ACIM Text Reading for February 19
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
A. To Have, Give All to All
When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will last forever. Perhaps you think this is accomplished through death, but nothing is accomplished through death, because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the mind. The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who are life. If we share the same mind, you can overcome death because I did. Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not deciding at all. Like any other impossible solution the ego attempts, it will not work.
God did not make the body, because it is destructible, and therefore not of the Kingdom. The body is the symbol of what you think you are. It is clearly a separation device, and therefore does not exist. The Holy Spirit, as always, takes what you have made and translates it into a learning device. Again as always, He reinterprets what the ego uses as an argument for separation into a demonstration against it. If the mind can heal the body, but the body cannot heal the mind, then the mind must be stronger than the body. Every miracle demonstrates this.
I have said that the Holy Spirit is the motivation for miracles. He always tells you that only the mind is real, because only the mind can be shared. The body is separate, and therefore cannot be part of you. To be of one mind is meaningful, but to be one body is meaningless. By the laws of mind, then, the body is meaningless.
To the Holy Spirit, there is no order of difficulty in miracles. This is familiar enough to you by now, but it has not yet become believable. Therefore, you do not understand it and cannot use it. We have too much to accomplish on behalf of the Kingdom to let this crucial concept slip away. It is a real foundation stone of the thought system I teach and want you to teach. You cannot perform miracles without believing it, because it is a belief in perfect equality. Only one equal gift can be offered to the equal Sons of God, and that is full appreciation. Nothing more and nothing less. Without a range order of difficulty is meaningless, and there must be no range in what you offer to your brother.
The Holy Spirit, who leads to God, translates communication into being, just as He ultimately translates perception into knowledge. You do not lose what you communicate. The ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure and for pride. The insanity of this perception makes it a fearful one indeed. The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication, and because communicating is sharing it becomes communion. Perhaps you think that fear as well as love can be communicated; and therefore can be shared. Yet this is not so real as it may appear. Those who communicate fear are promoting attack, and attack always breaks communication, making it impossible. Egos do join together in temporary allegiance, but always for what each one can get separately. The Holy Spirit communicates only what each one can give to all. He never takes anything back, because He wants you to keep it. Therefore, His teaching begins with the lesson:
To have, give all to all.
This is a very preliminary step, and the only one you must take for yourself. It is not even necessary that you complete the step yourself, but it is necessary that you turn in that direction. Having chosen to go that way, you place yourself in charge of the journey, where you and only you must remain. This step may appear to exacerbate conflict rather than resolve it, because it is the beginning step in reversing your perception and turning it right-side up. This conflicts with the upside-down perception you have not yet abandoned, or the change in direction would not have been necessary. Some remain at this step for a long time, experiencing very acute conflict. At this point they may try to accept the conflict, rather than take the next step towards its resolution. Having taken the first step, however, they will be helped. Once they have chosen what they cannot complete alone, they are no longer alone.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 19
God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.
It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.
The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God’s Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.
We will need at least four five-minute practice periods today, and more if possible. We will try actually to hear God’s Voice reminding you of Him and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard.
Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. You do not live here. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.
Do not forget to repeat today’s idea very frequently. Do so with your eyes open when necessary, but closed when possible. And be sure to sit quietly and repeat the idea for today whenever you can, closing your eyes on the world, and realizing that you are inviting God’s Voice to speak to you.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1082: I am wondering what A Course in Miracles has to say about the consciousness of plants and animals and perhaps even inanimate objects. I find the whole issue quite distressing — “nature red in tooth and claw” — and wonder if plants feel pain when picked / cut / eaten, etc. I have always been a nature lover and am passionately concerned about ecology, preservation of biodiversity, etc. I am also considering taking up gardening as a career. Yet I feel deeply conflicted because in creating better habitats I am allowing more plants, animals, bugs, etc., to come into the world and suffer pain, and also inflicting pain on the invader species I remove.
I am very confused on the whole issue and I find a lack of explicit guidelines in A Course in Miracles . It is all very well to say the world is a dream; such an argument would allow for all kinds of monstrous evil to be committed to humans, plants, animals, alike. But saying it is not real does not help. The only thing that is real at this very moment is what is actually being experienced, not what would be experienced if it were not for the veil of illusion.
