ACIM Text Reading for February 6
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
I. The Invitation to the Holy Spirit
Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their oneness and become glad. This gladness calls to every part of the Sonship to rejoice with them, and lets God go out into them and through them. Only the healed mind can experience revelation with lasting effect, because revelation is an experience of pure joy. If you do not choose to be wholly joyous, your mind cannot have what it does not choose to be. Remember that spirit knows no difference between having and being. The higher mind thinks according to the laws spirit obeys, and therefore honours only the laws of God. To spirit getting is meaningless and giving is all. Having everything, spirit holds everything by giving it, and thus creates as the Father created. While this kind of thinking is totally alien to having things, even to the lower mind it is quite comprehensible in connection with ideas. If you share a physical possession, you do divide its ownership. If you share an idea, however, you do not lessen it. All of it is still yours although all of it has been given away. Further, if the one to whom you give it accepts it as his, he reinforces it in your mind and thus increases it. If you can accept the concept that the world is one of ideas, the whole belief in the false association the ego makes between giving and losing is gone.
Let us start our process of reawakening with just a few simple concepts:
Thoughts increase by being given away.
The more who believe in them the stronger they become.
Everything is an idea.
How, then, can giving and losing be associated?
This is the invitation to the Holy Spirit. I have said already that I can reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your own invitation. The Holy Spirit is in your right mind, as He was in mine. The Bible says, ‘May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus’, and uses this as a blessing. It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness. It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ thinking.
The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function. He is referred to as the Healer, the Comforter and the Guide. He is also described as something ‘separate’, apart from the Father and from the Son. I myself said, ‘If I go I will send you another Comforter and He will abide with you’. His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations. As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. I could not have It myself without knowing this. The word ‘know’ is proper in this context, because the Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that He calls it forth; or better, allows it to come. I have spoken before of the higher or ‘true’ perception, which is so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap. Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose. Therefore you can obstruct it, although you can never lose it.
The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy.
God honoured even the miscreations of His children because they had made them. But He also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. Perception is not knowledge, but it can be transferred to knowledge, or cross over into it. It might even be more helpful here to use the literal meaning of transferred or ‘carried over’, since the last step is taken by God.
The Holy Spirit, the shared Inspiration of all the Sonship, induces a kind of perception in which many elements are like those in the Kingdom of Heaven itself:
First, its universality is perfectly clear, and no one who attains it could believe for one instant that sharing it involves anything but gain.
Second, it is incapable of attack and is therefore truly open. This means that although it does not engender knowledge, it does not obstruct it in any way.
Finally, it points the way beyond the healing that it brings, and leads the mind beyond its own integration toward the paths of creation. It is at this point that sufficient quantitative change occurs to produce a real qualitative shift.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 6
My holiness blesses the world.
This idea contains the first glimmerings of your true function in the world, or why you are here. Your purpose is to see the world through your own holiness. Thus are you and the world blessed together. No one loses; nothing is taken away from anyone; everyone gains through your holy vision. It signifies the end of sacrifice because it offers everyone his full due. And he is entitled to everything because it is his birthright as a Son of God.
There is no other way in which the idea of sacrifice can be removed from the world’s thinking. Any other way of seeing will inevitably demand payment of someone or something. As a result, the perceiver will lose. Nor will he have any idea why he is losing. Yet is his wholeness restored to his awareness through your vision. Your holiness blesses him by asking nothing of him. Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.
Your holiness is the salvation of the world. It lets you teach the world that it is one with you, not by preaching to it, not by telling it anything, but merely by your quiet recognition that in your holiness are all things blessed along with you.
Today’s four longer exercise periods, each to involve three to five minutes of practice, begin with the repetition of the idea for today, followed by a minute or so of looking about you as you apply the idea to whatever you see:
My holiness blesses this chair
My holiness blesses that window
My holiness blesses this body.
Then close your eyes and apply the idea to any person who occurs to you, using his name and saying
My holiness blesses you, [name].
You may continue the practice period with your eyes closed; you may open your eyes again and apply the idea for today to your outer world if you so desire; you may alternate between applying the idea to what you see around you and to those who are in your thoughts; or you may use any combination of these two phases of application that you prefer. The practice period should conclude with a repetition of the idea with your eyes closed, and another, following immediately, with your eyes open.
The shorter exercises consist of repeating the idea as often as you can. It is particularly helpful to apply it silently to anyone you meet, using his name as you do so. It is essential to use the idea if anyone seems to cause an adverse reaction in you. Offer him the blessing of your holiness immediately, that you may learn to keep it in your own awareness.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #337: What are errors and mistakes? Are they physical actions or ways of looking? Why does the ego always remind us of how we hurt people or ourselves, or if something wasn’t fair. Why does the ego seem right and why does it seem logical? Is it the ego or the Holy Spirit pointing out my faults? If the Holy Spirit helps one correct the error does that mean the ego is right in its judgment of the so-called “error”? How do you know if it’s an error and why does the ego demand “correction” of it as well? Also it states a few times about how a Son of God will not murder yet animals murder all the time to live. Is nature wrong and how are we exempt from it?
