ACIM Text Reading for February 5
HEALING AND WHOLENESS
To heal is to make happy. I have told you to think how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many you have refused. This is the same as telling you that you have refused to heal yourself. The light that belongs to you is the light of joy. Radiance is not associated with sorrow. Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one. Those who attempt to heal without being wholly joyous themselves call forth different kinds of responses at the same time, and thus deprive others of the joy of responding wholeheartedly.
To be wholehearted you must be happy. If fear and love cannot coexist, and if it is impossible to be wholly fearful and remain alive, the only possible whole state is that of love. There is no difference between love and joy. Therefore, the only possible whole state is the wholly joyous. To heal or to make joyous is therefore the same as to integrate and to make one. That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally.
You are being blessed by every beneficent thought of any of your brothers anywhere. You should want to bless them in return, out of gratitude. You need not know them individually, or they you. The light is so strong that it radiates throughout the Sonship and returns thanks to the Father for radiating His joy upon it. Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it. It is impossible for a child of God to love his neighbour except as himself. That is why the healer’s prayer is:
Let me know this brother as I know myself.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 5
My holiness envelops everything I see.
Today’s idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. “Sinless” means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.
Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:
First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:
My holiness envelops that rug.
My holiness envelops that wall.
My holiness envelops these fingers.
My holiness envelops that chair.
My holiness envelops that body.
My holiness envelops this pen.
Several times during these practice periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and continue as before.
For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.
ACIM Q & A for February 5
Q #996: Given A Course in Miracles’ distinction between form and content, it seems to me that Jesus’ words [that we will (can) do “even greater things” than he did] refer to content and not form (e.g., moving mountains, walking on water, raising the dead). But as I puzzle over his words in the context of content I wonder what “greater things” are.
A: In the Bible Jesus is reported to have made this statement, though scripture scholars have found no historical data to support most of the Biblical sayings of Jesus, nor the miracles he is said to have performed. If he did say and do the things that are recorded in the Gospels, you are correct in distinguishing form and content. Whether as a historical figure, or the author of the Course, Jesus is a symbol for the part of the mind that chooses God’s Love rather than the ego. He does not identify with the body and would therefore never refer to form. In the Course, Jesus does not make any statement about our doing greater things than he. In fact, every reference to our relationship with him and with one another speaks only of the equality of the Sonship (e.g. T.8.IV.6, T.1.II.3, T.5.II.9, T.6.I.5) . There is nothing greater than to accept the Atonement for oneself just as he did. The perfect equality of the Sonship reflects the Course’s non-dualistic teaching that there is one Son in union with the Father. Equality and sameness, therefore, are very important concepts in the Holy Spirit’s curriculum. They are corrections for the ego’s use of difference, inequality, and comparison to establish and maintain belief in the separation.
Jesus asks that we make the same choice he did: to listen only to the Voice that speaks for God. He tells us: “ I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me” (T.5.II.10:1). There is no real difference between him and us. There is only a difference in our experience while we continue to choose separation. When the mind chooses the Holy Spirit, Who represents the memory of God’s Love, there are no comparisons, no degrees of greater or lesser. The choice is complete in the instant it is made, and it is the same for everyone. It is the same and only choice Jesus made. As we are told in the workbook: “Love makes no comparisons” (W.p.I.195.4:2). We are learning to make love the only choice we make by seeing how painful it is to choose the ego. When we are ready, we will make one final choice for God; the greatest, and only true thing we can do.
Q #265: Although I really love your questions and answers I have such issues with the blonde blue eyed Jesus picture you’re selling. As a black woman I do not identify with it at all. Why do you sell it — wasn’t he Mediterranean anyway!
