ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson & Miracle Principle for September 30

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for September 30

4. What Are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers

I. Trust

This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfil their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning, because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world, because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a power that is in them but not of them. It is this power that keeps all things safe. It is through this power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.

When this Power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one’s own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him? And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him? What is it that induces them to make the shift?

A. Development of Trust

First, they must go through what might be called “a period of undoing”. This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognised. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light? He is not yet at a point at which he can make the shift entirely internally. And so the plan will sometimes call for changes in what seem to be external circumstances. These changes are always helpful. When the teacher of God has learned that much, he goes on to the second stage.

Next, the teacher of God must go through “a period of sorting out”. This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it. He will find that many, if not most of the things he valued before will merely hinder his ability to transfer what he has learned to new situations as they arise. Because he has valued what is really valueless, he will not generalise the lesson for fear of loss and sacrifice. It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful. It is only to the extent to which they are helpful that any degree of reality should be accorded them in this world of illusion. The word “value” can apply to nothing else.

The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called “a period of relinquishment”. If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely. There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken. Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth. He has not realised as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless. Through this, he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy light-heartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift bestowed on him.

Now comes “a period of settling down”. This is a quiet time, in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. “Give up what you do not want, and keep what you do”. How simple is the obvious! And how easy to do! The teacher of God needs this period of respite. He has not yet come as far as he thinks. Yet when he is ready to go on, he goes with mighty companions beside him. Now he rests a while, and gathers them before going on. He will not go on from here alone.

The next stage is indeed “a period of unsettling”. Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless, and that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his own thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgement aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed!

And finally, there is “a period of achievement”. It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become solid gains, to be counted on in all “emergencies” as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquillity is their result; the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would “go” anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquillity for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this?


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 30

Lesson 273
The stillness of the peace of God is mine.

Perhaps we are now ready for a day of undisturbed tranquility. If this is not yet feasible, we are content and even more than satisfied to learn how such a day can be achieved. If we give way to a disturbance, let us learn how to dismiss it and return to peace. We need but tell our minds, with certainty, “The stillness of the peace of God is mine,” and nothing can intrude upon the peace that God Himself has given to His Son.

Father, Your peace is mine. What need have I to fear that anything can rob me of what You would have me keep? I cannot lose Your gifts to me. And so the peace You gave Your Son is with me still, in quietness and in my own eternal love for You.


Miracle Principle for September 30

The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles
by Kenneth Wapnick

Principle 37

A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me.
It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly.
This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed.
Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible.

“Erroneous perception” is perceiving a problem in the world, external to us. The miracle reorganizes perception because it shifts perception back to where the problem really is, in our minds. Jesus is the one who introduces the miracle. Our job is merely to choose to want him to, to ask his help to see the situation the way he does. This is true perception. Jesus takes the false perceptions we have made real — sickness, conflict, war, etc.– and turns them around so that we see everything the same way: everyone, including ourselves, is calling for help. The Atonement principle is then chosen, which can be restated as the denial of the reality of the separation and guilt.

Another technical term used consistently throughout A Course in Miracles is “knowledge.” As the Course uses it, it is synonymous with Heaven. The counterpart to knowledge, or the opposite to knowledge, is perception, and almost always you will see those two terms juxtaposed. Knowledge transcends the subject-object dichotomy, which is inherent in perception. Even “holy visions” (such as those many mystics report) are perceptual and, therefore, do not last.

Knowledge is of spirit, of God, and cannot be attained in this world. In fact, the Course says very clearly that knowledge is not the goal of this Course; peace is (text, p. 128; T-8.I.1:1-2). Here it is talking about the peace that comes within this world when you look on all people as being joined with you. There is no guilt and no attack.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #655: I have discovered that my form of attacking the Sonship is overeating. I felt that I was ready through reducing what I eat to look at the guilt and hopefully reduce the fear of God’s Love and not use that particular form of attack any more. What I have found is that it is INCREDIBLY difficult to do this, even though I know exactly what purpose my overeating serves — to attack God’s Son and keep God’s Love away, or to reinforce separation.

I was hoping you could help me with this process. When I reduce what I eat, there is a very strong feeling of “hunger” that overwhelms me. I think at that point I want to turn to the Holy Spirit and “look” at the guilt in my mind so that I can see that it is not real. When I do this I am not getting any clear thoughts about how to do this. The strong thought is the hunger and need to eat a bunch of junk so the feeling will go away. What does it mean to “look at the guilt”? Do you have any suggestions for how I can get past this block that I have to the awareness of love’s presence? What are some of the “truths” I can use to help me become less afraid and get past this form of attack?

A: You’ve got part of it right, but there’s an important aspect of your current approach to food that you may want to reconsider, in light of the teachings of A Course in Miracles. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get a guilt-based, addictive behavior, such as overeating — or drinking, or gambling, etc. — under control, and that can sometimes be a very helpful first step. But if that is your primary goal, even if you acknowledge that it is a form or symbol for your attack on the Sonship, you’ve put the cart before the horse, from the Course’s perspective! That puts you in good company, since most students want to try to change their behavior rather than their minds. And this is only a “natural” desire, while we are more identified with the body in time and space than with the mind outside of time and space. But it’s playing right into the ego’s grand design of keeping our attention focused on effect (the body) and relegating cause (the mind) to a secondary role.

An alternative approach, which reflects the Course’s emphasis on thought rather than behavior, would be to shift your goal from reducing your food intake to merely watching the thoughts that accompany your cravings and your eating binges. We believe the problem is our destructive behavior, but Jesus says that the behavior is only ever a symptom of the underlying destructive thought of guilt in the mind (T.2.VI.3). The behavior helps us recognize that the guilt is there in the mind, but our purpose, believe it or not, is not to change either the behavior or the guilt, but merely to acknowledge the guilt and ask for help in seeing ourselves differently. You see, the overeating in itself is not the attack. The thought that motivates the overeating is the attack — and that thought is not real. And if our goal is to change either, we are saying both the thought and its effect — the overeating — are real. Obviously, since both feel very real to us, we cannot be the ones to undo them.

The thought of guilt may be experienced as anxiety, fear, neediness, scarcity, inadequacy, self- loathing, etc. The ego wants us to make the specific interpretation — that we are hungry and craving food and the way to address the problem is to eat. The Course invites us to dissociate the thought from the specific context and recognize that the underlying thought is really a statement we are making about ourselves, that we are empty and missing something inside — the love we unconsciously believe we have thrown away (T.30.III.1,2,3). And this thought is the source of our guilt. Whether we eat something or not is irrelevant as we allow ourselves to get in touch with the underlying thought, which may bring up both fear and pain. We don’t want to minimize this step, but we also don’t want to stop with it.

And so the Course process of looking with the Holy Spirit or Jesus means that we take what seems very real and powerful to us — our guilt, in whatever form it seems real for us — and look at it with Their gentle, nonjudgmental presence beside us. If we are successful in joining with Their love in this process of looking, we will experience some level of reduction in the intensity of our guilt-based feelings. Our continuing investment in the ego and the self we think we are, which are protected by the guilt, will determine how willing we are to release the guilt in any particular moment. So we do not want to judge ourselves if the feelings do not seem to diminish, but just continue to look as honestly as we can and ask for the help to see ourselves in a different light. For what we believe about ourselves — that we are sinful, guilty, weak, limited creatures — is an ego- based lie. And the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our minds is proof that it is a lie, for our minds could not be home to Their gentle presence if we were the limited selves we have up until now insisted we are. This process of looking at and releasing our guilt is likely to take time so it is important that we be patient with ourselves. Over time, the need to use food to push away those unpleasant, even terrifying thoughts, may also diminish, and food itself will recede in importance as a focus of concern.

A more in-depth discussion of this process and these issues can be found in “Overeating: A Dialogue” (published in both a small book and a single tape format), which presents a discussion Ken Wapnick held with three students around issues of food addiction and preoccupation with weight.

sinless son


ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson for September29

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for September 29


The surface traits of God’s teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body’s eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial “personalities” are quite distinct. Nor, at the beginning stages of their functioning as teachers of God, have they as yet acquired the deeper characteristics that will establish them as what they are. God gives special gifts to His teachers, because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary; set in time as a means of leading out of time. These special gifts, born in the holy relationship toward which the teaching-learning situation is geared, become characteristic of all teachers of God who have advanced in their own learning. In this respect they are all alike.

All differences among the Sons of God are temporary. Nevertheless, in time it can be said that the advanced teachers of God have the following characteristics:


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 29

Lesson 272
How can illusions satisfy God’s Son?

Father, the truth belongs to me. My home is set in Heaven by Your Will and mine. Can dreams content me? Can illusions bring me happiness? What but Your memory can satisfy Your Son? I will accept no less than You have given me. I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle and forever safe. God’s Son must be as You created him.

