ACIM Text Reading for February 13
THE LESSONS OF LOVE
The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.
You have been asked to take me as your model for learning, since an extreme example is a particularly helpful learning device. Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. This is a responsibility you inevitably assume the moment you accept any premise at all, and no one can organise his life without some thought system. Once you have developed a thought system of any kind, you live by it and teach it. Your capacity for allegiance to a thought system may be misplaced, but it is still a form of faith and can be redirected.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 13
God is the light in which I see.
Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.
In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.
Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind, and represents a major goal of mind training. It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.
Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.
Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. Yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.
If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. God is the light in which you see. You are attempting to reach Him.
Begin the practice period by repeating today’s idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. It is merely taking its natural course. Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.
While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.
If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today’s idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. Try, however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.
If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.
Throughout the day repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. But do not forget. Above all, be determined not to forget today.
For a Free Audio Download of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1290: I don’t understand about advanced teachers. Isn’t that just another way of saying someone is “special,” thereby creating a hierarchy, with teachers more advanced being superior and less advanced inferior. And the ego madness continues…
A: That is how the ego would perceive it, and then the temptation would be to toss A Course in Miracles into the unholy spiritual junk heap. That couldn’t be the meaning of “advanced teachers,” though, if the Course’s message is understood correctly. Its whole approach is to restore to our minds the awareness of our oneness as God’s Son and to help us realize that all forms of specialness represent a rejection of that oneness (T.16.V.2:3; T.17.IV.2:7) . The startling feature of spiritual advancement according to A Course in Miracles is the joyful acceptance of our sameness and a corresponding disinterest in having or being something that is not shared with everyone else. An attraction to all-inclusiveness and selflessness replaces the former ego-generated attraction to exclusivity and self-importance. Thus, specialness fades into its own nothingness as one advances along the path. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, you would recognize in someone who appears to be beyond the ego but a reflection of your own holiness, rather than someone who has something you do not have. The ten characteristics of God’s teachers described in the manual (M.4) lead to a state that is the exact opposite of specialness. An advanced teacher would be indistinguishable from others, except perhaps that he or she would smile more frequently (W.pI.155.1:1).
Q #805: Why is it that in one place Jesus says “A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s” (M.1.1:1,2), and in other places is says that in order to be a teacher of God one has to do the workbook lessons?
A: It is not unusual to come across this kind of thing in A Course in Miracles . The reason has to do with pedagogical (teaching) methodology. Jesus is making different points in different places in his teaching. In the statement from the manual that you quoted, he is speaking more generically about a teacher of God; whereas elsewhere he may be speaking about specific aspects of the process that unfolds once one has made this choice to see shared rather than separate interests. In this sense doing the lessons is an integral part of the mind training and thought reversal that is Jesus’ teaching objective for all his students.
Q #133: If — as A Course in Miracles claims — thinking precedes emotion, such as anger, what about people with epilepsy or Tourette’s syndrome who apparently seem to have anger attacks without prior thought, i.e., the reaction seems to be physiological rather than psychological?
A. The thinking that is always meant in the Course is a function of a mind that is outside time and space. The body, which is comprised of both physiological and psychological dimensions, is a projection of this mind; therefore, all physical and psychological conditions are the result of a choice made by the mind. Mind in the Course is not the brain, nor is it the human mind, as theorists commonly speak of it.
In a section in the manual about sickness and healing, Jesus teaches us that sickness is “a faulty problem-solving approach,” and as such is a decision made in one’s mind. He continues: “The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker. Terms like ‘instincts,’ ‘reflexes’ and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it” (M.5.II.1:56,7,8,9,10).
Generally, the Course’s discussion of anger is not aimed at the type generated by epilepsy episodes or Tourette’s syndrome. However, those physiological conditions themselves are the outcome of a choice made in the mind, as is true of any disease or disability: “Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain” (T.28.VI.5:1). “Sickness is a defense against the truth” (W.pI.136). As difficult as this is to accept, it is a source of genuine hope, because by turning to Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we can be helped to look at the pain in our minds, from which all bodily states emanate as maladaptive attempts to defend against the enormity of that pain. Once we are back in touch with our decision-making ability in our minds, we can then make the choice that will restore to our awareness the eternal love and peace in which we were created.