ACIM Text Reading for March 3
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
XI. The State of Grace
The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy. Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of the world. It is therefore natural. The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws. The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything. This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable. By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.
Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him. There is no point in trying. A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God. That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs. It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.
Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly. Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God? Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him? Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss? Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving? That is the only environment in which you can be happy. You cannot make it, any more than you can make yourself. It has been created for you, as you were created for it. God watches over His children and denies them nothing. Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything. You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.
I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.
When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognise and appreciate and know. Recognising the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance. God gives only equally. If you recognise His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you. Nothing is so easy to recognise as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognise it, and this has been very difficult for you.
Out of your natural environment you may well ask, ‘What is truth?’ since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created. You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator. You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you. I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him. Whenever you heal a brother by recognising his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours. He cannot have lost what you recognise, and you must have the glory you see in him. He is a co-creator with God with you. Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.
You cannot deny part of truth. You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator. You do not know yourself because you do not know yours. Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s. But you can know both. Being is known by sharing. Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him. But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared. Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father. Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 3
Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
It is your forgiveness that will bring the world of darkness to the light. It is your forgiveness that lets you recognize the light in which you see. Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. Therefore, in your forgiveness lies your salvation.
Illusions about yourself and the world are one. That is why all forgiveness is a gift to yourself. Your goal is to find out who you are, having denied your Identity by attacking creation and its Creator. Now you are learning how to remember the truth. For this attack must be replaced by forgiveness, so that thoughts of life may replace thoughts of death.
Remember that in every attack you call upon your own weakness, while each time you forgive you call upon the strength of Christ in you. Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you? It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind. It will take away all fear and guilt and pain. It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness.
Let us be glad to begin and end this day by practicing today’s idea, and to use it as frequently as possible throughout the day. It will help to make the day as happy for you as God wants you to be. And it will help those around you, as well as those who seem to be far away in space and time, to share this happiness with you.
As often as you can, closing your eyes if possible, say to yourself today:
Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
I would fulfill my function that I may be happy.
Then devote a minute or two to considering your function and the happiness and release it will bring you. Let related thoughts come freely, for your heart will recognize these words, and in your mind is the awareness they are true. Should your attention wander, repeat the idea and add:
I would remember this because I want to be happy.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #418: What does the statement “reflection of Love” mean? If there is no love in this world, how can you tell what is a reflection of love? Many students of A Course in Miracles I know run around saying they are “extending” love. They do this by acts and deeds and thoughts. This doesn’t seem to be what the Course is saying. If there is no love in the world, how can one extend love in the world? I can understand there being no love in the world since God is Love, and God knows not of this world. But this reflection thing seems to hang me up. Can you help?
A: It is important to remember that when the Course speaks about the extension or the reflection of love, it is addressing the mind that chooses to identify with the part of the mind that remembers God, not the separate individual who identifies with the body in the dream. In reality, the Son cannot be separate from the Father and cannot obliterate memory of Him; therefore, a part of the mind holds the memory of God. It is this part which is a reflection of God’s Love. When the mind chooses to identify with this love, it flows through the figure in the dream and is thereby extended. It is not limited by form of any kind, but takes the form which is most helpful in any situation and to anyone. This is not an act of will, nor a choice on the part of an individual to perform specific “loving acts,” as we may define them.
It is unlikely that those who identify with the part of the mind that reflects God’s Love would run around saying they are “extending” love. If they do, hopefully they are aware that “they” are not the ones doing the extending. The figure in the dream does nothing. We are not asked to use our judgment to evaluate any situation or to determine what is or is not a loving response. As the Course reminds us clearly and repeatedly, our function is forgiveness. It is practiced by recognizing all the unloving thoughts and judgments we may have, asking for them to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. We then do what the Course invites us to do: “Step gently aside, and let healing be done for you. Keep but one thought in mind and do not lose sight of it, however tempted you may be to judge any situation, and to determine your response by judging it. Focus your mind only on this: I am not alone, and I would not intrude the past upon my Guest. I have invited Him, and He is here. I need do nothing except not to interfere” (T.16.I.3:8,9,10,11,12). Once we have arrived at this noninterference, all that is left is the reflection of love.
Q #419: Sabotage is a big issue with me. It doesn’t matter what the form is, I just ruin things for myself. Needless to say, the consequences of continually sabotaging myself are always regretful and sad and the more they are recalled in my mind the more guilty I feel. I have grown very weary of my self. Can you please elaborate on the subject of sabotage.
A: Speaking in general, because we do not know you personally, self-sabotage is usually motivated by hidden ego dynamics, such as: (1) The need to punish yourself for the “sin” of attacking Love in order to have your own existence. This would cause you to think that you do not deserve to be happy for any extended period of time. And, further, following the ego’s story, you would think that God would be more pleased with you if He saw that you had a rough life. Thus you would be willing to pay for your sinfulness through a life filled with failure and misfortune. (2) The need to prove that your life as an individual is real and is the truth about you. Thus, being weary of being you says you are still you, and you are not as God created you. (3) The need to hold someone else responsible for your miserable life. If you dig beneath the surface, more than likely you will find yourself blaming your self-destructive pattern on something in your past, or some other factor for which you are not responsible. That would again fulfill the ego’s aim of sustaining the separation but not taking responsibility for it.
The application of forgiveness to this painful condition involves first acknowledging that there must be an unconscious need within you to reinforce this self-concept, and that it obviously is coming from your identification with the ego. In that sense, you (the decision-making mind identified with the ego), are simply carrying out your own strategy. Gentleness in looking at these thoughts within yourself is essential if you are to begin the process of healing, and asking help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit would ensure that you would look without judgment. Being weary of yourself is already a judgment, because it is saying this is who you truly are, and to some extent you are a helpless victim. To get beyond that, all you need to do is say and feel as objectively as you can: “This is where I am, and for some insane reason I must believe that this is helping me achieve something of value. This does not make be a bad person or a sinful person, just mistaken. I clearly have chosen the ego as my teacher and am simply following its guidance.” If you could do that without any judgment whatsoever, you would be making progress in lessening your investment in the ego thought system, and you would not be worsening the situation by trying to fight yourself. This patient acceptance of yourself would then give you some “breathing space,” and then at some point you would be able to get in touch with these deeper layers of motivation and ask for help to see them differently, from a healing perspective in your right mind.
Finally, it is never wrong or out of keeping with your commitment to A Course in Miracles to seek help from a therapist. Sometimes successful behavioral changes lessen psychological pressures enough so that you can then work on the underlying dynamics such as the ones outlined above.