ACIM Text Reading for February 28
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
VII. The Totality of the Kingdom
Whenever you deny a blessing to a brother you will feel deprived, because denial is as total as love. It is as impossible to deny part of the Sonship as it is to love it in part. Nor is it possible to love it totally at times. You cannot be totally committed sometimes. Denial has no power in itself, but you can give it the power of your mind, whose power is without limit. If you use it to deny reality, reality is gone for you. Reality cannot be partly appreciated. That is why denying any part of it means you have lost the awareness of all of it. Yet denial is a defence, and so it is as capable of being used positively as well as negatively. Used negatively it will be destructive, because it will be used for attack. But in the service of the Holy Spirit, it can help you recognise part of reality, and thus appreciate all of it. Mind is too powerful to be subject to exclusion. You will never be able to exclude yourself from your thoughts.
When a brother acts insanely, he is offering you an opportunity to bless him. His need is yours. You need the blessing you can offer him. There is no way for you to have it except by giving it. This is the law of God, and it has no exceptions. What you deny you lack, not because it is lacking, but because you have denied it in another and are therefore not aware of it in yourself. Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be is what you think you are. What you want to be, then, must determine every response you make.
You do not need God’s blessing because that you have forever, but you do need yours. The ego’s picture of you is deprived, unloving and vulnerable. You cannot love this. Yet you can very easily escape from this image by leaving it behind. You are not there and that is not you. Do not see this picture in anyone, or you have accepted it as you. All illusions about the Sonship are dispelled together as they were made together. Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be. Your brother is the mirror in which you see the image of yourself as long as perception lasts. And perception will last until the Sonship knows itself as whole. You made perception and it must last as long as you want it.
Illusions are investments. They will last as long as you value them. Values are relative, but they are powerful because they are mental judgements. The only way to dispel illusions is to withdraw all investment from them, and they will have no life for you because you will have put them out of your mind. While you include them in it, you are giving life to them. Except there is nothing there to receive your gift.
The gift of life is yours to give, because it was given you. You are unaware of your gift because you do not give it. You cannot make nothing live, since nothing cannot be enlivened. Therefore, you are not extending the gift you both have and are, and so you do not know your being. All confusion comes from not extending life, because that is not the Will of your Creator. You can do nothing apart from Him, and you do do nothing apart from Him. Keep His way to remember yourself, and teach His way lest you forget yourself. Give only honour to the Sons of the living God, and count yourself among them gladly.
Only honour is a fitting gift for those whom God Himself created worthy of honour, and whom He honours. Give them the appreciation God accords them always, because they are His beloved Sons in whom He is well pleased. You cannot be apart from them because you are not apart from Him. Rest in His Love and protect your rest by loving. But love everything He created, of which you are a part, or you cannot learn of His peace and accept His gift for yourself and as yourself. You cannot know your own perfection until you have honoured all those who were created like you.
One child of God is the only teacher sufficiently worthy to teach another. One Teacher is in all minds and He teaches the same lesson to all. He always teaches you the inestimable worth of every Son of God, teaching it with infinite patience born of the infinite Love for which He speaks. Every attack is a call for His patience, since His patience can translate attack into blessing. Those who attack do not know they are blessed. They attack because they believe they are deprived. Give, therefore, of your abundance, and teach your brothers theirs. Do not share their illusions of scarcity, or you will perceive yourself as lacking.
Attack could never promote attack unless you perceived it as a means of depriving you of something you want. Yet you cannot lose anything unless you do not value it, and therefore do not want it. This makes you feel deprived of it, and by projecting your own rejection you then believe that others are taking it from you. You must be fearful if you believe that your brother is attacking you to tear the Kingdom of Heaven from you. This is the ultimate basis for all the ego’s projection.
Being the part of your mind that does not believe it is responsible for itself, and being without allegiance to God, the ego is incapable of trust. Projecting its insane belief that you have been treacherous to your Creator, it believes that your brothers, who are as incapable of this as you are, are out to take God from you. Whenever a brother attacks another, that is what he believes. Projection always sees your wishes in others. If you choose to separate yourself from God, that is what you will think others are doing to you.
