ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 30

ACIM Text Reading for April 30

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

V. The Circle of Atonement

The only part of your mind that has reality is the part that links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God’s Love, to share with all the lonely ones who have denied Him? God makes this possible. Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. This is forever changeless. Accept, then, the immutable. Leave the world of death behind, and return quietly to Heaven. There is nothing of value here, and everything of value there. Listen to the Holy Spirit, and to God through Him. He speaks of you to you. There is no guilt in you, for God is blessed in His Son as the Son is blessed in Him.

Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently, and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy.

Blessed Son of a wholly blessing Father, joy was created for you. Who can condemn whom God has blessed? There is nothing in the Mind of God that does not share His shining innocence. Creation is the natural extension of perfect purity. Your only calling here is to devote yourself, with active willingness, to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand. The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. Deny them not what is their due, for you will not withhold it from them alone.

The inheritance of the Kingdom is the right of God’s Son, given him in his creation. Do not try to steal it from him, or you will ask for guilt and will experience it. Protect his purity from every thought that would steal it away and keep it from his sight. Bring innocence to light, in answer to the call of the Atonement. Never allow purity to remain hidden, but shine away the heavy veils of guilt within which the Son of God has hidden himself from his own sight.

We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away, and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son. The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness that must have been denied to produce the need of healing. Do not withhold this glad acknowledgement, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange guilt for innocence, nor realise that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.

Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this. There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt, to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to this points straight to Heaven, and the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching, and guarantees its limitless results.

Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this. You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God’s creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.

Peace, then, be unto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgement of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle, and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as teachers of Atonement, not of guilt.

Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us, but of our Father. In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me, and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father’s power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside, but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him, by teaching him his innocence.

The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego’s aim. It sees everyone as guilty, and by its condemnation it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness He would release from fear and re-establish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.

Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 30

Lesson 119
For morning and evening review:

(107) Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

I am mistaken when I think I can be hurt in any
way. I am God’s Son, whose Self rests safely in
the Mind of God.

(108) To give and to receive are one in truth.

I will forgive all things today, that I may learn how
to accept the truth in me, and come to recognize my
sinlessness.

On the hour:

Truth will correct all errors in my mind.

On the half hour:

To give and to receive are one in truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #651: One of the most prominent ways my ego defends itself against the Love of God is through obsessing about past relationships. As I’ve continued to study A Course in Miracles and viewed this situation as my specific forgiveness classroom, the viciousness of the ego thought system has increasingly come to light. While jogging yesterday, I had a visceral image of attacking and killing my ex-girlfriend, feeling that “she betrayed me” by moving on to another relationship and, therefore, will never give me what I want — my innocence, which I believe she stole from me. I recognize that the thoughts about this relationship are a reflection of the ontological moment when I thought I killed God for what he would not give me. That being said, the intensity of the thought system still terrifies me.

I’ve looked at Question #377, which provides an outline of how I should practice forgiveness in the relationship. Would you comment on the dynamics of this special relationship and my fear of looking at it in terms of the metaphysics of the Course, and thereby how this relates to my relationship with God? Do you have any readings that specifically address the dynamics of special relationships you think would be helpful?

A: It no doubt can be unsettling, but nevertheless very helpful, to get in touch with the thought of murder at the foundation of every special relationship (T.23.IV.1:10,11). The thought is not so apparent in the earlier stages of the special love relationship when we believe we are getting what we want. But when our needs change, or our partners no longer seem to be interested in meeting our needs in order to have their own needs met in return, our “true” feelings can surface from the darker recesses of our mind. They have always been there, covered over with a facade of special “love” and “concern” and “care,” as we want to hold on to the relationship, using the specialness in order to keep a lid on our own feelings of guilt and unworthiness (T.16.IV.3,4).

What a burden of responsibility we place on our special love partners, to keep the vicious hounds of guilt at bay! Eventually, they have to fail us in some way, and then we get what our ego really wants — our relationship partner becomes a victimizer whom we can now hold responsible for our pain and fear (T.16.V.1). You’ve conveniently assigned your current ex-girlfriend that role for the present moment. As long as we continue under the direction of the ego, there will always be others to give the part of cruel betrayer, deserving only of death! The hope is that, once we begin to recognize the ego-reinforcing pattern of our relationships and the painful consequences to ourselves, we will be open to accepting a different Director for our relationships, Who will assign a different role to both ourselves and our partners, other than victim and victimizer (T.27.I).

It is not necessary to get in touch specifically with that thought of murderous assault on God for not giving us what we want, choosing then to seize it from Him and destroying Him in the process, which is the foundation of the ego’s thought system. Our brothers and sisters are more than satisfactory stand-ins for experiencing the same underlying content, which is all that matters. The rest is merely differences in symbols and our concern is only with the underlying source of those symbols — the belief in sin and guilt. Our special relationships with each other were made to reflect the same dynamic as that original special relationship, but in a seemingly more manageable form. For the outcome, according to the ego’s story line, of our seeming attack on God is not His final demise but rather His return from the dead, hell-bent on retribution for our sinful choice against Him. The terror associated with that is overwhelming. And so the world and all of our relationships here are the defense against that terror. The defense includes holding others responsible for our pain and loss and fear, rather than looking within our own minds to uncover the choice we believe we made against love.

When we understand the underlying content that the special relationship is intended to defend against, it is not at all surprising that the resistance to looking honestly will be great. And that is why we do not want to look by ourselves alone but to remember to invite Jesus to be a part of the looking process with us. In fact, we really want to be able to look through his eyes or we will scare ourselves unnecessarily. If we attempt the undoing process on our own, we will believe there actually is something terrible — the ego and its thoughts of attack and murder — to be undone. Jesus knows better, not confusing illusion with truth, and that is why the looking process with him is so gentle. But we do first want to look at what we believe about ourselves so that, with Jesus, we can make a different choice about who we really are (T.11.V.1,2,3,4).

Some sections in the Course on special relationships, especially relevant to the issues you raise, include “The Illusion and the Reality of Love” (T.16.IV), “The Choice for Completion” (T.16.V), “Shadows of the Past” (T.17.III), “The Christ in You” (T.24.V), and “The Picture of Crucifixion” (T.27.I). These are not the easiest sections in the Course to read and personally reflect on so, again, be sure to invite Jesus to be a part of your reviewing process.

Webmaster note: See questions 71, 108, 213, 471

sun of god guiltless

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 29

ACIM Text Reading for April 29

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

IV. Your Function in the Atonement

When you accept a brother’s guiltlessness you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him you make it yours, and you will see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother’s guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there. His guiltlessness is your Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered first to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First.

You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it was. This state, and only this, must you attain, with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can perhaps feel His Presence next to you, but cannot know that you are one with Him. This cannot be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens of itself.

When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you, and therefore stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be, and therefore cannot be given. Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive, and to restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn. You will feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfil your function in God’s Mind with all of yours. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfil your function here?

You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers; neither did He make them. When you release them they are gone. God will not fail, nor ever has in anything. Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not yourself, but instead offer to God and you His blameless Son. For this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.

Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know. How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it. So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God, and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His Love and Holiness that join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.

When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep. For you can bring your guilt into sleeping, but not into this.

Unless you are guiltless you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognise Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen, and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand. You made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.

Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you. You who have tried to throw yourself away and valued God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourself. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare, and nothing you have ever felt apart from Him resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever, and Who knows of nothing except giving?

The children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father, because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to itself. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours. If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him, and therefore in you.

The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making both unable to communicate, because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 29

Lesson 118
For morning and evening review:

(105) God’s peace and joy are mine.

Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad
exchange for all the substitutes that I have made
for happiness and peace.

(106) Let me be still and listen to the truth.

Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the
mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am
God’s perfect Son.

On the hour:

God’s peace and joy are mine.

On the half hour:

Let me be still and listen to the truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #15: I want to change my mind about death. I just had several loved ones “gently lay their bodies aside” yet it is grief that I am drawn to. Grief is not love, therefore it does not exist. Right? I must have made it? Can you articulate for me, based on various Course passages, a general response that would incorporate the Course’s theories so that I may apply them to this experience of grief in the world of illusion. What about repression and denial of this experience?

A: The Course never asks us to repress or deny what we are experiencing, whether it be grief or anger or pain or fear or any other ego-based reaction. But before we can change our mind about our feelings, we need first to understand what purpose they serve and why we have chosen to experience them. The feeling of grief reinforces the ego’s assertion that loss and death are real and that we can be and are deprived of love. Our experience cries out that Jesus is wrong, that we have been hurt and abandoned and left on our own. We are not being asked to deny that this is our experience. But that does not make it true.

In a graphic description of the world, Jesus says, “The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt…all the laws that seem to govern it are the laws of death. Children are born into it through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds seem to be trapped in their brain, and its powers to decline if their bodies are hurt. They seem to love, yet they desert and are deserted. They appear to lose what they love, perhaps the most insane belief of all. And their bodies wither and gasp and are laid in the ground, and are no more. Not one of them but has thought that God is cruel” (T.13.in.2:2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11). And this is what we all believe. Would it not be better if we are wrong?

