ACIM Text Reading for July 13
Chapter 22 ~ Salvation and the Holy Relationship
VI. The Light of the Holy Relationship
Do you want freedom of the body or of the mind? For both you cannot have. Which do you value? Which is your goal? For one you see as means; the other, end. And one must serve the other and lead to its predominance, increasing its importance by diminishing its own. Means serve the end, and as the end is reached the value of the means decreases, eclipsed entirely when they are recognised as functionless. No one but yearns for freedom and tries to find it. Yet he will seek for it where he believes it is and can be found. He will believe it possible of mind or body, and he will make the other serve his choice as means to find it.
Where freedom of the body has been chosen, the mind is used as means whose value lies in its ability to contrive ways to achieve the body’s freedom. Yet freedom of the body has no meaning, and so the mind is dedicated to serve illusions. This is a situation so contradictory and so impossible that anyone who chooses this has no idea of what is valuable. Yet even in this confusion, so profound it cannot be described, the Holy Spirit waits in gentle patience, as certain of the outcome as He is sure of His Creator’s Love. He knows this mad decision was made by one as dear to His Creator as love is to itself.
Be not disturbed at all to think how He can change the role of means and end so easily in what God loves, and would have free forever. But be you rather grateful that you can be the means to serve His end. This is the only service that leads to freedom. To serve this end the body must be perceived as sinless, because the goal is sinlessness. The lack of contradiction makes the soft transition from means to end as easy as is the shift from hate to gratitude before forgiving eyes. You will be sanctified by your brother, using your body only to serve the sinless. And it will be impossible for you to hate what serves whom you would heal.
This holy relationship, lovely in its innocence, mighty in strength, and blazing with a light far brighter than the sun that lights the sky you see, is chosen of your Father as a means for His Own plan. Be thankful that it serves yours not at all. Nothing entrusted to it can be misused, and nothing given it but will be used. This holy relationship has the power to heal all pain, regardless of its form. Neither you nor your brother alone can serve at all. Only in your joint will does healing lie. For here your healing is, and here will you accept Atonement. And in your healing is the Sonship healed because your will and your brother’s are joined.
Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake’. And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given! Each part of Heaven that you bring is given you. And every empty place in Heaven that you will fill again with the Eternal Light you bring, shines now on you. The means of sinlessness can know no fear because they carry only love with them.
Child of peace, the light has come to you. The light you bring you do not recognise, and yet you will remember. Who can deny himself the vision that he brings to others? And who would fail to recognise a gift he let be laid in Heaven through himself? The gentle service that you give the Holy Spirit is service to yourself. You who are now His means must love all that He loves. And what you bring is your remembrance of everything that is eternal. No trace of anything in time can long remain in a mind that serves the timeless. And no illusion can disturb the peace of a relationship that has become the means of peace.
When you have looked upon your brother with complete forgiveness, from which no error is excluded and nothing kept hidden, what mistake can there be anywhere you cannot overlook? What form of suffering could block your sight, preventing you from seeing past it? And what illusion could there be you will not recognise as a mistake; a shadow through which you walk completely undismayed? God would let nothing interfere with those whose wills are His, and they will recognise their wills are His, because they serve His Will. And serve it willingly. And could remembrance of what they are be long delayed?
You will see your value through your brother’s eyes, and each one is released as he beholds his saviour in place of the attacker who he thought was there. Through this releasing is the world released. This is your part in bringing peace. For you have asked what is your function here, and have been answered. Seek not to change it, nor to substitute another goal. This one was given you, and only this. Accept this one and serve it willingly, for what the Holy Spirit does with gifts you give your brother, to whom He offers them, and where and when, is up to Him. He will bestow them where they are received and welcomed. He will use every one of them for peace. Nor will one little smile or willingness to overlook the tiniest mistake be lost to anyone.
What can it be but universal blessing to look on what your Father loves with charity? Extension of forgiveness is the Holy Spirit’s function. Leave this to Him. Let your concern be only that you give to Him that which can be extended. Save no dark secrets that He cannot use, but offer Him the tiny gifts He can extend forever. He will take each one and make of it a potent force for peace. He will withhold no blessing from it, nor limit it in any way. He will join to it all the power that God has given Him, to make each little gift of love a source of healing for everyone. Each little gift you offer to your brother lights up the world. Be not concerned with darkness; look away from it and toward your brother. And let the darkness be dispelled by Him Who knows the light, and lays it gently in each quiet smile of faith and confidence with which you bless your brother.
