ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 31

“So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.”

(ACIM Text-15.XI.10:8-14)


ACIM Reading for December 31

Text, Chapter 31

VIII. Choose Once Again

Temptation has one lesson it would teach, in all its forms, wherever it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty, and bound by what it orders him to feel. It sets the limits on what he can do; its power is the only strength he has; his grasp cannot exceed its tiny reach. Would you be this, if Christ appeared to you in all His glory, asking you but this:

“Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviors of the world,or would remain in hell, and hold your brothers there.”

For He has come, and He is asking this.

How do you make the choice? How easily is this explained! You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto Him, and He has given you His strength instead.

Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” He would not leave one source of pain unhealed, nor any image left to veil the truth. He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your mind from everything that hides His face from you. His Holiness is yours because He is the only power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self that God created as His only Son.

The images you make cannot prevail against what God Himself would have you be. Be never fearful of temptation, then, but see it as it is; another chance to choose again, and let Christ’s strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before. For what appears to hide the face of Christ is powerless before His majesty, and disappears before His holy sight. The saviors of the world, who see like Him, are merely those who choose His strength instead of their own weakness, seen apart from Him. They will redeem the world, for they are joined in all the power of the Will of God. And what they will is only what He wills.

Learn, then, the happy habit of response to all temptation to perceive yourself as weak and miserable with these words:

“I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.”

Thus is Christ’s strength invited to prevail, replacing all your weakness with the strength that comes from God and that can never fail. And thus are miracles as natural as fear and agony appeared to be before the choice for holiness was made. For in that choice are false distinctions gone, illusory alternatives laid by, and nothing left to interfere with truth.

You are as God created you, and so is every living thing you look upon, regardless of the images you see. What you behold as sickness and as pain, as weakness and as suffering and loss, is but temptation to perceive yourself defenseless and in hell. Yield not to this, and you will see all pain, in every form, wherever it occurs, but disappear as mists before the sun. A miracle has come to heal God’s Son, and close the door upon his dreams of weakness, opening the way to his salvation and release. Choose once again what you would have him be, remembering that every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is.

Deny me not the little gift I ask, when in exchange I lay before your feet the peace of God, and power to bring this peace to everyone who wanders in the world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. For it is given you to join with him, and through the Christ in you unveil his eyes, and let him look upon the Christ in him.

My brothers in salvation, do not fail to hear my voice and listen to my words. I ask for nothing but your own release. There is no place for hell within a world whose loveliness can yet be so intense and so inclusive it is but a step from there to Heaven. To your tired eyes I bring a vision of a different world, so new and clean and fresh you will forget the pain and sorrow that you saw before. Yet this a vision is which you must share with everyone you see, for otherwise you will behold it not. To give this gift is how to make it yours. And God ordained, in loving kindness, that it be for you.

Let us be glad that we can walk the world, and find so many chances to perceive another situation where God’s gift can once again be recognized as ours! And thus will all the vestiges of hell, the secret sins and hidden hates be gone. And all the loveliness which they concealed appear like lawns of Heaven to our sight, to lift us high above the thorny roads we traveled on before the Christ appeared. Hear me, my brothers, hear and join with me. God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.

I thank You, Father, for these holy ones who are my brothers as they are Your Sons. My faith in them is Yours. I am as sure that they will come to me as You are sure of what they are, and will forever be. They will accept the gift I offer them, because You gave it me on their behalf. And as I would but do Your holy Will, so will they choose. And I give thanks for them. Salvation’s song will echo through the world with every choice they make. For we are one in purpose, and the end of hell is near.

In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation, and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell, and giving thanks to You.

And now we say “Amen.” For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be.


O You who came in winter and who left
Among the lilies, stay with me and fill
My eyes with glory, and my heart with love
That smiles forever on the world You saw,
And that You loved as You would have me love.
For with this vision I will look on You,
And recognize my Savior in all things
I did not understand. Now is the world
Reborn in me because I share Your Love.
Now in my healed and holy mind there dawns
The memory of God. And now I rise
To Him in all the loveliness I knew
When I was first created one with You.

By Helen Schucman,
January 1, 1974
From The Gifts of God, p. 46,
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 31

Lesson 365

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you. You are not alone. No one who calls on Him can call in vain. Whatever troubles you, be certain that He has the answer, and will gladly give it to you, if you simply turn to Him and ask it of Him. He will not withhold all answers that you need for anything that seems to trouble you. He knows the way to solve all problems, and resolve all doubts. His certainty is yours. You need but ask it of Him, and it will be given you.

You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed, your pathway is more certain still. For it can not be possible to change the course of those whom God has called to Him. Therefore obey your will, and follow Him Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak of what you really want and really need. His is the Voice for God and also yours. And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth.

No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God and for your Self when you retire from the world, to seek reality instead. He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word. His is the Word that God has given you. His is the Word you chose to be your own.

And now I place you in His hands, to be His faithful follower, with Him as Guide through every difficulty and all pain that you may think is real. Nor will He give you pleasures that will pass away, for He gives only the eternal and the good. Let Him prepare you further. He has earned your trust by speaking daily to you of your Father and your brother and your Self. He will continue. Now you walk with Him, as certain as is He of where you go; as sure as He of how you should proceed; as confident as He is of the goal, and of your safe arrival in the end.

The end is certain, and the means as well. To this we say “Amen.” You will be told exactly what God wills for you each time there is a choice to make. And He will speak for God and for your Self, thus making sure that hell will claim you not, and that each choice you make brings Heaven nearer to your reach. And so we walk with Him from this time on, and turn to Him for guidance and for peace and sure direction. Joy attends our way. For we go homeward to an open door which God has held unclosed to welcome us.

We trust our ways to Him and say “Amen.” In peace we will continue in His way, and trust all things to Him. In confidence we wait His answers, as we ask His Will in everything we do. He loves God’s Son as we would love him. And He teaches us how to behold him through His eyes, and love him as He does. You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #941: Please explain the Holy Spirit, specifics, and A Course in Miracles ‘ ultimate goal.

A: Jesus tells us in the Course that the Holy Spirit ” is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception” (T.5.I.5: 1) and ” is in your right mind, as He was in mine” (T.5.I.3). In other words, the Holy Spirit is the memory of God’s Love that remained in our mind when we fell asleep and dreamt up this world of separation. We can think of Him as an internal Teacher to whom we can turn for guidance. He will correct our painful thoughts of separation with forgiving thoughts, which reflect the truth that we are still “home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” (T.10.I.2: 1) .

Of specifics, the Course says, “The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific” (T.11.VIII.5: 5). Then it goes on to tell us that “Problems are not specific but they take specific forms, and these specific shapes make up the world” (T. 27.V.8: 1). So, the Course lets us know that there is a loving presence to which we can turn for help with the specific challenges we seem to face in our lives. At the same time, it sets out a curriculum that will lead us to realize that the multitude of specific problems we think we have are just reflections of our one real problem — our belief that we exist at God’s expense and deserve to be punished for it.

