ACIM Text Reading for August 8
Chapter 26 ~ The Transition
III. The Borderland
Complexity is not of God. How could it be, when all He knows is one? He knows of one creation, one reality, one truth and but one Son. Nothing conflicts with oneness. How, then, could there be complexity in Him? What is there to decide? For it is conflict that makes choice possible. The truth is simple; it is one, without an opposite. And how could strife enter in its simple presence, and bring complexity where oneness is? The truth makes no decisions, for there is nothing to decide between. And only if there were could choosing be a necessary step in the advance toward oneness. What is everything leaves room for nothing else. Yet is this magnitude beyond the scope of this curriculum. Nor is it necessary we dwell on anything that cannot be immediately grasped.
There is a borderland of thought that stands between this world and Heaven. It is not a place, and when you reach it is apart from time. Here is the meeting place where thoughts are brought together; where conflicting values meet and all illusions are laid down beside the truth, where they are judged to be untrue. This borderland is just beyond the gate of Heaven. Here is every thought made pure and wholly simple. Here is sin denied, and everything that is received instead.
This is the journey’s end. We have referred to it as the real world. And yet there is a contradiction here, in that the words imply a limited reality, a partial truth, a segment of the universe made true. This is because knowledge makes no attack upon perception. They are brought together, and only one continues past the gate where Oneness is. Salvation is a borderland where place and time and choice have meaning still, and yet it can be seen that they are temporary, out of place, and every choice has been already made.
Nothing the Son of God believes can be destroyed. But what is truth to him must be brought to the last comparison that he will ever make; the last evaluation that will be possible, the final judgement upon this world. It is the judgement of the truth upon illusion, of knowledge on perception: ‘It has no meaning, and does not exist’. This is not your decision. It is but a simple statement of a simple fact. But in this world there are no simple facts, because what is the same and what is different remain unclear. The one essential thing to make a choice at all is this distinction. And herein lies the difference between the worlds. In this one, choice is made impossible. In the real world is choosing simplified.
Salvation stops just short of Heaven, for only perception needs salvation. Heaven was never lost, and so cannot be saved. Yet who can make a choice between the wish for Heaven and the wish for hell unless he recognises they are not the same? This difference is the learning goal this course has set. It will not go beyond this aim. Its only purpose is to teach what is the same and what is different, leaving room to make the only choice that can be made.
There is no basis for a choice in this complex and over-complicated world. For no one understands what is the same, and seems to choose where no choice really is. The real world is the area of choice made real, not in the outcome, but in the perception of alternatives for choice. That there is choice is an illusion. Yet within this one lies the undoing of every illusion, not excepting this.
Is not this like your special function, where the separation is undone by change of purpose in what once was specialness, and now is union? All illusions are but one. And in the recognition this is so lies the ability to give up all attempts to choose between them, and to make them different. How simple is the choice between two things so clearly unalike. There is no conflict here. No sacrifice is possible in the relinquishment of an illusion recognised as such. Where all reality has been withdrawn from what was never true, can it be hard to give it up, and choose what must be true?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 8
I am not a body. I am free,
For I am still as God created me.
(200) There is no peace except the peace of God.
Let me not wander from the way of peace, for I am lost on
other roads than this. But let me follow Him Who leads me
home, and peace is certain as the Love of God.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #236: One of the things I find hardest to accept about A Course in Miracles is its apparent dismissal of humanity’s “higher strivings,” as embodied, especially, in art and science. Clearly what the Course understands by our “creations” is something entirely different from “creativity” in the artistic or scientific sense. The latter, it would seem, generates nothing more than illusion within illusion (shades of Plato?), rather than pointing Man to a higher and more beautiful reality. Does this mean that artists and scientists should pack it in, and the rest of us dismiss their efforts as part of the big ego-distraction?
A: You raise an important question, one that has troubled many students and observers of A Course in Miracles. On the one hand, it is indeed possible to concentrate on learning and practicing forgiveness while setting aside for a while this dimension of the Course’s theory. On the other hand, this issue cannot be ignored if one is to attain a comprehensive understanding of what the Course is saying about our world and ourselves.
Examining this issue in the light of the two levels on which this Course is written, along with the distinction between form and content might help with your concern.
Although it is true that artistic and scientific “creativity” “generates nothing more than illusion within illusion,” this does not mean that “artists and scientists should pack it in, and the rest of us dismiss their efforts as part of the big ego-distraction” — any more than the fact that the body is part of the ego’s plan to attack God means that surgeons, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, etc., should “pack it in.” The Course would indeed not be the practical, gentle, and kind course that it is if this were what it advocated.
First, throughout the Course, Jesus is trying to help us see things from his point of view, to step outside the entire world to view its origin in the thought system we maintain in our minds, and to see what we have given up in exchange for our individual, separate existence, so that we may have a better basis for understanding and evaluating what we have. He appeals to us in many ways to recognize that even the best of what we have in this world is unimaginably miniscule when compared to the glory that we rejected in our choice to prefer separation over oneness.
Jesus consistently teaches us that nothing in this world, or of this world, is of God, and therefore it has no reality. On this level of absolute truth, which we call Level One, all human activity is futile and meaningless. The only genuine creativity is in Heaven, in the extension of infinite Love: “True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already. . . by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, thus securing it forever for itself” (W.pI.105.4:2,3,4,5).
Moving from Level One of the Course to Level Two — which is the level of teaching in which Jesus communicates in a framework that is meaningful to us, and which he can use to start us back up the ladder our choice to be separate led us down (T.28.III.1:2) — he tells us that we have a split mind, and that when we left Heaven (an impossibility of course), we took with us the memory of all we left behind, but buried it far beyond awareness. Since it is still there in our split minds, however, it can be evoked. Practicing A Course in Miracles is one way of bringing this memory back into awareness. In fact, anything at all may be utilized toward this end, including the work of artists and scientists. But it is not the form that is decisive, although the form may be the starting point. It is what the form reminds us of that is relevant, its content, in other words. The perfection of Michelangelo’s statue of David, for example, can transport one from the physical realm to the non-physical, abstract perfection of God’s creation in Heaven. The same inspiration can come from viewing a distorted body, however. It is entirely conditional on the viewer first choosing to shift from the wrong mind to the right mind, from identifying with the ego to identifying with the Atonement principle, that the separation never happened in reality.
From another angle: since our minds are split, we are not totally insane; and therefore we are sometimes motivated by selflessness, defenselessness, and a willingness to see our interests as shared with everyone else’s. Thus, the efforts of a scientist or doctor to relieve pain and reduce human misery can serve as a reminder of our ego-free state in our right minds, the reflection of our pure innocence and oneness as Christ. Jesus would never simply dismiss our efforts as meaningless in and of themselves — whether they be the “higher strivings” of humanity, or the humble efforts of a street cleaner to keep the neighborhood looking nice. Jesus looks only at the purpose, which can transcend self-centeredness, self-aggrandizement, or be limited solely to them. The value of our activities is associated only with their purpose, which is always the result of a decision made in our minds to see either shared or separate interests. We therefore can serve each other best by being reminders of the truth and flawless beauty of our immaculate Identity as Christ, which is reflected in our right minds, and which we witness to by our willingness to see all people as the same. Again, this may come through the work of scientists, artists, poets, or welders in a factory. It is always a matter of content, not form.