ACIM Text Reading for January 28
THE ILLUSIONS OF THE EGO
The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks. It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey. Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either. It can lead only to mutual progress. The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue. To be fatigued is to be dis-spirited, but to be inspired is to be in the spirit. To be egocentric is to be dis-spirited, but to be Self-centred in the right sense is to be inspired or in spirit. The truly inspired are enlightened and cannot abide in darkness.
You can speak from the spirit or from the ego, as you choose. If you speak from spirit you have chosen to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. These words are inspired because they reflect knowledge. If you speak from the ego you are disclaiming knowledge instead of affirming it, and are thus dis-spiriting yourself. Do not embark on useless journeys, because they are indeed in vain. The ego may desire them, but spirit cannot embark on them because it is forever unwilling to depart from its Foundation.
The journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey’. Do not dwell upon it, but dismiss it as accomplished. If you can accept it as your own last useless journey, you are also free to join my resurrection. Until you do so your life is indeed wasted. It merely re-enacts the separation, the loss of power, the futile attempts of the ego at reparation, and finally the crucifixion of the body, or death. Such repetitions are endless until they are voluntarily given up. Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross’. The only message of the crucifixion is that you can overcome the cross. Until then you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose. This is not the Gospel I intended to offer you. We have another journey to undertake, and if you will read these lessons carefully they will help prepare you to undertake it.
For a Free Audio Download of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE
Parallel Biblical Passages for Today’s Text Reading
Matthew 5.41 King James Version
“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Psalm 46:10 King James Version
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
46 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
ACIM Miracle Principle for Today
The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles
by Kenneth Wapnick
Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their Source,
Which is far beyond evaluation.
The fact that “Source” is capitalized, of course, tells us that this is God, and God is present in our mind, in our split mind, through the Holy Spirit. What is important here also is to realize that miracles do not matter, because miracles are part of the same illusory world that the ego is. If the miracle is a correction, then it is a correction for an illusory thought, which also makes a miracle an illusion. It is needed only in a world of illusion. As we said earlier, you do not need a miracle in Heaven. You do not need forgiveness in Heaven. You need forgiveness or a miracle only in a place where you believe in sin, suffering, sacrifice, separation, etc.
The only thing that truly matters is God, or the creation of God, which is spirit, which is the Christ in us. In this world, however, miracles do matter, because that is the correction that enables us to remember eventually who we really are. The Course also speaks of forgiveness as an illusion. At one point it says it is the final illusion (workbook, p. 369; W-pI.198.3). What makes it different from all the other illusions in the world is that forgiveness is the end of illusion. All the other illusions here really breed illusions, so that they strengthen the illusion that we are separate or that attack is real and justified. Forgiveness is an illusion that teaches us that there are no illusions.
Q: If you say that we cannot obtain complete love in this life, how do we relate to Jesus?
A: Well, let me qualify that. I think there are very, very few exceptions, such as Jesus, who is the greatest symbol of God’s Love. Furthermore, there are some people who have totally transcended their egos, and who stay around a while to help other people do that. They are what in the East are called avatars or bodhisattvas: people who have thoroughly transcended their ego yet remain, holding on to just a sliver of it so they can stay here in the body. They are no longer here to learn lessons. But as the Course implies at one point, this is such a rare occurrence that it does not pay to talk about it (manual, p. 61; M-26.2,3).
Q: What are our creations?
A: “Creations” is one of those technical words that the Course uses but does not really explain. What they refer to is the process of creation that we share with God. One of the basic attributes of spirit is that it is always extending itself. This is not a process that occurs in time or space, which is why it is so hard for us to conceive of it. God’s extension of Himself –as spirit, He is always extending Himself — is what is called creation. We are the result of that, not we as we identify ourselves sitting here in this room, but the “we” that is the Christ that is all of us. Each of us is a part of that Christ which is an extension of God and, since Christ is part of God, He also shares in the basic attributes of God. One of those attributes is extension, so Christ also extends Himself. What Christ extends is what the Course calls “creations.” Creations are really the extensions of us in our true state. Again, what makes it so difficult is that this process has no counterpart or referent to anything in this world. When the Course uses the word “create,” as it will in one of these miracle principles, it does not refer to having a creative thought, to creating a work of art or anything like that — not that the Course would be against anything like that, it simply uses the word differently. “Create” is a word that A Course in Miracles always uses just to denote what spirit does. If you want to think along the lines of the traditional idea of the Trinity, the Second Person of the Trinity would consist not only of Christ, of which each of us is a part, but also the extensions of Christ, which are our creations.
Q: The Course seems to promise that our creations are waiting for us. Is that so?
A: Like a cheering squad. You are rushing home, and there they are on the sidelines, cheering you home. That is a metaphor, of course, the idea being that our own wholeness is continually calling to us to remember who we are.
In the last part of the second principle — that the Source is far beyond evaluation — “evaluation” is a word that belongs to this world. We are always evaluating, and the fact that we are evaluating something is, obviously, a process of judgment; it is a process of perception. If you are talking about evaluation, you are talking about an evaluator who evaluates something or someone else. So you are talking about separation: subject and object. Obviously, the whole process of evaluation has relevance only to the world of perception, which is not the world of God. God is beyond all evaluation because He is beyond judgment; He is beyond form; He is beyond separation; He is beyond perception. The miracle only matters to the extent that it teaches us that nothing here matters. Once we learn that lesson, then the use for the miracle is over. It is what the Course teaches about time: its only purpose is to teach us that there is no time (see discussion of principle #16). You can say the same thing about the world or the body: The only purpose that the world or the body has is to teach us that there is no world or body, but we cannot learn that without being here in the body. That is why A Course in Miracles very clearly teaches us that we should not deny our physical experiences here, or deny our body (text, p. 20; T-2.IV.3:8-11). It only says we should look at them differently.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 28
Above all else I want to see things differently.