Jesus wants us to use the specific problems in our lives as classrooms that will ultimately help us to awaken. The first step in this process is to bring our problems to the light of the Holy Spirit in our mind so He can reinterpret them for us in a loving way. This will not necessarily change a problem on the level of form, but it will take away all our pain and conflict about it. Over time, all our specifics will begin to seem more and more alike and we will automatically stop asking the Holy Spirit for help with our specific problems and instead ask Him to help us (to paraphrase the Course) change our mind about our problems.

This brings us to the Course’s ultimate goal. The rather ambitious goal of the Course is to teach us that this world is nothing more than an “outside picture of an inward condition” ( 5) , that this condition is making us miserable, and that — with the Holy Spirit’s help — we have the ability to change it. The Course would have changing this inward condition become the central focus of our lives. We could think of studying this Course as taking the initial step on a lifelong journey of forgiveness and ever-increasing self-awareness.

As Course students, it is important to remember that “This course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1: 1) . The end of the journey — the real world — will be when we, like Jesus, have nothing but the Holy Spirit in our mind. Happily, when that happens and what it looks like is not our concern.


ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 30

ACIM Reading for December 30

Text, Chapter 21

I. Introduction

Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.

Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God. If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him. If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free. There is no choice that lies between these two decisions. And you will see the witness to the choice you made, and learn from this to recognize which one you chose.
II. The Forgotten Song
Never forget the world the sightless “see” must be imagined, for what it really looks like is unknown to them. They must infer what could be seen from evidence forever indirect; and reconstruct their inferences as they stumble and fall because of what they did not recognize, or walk unharmed through open doorways that they thought were closed. And so it is with you. You do not see. Your cues for inference are wrong, and so you stumble and fall down upon the stones you did not recognize, but fail to be aware you can go through the doors you thought were closed, but which stand open before unseeing eyes, waiting to welcome you.

How foolish is it to attempt to judge what could be seen instead. It is not necessary to imagine what the world must look like. It must be seen before you recognize it for what it is. You can be shown which doors are open, and you can see where safety lies; and which way leads to darkness, which to light. Judgment will always give you false directions, but vision shows you where to go. Why should you guess?

There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget. It is not this you would deny. Your question is whether the means by which this course is learned will bring to you the joy it promises. If you believed it would, the learning of it would be no problem. You are not a happy learner yet because you still remain uncertain that vision gives you more than judgment does, and you have learned that both you cannot have.

The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome. And still believing this, they hold those lessons dear, and cling to them because they cannot see. They do not understand the lessons keep them blind. This they do not believe. And so they keep the world they learned to “see” in their imagination, believing that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain. And everything they think is in it serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived.

Thus they define their life and where they live, adjusting to it as they think they must, afraid to lose the little that they have. And so it is with all who see the body as all they have and all their brothers have. They try to reach each other, and they fail, and fail again. And they adjust to loneliness, believing that to keep the body is to save the little that they have. Listen, and try to think if you remember what we will speak of now.

Listen,–perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.

The notes are nothing. Yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you. You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen, and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.

Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.

This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well. Here is the sight of him who knows his Father. Here is the memory of what you are; a part of this, with all of it within, and joined to all as surely as all is joined in you. Accept the vision that can show you this, and not the body. You know the ancient song, and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn of love the Son of God sings to his Father still.

And now the blind can see, for that same song they sing in honor of their Creator gives praise to them as well. The blindness that they made will not withstand the memory of this song. And they will look upon the vision of the Son of God, remembering who he is they sing of. What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in your brother, you are remembering for everyone.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 30

Lesson 363

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


Lesson 364

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #111: Would you please clarify a question about the world being an illusion? Is the physical world we see with our eyes an illusion, or is the way we interpret the world we see an illusion, or both?

A: The entire physical universe is an illusion, not just our interpretations. This is the absolute non- dualism of the Course’s metaphysics. The Course is clear that what is real is changeless, without limit, formless, perfect, and eternal. Therefore anything that changes, that is limited, that has form, that is not perfect, and that is temporal cannot be real. Some passages to look at are the following, although there are many, many others that speak of non-dualism:

1) Lesson 132: “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2; as well as other parts of the lesson).

2) “True Perception — Knowledge”: In this section in the clarification of terms, Jesus uses the phrase “the world you see”; but what follows makes it quite clear that he is referring not to our interpretations, but to the entire physical world that our eyes look upon. “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” (C.4.1).

3) “Forgiveness and the End of Time” (T.29.VI). This entire section describes anything of time and change as unreal.

4) “Time and space are but one illusion” (T.26.VIII.1:3).

We hope this sampling of references will help to clarify the confusion and will make reading A Course in Miracles a little easier.


ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 29

ACIM Reading for December 29

Our Daily Bread

Let me this day arise in quietness
With only thoughts of sinlessness, through which
To look upon the world. Let me today
Behold the world as You would have it be,
Because I am as You created me.
This I accept today. And as the day
Draws to a close, all unforgiving thoughts
Have disappeared, and night comes quietly
To bless a day in quietness begun,
And ending in forgiveness of God’s Son.

~ Helen Schucman


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 29

Lesson 364

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #988: I have a friend who is being “cleared” of her karmas and is having what I consider to be great results, such as having the ability to heal others. Could you please comment on what Jesus’ message might be about this? Would A Course in Miracles consider this subject to be beyond its scope?

A: Your question raises two issues: what is the Course perspective on karma, and where does it stand on being able to heal another. You are correct that neither of these topics is the focus of the Course. So let us explore why this is so.

Perhaps the most cogent description of Jesus’ stance on healing can be found in the following passage: “Whom you attack you cannot want to heal. And whom you would have healed must be the one you chose to be protected from attack. And what is this decision but the choice whether to see him through the body’s eyes, or let him be revealed to you through vision? How this decision leads to its effects is not your problem. But what you want to see must be your choice. This is a course in cause and not effect” (T.21.VII.7:34,5,6,7,8).

We will examine the last sentence of that passage first: “This is a course in cause and not in effect.” By cause , Jesus means the mind — specifically the part of our mind, which has the power to choose to listen to either the ego or the Holy Spirit. When we listen to the ego (which tells us we exist at God’s expense), our mind fills with guilt and fear, causing us to project anger and attack. This is the dynamic that compelled us to fall asleep and dream up a world of separate bodies in the first place — our unfortunate response to the ego’s cunning proclamation that we could remove all the guilt from our mind if only we had bodies onto which we could project it. By effect , Jesus means the world , which is nothing more than a nightmare we are having because we continually choose to dream with the ego rather than awaken with the Holy Spirit.