A: It could take a book to answer your litany of questions satisfactorily, but we will try to suggest a few ideas here that will hopefully point you in the right direction. Since, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, there is only mind, errors or mistakes can be only of the mind. Jesus clarifies this very early in the text when he explains that “only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought” (T.2.IV.2:4,5). And, as you suggest, errors are really mistaken ways of looking or, to be more specific, mistaken ways of looking at the world, our brothers, and ourselves with the ego as our guide rather than with Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And ego-directed looking is always judgmental. It is only the ego that points out our faults. The Holy Spirit will gently invite us to recognize how our thinking is misguided when we listen to the ego, but His purpose would never be to accuse us or to induce guilt in us over our mistakes (T.9.III.1).
Now our original error was the thought that we could separate ourselves from God and that we have in fact succeeded in establishing a separate identity for ourselves independent of Him. Every error that has followed since in our thinking comes from that initial thought of separation. But we have deliberately compounded the errors in our mind in such a way that we have quite intentionally confused ourselves and lost sight of that original error. So all of our errors since the initial one are really subterfuges that keep us unaware of the original mistake and focused instead on addressing all the other seeming mistakes and problems in our life. And so that is why the ego, as you observe, is always reminding us of how we hurt others or have been hurt ourselves — this is the cover for the real problem, so that we never call the belief in separation into question.
Just because the ego is based on a mistaken thought, an insane premise — that we could separate from God — does not mean that the thought system built on that premise does not have a very definite and persuasive internal logic to it, once we accept its premise. Jesus in the Course says, “The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit, because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects” (T.5.V.1:4). And in fact, logic has its origins in the ego thought system, for there is nothing to decide or deduce or prove in Heaven. But having once accepted the ego’s logic, which seems to condemn us to hell for eternity, the good news is that we can let go of our guilt-reinforcing use for it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in its application, with very different results: “The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realized that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth” (T.14.in.1:4,5,6,7,8).
Correction in the Holy Spirit’s thought system is different in every way, including purpose, from the ego’s. The ego sees error as sin to prove its own existence and to convince us that we can see the guilt we have made real over that error in others rather than in ourselves. In contrast, the only error the Holy Spirit corrects is our belief in the ego. Clearly this is an error the ego cannot correct, since its own existence depends on our belief in separation. The ego corrects through attack and punishment, the Holy Spirit through the gentle process of forgiveness. And the Holy Spirit begins to undo our belief in separation by leading us toward a recognition of shared rather than separate interests with our brothers. For more on the contrast between the Holy Spirit’s and the ego’s correction of error, you may wish to look at “The Correction of Error” in the text (T.9.III).
The Son of God cannot attack or murder in reality. But that he can believe he can is apparent when you pick up a newspaper or watch the news on TV, or simply examine your own thoughts when you are angry. It is not nature that leads humans or other animals to kill. Nature is just an aspect of the illusory world, which is an effect of our mistaken choice in the mind for separation. It is the desire to protect our individual illusory self at any cost that leads to murder first in thought and then in action. And yet, contrary to what the ego, the world and our senses may tell us, correction is not needed at the level of behavior, but only in our feverish imaginations that believe that all of this is real. “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,6,7). This does not mean that we are asked to deny what our eyes seem to show us, but rather to be open to a different interpretation of what we see, through the miracle. The miracle brings our focus back from the world to our minds, where we can acknowledge the purpose we have given the world — to be the projection of our error outward, so blame rests elsewhere. Having taken this step, we can then invite the Holy Spirit to give the world His purpose — the recognition that the error in truth never really happened and our guilt is not real.
Q #630: I remember hearing Ken Wapnick, on a workshop tape, say that as the wrong mind splits the right mind also splits. Would you review these right-minded splits?
A: The right-minded splits are not splits per se but are simply the Holy Spirit’s corrections for the deceptions of the ego’s wrong-minded splits. Since we find ourselves self-identified as bodies in the world, at the end of the series of splits the ego has led us along to take us as far away as it possibly can from the truth of Who we are as spirit, the right-minded answer is simply the undoing of those splits, in reverse order.
Briefly, the ego’s first split is what seems to cast us out of the oneness of Heaven, beginning the dream of separation which seems to establish us as a separate mind that has consciousness and independence from its Source. At this point, our illusory independent existence is very vulnerable, very fragile, since it takes very little to remember our reality as God’s only Son, perfectly joined with Him and perfectly at peace, which is what the Holy Spirit in our mind represents. And so to protect our individuality, the second split involves our choice to identify completely with the ego and split the Holy Spirit off from our awareness, thereby forgetting that the ego is a choice we have made and not our reality.
