ACIM Text Reading for February 8
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
III. The Guide to Salvation
The way to recognise your brother is by recognising the Holy Spirit in him. I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are. This relationship must be in His Mind because, unless it were, the separation between the two ways of thinking would not be open to healing. He is part of the Holy Trinity, because His Mind is partly yours and also partly God’s. This needs clarification, not in statement but in experience.
The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. Being the Call for God, it is also the idea of God. Since you are part of God it is also the idea of yourself, as well as of all His creations. The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part. It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur. He may have dissociated the Call for God, just as you have. This dissociation is healed in both of you as you become aware of the Call for God in him, and thus acknowledge its being.
There are two diametrically opposed ways of seeing your brother. They must both be in your mind, because you are the perceiver. They must also be in his, because you are perceiving him. See him through the Holy Spirit in his mind, and you will recognise Him in yours. What you acknowledge in your brother you are acknowledging in yourself, and what you share you strengthen.
The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share It. It must be increased in strength before you can hear It. It is impossible to hear It in yourself while It is so weak in your mind. It is not weak in Itself, but It is limited by your unwillingness to hear It. If you make the mistake of looking for the Holy Spirit in yourself alone your thoughts will frighten you because, by adopting the ego’s viewpoint, you are undertaking an ego-alien journey with the ego as guide. This is bound to produce fear.
Delay is of the ego, because time is its concept. Both time and delay are meaningless in eternity. I have said before that the Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the ego. Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego’s notions, because true and false perceptions are themselves opposed. The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made. He undoes it at the same level on which the ego operates, or the mind would be unable to understand the change.
I have repeatedly emphasised that one level of the mind is not understandable to another. So it is with the ego and the Holy Spirit; with time and eternity. Eternity is an idea of God, so the Holy Spirit understands it perfectly. Time is a belief of the ego, so the lower mind, which is the ego’s domain, accepts it without question. The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.
The Holy Spirit is the mediator between the interpretations of the ego and the knowledge of the spirit. His ability to deal with symbols enables Him to work with the ego’s beliefs in its own language. His ability to look beyond symbols into eternity enables Him to understand the laws of God, for which He speaks. He can therefore perform the function of reinterpreting what the ego makes, not by destruction but by understanding. Understanding is light, and light leads to knowledge. The Holy Spirit is in light because He is in you who are light, but you yourself do not know this. It is therefore the task of the Holy Spirit to reinterpret you on behalf of God.
You cannot understand yourself alone. This is because you have no meaning apart from your rightful place in the Sonship, and the rightful place of the Sonship is God. This is your life, your eternity and your Self. It is of this that the Holy Spirit reminds you. It is this that the Holy Spirit sees. This vision frightens the ego because it is so calm. Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival. The ego becomes strong in strife. If you believe there is strife you will react viciously, because the idea of danger has entered your mind. The idea itself is an appeal to the ego. The Holy Spirit is as vigilant as the ego to the call of danger, opposing it with His strength just as the ego welcomes it. The Holy Spirit counters this welcome by welcoming peace. Eternity and peace are as closely related as are time and war.
Perception derives meaning from relationships. Those you accept are the foundations of your beliefs. The separation is merely another term for a split mind. The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions.
The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher. He uses only what your mind already understands to teach you that you do not understand it. The Holy Spirit can deal with a reluctant learner without going counter to his mind, because part of it is still for God. Despite the ego’s attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego, although the ego does not recognise it. The Holy Spirit recognises it perfectly because it is His Own dwelling place; the place in the mind where He is at home. You are at home there, too, because it is a place of peace, and peace is of God. You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity.
The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the re-interpreter of what the ego made, sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home. The Holy Spirit must perceive time, and reinterpret it into the timeless. He must work through opposites, because He must work with and for a mind that is in opposition. Correct and learn, and be open to learning. You have not made truth, but truth can still set you free. Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands. His understanding looks back to God in remembrance of me. He is in communion with God always, and He is part of you. He is your guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come, and brings them to the present. He holds this gladness gently in your mind, asking only that you increase it in His Name by sharing it to increase His joy in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 8
My holiness is my salvation.
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? Like the text for which this workbook was written, the ideas used for the exercises are very simple, very clear and totally unambiguous. We are not concerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys. We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? This is not difficult, surely. The hesitation you may feel in answering is not due to the ambiguity of the question. But do you believe that guilt is hell? If you did, you would see at once how direct and simple the text is, and you would not need a workbook at all. No one needs practice to gain what is already his.
We have already said that your holiness is the salvation of the world. What about your own salvation? You cannot give what you do not have. A savior must be saved. How else can he teach salvation? Today’s exercises will apply to you, recognizing that your salvation is crucial to the salvation of the world. As you apply the exercises to your world, the whole world stands to benefit.
Your holiness is the answer to every question that was ever asked, is being asked now, or will be asked in the future. Your holiness means the end of guilt, and therefore the end of hell. Your holiness is the salvation of the world, and your own. How could you to whom your holiness belongs be excluded from it? God does not know unholiness. Can it be He does not know His Son?
A full five minutes are urged for the four longer practice periods for today, and longer and more frequent practice sessions are encouraged. If you want to exceed the minimum requirements, more rather than longer sessions are recommended, although both are suggested.