To Jesus, then, physical sickness is simply one more element of our dream, which reflects the guilt in our mind. Thus, since sickness is but an effect, Jesus and his course are not concerned with physical healing. Rather he wants to help us make the shift in our mind that “takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible” (W.pI.140.4:5) . This is the shift Jesus refers to in the passage quoted above when he speaks of the choice whether to see another “through the body’s eyes” (meaning the guilty eyes of the ego) or by letting him be “revealed through vision” (meaning the loving vision of the Holy Spirit). When we choose the body’s eyes, we will always have an underlying motive of attack. When we look with the Holy Spirit, we will see the innocence we share with our brother that remains hidden in the mind, beyond our seemingly separate physical identities. This will automatically lead us to extend love, thus protecting our brother from attack by rejecting rather than reinforcing his guilty perception of himself.

Jesus tells us that how this decision leads to its effects is not our problem. But making this choice is. In other words, we do not need to worry about how our state of mind gets reflected in this dream. We need only concern ourselves with changing internal teachers so that we can experience the Holy Spirit’s Love regardless of what appears to be happening in the physical world.

When we achieve that, we will be able to be with others whose bodies appear to be sick and know that their physical illness can have no effect on the reality of who they are. There may be times when our knowledge that they are not guilty allows others to release the fear that created their need for physical symptoms. There will also surely be times when both their fear and their illness seem to remain unaffected by our love. Again, this is not our concern. Our concern is only with our own mind and the thought system with which we choose to align it. (For more about this, see Chapter III of the Song of Prayer pamphlet.)

This focus on the present state of our mind is why the Course does not address karma. From Jesus’ perspective, what we did lifetimes ago or five minutes ago is all the same — part of a dream from which we need to awaken. What matters is not our past, but the internal teacher we are choosing right now . This does not, however, negate the fact that dealing with past life issues could be very useful for some people. And if your friend has found a process that facilitates her letting go of guilt, then this is very helpful. But from a Course perspective, this is not really due to her karma being cleared. Instead, it is the result of her finding a symbol that finally allowed her to accept forgiveness and let it wash away the imagined guilt for her imagined sins of her imagined past.

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 28

ACIM Reading for December 28

The Singing Reed

My eyes would look upon the Son of God.

For this I came; to overlook the world,

And seeing it forgiven, understand

Its holiness is but the truth in me.

The Christ walks forth in every step I take.

God shines within me, lighting up the world

In radiant joy. The Holy Spirit comes

With me, lest I should turn and lose the way.

for God has given me a goal to reach,

And has made certain that I cannot fail.

And so He gave me eyes to see beyond

Appearances and shadows. I will see

the Son of God exactly as he is.

And in that sight is all the world transformed,

And blessed forever with the Love of God.

How holy are my footsteps, which but go

To do the Will of God, Whose Son I am.

And how forever perfect is my will,

Which is in no way separate from His Own.

~ Helen Schucman

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 28

Lesson 362

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #443: Nothing in A Course in Miracles says we can’t have preferences. This is consistent with the concept of forgiveness, because accepting a preference is clearly a way of temporarily accepting and forgiving the perception of degrees of illusion. Therefore, if I like French-fries but hate carrots, I should not be concerned about it because that would just validate the illusion. I understand that — for now — I’ve dreamed up a body, which needs food, and prefers certain types of food. It is all just orders of magnitude of illusion, so just forgive it, right? Obviously, to feel guilt about my “tastes” simply feeds the cycle of guilt/ projection/attack.

What if I like white people but hate people of other color? Or vice-versa? Would Course theology not advocate forgiving ourselves this kind of perception of differences also? We cannot say this is “more important.” No illusion is “more important.” We cannot say that people are our “brothers” and French-fries are not: they are all just forms in a world of forms. Granted I should not project hate and guilt onto people of any color. But I should not project hate and guilt onto vegetables of any color either. Both call for forgiveness, neither is “greater” or “more important” … Is it?

A: Yes, you are quite right. There is no difference between a carrot and a human being, except in the meaning we have given each. Think back to the earliest workbook lessons and how we are asked to apply the idea for the day indiscriminately to everything in our field of vision or in our mind, not excluding anything (W.p.I.1,2,3,4). You even might say, when it comes to vegetables, we are kinder to the ones we hate, because we’re much less likely to eat them than the ones we like. But, of course, it’s the people we “love” whom we cannibalize as well, so we can feel better about ourselves and fill the emotional hole in the center of our being, at least temporarily — much as food satisfies our hunger only for a short time before we need to go seeking for more.

It is hard not to allow the “accepted moral judgments” of the ego to creep into our understanding of the Course’s teachings. The Course in fact does not say that we should not hate our brothers, be they homo sapiens or carrots. Rather, its goal is to help us uncover our guilt, wherever it may be projected, so that it can be undone. So we don’t want to try to stop hating certain people or overlook our strong feelings of dislike towards certain vegetables, but rather to be honest with ourselves about our hatreds so we can ask for help in seeing, not only the other but ourselves differently, since we are observing only our own self-hatred projected outward.

I apparently can lose my peace of mind as easily over a carrot as I can over a person I don’t like whom I see as different from me. And yet it is not the other that has upset me — “I am never upset for the reason I think” (W.pI.5) — they simply become the scapegoat to blame for the consequences of the decision I have made within my own mind to see myself as separate from love, convince myself I really have pulled that off, pile the guilt on, and then look to find someone or something else to blame for my unhappy state of mind. A carrot or a different-colored person can serve that purpose equally well.

The distinction you make at the beginning of your question is a helpful one. We all have preferences and that is simply part of the experience of living as a body in the world. But if the preferences become emotionally invested, that simply means we have given greater meaning to those particular symbols in our experience, so that they seem now to be the cause of our dissatisfaction. But with the Holy Spirit’s assistance, they can become instead the mirrors that direct us back within our own minds to the real source of dissatisfaction, our choice for the very empty and unfulfilling ego thought system. And it is that choice we want to forgive ourselves for, with the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 27

ACIM Reading for December 27


Strange was my Love to me. For when He came
I did not know Him. And He seemed to me
To be but an intruder on my peace.
I did not see the gifts He brought, nor heard
His soft appeal. I tried to shut Him out
With locks and keys that merely fell away
Before His coming. I could not escape
The gentleness with which He looked at me.
I asked Him in unwillingly, and turned
Away from Him. But He held out His hand
And asked me to remember Him. In me
An ancient Name began to stir and break
Across my mind in gold. The light embraced
Me deep in silence till He spoke the Word,
And then at last I recognized my Lord.

