ACIM Text Reading for February 17
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
IV. The Only Answer
Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first. It is capricious and does not mean its maker well. It believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad when He has brought you home and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as part of you. Herein lies its primary error, the foundation of its whole thought system.
When God created you He made you part of Him. That is why attack within the Kingdom is impossible. You made the ego without love, and so it does not love you. You could not remain within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raised the first question that was ever asked, but one it can never answer. That question, ‘What are you?’ was the beginning of doubt. The ego has never answered any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than obscure the question, because you have the answer and the ego is afraid of you.
You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything. The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers. Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another, and has been answered. Since the Holy Spirit answers truly He answers for all time, which means that everyone has the answer now.
The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it does believe that part of the mind that made it is against it. It interprets this as a justification for attacking its maker. It believes that the best defence is attack, and wants you to believe it. Unless you do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies, though not of brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body as its ally, because the body is not part of you. This makes the body the ego’s friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you side with this alliance you will be afraid, because you are siding with an alliance of fear.
The ego uses the body to conspire against your mind, and because the ego realises that its ‘enemy’ can end them both merely by recognising they are not part of you, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all, if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which is real, that the mind is the ego’s learning device; and further, that the body is more real than the mind is. No one in his right mind could possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind does believe it.
Hear, then, the one answer of the Holy Spirit to all the questions the ego raises: You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken. Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know. When you wake you will see the truth around you and you will no longer believe in dreams, because they will have no reality for you. Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true.
In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt, because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered,it has never been. Being alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question. The time spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity. You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once certain in your mind has become only the ability for certainty.
The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of uncertainty, because abilities are potentials, not accomplishments. Your abilities are useless in the presence of God’s accomplishments, and also of yours. Accomplishments are results that have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. Remember, however, that when you put yourself in an impossible situation you believe that the impossible is possible.
Abilities must be developed before you can use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kindest solution possible for what you made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can get you out of it. You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no commander except yourself. This leaves you in charge of the Kingdom, with both a Guide to find it and a means to keep it. You have a model to follow who will strengthen your command, and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your imagined enslavement, which in itself demonstrates that you are not enslaved.
You are in an impossible situation only because you think it is possible to be in one. You would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection, and proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect are inadequate to bring themselves to an awareness of their perfection, and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of ‘reasoning’ in which the ego engages. God, Who knows that His creations are perfect, does not affront them. This would be as impossible as the ego’s notion that it has affronted Him.
That is why the Holy Spirit never commands. To command is to assume inequality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because you made them. What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His Own certainty? I have frequently said that what you teach you are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your right mind, which is the only place where you can find the sanity He gave you.
God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack, which God knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection, but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego’s voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it could shatter yours. God did not blot it out, because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer. His Answer is your Teacher.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 17
God is the strength in which I trust.
If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?
Of yourself you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted, and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?
God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice which speaks for Him thinks as He does.
Today we will try to reach past your own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin, as usual, by repeating the idea for the day. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself:
God is the strength in which I trust.
Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy. It is obvious that any situation that causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, for otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation successfully. It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.
The recognition of your own frailty is a necessary step in the correction of your errors, but it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need, and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances.
In the latter phase of the practice period, try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a sense of deep peace, however briefly. Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven . There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.
During the day, repeat the idea often. Use it as your answer to any disturbance. Remember that peace is your right, because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1271: A Course in Miracles has helped me to begin to understand so much of what was a source of confusion to me in the past. Being brought up as a Catholic and then rejecting it, I also rejected some of my family in the process and now realize that this was unnecessary. However, I would like some help in reaching out to them (and others) without getting into conflict about the principles of the Course, because in the past there has always been so much resistance when any idea that didn’t agree with theirs was expressed. Yet, in their own lives they appear to be such “good people” and I felt like a “bad person” because I rejected the faith. I now feel so excited about some of the “revelations” I’ve had and want to share them; but before I even approach my family (who do not live near me) I need to calm this sense that they will strongly resist the Course. Perhaps I should not mention it but just try to demonstrate my feelings by how I behave.
A: Demonstrating what you have learned from A Course in Miracles is probably the best approach, and this really has nothing to do with behavior (form); it is solely a matter of what is going on in your mind, your thinking (content). The main content to focus on is that your interests are not separate from your family’s. Although you are on different paths with different theologies, you still share the same split mind and the power to choose between the thought system that each represents. Thus, instead of visiting your family to share the revelations and experiences you’ve had, you could shift the purpose to seeing the visit as an opportunity to bring all of your perceptions of differences to the love of Jesus in your right mind, which would then allow you to learn how to minimize the differences in form and concentrate more on the content you share in common. With this approach, you may find that you have little need to talk about the Course at all, unless it is brought up, of course — in which case, your purpose would still be the same: to learn and practice the right-minded perception that you all share equally in the Sonship. The love in you would then be expressed in whatever form is best for everyone in the situation, and you would have no investment in whether your family accepts you or not.
What we are asked to demonstrate is that Jesus lives in us (T.11.VI.7:4), which means that his thought system of forgiveness lives in us. He demonstrated that sin has no effect and so is not a cause, and therefore does not exist, which means nothing can change the love that we are as the one Son of God. He asks that we demonstrate this in our relationships, which we do by our choice to remain identified with that love no matter what is happening externally. The message we thus give to all we meet is the same message Jesus gives to us: you can make the same choice I did, for our minds are joined. All of this, once again, takes place only in our minds. With that as your primary focus, then the expression in form would occur automatically, requiring no deliberation on your part. Always try to keep in the forefront of your thinking that your only responsibility is to accept the Atonement for yourself (T.2.V.5:1), and that the extension of the miracle is not up to us (T.16.II.1,2).