The third ego split encompasses the ego’s ingenious myth of sin, guilt and fear, in which we view the separation not only as real, but as a sinful attack on God, destroying Him as a consequence of having disrupted the perfect unity of Heaven in which God has His Being. The guilt over this sin is overwhelming and our only defense against it, if it is real, is to split the sin and guilt off, projecting them outside ourselves onto a made-up God, Who becomes the wrathful avenger, intent on vengeance against us for our sin against Him.
But, as with each of the ego’s splits, this leads to its own set of problems, requiring yet another defensive split. For if I exist in the mind with this maniacal God, bent on my destruction, I need to escape. And so the fourth and final split involves projecting my own identity out into a world of form and bodies, escaping my mind and hiding in the world. But what the ego has failed to tell me is that this solution involves the projection of all the contents of my wrong-mind into the world of form, so that I now live in a world of fear. For the sin and guilt are all still around me, but now external to me in the world and in all my relationships. And so the original vulnerability and fragility of the thought of separation in my mind is now the basis of my identity as a body in the world. Of course, the advantage of this final arrangement is that I am still an individual, but it seems that forces beyond my control have brought about my existence. And if I am the innocent victim of the sinful, guilty world, how can I be held accountable for that original attack on God. How could I possibly be that powerful? Just look at this pathetically weak self I am, despite my best efforts to strengthen and protect myself physically, psychologically and emotionally against a hostile world!
And so it is here we find ourselves, as far removed from our true Identity as spirit as the ego could possibly entice us to go. And it is with this fourth split that the right-minded correction must begin. We are not asked to deny our experience of ourselves as bodies in the world — the result of the fourth split — but to be open to a different interpretation of that experience. Rather than focusing on differences as the ego has encouraged us to do — seeing my innocence as dependent on proving your guilt — A Course in Miracles is inviting us first to begin to recognize that we are all the same, struggling with our feelings of guilt by trying to project them on to everyone else. In other words, we all share the same guilt and the same need to be released from it. As we begin to accept this idea of shared interests, we will become more aware that we are a mind that is making choices to see the world and others in certain ways, rather than simply a victimized body, although we will almost certainly continue to experience ourselves as victims much of the time. And so we gradually begin to undo the final split.
As we begin to see the world and our relationships differently, we will be more willing to look at the sin and guilt buried in our own mind, recognizing its real source in our identification with the ego, thereby beginning to reduce our investment in the third split. And the right-minded correction for this willingness to look honestly will be the recognition that there is an alternative in our mind to the sin, guilt and fear that up until now we have felt the need to split off and project outside of ourselves. And that alternative is the Holy Spirit, the Reminder of the true innocence we share with everyone else, as we let go of the need to make differences real. And so the wall between the right mind and the wrong mind that we have attempted to make impenetrable with the second split begins to become more porous, allowing more of the light of the right mind to shine on the darkness of the wrong mind, revealing increasingly its illusory nature.
The undoing of these three splits is the focus of the Course’s teachings and it involves a process that will require great willingness on our part over time, for the self we are identified with in the world — the result of the fourth split — will lose its meaning and appeal to us over time as we practice the forgiveness that healing the splits requires. But along the way, that shift engenders tremendous fear so long as we still have an investment in the separation and in our separate, unique, individual self being real.
At the end of the process, once we have allowed the barrier we have imposed between the right mind and the wrong mind to dissolve completely in the light of total forgiveness, we will be in the real world, still aware of the dream of separation but completely unaffected by it. And it is from this place of complete healing that we are ready for the undoing of the first split, accomplished by what the Course metaphorically refers to as God’s last step (e.g., T.7.I), in which He lifts us up out of the illusion of duality and returns us to the absolute oneness of Heaven, which in reality we have never left.
Although the process of undoing the splits is described here as if it were linear, in reality it is not, as the miracle, or the holy instant, which is involved in undoing the second, third and fourth splits, occurs outside of time and space. And so our experience will be that we will be moving back and forth between the various levels of the splits over and over again, over time. For example, the Holy Spirit may seem to be a part of our healing process almost from the beginning of our work with the Course, yet we will not really understand the nature of His reality until we have come to understand the nature of the split mind more fully. And despite our increasing recognition that our only real choice is made in the mind, we will continue to get caught in our victim scripts in the world and will need to remind ourselves that we are really the same as all our brothers and sisters.
Those interested in a more in-depth exploration of the four splits may find the tape set, Separation and Forgiveness: The Four Splits and Their Undoing, and volume I, “All Are Called,” from the two-volume book set, The Message of A Course in Miracles (both publications by Kenneth Wapnick) helpful.