ACIM Text Reading for March 15
Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement
III. The Correction of Error
The alertness of the ego to the errors of other egos is not the kind of vigilance the Holy Spirit would have you maintain. Egos are critical in terms of the kind of ‘sense’ they stand for. They understand this kind of sense, because it is sensible to them. To the Holy Spirit it makes no sense at all.
To the ego it is kind and right and good to point out errors and ‘correct’ them. This makes perfect sense to the ego, which is unaware of what errors are and what correction is. Errors are of the ego, and correction of errors lies in the relinquishment of the ego. When you correct a brother, you are telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that, if he is speaking from the ego, he will not be making sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right. You do not tell him this verbally, if he is speaking foolishly. He needs correction at another level, because his error is at another level. He is still right, because he is a Son of God. His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.
If you point out the errors of your brother’s ego you must be seeing through yours, because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors. This must be true, since there is no communication between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego makes no sense, and the Holy Spirit does not attempt to understand anything that arises from it. Since He does not understand it, He does not judge it, knowing that nothing the ego makes means anything.
When you react at all to errors, you are not listening to the Holy Spirit. He has merely disregarded them, and if you attend to them you are not hearing Him. If you do not hear Him, you are listening to your ego and making as little sense as the brother whose errors you perceive. This cannot be correction. Yet it is more than merely a lack of correction for him. It is the giving up of correction in yourself.
When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.
You cannot correct yourself. Is it possible, then, for you to correct another? Yet you can see him truly, because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours. His errors cannot change this, and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you are being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will therefore lose your way.
Your brother’s errors are not of him, any more than yours are of you. Accept his errors as real, and you have attacked yourself. If you would find your way and keep it, see only truth beside you for you walk together. The Holy Spirit in you forgives all things in you and in your brother. His errors are forgiven with yours. Atonement is no more separate than love. Atonement cannot be separate because it comes from love. Any attempt you make to correct a brother means that you believe correction by you is possible, and this can only be the arrogance of the ego. Correction is of God, Who does not know of arrogance.
The Holy Spirit forgives everything because God created everything. Do not undertake His function, or you will forget yours. Accept only the function of healing in time, because that is what time is for. God gave you the function to create in eternity. You do not need to learn that, but you do need to learn to want it. For that all learning was made. This is the Holy Spirit’s use of an ability that you do not need, but that you made. Give it to Him! You do not understand how to use it. He will teach you how to see yourself without condemnation, by learning how to look on everything without it. Condemnation will then not be real to you, and all your errors will be forgiven.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 15
There is no will but God’s.
The idea for today can be regarded as the central thought toward which all our exercises are directed. God’s is the only Will. When you have recognized this, you have recognized that your will is His. The belief that conflict is possible has gone. Peace has replaced the strange idea that you are torn by conflicting goals. As an expression of the Will of God, you have no goal but His.
There is great peace in today’s idea, and the exercises for today are directed towards finding it. The idea itself is wholly true. Therefore it cannot give rise to illusions. Without illusions conflict is impossible. Let us try to recognize this today, and experience the peace this recognition brings.
Begin the longer practice periods by repeating these thoughts several times, slowly and with firm determination to understand what they mean, and to hold them in mind:
There is no will but God’s. I cannot be in conflict.
Then spend several minutes in adding some related thoughts, such as:
I am at peace.
Nothing can disturb me. My will is God’s.
My will and God’s are one.
God wills peace for His Son.
During this introductory phase, be sure to deal quickly with any conflict thoughts that may cross your mind. Tell yourself immediately:
There is no will but God’s. These conflict
thoughts are meaningless.
If there is one conflict area that seems particularly difficult to resolve, single it out for special consideration. Think about it briefly but very specifically, identify the particular person or persons and the situation or situations involved, and tell yourself:
There is no will but God’s. I share it with Him.
My conflicts about _____ cannot be real.
After you have cleared your mind in this way, close your eyes and try to experience the peace to which your reality entitles you. Sink into it and feel it closing around you. There may be some temptation to mistake these attempts for withdrawal, but the difference is easily detected. If you are succeeding, you will feel a deep sense of joy and an increased alertness, rather than a feeling of drowsiness and enervation.
Joy characterizes peace. By this experience will you recognize that you have reached it. If you feel yourself slipping off into withdrawal, quickly repeat the idea for today and try again. Do this as often as necessary. There is definite gain in refusing to allow retreat into withdrawal, even if you do not experience the peace you seek.
In the shorter periods, which should be undertaken at regular and predetermined intervals today, say to yourself:
There is no will but God’s. I seek His peace today.
