ACIM Text Reading for February 18
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
V. The Lessons of the Holy Spirit
Like any good teacher, the Holy Spirit knows more than you do now, but He teaches only to make you equal with Him. You had already taught yourself wrongly, having believed what was not true. You did not believe in your own perfection. Would God teach you that you had made a split mind, when He knows your mind only as whole? What God does know is that His communication channels are not open to Him, so that He cannot impart His joy and know that His children are wholly joyous. Giving His joy is an ongoing process, not in time but in eternity. God’s extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one. So He thought, ‘My children sleep and must be awakened’.
How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now. Then you train them to recognise the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.
A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasise what you must avoid to escape from harm, but what you need to learn to have joy. Consider the fear and confusion a child would experience if he were told, ‘Do not do this because it will hurt you and make you unsafe; but if you do that instead, you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid’. It is surely better to use only three words: ‘Do only that!’ This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood and very easily remembered.
The Holy Spirit never itemises errors because He does not frighten children, and those who lack wisdom are children. Yet He always answers their call, and His dependability makes them more certain. Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not recognise the difference. The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among dreams. He merely shines them away. His light is always the call to awaken, whatever you have been dreaming. Nothing lasting lies in dreams, and the Holy Spirit, shining with the Light from God Himself, speaks only for what lasts forever.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 18
There is nothing to fear.
The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize it for those who want illusions to be true.
Today’s practice periods will be very short, very simple and very frequent. Merely repeat the idea as often as possible. You can use it with your eyes open at any time and in any situation. It is strongly recommended, however, that you take a minute or so whenever possible to close your eyes and repeat the idea slowly to yourself several times. It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately, should anything disturb your peace of mind.
The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #414: Please comment on the similarities and differences in the terms “belief” and “faith” as used in A Course in Miracles.
A: Simply put, what you put your faith in you then believe. Faith thus precedes belief. We never lack faith, for we always place our faith in either of two teachers: the ego or Jesus; and then we will believe what that teacher says. “It is impossible that the Son of God lack faith, but he can choose where he would have it be. Faithlessness is not a lack of faith, but faith in nothing. Faith given to illusions does not lack power, for by it does the Son of God believe that he is powerless. Thus is he faithless to himself, but strong in faith in his illusions about himself. For faith, perception and belief you made, as means for losing certainty and finding sin. This mad direction was your choice, and by your faith in what you chose, you made what you desired” (T.21.III.5).
Q #415: In the past, I have found ways to misuse A Course in Miracles for the purpose of conflict avoidance, and this has had the effect of demonstrating to some people that they hold power over me. Could you please explain the difference between allowing yourself to be used as a doormat, and what the Course is trying to teach in regard to dealing with situations where it’s necessary to be assertive, to acknowledge yourself as an equal in accord with God’s will?
A: Misusing the Course to avoid conflict is a common mistake among its students. This is a form of denial, and is in direct opposition to a very important goal of the Course, which is to teach us to pay attention to the conflict in our lives. This is one of the ways in which A Course in Miracles is a unique spiritual path. It tells us that by looking at conflict we learn to recognize the hidden, unconscious beliefs we hold about ourselves and others, all of which stem from the belief that the separation is real. Our conflicts are generally riddled with judgments, feelings, and thoughts, reflecting the conflict in our minds caused by the choice to believe the ego’s lies about who we are as bodies, thus denying our true Identity as God’s innocent Son. As long as we are unaware of this conflict in the mind, it cannot be brought to the Holy Spirit for healing. This is the purpose the Course gives to conflict in our lives, and it is the only way it can truly be resolved.
Because the Course is showing us the real source of conflict is the unhealed mind, it does not tell us how to deal with it on the level of form, to which you are referring. We are asked to be willing to recognize all the thoughts, beliefs and feelings that come up in any situation, seeing that they reflect the choice in the mind to identify with the ego thought system, and be willing to question them in the light of the Course’s teachings. We are not asked to do anything on the level of form. Trying to act in a way that seems spiritual or appears to be in accord with the metaphysical principles of the Course (i.e., keeping silent when mistreated) while still identifying with the ego’s thought system, is unproductive, and leaves you feeling like a doormat. That is certainly not the experience to which Jesus is leading us. Moreover, if you are a victim, there must be a victimizer, thereby reinforcing separation.
The Course tells us we are not only “equal”; we are one. We will know this when all the forms by which we perceive ourselves to be separate and different from one another have been forgiven. Until then, we continue to practice forgiveness. It is possible to assert yourself and remain faithful to the Course, because it is no different from doing any of the things you do to take care of yourself physically, emotionally or psychologically. Asserting yourself without attack is a way to acknowledge your need to be treated respectfully, as well as the other’s need for the same treatment, thereby reinforcing the belief that we have no separate interests. As long as we do believe we are bodies, we interact with others according to normal behavioral standards. This means not denying any of our feelings or perceived needs, which would only deprive us of opportunities to learn and to forgive. The Course cautions us very early in the text: “The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world…it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial”(T.2.IV.3:8,10,11).