I am not alone in this. The Jain religion takes the practice of not harming anything to extremes. Some Jains wear masks over their faces to avoid inhaling insects, bugs, etc., and lightly brush the road before them to avoid treading on living creatures. I sometimes feel I ought to be doing the same thing, and certainly not inflicting pain on millions of blades of grass with a mower, or injecting rhododendrons with poison to prevent them from spreading and destroying the countryside. Yet do I want to preserve / enhance the countryside when it is a killing field?
A: One of the major teachings of the Course is that all Sons are the same, equal in content, not form. And Jesus is not speaking exclusively about homo sapiens when he uses the term Son of God , and so from this perspective he tells us that even the smallest grain of sand is part of the Sonship (T.28.IV.9) . Seeing qualitative differences, therefore, means one’s mind has merged with the ego.
As horrifying as it may be to acknowledge this, if you look carefully, you will see that the entire world is a “killing field.” What level does not share somehow in the ego genome of kill or be killed and one or the other ? Where is there growth and survival that does not come at another’s expense? — root systems; insects; marine life; microorganisms; corporations; governments; defense systems. What can survive without feeding off another? What is there that is needed for our survival that is not also potentially harmful or lethal, to say nothing of limited? Granted, there are examples of stunning beauty, selflessness, and helpfulness. But if you scratch beneath the surface, are not most instances of beauty tinged with pain or vulnerability? Are not most instances of selflessness marked by sacrifice? Are not most forms of helpfulness limited?
Given its origin in the ego’s vicious and defiant intent to produce an existence totally apart from God’s Kingdom of Love and Oneness, how could the world be anything other than this? It was made as an attack (W.pII.3.2:1) ; and since “ideas leave not their source” ( e.g., W.pI.132.10:3) , it simply replicates the thought that owns it. “Therefore,” Jesus teaches, “seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause” (T.21.in.1:7,8) . The problem, though, is that we have identified with the ego’s version of reality to such an extent that we have no sense of ourselves as minds always deciding to uphold this attack on truth. To protect its system — itself — the ego has us focus entirely on form, believing there is a hierarchy of values and beings, which leads to what Jesus calls “the first law of chaos” (T.23.II.2,3) . We think that what we perceive is reality. Thus we become obsessed with defending what we judge as good and worthwhile against what we judge as bad or threatening, in the process becoming totally confused and frustrated, as we intuitively sense that the situation is hopeless. And all because we have lost sight of the total picture — that an illusion is an illusion is an illusion. One part of an illusion is no more valuable than any other.
Fortunately, there is a solution, and it does not require that you deny what you are seeing and experiencing. Jesus is the loving presence in our minds who helps us get back to the sane part of our minds, where we can recall the steps that led us into this depressing state and then choose to begin the process of healing by looking at everything differently. This means seeing our lives as a classroom and all our relationships and interactions as the curriculum Jesus can use to restore our minds to their natural state of peace and oneness. The world will continue to be what it is, but because our perspective will be different, our perception of it will change. We thus can learn to use our body and the world for this purpose by changing the teacher in our minds from the ego to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Any role you choose in the world can serve this purpose, and this purpose alone is what would give your life meaning. The thought system in your mind is the problem, not the world. Why would you allow the world — made to conceal your true Identity — to tell you who you are and what your purpose should be?
A Course in Miracles as a spiritual path teaches that there is no way out of conflict and hopelessness unless we are open to the idea that we are choosing what we want to be real in our perception: “Perception selects, and makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. . . . Perception is a choice and not a fact. But on this choice depends far more than you may realize as yet. For on the voice you choose to hear, and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are. Perception is a witness but to this, and never to reality. Yet it can show you the conditions in which awareness of reality is possible, or those where it could never be” (T.21.V.1:1,2,7,8,9,10,11).
This is a radical teaching, without question. It overturns everything we have learned in the world, and it therefore threatens the foundation of our self-concept and our lives. And it seems the only people who are receptive to it are those who have tried other approaches and found them inadequate, or who have thrown up their hands in desperation and have cried out, “There must be a better way!”
You might wish to read Questions #134 and # 340, which also speak to these issues.