Jesus reminds us that his life, ending in apparent death, had the purpose of “teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication” (T.15.XI.7:2). But we still see the body as necessary for communication and believe that real communication ends with the death of the body, because we still want to see ourselves as a body. The body affirms our independent existence and its seeming experiences of loss and pain do not seem to reflect simply a choice in our minds. The ego does not want us to remember that the source of all our grief is the belief that we ourselves abandoned love and exiled ourselves from Heaven. Thanks to the ego defense of projection, it feels instead as if these are things that happen to us against our own will, that we are not responsible for how we feel. So we must begin by acknowledging that these are our feelings, but then we must also have a willingness to question whether our interpretation of the world and the events of our lives is correct.

The shift away from our pain and grief is a gradual process because we are afraid of the limitlessness of love, in which our individual lives, our personal selves with our unique personalities, have no meaning. And so Jesus gently reminds us both of the eventual outcome and the process: “Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. 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,284.1:1,2,3,4,5,6, italics added).

These words are not simply to be used as a “holy mantra” proclaiming what is true in order to drown out our ego’s interpretation and the accompanying feelings of loss and grief. Implicit in the process of changing our mind is the necessary but at times very unsettling task of looking at what we still want to believe and recognizing both its purpose — to keep separation and guilt alive — and its cost to us — suffering and pain. It is from a growing recognition of what we inflict on ourselves when we accept the ego as our teacher that the motivation develops to ask for help from a different Teacher. With that help, we can begin to see the losses of our lives in a different light, realizing that we do have a choice about what we experience and that we are not the victims of circumstances beyond our control.

Q #16: When I tell myself in meditation that I’m not a body and I’m free I feel peace of mind. But once I open my eyes, there it is — my body. This doesn’t upset me as much as it confuses me. When I look at myself I feel I’m beautiful, but I worry that I might be just feeding the ego again rather than appreciating what I have. It’s a puzzle. Any thoughts on this?

A: Although the Course tells us in many places that we are not a body (e.g., Lesson 199 and the following review lessons), it also recognizes that we have a strong investment in seeing ourselves as a body. Jesus observes, “Look at yourself and you will see a body….without a light it seems that it is gone. Yet you are reassured that it is there because you still can feel it with your hands and hear it move. Here is an image that you want to be yourself. It is the means to make your wish come true.” (T.24.VII.9:1,3,4,5,6 italics added).

We may have brief experiences where we seem to transcend our bodily identification, as you describe, but we are not likely to maintain this for any length of time because we really don’t want to. Our “wish come true” is seeing ourselves as a separate, special, individual self and our body affirms that identity. The Course tells us that although we are the ones who have chosen and made this limited self as our identity (in fantasy but not in reality), we have not wanted to accept responsibility for that decision. And that is because buried deep in our unconscious is the (made- up) belief that we gained this separate self by attacking the Oneness of God and our true Identity as spirit, a horrendous sin of destruction and murder according to our ego. So once we seem to be bodies born to other bodies, our separate existence does not seem at all to be of our own making. Our parents made us. And we may even believe, much to our ego’s delight, that somehow God has been involved in this special “creation” of our individual self, as many religions teach.

So the Course’s goal, knowing how strongly identified we are with our body and how fearful we are of letting go of the protection we believe it affords us, is not to have us relinquish our bodily identification (that happens only at the very end). The Course is instructing us in how to give our body a purpose different from the ego’s original purpose of sin, guilt and fear. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the body becomes a vehicle for learning our lessons of forgiveness, in the context of our relationships with our brothers and sisters, also seen as bodies. And we will continue to see ourselves and everyone else as a body until the forgiveness process is complete and we no longer have any guilt in our mind that we need our body as a defense against.

And as to seeing yourself as beautiful, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as you realize that when the Course speaks of how beautiful we are (e.g., W.pII.313.2:2), it is not speaking of our physical body or our personality. It is referring to the reflected beauty of the Christ in all of us, a beauty which we all share equally as spirit.

sunburst eternity

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 28

ACIM Text Reading for April 28

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

III. The Decision for Guiltlessness

The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not salvation, and serves no useful function at all.

Perhaps you are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt, and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both you do not see yourself as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness, and push it from your sight.

There is no compromise that you can make with guilt, and escape the pain that only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in Heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness, and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore, to yourself, gently, but with the conviction born of the Love of God and of His Son,

What I experience I will make manifest.

If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear.

I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement, not to its rejection.
I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest and sharing it.
Let me bring peace to God’s Son from his Father.

Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed, because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them, because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, unhappy or happy.

The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.

No penalty is ever asked of God’s Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it he binds himself to darkness, because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he throws away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches, and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.

The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: Guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone. Teach him that, whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him that he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.

God is the only Cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in it in any mind. Remember always that mind is one, and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless, and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt, in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.

Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision that led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God’s Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out, and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of.

Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt, because they think it is salvation, and will not refuse to see it and side with it. They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection. And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them. All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy, and will bring to them all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their will fails to provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them, and gives them what they want without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.

It will never happen that you must make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help, and Help that knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He Who gives you everything will simply offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourself. Instead, accept His answer, for He knows that you are worthy of everything God wills for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you are.

Would you deny the truth of God’s decision, and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son? Nothing can shake God’s conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him it must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan God set for its Atonement, relinquishing its own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask the Holy Spirit everything, and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel.

The One Who knows the plan of God that God would have you follow can teach you what it is. Only His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what salvation is, and what you would be saved from. The Holy Spirit knows that all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other ‘enemy’, and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God the Holy Spirit is your only Friend. He is the strong protector of the innocence that sets you free. And it is His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.

Let Him, therefore, be the only Guide that you would follow to salvation. He knows the way, and leads you gladly on it. With Him you will not fail to learn that what God wills for you is your will. Without His guidance you will think you know alone, and will decide against your peace as surely as you decided that salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not and He will make every decision for you, for your salvation and the peace of God in you.

Seek not to appraise the worth of God’s Son whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge against Him. And you will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. The Holy Spirit teaches only that the ‘sin’ of self-replacement on the throne of God is not a source of guilt. What cannot happen can have no effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you, and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. Never forget the Love of God, Who has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from the loving Mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.

Say to the Holy Spirit only, ‘Decide for me’, and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all you cannot know, when all knowledge lies behind every decision the Holy Spirit makes for you? Learn of His wisdom and His Love, and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them and for yourself.

How gracious it is to decide all things through Him Whose equal Love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one outside you. And so He gives you what is yours, because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him, and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with Love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone will be. Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring only good to everyone? Would you know this?

You taught yourself the most unnatural habit of not communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with Him, and with everything that is within Him, as it is within yourself. Unlearn isolation through His loving guidance, and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.

Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His Presence in you, and tell yourself this, and only this:

He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not.
Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn.
And so I trust Him to communicate to me all that He knows for me.
Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is already there.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 28

Lesson 117
For morning and evening review:

(103) God, being Love, is also happiness.

Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else
brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes
for love.

(104) I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

Love is my heritage, and with it joy. These are the
gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is
mine in truth.

On the hour:

God, being Love, is also happiness.

On the half hour:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #230: During the several times that I have worked with the workbook of A Course in Miracles, I find I have left things undone that belong to earlier lessons, e.g., meaning and meaninglessness. The instructions clearly say that only one lesson per day is to be worked. My intuition tells me to go back to the beginning, in order not to confuse the sequence of the workbook. I wonder if others have asked this question before, but have not been answered yet?

A: It is not necessary to begin the workbook again. You can always go back and do a lesson again or concentrate on a specific concept that you skipped over; but that does not mean that you should start all over again. Jesus does not expect us to do a lesson perfectly before we move on to the next one. He is far more aware of our resistance and fear than we are, so he knows we will misinterpret what he says, not do everything he asks, and when we do it, we will do it imperfectly. He is interested only in our willingness and humility as we practice the lessons. The middle of Lesson 95, in particular, discusses the attitude we should have when we run into problems in our work with the lessons. You might also wish to look at Questions #64 and #92, which pertain to the workbook.

Q #231: My question pertains to the world we see as an illusion. Is it safe to say that if we find “enjoyment” here we must keep in mind it is still only an illusion, otherwise we become attached to it in a negative way? Does this sort of parallel what the scriptures say that we are not of this world but only in this world? This makes for a tug of war within us because when we seem to desire something, we ask: which part is doing the desiring? At that point, can we justify the desire by keeping in mind that it really does not matter because it is only illusion and then go on and enjoy? Is justify the wrong word? Are we on the right track with this reasoning?