Today we pass illusions by. And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams, when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #637: Can you address a couple of issues I’m having difficulty grasping about the Course?

i. A Course in Miracles claims that anger is simply a manifestation of the ego, based on fear. Yet scripture often talks about God’s anger — e.g., the Great Flood, Sodom and Gomorra, the Israelites’ idolatry in the desert. If God has no ego, how could He show anger? Or was it really something else? If it wasn’t anger, what was it?

ii. I am beginning to realize that the Course deals only with thoughts, not behavior. Yet the age-old behavioral questions still remain. If we treat the traditional concept of “sin” as merely an illusion of the ego self, how does one determine right from wrong? If sin is not real then I can do anything I want without fear of punishment or disciplinary action. If the justice system was governed by the Course, does that mean that there would be no punishment because the “attack” was only an illusion of the ego acting through the body? Does the Course mean to imply that society’s response to criminal acts should be to forgive the offender rather than punish or otherwise “discipline” them? How are we as a society supposed to function without agreed-upon rules of conduct and the means to enforce them?

A: 1) Your confusion about God is not surprising — many students new to the Course, coming from traditional Jewish or Christian backgrounds, share in it. But it can be easily addressed, although you’ll have to decide for yourself on which side of the issue you’d like to settle. Quite simply, the God of the bible is not the God of A Course in Miracles. The Course does describe and offer a correction for a “God” who gets angry, condemns and punishes, and demands sacrifice to appease His anger (e.g., T.3.I.1,2,3,4; T.9.V.3; T.23.II.4,5,6,7,8; W.pI.170; M.17.5,6,7). But according to the Course, this is the ego’s made-up God, a major character in its elaborate myth, which asserts that the separation from God is real and actually happened, that it involved an attack on God, and that He is angry about that attack and is seeking retribution. None of this, according to the Course, is true, since the separation never happened in reality and God would no longer be God — perfect Love — if anger could be a part of Him. But this, the Course tells us, is what our ego wants us to believe, to assure its own survival. For the ego thrives on conflict — it literally is a thought of conflict — and it requires an enemy to maintain its own existence as something separate and apart.

The real God of the Course is perfect Love and perfect Oneness, incapable of anger or condemnation, and completely unaffected by the Sonship’s illusory thought of separation and attack. From these distinctions it follows that the God of the bible can not be the same as the Course’s true God, but rather bears a striking resemblance to the ego’s made-up, angry, wrathful God. And there are many other differences between the bible’s God and the Course’s God. In the bible, God creates the physical world and everything that inhabits that world, including man and woman. He condemns and punishes Adam and Eve for their sin of disobedience against Him, and eventually sends His only Son to be sacrificed so that the otherwise irreversible effects of that sin that we all inherit can be atoned for. As you study the Course, it will become increasingly apparent that this God and the God of the Course share nothing in common. Jesus in the Course makes it clear that God did not create the world or bodies (e.g., T.4.I.11:6,7), has never been affected by our belief in separation and sin (e.g., T.30.III.10), and so could never demand sacrifice (e.g., T.3.I.4; T.11.VI.5). Furthermore, the Jesus of the Course is not God, but rather an aspect of the Sonship, equal to all his brothers and sisters, who has remembered the truth of Who he and all of us are as the one perfect Christ (T.1.II.3; C.5.2,3,4,5). Although each student should follow whatever path or paths he feels guided to, these differences in the nature of God are at the base of our position that the Course and traditional Christianity are mutually exclusive spiritual teachings that cannot be reconciled. Question #439, as well as the audiotape set, The Bible from the Perspective of A Course in Miracles, also address the issue of the relationship between the Course and biblical teachings.

2) Out of context, it may seem that to say sin is not real means it does not matter what we do. And at an ultimate metaphysical level, this is true. But the problem is, all of us who believe we are here in the world must also believe in sin and its laws of pain and punishment, and so to think that we can behave in any way we want with no consequences to ourselves would be foolish at best and tragic at worst (T.5.VI.1:3,4). The Course is never making any statements about what is or is not acceptable behavior, and for most minds, not ready to accept the complete responsibility for our own experience that the Course teaches we must eventually learn to accept (T.21.II.2), rules governing external behavior are a practical necessity. There is nothing in the Course that says these should be ignored or eliminated. And it is possible to provide consequences for behavioral transgressions with the intent of restraining harmful and destructive behavior, but without the intention of punishing (you may wish to review Questions #371, #484, and #584 for further discussion of the issues around setting limits and making decisions within the illusion). However, behaving “appropriately” will not in itself lead to salvation. Change must occur at the level of mind, from which “appropriate” behavior will then follow.

The Course, while not concerned with right and wrong behavior, does distinguish between right- and wrong-minded thinking or perception (T.3.IV.4), asserting that thought is the level at which the distinction needs to be made, since behavior is only ever an effect or result of the thoughts in the mind. Jesus makes this point several times early in the Course:

“You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly” (T.1.III.6:5).

“I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you can change your mind” (T.4.IV.2:1). .

“I have enjoined you to behave as I behaved, but we must respond to the same Mind to do this. This Mind is the Holy Spirit, Whose Will is for God always. He teaches you how to keep me as the model for your thought, and to behave like me as a result”(T.5.II.12:1,2,3).

“We have learned that behavior is not the level for either teaching or learning, since you can act in accordance with what you do not believe” (T.7.V.2:4).

And later in the text, “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (

In perhaps the clearest discussion of this point in the Course, Jesus says:

“You would not excuse insane behavior on your part by saying you could not help it. Why should you condone insane thinking? There is a confusion here that you would do well to look at clearly. You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. … It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing. …You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness. You do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction belongs only at the level where change is possible. Change does not mean anything at the symptom [behavioral] level, where it cannot work (T.2.VI.2:2,3,4,5,6,7;3:1,4,5,6,7).

Wrong-minded, or ego-based, thinking is always predicated on the belief in separate interests, which must produce pain and guilt for the wrong-minded thinker, who is identifying with the ego. For in his own mind he is making sin — the separation — real, and the ego thought system has been set up in such a way that pain and guilt inevitably follow. So it would be self-destructive and self- defeating to believe that we can act any way we want with impunity. If we fully understood and appreciated the Course’s teachings on the cause of our own pain and suffering, we would never consider using any of the Course’s principles as justification for attacking anyone.

The recognition that sin is not real is not simply an intellectual understanding. We will know that we truly have accepted sin’s unreality when we are no longer identified with the physical self and personality we now we believe we are. Until then, since the world is literally a projection of our own guilty self, any seeming attack on the world outside ourselves must be an attack on ourselves, with all the painful consequences (e.g., W.pI.196). So whatever you may have been thinking of doing, don’t do it!


ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 28

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for September 28


The teachers of God have no set teaching level. Each teaching-learning situation involves a different relationship at the beginning, although the ultimate goal is always the same; to make of the relationship a holy relationship, in which both can look upon the Son of God as sinless. There is no one from whom a teacher of God cannot learn, so there is no one whom he cannot teach. However, from a practical point of view he cannot meet everyone, nor can everyone find him. Therefore, the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other.

The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a “chance” meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult “by chance”, two students “happening” to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. Each of them has the potential for becoming a teaching-learning situation. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another; perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come.

It is difficult to understand that levels of teaching the universal course is a concept as meaningless in reality as is time. The illusion of one permits the illusion of the other. In time, the teacher of God seems to begin to change his mind about the world with a single decision, and then learns more and more about the new direction as he teaches it. We have covered the illusion of time already, but the illusion of levels of teaching seems to be something different. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate that these levels cannot exist is simply to say that any level of the teaching-learning situation is part of God’s plan for Atonement, and His plan can have no levels, being a reflection of His Will. Salvation is always ready and always there. God’s teachers work at different levels, but the result is always the same.

Each teaching-learning situation is maximal in the sense that each person involved will learn the most that he can from the other person at that time. In this sense, and in this sense only, we can speak of levels of teaching. Using the term in this way, the second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son.

The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. This does not mean that they necessarily recognise this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviours of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Manual for Teachers Reading, Click HERE


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 28

Lesson 271
Section 6. What is the Christ?

Christ is God’s Son as He created Him. He is the Self we share, uniting us with one another, and with God as well. He is the Thought which still abides within the Mind that is His Source. He has not left His holy home, nor lost the innocence in which He was created. He abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God.

Christ is the link that keeps you one with God, and guarantees that separation is no more than an illusion of despair, for hope forever will abide in Him. Your mind is part of His, and His of yours. He is the part in which God’s Answer lies; where all decisions are already made, and dreams are over. He remains untouched by anything the body’s eyes perceive. For though in Him His Father placed the means for your salvation, yet does He remain the Self Who, like His Father, knows no sin.

Home of the Holy Spirit, and at home in God alone, does Christ remain at peace within the Heaven of your holy mind. This is the only part of you that has reality in truth. The rest is dreams. Yet will these dreams be given unto Christ, to fade before His glory and reveal your holy Self, the Christ, to you at last.

The Holy Spirit reaches from the Christ in you to all your dreams, and bids them come to Him, to be translated into truth. He will exchange them for the final dream which God appointed as the end of dreams. For when forgiveness rests upon the world and peace has come to every Son of God, what could there be to keep things separate, for what remains to see except Christ’s face?

