ACIM Text Reading for February 24
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
III. The Reality of the Kingdom
The Holy Spirit teaches one lesson, and applies it to all individuals in all situations. Being conflict-free, He maximises all efforts and all results. By teaching the power of the Kingdom of God Himself, He teaches you that all power is yours. Its application does not matter. It is always maximal. Your vigilance does not establish it as yours, but it does enable you to use it always and in all ways. When I said ‘I am with you always’, I meant it literally. I am not absent to anyone in any situation, Because I am always with you, you are the way, the truth and the life. You did not make this power, any more than I did. It was created to be shared, and therefore cannot be meaningfully perceived as belonging to anyone at the expense of another. Such a perception makes it meaningless by eliminating or overlooking its real and only meaning.
God’s meaning waits in the Kingdom, because that is where He placed it. It does not wait in time. It merely rests in the Kingdom because it belongs there, as you do. How can you who are God’s meaning perceive yourself as absent from it? You can see yourself as separated from your meaning only by experiencing yourself as unreal. This is why the ego is insane; it teaches that you are not what you are. That is so contradictory it is clearly impossible. It is therefore a lesson you cannot really learn, and therefore cannot really teach. Yet you are always teaching. You must, therefore, be teaching something else, even though the ego does not know what it is. The ego, then, is always being undone, and does suspect your motives. Your mind cannot be unified in allegiance to the ego, because the mind does not belong to it. Yet what is ‘treacherous’ to the ego is faithful to peace. The ego’s ‘enemy’ is therefore your friend.
I said before that the ego’s friend is not part of you, because the ego perceives itself at war and therefore in need of allies. You who are not at war must look for brothers and recognise all whom you see as brothers, because only equals are at peace. Because God’s equal Sons have everything, they cannot compete. Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competition has entered their minds. Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it. It is the belief that conflicting interests are possible, and therefore you have accepted the impossible as true. Is that different from saying you perceive yourself as unreal?
To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it. As long as you believe you can attend to what is not true, you are accepting conflict as your choice. Is it really a choice? It seems to be, but seeming and reality are hardly the same. You who are the Kingdom are not concerned with seeming. Reality is yours because you are reality. This is how having and being are ultimately reconciled, not in the Kingdom, but in your mind. The altar there is the only reality. The altar is perfectly clear in thought, because it is a reflection of perfect Thought. Your right mind sees only brothers, because it sees only in its own light.
God has lit your mind Himself, and keeps your mind lit by His Light because His Light is what your mind is. This is totally beyond question, and when you question it you are answered. The Answer merely undoes the question by establishing the fact that to question reality is to question meaninglessly. That is why the Holy Spirit never questions. His sole function is to undo the questionable and thus lead to certainty. The certain are perfectly calm, because they are not in doubt. They do not raise questions, because nothing questionable enters their minds. This holds them in perfect serenity, because this is what they share, knowing what they are.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 24
These are the review ideas for today:
(16) I have no neutral thoughts.
Neutral thoughts are impossible because all thoughts have power. They will either make a false world or lead me to the real one. But thoughts cannot be without effects. As the world I see arises from my thinking errors, so will the real world rise before my eyes as I let my errors be corrected. My thoughts cannot be neither true nor false. They must be one or the other. What I see shows me which they are.
(17) I see no neutral things.
What I see witnesses to what I think. If I did not think I would not exist, because life is thought. Let me look on the world I see as the representation of my own state of mind. I know that my state of mind can change. And so I also know the world I see can change as well.
(18) I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
If I have no private thoughts, I cannot see a private world. Even the mad idea of separation had to be shared before it could form the basis of the world I see. Yet that sharing was a sharing of nothing. I can also call upon my real thoughts, which share everything with everyone. As my thoughts of separation call to the separation thoughts of others, so my real thoughts awaken the real thoughts in them. And the world my real thoughts show me will dawn on their sight as well as mine.
(19) I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.
I am alone in nothing. Everything I think or say or do teaches all the universe. A Son of God cannot think or speak or act in vain. He cannot be alone in anything. It is therefore in my power to change every mind along with mine, for mine is the power of God.
(20) I am determined to see.
Recognizing the shared nature of my thoughts, I am determined to see. I would look upon the witnesses that show me the thinking of the world has been changed. I would behold the proof that what has been done through me has enabled love to replace fear, laughter to replace tears, and abundance to replace loss. I would look upon the real world, and let it teach me that my will and the Will of God are one.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #357: Can you clarify what Kenneth means in The 50 Miracle Principles when he says that my “gift of peace will be given to the other person; whether that person chooses to accept this is between that person and Jesus.” What if the other person I am working with is not a student of A Course in Miracles, and not in touch at all with their hidden love? Implicit in this question is my frustration and fear concerning the fact that I have given gifts to my ex- girlfriend with whom I had a bad breakup. I am seeing her less and less through the eyes of fear and more and more through the eyes of love, but I have not gotten the response that I had hoped for. I am confused about the meaning of: “As you begin to recognize the gifts you have so freely given your brother” and I have and I am growing and excited; but I guess my dream is for her to come up to me and say “Oh by the way I experienced this new way of looking at you.” (LOL) Can you offer me a little insight here?
A: The distinction between form and content is important when working with these teachings. The “gift of peace” comes from the decision you make in your mind not to see your interests as apart from your girlfriend’s. That is the content. It is no different from the “gift of peace” you give to anyone else. It means rising above specialness, which always involves separate interests: seeing yourself as lacking and seeing the other person as having what you want and need. Once you rise above specialness — if only for an instant — the separation between you and the other person will be gone; you will be at peace; and your experience will be that that peace enfolds you and the other person as one. In that instant all needs and expectations simply disappear; it truly does not matter whether the other person responds or not. The form or expression of the content would vary from individual to individual, but that is not what is important. That is the ideal that we want to grow into. A lesson that is helpful in this context is “When I am healed, I am not healed alone” (W.pI.137).
From the world’s point, the purpose of the relationship is to get what you want — to have your girlfriend in your life so that you will feel complete and fulfilled. It is natural to feel that everything will be wonderful if only your girlfriend would respond the way you want her to. That is how we approach relationships in the world. But that approach is coming from our wrong minds — which does not make it sinful or bad, nor does it mean that you should not pursue a romantic relationship. If you are working with the Course, you just want to be completely honest about the purpose of the relationship for you now; then ask for help if you would like the relationship to have a different purpose.
From the Holy Spirit’s point of view, the purpose of any relationship is to be the means by which we undo our own belief in separation. It is a process that takes place in our own minds. “The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship. He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you. But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you. The special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom. It will not be for you alone, for therein lay its misery. As its unholiness kept it a thing apart, its holiness will become an offering to everyone” (T.18.II.6).
This, obviously, is quite different from the world’s approach, where our focus is on making our lives in the world better. This shift in our approach to everything is the object of the training in the workbook lessons. It takes a long time for most of us, because it seems to go against what has become natural to us. It seems normal to think that we will be just fine as soon as the external condition changes — as soon as this particular person responds the way I want her to. But Jesus is teaching us that this attitude simply reinforces our problem rather than solving it. It reinforces our belief in the reality of our lack and our anguish and unhappiness. Again, that does not mean that you cannot have a relationship. It means that the purpose would be different.