ACIM Text Reading for July 30
Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God
III. Perception and Choice
To the extent to which you value guilt, to that extent will you perceive a world in which attack is justified. To the extent to which you recognise that guilt is meaningless, to that extent you will perceive attack cannot be justified. This is in accord with perception’s fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this. The rest but stems from this, to hold it up and offer it support. This is perception’s form, adapted to this world, of God’s more basic law; that love creates itself, and nothing but itself.
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. 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, but He could be sure His sanity went there with him, so he could not be lost forever in the madness of his wish.
Perception rests on choosing; knowledge does not. Knowledge has but one law because it has but one Creator. But this world has two who made it, and they do not see it as the same. To each it has a different purpose, and to each it is a perfect means to serve the goal for which it is perceived. For specialness, it is the perfect frame to set it off; the perfect battleground to wage its wars, the perfect shelter for illusions which it would make real. Not one but it upholds in its perception; not one but can be fully justified.
There is another Maker of the world, the simultaneous Corrector of the mad belief that anything could be established and maintained without some link that kept it still within the laws of God; not as the law itself upholds the universe as God created it, but in some form adapted to the need the Son of God believes he has. Corrected error is the error’s end. And thus has God protected still His Son, even in error.
There is another purpose in the world that error made, because it has another Maker Who can reconcile its goal with His Creator’s purpose. In His perception of the world, nothing is seen but justifies forgiveness and the sight of perfect sinlessness. Nothing arises but is met with instant and complete forgiveness. Nothing remains an instant, to obscure the sinlessness that shines unchanged, beyond the pitiful attempts of specialness to put it out of mind, where it must be, and light the body up instead of it. The lamps of Heaven are not for mind to choose to see them where it will. If it elects to see them elsewhere from their home, as if they lit a place where they could never be, then must the Maker of the world correct your error, lest you remain in darkness where the lamps are not.
Everyone here has entered darkness, yet no one has entered it alone. Nor need he stay more than an instant. For he has come with Heaven’s Help within him, ready to lead him out of darkness into light at any time. The time he chooses can be any time, for help is there, awaiting but his choice. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another altar where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness. And he will reinterpret all temptation as just another chance to bring him joy.
How can a misperception be a sin? Let all your brother’s errors be to you nothing except a chance for you to see the workings of the Helper given you to see the world He made instead of yours. What, then, is justified? What do you want? For these two questions are the same. And when you see them as the same, your choice is made. For it is seeing them as one that brings release from the belief there are two ways to see. This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light.
The Maker of the world of gentleness has perfect power to offset the world of violence and hate that seems to stand between you and His gentleness. It is not there in His forgiving eyes. And therefore it need not be there in yours. Sin is the fixed belief perception cannot change. What has been damned is damned and damned forever, being forever unforgivable. If, then, it is forgiven sin’s perception must have been wrong. And thus is change made possible. The Holy Spirit, too, sees what He sees as far beyond the chance of change. But on His vision sin cannot encroach, for sin has been corrected by His sight. And thus it must have been an error, not a sin. For what it claimed could never be, has been. Sin is attacked by punishment, and so preserved. But to forgive it is to change its state from error into truth.
The Son of God could never sin, but he can wish for what would hurt him. And he has the power to think he can be hurt. What could this be except a misperception of himself? Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? Forgetting not that what he is to you will make this choice your future? For you make it now, the instant when all time becomes a means to reach a goal. Make, then, your choice. But recognise that in this choice the purpose of the world you see is chosen, and will be justified.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 30
[For those who might want to review the Review Intro before doing today’s lesson…]
For this review we take but one idea each day, and practice it as often as is possible. Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than fifteen minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage, and invite the memory of God to come again.
With this in mind we start our practicing, in which we carefully review the thoughts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us in our last twenty lessons. Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day. One is enough. But from that one, there must be no exceptions made. And so we need to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole we learn.
These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. It is this:
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
The day begins and ends with this. And we repeat it every time the hour strikes, or we remember, in between, we have a function that transcends the world we see. Beyond this, and a repetition of the special thought we practice for the day, no form of exercise is urged, except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind, and makes it deaf to reason, sanity and simple truth.
We will attempt to get beyond all words and special forms of practicing for this review. For we attempt, this time, to reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God. We merely close our eyes, and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. For thus is freedom given us from all we did not know and failed to understand.
There is but one exception to this lack of structuring. Permit no idle thought to go unchallenged. If you notice one, deny its hold and hasten to assure your mind that this is not what it would have. Then gently let the thought which you denied be given up, in sure and quick exchange for the idea we practice for the day.
When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation, as you say:
This thought I do not want. I choose instead _____.
And then repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you thought. Beyond such special applications of each day’s idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid in practicing. Instead, we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.