Then try to find what you are seeking. A minute or two every half an hour, with eyes closed if possible, would be well spent on this today.
For a Free Audio Download of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1182: In your answer to Question #107, you say: “So you are quite correct in concluding that looking with Jesus, and choosing against the ego would automatically give you the same vision as Jesus.” This is in the context of feeling attacked or shamed — at work, home, whatever. My experience is that I am able to at least step back and realize that the feeling is not coming from outside, that whatever someone said or did is being latched onto for the purposes of the ego, but I rarely feel total freedom from it. The feeling continues, and with it a recurring attempt to step back from it. It’s not simply “over.” Does this make sense? Is it a process of then letting go more? Is it possible to watch the discomfort but have the discomfort, the swirling in the pit of the stomach, continue? Or do I still want it even though it doesn’t feel good? I rarely “automatically [feel] the same vision as Jesus.”
A: Your experience is quite common. The fact that you do not experience the shift does not mean that you have not made progress. You at least realize that you are not upset for the reason you think (W.pI.5) , which means you would be less inclined to justify your anger or shame. That is a major step forward, although you may not experience it that way. And, yes, it is possible to watch the discomfort while you are having it. It sounds strange, but that shows that you are beginning to disidentify from your ego. The part of you that is watching is not the ego (as long as there is no judgment involved). But because the discomfort is still there, part of you must still be attracted to victimization. That’s normal. We keep layers of defenses concealed from awareness because of our fear of letting go of the ego all at once. We are too afraid of what we think might happen, given the vows we made to be faithful to the ego and its ambassadors of sin, guilt, and fear (T.21.IV; T.19.IV.D.6).
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus encourages us to be patient in our practice and our expectations as we proceed through the stages of healing. That is why he uses the metaphors of a journey and a ladder, and speaks about his curriculum as a process. In Lesson 284, he outlines four basic stages that we would all typically go through in our practice of what we are learning: “This is the truth, at first to be but said and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth” (W.pII.284.1:5,6). Trust that your willingness to follow Jesus as your teacher will lead to the outcome he guarantees you will achieve (T.8.V.4).
Q #747: I am still having a little doubt as to the nature of the ego. Is it such an evil entity always attempting to separate us from God? Isn’t it better just to think of a corpus of wrong ideas we have created of ourselves that serves the simple purpose of giving wrong answers when facing a situation? Isn’t it just a point of reference with which to compare the divine peace of Heaven? Why do we have to see it as such an entity? In my case this idea contributed to building a new kind of fear I had to deal with.
A: In A Course in Miracles , Jesus tells us exactly what the ego is : “What is the ego ? But a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all. A name for namelessness is all it is. A symbol of impossibility; a choice for options that do not exist. We name it but to help us understand that it is nothing but an ancient thought that what is made has immortality. But what could come of this except a dream which, like all dreams, can only end in death?” (C.2.1:4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, italics ours ) The ego cannot then be an entity; it has no substance. It is the thought of separation, which is given power only by a choice in the mind to believe that it is true. The ego/thought exists in our experience because we want it to. We choose it over the Holy Spirit because we prefer our specialness as separate bodies to our truth as God’s innocent Son. We fear it because we fear the power of our minds that would recognize the nothingness of the ego. If the ego is nothing, so is the world and so is the body. That recognition is terrifying to those who cling to specialness in a body.
The world and the body arise in our experience as the result of choosing to identify with the thought of separation (ego) in the mind. Thus, the ego is not a thing outside of ourselves that exists on its own, acting as an agent that can tempt us to anything. We alone are responsible for bringing it into existence by believing in it and allowing it to thrive on the guilt that inevitably follows the choice to be other than the Son that God created. We would prefer to believe that the ego has a life of its own so we could dissociate from it. That would allow us to have our cake and eat it too; i.e., have an ego-free life as bodies outside of Heaven. However, Jesus tells us in the Course that neither the ego nor the body exists, because nothing exists outside of Heaven: “ Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:6). To ears that cling to “life” in a body this is not good news, and does indeed seem to instill fear. The fear, however, comes only from unwillingness to accept that truth be true. Yet in this same statement lies our hope for escape from the nightmare of separation. It tells us the ego has no life, and therefore no power and no effects. In another passage we are told: “ It [the ego] has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified” (T.7.VI.11:6,7,8,9). That is good news. We are free to fix our attention on the path of forgiveness that is our only function here, and let the thought of separation be gradually undone. The ego, like the world, will then “fade into the nothingness from which it came.…” (M.13.1:2)