ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for October 3
4. What Are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers?
Joy is the inevitable result of gentleness. Gentleness means that fear is now impossible, and what could come to interfere with joy? The open hands of gentleness are always filled. The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation!
God’s teachers have learned how to be simple. They have no dreams that need defense against the truth. They do not try to make themselves. Their joy comes from their understanding Who created them. And does what God created need defense? No one can become an advanced teacher of God until he fully understands that defenses are but foolish guardians of mad illusions. The more grotesque the dream, the fiercer and more powerful its defenses seem to be. Yet when the teacher of God finally agrees to look past them, he finds that nothing was there. Slowly at first he lets himself be undeceived. But he learns faster as his trust increases. It is not danger that comes when defenses are laid down. It is safety. It is peace. It is joy. And it is God.
The term generosity has special meaning to the teacher of God. It is not the usual meaning of the word; in fact, it is a meaning that must be learned and learned very carefully. Like all the other attributes of God’s teachers this one rests ultimately on trust, for without trust no one can be generous in the true sense. To the world, generosity means “giving away” in the sense of “giving up”. To the teachers of God, it means giving away in order to keep. This has been emphasised throughout the text and the workbook, but it is perhaps more alien to the thinking of the world than many other ideas in our curriculum. Its greater strangeness lies merely in the obviousness of its reversal of the world’s thinking. In the clearest way possible, and at the simplest of levels, the word means the exact opposite to the teachers of God and to the world.
The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest. This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks. The teacher of God does not want anything he cannot give away, because he realises it would be valueless to him by definition. What would he want it for? He could only lose because of it. He could not gain. Therefore he does not seek what only he could keep, because that is a guarantee of loss. He does not want to suffer. Why should he ensure himself pain? But he does want to keep for himself all things that are of God, and therefore for His Son. These are the things that belong to him. These he can give away in true generosity, protecting them forever for himself.
Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown to him as yet, but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer. And this is true for everything that happens now or in the future. The past as well held no mistakes; nothing that did not serve to benefit the world, as well as him to whom it seemed to happen. Perhaps it was not understood at the time. Even so, the teacher of God is willing to reconsider all his past decisions, if they are causing pain to anyone. Patience is natural to those who trust. Sure of the ultimate interpretation of all things in time, no outcome already seen or yet to come can cause them fear.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 3
The Word of God is given me to speak.
What is the Word of God? “My Son is pure and holy as Myself.” And thus did God become the Father of the Son He loves, for thus was he created. This the Word His Son did not create with Him, because in this His Son was born. Let us accept His Fatherhood, and all is given us. Deny we were created in His Love and we deny our Self, to be unsure of Who we are, of Who our Father is, and for what purpose we have come. And yet, we need but to acknowledge Him Who gave His Word to us in our creation, to remember Him and so recall our Self.
Father, Your Word is mine. And it is this that I would speak to all my brothers, who are given me to cherish as my own, as I am loved and blessed and saved by You.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #324: I sometimes feel that choosing to see peace, for me, is a kind of denial. I know I can look at a situation and choose to see peace. And often I do, and the tension alleviates and my thought of peace brings a peaceful feeling. But sometimes I am surprised by an onslaught of fear and anger and guilt feelings in an ongoing difficult situation that I thought was close to being healed, and then I feel like I had just been denying those feelings in seeing peace. It seems to me that to heal them I have to be in the feelings for a while, not try to see peace but really feel the fear and be un-peaceful for a while. I feel if I try to see peace the instant I feel anxious, I will just be covering up the fear and will not be clear about just what I am bringing to the light to be healed. I am not at the point where I can really look at the fear and be peaceful at the same time. Is this in keeping with the path of A Course in Miracles?
A: A very honest, thoughtful question. It is true that our egos can fool us at times into believing we have made a choice for peace when all that has really happened is that we have discovered how to get our own way. Nevertheless, you don’t want to dismiss all your moments of peace as fraudulent, simply because they are not yet permanent. As a result of our fear of what genuine peace brings with it — a disidentification with the self we think we are — we will vacillate between peace and conflict as our learning proceeds. The fact that the fear in a particular, recurring, difficult situation seems as intense as ever does not invalidate any experience of peace we may have had in a similar situation in the past.
Each thought system — the ego’s and the Holy Spirit’s — is total, and whichever one we choose, when we have chosen it, in that moment we are completely identified with it, regardless of our choices in the past, and we may experience the full range of feelings that accompany that choice. It is helpful to remember also that it is never the external situation that causes our loss of peace — the situation is nothing more than a symbol onto which we choose to project our buried guilt. So the fear is really coming from a perception from within that we are sinful and guilty for attacking God and deserve to be punished. Any external situation can become the screen onto which we project that thought — some are simply more powerful, forgiveness-resistant symbols!
Now having said all that, it is important to add that, yes, we do need to look honestly at our guilt and fear before we can release them to the light. Choosing peace is not simply a formula to be chanted whenever our guilt and fear come close to the surface in order to push the feelings back down. And the truth is, there remains a part of us that does not want peace so long as we are identified with the ego. Jesus makes this very clear in the opening lines to Lesson 185: “I want the peace of God. To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything” (W.185.1.h,1,2). We learn to want peace by looking at what we have chosen instead and acknowledging the cost. And over time, as we allow ourselves to look honestly at what we have chosen without judging ourselves for that choice, the real alternative will become increasingly desirable.