ACIM Text Reading for January 31
Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego
III. Love Without Conflict
It is hard to understand what ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ really means. This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word ‘within’ is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven is you. What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom? This is the whole message of the Atonement; a message which in its totality transcends the sum of its parts. You, too, have a Kingdom that your spirit created. It has not ceased to create because of the ego’s illusions. Your creations are no more fatherless than you are. Your ego and your spirit will never be co-creators, but your spirit and your Creator will always be. Be confident that your creations are as safe as you are.
The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it. Amen.
This is written in the form of a prayer because it is useful in moments of temptation. It is a declaration of independence. You will find it very helpful if you understand it fully. The reason you need my help is because you have denied your own Guide and therefore need guidance. My role is to separate the true from the false, so truth can break through the barriers the ego has set up and can shine into your mind. Against our united strength the ego cannot prevail.
It is surely apparent by now why the ego regards spirit as its ‘enemy’. The ego arose from the separation, and its continued existence depends on your continuing belief in the separation. The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its own beginning and ends with its own ending. It tells you this life is your existence because it is its own. Against this sense of temporary existence spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakeable being. No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meagre offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?
You who identify with your ego cannot believe God loves you. You do not love what you made, and what you made does not love you. Being made out of the denial of the Father, the ego has no allegiance to its maker. You cannot conceive of the real relationship that exists between God and His creations because of your hatred for the self you made. You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get’.
There is a kind of experience so different from anything the ego can offer that you will never want to cover or hide it again. It is necessary to repeat that your belief in darkness and hiding is why the light cannot enter. The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask. This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions. It is the glorious condition of what you are.
No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever. Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His Love for you and yours for Him. He has never failed to answer this request, because it asks only for what He has already willed. Those who call truly are always answered. Thou shalt have no other gods before Him because there are none.
It has never really entered your mind to give up every idea you ever had that opposes knowledge. You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made. No one can see through a wall, but I can step around it. Watch your mind for the scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so. I can help you only as our Father created us. I will love you and honour you and maintain complete respect for what you have made, but I will not uphold it unless it is true. I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself. Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly. I will come in response to a single unequivocal call.
Watch carefully and see what it is you are really asking for. Be very honest with yourself in this, for we must hide nothing from each other. If you will really try to do this, you have taken the first step toward preparing your mind for the Holy One to enter. We will prepare for this together, for once He has come, you will be ready to help me to make other minds ready for Him. How long will you deny Him His Kingdom?
In your own mind, though denied by the ego, is the declaration of your release. God has given you everything. This one fact means the ego does not exist, and this makes it profoundly afraid. In the ego’s language, ‘to have’ and ‘to be’ are different, but they are identical to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows that you both have everything and are everything. Any distinction in this respect is meaningful only when the idea of ‘getting’, which implies a lack, has already been accepted. That is why we make no distinction between having the Kingdom of God and being the Kingdom of God.
The calm being of God’s Kingdom, which in your sane mind is perfectly conscious, is ruthlessly banished from the part of the mind the ego rules. The ego is desperate because it opposes literally invincible odds, whether you are asleep or awake. Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego, and how little to protect your right mind. Who but the insane would undertake to believe what is not true, and then protect this belief at the cost of truth?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 31
I am not the victim of the world I see.
Today’s idea is the introduction to your declaration of release. Again, the idea should be applied to both the world you see without and the world you see within. In applying the idea, we will use a form of practice which will be used more and more, with changes as indicated. Generally speaking, the form includes two aspects, one in which you apply the idea on a more sustained basis, and the other consisting of frequent applications of the idea throughout the day.
Two longer periods of practice with the idea for today are needed, one in the morning and one at night. Three to five minutes for each of these are recommended. During that time, look about you slowly while repeating the idea two or three times. Then close your eyes, and apply the same idea to your inner world. You will escape from both together, for the inner is the cause of the outer.