To Him I offer this review for you. I place you in His charge, and let Him teach you what to do and say and think, each time you turn to Him. He will not fail to be available to you, each time you call to Him to help you. Let us offer Him the whole review we now begin, and let us also not forget to Whom it has been given, as we practice day by day, advancing toward the goal He set for us; allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of freedom to the world.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(191) I am the holy Son of God Himself.
In silence and in true humility I seek God’s glory, to behold
it in the Son whom He created as my Self.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1011: With numerous possible scripts to choose from, is it always the ego that makes the choice between one lifetime or dream and another? Although time is neither linear nor real, isn’t there still some cause/effect relationship between “lifetimes”? Is the idea that the Holy Spirit determines when time will end for “each” just an example of poetic effect and metaphor? There were a few revelations a number of years back. Shouldn’t there be a lessening of guilt? (There’s not.) As a result of those experiences I know that I didn’t destroy God. — God is all there is. I didn’t plan for those experiences the way one plans to go to a movie, but the consequence is that I can’t honestly entertain that there is a Jesus figure or symbol helping me.
A: It is not clear from what you say how your experience that you did not destroy God left you feeling that there is no Jesus figure or symbol helping you. Yes, God is all there is; but if you were fully aware of that — what the Course calls revelation — you would not also think you are a separate self in need of help. Jesus talks about the experience of union with God in the section in the manual called “Can God Be Reached Directly?” (M.26) . There he says, “If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained” (M.26.3) ; but he also explains that love may ask this healed mind to still appear as a body to others who are still caught in the dream, but asking for some sign of help. That mind, though, would be at peace always, and know that it is not in the dream at all.
It would seem, however, that if you experience guilt and feel you are in need of help, there must still be a part of your mind caught in the illusion of separation from God. Then why not trust that the memory of your love for God and His for you can close that gap? In Jesus’ beautiful, poetic rendering of this thought: “What better way to close the little gap between illusions and reality than to allow the memory of God to flow across it, making it a bridge an instant will suffice to reach beyond? For God has closed it with Himself. His memory has not gone by, and left a stranded Son forever on a shore where he can glimpse another shore that he can never reach. His Father wills that he be lifted up and gently carried over. He has built the bridge, and it is He Who will transport His Son across it. Have no fear that He will fail in what He wills. Nor that you be excluded from the Will that is for you” (T.28.I.15:3,4,5,6,7,8,9) .
The practice of forgiveness under Jesus’ or the Holy Spirit’s guidance is the means this course uses to restore this memory of God to our awareness. With this as our daily purpose, living in this world would be joyful and hope-filled rather than painful and isolating. As part of his answer to the question, “How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?” Jesus says in the manual that “there is one thought that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it” (M.16.6:1,2) . This echoes so many other encouraging statements in A Course in Miracles that he wants us to remember as we continue our journey. Being in touch with the truth in your mind — even if this is just intellectual — means that you know you are not alone and can never be alone. Each day can be unified around the single purpose of seeing everyone as sharing with you the same wrong mind, the same right mind, and the power to choose between the two — regardless of the different roles and tasks we all have. All of that is just form; the content in your mind of undoing the separation alone is meaningful. Rather than leading to a sense of isolation and pain, this approach to living in the world offers hope of real and lasting peace; in fact, it guarantees it, as you would be undoing the remaining interferences to your experience of union with God.
The concern with lifetimes and how many more lifetimes we must go through always comes from the ego, as part of its strategy to keep us thinking we are really here as bodies and that our problems and pain are rooted in the world. At best, we can use analogies drawn from our experience to try to understand this aspect of our process, but it is essentially not understandable, not only because it is all part of the illusion of separation, but also because it does not correspond to our experiences as seeming individuals in a world of time and space.
On one level (Level One), we are either awake in eternity or asleep in a dream of time. On another level (Level Two), as decision-making minds within the dream we are always choosing between the ego’s script and the Holy Spirit’s correction of that script. We , as decision-making minds, choose which part of the script we will choose to review. To use the analogy of a movie, each of us is the writer, director, producer, and actor. Yet we are always re-experiencing something that has already happened, even though our experience is that it is happening for the first time. Jesus teaches us that if we focus on learning and practicing forgiveness, we will eventually remember our decision to forget that we are dreaming, and then will be free of the dream’s effects: “The miracles establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up. The fear was held in place because he did not see that he was the author of the dream, and not a figure in the dream” (T.28.II.7:1,2,3,4) .
“The Forgiven World” in the text gives us a lovely, comforting view of what our experience will be like when we see everything and everyone through the eyes of forgiveness. And for an extended discussion of the metaphysics of time, please see our book, Time: A Vast Illusion .