ACIM Text Reading for March 6
Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back
III. The Holy Encounter
Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you, because it has already been given. Ask for light and learn that you are light. If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light, and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind. There is no limit on His teaching because He was created to teach. Understanding His function perfectly He fulfils it perfectly, because that is His joy and yours.
To fulfil the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment, because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours. You share them as God shares them, because this is the natural outcome of their being.
The Will of the Father and of the Son are one, by their extension. Their extension is the result of Their oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will. This is perfect creation by the perfectly created, in union with the Perfect Creator. The Father must give fatherhood to His Son, because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you can know what it means only of God Himself.
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.
The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is ‘Know thyself’. There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you. Never forget your responsibility to him, because it is your responsibility to yourself. Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.
The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you. This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that, when you met someone else, you thought he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so.
You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them. The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone. The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you. God wills no one suffer. He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you. That is why He has given you the means for undoing it. Through His power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely, releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds. Wrong decisions have no power, because they are not true. The imprisonment they seem to produce is no more true than they are.
Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you. God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him. Giving of yourself is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him, and by this you will remember also what you are in Him. You cannot be powerless to do this, because this is your power. Glory is God’s gift to you, because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 6
My only function is the one God gave me.
The idea for today reaffirms your commitment to salvation. It also reminds you that you have no function other than that. Both these thoughts are obviously necessary for a total commitment. Salvation cannot be the only purpose you hold while you still cherish others. The full acceptance of salvation as your only function necessarily entails two phases; the recognition of salvation as your function, and the relinquishment of all the other goals you have invented for yourself.
This is the only way in which you can take your rightful place among the saviors of the world. This is the only way in which you can say and mean, “My only function is the one God gave me.” This is the only way in which you can find peace of mind.
Today, and for a number of days to follow, set aside ten to fifteen minutes for a more sustained practice period, in which you try to understand and accept what the idea for the day really means. Today’s idea offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.
Try, if possible, to undertake the daily extended practice periods at approximately the same time each day. Try, also, to determine this time in advance, and then adhere to it as closely as possible. The purpose of this is to arrange your day so that you have set apart the time for God, as well as for all the trivial purposes and goals you will pursue. This is part of the long-range disciplinary training your mind needs, so that the Holy Spirit can use it consistently for the purpose He shares with you.
For the longer practice period, begin by reviewing the idea for the day. Then close your eyes, repeat the idea to yourself once again, and watch your mind carefully to catch whatever thoughts cross it. At first, make no attempt to concentrate only on thoughts related to the idea for the day. Rather, try to uncover each thought that arises to interfere with it. Note each one as it comes to you, with as little involvement or concern as possible, dismissing each one by telling yourself:
This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from
accepting my only function.
After a while, interfering thoughts will become harder to find. Try, however, to continue a minute or so longer, attempting to catch a few of the idle thoughts that escaped your attention before, but do not strain or make undue effort in doing this. Then tell yourself:
On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.
You need not use these exact words, but try to get the sense of being willing to have your illusions of purpose be replaced by truth.
Finally, repeat the idea for today once more, and devote the rest of the practice period to trying to focus on its importance to you, the relief its acceptance will bring you by resolving your conflicts once and for all, and the extent to which you really want salvation in spite of your own foolish ideas to the contrary.
In the shorter practice periods, which should be undertaken at least once an hour, use this form in applying today’s idea:
My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other
and I have no other.
Sometimes close your eyes as you practice this, and sometimes keep them open and look about you. It is what you see now that will be totally changed when you accept today’s idea completely.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #228: In A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that: 1) We are all part of a single formless being which has been created by another formless being; 2) Time concepts are illusory. Isn’t before a time concept? How is it possible for a being to create another being and not come before it?
A: It is helpful to realize that whenever Jesus in the Course attempts to convey anything about creation and our true reality in God, he must use words and concepts that will have to fail in the end to do anything more than suggest a state that we cannot comprehend. For it is not possible to describe what is beyond description, and what is unlimited and infinite can not be defined in finite terms. Jesus must use the language of perception to talk about what is beyond perception, beyond time and space.
But the Course also has a purpose in attempting to explain the unexplainable. And that is to provide a correction for the mistaken concepts and beliefs of the ego thought system. Grounded in a perceptual duality, these concepts and beliefs assert, albeit now unconsciously, that we have separated from God, usurped His power to create, and in fact are the creator and source of all existence (T.11.in.1:6,7,8; 2).
And so the correction Jesus offers also uses dualistic words, such as Father and Son, which imply both spatial and temporal dimensions to the relationship. But these words are used only to undo our belief that we can be the cause of ourselves, returning to God the role of Source of all being. That Jesus does not mean these explanations literally becomes apparent when we read passages which attempt to provide insight into the true nature of God and reality, a reality beyond time and space, in which there are not two separate beings called God and Christ.
So, for example, Jesus observes, while still using the dualistic language of the ego thought system, that “God…makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him (W.pI.132.12:3,4). And time-based concepts, such as before and after, or first and last, simply do not apply to God in the usual sense. God “does nothing last, because He created first and for always. It must be understood that the word ‘first’ as applied to Him is not a time concept. He is first in the sense that He is the First in the Holy Trinity Itself. He is the Prime Creator, because He created His co-creators. Because He did, time applies neither to Him nor to what He created. (T.7.I.7:3,4,5,6,7; italics added).
If you are not satisfied with what must be a dissatisfying account for what can not be understood by us, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. In attempting to describe the nature and condition of true creation, Jesus concludes, “To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given…is it understood” (T.24.VII.6:8,9,10). And so, we simply can accept with humility that we do not understand. But the good news is that, despite our belief that we need to understand, we don’t have to understand in order to find our way back home (T.18.IV.7:5,6,7). We can practice our lessons of forgiveness, confident that if we do our part, the rest will be ours when we are ready to accept it.
For additional discussion of the dualistic nature of the Course language in relationship to its non-dualistic metaphysics, see Question #85.