And how long will this holy face be seen, when it is but the symbol that the time for learning now is over, and the goal of the Atonement has been reached at last? So therefore let us seek to find Christ’s face and look on nothing else. As we behold His glory, will we know we have no need of learning or perception or of time, or anything except the holy Self, the Christ Whom God created as His Son.

Lesson 271

Christ’s is the vision I will use today.

Each day, each hour, every instant, I am choosing what I want to look upon, the sounds I want to hear, the witnesses to what I want to be the truth for me. Today I choose to look upon what Christ would have me see, to listen to God’s Voice, and seek the witnesses to what is true in God’s creation. In Christ’s sight, the world and God’s creation meet, and as they come together all perception disappears. His kindly sight redeems the world from death, for nothing that He looks on but must live, remembering the Father and the Son; Creator and creation unified.

Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You. What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me. And this I choose, to be what I would look upon today.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #778: The section in the manual for teachers of A Course in Miracles “What Are the Levels of Teaching?” (M.3) speaks about specific contacts and encounters, and very specific contact to be made for each teacher of God — that their level of teaching is exactly what those specific contacts need. Then it goes on to talk about the levels of encounters, such as a brief meeting, a relationship that lasts a few years, and finally those that last a lifetime. I’m confused about the emphasis on people coming together that is spoken about in this section.

A: The essence of Jesus’ teaching in this section is that people come together to learn that there is only one problem (separation) and one solution (forgiveness), regardless of the form of the relationship. It does not matter whether one is involved in a superficial encounter or a lifelong relationship. The potential for learning this lesson is present in any form, because whatever the level, it is always possible to see another’s interests as not separate from one’s own. We practice this on all different levels until we generalize in all forms that there is one problem and one solution.

Questions #72, #116, and #250 also relate to this section in the manual.


Q #1084: In the manual for teachers of A Course in Miracles , Jesus talks about the three levels of relationships that are used by the Holy Spirit for teaching and learning purposes (“What Are the Levels of Teaching?” [M.3]). I have found myself lately trying to figure out where my different relationships fit into the three levels described in that section. Is it possible that our relationships may not fit neatly into any of the three levels and can be a combination of two possibly? I am so interested in this because a part of me loves the fact that everything is systematic and planned and I feel a need to try to figure this all out.

A: Yes, some relationships can span two levels. That would not be uncommon. But in the end this does not matter, because “each teaching-learning situation is maximal in the sense that each person involved will learn the most that he can from the other person at that time” (M.3.4:1) . As in other parts of the Course, Jesus here is teaching us to avoid thinking with the ego that there is a hierarchy of illusions, in this context that some relationships are more important than others. The mind is outside time and space where there is no gradation or ranking. This means that at any given moment the entirety of the ego’s thought system can be activated, as can the entirety of the Holy Spirit’s — whether on the freeway, at the supermarket checkout counter, or with a person you live or work with. The lack of difference is what is important. There is only one content: either the ego’s separate interests, or the Holy Spirit’s shared interests that reflect the One Level of God’s Will. There is nothing else. Your attraction to figuring everything out and fitting relationships into neat compartments could very well be a means your ego is using to keep you focused on form instead content. Jesus wants us to learn and practice that the content is always the same, regardless of the form.


Q #250: In Kenneth Wapnick’s book Forgiveness & Jesus, he says on page xv in the Preface: “Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not operate in the world, and certainly do not send people as if they were operating a giant chess board, moving us around according to the evolution of the plan of salvation.” However, the manual for teachers of A Course in Miracles says: “There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship” (M.3.1:6,7); and then later it says, “Remember that no one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God’s plan” (M.9.1:3). This indicates that meeting certain people is part of God’s plan, and as I have understood the Course, the Holy Spirit is operating in the illusion to help us, just as the Course is made within the framework of the illusion. Meetings are part of God’s plan — there are no accidents — so how can this be interpreted?

A: There are no accidents because everything has already happened, and we are simply reviewing mentally what has already gone by: “The script is written.…we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by” (W.pI.158.4:3,5). In “The Little Hindrance” Jesus tells us: “To you who still believe you live in time and know not it is gone, the Holy Spirit still guides you through the infinitely small and senseless maze you still perceive in time, though it has long since gone. You think you live in what is past” (T.26.V.4:1,2). So people are in our lives only because that is what our scripts involve. We have no recollection of our having written these scripts (a metaphor, of course), which is part of the ego’s strategy to keep us from remembering that we are decision-making minds. You might wish to consult Kenneth’s A Vast Illusion: Time According to “A Course in Miracles,” which is an in-depth study of this intriguing part of the Course’s theory.

We are inclined to view what the Course says from our perspective, which is that the world and linear time are real. And that is why we would think that the Holy Spirit and Jesus actually do things, such as direct us to specific people so that we can learn our lessons of forgiveness. But that could not be, since there is no world, and time is not real, either. It is helpful to review the levels of language in the Course, and why Jesus speaks to us as if our experience in the world and linear time were real. Earlier answers to questions have developed these topics, and we refer you to them for further study: Questions #72 and #116.


Q #72: The Course references “God’s plan” in several places: “We will accept the way God’s plan will end, as we received the way it started.” ( Further in the workbook at the introduction to Section 10 it also states: “God’s Final Judgment is as merciful as every step in His appointed plan to bless His Son, and call him to return to the eternal peace He shares with him. Be not afraid of love. For it alone can heal all sorrow, wipe away all tears, and gently waken from his dream of pain the Son whom God acknowledges as His.” (W.pII.10.4:1.2.3). This seems to be in conflict with the claim that God is unaware of the physical world. So, why would God need a plan? It would appear from this that God is aware that His Son is sleeping. If not, how can it be so that God would have a plan to “call him to return” and to “gently waken from his dream of pain” if God is not aware of this need for His Son Whom according to Truth is not sleeping and therefore has no need in Truth to return to the Father? If as the Course states the physical world is an illusion and God is not aware of the illusion what is the need of a plan to awaken the Son? Do these passages not infer that God is in fact aware of that which is not real?

A: Your question is a very good one. One of the challenging but essential things to understand about the Course is how it uses language. If you can remember that the Course has come only as a correction for the thought of separation — which is very real in our experience — and so must use the symbols of separation to bring about the correction (T.25.I.7:4), everything will begin to become clearer. The ego’s myth of separation, which we at a deep unconscious level believe, spins a wild tale of attack and counterattack between the Son and the Father, with the Father in the end seeking to destroy the Son for his malicious attempt to usurp the Father’s position of superiority in the Kingdom (e.g., M.17.7). That this story is widely accepted is evident in Christianity’s foundational belief that God’s plan for our salvation requires His one and only Son to suffer and die an ignominious death in order to atone for our grievous offense against Him, a sin so heinous we ourselves are completely incapable of atoning for it. And Christianity’s basic premise is only one specific expression of the ego’s underlying myth, predicated on the reality of separation and sin. Parallels can be seen in the other formal religions of the world that emphasize the need for and value of suffering and sacrifice in approaching God.

The Course comes as a correction for the ego’s false story, but it would hardly be helpful if the correction were nothing more than a statement that none of this is real, since we are convinced otherwise and are still desperately clinging to this sinful self that we believe the separation has made real. And so the Course tells a different story, a story of a loving Father whose plan for our salvation — our happy return to Him — has not a single element of violence or revenge in it, nor exacts any sacrifice or pain from His children. This corrective story of God’s plan for our salvation uses the same dualistic symbols of separation as the ego’s story, but as a metaphorical rendering rather than a literal account. And so the symbols are infused with a completely different content that reflects the unified Love of Heaven rather than the fragmenting hatred of the ego. The purpose of the Course’s correction is to begin to undo some of the guilt and fear that we have made real in our minds so that we can begin to approach the part of our mind where the Holy Spirit — the Correction — resides (even this is metaphorical) as a reflection of the unity and wholeness of our true reality as Christ. (The tape set, Duality as Metaphor, provides a much more extended treatment of this whole issue.)


ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 27

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for September 27


Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call. They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding. His pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain. Again, it is only a matter of time. Once he has chosen to fulfil his role, they are ready to fulfil theirs. Time waits on his choice, but not on whom he will serve. When he is ready to learn, the opportunities to teach will be provided for him.

In order to understand the teaching-learning plan of salvation, it is necessary to grasp the concept of time that the course sets forth. Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. Further, the plan for this correction was established and completed simultaneously, for the Will of God is entirely apart from time. So is all reality, being of Him. The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.

The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach. Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realise that it was always there. As the course emphasises, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you will learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned.

Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before. The pupil comes at the right time to the right place. This is inevitable, because he made the right choice in that ancient instant which he now relives. So has the teacher, too, made an inevitable choice out of an ancient past. God’s Will in everything but seems to take time in the working-out. What could delay the power of eternity?

When pupil and teacher come together, a teaching-learning situation begins. For the teacher is not really the one who does the teaching. God’s Teacher speaks to any two who join together for learning purposes. The relationship is holy because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His Spirit into any holy relationship. In the teaching-learning situation, each one learns that giving and receiving are the same. The demarcations they have drawn between their roles, their minds, their bodies, their needs, their interests, and all the differences they thought separated them from one another, fade and grow dim and disappear. Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal. And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him. He has seen in another person the same interests as his own.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 27

Lesson 270
I will not use the body’s eyes today.