~ Helen Schucman


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 27

Lesson 361


Our final lessons will be left as free of words as possible. We use them but at the beginning of our practicing, and only to remind us that we seek to go beyond them. Let us turn to Him Who leads the way and makes our footsteps sure. To Him we leave these lessons, as to Him we give our lives henceforth. For we would not return again to the belief in sin that made the world seem ugly and unsafe, attacking and destroying, dangerous in all its ways, and treacherous beyond the hope of trust and the escape from pain.

His is the only way to find the peace that God has given us. It is His way that everyone must travel in the end, because it is this ending God Himself appointed. In the dream of time it seems to be far off. And yet, in truth, it is already here; already serving us as gracious guidance in the way to go. Let us together follow in the way that truth points out to us. And let us be the leaders of our many brothers who are seeking for the way, but find it not.

And to this purpose let us dedicate our minds, directing all our thoughts to serve the function of salvation. Unto us the aim is given to forgive the world. It is the goal that God has given us. It is His ending to the dream we seek, and not our own. For all that we forgive we will not fail to recognize as part of God Himself. And thus His memory is given back, completely and complete.

It is our function to remember Him on earth, as it is given us to be His Own completion in reality. So let us not forget our goal is shared, for it is that remembrance which contains the memory of God, and points the way to Him and to the Heaven of His peace. And shall we not forgive our brother, who can offer this to us? He is the way, the truth and life that shows the way to us. In him resides salvation, offered us through our forgiveness, given unto him.

We will not end this year without the gift our Father promised to His holy Son. We are forgiven now. And we are saved from all the wrath we thought belonged to God, and found it was a dream. We are restored to sanity, in which we understand that anger is insane, attack is mad, and vengeance merely foolish fantasy. We have been saved from wrath because we learned we were mistaken. Nothing more than that. And is a father angry at his son because he failed to understand the truth?

We come in honesty to God and say we did not understand, and ask Him to help us to learn His lessons, through the Voice of His Own Teacher. Would He hurt His Son? Or would He rush to answer him, and say, “This is My Son, and all I have is his”? Be certain He will answer thus, for these are His Own words to you. And more than that can no one ever have, for in these words is all there is, and all that there will be throughout all time and in eternity.

Lessons 361 to 365

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #146: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for a little over a year. I thought I had only loving feelings towards Jesus, and therefore I have been perplexed about another part of me that seems to be fearful of Jesus’ love and closeness — especially since my goal of being a student of the Course is to join with him and practice forgiveness. Also, I was thinking that since the decision making part of my mind had already decided there must be another way (i.e., choose Jesus as my teacher instead of the ego), why would part of my mind now tell Jesus to stay away from me and not to hurt me? Can you help me understand this?

A: This is a good example of the split mind spoken of in the Course. One part is sane, reflecting Heaven’s love; the other part is insane, filled with the hatred of the ego. We all — as part of the one Son of God — have both parts, and our decision maker is always choosing one or the other. Jesus reminds us time and time again in the Course that there are only these two choices open to us. We can usually tell by our experience whether we have chosen the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher, but we are generally not consciously aware of making the choice. Jesus teaches us, however, that even though our decisions seem to take place out of our awareness, that really is not what happens. See for example, Lesson 136, paragraphs 3,4,5.

While other factors may be responsible for the fear in individual cases, in general we can say that the ego part of our minds would have to be intensely afraid of Jesus and also hate him because of what he represents. What sustains the ego is guilt, and therefore someone such as Jesus who represents the end of guilt would be hated and feared. Thus, “to the ego, the guiltless are guilty” (T.13.II.4:2). Jesus represents the end of our identity as an ego, so to the extent to which we identify with our egos, we will fear and hate him. Of course that is not our total identity, but that is what we must learn, and what Jesus goes to great lengths to teach us. So until we can let go of our identification with the thought system of the ego, we will want to keep Jesus at a safe distance, at the very least, and at other times we will experience outright hatred of him. The idea is not to feel guilty about this fear and hatred, but to understand where it is coming from, so that we can give ourselves a chance to make a different choice. Jesus already knows about it, which is why he asks us in the Course to forgive him (T.19.IV.B.6) and why he talks about the “bitter idols [that] have been made of him who would be only brother to the world” (C.5.5:7,8). We project our own guilt on to him and give him our own ego-based traits. This is largely the image of Jesus portrayed in biblical Christianity. But in essence, the true Jesus, the Jesus of A Course in Miracles, stands for the opposite of everything we are — as egos. That engenders tremendous conflict in our relationship with him. We both love him and are drawn to him, but we also fear him and would rather he be more like us so that we do not have to change.

The only mistake we can make is to deny these “blasphemous” (to the ego) thoughts and hide them, and then attempt to replace them with lovely, beautiful thoughts of our dear sweet Jesus. This defense will never work; it will lead only to further guilt, which will lead to an endless cycle of projection and attack. The most helpful approach is to look calmly at these thoughts, not be horrified by them or ashamed of them, and bring them to the true Jesus in our right minds. He will lovingly and gently teach us where they came from, and help us distinguish clearly between the gifts the ego offers us and the gifts he offers us.

Q #147: How can I approach Jesus to bring peace to someone else’s troubled, fearful, restless mind while not being able to practically communicate with this other person (either verbally or otherwise)? Is it at all possible, because it is often (to put it mildly) hard enough to bring peace to one’s own mind?

A: Since A Course in Miracles tells us that peace is the result of choosing to identify with the Holy Spirit or Jesus in our minds, it is not really possible to ask Jesus to bring peace to someone’s mind (M.5.III.1:1,2,3,3:6). Moreover, Jesus does not bring peace to our own minds. The Course teaches that a lack of peace is the result of having made a choice in the mind to identify with the ego thought system in some way. This results in a feeling of guilt, which replaces peace in our awareness. This person’s fearful, restless mind is calling for help. To be helpful to them, we must first recognize that this is the choice they have made, and acknowledge the ability of their mind to choose differently. We then review our own mind for any judgments we are holding against this person, and any disquiet we may be experiencing, thus recognizing our own need for healing. Our “prayer” for someone else begins with our asking the Holy Spirit or Jesus for help in letting go of our judgments and misperceptions about ourselves and the other person. This is because if we perceive another person as in need, or lacking peace, we have first perceived this lack in ourselves, as you point out. If we do let go of our misperceptions and accept the Holy Spirit’s correction, we will experience peace. The peace in our mind is then extended throughout the Sonship; it joins with the peace that is present in everyone’s mind, whether or not they choose to be aware of it. This is the process by which we “offer” peace to a brother. The real action is always in our own mind. There is no need to communicate externally with the other person. By choosing peace ourselves, we are a reminder of the peace that is theirs, but neither we nor Jesus can choose for someone else, as He tells us: “I cannot choose for you, [or someone else] but I can help you make your own right choice” (T.3.IV.7:11). Once we have allowed the Holy Spirit’s thoughts to replace ours, he will guide us to act in a way that would be loving toward this person, or not to act at all. This will be the under the guidance of the Holy Spirit if we have in fact done our own “homework,” as outlined above. This is how we can live the following prayer from the Text, which holds the answer to your quest for peace as well as your friend’s: “I desire this holy instant for myself, that I may share it with my brother, whom I love. It is not possible that I can have it without him, or he without me. Yet it is wholly possible for us to share it now. And so I choose this instant as the one to offer to the Holy Spirit, that His blessing may descend on us, and keep us both in peace” (T.18.7:3,4,5,6).


ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 26

ACIM Reading for December 26


There is no death. What God creates must be
Eternal, changeless, incorruptible
And safe forever. Can the holy die?
And can the Son of God be made as he
Was not created? Heed the body not.
It serves its purpose and is given up.
It cannot suffer if the mind invests
It with a holy purpose. Miracles
Are always ready to restore and heal
The mind’s intent, if it forget its goal.
Communication, then restored, will be
The Holy Spirit’s single remedy.

~ Helen Schucman


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 26

Lesson 360

Peace be to me, the holy Son of God.
Peace to my brother, who is one with me.
Let all the world be blessed with peace through us.

Father, it is Your peace that I would give, receiving it of You. I am Your Son, forever just as You created me, for the Great Rays remain forever still and undisturbed within me. I would reach to them in silence and in certainty, for nowhere else can certainty be found. Peace be to me, and peace to all the world. In holiness were we created, and in holiness do we remain. Your Son is like to You in perfect sinlessness. And with this thought we gladly say “Amen.”


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #430: In the Manual for Teachers of A Course in Miracles the question is asked, “How many teachers of God are needed to save the world? The answer to this question is –one.” Wasn’t Jesus already that one teacher? If we are all one mind, then why would there need to be another “wholly perfect teacher?”

A: You are right, we are all one mind, and there is not another “wholly perfect teacher.” Jesus is the one teacher, along with all of us. The Course tells us that when the mind of a separated one accepts the Atonement, awareness of our true Identity as the one, innocent Son of God returns to the mind. With that awareness comes the recognition that separation is impossible and thus the world is “saved.” However, the world does not actually need to be saved; first, because “there is no world” (W.pI.132.6:2), and secondly, being already accomplished, salvation merely returns truth to awareness. In the healing of the mind of any “one,” the entire Sonship is healed. That is because the healed mind no longer identifies with the separate individual. As the Manual states in the section to which you refer:” Thus does the son of man become the Son of God” (M.12.2:1). The acceptance of our Identity as God’s innocent Son includes everyone because we all share this Sonship. Every “son” becomes the same “Son,” who is the one teacher. This must be so since salvation is the healing of the thought of separation, it is not complete as long as anyone is held apart as somehow separate. That is why whenever the Course refers to healing or salvation, it reminds us that we are not healed or saved alone. In one of the most clear and inclusive statements of this, Jesus says: “And as you let yourself be healed, you see all those around you, or who cross your mind, or whom you touch or those who seem to have no contact with you, healed along with you. Perhaps you will not recognize them all, nor realize how great your offering to all the world, when you let healing come to you. But you are never healed alone. And legions upon legions will receive the gift that you receive when you are healed” (W.pI.137.10).

Know Yourself

ACIM Readings & Workbook Lesson for December 25

ACIM Readings for December 25

Chapter 15, Section XI: Christmas As The End of Sacrifice

Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making. And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships, in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are, the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening, and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.

The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host Who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects, and Whose power protects Him.

This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be.

You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back, realizing that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you exclude from yourself seems fearful, for you endow it with fear and try to cast it out, though it is part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome, and live within himself in peace? And who can try to resolve the “conflict” of Heaven and hell in him by casting Heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell, without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?

As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who could suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourself, when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? Deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation and sacrifice becomes love.

So is it that, in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it. Yet you find not love. It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it. The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning apart from you. It is what you prefer to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe, and holds the universe together in its meaning. Unless the universe were joined in you it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning.

In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace. The Prince of Peace was born to re-establish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then, is sacrifice? The lesson I was born to teach, and still would teach to all my brothers, is that sacrifice is nowhere and love is everywhere. For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself.

Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy. Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you. What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing? Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me. For in the time of Christ communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son’s creation.

God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him, and lets Him enter and abide where He would be. And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him. And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves. Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them. And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had, and ever want to have.

This is the time in which a new year will soon be born from the time of Christ. I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish. Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy. Say, then, to your brother:

“I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself. I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself. In the name of my freedom I choose your release, because I recognize that we will be released together.”

So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.


From the Manual for Teachers

Jesus – Christ

There is no need for help to enter Heaven for you have never left. But there is need for help beyond yourself as you are circumscribed by false beliefs of your Identity, which God alone established in reality. Helpers are given you in many forms, although upon the altar they are one. Beyond each one there is a Thought of God, and this will never change. But they have names which differ for a time, for time needs symbols, being itself unreal. Their names are legion, but we will not go beyond the names the course itself employs. God does not help because He knows no need. But He creates all Helpers of His Son while he believes his fantasies are true. Thank God for them for they will lead you home.

The name of , Jesus, is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do. Yet who can save unless he sees illusions and then identifies them as what they are? Jesus remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. And Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions.

In his complete identification with the Christ–the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and One with Him–Jesus became what all of you must be. He led the way for you to follow him. He leads you back to God because he saw the road before him, and he followed it. He made a clear distinction, still obscure to you, between the false and true. He offered you a final demonstration that it is impossible to kill God’s Son; nor can his life in any way be changed by sin and evil, malice, fear or death.

And therefore all your sins have been forgiven because they carried no effects at all. And so they were but dreams. Arise with him who showed you this because you owe him this who shared your dreams that they might be dispelled. And shares them still, to be at one with you.
Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you. His little life on earth was not enough to teach the mighty lesson that he learned for all of you. He will remain with you to lead you from the hell you made to God. And when you join your will with his, your sight will be his vision, for the eyes of Christ are shared. Walking with him is just as natural as walking with a brother whom you knew since you were born, for such indeed he is. Some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world. Forgive him your illusions, and behold how dear a brother he would be to you. For he will set your mind at rest at last and carry it with you unto your God.