As you survey your inner world, merely let whatever thoughts cross your mind come into your awareness, each to be considered for a moment, and then replaced by the next. Try not to establish any kind of hierarchy among them. Watch them come and go as dispassionately as possible. Do not dwell on any one in particular, but try to let the stream move on evenly and calmly, without any special investment on your part. As you sit and quietly watch your thoughts, repeat today’s idea to yourself as often as you care to, but with no sense of hurry.
In addition, repeat the idea for today as often as possible during the day. Remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom. And in your freedom lies the freedom of the world.
The idea for today is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1097: What is love? A Course in Miracles says we can’t understand love on this side of the fence and that we must only seek and find all the blocks to love’s presence that we have built within us (T.16.IV.6:1). So, what is love?
A: The situation is this: Our experience is that we are individuals living in a finite, physical universe. But we experience that as our reality only to the extent that we are (in the present) choosing to be separate from our true Identity in God, Who is Love. How, then, can we understand what Love is if we are choosing not to be part of it? That, in essence, is why our spiritual journey must be centered on identifying and then undoing the blocks we have constructed and are upholding in the present to keep ourselves apart from Love.
Lesson 67 tells us that love created us like itself and that “if love created you like itself, this Self must be in you. And somewhere in your mind, It is there for you to find” (W.pI.67.3:2,3) . Yet nowhere in that lesson does Jesus define love , but he does talk about our need to undo what we have put in its place. In the very next lesson, Jesus teaches us about the cause of the almost irreparable damage we have done to our minds: grievances. “You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. . . . For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate” (W.pI.67.1:1; 2:4) . So if we deny love, which holding grievances does, how can we know love? Yet, how can we fail to know it when we have totally forgiven everyone? This is similar to Jesus telling us that we can never understand the “concept of a Oneness joined as One” as long as we think we are separate from one another (T.25.I.7:1) .
Again in Lesson 127, Jesus helps us realize the consequences of seeing our identity in the context of bodily existence in the world: “What the world believes was made to hide love’s meaning, and to keep it dark and secret. There is not one principle the world upholds but violates the truth of what love is, and what you are as well” (W.pI.127.5:2,3). It is not difficult to discern from this what we have to do to restore our awareness of love’s meaning to our minds; and that is what Jesus spells out for us in this lesson, remarking that “there is no better use for time than this” (W.pI.127.7:2) . We ourselves (as decision-making minds) are the authors of all the values we find in the world, and our motivation in producing them was to replace what we disowned (our Self). Now we need but reverse that and allow God’s gifts to replace what we made (W.pI.127.8:4) . Love, then, will be our only experience, because love is the only reality in our minds.
In the end, as Jesus states at the beginning, love’s meaning cannot be taught or learned because it is what we are. He says he can teach us to remember who we truly are, and adds, “No course whose purpose is to teach you [this] . . . could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is. Love’s meaning is your own, and shared by God Himself. For what you are is what He is” (W.pI.127.4:1,2) . Our lives must therefore be dedicated to uncovering our self-deception and the means we use to sustain that deception. With that undone, love’s meaning will blaze in our minds and all questioning simply dissolve into nothingness.
Jesus speaks of love and oneness in the same breath, and obviously they are equated, as expressed in this lesson as well as other places: “As it is one itself, it looks on all as one. Its meaning lies in oneness. And it must elude the mind that thinks of it as partial or in part [that is, as special love] ” (W.pI.127.3:2,3) . Love is all-inclusive and extends itself to infinity without limit. Another indication of what our curriculum must be: the undoing of all forms of separation — judgment, special love (exclusion), separate interests — and asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help in focusing our lives now on learning to see everyone as sharing the same purpose and the same identity. Of such is the function of forgiveness and the miracle. “Forgiveness is an earthly form of love, which as it is in Heaven has no form. Yet what is needed here is given here as it is needed. In this form you can fulfill your function even here, although what love will mean to you when formlessness has been restored to you is great still” (W.pI.186.14:2,3,4) .