A: Your reasoning is partially correct. Anything we desire in the world of form is only an illusion, but we should not dismiss our seeking or desiring it too quickly. Although A Course in Miracles does not ask that we relinquish enjoyment in the dream, it does ask that we recognize the real motives for our pursuit of pleasurable experiences. It tells us that we are seeking to fill the void left by our seeming separation from God with substitutes for His Love that never fully satisfy us. This is at the root of all our seeking in the dream. The Course uncovers our motives in the hopes that we will learn not to seek outside ourselves for what will never truly bring us happiness. As long as we make the mistake of believing that the cause of our “enjoyment” is something or someone external to ourselves, we will seek in vain, in keeping with the ego’s maxim: “Seek but do not find” (M.13.5:8). The Course tells us that the only enjoyment possible in the dream is a peaceful state of mind, and that is achieved only by the choice to join with the Holy Spirit in the mind, and accept His interpretation of every experience or relationship we have. That is not to say that we cannot enjoy a pleasurable experience in the world. The point is that if our mind is at peace, it does not matter whether we are enjoying a beautiful concert or are stuck in hot traffic — our peacefulness remains undisturbed. This is not the same as indulging our desires for pleasure by saying it is all an illusion and it doesn’t matter. If we were at the point in our spiritual journey where we truly believed that this is all an illusion, we would not need A Course in Miracles to help us see how real we think the world is, and, we would not be in pursuit of enjoyment in the world. Meanwhile, all the things in the world we do seek are important reminders of how attached we are to our identity as bodies and the ego thought system, which makes separation and the world very real. Both negative emotions (pain) as well as positive emotions (enjoyment) which are evoked by our experiences are our “proof” that the world is real. We are learning to be aware of how desperately we seek this.

The only part of our mind that desires anything, no matter how lofty it may seem to be, is the ego: “Appetites are ‘getting’ mechanisms, representing the ego’s need to confirm itself. This is as true of body appetites as it is of the so-called ‘higher ego needs.’ Body appetites are not physical in origin. The ego regards the body as its home, and tries to satisfy itself through the body. But the idea that this is possible is a decision of the mind, which has become completely confused about what is really possible” (T.II.7:5, 6,7,8,9). The Course is a mind training process because we are so confused, have taught ourselves upside down thinking, and do not know what makes us happy: “You no more recognize 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” (T.7.X.3:4,5,6). This does not mean we should feel guilty for seeking enjoyment. It is no different than any of the other things we do to take care of ourselves in the illusion. While we still believe in our identity as bodies, we will find “enjoyment” in the world. Though the ego uses this to support the belief that the separation is real, the Holy Spirit can use it as part of His classroom to teach us that there is no satisfaction in this world, and that our only true happiness is found in God. We may also have experiences that are truly joyful because they reflect a choice in the mind to identify with the Holy Spirit. As we continue to practice what the Course teaches, we will eventually have truly joyful experiences that reflect the choice made in the mind to identify with the Holy Spirit. This joy comes from the content in the mind rather than anything in form.

Peace of God

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 27

ACIM Text Reading for April 27

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

II. The Happy Learner

The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished. You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognise that you are miserable and not happy. The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery is happiness. This has so confused you that you have undertaken to learn to do what you can never do, believing that unless you learn it you will not be happy. You do not realise that the foundation on which this most peculiar learning goal depends means absolutely nothing. Yet it may still make sense to you. Have faith in nothing and you will find the ‘treasure’ that you seek. Yet you will add another burden to your already burdened mind. You will believe that nothing is of value, and will value it. A little piece of glass, a speck of dust, a body or a war are one to you. For if you value one thing made of nothing, you have believed that nothing can be precious, and that you can learn how to make the untrue true.

The Holy Spirit, seeing where you are but knowing you are elsewhere, begins His lesson in simplicity with the fundamental teaching that truth is true. This is the hardest lesson you will ever learn, and in the end the only one. Simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds. Consider all the distortions you have made of nothing; all the strange forms and feelings and actions and reactions that you have woven out of it. Nothing is so alien to you as the simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to. The contrast between what is true and what is not is perfectly apparent, yet you do not see it. The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing, believing they are kings with golden crowns because of them.

All this the Holy Spirit sees, and teaches, simply, that all this is not true. To those unhappy learners who would teach themselves nothing, and delude themselves into believing that it is not nothing, the Holy Spirit says, with steadfast quietness:

The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there. Let Me make the one distinction for you that you cannot make, but need to learn. Your faith in nothing is deceiving you. Offer your faith to Me, and I will place it gently in the holy place where it belongs. You will find no deception there, but only the simple truth. And you will love it because you will understand it.

Like you, the Holy Spirit did not make truth. Like God, He knows it to be true. He brings the light of truth into the darkness, and lets it shine on you. And as it shines your brothers see it, and realising that this light is not what you have made, they see in you more than you see. They will be happy learners of the lesson this light brings to them, because it teaches them release from nothing and from all the works of nothing. The heavy chains that seem to bind them to despair they do not see as nothing, until you bring the light to them. And then they see the chains have disappeared, and so they must have been nothing. And you will see it with them. Because you taught them gladness and release, they will become your teachers in release and gladness.

When you teach anyone that truth is true, you learn it with him. And so you learn that what seemed hardest was the easiest. Learn to be a happy learner. You will never learn how to make nothing everything. Yet see that this has been your goal, and recognise how foolish it has been. Be glad it is undone, for when you look at it in simple honesty, it is undone. I said before, ‘Be not content with nothing’, for you have believed that nothing could content you. It is not so.

If you would be a happy learner, you must give everything you have learned to the Holy Spirit, to be unlearned for you. And then begin to learn the joyous lessons that come quickly on the firm foundation that truth is true. For what is builded there is true, and built on truth. The universe of learning will open up before you in all its gracious simplicity. With truth before you, you will not look back.

The happy learner meets the conditions of learning here, as he meets the conditions of knowledge in the Kingdom. All this lies in the Holy Spirit’s plan to free you from the past, and open up the way to freedom for you. For truth is true. What else could ever be, or ever was? This simple lesson holds the key to the dark door that you believe is locked forever. You made this door of nothing, and behind it is nothing. The key is only the light that shines away the shapes and forms and fears of nothing. Accept this key to freedom from the hands of Christ Who gives it to you, that you may join Him in the holy task of bringing light. For, like your brothers, you do not realise the light has come and freed you from the sleep of darkness.

Behold your brothers in their freedom, and learn of them how to be free of darkness. The light in you will waken them, and they will not leave you asleep. The vision of Christ is given the very instant that it is perceived. Where everything is clear, it is all holy. The quietness of its simplicity is so compelling that you will realise it is impossible to deny the simple truth. For there is nothing else. God is everywhere, and His Son is in Him with everything. Can he sing the dirge of sorrow when this is true?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 27

Lesson 116
For morning and evening review:

(101) God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

God’s Will is perfect happiness for me. And I can suffer
but from the belief there is another will apart from His.

(102) I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son.
What He has given me is all I want.
What He has given me is all there is.

On the hour:

God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.

On the half hour:

I share God’s Will for happiness for me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #312: I just finished a meditation on why I haven’t had an intimate relationship for so long. Most of the reasons that occurred to me were ego-based. The one I didn’t think was ego-based was that I’m just too lazy to put in all the effort it takes. I don’t know if this is an appropriate question to be asking, but I think about relationships a lot and I don’t seem to be able to help it. I know the Course says that special relationships are just a device to keep you away from the truth and I notice that the A Course in Miracles never addresses the issue of sex or sexuality directly, but I must ask for some guidance here. I have these desires and I don’t feel like they’re being met. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s wrong to have these feelings. I’m becoming very frustrated with my life and with this Course. Am I misinterpreting something? I think I must be missing something? Can you help?

A: Yes, it does sound like you’re doing some misinterpreting. By the way, you don’t say what the other thoughts were that came to you in your meditation about having an intimate relationship, but the one you mention still sounds ego-based — like someone’s mother making a judgment! Rest assured, Jesus or the Holy Spirit do not sound like our mothers’ nagging! And the truth is that fear is more likely the reason you’re not experiencing an intimate relationship, whatever answers you think you heard.

It’s true special relationships were made by the ego to distract us from the Holy Spirit’s answer — the Course refers to them as “the ego’s most boasted gift” (T.16.V.3:1) — for they hold out the hope that we can find in someone else the special love that God could never give us (T.16.V.4). But once we seem to find ourselves in the world of separation, the Course does not teach that special relationships are to be avoided or given up. On the contrary, they become the necessary classrooms in which we learn our forgiveness lessons. In Jesus’ own words, “I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them (T.17.IV.2:3).

So while the Course is telling us that our special relationships — and that would include ones involving sex and physical intimacy — won’t bring us the joy of Heaven, nowhere in the Course does Jesus say that those feelings are wrong or bad or sinful. And furthermore, through our participation in those relationships, we have the opportunity to heal the guilt in our minds that we have projected on to them. It could be that we feel victimized either by the special relationships we are in or have been in, or by the fact that we are not now in the ones we believe we want. In the end, the different forms are all the same, but along the way, our part is merely to be willing to be open to the relationships that are already a part of our lives. For each one, whether or not it involves physical intimacy, will offer us an opportunity to find the love that has always been ours, just buried and hidden beneath the guilt and sin in our own minds.

You may wish to ask then, not for a specific relationship, but for help in releasing the guilt and the fear that seem to be preventing you from experiencing love. You may be surprised at what opportunities show up in your life when you have that willingness, but don’t make the mistake of deciding and defining in advance what those opportunities should look like. Trust that we always find what we need to practice our forgiveness lessons, as we are ready to take our next steps.

