ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for November 2
Clarification of Terms
1. MIND – SPIRIT
The term mind is used to represent the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy. When the term is capitalised it refers to God or Christ (i.e., the Mind of God or the Mind of Christ). Spirit is the Thought of God which He created like Himself. The unified spirit is God’s one Son, or Christ.
In this world, because the mind is split, the Sons of God appear to be separate. Nor do their minds seem to be joined. In this illusory state, the concept of an “individual mind” seems to be meaningful. It is therefore described in the course as if it has two parts; spirit and ego.
Spirit is the part that is still in contact with God through the Holy Spirit, Who abides in this part but sees the other part as well. The term “soul” is not used except in direct biblical quotations because of its highly controversial nature. It would, however, be an equivalent of “spirit”, with the understanding that, being of God, it is eternal and was never born.
The other part of the mind is entirely illusory and makes only illusions. Spirit retains the potential for creating, but its Will, which is God’s, seems to be imprisoned while the mind is not unified. Creation continues unabated because that is the Will of God. This Will is always unified and therefore has no meaning in this world. It has no opposite and no degrees.
The mind can be right or wrong, depending on the voice to which it listens. Right-mindedness listens to the Holy Spirit, forgives the world, and through Christ’s vision sees the real world in its place. This is the final vision, the last perception, the condition in which God takes the final step Himself. Here time and illusions end together.
Wrong-mindedness listens to the ego and makes illusions; perceiving sin and justifying anger, and seeing guilt, disease and death as real. Both this world and the real world are illusions because right-mindedness merely overlooks, or forgives, what never happened. Therefore it is not the One-mindedness of the Christ Mind, Whose Will is one with God’s.
In this world the only remaining freedom is the freedom of choice; always between two choices or two voices. Will is not involved in perception at any level, and has nothing to do with choice. Consciousness is the receptive mechanism, receiving messages from above or below; from the Holy Spirit or the ego Consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest it becomes aware of the real world, and can be trained to do so increasingly. Yet the very fact that it has levels and can be trained demonstrates that it cannot reach knowledge.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 2
The gift of Christ is all I seek today.
What but Christ’s vision would I use today, when it can offer me a day in which I see a world so like to Heaven that an ancient memory returns to me? Today I can forget the world I made. Today I can go past all fear, and be restored to love and holiness and peace. Today I am redeemed, and born anew into a world of mercy and of care; of loving kindness and the peace of God.
And so, our Father, we return to You, remembering we never went away; remembering Your holy gifts to us. In gratitude and thankfulness we come, with empty hands and open hearts and minds, asking but what You give. We cannot make an offering sufficient for Your Son. But in Your Love the gift of Christ is his.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1105: What does it mean to say that mind is the “activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy” (C.1.1:1)? And how does this fit with “spirit retains the potential for creating, but its Will, which is God’s, seems to be imprisoned while the mind is not unified” (C.1.4:2)? Is consciousness the opposite of the mind that is “the activating agent of spirit,” consciousness being “the receptive mechanism, receiving messages from above or below, from the Holy Spirit or the ego” (C.1.7:3)? Is consciousness another term for the observer or decision maker?
A: In the first section of the clarification of terms to which you refer, Jesus is somewhat inconsistent in his use of words, as he alluded to in the Introduction. He uses words here slightly differently from how he uses them in the Course itself, thus teaching us to pay attention to the content (his message), not the form (the words). In describing mind as the “activating agent of spirit” (C.1.1:1) , Jesus implies a difference between the two terms. This, of course, is not so in Heaven, where we are spirit and mind, the two being synonymous. To get a sense of Jesus’ meaning here, think of a fountain: the mind is the engine that drives the fountain, and spirit is the water that flows through it. Still, these are but symbols for something beyond comprehension in our separated state.
Usually in A Course in Miracles , but not exclusively, when the word mind is lowercase, it refers to the split mind, but when it is capitalized, it always refers to the Mind of God or the Mind of Christ, which is the equivalent of spirit. Spirit , in this first paragraph, is our true Self, the unified spirit being God’s one Son. In the next paragraph Jesus uses spirit differently—as a synonym for the right mind, and ego for the wrong mind: “It [the split mind] is therefore described in the course as if it has two parts; spirit and ego” (C.1.2:4) . This interchange of meanings illustrates the folly of attempting to analyze the precise meanings of these words and terms. Thus at the end of the first paragraph, Jesus speaks of the unified spirit, which is Christ, and here—and only here in this section— spirit is equated with the right mind. This is seen again in the third paragraph: “Spirit is the part that is still in contact with God through the Holy Spirit, Who abides in this part [the right mind] but sees the other part [the wrong mind] as well” (C.1.3:1) . It would be more technically correct to say that the reflection or memory of spirit is in the right mind.
“Spirit retains the potential for creating, but its Will, which is God’s, seems to be imprisoned while the mind is not unified” (C.1.4:2). Since true spirit is always creating, Jesus is again referring to the right mind, because he speaks of spirit having the potential for creating. Our mind has this potential while we sleep, for we are not in touch with the Mind’s power to create. The key word in the second part of the sentence is seems . It seems that our true Self as spirit is imprisoned. In reality, nothing has happened.
Some of these points have been discussed in Question #65, where you will also find some commentary on consciousness . Consciousness is entirely of the illusory world of separation, for it always entails duality or a split: the perceiver and what is perceived. It is a function of the mind that resulted when the separation from God seemed to have happened. It would not be wrong to think of consciousness as the observer or decision maker.