ACIM Text Reading for February 11
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
VI. Time and Eternity
God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just as you are waiting for theirs. Delay does not matter in eternity, but it is tragic in time. You have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and therefore believe you are in time. Yet your election is both free and alterable. You do not belong in time. Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever.
Guilt feelings are the preservers of time. They induce fears of retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that the future will be like the past. This is the ego’s continuity. It gives the ego a false sense of security by believing that you cannot escape from it. But you can and must. God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange guilt for joy, viciousness for love, and pain for peace. My role is only to unchain your will and set it free. Your ego cannot accept this freedom, and will oppose it at every possible moment and in every possible way. And as its maker, you recognise what it can do because you gave it the power to do it.
Remember the Kingdom always, and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost. The Mind that was in me is in you, for God creates with perfect fairness. Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers. How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you? The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made.
The ego speaks in judgement, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision, much as a higher court has the power to reverse a lower court’s decisions in this world. The ego’s decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error they were made to uphold. Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego’s judgement. Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully. Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgement would also be against you.
There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light.
‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgement of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.
‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’ is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasises that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.
‘I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation’, as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival. To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear.
‘The wicked shall perish’ becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word ‘perish’ is understood as ‘be undone’. Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted to release you from fear. The part of your mind that you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs. You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of fear into it.
You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you. There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God’s creations is bearing false witness to God Himself. Appeal everything you believe gladly to God’s Own Higher Court, because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly. It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it up. The case may be fool-proof, but it is not God-proof. The Holy Spirit will not hear it, because He can only witness truly. His verdict will always be ‘thine is the Kingdom,’ because He was given to you to remind you of what you are.
When I said ‘I am come as a light into the world’, I meant that I came to share the light with you. Remember my reference to the ego’s dark glass, and remember also that I said, ‘Do not look there’. It is still true that where you look to find yourself is up to you. Your patience with your brother is your patience with yourself. Is not a child of God worth patience? I have shown you infinite patience because my will is that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience. His Voice was in me as It is in you, speaking for patience towards the Sonship in the Name of Its Creator.
Now you must learn that only infinite patience produces immediate effects. This is the way in which time is exchanged for eternity. Infinite patience calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now it renders time unnecessary. We have repeatedly said that time is a learning device to be abolished when it is no longer useful. The Holy Spirit, who speaks for God in time, also knows that time is meaningless. He reminds you of this in every passing moment of time, because it is His special function to return you to eternity and remain to bless your creations there. He is the only blessing you can truly give, because He is truly blessed. Because He has been given you freely by God, you must give Him as you received Him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 11
God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
The idea for today combines two very powerful thoughts, both of major importance. It also sets forth a cause and effect relationship that explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of the course. You will see because it is the Will of God. It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. And it is His gift, rather than your own, that offers vision to you.
God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.
We will have two three-to-five-minute practice periods today, one as soon as possible after you wake, and another as close as possible to the time you go to sleep. It is better, however, to wait until you can sit quietly by yourself, at a time when you feel ready, than it is to be concerned with the time as such.
Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today slowly, with your eyes open, looking about you. Then close your eyes and repeat the idea again, even slower than before. After this, try to think of nothing except thoughts that occur to you in relation to the idea for the day. You might think, for example:
Vision must be possible. God gives truly,
God’s gifts to me must be mine, because He gave them to me.
Any thought that is clearly related to the idea for today is suitable. You may, in fact, be astonished at the amount of course-related understanding some of your thoughts contain. Let them come without censoring unless you find your mind is merely wandering, and you have let obviously irrelevant thoughts intrude. You may also reach a point where no thoughts at all seem to come to mind. If such interferences occur, open your eyes and repeat the thought once more while looking slowly about; close your eyes, repeat the idea once more, and then continue to look for related thoughts in your mind.
Remember, however, that active searching for relevant thoughts is not appropriate for today’s exercises. Try merely to step back and let the thoughts come. If you find this difficult, it is better to spend the practice period alternating between slow repetitions of the idea with eyes open, then with eyes closed, than it is to strain to find suitable thoughts.
There is no limit on the number of short practice periods that would be beneficial today. The idea for the day is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together, and teaching you that you are studying a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.
The more often you repeat the idea during the day, the more often you will be reminding yourself that the goal of the course is important to you, and that you have not forgotten it.
For a Free Audio Download of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1263 : If God is not aware of the world, or our separation from Him, then why did we have a Jesus for Atonement?
A: The principle of the Atonement states that the separation never happened; there is no separated Son of God, no sin, no world, and no need for redemption or salvation. This is what we refer to as Level One discourse in A Course in Miracles . But since we clearly believe we exist as individuals in a world that is quite real, the Course talks to us on that level, too: Level Two. In that context, the Atonement principle represents the part of our split mind that remembers the truth of Oneness, and corrects all of the misperceptions we have about God, Jesus, ourselves, and the world.