You may find Ken Wapnick’s recent tape on “Form vs Content: Sex and Money” of value in thinking about your issues around relationships. You may also wish to take a look at Question #184 for a related discussion.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 26

ACIM Text Reading for April 26

Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth

I. The Conditions of Learning

If you are blessed and do not know it, you need to learn it must be so. The knowledge is not taught, but its conditions must be acquired for it is they that have been thrown away. You can learn to bless, and cannot give what you have not. If, then, you offer blessing, it must have come first to yourself. And you must also have accepted it as yours, for how else could you give it away? That is why miracles offer you the testimony that you are blessed. If what you offer is complete forgiveness you must have let guilt go, accepting the Atonement for yourself and learning you are guiltless. How could you learn what has been done for you, unknown to you, unless you do what you would have to do if it had been done for you?

Indirect proof of truth is needed in a world made of denial and without direction. You will perceive the need for this if you realise that to deny is the decision not to know. The logic of the world must therefore lead to nothing, for its goal is nothing. If you decide to have and give and be nothing except a dream, you must direct your thoughts unto oblivion. And if you have and give and are everything, and all this has been denied, your thought system is closed off and wholly separated from the truth. This is an insane world, and do not underestimate the extent of its insanity. There is no area of your perception that it has not touched, and your dream is sacred to you. That is why God placed the Holy Spirit in you, where you placed the dream.

Seeing is always outward. Were your thoughts wholly of you, the thought system you made would be forever dark. The thoughts the mind of God’s Son projects or extends have all the power that he gives to them. The thoughts he shares with God are beyond his belief, but those he made are his beliefs. And it is these, and not the truth, that he has chosen to defend and love. They will not be taken from him. But they can be given up by him, for the Source of their undoing is in him. There is nothing in the world to teach him that the logic of the world is totally insane and leads to nothing. Yet in him who made this insane logic there is One Who knows it leads to nothing, for He knows everything.

Any direction that would lead you where the Holy Spirit leads you not, goes nowhere. Anything you deny that He knows to be true you have denied yourself, and He must therefore teach you not to deny it. Undoing is indirect, as doing is. You were created only to create, neither to see nor do. These are but indirect expressions of the will to live, which has been blocked by the capricious and unholy whim of death and murder that your Father does not share with you. You have set yourself the task of sharing what cannot be shared. And while you think it possible to learn to do this, you will not believe all that is possible to learn to do.

The Holy Spirit, therefore, must begin His teaching by showing you what you can never learn. His message is not indirect, but He must introduce the simple truth into a thought system which has become so twisted and so complex you cannot see that it means nothing. He merely looks at its foundation and dismisses it. But you who cannot undo what you have made, nor escape the heavy burden of its dullness that lies upon your mind, cannot see through it. It deceives you, because you chose to deceive yourself. Those who choose to be deceived will merely attack direct approaches, because they seem to encroach upon deception and strike at it.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 26

Lesson 115
For morning and evening review:

(99) Salvation is my only function here.

My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors
I have made. For thus am I released from them
with all the world.

(100) My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

I am essential to the plan of God for the salvation of the world.
For He gave me His plan that I might save the world.

On the hour:

Salvation is my only function here.

On the half hour:

My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #588: I have always prayed to God for guidance and help. Today I’m thinking, if God did not create this world, He would not help me in this world. How do I pray? Do I ask to die? I really don’t want to leave what I created, even though it is not perfect in any way, shape, or form. I still love my creations and extensions (do I call people in my life extensions?). When I turn to right thinking, I become terrified. I am afraid of Heaven! How crazy is this?

A: Your thinking is no more, but just as, crazy as the thinking of all the rest of us who continue to want this world to be our reality and fear our true reality. A Course in Miracles, by the way, would refer to everything we have made with our egos as our miscreations (T.2.VII.3:8.9,10,11,12,13,14,15). And it is not the self we believe we are here in the world that is responsible for miscreating. This individual self is just one of the miscreations of our split mind, which has seemed to fall asleep and dream of a world separate from God. So it’s not the self we think we are in the world that needs help, despite our experiences to the contrary, but the mind that is identifying with this illusory self and continuing to deny its real power to create by extending love, which has nothing to do with anything we seem to experience here in the world. So seeking the death of this illusory self we think we are would resolve nothing, for the death of an illusion does nothing to change our mind, which is the source of the illusion.

You are right in concluding that God has nothing to do with this world since He was not involved in making it. But that does not mean we are not without a Source of Help — the Holy Spirit — Who represents God’s Love for us while we believe we are here. It’s just that the true help He offers us is not about changing anything about our illusory world and our personal circumstances, but rather is a help for reducing our fears about remembering who we really are. And that help is called forgiveness, which simply is a process of acknowledging that we don’t really know what is going on, since we don’t even know who we are! And so Jesus says that “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness” (T.3.V.6:3).

Practically, this means that whenever we find ourselves wanting to judge a person or a situation or a circumstance, our prayer would simply be to ask for help from the part of our mind — the Holy Spirit or Jesus — that knows what the real problem is — that we have fallen asleep and are dreaming of a world that has nothing to do with who we really are. And each time we do that, our fear lessens a little more, the world seems just a little less serious for this is the happy dream, our sleep is not quite so deep, and we become just a little more willing to hear the Call to awaken (T.5.II.10:4,5; T.27.VII.14).

complete forgiveness

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 25

ACIM Text Reading for April 25

Chapter 14

TEACHING FOR TRUTH

Introduction

Yes, you are blessed indeed. Yet in this world you do not know it. But you have the means for learning it and seeing it quite clearly. The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane. They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death. We have followed much of the ego’s logic, and have seen its logical conclusions. And having seen them, we have realised that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen. Let us now turn away from them, and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 25

Lesson 114
For morning and evening review:

(97) I am spirit.

I am the Son of God. No body can contain my spirit,
nor impose on me a limitation God created not.

(98) I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

What can my function be but to accept the Word of God,
Who has created me for what I am and will forever be?

On the hour:

I am spirit.

On the half hour:

I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #20: I would like to understand why many of my relationships with men begin with a notion of romance but do not sustain themselves as friendships. I value the people I meet and I would like to develop and grow to the point where I can express brotherly love for women and men. As a single woman, I meet men who are often attracted to me, then we date or whatever, and then it ends. I’m responsible for what and how I am communicating. Is there a way to communicate “let’s be friends” when something more was expected or desired and disappointment has set in?

A: Our egos are not proud and will use whatever forms of specialness work to get us involved in relationships that in the end do not meet our needs. Although we are usually not aware of this, we have an underlying goal of demonstrating that love can only fail us and that we are the unwitting victim of others’ misleading and confusing overtures. The Course is unique — and for this reason probably also not that popular — among spiritual paths in identifying this underlying intent behind all our relationships in the world, no matter how good we believe our intentions may be at the start, until they are given over to the Holy Spirit for healing.

And, often to our disappointment, the Holy Spirit only works with content and not form, so that there can be no guarantee of what will happen in our relationships except that we will be given another opportunity to get in touch with our own buried guilt and feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred so that they can be healed. But if we are able to put the Course’s principles of forgiveness into practice, we will find that over time we experience a sense of peace and joy in our relationships, regardless of whether our brothers or sisters reciprocate in any way on the level of form. And we will know that we are truly “friends” who have a shared purpose of healing the pain buried in our minds. But this is a process that can take time to achieve. So, in the meantime, just know that you are doing the best that you can and don’t stop trying. Jesus needs our special relationships to teach us the other way. It is only fear that ever stops any of us from allowing ourselves to experience greater intimacy in any form.

Q #21: If the art may be seen as a form of special relationship the artist makes as a substitute for God’s Love, are forms of art to be considered as a call for love? And how do these forms differ from the forms expressed through “channeling” like Mozart’s music? Can we say that the “channeled” art more of expression of love rather than a call for love? And how can we “justify” human distinction between great and mediocre art on Level two of our experience here in material world?

A: First, we cannot judge whether the specific work of a specific artist is a substitute for God’s Love, the manifestation of a special relationship. Only the artist would be able to discern that. We usually cannot tell just from the form whether it has come from the wrong (ego) mind or the right (Holy Spirit) mind. If the reflection of God’s Love is the source of a particular work of art, then, yes, it is an expression of love. Our mistake would be, then, to venerate the work, rather than to identify with the content behind the form.

All special love relationships are defenses against the searing pain in our minds that comes from the guilt we all feel over having rejected God’s Love in favor of giving ourselves existence on our own terms. Following the ego’s counsel, our attention gets directed away from our guilt-laden minds to specific individuals, substances, or activities that can shut out the pain and fill up the loneliness that is in our minds. In essence, our special love relationships are telling God that we don’t need His Love, and that we are perfectly capable of filling the void and experiencing completion and worth through relationships in the world. This is the content underlying the form of all special love relationships. The good feelings that come from these types of relationships hide the hatred that is their basis.

At the same time, in another part of our minds, we are longing to be told that this whole thing was just some silly mistake, that we have been forgiven, and therefore our guilt and our defenses against that guilt are no longer necessary. This is the “call” that is present in our minds that are split between these two attitudes or ways of thinking.