Father, Christ’s vision is Your gift to me, and it has power to translate all that the body’s eyes behold into the sight of a forgiven world. How glorious and gracious is this world! Yet how much more will I perceive in it than sight can give. The world forgiven signifies Your Son acknowledges his Father, lets his dreams be brought to truth, and waits expectantly the one remaining instant more of time which ends forever, as Your memory returns to him. And now his will is one with Yours. His function now is but Your Own, and every thought except Your Own is gone.

The quiet of today will bless our hearts, and through them peace will come to everyone. Christ is our eyes today. And through His sight we offer healing to the world through Him, the holy Son whom God created whole; the holy Son whom God created One.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1245: Can you please explain the passage in the manual of A Course in Miracles about not being free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you will learn it. Does the “you” refer to the decision maker? “As the course emphasizes, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you will learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned” (M.2.3:6,7,8).

A: The reference here is to the text’s Introduction where Jesus makes the same point: “This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time” (,2,3,4,5; italics omitted ) . As an example, college students have nothing to say about the courses listed in the school catalog, but they are free to pick which courses they will take and when — at least with regard to electives. Our situation is similar. Our decision maker has already established the curriculum of our lives, but our choice now lies with which teacher we will choose to re-experience this script: the ego or the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we accept the curriculum, “it is already learned” — we simply accept the learning that is there.


Q #7: How does one forgive oneself? I have a pen pal in prison who is new to the Course. He is in prison for assaulting his girlfriend. He says he is learning to forgive others but not himself. He is angry and ashamed of himself for hurting her. I can see his actions as a “call for love,” a mistake to be corrected and not a sin to be punished. He no doubt was a victim who became a victimizer, and keeps reliving it now. I would tell him to let it go — “Brother, choose again.” But could I say this to myself? I have dealt with depression most of my life and guilt is a familiar companion. My ego’s accusations seem overwhelming when I do one thing wrong. I see when I project my guilt onto others and I know it’s not helpful to blame and accuse myself when I judge others. But what if I really hurt someone else in some way? I could try to make amends and move on, but I don’t think my ego would let me off the hook that easily. I seem only to be able to release myself from guilt by experiencing pain for the length of time my ego dictates. I know there has to be “another way.” Why am I kind to others and mean to myself? To top it all off, I seek my addictions to get some relief from the pain of the guilt, and then I feel guilty for indulging in the addiction. I need a way out of this. Can we project guilt onto ourselves as well as others? I know I will come to understand why I don’t love myself and why I even hate myself at times. I am still learning. It is ironic that, as my friend in prison is trying to forgive himself, I am in my own prison trying to do the same.

A: It does seem that as we learn more and more to release others from the projections of our own guilt, we then feel stuck with the guilt ourselves. Jesus tells us that “as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbor it within” (T.11.IV.4:5). But he goes on to say, “It is difficult at first to realize that this is exactly the same thing, for there is no distinction between within and without” (4:6), and then, “Blame must be undone, not seen elsewhere” (5:3). So how do we do that?

The question you raise, “How does one forgive oneself?”, is a good one, but it is actually the wrong question. Because we are still so strongly identified with our egos, we can not forgive ourselves, at least not by ourselves (i.e., on our own, which is the ego state). That is why we need Jesus or the Holy Spirit, or whatever nonjudgmental symbol of love and acceptance we feel comfortable with, to look with us at our “sins”. We need someone outside of our guilt-based thought system who knows the truth about who we really are, to whom we can give our guilt, once we have uncovered it and recognized its purpose and its cost. We believe that we are bodies that can hurt and be hurt by each other. Jesus knows we are spirit, the guiltless Son of God who is incapable of attack. We don’t believe that and in fact we don’t want to believe it, because we still want the separation and our own individuality to be real. And so the forgiveness process must involve joining with someone or something outside of ourselves, such as Jesus, who knows separation and attack and guilt are not real. We are incapable of this realization on our own, by definition.

The ego, as you are experiencing it for yourself, tells us that we need to atone for our sins through suffering and sacrifice. But that only reinforces our belief that our guilt is real and that God is a punishing God who seeks revenge for our very real sins. And all of our attempts then to gain release through expiation are just forms of magic that fail to address the real problem in the mind. We need to understand that the problem is not the guilt we believe we are experiencing for our transgressions here in the world. Those “sins” are really deliberate distractions, serving the purpose of keeping our focus here in the world, looking for magical solutions to release our guilt (e.g., making amends) or to avoid experiencing it (e.g., addictions). But these only prevent us from looking deeper into our mind to the real source of all of our pain and guilt (and everyone else’s) — the belief that we have not only separated ourselves from our loving Source, but that we have been willing to kill Him, to destroy Love, to be on our own. However, if we can join with a reflection of that Love, such as Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and look at our self-accusations with their loving presence beside us, we will have to realize at some level that we have not destroyed love. And in that recognition, real forgiveness — for what has never happened — is possible, dissolving all guilt and releasing us from our self-imposed prison. And then whatever action or behavior, if any, may be most helpful and healing in response to our so-called transgressions against others in the world will simply flow through us.

there is nothing to fear

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 26

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for September 26


A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure. A light has entered the darkness. It may be a single light, but that is enough. He has entered an agreement with God even if he does not yet believe in Him. He has become a bringer of salvation. He has become a teacher of God.

They come from all over the world. They come from all religions and from no religion. They are the ones who have answered. The Call is universal. It goes on all the time everywhere. It calls for teachers to speak for It and redeem the world. Many hear It, but few will answer. Yet it is all a matter of time. Everyone will answer in the end, but the end can be a long, long way off. It is because of this that the plan of the teachers was established. Their function is to save time. Each one begins as a single light, but with the Call at its centre it is a light that cannot be limited. And each one saves a thousand years of time as the world judges it. To the Call Itself time has no meaning.

There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation.” It can be taught by actions or thoughts; in words or soundlessly; in any language or in no language; in any place or time or manner. It does not matter who the teacher was before he heard the Call. He has become a saviour by his answering. He has seen someone else as himself. He has therefore found his own salvation and the salvation of the world. In his rebirth is the world reborn.

This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome. They merely save time. Yet it is time alone that winds on wearily, and the world is very tired now. It is old and worn and without hope. There was never a question of outcome, for what can change the Will of God? But time, with its illusions of change and death, wears out the world and all things in it. Yet time has an ending, and it is this that the teachers of God are appointed to bring about. For time is in their hands. Such was their choice, and it is given them.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Manual for Teachers Reading, Click HERE


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 26

Lesson 269

My sight goes forth to look upon Christ’s face.

I ask Your blessing on my sight today. It is the means which You have chosen to become the way to show me my mistakes, and look beyond them. It is given me to find a new perception through the Guide You gave to me, and through His lessons to surpass perception and return to truth. I ask for the illusion which transcends all those I made. Today I choose to see a world forgiven, in which everyone shows me the face of Christ, and teaches me that what I look upon belongs to me; that nothing is, except Your holy Son.

Today our sight is blessed indeed. We share one vision, as we look upon the face of Him Whose Self is ours. We are one because of Him Who is the Son of God; of Him Who is our own Identity.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #985: In the manual for teachers it says: “There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome. They merely save time” (M.1.4:2,3). I thought it was the Course that saves the most time. Is that a misprint or a grammatical error or am I missing something. They merely saves time seems to be referring to all the other forms out there.

A: You are correct, the manual does say that the many forms of the universal course save time. The reason for this is that the universal course is one of content, not form, and time belongs to the world of form. When the mind decides to accept the universal truth that the separation never happened, and God’s one Son is innocent, the concept of time disappears. That is how it is “saved.”

Also, students of A Course in Miracles “save time” by not wasting it in pursuit of other forms that are very helpful, but are not their path: “You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you ” (T.18.VII.6:5). We escape the laws of time through the practice of forgiveness by returning to the thought in the mind that is outside of time. The ego’s perception of grievances and its use of projection are concepts bound by time. The Holy Spirit’s perception is a view from beyond time’s boundaries because it perceives only two timeless thoughts: the separation that never happened, and reality that never changed. Learning to see with His vision thus removes all experience from the chains of time. That is the Course’s “fast track.” It is not a linear process. Time is meaningless in the instant the mind chooses the Holy Spirit, regardless of the way time was used on the path that led to the choice. It is only the mind’s choice (content) that matters. Each choice against the ego is what saves time and saves us from time.


Q #1317 : The answer to Question #898 said: “Love is in the director’s seat now, not you as an individual.” In my view, this seems to be in contradiction to what is said in Lesson 154 concerning the messengers of God and their messages: that they “perform their part by their acceptance of His messages as for themselves, and show they understand the messages by giving them away. They choose no roles that are not given them by His authority. And so they gain by every message that they give away” (W.pI.154.7:2,3,4). As I see it, the messenger has an active role here. How are these two ideas related?