On your learning depends the welfare of the world. And it is only arrogance that would deny the power of your will. Think you the Will of God is powerless? Is this humility? You do not see what this belief has done. You see yourself as vulnerable, frail and easily destroyed, and at the mercy of countless attackers more powerful than you. Let us look straight at how this error came about, for here lies buried the heavy anchor that seems to keep the fear of God in place, unmovable and solid as a rock. While this remains, so will it seem to be.
Who can attack the Son of God and not attack his Father? How can God’s Son be weak and frail and easily destroyed unless his Father is? You do not see that every sin and every condemnation that you perceive and justify is an attack upon your Father. And that is why it has not happened, nor could be real. You do not see that this is your attempt because you think the Father and the Son are separate. And you must think that they are separate, because of fear. For it seems safer to attack another or yourself than to attack the great Creator of the universe, Whose power you know.
If you were one with God and recognised this oneness, you would know His power is yours. But you will not remember this while you believe attack of any kind means anything. It is unjustified in any form, because it has no meaning. The only way it could be justified is if you and your brother were separate from the other, and all were separate from your Creator. For only then would it be possible to attack a part of the creation without the whole, the Son without the Father; and to attack another without yourself, or hurt yourself without the other feeling pain. And this belief you want. Yet wherein lies its value, except in the desire to attack in safety? Attack is neither safe nor dangerous. It is impossible. And this is so because the universe is one. You would not choose attack on its reality if it were not essential to attack to see it separated from its maker. And thus it seems as if love could attack and become fearful.
Only the different can attack. So you conclude because you can attack, you and your brother must be different. Yet does. the Holy Spirit explain this differently. Because you and your brother are not different, you cannot attack. Either position is a logical conclusion. Either could be maintained, but never both. The only question to be answered in order to decide which must be true is whether you and your brother are different. From the position of what you understand you seem to be, and therefore can attack. Of the alternatives, this seems more natural and more in line with your experience. And therefore it is necessary that you have other experiences, more in line with truth, to teach you what is natural and true.
This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your mind and your brother’s are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact, and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. or when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realise that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same. Joy is unlimited, because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself. There is no difference anywhere in it, for every thought is like itself.
The light that joins you and your brother shines throughout the universe, and because it joins you and him, so it makes you and him one with your Creator. And in Him is all creation joined. Would you regret you cannot fear alone, when your relationship can also teach the power of love is there, which makes all fear impossible? Do not attempt to keep a little of the ego with this gift. For it was given you to be used, and not obscured. What teaches you that you cannot separate denies the ego. Let truth decide if you and your brother be different or the same, and teach you which is true.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 13
I place the future in the Hands of God.
Today’s idea takes another step toward quick salvation, and a giant stride it is indeed! So great the distance is that it encompasses, it sets you down just short of Heaven, with the goal in sight and obstacles behind. Your foot has reached the lawns that welcome you to Heaven’s gate; the quiet place of peace, where you await with certainty the final step of God. How far are we progressing now from earth! How close are we approaching to our goal! How short the journey still to be pursued!
Accept today’s idea, and you have passed all anxiety, all pits of hell, all blackness of depression, thoughts of sin, and devastation brought about by guilt. Accept today’s idea, and you have released the world from all imprisonment by loosening the heavy chains that locked the door to freedom on it. You are saved, and your salvation thus becomes the gift you give the world, because you have received.
In no one instant is depression felt, or pain experienced or loss perceived. In no one instant sorrow can be set upon a throne, and worshipped faithfully. In no one instant can one even die. And so each instant given unto God in passing, with the next one given Him already, is a time of your release from sadness, pain and even death itself.
God holds your future as He holds your past and present. They are one to Him, and so they should be one to you. Yet in this world, the temporal progression still seems real. And so you are not asked to understand the lack of sequence really found in time. You are but asked to let the future go, and place it in God’s Hands. And you will see by your experience that you have laid the past and present in His Hands as well, because the past will punish you no more, and future dread will now be meaningless.