Any form can be used by the Holy Spirit to remind us of the truth about ourselves. One is not more or less inspiring than another, in this sense. In other words, once we believe the separation has occurred and we are here in the world as bodies, the world and our bodies are regarded as neutral. Therefore, anything at all in this world can become a means of leading us beyond the world, or more deeply into it, depending on whether we choose the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher. We can be enthralled with Michelangelo’s statue of David and be reminded of our perfection and oneness with God; but the same experience can occur while we are looking at a diseased tree in our yard. When we become dependent on a particular form in order to have a “spiritual” experience, then we have gotten caught in a special love relationship.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with having preferences in this world, provided we don’t take them seriously. We can say that one work of art is better than another, just as we can say that a particular musical composition is better than another, one method of education is better than another, one medical treatment is better than another, based on criteria we have set up in those fields. From the Course’s point of view, they all are equally illusory. Yet, it is natural to evaluate things in a somewhat objective way in the world. The lesson, though, is not to take seriously any conclusions we reach about things in the world — we should do it with a gentle smile somewhere in our minds, because we know that it is all made up.

teach not that i died in vain

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 24

ACIM Text Reading for April 24

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

XI. The Peace of Heaven

Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the ego’s best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh intrusion of guilt on peace, Yet no one sees himself in conflict and ravaged by a cruel war unless he believes that both opponents in the war are real. Believing this he must escape, for such a war would surely end his peace of mind, and so destroy him. Yet if he could but realise the war is between real and unreal powers, he could look upon himself and see his freedom. No one finds himself ravaged and torn in endless battles if he himself perceives them as wholly without meaning.

God would not have His Son embattled, and so His Son’s imagined ‘enemy’ is totally unreal. You are but trying to escape a bitter war from which you have escaped. The war is gone. For you have heard the hymn of freedom rising unto Heaven. Gladness and joy belong to God for your release, because you made it not. Yet as you made not freedom, so you made not a war that could endanger freedom. Nothing destructive ever was or will be. The war, the guilt, the past are gone as one into the unreality from which they came.

When we are all united in Heaven, you will value nothing that you value here. For nothing that you value here do you value wholly, and so you do not value it at all. Value is where God placed it, and the value of what God esteems cannot be judged, for it has been established. It is wholly of value. It can merely be appreciated or not. To value it partially is not to know its value. In Heaven is everything God values, and nothing else. Heaven is perfectly unambiguous. Everything is clear and bright, and calls forth one response. There is no darkness and there is no contrast. There is no variation. There is no interruption. There is a sense of peace so deep that no dream in this world has ever brought even a dim imagining of what it is.

Nothing in this world can give this peace, for nothing in this world is wholly shared. Perfect perception can merely show you what is capable of being wholly shared. It can also show you the results of sharing, while you still remember the results of not sharing. The Holy Spirit points quietly to the contrast, knowing that you will finally let Him judge the difference for you, allowing Him to demonstrate which must be true. He has perfect faith in your final judgement, because He knows that He will make it for you. To doubt this would be to doubt that His mission will be fulfilled. How is this possible, when His mission is of God?

You whose mind is darkened by doubt and guilt, remember this: God gave the Holy Spirit to you, and gave Him the mission to remove all doubt and every trace of guilt that His dear Son has laid upon himself. It is impossible that this mission fail. Nothing can prevent what God would have accomplished from accomplishment. Whatever your reactions to the Holy Spirit’s Voice may be, whatever voice you choose to listen to, whatever strange thoughts may occur to you, God’s Will is done. You will find the peace in which He established you, because He does not change His Mind. He is invariable as the peace in which you dwell, and of which the Holy Spirit reminds you.

You will not remember change and shift in Heaven. You have need of contrast only here. Contrast and differences are necessary teaching aids, for by them you learn what to avoid and what to seek. When you have learned this, you will find the answer that makes the need for any differences disappear. Truth comes of its own will unto its own. When you have learned that you belong to truth, it will flow lightly over you without a difference of any kind. For you will need no contrast to help you realise that this is what you want, and only this. Fear not the Holy Spirit will fail in what your Father has given Him to do. The Will of God can fail in nothing.

Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you. The Holy Spirit will restore your sanity because insanity is not the Will of God. If that suffices Him, it is enough for you. You will not keep what God would have removed, because it breaks communication with you with whom He would communicate. His Voice will be heard.

The communication link that God Himself placed within you, joining your mind with His, cannot be broken. You may believe you want it broken, and this belief does interfere with the deep peace in which the sweet and constant communication God would share with you is known. Yet His channels of reaching out cannot be wholly closed and separated from Him. Peace will be yours because His peace still flows to you from Him Whose Will is peace. You have it now. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to use it, and by extending it, to learn that it is in you. God willed you Heaven, and will always will you nothing else. The Holy Spirit knows only of His Will. There is no chance that Heaven will not be yours, for God is sure, and what He wills is as sure as He is.

You will learn salvation because you will learn how to save. It will not be possible to exempt yourself from what the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. Salvation is as sure as God. His certainty suffices. Learn that even the darkest nightmare that disturbs the mind of God’s sleeping Son holds no power over him. He will learn the lesson of awaking. God watches over him and light surrounds him.

Can God’s Son lose himself in dreams, when God has placed within him the glad call to waken and be glad? He cannot separate himself from what is in him. His sleep will not withstand the call to wake. The mission of redemption will be fulfilled as surely as the creation will remain unchanged throughout eternity. You do not have to know that Heaven is yours to make it so. It is so. Yet to know it, the Will of God must be accepted as your will.

The Holy Spirit will undo for you everything you have learned that teaches that what is not true must be reconciled with truth. This is the reconciliation the ego would substitute for your reconciliation to sanity and to peace. The Holy Spirit has a very different kind of reconciliation in His Mind for you, and one He will effect as surely as the ego will not effect what it attempts. Failure is of the ego, not of God. From Him you cannot wander, and there is no possibility that the plan the Holy Spirit offers to everyone, for the salvation of everyone, will not be perfectly accomplished. You will be released, and you will not remember anything you made that was not created for you and by you in return. For how can you remember what was never true, or not remember what has always been? It is this reconciliation with truth, and only truth, in which the peace of Heaven lies.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 24

Lesson 113
For morning and evening review:

(95) I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Serenity and perfect peace are mine, because I am one Self,
completely whole, at one with all creation and with God.

(96) Salvation comes from my one Self.

From my one Self, Whose knowledge still remains within my mind,
I see God’s perfect plan for my salvation perfectly fulfilled.

On the hour:

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

On the half hour:

Salvation comes from my one Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1034: Why would God create a Son that is capable of having “unhappy dreams?” Does this have something to do with God’s desire that His Son have a “free will?” “Never approach the holy instant after you have tried to remove all fear and hatred from your mind. That is its function. Never attempt to overlook your guilt before you ask the Holy Spirit’s help. That is His function. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven” (T.18.V.2:1,2,3,4,5) Does this mean that we do not need to forgive ourselves before we approach the holy instant and that we do not need to forgive ourselves before we ask the Holy Spirit’s help? Does this mean that all we need to do is open ourselves a little bit with our “little willingness” and the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest. That the Holy Spirit will then teach us how to forgive ourselves and will then teach us how to change our fearful dreams to “happy dreams” on the way to awakening?

A: The first part of your question is asked by just about every student of A Course in Miracles . It is founded on a belief system that tells us dreams are real, that they have an unhappy effect on the dreamer, and that God is to blame for this miserable state of affairs. This belief system is shared by all the Sonship once the thought of separation is taken seriously. It rests on the declaration that the separation did indeed occur and has had disastrous effects. Furthermore, God is not only responsible for this, He won’t do anything about it. Herein lies the ego’s woeful tale of separation. Once the mind chooses to believe that separation is possible, the creative power that it shares with its Source is expressed in the ability to choose between separation and Oneness. However, choosing between what is real (oneness) and what is not real (separation) is not a real choice. It is the denial of one and acceptance of the other. Denial of truth is what the Course calls a misuse of the mind’s creative power, while free will is defined as the choice for truth/denial of error: “Denial of error is a strong defense of truth, but denial of truth results in miscreation, the projections of the ego. In the service of the right mind the denial of error frees the mind, and re-establishes the freedom of the will. When the will is really free it cannot miscreate, because it recognizes only truth” (T.2II.2:5,6,7). Thus, choosing the ego’s unhappy dream is the denial of free will.

Since “God does not know of separation” (P.2.VII.1:11), He is unaware of the Son’s “choice” or of any will that is not the Will He shares with him. Neither can we speak of God as desiring anything for His Son, for desire implies need or some sense of lack. In the non-dualistic state of perfect oneness that God shares with His Son, there is no need or lack of any kind. He knows only perfect Oneness, perfect Love, one Will shared with His Son. This is a unitive state that is impossible to understand from within the dream of duality. While we still believe the separation is possible, the Course meets us where we think we are by describing our seeming separated condition as a dream the Son has while he remains at home with His Father (T.13.VII.17:7) , Who is unaware of the nightmarish escapades and adventures of the dream.

