ACIM Text Reading for March 2
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
X. The Confusion of Pain and Joy
The Kingdom is the result of premises, just as this world is. You may have carried the ego’s reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is total confusion about everything. If you really saw this result you could not want it. The only reason you could possibly want any part of it is because you do not see the whole of it. You are willing to look at the ego’s premises, but not at their logical outcome. Is it not possible that you have done the same thing with the premises of God? Your creations are the logical outcome of His premises. His thinking has established them for you. They are exactly where they belong. They belong in your mind as part of your identification with His, but your state of mind and your recognition of what is in it depend on what you believe about your mind. Whatever these beliefs may be, they are the premises that will determine what you accept into your mind.
It is surely clear that you can both accept into your mind what is not there, and deny what is. Yet the function God Himself gave your mind through His you may deny, but you cannot prevent. It is the logical outcome of what you are. The ability to see a logical outcome depends on the willingness to see it, but its truth has nothing to do with your willingness. Truth is God’s Will. Share His Will and you share what He knows. Deny His Will as yours, and you are denying His Kingdom and yours.
The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognised it. The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says. You no more recognise what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain. This confusion is the cause of the whole idea of sacrifice. Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego. But you will be sacrificing nothing. On the contrary, you will be gaining everything. If you believed this, there would be no conflict.
That is why you need to demonstrate the obvious to yourself. It is not obvious to you. You believe that doing the opposite of God’s Will can be better for you. You also believe that it is possible to do the opposite of God’s Will. Therefore, you believe that an impossible choice is open to you, and one which is both fearful and desirable. Yet God wills. He does not wish. Your will is as powerful as His because it is His. The ego’s wishes do not mean anything, because the ego wishes for the impossible. You can wish for the impossible, but you can will only with God. This is the ego’s weakness and your strength.
The Holy Spirit always sides with you and with your strength. As long as you avoid His guidance in any way, you want to be weak. Yet weakness is frightening. What else, then, can this decision mean except that you want to be fearful? The Holy Spirit never asks for sacrifice, but the ego always does. When you are confused about this distinction in motivation, it can only be due to projection. Projection is a confusion in motivation, and given this confusion, trust becomes impossible. No one gladly obeys a guide he does not trust, but this does not mean that the guide is untrustworthy. In this case, it always means that the follower is. However, this, too, is merely a matter of his own belief. Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him. Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance. Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance, and refuses to follow any guidance at all. If the result of this decision is confusion, this is hardly surprising.
The Holy Spirit is perfectly trustworthy, as you are. God Himself trusts you, and therefore your trustworthiness is beyond question. It will always remain beyond question, however much you may question it. I said before that you are the Will of God. His Will is not an idle wish, and your identification with His Will is not optional, since it is what you are. Sharing His Will with me is not really open to choice, though it may seem to be. The whole separation lies in this error. The only way out of the error is to decide that you do not have to decide anything. Everything has been given you by God’s decision. That is His Will, and you cannot undo it.
Even the relinquishment of your false decision-making prerogative, which the ego guards so jealously, is not accomplished by your wish. It was accomplished for you by the Will of God, Who has not left you comfortless. His Voice will teach you how to distinguish between pain and joy, and will lead you out of the confusion you have made. There is no confusion in the mind of a Son of God, whose will must be the Will of the Father, because the Father’s Will is His Son.
Miracles are in accord with the Will of God, Whose Will you do not know because you are confused about what you will. This means that you are confused about what you are. If you are God’s Will and do not accept His Will, you are denying joy. The miracle is therefore a lesson in what joy is. Being a lesson in sharing it is a lesson in love, which is joy. Every miracle is thus a lesson in truth, and by offering truth you are learning the difference between pain and joy.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 2
I am the light of the world.
Who is the light of the world except God’s Son? This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself. It is the opposite of a statement of pride, of arrogance, or of self-deception. It does not describe the self-concept you have made. It does not refer to any of the characteristics with which you have endowed your idols. It refers to you as you were created by God. It simply states the truth.
To the ego, today’s idea is the epitome of self-glorification. But the ego does not understand humility, mistaking it for self-debasement. Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other. It is not humility to insist you cannot be the light of the world if that is the function God assigned to you. It is only arrogance that would assert this function cannot be for you, and arrogance is always of the ego.
True humility requires that you accept today’s idea because it is God’s Voice which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.
You will want to think about this idea as often as possible today. It is the perfect answer to all illusions, and therefore to all temptation. It brings all the images you have made about yourself to the truth, and helps you depart in peace, unburdened and certain of your purpose.
As many practice periods as possible should be undertaken today, although each one need not exceed a minute or two. They should begin with telling yourself:
I am the light of the world. That is my only function.
That is why I am here.
Then think about these statements for a short while, preferably with your eyes closed if the situation permits. Let a few related thoughts come to you, and repeat the idea to yourself if your mind wanders away from the central thought.
Be sure both to begin and end the day with a practice period. Thus you will awaken with an acknowledgment of the truth about yourself, reinforce it throughout the day, and turn to sleep as you reaffirm your function and your only purpose here. These two practice periods may be longer than the rest, if you find them helpful and want to extend them.
