ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for October 12
10. HOW IS JUDGEMENT RELINQUISHED?
Judgement, like other devices by which the world of illusions is maintained, is totally misunderstood by the world. It is actually confused with wisdom, and substitutes for truth. As the world uses the term, an individual is capable of “good” and “bad” judgement, and his education aims at strengthening the former and minimising the latter. There is, however, considerable confusion about what these categories mean. What is “good” judgement to one is “bad” judgement to another. Further, even the same person classifies the same action as showing “good” judgement at one time and “bad” judgement at another time. Nor can any consistent criteria for determining what these categories are be really taught. At any time the student may disagree with what his would-be teacher says about them, and the teacher himself may well be inconsistent in what he believes. “Good” judgement, in these terms, does not mean anything. No more does “bad”.
It is necessary for the teacher of God to realise, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgement, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognising that judgement was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it. This is no sacrifice. On the contrary, he puts himself in a position where judgement through him rather than by him can occur. And this judgement is neither “good” nor “bad”. It is the only judgement there is, and it is only one: “God’s Son is guiltless, and sin does not exist”.
The aim of our curriculum, unlike the goal of the world’s learning, is the recognition that judgement in the usual sense is impossible. This is not an opinion but a fact. In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognise in advance all the effects of his judgements on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgement would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?
Remember how many times you thought you knew all the “facts” you needed for judgement, and how wrong you were? Is there anyone who has not had this experience? Would you know how many times you merely thought you were right, without ever realising you were wrong? Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision-making? Wisdom is not judgement; it is the relinquishment of judgement. Make then but one more judgement. It is this: There is Someone with you Whose judgement is perfect. He does know all the facts; past, present and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgement on everyone and everything involved in any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.
Therefore lay judgement down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude. Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it. And it was all illusion. Nothing more. Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on. Yet it is not only this that is his benefit. His sense of care is gone, for he has none. He has given it away, along with judgement. He gave himself to Him Whose judgement he has chosen now to trust, instead of his own. Now he makes no mistakes. His Guide is sure. And where he came to judge, he comes to bless. Where now he laughs, he used to come to weep.
It is not difficult to relinquish judgement. But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it. The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognises its cost. All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome. All of the pain he looks upon is its result. All of the loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it. And now he knows that these things need not be. Not one is true. For he has given up their cause, and they, which never were but the effects of his mistaken choice, have fallen from him. Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace. Can it be difficult to want but this?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 12
My holiness shines bright and clear today.
Today I wake with joy, expecting but the happy things of God to come to me. I ask but them to come, and realize my invitation will be answered by the thoughts to which it has been sent by me. And I will ask for only joyous things the instant I accept my holiness. For what would be the use of pain to me, what purpose would my suffering fulfill, and how would grief and loss avail me if insanity departs from me today, and I accept my holiness instead?
Father, my holiness is Yours. Let me rejoice in it, and through forgiveness be restored to sanity. Your Son is still as You created him. My holiness is part of me, and also part of You. And what can alter Holiness Itself?
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #61: I’m studying special relationships at the moment and I am wondering — if person ‘A’ feels anger, resentment, hate, etc., towards person ‘B’, is person ‘B’ likely to learn these feelings as part of himself, and feeling them, does he project them back onto person ‘A’ in either a passive or aggressive way? So now person ‘B’ would then see these same traits or similar ones in person ‘A’. If this is so, is this now a circle of destruction? And if person ‘B’ doesn’t project them back onto person ‘A’, is person ‘B’ (if he believes them to be true) likely to project them onto his own body? If he does, can this manifest through illness? Can illness then be a form of attack on both ourselves and on those with whom we are involved in special relationships?
A: Despite what our experience in the world seems to tell us, none of us has the power to cause anyone else to feel guilty or hated or attacked. These perceptions of ourselves are inherent in our own experience whenever we choose to identify with the ego, which seems to be our “natural” state until we remember otherwise. So no one else teaches those perceptions to us, no matter how they may act toward us — we have learned them on our own (the basic condition of the ego). That is because the ego thought system is predicated on the belief in our own sin and guilt, which we then try to protect ourselves from by projecting outside of ourselves onto others. The only effect we can have on others is to remind them of what is already present within their own mind. So I can be a reminder to you of your own sin, guilt and fear when I choose the ego as my teacher, or I can be a reminder of the love and forgiveness that are present in both of us when I choose the Holy Spirit as my teacher. But you first make your own choice as to which thought system you will identify with and then my choice can only reinforce the choice you have already made. But if you have made the choice for the ego and I have remembered the Holy Spirit, then I can serve as a reminder to you that there is another choice present in your mind as well.
Early in the text, Jesus explains that “when you project… [on]to others you imprison them, but only to the extent to which you reinforce errors they have already made. This [their errors] makes them vulnerable to the distortion of others, since their own perception of themselves is distorted” (T.1.III.5:9,10). So in that sense, we do set up a vicious cycle of attack and counterattack with each other — the “circle of destruction” as you call it — that reinforces the perception of guilt in ourselves and each other.
But again, the origin of the guilt and its ramifications in my own mind never comes from anyone or anything in the world outside of myself, but only from my own decision. In fact, the only purpose of the world and all the figures in it is to serve as a smokescreen to hide that fact from us. And so then it appears that indeed others are the cause of my concept of myself (T.31.V.5).
As for the second part of your question, the guilt over separation in my own mind — which I have chosen — is intolerable and must be projected so that I see it as yours rather than my own. And I can project it either by a direct attack on you with whom I have a special relationship or by an attack on my own body, expressed as some form of illness. And yes, the latter represents an attack not only on myself, but on you as well, as Jesus graphically describes in “The Picture of Crucifixion” (T.27.I) — “A sick and suffering you but represents your brother’s guilt; the witness that you send lest he forget the injuries he gave, from which you swear he never will escape. This sick and sorry picture you accept, if only it can serve to punish him” (T.27.I.4:3,4).
How do we break out of the seemingly endless circle of attack and counterattack? The solution has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with a change in our perception of ourselves, within our own mind, with the help of the Holy Spirit. We have to recognize that the sin and guilt we have made real in our own mind as an attack upon ourselves by our belief that we could separate from God has never really happened. As the Course says, “You will never realize the utter uselessness of attack except by recognizing that your attack on yourself has no effects. For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences” (T.12.V.3; italics added).