You are absolutely right, all that is required of us is willingness. In fact, the passage you quote is saying that we should not do anything except be willing . We cannot forgive ourselves, nor remove the guilt, fear, and hatred from our minds. What we can do is become aware of our need for forgiveness by being willing to look at our judgments as projections of guilt for having chosen separation. The choice is forgotten until we see the judgments. The miracle of forgiveness begins with willingness to recognize them as the projections they are, rather than justify them by shifting blame outside the mind and on to external agents. That is enough for us to do because in itself it is not as easy as it may seem. The world is a fertile battleground, bombarding us with “legitimate” external reasons for lack of peace. It is no small thing to learn to accept that nothing external to the mind can take peace away. That is probably why Jesus thought “miracle” was a good word for his teaching on forgiveness. When we do our part, the rest follows without further effort. Trying to do anything more, simply means we have put ourselves in charge of the Atonement, which ensures that we will not accept it. In this regard it is always helpful to remember the one task we have been given: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” (T.16.IV.6:1) .

health is inner peace

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 23

ACIM Text Reading for April 23

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

X. Release from Guilt

You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of such displacement is to hide the real source of guilt, and keep from your awareness the full perception that it is insane. Displacement always is maintained by the illusion that the source of guilt, from which attention is diverted, must be true; and must be fearful, or you would not have displaced the guilt onto what you believed to be less fearful. You are therefore willing to look upon all kinds of ‘sources’, provided they are not the deeper source to which they bear no real relationship at all.

Insane ideas have no real relationships, for that is why they are insane. No real relationship can rest on guilt, or even hold one spot of it to mar its purity. For all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy, and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. If you displace your guilt upon them, the Holy Spirit cannot use them. For, by pre-empting for your own ends what you should have given Him, He cannot use it for your release. No one who would unite in any way with anyone for his individual salvation will find it in that strange relationship. It is not shared, and so it is not real.

In any union with a brother in which you seek to lay your guilt upon him, or share it with him or perceive his own, you will feel guilty. Nor will you find satisfaction and peace with him, because your union with him is not real. You will see guilt in that relationship because you put it there. It is inevitable that those who suffer guilt will attempt to displace it, because they do believe in it. Yet though they suffer, they will not look within and let it go. They cannot know they love, and cannot understand what loving is. Their main concern is to perceive the source of guilt outside themselves, beyond their own control.

When you maintain that you are guilty but the source of your guilt lies in the past, you are not looking inward. The past is not in you. Your weird associations to it have no meaning in the present. Yet you let them stand between you and your brothers, with whom you find no real relationships at all. Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to ‘solve’ the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?

Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again. A minute, even less, will be enough to free you from the past, and give your mind in peace over to the Atonement. When everyone is welcome to you as you would have yourself be welcome to your Father, you will see no guilt in you. For you will have accepted the Atonement, which shone within you all the while you dreamed of guilt, and would not look within and see it.

As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way, in anyone, whatever he may do, you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it. For you must learn that guilt is always totally insane, and has no reason. The Holy Spirit seeks not to dispel reality. If guilt were real, Atonement would not be. The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them.

The Holy Spirit does not keep illusions in your mind to frighten you, and show them to you fearfully to demonstrate what He has saved you from. What He has saved you from is gone. Give no reality to guilt, and see no reason for it. The Holy Spirit does what God would have Him do, and has always done so. He has seen separation, but knows of union. He teaches healing, but He also knows of creation. He would have you see and teach as He does, and through Him. Yet what He knows you do not know, though it is yours.

Now it is given you to heal and teach, to make what will be now. As yet it is not now. The Son of God believes that he is lost in guilt, alone in a dark world where pain is pressing everywhere upon him from without. When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him. And it will seem incredible that he ever thought his Father loved him not, and looked upon him as condemned. The moment that you realise guilt is insane, wholly unjustified and wholly without reason, you will not fear to look upon the Atonement and accept it wholly.

You who have been unmerciful to yourself do not remember your Father’s Love. And looking without mercy upon your brothers, you do not remember how much you love Him. Yet it is forever true. In shining peace within you is the perfect purity in which you were created. Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. The altar to your Father is as pure as He Who raised it to Himself. Nothing can keep from you what Christ would have you see. His will is like His Father’s, and He offers mercy to every child of God, as He would have you do.

Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son. And as His Son loves Him. There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless. You who have always loved your Father can have no fear, for any reason, to look within and see your holiness. You cannot be as you believed you were. Your guilt is without reason because it is not in the Mind of God, where you are. And this is reason, which the Holy Spirit would restore to you. He would remove only illusions. All else He would have you see. And in Christ’s vision He would show you the perfect purity that is forever within God’s Son.

You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. You can love only as God loves. Seek not to love unlike Him, for there is no love apart from His. Until you recognise that this is true, you will have no idea what love is like. No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God. If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself. To him I say,

Behold the Son of God, and look upon his purity and be still. In quiet look upon his holiness, and offer thanks unto his Father that no guilt has ever touched him.

No illusion that you have ever held against him has touched his innocence in any way. His shining purity, wholly untouched by guilt and wholly loving, is bright within you. Let us look upon him together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. But look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever. I thank You, Father, for the purity of Your most holy Son, whom You have created guiltless forever.

Like you, my faith and my belief are centred on what I treasure. The difference is that I love only what God loves with me, and because of this I treasure you beyond the value that you set on yourself, even unto the worth that God has placed upon you. I love all that He created, and all my faith and my belief I offer unto it. My faith in you is as strong as all the love I give my Father. My trust in you is without limit, and without the fear that you will hear me not. I thank the Father for your loveliness, and for the many gifts that you will let me offer to the Kingdom in honour of its wholeness that is of God.

Praise be to you who make the Father one with His Own Son. Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it. Before the glorious radiance of the Kingdom guilt melts away, and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. Every reaction you experience will be so purified that it is fitting as a hymn of praise unto your Father. See only praise of Him in what He has created, for He will never cease His praise of you. United in this praise we stand before the gates of Heaven where we will surely enter in our sinless-ness. God loves you. Could I, then, lack faith in you and love Him perfectly?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 23

Lesson 112
For morning and evening review:

(93) Light and joy and peace abide in me.

I am the home of light and joy and peace.
I welcome them into the home I share with God,
because I am a part of Him.

(94) I am as God created me.

I will remain forever as I was,
created by the Changeless like Himself.
And I am one with Him, and He with me.

On the hour:

Light and joy and peace abide in me.

On the half hour:

I am as God created me.

FOR A FREE DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO OF TODAY’S TEXT READING & WORKBOOK LESSON, CLICK HERE

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #198: Why did God create the Oneness in the first place?

A: It’s not so much that God created Oneness, but that Oneness is the nature of God. In other words, He couldn’t help Himself. And this is impossible to understand by a brain programmed by the ego to only understand duality. The only way to understand God is through experience, and that will come in time as you practice more and more your lessons of forgiveness.

Q #199: Yesterday I experienced something that probably could be termed existential fear; fear without any external cause, but so intensive that it made me physically sick. I was able to look at it for a second or two and go beyond it and sense a great release. These brief moments brought a lot of pain followed by a feeling of freedom, so that I tried to evoke this cycle again and again. Today I realized that sensing this fear was very important, but I cannot do it myself any more, I cannot go through this threshold alone. Also, I realized that I never seriously asked Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help. They do not exist within my reach. How can I ask for help if I see them as total abstractions (opposed to how I see myself — specific individual!)? I wonder if in such situations it would be possible to seek for help from other people without getting my ego involved?

A: The experience you describe, especially since it included a release from the fear, is a helpful one. And the fact that you experienced release means you were not going through this process alone, whether or not you consciously invoked the Holy Spirit or Jesus for help. Your ego mind will want you to dismiss their accessibility to you, especially after such experiences as you describe, so that you will not trust that you have help already available. You may see Jesus and the Holy Spirit as total abstractions, but they can be as specific in your mind as you want and need them to be. You only need to ask them. Jesus himself, at the end of the workbook, assures us, “Of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless” (W.pII.ep.6:8).

There is also nothing wrong with seeking help and support from another specific individual person as long as that is how you perceive yourself. You would want to be sure you ask someone who is open-minded and nonjudgmental and who can recognize the value of what you are experiencing — and that need not be a student of A Course in Miracles.

But a caution to consider, that you don’t make repetition of the experience a goal in itself. The lessons of forgiveness can take many different forms, and this kind of experience is only one of them. If it will be helpful and you are willing, more opportunities will present themselves. But in the meantime, any of the more specific forms of fear — which may show up as anxiety, anger, pain, stress, depression, etc. — are just as valuable in the process of healing your mind and releasing the fear.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 22

ACIM Text Reading for April 22
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

IX. The Cloud of Guilt

Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son. The guilty always condemn, and having done so they will still condemn, linking the future to the past as is the ego’s law. Fidelity to this law lets no light in, for it demands fidelity to darkness and forbids awakening. The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty, and so they must condemn. Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene, if you would free yourself. Atonement stands between them, like a lamp shining so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you bound yourself will disappear.

Release from guilt is the ego’s whole undoing. Make no one fearful, for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego’s harsh commandments you bring its condemnation on yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith makes the power of belief, and where it is invested. determines its reward. For faith is always given what is treasured, and what is treasured is returned to you.

The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in. Be faithful unto darkness and you will not see, because your faith will be rewarded as you gave it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past, the future will be like it. Whatever you hold dear you think is yours. The power of your valuing will make it so.

Atonement brings a re-evaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your mind without distinction. Therefore you cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true for you as innocence. You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past, and see him not. When you condemn a brother you are saying, ‘I who was guilty choose to remain so’. You have denied his freedom, and by so doing you have denied the witness unto yours. You could as easily have freed him from the past, and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it. And in his freedom would have been your own.

