ACIM Text Reading for February 9
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
IV. Teaching and Healing
What fear has hidden still is part of you. Joining the Atonement is the way out of fear. The Holy Spirit will help you reinterpret everything that you perceive as fearful, and teach you that only what is loving is true. Truth is beyond your ability to destroy, but entirely within your ability to accept. It belongs to you because, as an extension of God, you created it with Him. It is yours because it is part of you, just as you are part of God because He created you. Nothing that is good can be lost because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the Voice for creation. Nothing that is not good was ever created, and therefore cannot be protected. The Atonement is the guarantee of the safety of the Kingdom, and the union of the Sonship is its protection. The ego cannot prevail against the Kingdom because the Sonship is united. In the presence of those who hear the Holy Spirit’s call to be as one, the ego fades away and is undone.
What the ego makes it keeps to itself, and so it is without strength. Its existence is unshared. It does not die; it was merely never born. Physical birth is not a beginning; it is a continuing. Everything that continues has already been born. It will increase as you are willing to return the unhealed part of your mind to the higher part, returning it undivided to creation. I have come to give you the foundation, so your own thoughts can make you really free. You have carried the burden of unshared ideas that are too weak to increase, but having made them you did not realise how to undo them. You cannot cancel out your past errors alone. They will not disappear from your mind without the Atonement, a remedy not of your making. The Atonement must be understood as a pure act of sharing. That is what I meant when I said it is possible even in this world to listen to one Voice. If you are part of God and the Sonship is one, you cannot be limited to the self the ego sees.
Every loving thought held in any part of the Sonship belongs to every part. It is shared because it is loving. Sharing is God’s way of creating, and also yours. The ego can keep you in exile from the Kingdom, but in the Kingdom itself it has no power. Ideas of the spirit do not leave the mind that thinks them, nor can they conflict with each other. However, ideas of the ego can conflict because they occur at different levels and also include opposite thoughts at the same level. It is impossible to share opposing thoughts. You can share only the thoughts that are of God and that He keeps for you. And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. The rest remains with you until the Holy Spirit has reinterpreted them in the light of the Kingdom, making them, too, worthy of being shared. When they have been sufficiently purified He lets you give them away. The decision to share them is their purification.
I heard one Voice because I understood that I could not atone for myself alone. Listening to one Voice implies the decision to share It in order to hear It yourself. The Mind that was in me is still irresistibly drawn to every mind created by God, because God’s Wholeness is the wholeness of His Son. You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness. Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself. This is the meaning of ‘turning the other cheek’.
Teaching is done in many ways, above all by example. Teaching should be healing, because it is the sharing of ideas and the recognition that to share ideas is to strengthen them. I cannot forget my need to teach what I have learned, which arose in me because I learned it. I call upon you to teach what you have learned, because by so doing you can depend on it. Make it dependable in my name because my name is the Name of God’s Son. What I learned I give you freely, and the Mind that was in me rejoices as you choose to hear it.
The Holy Spirit atones in all of us by undoing, and thus lifts the burden you have placed in your mind. By following Him you are led back to God where you belong, and how can you find the way except by taking your brother with you? My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away. As you teach so shall you learn. I will never leave you or forsake you, because to forsake you would be to forsake myself and God Who created me. You forsake yourself and God if you forsake any of your brothers. You must learn to see them as they are, and understand they belong to God as you do. How could you treat your brother better than by rendering unto God the things that are God’s?
The Atonement gives you the power of a healed mind, but the power to create is of God. Therefore, those who have been forgiven must devote themselves first to healing because, having received the idea of healing, they must give it to hold it. The full power of creation cannot be expressed as long as any of God’s ideas is withheld from the Kingdom. The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father, because only the complete can think completely, and the thinking of God lacks nothing. Everything you think that is not through the Holy Spirit is lacking.
How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. You can indeed depart in peace because I have loved you as I loved myself. You go with my blessing and for my blessing. Hold it and share it, that it may always be ours. I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose. My judgement is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being. His quiet children are His blessed Sons. The Thoughts of God are with you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 9
I am blessed as a Son of God.
Today we will begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled, being what you are. No long practice periods are required today, but very frequent short ones are necessary. Once every ten minutes would be highly desirable, and you are urged to attempt this schedule and to adhere to it whenever possible. If you forget, try again. If there are long interruptions, try again. Whenever you remember, try again.
You need not close your eyes for the exercise periods, although you will probably find it more helpful if you do. However, you may be in a number of situations during the day when closing your eyes would not be feasible. Do not miss a practice period because of this. You can practice quite well under any circumstances, if you really want to.
Today’s exercises take little time and no effort. Repeat the idea for today, and then add several of the attributes you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. One practice period might, for example, consist of the following:
I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am happy, peaceful, loving and contented.
Another might take this form:
I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am calm, quiet, assured and confident.
If only a brief period is available, merely telling yourself that you are blessed as a Son of God will do.
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Q #1291: A Course in Miracles says: “As you teach so you shall learn” (T.5.IV.6:4; T.6.I.6:1), but do others learn what you teach or do they only learn what they teach?
