ACIM Text Reading for February 16
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
III. The Relinquishment of Attack
As we have already emphasised, every idea begins in the mind of the thinker. Therefore, what extends from the mind is still in it, and from what it extends it knows itself. The word ‘knows’ is correct here, because the Holy Spirit still holds knowledge safe in your mind through His impartial perception. By attacking nothing, He presents no barrier to the communication of God. Therefore, being is never threatened. Your Godlike mind can never be defiled. The ego never was and never will be part of it, but through the ego you can hear and teach and learn what is not true. You have taught yourself to believe that you are not what you are. You cannot teach what you have not learned, and what you teach you strengthen in yourself because you are sharing it. Every lesson you teach you are learning.
That is why you must teach only one lesson. If you are to be conflict-free yourself, you must learn only from the Holy Spirit and teach only by Him. You are only love, but when you deny this, you make what you are something you must learn to remember. I said before that the message of the crucifixion was, ‘Teach only love, for that is what you are’. This is the one lesson that is perfectly unified, because it is the only lesson that is one. Only by teaching it can you learn it. ‘As you teach so will you learn’. If that is true, and it is true indeed, do not forget that what you teach is teaching you. And what you project or extend you believe.
The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself. The protection of God then dawns upon it, assuring it that it is perfectly safe forever. The perfectly safe are wholly benign. They bless because they know that they are blessed. Without anxiety the mind is wholly kind, and because it extends beneficence it is beneficent. Safety is the complete relinquishment of attack. No compromise is possible in this. Teach attack in any form and you have learned it, and it will hurt you. Yet this learning is not immortal, and you can unlearn it by not teaching it.
Since you cannot not teach, your salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of everything the ego believes. This is how you will learn the truth that will set you free, and will keep you free as others learn it of you. The only way to have peace is to teach peace. By teaching peace you must learn it yourself, because you cannot teach what you still dissociate. Only thus can you win back the knowledge that you threw away. An idea that you share you must have. It awakens in your mind through the conviction of teaching it. Everything you teach you are learning. Teach only love, and learn that love is yours and you are love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 16
God is the Love in which I forgive.
God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary. Forgiveness is the great need of this world, but that is because it is a world of illusions. Those who forgive are thus releasing themselves from illusions, while those who withhold forgiveness are binding themselves to them. As you condemn only yourself, so do you forgive only yourself.
Yet although God does not forgive, His Love is nevertheless the basis of forgiveness. Fear condemns and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. For this reason, forgiveness can truly be called salvation. It is the means by which illusions disappear.
Today’s exercises require at least three full five-minute practice periods, and as many shorter ones as possible. Begin the longer practice periods by repeating today’s idea to yourself, as usual. Close your eyes as you do so, and spend a minute or two in searching your mind for those whom you have not forgiven. It does not matter “how much” you have not forgiven them. You have forgiven them entirely or not at all.
If you are doing the exercises well you should have no difficulty in finding a number of people you have not forgiven. It is a safe rule that anyone you do not like is a suitable subject. Mention each one by name, and say:
God is the Love in which I forgive you, [name].
The purpose of the first phase of today’s practice periods is to put you in a position to forgive yourself. After you have applied the idea to all those who have come to mind, tell yourself:
God is the Love in which I forgive myself.
Then devote the remainder of the practice period to adding related ideas such as:
God is the Love with which I love myself God is the Love in which I am blessed.
The form of the application may vary considerably, but the central idea should not be lost sight of. You might say, for example:
I cannot be guilty because I am a Son of God.
I have already been forgiven.
No fear is possible in a mind beloved of God.
There is no need to attack because love has forgiven me.
The practice period should end, however, with a repetition of today’s idea as originally stated.
The shorter practice periods may consist either of a repetition of the idea for today in the original or in a related form, as you prefer. Be sure, however, to make more specific applications if they are needed. They will be needed at any time during the day when you become aware of any kind of negative reaction to anyone, present or not. In that event, tell him silently:
God is the Love in which I forgive you.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #210: There seems to be a conflict between the ego consciousness and God consciousness that ebbs and flows. I’ve been studying A Course in Miracles for three months and am able to observe the “struggle” almost as a spectator would. Comments appreciated.
A: Our minds are split between the part that identifies with the ego thought system of separation (wrong-mindedness) and the part that identifies with the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness (right-mindedness). We are constantly choosing between the two thought systems, although we generally are not aware of making this choice. That is the point of the training in the Course: first, to help us catch the thoughts that precede our experience, which, in the workbook lessons, Jesus refers to as the process of mind searching, where we would observe what is going on in our minds. Then eventually, we would be able to catch ourselves choosing either the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher. This is a process that continues throughout our lives.
You perhaps are referring to the fear that we experience when we ask for help to change our teacher from the ego to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. That could be perceived as a struggle in which we are attracted to the healing love in our right minds, but are still reluctant to let go of everything else. We always are identified with one or the other, though, and over a period of time we would become more and more clear about which one we have chosen. We go back and forth between our right mind and our wrong mind, but there is no neutral state. If we are observing our inner state with the ego, then we would be fearful, judgmental, or self-glorifying. If we are observing our inner state with Jesus, we would be peaceful, non-judgmental, and patient, knowing that we are in the process of undoing something that never happened, and therefore we would not take any of our thoughts all that seriously.
Q #211: Is it possible to get a disease if you have no knowledge of its existence, and therefore no fear of it?
A: Yes, it is. And if you think about it, you can see that it happens all the time, from the very first cases of new diseases such as AIDS or SARS, before they are identified in the media, to illnesses that affect children congenitally or very early in life, before we would see them as having any “knowledge” of the disease. So how does this happen, in light of A Course in Miracles’ teachings on how we choose our illnesses?
All diseases and illnesses in the body are the effects of a decision made in the mind (W.pI.136.2,3,4,5), not the brain. Like every other decision about what happens to us in our lifetime, these decisions are made outside of time and space. The brain that we believe — incorrectly — is the seat of consciousness and decision-making is only an effect. Much of what is contained in the mind remains out of our conscious awareness, but at a deeper level we do know all of its contents. It is our fear of the power of our mind however that keeps it all buried (T.2.VI.9), so that our defenses can work and we do not seem to be responsible for the things that happen to us — we can see ourselves as victims of forces beyond our control. In that way, the pain that comes from our choosing the thought of separation seems instead to come from what others do to us. And our guilt over separation remains buried and protected, along with the thought of separation.
Having said this, we also need to be clear that the goal is not to make the unconscious conscious so that we can make better choices for our body’s health and well-being. It is not really fear of the illness itself that causes us to choose it — we actually want the illness for its value as a defense. Our goal is to learn over time to forgive ourselves for the illusory guilt over separation. For it is this guilt that we believe calls for punishment, which in turn demonstrates that the guilt and separation are serious and real. And that punishment can assume many different forms, disease being just one among many. So the problem is not the punishment, what ever form it may take, but our mistaken belief in our guilt. And that is what we want to make conscious. For that is where the only real healing can occur.
For a related discussion, see also Question #117.