Is he God’s only Helper? No, indeed. For Christ takes many forms with different names until their oneness can be recognized. But Jesus is for you the bearer of Christ’s single message of the Love of God. You need no other. It is possible to read his words and benefit from them without accepting him into your life. Yet he would help you yet a little more if you will share your pains and joys with him, and leave them both to find the peace of God. Yet still it is his lesson most of all that he would have you learn, and it is this:

There is no death because the Son of God is like his Father. Nothing you can do can change Eternal Love. Forget your dreams of sin and guilt, and come with me instead to share the resurrection of God’s Son. And bring with you all those whom He has sent to you to care for as I care for you.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of This Reading, Click HERE


This writing is almost the last poem Helen wrote. It was published as a single work, but Helen actually considered it to be two poems. In Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of “A Course in Miracles,” Kenneth Wapnick discusses this poem (p. 413-14, 2nd Ed.) and states that Helen asked him to draw a line to divide what she considered to be the two poems — one with a Christmas/New Year’s theme and one with an Easter theme. Apparently there was a mistake in publishing this as one poem, although the combining of themes makes for an interesting and inspiring poetic message. Out of respect for Helen’s wishes a dividing line has been inserted.


You think Him dead Who rose again for you,
And so you cannot see the shining light
In which you are delivered. Come, My child,
And judge Him not. He is not dead. So bright
His radiance that nothing still remains
Obscured from Heaven in the doubt of night.

So still the birth you did not understand
Who came to you. Before your frightened eyes
The Lord of light and life appears to fail
His promises of Heaven’s grace, and dies
Forever on a cross. Nor can you see
The Child of hope Who in a manger lies.

The wise are silent. Stand you by a while
And let the wise men show you what they see
That came of you from stillness and from peace
Which rest in you, but speak to them of Me.
And then be comforted. The living Lord
Has come again where He has willed to be.

Wait now for morning. In the silence hear
The winged whispering that hails the Son
In quiet certainty and lovely calm
Whom death released to life. He is the One
For Whom you wait. Then look again on Him,
And join His benediction, “It is done.”
He held you in His arms as He arose,
And death was overcome. Yet on the hill
Of dying you had fixed your eyes, it seemed
As if forever. Now you wait until

You look beyond the end you thought you saw,
And see the Child Who is your first-born still.

Think of this Child Who comes again. He is
The Son Who seemed to die. He offers you
The motherhood the shadow of a cross
Appeared to take away. Yet round it grew
The lilies of rebirth. Accept again
The deathless One, the holy Son you knew.

See not an ending where beginning is,
Nor dark in sunlight. You who came to mourn,
Remember now the ancient song of birth,
And lay aside the signs of grieving worn
By childless mothers. Lift your heart to Him,
For once again to you a Child is born.

By Helen Schucman,
January 1, 1978
From The Gifts of God©, pp. 100-101
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace


See Also:


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 25

Lesson 359

God’s answer is some form of peace. All pain
Is healed; all misery replaced with joy.
All prison doors are opened. And all sin
Is understood as merely a mistake.

Father, today we will forgive Your world, and let creation be Your Own. We have misunderstood all things. But we have not made sinners of the holy Sons of God. What You created sinless so abides forever and forever. Such are we. And we rejoice to learn that we have made mistakes which have no real effects on us. Sin is impossible, and on this fact forgiveness rests upon a certain base more solid than the shadow world we see. Help us forgive, for we would be redeemed. Help us forgive, for we would be at peace.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #626: In the manual for teachers of A Course in Miracles we are told, “the name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol” (M.23.4:1). Why isn’t it revealed earlier in the text that Jesus is purely symbolic in the curriculum? The Course truly takes on a different meaning when one realizes that Jesus’ role in the Course is purely symbolic.

A: The simple answer to your question is that the statement indicates the name is a symbol, reflecting the earlier statement in the manual that “words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality” (M.21.1:9,10). The statement can also be understood on a deeper level, where Jesus is seen as a symbol of love, just as we are symbols of the ego’s thought system of separation. On that level, everything is a symbol, since everything is taking place in a mind that believes it exists outside the perfect Oneness of God, the only reality, for which there is no symbol and which is “ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen” (T.27.III.5:2).

There are not real, separate entities existing in a physical cosmos, even though that is what our senses tell us. Lesson 184 begins by saying, “You live by symbols. You have made up names for everything you see. Each one becomes a separate entity, identified by its own name. By this you carve it out of unity” (W.pI.184.1:1,2,3,4). Jesus is addressing the decision-making mind outside time and space, as he always does in the Course. Yet, in that same lesson he makes it clear that he is not expecting us to go beyond all symbols; but he also cautions us not to be deceived by the symbols of the world: “They do not stand for anything at all, and in your practicing it is this thought that will release you from them. They become but means by which you can communicate in ways the world can understand, but which you recognize is not the unity where true communication can be found” (W.pI.184.9:4,5).

“Jesus,” then, is a symbol, not of the world of separation, but of the real world of love and unity. As we identify more and more with the mind and less and less with the body, we will be better able to relate to this. In the meantime, we should go right on relating to him and ourselves as individuals as long as that is our experience, keeping in mind, however, what he is teaching in this lesson in particular. He is teaching us how to use the names of things in the world to get beyond them to the “one Name, one meaning, and a single Source which unifies all things within Itself” (11:3). Our starting point, which will take us a long way, is to ask help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit to see beyond the separate, competing interests that divide us to the common purpose we all share of restoring to our awareness our unity as God’s one Son. This process of forgiveness is wonderfully described in the section in the text called “Beyond All Symbols” (T.27.III). Also, Chapter 17 in Kenneth’s book, Absence from Felicity, explains Helen Schucman’s experience of Jesus on these two levels. It helps to resolve the confusion that practically all students run into when they begin to deal with this aspect of the Course.


Q #161: Why is the message of Jesus in A Course in Miracles so different than that of His mother the Virgin Mary in all her apparitions throughout the last century? In her message God is aware of what goes on in this world, and does punish the unfaithful.

A: The people who have experienced apparitions of Mary have heard a message that is compatible with their religious beliefs. In many cases, they are fervent believers with traditional theological views. The two points you mention, that God is aware of happenings in this world, and punishes the unfaithful, are beliefs held by many Christians. For believers, a religious experience such as an apparition by a spiritual being like Mary, deepens and validates their faith. Love would not challenge their belief system, by introducing unfamiliar concepts from a different path, such as A Course in Miracles. As you may know, the Course is a spiritual teaching that is not based on the Bible or traditional Christian or Catholic theology. Although it uses Christian terms, their meaning in the Course is different. However, both Mary’s message, and the message of A Course in Miracles can be experienced as loving and helpful teachings for their respective followers. They may be similar in content though not at all similar in form. In form they are, as you say, very different. That is because they are two very different spiritual thought systems with different theological beliefs. It is important to remember that thoughts and beliefs are not truth; they are expressions or reflections of it. Jesus and Mary represent a truth that is beyond any of the forms that may give it expression. Truth uses different forms, at different times, for different people. This does not contradict the content of the message, the purpose of which is to lead us back to our home in God. As we are told in the Course: “Helpers are given you in many forms, although upon the altar they are one. Beyond each one there is a Thought of God, and this will never change. But they have names which differ for a time, for time needs symbols, being itself unreal” (C.5.1:3,4,5).