A: This seems like a fairly simple question calling for a simple answer. It isn’t, though, because the Course’s approach to teaching and learning differs significantly from the world’s, which rests on the premise that everyone’s interests are separate from everyone else’s. This is the mistake that Jesus attempts to correct throughout the Course. In this context, the idea “as you teach so shall you learn” flows from the general Course principle that giving and receiving are the same , the correction of the ego’s deception that what you give to another you lose, and that you can affect another without affecting yourself (see W.pI.108.1,2,3,4,5,6,7; W.pI.126, W.pI.187. ) The world’s emphasis on form at the expense of content is what sustains this ego approach.
The most concentrated discussion of this issue is found in the Introduction to the manual for teachers. We quote only in part, but the entire Introduction is relevant.
“The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.
To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. . . . You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. . . . Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. . . . the self you think is real is what you teach.” (M.in.1; 2:1,2,3; 3:7,10)
We generally equate teaching with form. Thus, for example, I may say that by profession I am a teacher and that I teach subjects in which I have expertise, which might include A Course in Miracles . This implies that I have what my students lack and I am going to supply them with it. While this analysis is correct on the level of form, we need to remember that this is a course in content : “This is a course in cause and not effect” (T.21.VII.7:8) is how the text expresses it. Effect is the form or behavior, having to do only with bodies and the world, whereas cause is in the mind and reflects either the ego’s content — guilt, separation, fear, and hate — or the Holy Spirit ‘s — forgiveness, peace, and healing. The Course, therefore, emphasizes only content, and so teaching, according to the manual, has nothing to do with behavior or form.
On the level of form, my true interest as a teacher is the same as your interest as a student, and that is to learn that the Holy Spirit’s thought system is true and the ego’s is false. Therefore we are the same in content — what I teach, I learn; what you learn, you teach. Teachers and learners alike share the thought systems of the ego and the Holy Spirit, and the power to choose between them. Again, it is not my demonstration of expertise in a particular subject matter that is important, but the demonstration that either the ego’s or Holy Spirit’s thought system is true. I teach the ego’s separation by my special relationship with you, while I teach the Holy Spirit’s Atonement by transcending specialness, choosing to see our interests as shared.
Your “learning” reinforces the decision you made for the thought system of separation or Atonement. For example, your special relationship with me — regardless of its form — reflects that you believe that separation is real and that your needs have to be fulfilled at my expense. If I am coming from that same point of view, my interaction will tell you that you made the right choice. Since egos are attack and I have identified with my ego, I will attack you. Thus do I give the ego’s gift by reinforcing its message that you are an innocent victim; and you, of course, reciprocate. And so we continue our dance of death: my decision for the ego reinforces your own, which strengthens my decision that in turn strengthens yours — and both of us lose.
However, when I am in my right mind and not defensive, and I perceive our shared interests, my right-mindedness calls you to choose peace as I have. The peace you experience coming through me is now yours, if you so choose. Yet, if you are in your right mind and I am not, and I attack you as the object of my specialness, your defenseless non-judgment teaches me, even though I may be in the role of teacher. Your not becoming upset demonstrates that my attack had no effect, and thus you remind me that I have another choice.
Q #1281: In Chapter 5 of the text, Jesus says, “I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance” (T.5.IV.8:3,4). Is he talking about our errors or the errors of the people that our kindnesses were directed toward, or both?
A: Jesus is referring to our own kindnesses and loving thoughts. He is saying that he does not take into consideration the ego aspects that may have crept in, and that we reflect Heaven’s changeless love when we choose him as our teacher instead of the ego.
This entire paragraph was originally meant for Helen, especially the opening line, “How can you who are so holy suffer?” (T.5.IV.8:1) . This is a unique passage in A Course in Miracles at this point (Chapter 5), for it is the first time this form appears. It is almost as if Jesus had been dictating the thought system to Helen from a script, which he dropped to sing this lovely little aria. Clearly, it is meant for all of us. It is Jesus’ gentle way of saying to us that we can choose again and feel differently — the choice is ours.
Q #260: “The curious belief that there is a part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life” (M.27.4:1,2; 1st edition, p. 63). Please explain the verse. Does the body “die” or is that only illusion?
A: Death is an illusion, but so is birth, aging, and losing vitality, as the beginning of this section states (M.27.1:2). If “there is no life outside of Heaven” (T.23.II.19:1), then the body neither lives nor dies. Jesus is really talking about the thought system of death with which we identify when we choose the ego as our teacher instead of him or the Holy Spirit. If we choose the ego, we will believe that the separation from God really happened, and that will lead us to believe that we are bodies that were born and will eventually die. The ego will try to soften the cruelty of its thought system of death by saying that even though we have to die, part of us (our souls) will survive the death of the body.
But Jesus is teaching us that there can be no compromise in this at all. “If death is real for anything, there is no life” (4:2). God did not and could not make death, any more than He could make fear. “Both are equally meaningless to Him” (4:9.10). This is a Level One statement. The ego’s god is responsible for fear and death. And so Jesus is teaching us that when we identify with the ego (Level Two), death will be a reality for us, and many people will believe that God is merciful because He takes our souls to Heaven after we die.
So the process of A Course in Miracles is to ask for help from Jesus or the Holy Spirit to begin to disidentify with that thought system, and to perceive death as just a thought in our minds that we have chosen to make real. “Ideas leave not their source,” as Jesus reminds us numerous times throughout his Course. We can gradually begin to get comfortable with the thought that nothing happens to us when the body “dies,” because we are decision-making minds outside time and space that have just chosen to believe that we are autonomous bodies, as a defense against the truth that we are the one Son of God, Who never truly left His home in Heaven.