Today we are really giving specific application to the idea for yesterday. In these practice periods, you will be making a series of definite commitments. The question of whether you will keep them in the future is not our concern here. If you are willing at least to make them now, you have started on the way to keeping them. And we are still at the beginning.
You may wonder why it is important to say, for example, “Above all else I want to see this table differently.” In itself it is not important at all. Yet what is by itself? And what does “in itself” mean? You see a lot of separate things about you, which really means you are not seeing at all. You either see or not. When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently. The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all.
When you say, “Above all else I want to see this table differently,” you are making a commitment to withdraw your preconceived ideas about the table, and open your mind to what it is, and what it is for. You are not defining it in past terms. You are asking what it is, rather than telling it what it is. You are not binding its meaning to your tiny experience of tables, nor are you limiting its purpose to your little personal thoughts.
You will not question what you have already defined. And the purpose of these exercises is to ask questions and receive the answers. In saying, “Above all else I want to see this table differently,” you are committing yourself to seeing. It is not an exclusive commitment. It is a commitment that applies to the table just as much as to anything else, neither more nor less.
You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind. It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope. Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.
In using the table as a subject for applying the idea for today, you are therefore really asking to see the purpose of the universe. You will be making this same request of each subject that you use in the practice periods. And you are making a commitment to each of them to let its purpose be revealed to you, instead of placing your own judgment upon it.
We will have six two-minute practice periods today, in which the idea for the day is stated first, and then applied to whatever you see about you. Not only should the subjects be chosen randomly, but each one should be accorded equal sincerity as today’s idea is applied to it, in an attempt to acknowledge the equal value of them all in their contribution to your seeing.
As usual, the applications should include the name of the subject your eyes happen to light on, and you should rest your eyes on it while saying
Above all else I want to see this ______ differently.
Each application should be made quite slowly, and as thoughtfully as possible. There is no hurry.
ACIM Q & A for Today
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.”
Q #749: The field of quantum mechanics has finally reached a point (string theory) where it acknowledges that nothing exists except energy — and that this world is in fact an illusion. Is approaching the unreality of the world through this avenue still an example of the ego trying to make it real (if only in an energy format)? And is seeing it as a “field of intent connected to the Source”, as Dr. Wayne Dyer proclaims, really only one more mistaken way to explain the illusion of the world? Or are these two, pure physics and metaphysics, actually getting close to the truth as the A Course in Miracles would see it? And will their approach ever lead them to the Course’s view?
A: Each mind will go only as far as it is ready to at any point in time in accepting the truth about itself. The various symbol systems of the world, whether we are speaking of physics or metaphysics or any other form of thinking, are in the end only neutral symbols. The mind can choose to use them to reinforce belief in either the guilt or the innocence of God’s Son. Truth is not in any of the symbol systems themselves but only in the mind, awaiting its choice. The symbol systems can point towards the truth, but the mind has to be willing to look.
And yet there may be differences in how explicit the various symbol systems are in directing attention to the truth beyond themselves. So it is not likely that the field of quantum physics, while concluding that the world is an illusion, will ever come to a recognition that the “energy” on which the illusion of the world rests is guilt, which in itself is also illusory (T.18.IX.4,5 ; T.19.II.6:1,2,3,4,5) . And yet one can read A Course in Miracles and not accept its message of healing and wholeness. And one can read a text on quantum physics, or a Hindu text, or the Bible, or a telephone book, and come to the realization that all is one and that sin and separation are not real. So whether various paths will converge on the level of form in the end becomes irrelevant (M.1.3:1,2,3,4,5,6) . If we believe that we have found a path that will lead us home — and we want to go home — it would behoove us to follow its directions. And if that path is the Course, all we need to do, with the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, is forgive ourselves and all our projections
Q #777(ii): Does the ego know the truth that God loves His Son?
A. The ego cannot know truth because it owes its existence to the denial of the Love God has for His Son. It does, however, have an awareness that there is something beyond itself that it perceives as a threat to its existence. Its very life depends on defending against this something (God’s Love): “The ego therefore opposes all appreciation, all recognition, all sane perception and all knowledge. It perceives their threat as total, because it senses that all commitments the mind makes are total. Forced, therefore, to detach itself from you, it is willing to attach itself to anything else. But there is nothing else. The mind can, however, make up illusions, and if it does so it will believe in them, because that is how it made them. Do not let the frame distract you.” (T.7.VI.5:1,2,3,4,5). This explains the incessant, feverish activity of the ego, its devotion to form and its focus on the frame. As the maker and protector of form, it is incumbent upon the ego to avoid the memory of truth that resides in the mind, and to avoid the mind altogether for that matter. It literally keeps us out of our minds. To heal us of this insanity the Holy Spirit enjoins us to return to our minds so another choice can be made. Thus, the distinction between form and content, truth and illusion, is at the heart of the message of the Course, as learning to distinguish them is the core of the practice of the Course. We are asked to see in every relationship and situation an opportunity to choose to look at the frame or the picture, and to remember that we always choose between truth and illusion (T.16.VII.10:1), God and the ego (T.17.III.9:5), miracles or murder (T.23.IV.9) .