A: Different points are being made in the material you quote, but the content is the same. The point that is stressed in Question #898 is that when you let go of the ego, you are aware that you are not the individual self that you thought you were and that was always defining both the problem and the solution. When you let go of the ego, there is nothing left in your mind but love, and then your perception is identical with the Holy Spirit’s. You are aligned with truth, not illusion.

In Lesson 154, Jesus is making a different, though related, point; and that is that our only function is to accept the Atonement through the practice of forgiveness. As “ministers,” we cannot truly bring Jesus’ message of forgiveness to the world without first having accepted it ourselves, because in A Course in Miracles giving and receiving are the same. This is in contrast to the world’s view, where the role of messengers is just to deliver messages to other people; the delivery of the message is just an external event. Jesus is teaching us that if we want to receive God’s Love, we must give It — meaning we must come to recognize that we all share the same interests, and, ultimately, the same Self. I remember my true Identity as Christ only when I see that same Identity as defining everyone else. This is all about content, not form.

The way we are “active,” thus, is by choosing to be taught by the teacher of forgiveness and oneness, not by the teacher of conflict and separation. We then become the message, just as Jesus tells us that “to teach is to demonstrate” ( . Again, this is only about what is going on in our minds (content), not behavior (form). I cannot experience the Love of God in myself if I am judging even one other person as not worthy of that Love, because what is inherently all-inclusive cannot be known through exclusion. We are active in our minds, thus; and then that content will be expressed in our interactions. In the end, then, the two statements convey the same content.

sinless son

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 25

ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for September 25


The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that the teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.

To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn by teaching. Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. It is a method of conversion. This is not done by words alone. Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less.

The curriculum you set up is therefore determined exclusively by what you think you are, and what you believe the relationship of others is to you. In the formal teaching situation, these questions may be totally unrelated to what you think you are teaching. Yet it is impossible not to use the content of any situation on behalf of what you really teach, and therefore really learn. To this the verbal content of your teaching is quite irrelevant. It may coincide with it, or it may not. It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.

This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. How could it be otherwise? Everyone who follows the world’s curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein lies the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.

Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever. Who are they? How are they chosen? What do they do? How can they work out their own salvation and the salvation of the world? This manual attempts to answer these questions.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Manual for Teachers Reading, Click HERE


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 25

Lesson 268
Let all things be exactly as they are.

Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You. Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation, and distort it into sickly forms. Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity, and thus to let it be as You created it. For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me. In love was I created, and in love will I remain forever. What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?

Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues. Only reality is free of pain. Only reality is free of loss. Only reality is wholly safe. And it is only this we seek today.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #329: I’m having a difficult time understanding how marriage isn’t considered a special relationship, or that you could truly have a sacred relationship with someone.

A: Most marriages start out as special relationships, but they need not remain on that level. The specialness resides in the purpose or the content, as opposed to the form; and the purpose or content comes from the teacher we have chosen in our minds — either the ego or Jesus. That is the key. Thus you can be married to one person and spend most of your time with that one person, but if the content behind the form is rooted in the healing love of Jesus in your right mind, then you would be excluding no one from your love, or from your kindness, generosity, caring, etc. This obviously does not mean that you have to include everyone else in the world at your dinner table, or in your bedroom, or at the bank when you cash your paycheck. It is important to remember always that relationships are in the mind, and that we cannot usually discern the content just by observing the form. The relationship is made “sacred” by shifting from the ego’s purpose for the relationship to the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and your partner does not even have to be aware of this. The ego’s purpose is to reinforce separation and specialness, and the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to undo all of that.

Marriage, thus, can be an excellent classroom for learning how to relate without a sense of exclusion or specialness. The form might not change at all, but your motivation and interpretations would. You would still do all the same things, have the same intimacy and the same focus on family, or whatever, but you would ask for help to shift from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s. You would then look with the love of Jesus next to you at all of the manipulation, the specialness, the guilt, and the victimization that are a normal part of relationships in the ego’s world. And when you look at all of that without judgment, your mind then would be freed to let the love of Jesus flow through you as the content of all your thoughts; and then these thoughts would direct all of your interactions.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 24

ACIM Text Reading for September 24

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

VIII. Choose Once Again

Temptation has one lesson it would teach, in all its forms, wherever it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty, and bound by what it orders him to feel. It sets the limits on what he can do; its power is the only strength he has; his grasp cannot exceed its tiny reach. Would you be this, if Christ appeared to you in all His glory, asking you but this:

Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviours of the world, or would remain in hell, and hold your brothers there.

For He has come, and He is asking this.

How do you make the choice? How easily is this explained! You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto Him, and He has given you His strength instead.

Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again’. He would not leave one source of pain unhealed, nor any image left to veil the truth. He would remove all misery from you whom God created altar unto joy. He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your mind from everything that hides His face from you. His holiness is yours because He is the only Power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self That God created as His only Son.

The images you make cannot prevail against what God Himself would have you be. Be never fearful of temptation, then, but see it as it is; another chance to choose again, and let Christ’s strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before. For what appears to hide the face of Christ is powerless before His majesty, and disappears before His holy sight. The saviours of the world, who see like Him, are merely those who choose His strength instead of their own weakness, seen apart from Him. They will redeem the world, for they are joined in all the power of the Will of God. And what they will is only what He wills.

Learn, then, the happy habit of response to all temptation to perceive yourself as weak and miserable with these words,

I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.

Thus is Christ’s strength invited to prevail, replacing all your weakness with the strength that comes from God and that can never fail. And thus are miracles as natural as fear and agony appeared to be before the choice for holiness was made. For in that choice are false distinctions gone, illusory alternatives laid by, and nothing left to interfere with truth.

You are as God created you, and so is every living thing you look upon, regardless of the images you see. What you behold as sickness and as pain, as weakness and as suffering and loss, is but temptation to perceive yourself defenceless and in hell. Yield not to this, and you will see all pain, in every form, wherever it occurs, but disappear as mists before the sun. A miracle has come to heal God’s Son, and close the door upon his dreams of weakness, opening the way to his salvation and release. Choose once again what you would have him be, remembering that every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is.

Deny me not the little gift I ask, when in exchange I lay before your feet the peace of God, and power to bring this peace to everyone who wanders in the world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. For it is given you to join with him, and through the Christ in you unveil his eyes, and let him look upon the Christ in him.

My brothers in salvation, do not fail to hear my voice and listen to my words. I ask for nothing but your own release. There is no place for hell within a world whose loveliness can yet be so intense and so inclusive it is but a step from there to Heaven. To your tired eyes I bring a vision of a different world, so new and clean and fresh you will forget the pain and sorrow that you saw before. Yet this a vision is which you must share with everyone you see, for otherwise you will behold it not. To give this gift is how to make it yours. And God ordained, in loving kindness, that it be for you.

Let us be glad that we can walk the world, and find so many chances to perceive another situation where God’s gift can once again be recognised as ours! And thus will all the vestiges of hell, the secret sins and hidden hates be gone. And all the loveliness which they concealed appear like lawns of Heaven to our sight, to lift us high above the thorny roads we travelled on before the Christ appeared. Hear me, my brothers, hear and join with me. God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.

I thank You, Father, for these holy ones who are my brothers as they are Your Sons. My faith in them is Yours. I am as sure that they will come to me as You are sure of what they are, and will forever be. They will accept the gift I offer them, because You gave it me on their behalf. And as I would but do Your holy Will, so will they choose. And I give thanks for them. Salvation’s song will echo through the world with every choice they make. For we are one in purpose, and the end of hell is near.

In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation, and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell, and giving thanks to You.

And now we say ‘Amen’. For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognises You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the Light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 24

Lesson 267
My heart is beating in the peace of God.

Surrounding me is all the life that God created in His Love. It calls to me in every heartbeat and in every breath; in every action and in every thought. Peace fills my heart, and floods my body with the purpose of forgiveness. Now my mind is healed, and all I need to save the world is given me. Each heartbeat brings me peace; each breath infuses me with strength. I am a messenger of God, directed by His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held forever quiet and at peace within His loving Arms. Each heartbeat calls His Name, and every one is answered by His Voice, assuring me I am at home in Him.

Let me attend Your Answer, not my own. Father, my heart is beating in the peace the Heart of Love created. It is there and only there that I can be at home.

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #686: In the end of the text, Jesus says that all walk the world “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear” (T31.VIII.7:1). I know that this may seem silly, but I just don’t believe that sometimes. I look at someone like Donald Trump; rich, secure, seemingly happy, and it doesn’t seem that he feels the way Jesus describes. I know enough now that this question probably reflects my fear that A Course in Miracles is asking sacrifice of me, but some people seem so happy without the Course.

