ACIM Manual for Teachers Reading for November 5
Clarification of Terms
4. TRUE PERCEPTION – KNOWLEDGE
The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end.
The body’s eyes are therefore not the means by which the real world can be seen, for the illusions that they look upon must lead to more illusions of reality. And so they do. For everything they see not only will not last, but lends itself to thoughts of sin and guilt. While everything that God created is forever without sin and therefore is forever without guilt.
Knowledge is not the remedy for false perception since, being another level, they can never meet. The one correction possible for false perception must be true perception. It will not endure. But for the time it lasts it comes to heal. For true perception is a remedy with many names. Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one. They are the one beginning, with the end to lead to Oneness far beyond themselves. True perception is the means by which the world is saved from sin, for sin does not exist. And it is this that true perception sees.
The world stands like a block before Christ’s face. But true perception looks on it as nothing more than just a fragile veil, so easily dispelled that it can last no longer than an instant. It is seen at last for only what it is. And now it cannot fail to disappear, for now there is an empty place made clean and ready. Where destruction was perceived the face of Christ appears, and in that instant is the world forgot, with time forever ended as the world spins into nothingness from where it came.
A world forgiven cannot last. It was the home of bodies. But forgiveness looks past bodies. This is its holiness; this is how it heals. The world of bodies is the world of sin, for only if there were a body is sin possible. From sin comes guilt as surely as forgiveness takes all guilt away. And once all guilt is gone what more remains to keep a separated world in place? For place has gone as well, along with time. Only the body makes the world seem real, for being separate it could not remain where separation is impossible. Forgiveness proves it is impossible because it sees it not. And what you then will overlook will not be understandable to you, just as its presence once had been your certainty.
This is the shift that true perception brings: What was projected out is seen within, and there forgiveness lets it disappear. For there the altar to the Son is set, and there his Father is remembered. Here are all illusions brought to truth and laid upon the altar. What is seen outside must lie beyond forgiveness, for it seems to be forever sinful. Where is hope while sin is seen as outside? What remedy can guilt expect? But seen within your mind, guilt and forgiveness for an instant lie together, side by side, upon one altar. There at last are sickness and its single remedy joined in one healing brightness. God has come to claim His Own. Forgiveness is complete.
And now God’s knowledge, changeless, certain, pure and wholly understandable, enters its kingdom. Gone is perception, false and true alike. Gone is forgiveness, for its task is done. And gone are bodies in the blazing light upon the altar to the Son of God. God knows it is His Own, as it is his. And here they join, for here the face of Christ has shone away time’s final instant, and now is the last perception of the world without a purpose and without a cause. For where God’s memory has come at last there is no journey, no belief in sin, no walls, no bodies, and the grim appeal of guilt and death is there snuffed out forever.
O my brothers, if you only knew the peace that will envelop you and hold you safe and pure and lovely in the Mind of God, you could but rush to meet Him where His altar is. Hallowed your name and His, for they are joined here in this holy place. Here He leans down to lift you up to Him, out of illusions into holiness; out of the world and to eternity; out of all fear and given back to love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 5
I will not fear to look within today.
Within me is eternal innocence, because it is God’s Will that it be there forever and forever. I, His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this. For to deny my Father’s Will is to deny my own. To look within is but to find my will as God created it, and as it is. I fear to look within because I think I made another will that is not true, and made it real. Yet it has no effects. Within me is the Holiness of God. Within me is the memory of Him.
The step I take today, my Father, is my sure release from idle dreams of sin. Your altar stands serene and undefiled. It is the holy altar to my Self, and there I find my true Identity.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #739: Is knowledge in A Course in Miracles the same as, or similar to, “enlightenment” in Eastern mysticism? Is it instant and irreversible? And given that we appear to be bodies as a consequence of our separation from God, wouldn’t the attainment of knowledge be incompatible with our continued existence as human beings?
A: The meaning of enlightenment varies in different mystical traditions; but for the most part, Eastern notions would be what the Course defines as “the real world” — when the mind is totally healed of all sense separation and therefore of sin, guilt, and fear.
In A Course in Miracles knowledge belongs exclusively to the pre-separation world of God and His unified creation in which there are no differences or forms. It therefore has nothing to do with the world of perception. It refers only to the pure experience of non-duality, with no subject- object dichotomy. Strictly speaking, it is not a state we attain. Rather, we gradually come to recognize the means we have been using to deny our natural state of oneness with our Source. We realize the frightful cost of that, and then we choose against that denial. When we make that choice once and for all without reservation, we are simply choosing to be as God created us, One Son, perfectly united with God. Is this state incompatible with existence as a human being? Jesus answers that by stating: “If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained” (M.26.3:8) . Those who have this awareness are the “Teachers of teachers,” so named “because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon” (M.26.3:2). Thus, we need reflections of perfect love to appear to us in a form we can understand and relate to; and for most of us that is a human form.
Q #1157: The purpose of the Course seems to be revelation or knowledge, which I’ve always assumed to be the same as the mystical experience, without which the journey is useless. Jesus also says in his course, “When you have seen your brother as yourself, you will be released to knowledge . . .” (T.13.VIII.8:1). Surely most people, at some point in their lives, have seen someone as themselves, if only for a moment . . . and not just those who have experienced revelation.
A: The term knowledge in A Course in Miracles is really a synonym for Heaven , the state of perfect Oneness. That is our true and natural state as God’s Son; and although we believe we rejected it and made up another self as a substitute, we are assured through the Atonement principle that we never truly left that state and therefore Heaven’s Oneness was never changed. Yet, our work with the Course is focused on a goal that will leave us at Heaven’s gate, so to speak, where God Himself will then take the next step, lifting us back unto Himself. Thus, Jesus tells us: “Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This the prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom. . . . Knowledge is His Will. If you are opposing His Will, how can you have knowledge?” (T.8.I.1:1,2,3) Jesus reminds us of this later in the text: “Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained” (T.24.in.1:1,2).
The section in Chapter 13 from which you quoted is entitled “From Perception to Knowledge” (T.13.VIII) , and there Jesus is teaching us that our perception of ourselves and others as separate is what keeps us from the state of knowledge, the state of perfect oneness. Thus, if we free ourselves of the illusion that we are separate, then the oneness of the Sonship will be the lens through which we perceive ourselves and everyone else. When this is our only perception, we are released to knowledge. We begin this transition, however, by learning to perceive that we all share the same interests, seeing others as ourselves.