ACIM Text Reading for April 10
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
VI. The Vision of Christ
The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return. You cannot sell your soul, but you can sell your awareness of it. You cannot perceive your soul, but you will not know it while you perceive something else as more valuable.
The Holy Spirit is your strength because He knows nothing but the spirit as you. He is perfectly aware that you do not know yourself, and perfectly aware of how to teach you to remember what you are. Because He loves you, He will gladly teach you what He loves, for He wills to share it. Remembering you always, He cannot let you forget your worth. For the Father never ceases to remind Him of His Son, and He never ceases to remind His Son of the Father. God is in your memory because of Him. You chose to forget your Father but you do not really want to do so, and therefore you can decide otherwise. As it was my decision, so is it yours.
You do not want the world. The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. This gives it the only reality it will ever have. Its value is not in itself, but yours is in you. As self-value comes from self-extension, so does the perception of self-value come from the extension of loving thoughts outward. Make the world real unto yourself, for the real world is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so it belongs to you.
Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit’s mission, for He knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ’s eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours. The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In His sight the Son of God is perfect, and He longs to share His vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through Him your Father calls His Son to remember. The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name.
When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for He has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which He would share with you because He knows of the Father’s Love for Him. And knowing this, He would give you what is yours. In perfect peace He waits for you at His Father’s altar, holding out the Father’s Love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit’s blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as His Self.
Every child of God is one in Christ, for his being is in Christ as Christ’s is in God. Christ’s Love for you is His Love for His Father, which He knows because He knows His Father’s Love for Him. When the Holy Spirit has at last led you to Christ at the altar to His Father, perception fuses into knowledge because perception has become so holy that its transfer to holiness is merely its natural extension. Love transfers to love without any interference, for the two are one. As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit’s guidance increases and becomes generalised. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is universal. When this has been accomplished, perception and knowledge have become so similar that they share the unification of the laws of God.
What is one cannot be perceived as separate, and the denial of the separation is the reinstatement of knowledge. At the altar of God, the holy perception of God’s Son becomes so enlightened that light streams into it, and the spirit of God’s Son shines in the Mind of the Father and becomes one with it. Very gently does God shine upon Himself, loving the extension of Himself that is His Son. The world has no purpose as it blends into the Purpose of God. For the real world has slipped quietly into Heaven, where everything eternal in it has always been. There the Redeemer and the redeemed join in perfect love of God and of each other. Heaven is your home, and being in God it must also be in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 10
My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.
Just as God’s Son completes his Father, so your part in it completes your Father’s plan. Salvation must reverse the mad belief in separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways. One function shared by separate minds unites them in one purpose, for each one of them is equally essential to them all.
God’s Will for you is perfect happiness. Why should you choose to go against His Will? The part that He has saved for you to take in working out His plan is given you that you might be restored to what He wills. This part is as essential to His plan as to your happiness. Your joy must be complete to let His plan be understood by those to whom He sends you. They will see their function in your shining face, and hear God calling to them in your happy laugh.
You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Without your joy, His joy is incomplete. Without your smile, the world cannot be saved. While you are sad, the light that God Himself appointed as the means to save the world is dim and lusterless, and no one laughs because all laughter can but echo yours.
You are indeed essential to God’s plan. Just as your light increases every light that shines in Heaven, so your joy on earth calls to all minds to let their sorrows go, and take their place beside you in God’s plan. God’s messengers are joyous, and their joy heals sorrow and despair. They are the proof that God wills perfect happiness for all who will accept their Father’s gifts as theirs.
We will not let ourselves be sad today. For if we do, we fail to take the part that is essential to God’s plan, as well as to our vision. Sadness is the sign that you would play another part, instead of what has been assigned to you by God. Thus do you fail to show the world how great the happiness He wills for you. And so you do not recognize that it is yours.
Today we will attempt to understand joy is our function here. If you are sad, your part is unfulfilled, and all the world is thus deprived of joy, along with you. God asks you to be happy, so the world can see how much He loves His Son, and wills no sorrow rises to abate his joy; no fear besets him to disturb his peace. You are God’s messenger today. You bring His happiness to all you look upon; His peace to everyone who looks on you and sees His message in your happy face.
