ACIM Text Reading for February 12
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
VII. The Decision for God
Do you really believe you can make a voice that can drown out God’s? Do you really believe you can devise a thought system that can separate you from Him? Do you really believe you can plan for your safety and joy better than He can? You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you. You are His care because He loves you. His Voice reminds you always that all hope is yours because of His care. You cannot choose to escape His care because that is not His Will, but you can choose to accept His care and use the infinite power of His care for all those He created by it.
There have been many healers who did not heal themselves. They have not moved mountains by their faith because their faith was not whole. Some of them have healed the sick at times, but they have not raised the dead. Unless the healer heals himself, he cannot believe that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. He has not learned that every mind God created is equally worthy of being healed because God created it whole. You are merely asked to return to God the mind as He created it. He asks you only for what He gave, knowing that this giving will heal you. Sanity is wholeness, and the sanity of your brothers. is yours.
Why should you listen to the endless insane calls you think are made upon you, when you can know the Voice for God is in you? God commended His Spirit to you, and asks that you commend yours to Him. He wills to keep it in perfect peace, because you are of one mind and spirit with Him. Excluding yourself from the Atonement is the ego’s last-ditch defence of its own existence. It reflects both the ego’s need to separate, and your willingness to side with its separateness. This willingness means that you do not want to be healed.
But the time is now. You have not been asked to work out the plan of salvation yourself because, as I told you before, the remedy could not be of your making. God Himself gave you the perfect Correction for everything you made that is not in accord with His holy Will. I am making His plan perfectly explicit to you, and will also tell you of your part in it, and how urgent it is to fulfil it. God weeps at the ‘sacrifice’ of His children who believe they are lost to Him.
Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations. Perceiving this as ‘sin’ you become defensive because you expect attack. The decision to react in this way is yours, and can therefore be undone. It cannot be undone by repentance in the usual sense, because this implies guilt. If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.
Decision cannot be difficult. This is obvious, if you realise that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel. Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognise that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:
I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 12
God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.
In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God’s. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself.
You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit’s purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.
Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early and one as late as possible in the day. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time that circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea for today to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the practice period are sufficient. You might say, for example:
God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.
Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase of practice indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase, close your eyes, repeat today’s idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:
I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
I see the world as blessed.
The world can show me myself.
I see my own thoughts, which are like God’s.
Any thought related more or less directly to today’s idea is suitable. The thoughts need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.
If you find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today’s idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase of the exercise period, and then attempt the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.
In applying today’s idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:
God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.
This form is equally applicable to strangers as it is to those you think are closer to you. In fact, try not to make distinctions of this kind at all.
Today’s idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events that may occur, particularly to those which seem to distress you in any way. For this purpose, apply the idea in this form:
God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.
If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness at the time, merely repeat the idea in its original form. Try today not to allow any long periods of time to slip by without remembering today’s idea, and thus remembering your function.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #710: Can the following be said to be true: that it is God we desire or a substitute for Him; that everything we desire (in persons, places, things, events, situations, activities) falls into either one of these two categories; one is true; the other an illusion; one leads to liberty; the other to suffering. Also, that all our doubts and fears all boil down to being those about God, ultimately.
A: Yes, it is true. The unique contribution of A Course in Miracles, however, is that it does not advocate avoiding or renouncing the substitutes for God — much less calling them sinful — even when we become aware that that is what we are involved in. Thus, there are two levels of discourse in the Course. On Level One we find statements of absolute truth, such as your first statement. On Level Two we find statements and discussion about living in this world (though illusory) in such as way that we would gradually accept its illusory nature, as well as the illusory nature of our identities as separate individuals. “The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions” (T.18.VI.4:8).
Thus, on this second level, the Course addresses the decision-making mind outside time and space that chooses between the wrong-minded and right-minded use of the world and our bodily identities. When we accept the Holy Spirit’s purpose (forgiveness) for our lives, we gently grow into the ideal of always being peaceful no matter what is going on in our personal worlds or the world at large. That is the meaning of liberty in the Course — being freed of the ego’s tyrannical domination of our thinking, which is the source of all suffering and fear. All of our fears and doubts about our lives in the world are shadows of what is really going on in our minds, as the world is but “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:5; T.25.VIII.12:3). The process of attaining liberty, therefore, is the transition from wrong-mindedness to right- mindedness, and finally to the restoration of the One-mindedness that is our natural state.
The section in the text called “Beyond All Idols” (T.30.III) is a lovely reflection on this theme.
Q #136: In the text, Jesus states that “God is lonely without His Sons” (T.2.III.5:11). In light of the theology of A Course in Miracles, how is this explained as true?
A: Jesus uses these words as a comfort to us, correcting our ego belief that God is angry at us and wants to punish us for attacking Him to establish our separate self, torn from the totality of Heaven (T.5.V.3:10,11). Since the Course says over and over again that the separation never happened in reality — that’s the Atonement principle — the line you refer to can not be literally true. But what a reassuring thought, while we still believe in separation, to hear not only that God is not seeking vengeance against us, but He misses us and only wants us to come back to Him! If we can allow ourselves to hear that, we can begin to heal the guilt that we have made real in our mind over our supposed assault on Love.
You may also wish to refer to Question #72 in this series for a further discussion of Course language about God, as well as Questions #42 and #85, which discuss the reasons for the metaphorical, dualistic language of the Course.
Q #171: The more I seek to understand A Course in Miracles, some teachings become even more difficult. To wit, I thought I had at least come to terms with how the Son could have had a mad idea about resenting being a second-rate creator, God being THE Creator because the Son was an autonomous being created by God. But I now think that GOD IS, period. The Son was a Thought in the mind of God, an integral self-contained part of God. There was absolutely no distinction. So then the impossible could not have even been a tiny mad idea. Does this mean that there are two entities — one we call Real and the other unreal? The unreal is existing with the permissive Will of God, but outside of His positive Will? When the Course says God is not aware of the ego, is it speaking just as metaphorically as when it says God weeps for His Son? It makes more sense to say GOD IS and stop musing because nothing could have happened. But something seemed to happen. What is this seem?
A: This is everyone’s question, the most frequently asked question, in fact. And there is no intellectually satisfying answer to it. Let it suffice to have Jesus respond in his own words:
“It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego. In fact, it is the best question you could ask. There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present” (T.4.II.1:1,2,3).
“The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you.” (C.in.4)
“Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so” (C.2.2:5).
In light of these passages, it can be concluded that the idea that God has both a permissive Will and a positive Will would not be consistent with the absolute non-dualism of the Course’s metaphysics. Jesus is definitely speaking metaphorically when he says that God is not aware of the ego, as well as when he refers to the separation as a “tiny, mad idea” — and many, many other terms. Jesus does not refer to this as a divine mystery, or something like that, which we will understand one day. There just is no way that our understanding can achieve closure on this issue. We are left with the option of taking Jesus at his word, that an experience will come to end all doubting (W.pI.158.4:4), and that we will be better off than we are now if we apply the principles and exercises of his Course to our daily lives. If that does not turn out to be the case, there will always be another spiritual path that we can turn to that will bring us the peace of God.