Lay not his guilt upon him, for his guilt lies in his secret thought that he has done this unto you. Would you, then, teach him he is right in his delusion? The idea that the guiltless Son of God can attack himself and make himself guilty is insane. In any form, in anyone, believe this not. For sin and condemnation are the same, and the belief in one is faith in the other, calling for punishment instead of love. Nothing can justify insanity, and to call for punishment upon yourself must be insane.

See no one, then, as guilty, and you will affirm the truth of guiltlessness unto yourself. In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you. Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part. Those whom you see as guilty become the witnesses to guilt in you, and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.

In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you. Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part. Those whom you see as guilty become the witnesses to guilt in you, and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.

Guilt makes you blind, for while you see one spot of guilt within you, you will not see the light. And by projecting it the world seems dark, and shrouded in your guilt. You throw a dark veil over it, and cannot see it because you cannot look within. You are afraid of what you would see there, but it is not there. The thing you fear is gone. If you would look within you would see only the Atonement, shining in quiet and in peace upon the altar to your Father.

Do not be afraid to look within. The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you, and bids you not to look. Instead, it bids you look upon your brothers, and see the guilt in them. Yet this you cannot do without remaining blind. For those who see their brothers in the dark, and guilty in the dark in which they shroud them, are too afraid to look upon the light within. Within you is not what you believe is there, and what you put your faith in. Within you is the holy sign of perfect faith your Father has in you. He does not value you as you do. He knows Himself, and knows the truth in you. He knows there is no difference, for He knows not of differences. Can you see guilt where God knows there is perfect innocence? You can deny His knowledge, but you cannot change it. Look, then, upon the light He placed within you, and learn that what you feared was there has been replaced with love.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 22

Lesson 111

REVIEW III

Introduction

Our next review begins today. We will review two recent lessons every day for ten successive days of practicing. We will observe a special format for these practice periods, that you are urged to follow just as closely as you can.

We understand, of course, that it may be impossible for you to undertake what is suggested here as optimal each day and every hour of the day. Learning will not be hampered when you miss a practice period because it is impossible at the appointed time. Nor is it necessary that you make excessive efforts to be sure that you catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals are not our aim, and would defeat our goal.

But learning will be hampered when you skip a practice period because you are unwilling to devote the time to it that you are asked to give. Do not deceive yourself in this. Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations that are poorly suited to your practicing from those that you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.

Those practice periods that you have lost because you did not want to do them, for whatever reason, should be done as soon as you have changed your mind about your goal. You are unwilling to cooperate in practicing salvation only if it interferes with goals you hold more dear. When you withdraw the value given them, allow your practice periods to be replacements for your litanies to them. They gave you nothing. But your practicing can offer everything to you. And so accept their offering and be at peace.

The format you should use for these reviews is this: Devote five minutes twice a day, or longer if you would prefer it, to considering the thoughts that are assigned. Read over the ideas and comments that are written down for each day’s exercise. And then begin to think about them, while letting your mind relate them to your needs, your seeming problems and all your concerns.

Place the ideas within your mind, and let it use them as it chooses. Give it faith that it will use them wisely, being helped in its decisions by the One Who gave the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews, the means the Holy Spirit uses will not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come to your assistance. Give direction at the outset; then lean back in quiet faith, and let the mind employ the thoughts you gave as they were given you for it to use.

You have been given them in perfect trust; in perfect confidence that you would use them well; in perfect faith that you would see their messages and use them for yourself. Offer them to your mind in that same trust and confidence and faith. It will not fail. It is the Holy Spirit’s chosen means for your salvation. Since it has His trust, His means must surely merit yours as well.

We emphasize the benefits to you if you devote the first five minutes of the day to your reviews, and also give the last five minutes of your waking day to them. If this cannot be done, at least try to divide them so you undertake one in the morning, and the other in the hour just before you go to sleep.

The exercises to be done throughout the day are equally important, and perhaps of even greater value. You have been inclined to practice only at appointed times, and then go on your way to other things, without applying what you learned to them. As a result, you have gained little reinforcement, and have not given your learning a fair chance to prove how great are its potential gifts to you. Here is another chance to use it well.

In these reviews, we stress the need to let your learning not lie idly by between your longer practice periods. Attempt to give your daily two ideas a brief but serious review each hour. Use one on the hour, and the other one a half an hour later. You need not give more than just a moment to each one. Repeat it, and allow your mind to rest a little time in silence and in peace. Then turn to other things, but try to keep the thought with you, and let it serve to help you keep your peace throughout the day as well.

If you are shaken, think of it again. These practice periods are planned to help you form the habit of applying what you learn each day to everything you do. Do not repeat the thought and lay it down. Its usefulness is limitless to you. And it is meant to serve you in all ways, all times and places, and whenever you need help of any kind. Try, then, to take it with you in the business of the day and make it holy, worthy of God’s Son, acceptable to God and to your Self.

Each day’s review assignments will conclude with a restatement of the thought to use each hour, and the one to be applied on each half hour as well. Forget them not. This second chance with each of these ideas will bring such large advances that we come from these reviews with learning gains so great we will continue on more solid ground, with firmer footsteps and with stronger faith.

Do not forget how little you have learned.
Do not forget how much you can learn now.
Do not forget your Father’s need of you,
As you review these thoughts He gave to you.

Lesson 111

For morning and evening review:

(91) Miracles are seen in light.

I cannot see in darkness. Let the light of holiness and
truth light up my mind, and let me see the innocence
within.

(92) Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

I see through strength, the gift of God to me.
My weakness is the dark His gift dispels, by giving
me His strength to take its place.

On the hour:

Miracles are seen in light.

On the half hour:

Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1117: You mentioned in an earlier answer that recalling the past was a defense against the truth. I know from reading A Course in Miracles that sickness is also one of these defenses. Can you give a list of other common defenses?

A: Since the guilt that arises as the result of the mind’s choice for separation is projected on to the body, everything pertaining to the body is a defense against the truth because it was made as a substitute for the oneness that was abandoned when separation was chosen. A list of defenses contains everything we choose to use to defend and protect belief in separation. It is a long list indeed. Anything that proves the world “real” in our experience defends the mind’s belief in it, thereby denying the truth of oneness. This is the mind’s way of dissociating from itself in its attempt to remain separate from its Source. The truth, however, is that there is no defense against the truth; it can be denied, forgotten, blocked from awareness, but it cannot be changed or extinguished. We read on the first page of the text: “Nothing real (truth) can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists” (T.in.2.3) . It follows that the illusory existence of what is not real (ego/ world) requires constant defense in order for the mind to sustain belief in it by its choice. Thus, the entire made-up physical universe is a defense. Obviously we cannot undo the belief in separation by crossing defenses off our list.

However, we learn in the Course that everything made as a defense against the truth can be used by the Holy Spirit to lead to the truth. Through the process of forgiveness, the entire defense strategy of the ego is transformed into a classroom for learning to accept the truth. The body and the world lose their power to defend against the truth when they are seen as projections of the mind. Willingness to apply this important principle in any situation strengthens belief in the power of the mind and weakens the ego’s defense arsenal. There is no need to fight against the defenses. They need only be recognized as a smokescreen used by the ego to keep truth from awareness. They reflect the mind’s choice to identify with the ego and to forget that it ever made a choice. One of the important goals of the Course is to uncover the ego’s deceptive scheme and expose its defenses so the mind can choose to correct the error of believing in separation and accept its true identity as mind. Anything outside of the mind that is perceived as having any positive or negative effect on the mind’s perfect peace is a defense against it and therefore against the truth. It constitutes a denial of the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love and abides in perfect peace. Being willing to see the ego’s defense strategy at work in every relationship is the beginning of its undoing by the mere fact that it has been exposed. Not justifying the mind’s projections lessens their effectiveness as defenses; not defending the defenses weakens them. Through this gentle practice, the ego’s grip is loosened and eventually undone. The defense list fades and is erased.

this is practical course

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for April 21

ACIM Text Reading for April 21

Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World

VIII. From Perception to Knowledge

All healing is release from the past. That is why the Holy Spirit is the only Healer. He teaches that the past does not exist, a fact which belongs to the sphere of knowledge, and which therefore no one in the world can know. It would indeed be impossible to be in the world with this knowledge. For the mind that knows this unequivocally knows also it dwells in eternity, and utilises no perception at all. It therefore does not consider where it is, because the concept ‘where’ does not mean anything to it. It knows that it is everywhere, just as it has everything, and forever.

The very real difference between perception and knowledge becomes quite apparent if you consider this: There is nothing partial about knowledge. Every aspect is whole, and therefore no aspect is separate. You are an aspect of knowledge, being in the Mind of God, Who knows you. All knowledge must be yours, for in you is all knowledge. Perception, at its loftiest, is never complete. Even the perception of the Holy Spirit, as perfect as perception can be, is without meaning in Heaven. Perception can reach everywhere under His guidance, for the vision of Christ beholds everything in light. Yet no perception, however holy, will last forever.