A: It is important to remember that in the Course Jesus is addressing our minds; more specifically, the part of our minds that remembers the truth of who we really are (the right mind). However, since we have dissociated from our minds and identified with the ego, and thus with the body, we hear his words as applying to the body. He is not speaking to our bodies. It is the mind that identifies with the ego/body that walks the world “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear.” Though they may not be apparent, the loneliness, uncertainty and fear that underlie everyone’s’ existence in the world are the motivation for everything that we seek: money, power, friends, and family. Having believed we are separate from our Source, we feel bankrupt and therefore compelled to fill our physical, psychological, and emotional warehouses to the brim with wealth, health and “happiness.” The ego is ingenious in making up its interpretation of “happiness,” “success,” “achievement,” even “love,” based on the deep sense of loss that inevitably accompanies the choice for separation. The world offers the illusion of happiness, and on its terms it seems to “work” for some people. They seem to “have it all.” It is possible to experience the satisfaction of getting what we want, or what we think we want, and it is this that the world calls happiness. However, as it turns out, it is never enough, not even the “perfect life” here in the world, and so we seek for more. No doubt Donald Trump, along with many other wealthy, and successful people, would admit that there are more fortunes and more power to be had: “You never can be too rich or too thin.”

Jesus tells us in the Course, that in choosing to identify with the body and seeking everything the world has to offer, we have short-changed ourselves. “To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he experiences then is depression or anger, because what he did was to exchange Self-love for self-hate, making him afraid of himself. He does not realize this. Even if he is fully aware of anxiety he does not perceive its source as his own ego identification, and he always tries to handle it by making some sort of insane ‘arrangement’ with the world” (T.12.III.6:1,2,3,4,5, italics ours). The insane arrangements are all the things we do to avoid feeling the self-hatred, this is what compels us to seek outside of ourselves for comfort and fulfillment. Every value the world holds has its source in the pervasive feeling of emptiness that is the effect of choosing the ego instead of God. Yet nothing ever fills that void. Jesus tells the Donald Trump in all of us that the world/ego is a bad investment: “The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return” (T.12.VI.1:1,2,3,4,5).

A close look at the satisfactions and “happiness” the world offer reveals that they are short spent and do not last. Every enjoyment is shadowed by the knowledge that it will end, not to mention that it is nothing but an illusion: “Illusions will not last. Their death is sure and this alone is certain in their world. It is the ego’s world because of this” (C.2.1:1,2,3). We cannot effectively extinguish the gnawing sense that everything we seek and achieve has an end, including this “life” in a body, and thus we become imprisoned by the relentless pursuit of pleasure, comfort, and meaning in the world. This often extends to the search for meaningful religious experience and fulfillment, in an attempt to calm our fear that we are, in fact, wrong about who we are, and wrong about everything we believe is true and meaningful. As the very first lesson in the workbook tells us: “Nothing I see…means anything” (W.pI.1). How, then, can what is meaningless bring us happiness, comfort, or peace? Not only is it meaningless, everything the world offers is actually a defense against recognizing what is meaningful, since it is the place made by the ego, “where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W.pII.3.2:4).

There is no need to worry that we will have to sacrifice or be deprived of anything we think we need as long as we think we need it: “Only the Holy Spirit knows what you need. For He will give you all things that do not block the way to light. And what else could you need? In time, He gives you all the things that you need have, and will renew them as long as you have need of them. He will take nothing from you as long as you have any need of it. And yet He knows that everything you need is temporary, and will but last until you step aside from all your needs and realize that all of them have been fulfilled” (T.13.VII.12:1,2,3,4,5,6). Let’s not be fooled by anything else.


Related Passage from the Torah (5 Books of Moses)

Choose Life

Moses says to the Israelites:

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days…”

~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 23

ACIM Text Reading for September 23

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

VII. The Saviour’s Vision

Learning is change. Salvation does not seek to use a means as yet too alien to your thinking to be helpful, nor to make the kinds of change you could not recognise. Concepts are needed while perception lasts, and changing concepts is salvation’s task. For it must deal in contrasts, not in truth, which has no opposite and cannot change. In this world’s concepts are the guilty ‘bad’; the ‘good’ are innocent. And no one here but holds a concept of himself in which he counts the ‘good’ to pardon him the ‘bad’. Nor does he trust the ‘good’ in anyone, believing that the ‘bad’ must lurk behind. This concept emphasises treachery, and trust becomes impossible. Nor could it change while you perceive the ‘bad’ in you.

You could not recognise your ‘evil’ thoughts as long as you see value in attack. You will perceive them sometimes, but will not see them as meaningless. And so they come in fearful form, with content still concealed, to shake your sorry concept of yourself and blacken it with still another ‘crime’. You cannot give yourself your innocence, for you are too confused about yourself. But should one brother dawn upon your sight as wholly worthy of forgiveness, then your concept of yourself is wholly changed. Your ‘evil’ thoughts have been forgiven with his, because you let them all affect you not. No longer do you choose that you should be the sign of evil and of guilt in him. And as you give your trust to what is good in him, you give it to the good in you.

In terms of concepts, it is thus you see him more than just a body, for the good is never what the body seems to be. The actions of the body are perceived as coming from the ‘baser’ part of you, and thus of him as well. By focusing upon the good in him, the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good. And this will be your concept of yourself, when you have reached the world beyond the sight your eyes alone can offer you to see. For you will not interpret what you see without the Aid That God has given you. And in His sight there is another world.

You live in that world just as much as this. For both are concepts of yourself, which can be interchanged but never jointly held. The contrast is far greater than you think, for you will love this concept of yourself, because it was not made for you alone. Born as a gift for someone not perceived to be yourself, it has been given you. For your forgiveness, offered unto him, has been accepted now for both of you.

Have faith in him who walks with you, so that your fearful concept of yourself may change. And look upon the good in him, that you may not be frightened by your ‘evil’ thoughts because they do not cloud your view of him. And all this shift requires is that you be willing that this happy change occur. No more than this is asked. On its behalf, remember what the concept of yourself that now you hold has brought you in its wake, and welcome the glad contrast offered you. Hold out your hand, that you may have the gift of kind forgiveness which you offer one whose need for it is just the same as yours. And let the cruel concept of yourself be changed to one that brings the peace of God.

The concept of yourself that now you hold would guarantee your function here remain forever unaccomplished and undone. And thus it dooms you to a bitter sense of deep depression and futility. Yet it need not be fixed, unless you choose to hold it past the hope of change and keep it static and concealed within your mind. Give it instead to Him Who understands the changes that it needs to let it serve the function given you to bring you peace, that you may offer peace to have it yours. Alternatives are in your mind to use, and you can see yourself another way. Would you not rather look upon yourself as needed for salvation of the world, instead of as salvation’s enemy?

The concept of the self stands like a shield, a silent barricade before the truth, and hides it from your sight. All things you see are images, because you look on them as through a barrier that dims your sight and warps your vision, so that you behold nothing with clarity. The light is kept from everything you see. At most, you glimpse a shadow of what lies beyond. At least, you merely look on darkness, and perceive the terrified imaginings that come from guilty thoughts and concepts born of fear. And what you see is hell, for fear is hell. All that is given you is for release; the sight, the vision and the inner Guide all lead you out of hell with those you love beside you, and the universe with them.

Behold your role within the universe! To every part of true creation has the Lord of Love and Life entrusted all salvation from the misery of hell. And to each one has He allowed the grace to be a saviour to the holy ones especially entrusted to his care. And this he learns when first he looks upon one brother as he looks upon himself, and sees the mirror of himself in him. Thus is the concept of himself laid by, for nothing stands between his sight and what he looks upon, to judge what he beholds. And in this single vision does he see the face of Christ, and understands he looks on everyone as he beholds this one. For there is light where darkness was before, and now the veil is lifted from his sight.

The veil across the face of Christ, the fear of God and of salvation, and the love of guilt and death, they all are different names for just one error; that there is a space between you and your brother, kept apart by an illusion of yourself that holds him off from you, and you away from him. The sword of judgement is the weapon that you give to the illusion of yourself, that it may fight to keep the space that holds your brother off unoccupied by love. Yet while you hold this sword, you must perceive the body as yourself, for you are bound to separation from the sight of him who holds the mirror to another view of what he is, and thus what you must be.

What is temptation but the wish to stay in hell and misery? And what could this give rise to but an image of yourself that can be miserable, and remain in hell and torment? Who has learned to see his brother not as this has saved himself, and thus is he a saviour to the rest. To everyone has God entrusted all, because a partial saviour would be one who is but partly saved. The holy ones whom God has given you to save are but everyone you meet or look upon, not knowing who they are; all those you saw an instant and forgot, and those you knew a long while since, and those you will yet meet; the unremembered and the not yet born. For God has given you His Son to save from every concept that he ever held.

Yet while you wish to stay in hell, how could you be the saviour of the Son of God? How would you know his holiness while you set him apart from yours? For holiness is seen through holy eyes that look upon the innocence within, and thus expect to see it everywhere. And so they call it forth in everyone they look upon, that he may be what they expect of him. This is the saviour’s vision; that he see his innocence in all he looks upon, and see his own salvation everywhere. He holds no concept of himself between his calm and open eyes and what he sees. He brings the light to what he looks upon, that he may see it as it really is.