You are the Will of God. Do not accept anything else as your will, or you are denying what you are. Deny this and you will attack, believing you have been attacked,. But see the Love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere. See His abundance in everyone, and you will know that you are in Him with them. They are part of you, as you are part of God. You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him. The peace of God is understanding this. There is only one way out of the world’s thinking, just as there was only one way into it. Understand totally by understanding totality.
Perceive any part of the ego’s thought system as wholly insane, wholly delusional and wholly undesirable, and you have correctly evaluated all of it. This correction enables you to perceive any part of creation as wholly real, wholly perfect and wholly desirable. Wanting this only you will have this only, and giving this only you will be only this. The gifts you offer to the ego are always experienced as sacrifices, but the gifts you offer to the Kingdom are gifts to you. They will always be treasured by God because they belong to His beloved Sons, who belong to Him. All power and glory are yours because the Kingdom is His.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 28
These ideas are for review today:
(36) My holiness envelops everything I see.
From my holiness does the perception of the real world come. Having forgiven, I no longer see myself as guilty. I can accept the innocence that is the truth about me. Seen through understanding eyes, the holiness of the world is all I see, for I can picture only the thoughts I hold about myself.
(37) My holiness blesses the world.
The perception of my holiness does not bless me alone. Everyone and everything I see in its light shares in the joy it brings to me. There is nothing that is apart from this joy, because there is nothing that does not share my holiness. As I recognize my holiness, so does the holiness of the world shine forth for everyone to see.
(38) There is nothing my holiness cannot do.
My holiness is unlimited in its power to heal, because it is unlimited in its power to save. What is there to be saved from except illusions? And what are all illusions except false ideas about myself? My holiness undoes them all by asserting the truth about me. In the presence of my holiness, which I share with God Himself, all idols vanish.
(39) My holiness is my salvation.
Since my holiness saves me from all guilt, recognizing my holiness is recognizing my salvation. It is also recognizing the salvation of the world. Once I have accepted my holiness, nothing can make me afraid. And because I am unafraid, everyone must share in my understanding, which is the gift of God to me and to the world.
(40) I am blessed as a Son of God.
Herein lies my claim to all good and only good. I am blessed as a Son of God. All good things are mine, because God intended them for me. I cannot suffer any loss or deprivation or pain because of Who I am. My Father supports me, protects me, and directs me in all things. His care for me is infinite, and is with me forever. I am eternally blessed as His Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #158: I have difficulty understanding this section in the text of A Course in Miracles on attack: “Attack could never promote attack unless you perceived it as a means of depriving you of something you want. Yet you cannot lose anything unless you do not value it, and therefore do not want it. This makes you feel deprived of it, and by projecting your own rejection you then believe that others are taking it from you.” (T.7.VII.8:1,2,3) Please can you help?
A: The fourth law of chaos says that “you have what you have taken” (T.23.II.9:3); and we know that projection is one of the ego’s “laws.” Therefore, we are always suspicious of others, believing that they are plotting to take something from us. And ultimately what we believe they are out to steal from us is the peace of God. This, again, is a projection of the treachery of which we accuse ourselves. The point of the teaching is that the peace of God within us can never be taken from us unless we allow that to happen, which could be only because we do not really value it. And the reason we don’t value it is that part of us knows that if we totally identify with it, our self as we know it would disappear and be replaced by our true Self which is beyond all individualized existence in this world. The defense against this is to blame others for depriving us of our inner peace, rather than take responsibility for throwing it away ourselves.
Q #1029: In A Course in Miracles Jesus says: “Make no one fearful, for his guilt is yours” (T.13.IX.2:2). I am a school teacher and I hate to say it but the only way that I can keep my classroom full of middle-school students orderly at times is to indeed make them fearful. For example, if my students do not fear that I will lower their grade or call their parent if they misbehave, they will have no motivation to behave as I need them to in class. How do I reconcile your oft-stated suggestion to not forget to be “normal” with Jesus’ statement that I quoted above about not making others fearful? I see no other practical way to control my classroom at times but to use fear. I guess what I am really asking is: Can we lovingly be guided to use fear?
