ACIM Text Reading for September 18
Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision
II. Walking with Christ
An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known, nor fought against to lose to truth’s appeal. There is no battle that must be prepared; no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war, unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?
Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards, the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish you set two choices to be made, each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both, before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made, that this might be obscured to you.
What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.
Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader’s role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise, and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for, and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death, because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.
And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice, because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other, and you join with him and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you, because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.
Before you answer, pause to think of this:
The answer that I give my brother is what I am asking for. And what I learn of him is what I learn about myself.
Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us, but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.
Because he is your equal in God’s Love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers, and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, he cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.
Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.
Forgive your brother all appearances, that are but ancient lessons you have taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning’s outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.
An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for, will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want, and needs the same as you. It takes, perhaps, a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purpose; that you learn you love your brother with a brother’s love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself in truth.
Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 18
Section 5. What is the Body?
The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love. Identifying with his safety, he regards himself as what his safety is. How else could he be certain he remains within the body, keeping love outside?
The body will not stay. Yet this he sees as double safety. For the Son of God’s impermanence is “proof” his fences work, and do the task his mind assigns to them. For if his oneness still remained untouched, who could attack and who could be attacked? Who could be victor? Who could be his prey? Who could be victim? Who the murderer? And if he did not die, what “proof” is there that God’s eternal Son can be destroyed?
The body is a dream. Like other dreams it sometimes seems to picture happiness, but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born. For only love creates in truth, and truth can never fear. Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it. But we can change the purpose that the body will obey by changing what we think that it is for.
The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother, and to help him walk along the road with him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill.
You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth, and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love, and find your Self.
God is my refuge and security.
I will identify with what I think is refuge and security. I will behold myself where I perceive my strength, and think I live within the citadel where I am safe and cannot be attacked. Let me today seek not security in danger, nor attempt to find my peace in murderous attack. I live in God. In Him I find my refuge and my strength. In Him is my Identity. In Him is everlasting peace. And only there will I remember Who I really am.
Let me not seek for idols. I would come, my Father, home to You today. I choose to be as You created me, and find the Son whom You created as my Self.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #54: What is the definition of intelligence as it is used in the Course? Is intelligence a part of the ego or a glimpse of the Divine?
A: Intelligence is a function of the brain, it is therefore part of the operational system of the body, not to be confused with the mind, which is not in the brain and does not require intelligence. That is not to say that the mind does not make use of the brain, as it does the body, in our illusory experience of being in a body in this dream state. The Course statements regarding the body can thus be applied to the brain/intelligence. It is neutral, and can be used by the Holy Spirit or the ego for their respective goals. This is true of any ability or skill attributed to the body. The Course itself is an example of the use of the intellect as a form, using language, metaphysical principles, psychological terms, etc., to reflect a choice in the mind to turn toward the love and truth which is the content. It is one form helpful to the Sonship to learn to accept love, but it is not the only form. In the Manual we are told: “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” (M.1.4:1,2).
We easily become confused when it comes to the brain and intelligence because we still think “that [our] understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is” (T.18.IV.7:5). We hold our intellectual abilities in high regard, failing to realize that the mind is the true home of thought, having nothing to do with the illusory thoughts that generate from our brains. The healing of the mind through forgiveness does not require intelligence, it requires willingness, which is a function of the mind. The mind can be willing and can in fact make a choice for healing without the need for intellect/intelligence. Otherwise intellectual ability and/or intelligence would obviously be a requirement for salvation and that would exclude a large segment of the Sonship (those who are mentally incapacitated, have brain dysfunctions, are comatose, etc.) We certainly have all had the experience of being completely baffled by a particular passage at one time only to have absolute clarity as to its meaning at a later reading. Our intelligence had nothing to do with the confusion or with the clarity. The confusion came from our resistance; the clarity from our willingness. A person with limited intelligence may come to the Course with little resistance and a high degree of willingness and thus be open to learning the content of the Course: its message of love and forgiveness. An intellectually gifted person, on the other hand, may be blocked by tremendous resistance and fail to grasp the true message of the Course, in spite of intellectually mastering the principles of its metaphysics. Although we are making use of our brains to read, study and even apply the teachings of the Course in our lives, the real activity is going on in the mind that is choosing to turn toward the light and truth of the Course’s message. The intellectual activity is the reflection of that choice, but it is not a requirement, and it is certainly not a glimpse of the Divine. Very intellectually limited persons have been brilliant reflections of light and love in the world, while intellectually gifted persons have remained entrenched in the ego’s darkness.
In our study and practice of the Course it becomes apparent that however much we intellectually understand or do not understand the principles of the Course, it is the application of these principles with sincere willingness that makes them effective in bringing about our healing and the experience of peace. As we read: “Salvation, perfect and complete, asks but a little wish that what is true be true; a little willingness to overlook what is not there; a little sigh that speaks for Heaven as a preference to this world that death and desolation seem to rule. In joyous answer will creation rise within you, to replace the world you see with Heaven, wholly perfect and complete. What is forgiveness but a willingness that truth be true?” (T.26.VII.10:1,2,3)