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.
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ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 25
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.