Release the future. For the past is gone, and what is present, freed from its bequest of grief and misery, of pain and loss, becomes the instant in which time escapes the bondage of illusions where it runs its pitiless, inevitable course. Then is each instant which was slave to time transformed into a holy instant, when the light that was kept hidden in God’s Son is freed to bless the world. Now is he free, and all his glory shines upon a world made free with him, to share his holiness.
If you can see the lesson for today as the deliverance it really is, you will not hesitate to give as much consistent effort as you can, to make it be a part of you. As it becomes a thought that rules your mind, a habit in your problem-solving repertoire, a way of quick reaction to temptation, you extend your learning to the world. And as you learn to see salvation in all things, so will the world perceive that it is saved.
What worry can beset the one who gives his future to the loving Hands of God? What can he suffer? What can cause him pain, or bring experience of loss to him? What can he fear? And what can he regard except with love? For he who has escaped all fear of future pain has found his way to present peace, and certainty of care the world can never threaten. He is sure that his perception may be faulty, but will never lack correction. He is free to choose again when he has been deceived; to change his mind when he has made mistakes.
Place, then, your future in the Hands of God. For thus you call the memory of Him to come again, replacing all your thoughts of sin and evil with the truth of love. Think you the world could fail to gain thereby, and every living creature not respond with healed perception? Who entrusts himself to God has also placed the world within the Hands to which he has himself appealed for comfort and security. He lays aside the sick illusions of the world along with his, and offers peace to both.
Now are we saved indeed. For in God’s Hands we rest untroubled, sure that only good can come to us. If we forget, we will be gently reassured. If we accept an unforgiving thought, it will be soon replaced by love’s reflection. And if we are tempted to attack, we will appeal to Him Who guards our rest to make the choice for us that leaves temptation far behind. No longer is the world our enemy, for we have chosen that we be its friend.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #141: Not to sound petty or like I’m whining or even that I have any regrets about hooking up with A Course in Miracles, but I have friends who, it seems, will never have to go through all the stuff I’m going through with the Course. This is not this easiest journey I could have picked. It seems like others can move through this journey with ease: they light a few candles, do some yoga, say a chant or two, and they’re in bliss central, while I find myself in a scary Godzilla movie. I get centered and the fear goes away; but then it returns, again and again. It seems to be a long movie. But the Course is set up for a year. Will there ever be an ending to all this (like before my death) or maybe just an intermission? Any input will be very much appreciated.
A: No, it is not an easy journey, and you echo the sighs of many other students. Sometimes we just have to lighten up and learn how to sit back and enjoy the show. It is, after all, the undoing of what never happened. It doesn’t feel like that, for sure; but we are simply choosing to watch reruns of the same old movie. When we are less afraid to approach the whole thing that way, and have not yielded to the temptation to deny our feelings, our internal experience will change for the better. We cannot judge where we are in the process, or where anyone else is either; time is part of the ego’s trick to keep us clothed in our false identities. And the sin, guilt, and fear that have turned our minds into torture chambers which we vowed never to go near again, are just silly thoughts that we have invested with tremendous power. We would do well to accept Jesus’ invitation to share his vision in seeing the seeming power of our egos as “not strong enough to stop a button’s fall, nor hold a feather” (T.18.IX.6:4).
Just keep the faith! “Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you” (T.13.XI.7:1,2,3). The only power Godzilla has is the power you give to him. He can be a monster or, like the Wizard of Oz, a cute little thing using amplifiers to convince you that he is something to be feared. It is your choice, and you probably know which choice Jesus would support. This would be the intermission. “The outcome is as certain as God” (T.2.III.3:10).
One final point: When we have completed the 365 lessons, we think we have finally “done the Course,” only to read the first line in the Epilogue: “This course is a beginning, not an end” (W.pII.ep.1:1). It is not set up as simply a one-year course, therefore. When we begin to “get it”; that is, when we begin to see clearly where it is leading us, we dig in our heels usually, and then settle in for a very long journey, but only because we are too frightened to let go of our ego all at once in a given instant. It is a process that will take as long as we need it to take.