A: You’re suffering from another one of those form versus content confusions so common to Course in Miracles students! (You may wish to look at Questions #371, #452, #484 and #584 for further discussion of issues related to the ones you raise here.) First of all, to answer your closing question, we will never be lovingly guided to use fear as a way to change or control anyone for any purpose — not even 12- and 13-year old brats! For fear is the emotion/thought that is triggered and reinforced by our belief in our guilt (T.19.IV.A.10:1,2,3,4) , which says we are deserving of punishment (T.26.VII.3:1; W.pII.259.1:4) , and Jesus’ main purpose in the Course is to help us undo our guilt and all its various expressions. So any intervention or manipulation intended to reinforce guilt and fear to achieve a specific end could never have originated from the right mind.
Now that is not to say that we would never be lovingly guided to be firm or use discipline or the possibility of negative consequences in our dealings with others, especially with children and adolescents. And this brings us back to the central issue in the Course of purpose, which is always the determiner of the content of any of our decisions and subsequent actions. If our purpose is to see others as responsible for how we feel, then we have chosen to reinforce our own belief in separation, and we have turned to the ego as our teacher in the situation. But if our purpose is to remember that we all share the same interests, and acting out is only ever a call at a deeper level for the love that we all long to experience, then we have chosen to listen to the Holy Spirit as our guide.
So how would this look in your classroom situation? If you are aware of some degree of anger towards your students for their misbehaving and feel a need to threaten them and punish them to get them to do what you want them to do, you can be certain that your ego is in charge. But if you simply recognize that they are acting their age and that they need guidelines and limits, as well as consequences for crossing those limits, in order to be able to benefit individually and as a group from their learning environment, that could very likely be a right-minded perspective. At the level of form, you may do and say the same thing to your students as you would when your ego is calling the shots, but your intent or purpose would be different.
To set limits from a right-minded perspective, you must first be very honest with yourself about any ego-based feelings your have towards the class as a whole or towards any individual student or students. If you are aware of anger or even mild annoyance or irritation, any action against your students that you take in response to those feelings will be coming from your ego. And so you are the one in need of help. Your first step then would be to recognize that your upset has nothing to do with how your students are behaving or misbehaving. Anger is never a reaction to anything external, regardless of how justified it may seem (T.30.VI.1:1,2; M.20.3:3,4) , but always represents a projection of our own unresolved internal conflict over the separation (T.6.in.1:2,3,4,5,6,7) . This is perhaps the most difficult step in the correction process to accept, given the value accorded to projection as a defense within our ego thought system.
But once you can recognize and accept that your reactions are not to your students but to your own guilt, you can withdraw the projection from your students and begin to address the real issue in your mind. And that simply involves acknowledging that the anger has been a defense against accepting responsibility for how you feel, but that now you are willing to acknowledge that you are the one who decides how you will feel and react.
Your next step simply involves taking the inner guilt that is behind your anger to Jesus and looking with him at its insubstantial nature (T.18.IX.5:2,3,4; 6; 8) . Our guilt does not seem like nothing to us, and that is why joining with Jesus, who symbolizes the memory of oneness for us – – which means he is the reminder that the separation and guilt are not real — is so essential to the looking process. When we allow ourselves to take that step, our anger and guilt disappear. It is at this point that you can then return your attention to your students, knowing more clearly what is the kindest, most loving way to keep or bring the class under control, since you no longer have any anger invested in the situation. It may involve setting limits, or you may also at times find that there could be a different way of structuring the class or framing the lesson that more readily elicits your students’ participation and cooperation. And a different overall approach may evolve over time, as you are able to release your own obstacles to seeing more clearly.
And should your guidance be to set some limits with consequences for your students, it may be helpful to know that you are not responsible for your students’ reactions. Should they experience fear at the possible outcomes for crossing the boundaries you establish, their fear, much like your anger, is not the result of the external limits you have set, but rather is a projection of their own unresolved guilt. Fear after all need not be the only reason for respecting the limits, and you can set clear limits without intending to arouse guilt and fear, if you have done your part first to recognize and release your own ego investments in the situation.