We will prepare ourselves for this today, in our five-minute practice periods, by feeling happiness arise in us according to our Father’s Will and ours. Begin the exercises with the thought today’s idea contains. Then realize your part is to be happy. Only this is asked of you or anyone who wants to take his place among God’s messengers. Think what this means. You have indeed been wrong in your belief that sacrifice is asked. You but receive according to God’s plan, and never lose or sacrifice or die.
Now let us try to find that joy that proves to us and all the world God’s Will for us. It is your function that you find it here, and that you find it now. For this you came. Let this one be the day that you succeed! Look deep within you, undismayed by all the little thoughts and foolish goals you pass as you ascend to meet the Christ in you.
He will be there. And you can reach Him now. What could you rather look upon in place of Him Who waits that you may look on Him? What little thought has power to hold you back? What foolish goal can keep you from success when He Who calls to you is God Himself?
He will be there. You are essential to His plan. You are His messenger today. And you must find what He would have you give. Do not forget the idea for today between your hourly practice periods. It is your Self Who calls to you today. And it is Him you answer, every time you tell yourself you are essential to God’s plan for the salvation of the world.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #541: I’ve been having trouble with chapter 12, section III, The Investment In Reality. Jesus says that if someone asks something “outrageous” we should do it because it does not matter. This causes me great fear because all my life I’ve been unable to say no and this is something I need to do for my own mental health. I thought that we were under no laws but God’s and he never demands anything. This seems like a demand to me. It makes me feel like I am under anyone’s control if they feel like asking me to do something and get mad if I don’t. I must be interpreting this wrong because it causes fear in me unlike the rest of A Course in Miracles. How could God expect us to bow to others wishes like this. Does this not contradict all the rest?
A: Your confusion with this passage is a common one among Course students, because of our strong ego-based inclination to confuse form with content. Rest assured that Jesus is never talking about behavior but only our underlying thoughts and attitudes. Let’s look at the sentence in the larger context:
“Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. Why would you insist in denying him? For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both. He is asking for salvation, as you are. Poverty is of the ego, and never of God. No ‘outrageous’ requests can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else.
Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of salvation, and this is the only answer” (T.12.III.4:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8; 5:1,2,3).
In this particular passage, our tendency is to focus on the part of the statement “do it” although the words Jesus is emphasizing, indicated by the italics, are concerned with our interpretation of the request and our motivation. His focus is not on “do it” but on “because it does not matter.”
Jesus is asking us to look at our resistance to our brother’s request. If we are in our right mind, we will hear the real request that is beneath the specific words and we will be willing to respond, for, in the words of this passage, “he is asking for salvation.” Our response may or may not be in the form of what he is asking for — not refusing our brother’s request does not mean that we do exactly what he asks behaviorally. But our attitude will not be one of resistance or rejection but an openness to respond with what he is really asking for — the love he does not know is his.
Jesus knew we would misinterpret this passage through our ego confusion of form and content and so he adds a clarification several chapters later:
“I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other. Foolish requests are foolish merely because they conflict, since they always contain some element of specialness. Only the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. And He will teach you how to meet both without losing either” (T.16.I.6:4,5,6,7,8).
Once again, Jesus shifts the focus from the specific behavior to the underlying content and asks us to turn to the Holy Spirit for help, because our own interpretation will view our brother’s request as an attack rather than as a call for love. That’s why we need to ask for help for ourselves first before we can respond to our brother’s real request. So long as we see ourselves as limited and vulnerable, we will view our brother’s request as an unreasonable demand upon us and we will inevitably respond defensively, as if we can be diminished by our brother’s demands. But if we are in our right mind, we will be able to hear our brother’s request for what it really is — a fearful call for love from one who does not believe he deserves love. And we will know that the only response that is called for is love (T.12.I.3,4,5), of which we are not the source.
Through our willingness to be a channel for the love he is calling for, we are saying we are willing to experience the love ourselves. That is why, as Jesus says in the earlier passage, to refuse a brother’s request is to impoverish yourself as well. The anger and the resistance you feel are the cues that the ego is running the show. So while you feel that you may need to keep boundaries to protect yourself, Jesus is saying that it is still possible to respond to your brother’s underlying request for love. For Jesus would never ask us to do anything that we believe would hurt ourselves — we are always the ones who demand that of ourselves.