Begin the practice periods as usual, by repeating today’s idea to yourself. Then, with closed eyes, search out your unloving thoughts in whatever form they appear; uneasiness, depression, anger, fear, worry, attack, insecurity and so on. Whatever form they take, they are unloving and therefore fearful. And so it is from them that you need to be saved.
Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises. It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently. And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.
Slowly, without conscious selection and without undue emphasis on any one in particular, search your mind for every thought that stands between you and your salvation. Apply the idea for today to each of them in this way:
My unloving thoughts about _____ are keeping me in hell.
My holiness is my salvation.
You may find these practice periods easier if you intersperse them with several short periods during which you merely repeat today’s idea to yourself slowly a few times. You may also find it helpful to include a few short intervals in which you just relax and do not seem to be thinking of anything. Sustained concentration is very difficult at first. It will become much easier as your mind becomes more disciplined and less distractible.
Meanwhile, you should feel free to introduce variety into the exercise periods in whatever form appeals to you. Do not, however, change the idea itself as you vary the method of applying it. However you elect to use it, the idea should be stated so that its meaning is the fact that your holiness is your salvation. End each practice period by repeating the idea in its original form once more, and adding:
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?
In the shorter applications, which should be made some three or four times an hour and more if possible, you may ask yourself this question, repeat today’s idea, and preferably both. If temptations arise, a particularly helpful form of the idea is:
My holiness is my salvation from this.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #166: In Workbook Lesson 39 of A Course in Miracles (“My holiness is my salvation”) it reads:
“Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises. It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently. And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.”
I’m not sure how the idea “It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently.” reconciles with some of the major themes of the Course including the ideas that we let everything be the same and that there is no hierarchy in an illusion, not to mention that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. It seems to me it should say: It is imperative for your salvation that you not see them differently. What am I missing?
A: What you are missing is the use of the word “differently.” The idea is not to see the specific situations, events or personalities associated with unloving thoughts as separate or dissimilar within themselves, but rather to see the specific situations, events or personalities with loving thoughts (differently from how you have seen before). In the past, your sight (unloving thoughts) was through the eyes of the ego. Now you are encouraged to see through the eyes of the Holy Spirit (loving thoughts). Another way of putting it is that seeing through the eyes of the Holy Spirit is “different” from seeing through the eyes of the ego.
Q #167: I’ve often had experiences of deja vu, that sense of having been there before, that have turned out to be genuinely significant. The circumstances in which the experience has occurred have varied from pleasant enough to downright unpleasant or stressful, but often have not seemed to have any obviously direct bearing on the experience. But in retrospect the outcome of the situation has come to be something of a relief or possibly a blessing in disguise. I’m aware from my reading of A Course in Miracles and publications of Dr. Wapnick that, although time is an illusion and “this world was over long ago,” we experience and believe we still have choices to make, seemingly new. But we are really only “reviewing mentally what has gone by.” My question is, how does the experience of deja vu relate to the choice for either the ego’s tape or timeline, or the Holy Spirit’s for us? Is deja vu a reflection of the collective ego-mind? Or can it be a reflection of having made the correct choice through “the decision-maker,” outside of time and space and the ego’s dualistic world of limitations, however unpleasant or pleasant the circumstances seem to be at the time? And could the sense of familiarity then be an echo of our “distant” or subconscious memory of God before the separation, when we were all one with him as Christ, as we still are in reality? And so could deja vu be a reminder or reflection in this world that we are on the “right track” or still in our right minds? Or am I just reading too much into these experiences? And related to this, what is the role of coincidence or synchronicity in the everyday, if still illusory, world?
A: Experiences of deja vu are neutral in themselves. Since, as you remark, we are only ever “reviewing mentally what has gone by” (W.pI.158.4:5), all of our experiences potentially could be viewed as familiar. These would include both the ego’s scripts of specialness and the Holy Spirit’s correction scripts. Now most of the time, it will be in the ego’s best interest to keep that recognition from our awareness, for its defenses depend on a belief in linear time, flowing in only one direction, from past to future. Nevertheless, much as with psychic powers, reincarnation and past lives (M.24;25), it is the interpretation and purpose that we give to those experiences that determine whether they reinforce the ego’s specialness or the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness. If you have found that your experiences have ushered in opportunities for release of your judgments and guilt, then there has been a willingness on your part to allow them to serve that purpose. But they can just as easily be used to foster a preoccupation with the past, and specific and special relationships.
With respect to coincidence or synchronicity, since only one mind has written all the scripts, everything is interrelated and connected. Only because of our continued investment in seeing separation and differences do we fail to recognize the common threads running through all of our experiences. When coincidences are recognized, they can be used for the purposes of either the ego or the Holy Spirit. The choice is always ours. When serving the Holy Spirit’s, they are a reminder that decisions are being made at a level we are not usually conscious of and therefore they challenge the ego view that our reality is limited to this physical world. But a preoccupation with them can once again serve the ego’s purpose of specialness.
And so, whether we are dealing with deja vu, synchronicity, past lives or psychic powers, in every situation and circumstance, “the first thing to consider, very simply, is ‘What do I want to come of this? What is it for?’” (T.17.VI.2:1,2). If our purpose is to see beyond the petty specialness and judgments of the world, the Help we need will lift us above the self-imposed limits of our ego to a place where we can recognize our shared purpose with every brother and experience the joy of our interconnectedness with the entire Sonship.