Neither the theological views nor the specific beliefs is what is important. What matters is the love that is being expressed by a spiritual teacher, and the helpfulness of the teaching. If our concern is that God be sure to punish the unfaithful, we are missing the point ourselves. The important thing is that we be faithful to the beliefs taught by our spiritual path, with a fervent desire to return to God. If a person accepts the love that inspires their specific religious belief system and learns to truly live that love themselves, in the end it does not matter whether they began their journey out of fear of God’s punishment, or because they were seeking God’s peace. It is the experience that is important. The Course tells us: “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary” ( There are many paths, many faiths, many forms of expression, but one truth, one God.


Q #1252: If God is not aware of our illusion of separation, how did He know to send the Holy Spirit to help us? One thought that comes to me is that the Holy Spirit is a construct of, (or is?) our Christ Mind and so was in our mind, and remains so, even when we imagine that we are separate. Therefore, are Jesus, and the Christ Mind, and the Holy Spirit and the “Son of God” all the same? Is the idea of Trinity really a twosome (God and his Creation meaning all of the above terms?) I would be so grateful for your input.

A: We have already answered your first question, and refer you to Questions #459 and #616 for our response. The Holy Spirit, as presented in A Course in Miracles is not considered a construct of our Christ Mind. He symbolizes for us the memory of our true Self that resides in the sane part of our post-separation mind — an illusory split mind, of course, as the separation never truly happened. You might say that the Holy Spirit is in the Mind of God, not the Christ Mind, insofar as Jesus tells us that when the separation is completely undone, the Holy Spirit will no longer take form — as the Voice for God — but will return to the eternal formlessness of God (C.6.5:8) . Another discussion of this with additional references may be found in Question #1159.

Questions #625 and #626 pertain to your queries about the nature of God and Jesus. What always helps when trying to piece together a theology is to remember that we are dealing with symbols. Reality is pure oneness, which is incomprehensible to us as long as we experience ourselves as individuals consciously thinking about issues. This is the main point of Jesus’ discussion in the first section of Chapter 25 (T.25.I.5,6,7). He uses language and concepts that we can understand, but his purpose is to lead us beyond that level to the experience of God’s Love, which transcends all form and symbol. Jesus, as we describe in #626 above, reflects or symbolizes God’s Love in a form we can relate to, and in this sense he is not the Christ Mind. He is the Son of God, the same as we are in our separated state. In emphasizing our equality with him on this level, he corrects the biblical view that he alone is God’s Son, and we the adopted sons of God. The term Son of God is also used in the Course to refer to Christ, our true Self, the Second Person of the Trinity. Thus, the term is used for our true Self, Christ, as part of the Oneness of God’s Being, and it is also used for the post-separation self, or the decision maker that can choose to awaken from the dream of separation from God.



ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 24

ACIM Reading for December 24


by Helen Schucman

It happens suddenly. There is a Voice
That speaks one Word, and everything is changed.

You understand an ancient parable
That seemed to be obscure. And yet it meant
Exactly what it said. The trivial
Enlarge in magnitude, while what seemed large
Resumes the littleness that is its due.
The dim grow bright, and what was bright before
Flickers and fades and finally is gone.
All things assume the role that was assigned
Before time was, in ancient harmony
That sings of Heaven in compelling tones
Which wipe away the doubting and the care
All other roles convey. For certainty
Must be of God.

It happens suddenly,
And all things change. The rhythm of the world
Shifts into concert. What was harsh before
And seemed to speak of death now sings of life,
And joins the chorus to eternity.
Eyes that were blind begin to see, and ears
Long deaf to melody begin to hear.
Into the sudden stillness is reborn
The ancient singing of creation’s song,
Long silenced but remembered. By the tomb
The angel stands in shining hopefulness
To give salvation’s message: “Be you free,
And stay not here. Go on to Galilee.”

Helen Schucman, “Transformation,” The Gifts of God (Temecula, CA: Foundation for A Course in Miracles, 2000).  To order a copy of The Gifts of God please visit their website at:

Helen Schucman (1909-1981) was a psychologist, research
scientist, instructor and author. The Gifts of God was published after her death, as a tribute to her.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 24

Lesson 358

No call to God can be unheard nor left
Unanswered. And of this I can be sure;
His answer is the one I really want.

You Who remember what I really am alone remember what I really want. You speak for God, and so You speak for me. And what You give me comes from God Himself. Your Voice, my Father, then is mine as well, and all I want is what You offer me, in just the form You choose that it be mine. Let me remember all I do not know, and let my voice be still, remembering. But let me not forget Your Love and care, keeping Your promise to Your Son in my awareness always. Let me not forget myself is nothing, but my Self is all.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1281: In Chapter 5 of the text, Jesus says, “I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance” (T.5.IV.8:3,4). Is he talking about our errors or the errors of the people that our kindnesses were directed toward, or both?

A: Jesus is referring to our own kindnesses and loving thoughts. He is saying that he does not take into consideration the ego aspects that may have crept in, and that we reflect Heaven’s changeless love when we choose him as our teacher instead of the ego.

This entire paragraph was originally meant for Helen, especially the opening line, “How can you who are so holy suffer?” (T.5.IV.8:1) . This is a unique passage in A Course in Miracles at this point (Chapter 5), for it is the first time this form appears. It is almost as if Jesus had been dictating the thought system to Helen from a script, which he dropped to sing this lovely little aria. Clearly, it is meant for all of us. It is Jesus’ gentle way of saying to us that we can choose again and feel differently — the choice is ours.


Q #1283 : I don’t want to judge others, but when I am with people I hear constant judgment from them of the president, government, religions, other people, etc. I do not join them in this and I am having trouble having conversations because of it. I want to show love — and I feel love for them — but it is increasingly awkward. My friends tend to be on spiritual paths (New Age, Yogis, etc.) but they still run down lots of things. I don’t want to seem to be trying to change or preach to them. How can I handle this?

A: A Course in Miracles tells us that in the Holy Spirit’s eyes, everything is either love or a call for love (T.14.X.7:1) . Thus, when we hear others expressing judgments in a way that is vicious, angry, fearful, and so on, we can know that what they are really doing is responding to a perceived lack of love within themselves. They are viewing the world through the ego’s eyes, which tell them that God’s Love has been destroyed. Every one of us carries around the unconscious belief that I am the one who destroyed God’s Love. And because the guilt this thought induces is overwhelming, the ego tries to give it away by continually finding external targets to blame for the unhappiness it causes — targets ranging from friends and spouses, to political leaders, to our own body. So the ego is always on the make, looking for someone or something with which to be upset. To the ego, finding such targets represents salvation.