Whatever form temptation seems to take, it always but reflects a wish to be a self that you are not. And from that wish a concept rises, teaching that you are the thing you wish to be. It will remain your concept of yourself until the wish that fathered it no longer is held dear. But while you cherish it, you will behold your brother in the likeness of the self whose image has the wish begot of you. For seeing can but represent a wish, because it has no power to create. Yet it can look with love or look with hate, depending only on the simple choice of whether you would join with what you see, or keep yourself apart and separate.

The saviour’s vision is as innocent of what your brother is as it is free of any judgement made upon yourself. It sees no past in anyone at all. And thus it serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look on only what the present holds. It cannot judge because it does not know. And recognising this, it merely asks, ‘What is the meaning of what I behold?’ Then is the answer given. And the door held open for the face of Christ to shine upon the one who asks, in innocence, to see beyond the veil of old ideas and ancient concepts held so long and dear against the vision of the Christ in you.

Be vigilant against temptation, then, remembering that it is but a wish, insane and meaningless, to make yourself a thing that you are not. And think as well upon the thing that you would be instead. It is a thing of madness, pain and death; a thing of treachery and black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die, and end the dream of fear. This is temptation; nothing more than this. Can this be difficult to choose against? Consider what temptation is, and see the real alternatives you choose between. There are but two. Be not deceived by what appears as many choices. There is hell or Heaven, and of these you choose but one.

Let not the world’s light, given unto you, be hidden from the world. It needs the light, for it is dark indeed, and men despair because the saviour’s vision is withheld and what they see is death. Their saviour stands, unknowing and unknown, beholding them with eyes unopened. And they cannot see until he looks on them with seeing eyes, and offers them forgiveness with his own. Can you to whom God says, ‘Release My Son!’ be tempted not to listen, when you learn that it is you for whom He asks release? And what but this is what this course would teach? And what but this is there for you to learn?


ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 23

Lesson 266
My holy Self abides in you, God’s Son.

Father, You gave me all Your Sons, to be my saviors and my counselors in sight; the bearers of Your holy Voice to me. In them are You reflected, and in them does Christ look back upon me from my Self. Let not Your Son forget Your holy Name. Let not Your Son forget his holy Source. Let not Your Son forget his Name is Yours.

This day we enter into Paradise, calling upon God’s Name and on our own, acknowledging our Self in each of us; united in the holy Love of God. How many saviors God has given us! How can we lose the way to Him, when He has filled the world with those who point to Him, and given us the sight to look on them?


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #905: For years my husband has expressed uneasiness about my assertive personality. As a student of A Course in Miracles , I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to help me look at my feelings about this issue. This process has made me more accepting of myself and less concerned about other people’s opinions. But recently I had to make some difficult business decisions. My decisions seemed to make my business partners uneasy (my husband is one of my business partners). Now I sense that they’re all judging me for being overly assertive. I’m having tremendous guilt about this and am not sure how to deal with it.

A: Since all of us who think we are here have chosen to drown out God’s Voice and listen to our own instead, you might say that we all have overly assertive personalities. The Course teaches us that the one cause of all our guilt is the decision to see ourselves as separate from God’s Love. Further the Course states, “As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way…you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it.” (T.13.X.6:1,2).

In other words, our ego continually makes up reasons for our guilt in order to make sure we never recognize that the guilt itself is made up and that our minds have the power to let it go. So whenever we think that our guilt comes from something we have said or done, we have (once again) been tricked by the ego’s smokescreen. Remember too that the ego doesn’t care whether we see others or ourselves as guilty. The ego is happy as long as we believe that guilt is real and remain focused on the effect our ego has on other egos.

As a Course student, you probably realize that the judgments of your husband or your business partners would not be causing you guilt if you had not first accused yourself of something. The fact that your recent business decisions triggered your guilt is undoubtedly because, at some point in the process, you saw your interests as separate from others. Thus your decisions (whether you feel you made “the right” decisions or not) have become symbols in your mind for the original decision to see your interests as separate from God’s. Therefore in your thinking, your decisions now equal attack.

The Course doesn’t give us any guidelines for behavior — you may or may not, for example, be assertive as the world judges it. But the Course does make clear that we are always listening to either the voice of the ego or the Holy Spirit. So the way to “deal with” guilt is to ask the Holy Spirit for help before we make decisions or take actions (and of course, recognize that our ego- driven actions of the past were merely mistakes calling for correction not punishment). As we learn more and more to join with Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our mind, the choices we make will increasingly reflect God’s all-inclusive Love. When our actions become reflections of love rather than symbols of attack, our guilt will automatically disappear.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 22

ACIM Text Reading for September 22

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

VI. Recognising the Spirit

You see the flesh or recognise the spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or spirit in your own belief. If you choose flesh, you never will escape the body as your own reality, for you have chosen that you want it so. But choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.

Salvation is undoing. If you choose to see the body, you behold a world of separation, unrelated things, and happenings that make no sense at all. This one appears and disappears in death; that one is doomed to suffering and loss. And no one is exactly as he was an instant previous, nor will he be the same as he is now an instant hence. Who could have trust where so much change is seen, for who is worthy if he be but dust? Salvation is undoing of all this. For constancy arises in the sight of those whose eyes salvation has released from looking at the cost of keeping guilt, because they chose to let it go instead.

Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice. For you can see the body without help, but do not understand how to behold a world apart from it. It is your world salvation will undo, and let you see another world your eyes could never find. Be not concerned how this could ever be. You do not understand how what you see arose to meet your sight. For if you did, it would be gone. The veil of ignorance is drawn across the evil and the good, and must be passed that both may disappear, so that perception finds no hiding place. How is this done? It is not done at all. What could there be within the universe that God created that must still be done?

Only in arrogance could you conceive that you must make the way to Heaven plain. The means are given you by which to see the world that will replace the one you made. Your will be done! In Heaven as on earth this is forever true. It matters not where you believe you are, nor what you think the truth about yourself must really be. It makes no difference what you look upon, nor what you choose to feel or think or wish. For God Himself has said, ‘Your will be done’. And it is done to you accordingly.

You who believe that you can choose to see the Son of God as you would have him be, forget not that no concept of yourself will stand against the truth of what you are. Undoing truth would be impossible. But concepts are not difficult to change. One vision. clearly seen, that does not fit the picture as it was perceived before will change the world for eyes that learn to see, because the concept of the self has changed.

Are you invulnerable? Then the world is harmless in your sight. Do you forgive? Then is the world forgiving, for you have forgiven it its trespasses, and so it looks on you with eyes that see as yours. Are you a body? So is all the world perceived as treacherous, and out to kill. Are you a spirit, deathless, and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of your trust; a happy place to rest in for a while, where nothing need be feared, but only loved. Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent?

Your will be done, you holy child of God. It does not matter if you think you are in earth or Heaven. What your Father wills of you can never change. The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself. And you are worthy that your will be done!

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 22

Lesson 265
Creation’s gentleness is all I see.

I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived was I to think that what I feared was in the world, instead of in my mind alone. Today I see the world in the celestial gentleness with which creation shines. There is no fear in it. Let no appearance of my sins obscure the light of Heaven shining on the world. What is reflected there is in God’s Mind. The images I see reflect my thoughts. Yet is my mind at one with God’s. And so I can perceive creation’s gentleness.

In quiet would I look upon the world, which but reflects Your Thoughts, and mine as well. Let me remember that they are the same, and I will see creation’s gentleness.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #675: What does A Course in Miracles say about a person who has tried to be loving, kind, and giving to someone, and trying to use the Course’s principle of seeing the Christ in them, and having that person treat you with anger, rudeness, unkindness, and just plain nastiness? I know that this is not who he truly is; but his darkness has affected our relationship and his toxic behavior has gotten the best of me. I have reacted in unkind ways myself. I feel as if I have failed the lessons the Holy Spirit has presented me. How many times do I have to forgive myself? How can I justify someone’s poor behavior? I want to see this person as a loving brother, and I want to be seen as a loving brother in return. How can a miracle happen when there is so much separation?

A: You may be trying too hard! You just have to monitor your ego reactions and bring them to the non-judgmental love of Jesus in your mind, and do nothing else. You do not have to work at seeing the Christ in this other person. When you have let go of your judgments and specialness needs, you will automatically perceive the Christ in him and yourself as well. That is the meaning of the powerful statement in the text, “If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him. You hear but your own voice, and if Christ speaks through you, you will hear Him” (T.11.V.18:6,7). For most of us, the process of getting to this level develops gradually over a period of time because of our resistance to being permanently without judgment and specialness needs. That is why your focus should be on not judging yourself for getting angry and being judgmental, rather than on trying to stop yourself from getting angry and being judgmental. There’s a big difference between the two approaches to forgiveness. When you tire of forgiving yourself, you can be sure that the ego has snuck into the process and therefore self-condemnation and guilt have crept in as well, for you could never tire of turning to the gentle love of Jesus that sees the complete meaningless of your ego and invites you to remain forever in that quiet center in your mind instead of the ego’s turbulent prison of perpetual conflict.

