ACIM Text Reading for January 10
A Course in Miracles
Text – Chapter 1
The Meaning of Miracles
VI. The Illusion of Needs
You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness. No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it and believes in some way that he needs it. While lack does not exist in the creation of God, it is very apparent in what you have made. It is, in fact, the essential difference between them. Lack implies that you would be better off in a state somehow different from the one you are in. Until the “separation,” which is the meaning of the “fall,” nothing was lacking. There were no needs at all. Needs arise only when you deprive yourself. You act according to the particular order of needs you establish. This, in turn, depends on your perception of what you are.
A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct. This sense of separation would never have arisen if you had not distorted your perception of truth, and had thus perceived yourself as lacking. The idea of order of needs arose because, having made this fundamental error, you had already fragmented yourself into levels with different needs. As you integrate you become one, and your needs become one accordingly. Unified needs lead to unified action, because this produces a lack of conflict.
The idea of orders of need, which follows from the original error that one can be separated from God, requires correction at its own level before the error of perceiving levels at all can be corrected. You cannot behave effectively while you function on different levels. However, while you do, correction must be introduced vertically from the bottom up. This is because you think you live in space, where concepts such as “up” and “down” are meaningful. Ultimately, space is as meaningless as time. Both are merely beliefs.
The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief. You can never control the effects of fear yourself, because you made fear, and you believe in what you made. In attitude, then, though not in content, you resemble your Creator, Who has perfect faith in his creations because he created them. Belief produces the acceptance of existence. That is why you can believe what no one else thinks is true. It is true for you because it was made by you.
All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist at the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all. To whatever extent you are willing to submit your beliefs to this test, to that extent are your perceptions corrected. In sorting out the false from the true, the miracle proceeds along these lines:
Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.
Believe this and you will be free. Only God can establish this solution, and this faith is his gift.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 10
My thoughts do not mean anything.
This idea applies to all the thoughts of which you are aware, or become aware in the practice periods. The reason the idea is applicable to all of them is that they are not your real thoughts. We have made this distinction before, and will do so again. You have no basis for comparison as yet. When you do, you will have no doubt that what you once believed were your thoughts did not mean anything.
This is the second time we have used this kind of idea. The form is only slightly different. This time the idea is introduced with “My thoughts” instead of “These thoughts,” and no link is made overtly with the things around you. The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what you think you think.
This aspect of the correction process began with the idea that the thoughts of which you are aware are meaningless, outside rather than within; and then stressed their past rather than their present status. Now we are emphasizing that the presence of these “thoughts” means that you are not thinking. This is merely another way of repeating our earlier statement that your mind is really a blank. To recognize this is to recognize nothingness when you think you see it. As such, it is the prerequisite for vision.
Close your eyes for these exercises, and introduce them by repeating the idea for today quite slowly to yourself. Then add:
This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.
The exercises consist, as before, in searching your mind for all the thoughts that are available to you, without selection or judgment. Try to avoid classification of any kind. In fact, if you find it helpful to do so, you might imagine that you are watching an oddly assorted procession going by, which has little if any personal meaning to you. As each one crosses your mind, say:
My thought about ___ does not mean anything.
My thought about ___ does not mean anything.
Today’s thought can obviously serve for any thought that distresses you at any time. In addition, five practice periods are recommended, each involving no more than a minute or so of mind searching. It is not recommended that this time period be extended, and it should be reduced to half a minute or less if you experience discomfort. Remember, however, to repeat the idea slowly before applying it specifically, and also to add:
This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.
For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #375: What is the meaning of “correction must be introduced vertically from the bottom up” (T.1.VI.3:3)?
A: In several places in the Course, Jesus uses the metaphor of a ladder to talk about our separating from God and then the process of undoing that separation. Our choice to separate from God initiated a series of dynamics that led us all the way down to the bottom of the ladder, which is what we now experience as our selves and our lives. Our return, therefore, must begin with where we are, and then with the Jesus gently guiding us, we go back up the ladder step by step until we reach the top: “…salvation will proceed to change the course of every step in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone.…What waits for you in perfect certainty beyond salvation is not our concern. For you have barely started to allow your first, uncertain steps to be directed up the ladder separation led you down. The miracle alone is your concern at present. Here is where we must begin” (T.28.II.12:7; III.1:1,2,3,4).
Thus the correction is focused on our present experience as bodies in a physical world. That is why we need to be vigilant about not skipping steps by denying our bodies or our physical experience in an attempt to jump from the bottom of the ladder right to the top. Any healing we would experience if we did that would be short-lived, because the underlying guilt would remain. The healing process starts with our experiences as individual physical beings because that is what we believe we are, otherwise we would not be having those experiences. “The Holy Spirit takes you gently by the hand, and retraces with you your mad journey outside yourself, leading you gently back to the truth and safety within” (T.18.I.9:3).
Q #1261: If someone loves you, desires a special relationship with you, pledges their devotion and undying love, but you are still not attracted to that person in that way, and prefer to live alone, does that mean you are afraid of love? Should you consider a special relationship with that person? Ken says in “Living the Course” (audio album) that we should not abandon our special relationships, for they are opportunities for learning. Is it wrong to turn away love on the level of form? Are we not told to “give them what they want” when they seek love?
A: Frequently, students avoid their feelings of attraction to someone because they think that special relationships are bad and should never be entered into. And, just as frequently, students will leave special relationships for the same reason. Both attitudes seriously misconstrue what A Course in Miracles teaches. The point is that our relationships are the curriculum Jesus uses to help us get in touch with the choices we are making in our minds so that we can then shift the purpose for which we are using them from an unholy one (separation) to a holy one (the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness process).
This does not mean that you should start up a relationship with someone to whom you are not attracted, for the sole purpose of learning lessons. You already have many special relationship classrooms, by virtue of your being the child of parents (alive or deceased), a relative of other family members, a friend, a member of certain groups, an employee/employer, a neighbor, a pet owner possibly, a consumer, a citizen, etc. In other words, you are not deprived of classrooms because you prefer to live alone. Special relationships are in the mind, meaning the way we relate to others reflects the choice we have made in our mind to live out the ego’s thought system or the Holy Spirit’s thought system. The form or expression of this varies greatly, and is not limited to sexual and romantic partners. The holy relationship is simply the correction of our choice to identify with the ego, and the expression of that choice with others.
One of the defining characteristics of special love is that it excludes in some way. On the level of content , in other words, it singles out and separates — not everyone is included in your love. This is the core of specialness. On the other hand, you can spend most of your time with one person, but in content, be excluding no one — this is the nature of a holy relationship, which means you are centered in your right mind. Likewise, in form, you may live alone, but your love, compassion, and forgiveness would extend to everyone, without exception.
Since “love is content, and not form of any kind” (T.16.V.12:1) , you may not necessarily be rejecting love if someone “loves you, desires a special relationship with you, [and] pledges their devotion and undying love,” and you do not respond on that level. You need only look within your mind for ego complicity in your decision, some signs being fear, judgment, repulsion, selfishness, anger, vengeance. You can still enfold this person in your love and compassion (content) without being romantically involved with him or her (form). You just want to notice whether there is a “charge” to your preference to live alone — if so, then it would be a good idea to ask for help to look at the hidden content.
You answer a person’s call for love in content , by seeing him or her as one with you, sharing the same interests as God’s Son, as both an ego and the Self of Christ. The form of the relationship would then flow from this decision to undo whatever you have used to keep yourself separate from others and from God. That is why Jesus speaks of forgiveness as “an earthly form of love, which as it is in Heaven has no form” (W.pI.186.14:2) .