Today’s idea goes far beyond the ego’s petty views of what you are and what your purpose is. As a bringer of salvation, this is obviously necessary. This is the first of a number of giant steps we will take in the next few weeks. Try today to begin to build a firm foundation for these advances. You are the light of the world. God has built His plan for the salvation of His Son on you.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #164: My view with A Course in Miracles has shifted considerably after listening to Ken’s tape “The Meaning of Judgment.” The thrust of this tape is looking at your ego with no need to change it. In other words looking at our thoughts without judgment and realizing ultimately that what we believe has no effects on reality. Our powerful thoughts seem to be defused as we realize reality is not impressed nor shaken by them. However, Ken keeps reminding us not to judge someone else. It seems if that were the case then we would need a defense against those thoughts. For by saying we should not judge another have we not made judgment real? We are supposed to look at our egos without judgment. Wouldn’t that include looking at our judgment of others without giving reality to it? Some of our judgments may be quite intense, but if we can look at these with the realization that nothing is happening, haven’t we made progress?
A: You may have misunderstood. The tape you refer to makes the point that the goal, contrary to what many students believe the Course to be saying, is not to stop making judgments of ourselves and others, but rather to learn not to judge ourselves for making those judgments. By resisting them and trying to change them, we are making them real in our mind, and that continues to give them and the ego power, as you observe. So the goal is to look upon our ego’s judgments without taking them seriously, that is, without guilt, and without attempting to justify or rationalize them in any way.
A very important part of the looking process is to recognize that our judgments have a cost to us. Judgment keeps the thought of separation real in our mind, banishing peace and inviting pain and guilt to remain. As we recognize the cost of our judgments over time, our motivation increases to join with Jesus or the Holy Spirit and release our investment in judging. So the point is not that we should not judge, but rather why would we want to if we really understood what accompanies it?
By the way, reality is not simply unimpressed or unshaken by our judgments — it can not even see or recognize them! For our judgments have no reality. And so that is why, near the end of the Course, Jesus points out, “It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up.…Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it” (M.10.2:1,2,3,5).
Q #165: I was sitting in my living room with my six month old son in my lap when a question occurred to me. I was thinking how the Holy Spirit does not even know about me or my son, but only loves the dreamer of the dream. My question is, is the dreamer the same for all seeming people in the universe? Is it one dreamer or billions of dreamers projecting their guilt onto the world? Do my son and I share the same wrong mind and right mind?
A: Whenever we speak of ideas predicated on a belief in separation and duality, regardless of whether we are speaking at the level of the split mind or the level of its projections into the world of form and bodies, we are speaking in terms of myths and illusions. So the dreamer of the dream and the Holy Spirit are ultimately no more real than the selves you think you and your son are. Any answer to your question therefore should not be considered a description of reality but ought to be evaluated only in terms of its usefulness in helping us in our practice of forgiveness — the only illusion that does not lead to further illusions (C.3.1:3,4).
In A Course in Miracles’ version of the myth of separation, everything began with the one mind of God’s only Son seeming to fall asleep and dream a dream of separation. And that one mind was split into the wrong mind (the ego) and the right mind (the Holy Spirit), along with the part of the mind that had the power to choose between the two (the decision maker or the dreamer). In the dream, there is only that one split mind. But as part of the ego’s defense against its own guilt and anxiety, to hide from God so that the life the Son stole from Him would not be seized back, the Son adopted the ego’s strategy of further seeming separation into billions and billions of seemingly unique fragments that would be experienced as independent, individual minds. But each fragment, as a split off part of the one split mind of the Son, shared the same basic content: a wrong mind, a right mind and the power to choose between them.
The phenomenon that has been called multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder — dramatically illustrated in such films as The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil — provides a useful model for thinking about this fragmenting process. Seemingly separate, independent personalities result from a splitting off of the one mind in order to protect itself from intense anxiety and guilt usually associated with a parental figure.
While this illusory fragmenting was the ego’s defensive strategy against God, it may also be used to serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose of forgiveness. Since each seemingly separate mind has the same basic choice fully represented within itself, its choice for salvation through the practice of forgiveness is not affected by or dependent upon any other separate mind. In other words, each fragmentary mind cannot be victimized by any other mind – it is totally responsible for its experience. And by accepting responsibility for that experience and learning to recognize that it represents a choice, each fragment can learn over time to make the choice for the Holy Spirit rather than for the ego. When, in the end, the decision for the Holy Spirit is made once and for all, then the seeming fragment recognizes that there is no separation and that the mind is one, as it has been all along.
The parallel with therapeutic interventions for individuals with multiple personalities is again illustrative. The goal is what is called integration: the various personalities are in time integrated as the barriers to awareness of the separate components are removed so that the mind recognizes its wholeness again.
To answer your specific question then, there is only one mind dreaming the dream of separation and projecting its guilt upon a world it made for that purpose. But our experience while we believe that we are each a separate fragment is that my mind is independent of yours, that I am dreaming my own separate dream of separation, and that I can choose the ego or the Holy Spirit independent of what you may be choosing. And with that understanding, genuine forgiveness now becomes possible.