It is easy, upon reflection, to understand the fallacy of the ego’s approach, and it is particularly easy to see it in other people. However, we need to be aware that the ego is tricky. If we find ourselves reacting to and judging something another does — even if it is merely a judgment that he or she should not be judging — we need to recognize that our own ego has been activated. As the Course makes clear, on the level of behavior, salvation does not hinge on either doing or not doing something (T.12.III.2) . This is because salvation is not dependant upon behavior. Thus, as Course students, we want to realize that the problem is not the expression of judgment, but rather the underlying fear of love. Therefore, it is not our job to stop others from being judgmental. Instead, we should focus on turning our own mind away from the fear that necessitates judgment in the first place.

The process the Course lays out for doing this involves switching from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher. This means that whenever we do not know how to respond lovingly to another, we should ask the Holy Spirit for help. He will always show us how to look upon the other with love and compassion, which will automatically translate to words and actions that reflect His Love. The form of what we say and do will undoubtedly vary from situation to situation, but the content — because it is His content — will always be love.

From a loving place, you many even find yourself joining in your friends’ tirades. Or, you might find other ways of listening to them without making them wrong. Ultimately, most people do not want their defenses taken away, or even suggestions for another way of looking at their grievances (unless they directly ask for this). What most people want is simply to be heard, to have another person understand that dealing with others and with life in general is hard, and to know that no matter what they tell you, your love and acceptance of them will not waver. When you are able to find this loving state in your mind and have no need for others to be any different than they are, your words will flow without effort and your friends will delight in talking to you.


ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Reading for December 23


Say but “I love you” to all living things,
And they will lay their blessing over you
To keep you ever safe and ever sure
That you belong to God and He to you.
What but “I love you” could the greeting be
Of Christ to Christ, Who welcomes but Himself?
And what are you except the Son of God,
The Christ Whom He would welcome to Himself?



ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 357

Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself.

Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #204: Is happiness the goal of A Course in Miracles?

A: It all depends on your definition of the word happiness. If your definition is “a state of well- being and contentment” based on getting what you want, whenever you want it, no matter what the cost, or to whom, then the answer is no. If, however, your definition is “a state of well-being and contentment” based on the knowledge of who you truly are, then the answer is yes. As you can see, one definition relies on external sources, while the other relies on internal sources.

Imagine every grievance you now have completely washed away. Imagine “gliding” through your day, with no impingement from outside sources. Imagine freedom from conflict, of any kind. Imagine knowing you are without sin and released of guilt. Imagine finding the innocence you thought was surely lost. Imagine everyone you meet as a brother you dearly love. Such a life comes from the peace of mind you will have once forgiveness has become perfected within you. This “happiness” is the goal of the Course.


ACIM Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Reading for December 22


You are not asked to sacrifice the good
Or the desirable in any way.
You are asked only to renounce all things
That would destroy your peace. For God is Love.
Center your thoughts on Him, and you will see
He gives you everything, with neither more
Nor less conceivable from this time forth,
And on to the eternal. Sorrow is
Inaccurate perception; pain is but
A sad mistake. Renounce but this, and you
Call unto Christ to pardon and renew.

~ Helen Schucman


ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

Lesson 356
Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #273: In the Bible it speaks of Lucifer the fallen angel. Is that a symbolic expression of our separation from God? When the Bible speaks of hell is that also another symbolic expression of our living in this nightmare on earth that we think is real?

A: Neither the Bible, nor traditional Christianity, refers to Lucifer or hell as a symbols. In Biblical terms Lucifer was the leader of the angels who refused submission to God, and hell is viewed as an actual place of punishment where those who reject God are doomed to an eternity in God’s absence. The teaching of the Bible is based on beliefs that are not similar to the principles of A Course in Miracles. Since the Course teaches that the separation never really happened (T.6.II.10), it follows that it cannot have any symbolic expression. The separation is a thought in the mind of the Sonship of something that could never occur in reality. It becomes a “reality” in our awareness when we choose to take it seriously and to believe it is real. Guilt over this choice is then projected out of the mind in the form of the physical universe, which is made to keep God out: “Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W.pII.3:4). Since hell is defined as the absence of God, the world becomes hell in our experience; not a symbolic expression of it. The Course is very clear that God cannot be found in this world of form. However, when an individual chooses to identify with the part of the mind that holds the memory of God, the world becomes a reflection of that choice, and is no longer perceived as hell: “The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects” (W.249.1:5,6).

The important distinction for students of the Course to make is that because separation from God is not possible, there is no hell, there are no “fallen angels,” nor a world where God can enter not. The sick mind that believes in separation makes them real; the healed mind knows they are not.


Q #1132: After reading the Course I have the impression that the ego is synonymous with satan. Is this so? How does Christ look at hell according to A Course in Miracles ? There seems to be little reference to it. Is it just the absence of salvation?

A: In traditional Christian teaching, Satan is believed to be an independent being whose guiles are capable of having an influence on others. The Course not only teaches that there is no Satan, or hell, but in reality there is no ego (see T.9.IV.5 ). Nothing exists outside the mind, and the belief that something or someone outside the mind can not only exist, but have an effect on it, is the hell of the mind’s making. You are correct that when the Course refers to hell or the devil it is referring to the mind’s choice to believe that separation is real. Jesus tells us in the text: “The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the ‘devil'” (T.3.VII.5:1), and since the ego is the belief in separation, we may say that that ego is the devil. It is very important to remember, however, that the separation never happened (W.p.I.137.4:3), and so neither the devil nor hell exist. They are projections of the guilt that arises from the choice to believe that separation from God is possible. They seem real because they support the mind’s belief that that thought of separation is real and sinful, and deserves punishment from a vengeful God. Thus, hell and the devil are important parts of the ego thought system. Fear keeps them alive and well. In the instant that the mind decides for separation, all memory of God is obliterated from awareness, making Him “absent” in one’s experience. That is the theological definition of hell: the absence of God or salvation.

In the Course, the Christ refers to God’s Son who remains one with Him in Heaven. Just as the Father in Heaven does not know of separation because He is perfect Oneness, neither does the Christ see hell. Where God and His Son are one there is nothing else. This changeless reality of Heaven is the heart of the non-dualistic teaching of A Course in Miracles . Christ is real and “…where He is God must be, for Christ is part of Him” (T.9.I.14:7) . If hell is the absence of God, where God is there is no hell.

Forgiveness is the process by which the mind reestablishes awareness of its power to choose between Heaven and hell; the ego and the Holy Spirit. There is no other power but this; nothing else to choose. Learning this is one of the most important goals of the Course. It reflects the mind’s choice for truth and ultimately undoes belief in the ego, hell, and the “devil.”