Perfect perception, then, has many elements in common with knowledge, making transfer to it possible. Yet the last step must be taken by God, because the last step in your redemption, which seems to be in the future, was accomplished by God in your creation. The separation has not interrupted it. Creation cannot be interrupted. The separation is merely a faulty formulation of reality, with no effect at all. The miracle, without a function in Heaven, is needful here. Aspects of reality can still be seen, and they will replace aspects of unreality. Aspects of reality can be seen in everything and everywhere. Yet only God can gather them together, by crowning them as one with the final gift of eternity.

Apart from the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit has no function. He is not separate from either, being in the Mind of Both, and knowing that Mind is one. He is a Thought of God, and God has given Him to you because He has no Thoughts He does not share. His message speaks of timelessness in time, and that is why Christ’s vision looks on everything with love. Yet even Christ’s vision is not His reality. The golden aspects of reality that spring to light under His loving gaze are partial glimpses of the Heaven that lies beyond them.

This is the miracle of creation; that it is one forever. Every miracle you offer to the Son of God is but the true perception of one aspect of the whole. Though every aspect is the whole, you cannot know this until you see that every aspect is the same, perceived in the same light and therefore one. Everyone seen without the past thus brings you nearer to the end of time by bringing healed and healing sight into the darkness, and enabling the world to see. For light must come into the darkened world to make Christ’s vision possible even here. Help Him to give His gift of light to all who think they wander in the darkness, and let Him gather them into His quiet sight that makes them one.

They are all the same; all beautiful and equal in their holiness. And He will offer them unto His Father as they were offered unto Him. There is one miracle, as there is one reality. And every miracle you do contains them all, as every aspect of reality you see blends quietly into the one Reality of God. The only miracle that ever was is God’s most holy Son, created in the one Reality that is his Father. Christ’s vision is His gift to you. His Being is His Father’s gift to Him.

Be you content with healing, for Christ’s gift you can bestow, and your Father’s gift you cannot lose. Offer Christ’s gift to everyone and everywhere, for miracles, offered the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, attune you to reality. The Holy Spirit knows your part in the redemption, and who are seeking you and where to find them. Knowledge is far beyond your individual concern. You who are part of it and all of it need only realise that it is of the Father, not of you. Your role in the redemption leads you to it by re-establishing its oneness in your mind.

When you have seen your brothers as yourself you will be released to knowledge, having learned to free yourself through Him Who knows of freedom. Unite with me under the holy banner of His teaching, and as we grow in strength the power of God’s Son will move in us, and we will leave no one untouched and no one left alone. And suddenly time will be over, and we will all unite in the eternity of God the Father. The holy light you saw outside yourself, in every miracle you offered to your brothers, will be returned to you. And knowing that the light is in you, your creations will be there with you, as you are in your Father.

As miracles in this world join you to your brothers, so do your creations establish your fatherhood in Heaven. You are the witnesses to the Fatherhood of God, and He has given you the power to create the witnesses to yours, which is as His. Deny a brother here, and you deny the witnesses to your fatherhood in Heaven. The miracle that God created is perfect, as are the miracles that you established in His Name. They need no healing, nor do you, when you accept them.

Yet in this world your perfection is un-witnessed. God knows it, but you do not, and so you do not share His witness to it. Nor do you witness unto Him, for reality is witnessed to as one. God waits your witness to His Son and to Himself. The miracles you do on earth are lifted up to Heaven and to Him. They witness to what you do not know, and as they reach the gates of Heaven, God will open them. For never would He leave His Own beloved Son outside them, and beyond Himself.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 21

Lesson 110
I am as God created me.

We will repeat today’s idea from time to time. For this one thought would be enough to save you and the world, if you believed that it is true. Its truth would mean that you have made no changes in yourself that have reality, nor changed the universe so that what God created was replaced by fear and evil, misery and death. If you remain as God created you fear has no meaning, evil is not real, and misery and death do not exist.

Today’s idea is therefore all you need to let complete correction heal your mind, and give you perfect vision that will heal all the mistakes that any mind has made at any time or place. It is enough to heal the past and make the future free. It is enough to let the present be accepted as it is. It is enough to let time be the means for all the world to learn escape from time, and every change that time appears to bring in passing by.

If you remain as God created you, appearances cannot replace the truth, health cannot turn to sickness, nor can death be substitute for life, or fear for love. All this has not occurred, if you remain as God created you. You need no thought but just this one, to let redemption come to light the world and free it from the past.

In this one thought is all the past undone; the present saved to quietly extend into a timeless future. If you are as God created you, then there has been no separation of your mind from His, no split between your mind and other minds, and only unity within your own.

The healing power of today’s idea is limitless. It is the birthplace of all miracles, the great restorer of the truth to the awareness of the world. Practice today’s idea with gratitude. This is the truth that comes to set you free. This is the truth that God has promised you. This is the Word in which all sorrow ends.

For your five-minute practice periods, begin with this quotation from the text:

I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing.
And I am His Son.

Then, with this statement firmly in your mind, try to discover in your mind the Self Who is the holy Son of God Himself.

Seek Him within you Who is Christ in you, the Son of God and brother to the world; the Savior Who has been forever saved, with power to save whoever touches Him, however lightly, asking for the Word that tells him he is brother unto Him.

You are as God created you. Today honor your Self. Let graven images you made to be the Son of God instead of what he is be worshipped not today. Deep in your mind the holy Christ in you is waiting your acknowledgment as you. And you are lost and do not know yourself while He is unacknowledged and unknown.

Seek Him today, and find Him. He will be your Savior from all idols you have made. For when you find Him, you will understand how worthless are your idols, and how false the images which you believed were you. Today we make a great advance to truth by letting idols go, and opening our hands and hearts and minds to God today.

We will remember Him throughout the day with thankful hearts and loving thoughts for all who meet with us today. For it is thus that we remember Him. And we will say, that we may be reminded of His Son, our holy Self, the Christ in each of us:

I am as God created me.

Let us declare this truth as often as we can. This is the Word of God that sets you free. This is the key that opens up the gate of Heaven, and that lets you enter in the peace of God and His eternity.

For a Free Downloadable Audio of Today’s Text Reading & Workbook Lesson, Click HERE

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #89: The course says we are not our body. The Christ Self is in us and we are not in a body. The real Self the Christ is in Holiness. Where are we then? Everything is inside but not inside the body then where? Is it the place before I became a body? Where was I before I took a body form? Is that where the Christ and my real Self is? If individual consciousness does not exist there, how does one know the place when he is there? Or is (not knowing) real knowledge.

A: We are at a distinct disadvantage in trying to answer these questions, which are everyone’s questions. The reason is that we have no way of conceptualizing or understanding what does not have physical (quantifiable) dimensions. And that is precisely what the Christ Self is — beyond time and space entirely. Therefore “where” does not apply — “where” always has spatial connotations, as do the terms inside and outside. We have no concepts nor a language that can encompass non-physical reality. And to take this one step further, we are trying to understand a realm of reality which we have chosen to banish from our awareness, and/or have changed its true meaning entirely. Moreover, the body (i.e., the brain) was specifically made not to understand (T.18.IX.4,5). So we are really severely “disabled” when we start grappling with these issues, and yet they are vitally important to us.

Indeed, we can say that the Christ Self is nowhere, which is “where” we were before we took bodily form, and we will have no trouble recognizing it when we return because it is not a place, and besides, we never left. Okay, now that you are even more confused, let’s see if we can unravel this a bit:

We are told that “to be without a body is to be in our natural state” (W.pI.72.9:3), but that “what you have done to hurt your mind has made it so unnatural that it does not remember what is natural to it. And when you are told what is natural, you cannot understand it” (T.16.II.3:1,2). This is our predicament. We have hurt our minds by denying we have a mind and thinking instead that we are bodies. We continue to do this — although we are not aware that we are making these choices — so that we can keep the separation going. Thus we think physical existence is real, and our true Self is an unknown and distant reality. When we no longer have a need to deny our true Identity as spirit, as Christ, we will simply be what we always have been. We never truly “became” a body. We remain decision-making minds simply fantasizing or hallucinating that we are something other than our Christ Self. As a result, there would not be a problem recognizing “where” we are when we no longer are “in” a body, because we are never “in” a body at all. The mind just chooses to think it is a body. Our body is just an idea in the mind, and since “ideas leave not their source,” it has no reality outside the mind that thinks it. That is why Jesus concentrates so much on the need to look within our minds with him — so that we would become aware of this thought system, which we have chosen to govern all of our thinking and perception.

The following quote nicely expresses some of these points: “The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. I can make you aware of the conditions of truth, but the experience is of God. Together we can meet its conditions, but truth will dawn upon you of itself” (T.8.VI.9:6,7,8,9,10,11).

The conditions Jesus is talking about of course pertain to forgiveness, which is why it is the central theme of his teachings. A major effect of practicing forgiveness is that our identification with the body automatically begins to weaken and is replaced by more frequent perceptions of our oneness with each other beyond the body. So as we continue to forgive ourselves and others, we gradually allow back into our awareness what we had been denying by believing we are individuals living in a physical world with separate and competing interests and goals. As we make our way back up the ladder separation led us down (T.28.III.1:2), our identity shifts slowly and the kinds of questions you raise begin to fade and ultimately disappear, because they have come from the perspective of bodily, individualized existence, and that perspective has now shifted.

guiltless mind