Your inner peace, as you are already aware, does not depend on whether your friend is kind to you or not, or whether you maintain the friendship or not (in form). Perhaps associating with one another is not in either of your best interests — you cannot see the entirety of your or your friend’s Atonement path. Leaving a relationship can be a right-minded decision or a wrong-minded decision, just as the decision to stay in a relationship can be right- or wrong-minded. The content in your mind is the only important factor. It is normal to expect a friend to be respectful and kind to you, but that should not be a condition of your love for him, reflecting the unconditional love of God for His Son. The behavior of not continuing the relationship may still be bound to the content of love in your mind, in which case you would only feel peace.

While forgiveness never condones or justifies unloving behavior, it does perceive its roots in overwhelming fear and guilt, which is why condemnation is never an appropriate response. Yet, forgiveness never requires that a person stay in an abusive relationship simply to learn lessons. The ego, of course, would encourage that, for then you would always have a reason for feeling separate and not at peace: “I tried, but my friend’s toxicity infected me. It wasn’t my fault.” Our unconscious and overwhelming fear of love is typically defended against through that kind of ego dynamic. That is why trying to stop your reaction will never be successful for long. Not judging yourself for your ego reactions will be successful in the long run, though, as you allow yourself to see what it is costing you to hold on to your judgments.

there is nothing to fear

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 21

ACIM Text Reading for September 21

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

V. Self-Concept versus Self

The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self adjusted to the world’s reality. It fits it well. For this an image is that suits a world of shadows and illusions. Here it walks at home, where what it sees is one with it. The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self, and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach ‘maturity’ you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands.

A concept of the self is made by you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God. The concept of the self the world would teach is not the thing that it appears to be. For it is made to serve two purposes, but one of which the mind can recognise. The first presents the face of innocence, the aspect acted on. It is this face that smiles and charms and even seems to love. It searches for companions and it looks, at times with pity, on the suffering, and sometimes offers solace. It believes that it is good within an evil world.

This aspect can grow angry, for the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good. This aspect never makes the first attack. But every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its innocence, provoking it to irritation, and at last to open insult and abuse.

The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self-defence, for is it not a well-known fact the world deals harshly with defenceless innocence? No one who makes a picture of himself omits this face, for he has need of it. The other side he does not want to see. Yet it is here the learning of the world has set its sights, for it is here the world’s ‘reality’ is set, to see to it the idol lasts.

Beneath the face of innocence there is a lesson that the concept of the self was made to teach. It is a lesson in a terrible displacement, and a fear so devastating that the face that smiles above it must forever look away, lest it perceive the treachery it hides. The lesson teaches this: ‘I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am’. On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape.

Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mists below the face of innocence. And in these shrouded vaults are all his sins and yours preserved and kept in darkness, where they cannot be perceived as errors, which the light would surely show. You can be neither blamed for what you are, nor can you change the things it makes you do. Your brother then is symbol of your sins to you who are but silently, and yet with ceaseless urgency, condemning still your brother for the hated thing you are.

Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they can not be used to demonstrate the world is real. For all of them are made within the world, born in its shadow, growing in its ways and finally ‘maturing’ in its thought. They are ideas of idols, painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.

A concept of the self is meaningless, for no one here can see what it is for, and therefore cannot picture what it is. Yet is all learning that the world directs begun and ended with the single aim of teaching you this concept of yourself, that you will choose to follow this world’s laws, and never seek to go beyond its roads nor realise the way you see yourself. Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you. Nor can it be unlearned except by lessons aimed to teach that you are something else. For otherwise, you would be asked to make exchange of what you now believe for total loss of self, and greater terror would arise in you.

Thus are the Holy Spirit’s lesson plans arranged in easy steps, that though there be some lack of ease at times and some distress, there is no shattering of what was learned, but just a re-translation of what seems to be the evidence on its behalf. Let us consider, then, what proof there is that you are what your brother made of you. For even though you do not yet perceive that this is what you think, you surely learned by now that you behave as if it were. Does he react for you? And does he know exactly what would happen? Can he see your future and ordain, before it comes, what you should do in every circumstance? He must have made the world as well as you to have such prescience in the things to come.

That you are what your brother made of you seems most unlikely. Even if he did, who gave the face of innocence to you? Is this your contribution? Who is, then, the ‘you’ who made it? And who is deceived by all your goodness, and attacks it so? Let us forget the concept’s foolishness, and merely think of this; there are two parts to what you think yourself to be. If one were generated by your brother, who was there to make the other? And from whom must something be kept hidden? If the world be evil, there is still no need to hide what you are made of. Who is there to see? And what but is attacked could need defence?

Perhaps the reason why this concept must be kept in darkness is that, in the light, the one who would not think it true is you. And what would happen to the world you see, if all its underpinnings were removed? Your concept of the world depends upon this concept of the self. And both would go, if either one were ever raised to doubt. The Holy Spirit does not seek to throw you into panic. So He merely asks if just a little question might be raised.

There is an alternate about the thing that you must be. You might, for instance, be the thing you chose to have your brother be. This shifts the concept of the self from what is wholly passive, and at least makes way for active choice, and some acknowledgement that interaction must have entered in. There is some understanding that you chose for both of you, and what he represents has meaning that was given it by you. It also shows some glimmering of sight into perception’s law that what you see reflects the state of the perceiver’s mind. Yet who was it that did the choosing first? If you are what you chose your brother be, alternatives were there to choose among, and someone must have first decided on the one to choose, and let the other go.

Although this step has gains, it does not yet approach a basic question. Something must have gone before these concepts of the self. And something must have done the learning which gave rise to them. Nor can this be explained by either view. The main advantage of the shifting to the second from the first is that you somehow entered in the choice by your decision. But this gain is paid in almost equal loss, for now you stand accused of guilt for what your brother is. And you must share his guilt, because you chose it for him in the image of your own. While only he was treacherous before, now must you be condemned along with him.

The concept of the self has always been the great preoccupation of the world. And everyone believes that he must find the answer to the riddle of himself. Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the escape from concepts. It does not concern itself with content of the mind, but with the simple statement that it thinks. And what can think has choice, and can be shown that different thoughts have different consequence. So it can learn that everything it thinks reflects the deep confusion that it feels about how it was made and what it is. And vaguely does the concept of the self appear to answer what it does not know.

Seek not your Self in symbols. There can be no concept that can stand for what you are. What matters it which concept you accept while you perceive a self that interacts with evil, and reacts to wicked things? Your concept of yourself will still remain quite meaningless. And you will not perceive that you can interact but with yourself. To see a guilty world is but the sign your learning has been guided by the world, and you behold it as you see yourself. The concept of the self embraces all you look upon, and nothing is outside of this perception. If you can be hurt by anything, you see a picture of your secret wishes. Nothing more than this. And in your suffering of any kind you see your own concealed desire to kill.

You will make many concepts of the self as learning goes along. Each one will show the changes in your own relationships, as your perception of yourself is changed. There will be some confusion every time there is a shift, but be you thankful that the learning of the world is loosening its grasp upon your mind. And be you sure and happy in the confidence that it will go at last, and leave your mind at peace. The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you. Yet have no fear it will not be undone.

The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognised as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this:

I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.

Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.


ACIM Q & A for Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 21

Lesson 264
I am surrounded by the Love of God.

Father, You stand before me and behind, beside me, in the place I see myself, and everywhere I go. You are in all the things I look upon, the sounds I hear, and every hand that reaches for my own. In You time disappears, and place becomes a meaningless belief. For what surrounds Your Son and keeps him safe is Love itself. There is no source but this, and nothing is that does not share its holiness; that stands beyond Your one creation, or without the Love which holds all things within itself. Father, Your Son is like Yourself. We come to You in Your Own Name today, to be at peace within Your everlasting Love.

My brothers, join with me in this today. This is salvation’s prayer. Must we not join in what will save the world, along with us?


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #186: In Chapter 31 of A Course in Miracles, Section V, “Self-Concept vs Self,” Jesus says, “The role of the accuser will appear in many places and in many forms. And each will seem to be accusing you” (T.31.V.16:5,6). Can you explain what is meant by this?

A: As earlier parts of this section make clear, each judgment we hold against another is really a deeply buried self-accusation. Perhaps most graphic is the following; “No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering in its deadly aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept deeper in the mists below the face of innocence” (T.31.V.6:4,5).

The section then goes on (T.31.V.15,16) to discuss how we will assume various concepts or roles for our self-identity over time (e.g., child, sibling, student, lover, spouse, parent, employee, boss) — all the while believing that we are a victim in these various relationships, treated unfairly by a world of evil that exists outside ourselves. But all the accusations we hold against others as we assume the various roles of our lives (i.e., “the role of the accuser…in many places and in many forms”) really represent the hidden accusations of guilt and sin over the original separation thought and all its seeming ramifications that we hold against ourselves. And so as we accept and put into practice the Course’s teaching on projection, it will now seem that the finger we have pointed at others is, in each case, now pointing at ourselves. But the reality of our true Self is beyond all these roles and concepts And so Jesus reassures us, “Yet have no fear it [each role] will not be undone” (T.31.V.16:7). For none of the images of good or evil that we have made of both our brother and ourselves is real. And when we no longer want any of them, we will know Who we truly are (T.31.V.17).

there is nothing to fear