Having listened to the ego’s tale of a vengeful God intent on punishing us for attacking Him and making up a world to replace Him, we fear God and seek to make amends in hopes of avoiding the horrible fate we believe we deserve. The Course presents a gentle, though decisive, correction of these terrifying concepts, which have dominated religious traditions for thousands of years. Thus, in place of the biblical Jesus who carries out his Father’s Will through sacrificial crucifixion and then bodily resurrection, A Course in Miracles presents a loving, non-judgmental Jesus who is the reflection of God’s Love in our mind. He thus symbolizes the love in our own minds that we had split off, and, as would an older and wiser brother, helps us recognize the sinlessness in each other and ourselves, thus easing our fears and gaining our trust. Then, through our practice of forgiveness, we gradually withdraw our belief in the insane idea that we had ever separated from God.
To summarize, Atonement, according to A Course in Miracles , is the happy truth that we were mistaken in believing that we ever did something that put us in need of salvation.
Expanded discussions of these core ideas may be found in Questions #328, #459, and #616, which also provide references to passages in the Course that explain and clarify the issues.
Q #856: Give me a good meaning of Atonement. I know it means at-onement, no separation, but I need a stronger explanation.
A: At-onement is not a term used in A Course in Miracles to define Atonement. Neither does Atonement have any of the meaning traditional Christianity applies to it, which is reparation for sin. In one word the Course gives a new meaning to the term Atonement: sinlessness. As simple as this is, it is in fact a very strong message to the ego whose thought system rests entirely on the belief that the Son of God is guilty for having taken the separation thought seriously. Accepting the Atonement means listening to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God and tells us that the separation thought is not only not a sin, it never even happened. This is the heart of the Holy Spirit’s teaching of Atonement in the Course. Accepting this truth is a process by which guilt is relinquished through forgiveness; the Holy Spirit’s correction for the mistaken belief in separation. In the “Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles, ” Kenneth Wapnick defines the Atonement as “the Holy Spirit’s plan of correction to undo the ego and heal the belief is separation.” Our function in this plan, and what makes it meaningful in our daily lives, is the practice of forgiveness: “Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time” (T.25.VI.5:3) .
Atonement, therefore, is not just an intellectual concept to be understood. It has life and becomes our life, to whatever extent we are willing to apply the principle of forgiveness in our relationships. This means seeing in every judgment the projection of our guilt for the mind’s choice for separation. That is our only responsibility in the Atonement process: “ The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself [learn complete forgiveness] ” (T.2.V.5:1) . Since the choice for separation in the mind is the cause of what we feel, no one/nothing external to the mind can be blamed. Releasing others in this way is how we learn that we, too, are sinless. In that recognition is the Atonement accomplished.
What makes the Atonement a process are the heavy layers of guilt that accompany the choice for the ego and block the Holy Spirit’s light. “It [Atonement] is perfectly clear because it exists in light. Only the attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to those who do not choose to see (T.3.I.6:6,7). In the ego’s twisted thinking, guilt is the justification for not accepting the Atonement. It would have us believe that we are not worthy to be God’s innocent Son, and are thus doomed to remain cut off form our Source. What the ego does not tell us is that this is the means by which the separation thought is maintained, the ego is protected and guilt is perpetuated. This vicious circle of the ego is undone only by the mind’s decision to choose the Holy Spirit, Whose message is that the belief in the separation has had no effect and the Son of God is innocent. This is stated very simply in the text: “Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement [accepting it for himself] , but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless ” (T.14.V.2:1). Every encounter is an opportunity to choose between judgment or forgiveness. As forgiveness becomes the goal in every relationship the Holy Spirit’s inclusive circle of Atonement gradually replaces the ego’s vicious guilt circle of separation and exclusion. Jesus puts the choice before us in the section “The Circle of Atonement:” “Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there” (T.14.V.11:1,2,3).
Q #245: In many groups studying A Course in Miracles that I have attended, people mention that atonement and at-one-ment are the same thing. I consider at-one-ment to be a new age euphemism that actually has nothing to do with Atonement as it is used in the Course. I don’t find the word at-one-ment anywhere on the Course CD. Please give me your thoughts on this subject.
A: You are right. At-one-ment is not the same as Atonement as it is used in A Course in Miracles. “The Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles” by Kenneth Wapnick defines Atonement as “the Holy Spirit’s plan of correction to undo the ego and heal the belief in separation” (p.32). The term at-one-ment is not used in the Course.
The Course tells us “the sole responsibility of God’s Teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself” (M.18.4:5), meaning to no longer believe that the separation is real. The term oneness in the Course refers to the unity of the Father and the Son in Heaven, and is reflected in the dream by joining with another through forgiveness. Neither of these principles of the Course’s thought system is expressed by the term at-one-ment.