A: The picture of Jesus that the Foundation makes available is not meant to be the likeness of the historical Jesus. Obviously no image of him is available. The voice that Helen Schucman heard and identified as Jesus’ voice is not associated with a body at all. So in neither case is the Foundation offering an image that can be said to actually portray Jesus in form. The image you refer to was used as the cover of one of the Foundation’s publications “Forgiveness and Jesus” by Kenneth Wapnick, and was made available to the public by request. The original painting by Howard Chandler Christy was later given to the Foundation. Some people like it, though it is certainly not appealing to everyone. You may find there is another representation of Jesus in form that you find inspiring and helps you to relate to Jesus in a more personal way. However, it is important for students of the Course not to confuse the voice Helen Schucman heard and identified as Jesus’, with the Jesus of traditional Christianity, nor to associate it with any particular image in form. The Course uses the term Jesus and the Holy Spirit as symbols reflecting the part of the mind of the Sonship that holds the memory of God. They are not real persons: “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” (C.5.2:1,2,3). However, as long as we believe we are individuals in bodies, it is helpful for us to relate to these symbols as persons in any specific form that is meaningful. This is what the Course refers to when it tells us: “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:7). Jesus himself joins with us in our perception of the body: “Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego” (T.8.V.6:8, italics ours).
Q #709: In Absence From Felicity, Jesus talks of taking on a human form to Helen. But if you look at the tenor of his argument that may not be really so, and it may have well been Helen’s fearful state of mind as Kenneth states. After all the body is an illusion and the resurrected mind recognizes an illusion as an illusion. I should think that Jesus’ resurrection meant that his body identity disappeared and hence the physical body, as we also (apostles too) recognized it, disappeared from his mind. To have recognized Jesus after the crucifixion and death of his body, we need to be in an equally enlightened mind-frame to behold him lovingly in a state of vision. His body miraculously disappeared from the tomb due to this paradigm shift. But the resurrection meant that we discern him at another level. Please comment.
A: In Chapter 17 of Absence From Felicity, Kenneth discusses the illusion and the reality of both Helen and Jesus. All form is illusory and therefore ultimately meaningless, its value lying solely in our (the mind that believes it is separate from God’s Mind) use of it to get to the content beyond the form, just as symbols are useful only in pointing us to what they symbolize — their source. Only the abstract, formless Love of God is real. Within the dream, however, this abstract, formless Love is reflected in the split mind in a form that can be recognized and accepted by that mind. Thus, in Helen’s mind, this Love took the form of Jesus giving his course to her. In reality, there is no Jesus or Helen. Again, Chapter 17 discusses these levels, which are quite difficult for us to grasp.
In A Course in Miracles, resurrection is not defined in relation to the crucifixion; it is entirely different in meaning from the traditional biblical view, in which a dead body is resurrected. Resurrection in the Course pertains only to awakening from the dream of separation from God: “the awakening from the dream of death; the total change in mind that transcends the ego and its perceptions of the world, the body, and death, allowing us to identify completely with our true Self. . .” (Glossary-Index, p. 176; see also M.28.1:1,2). In view of the Course’s definition of the body as simply a projection of a thought within the mind, this awakening can occur only in the mind. Thus, “given Jesus’ perfectly egoless reactions at the end of his life (see T.6.I), it would be safe to conclude that his resurrection preceded the crucifixion. It is that healing of the mind, therefore, that he asks us to take as our model for learning (T.6.in.2:1; T.6.I.3:6; 7:2), and forgiveness is his great teaching message that brings about the mind-reversal that alone can heal” (from our Christian Psychology in “A Course in Miracles,” pp. 74,75). This is why Jesus implores us, “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you” (T.11.VI.7:3,4).
The meaning and significance of Jesus’ life as presented in the Course is radically different from that of the Bible, and its metaphysics is radically different as well (there is no world created by God, for example). It is essential that these irreconcilable differences be recognized if one is to understand and then be able to put into practice the teaching in A Course in Miracles. You may be interested in consulting the dialogue between Kenneth and a Catholic priest, which brings these differences clearly into the light (“A Course in Miracles” and Christianity: A Dialogue).
There also are several other Questions on our Service that discuss these important issues; see for example numbers: 1, 97, 439, and 505.