,6,7,8,9).
“Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death” (T.13.I.3:5,6).
“Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. . . . You would destroy time’s continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes” (T.13.VI.4:2,6).
“Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made. The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first” (T.26.V.3:3,4,5).