ACIM Text Reading for April 16
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
III. The Fear of Redemption
You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realise its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognises it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.
Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid. For this memory would instantly restore you to your proper place, and it is this place that you have sought to leave. Your fear of attack is nothing compared to your fear of love. You would be willing to look even upon your savage wish to kill God’s Son, if you did not believe that it saves you from love. For this wish caused the separation, and you have protected it because you do not want the separation healed. You realise that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.
In honesty, is it not harder for you to say ‘I love’ than ‘I hate’? You associate love with weakness and hatred with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness. For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish. The Holy Spirit, then, seems to be attacking your fortress, for you would shut out God, and He does not will to be excluded.
You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little, because you believe that magnitude lies in defiance, and that attack is grandeur. You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, you have used the world to cover your love, and the deeper you go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation, the closer you come to the Love that is hidden there. And it is this that frightens you.
You can accept insanity because you made it, but you cannot accept love because you did not. You would rather be a slave of the crucifixion than a Son of God in redemption. Your individual death seems more valuable than your living oneness, for what is given you is not so dear as what you made. You are more afraid of God than of the ego, and love cannot enter where it is not welcome. But hatred can, for it enters of its own volition and cares not for yours.
You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God’s Son.
And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.
Beneath all the grandiosity you hold so dear is your real call for help. For you call for love to your Father as your Father calls you to Himself. In that place which you have hidden, you will only to unite with the Father, in loving remembrance of Him. You will find this place of truth as you see it in your brothers, for though they may deceive themselves, like you they long for the grandeur that is in them. And perceiving it you will welcome it, and it will be yours. For grandeur is the right of God’s Son, and no illusions can satisfy him or save him from what he is. Only his love is real, and he will be content only with his reality.
Save him from his illusions that you may accept the magnitude of your Father in peace and joy. But exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely. Healing must be as complete as fear, for love cannot enter where there is one spot of fear to mar its welcome.
You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favour. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.
In peace he needed nothing and asked for nothing. In war he demanded everything and found nothing. For how could the gentleness of love respond to his demands, except by departing in peace and returning to the Father? If the Son did not wish to remain in peace, he could not remain at all. For a darkened mind cannot live in the light, and it must seek a place of darkness where it can believe it is where it is not. God did not allow this to happen. Yet you demanded that it happen, and therefore believed that it was so.
To ‘single out’ is to ‘make alone’, and thus make lonely. God did not do this to you. Could He set you apart, knowing that your peace lies in His Oneness? He denied you only your request for pain, for suffering is not of His creation. Having given you creation, He could not take it from you. He could but answer your insane request with a sane answer that would abide with you in your insanity. And this He did. No one who hears His answer but will give up insanity. For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 16
God’s peace and joy are mine.
God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.
No gift is given thus. Such “gifts” are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift. This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.
A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby.
As Heaven’s peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God’s gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours. True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself.
Today accept God’s peace and joy as yours. Let Him complete Himself as He defines completion. You will understand that what completes Him must complete His Son as well. He cannot give through loss. No more can you. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.
Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking of those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Here you denied them to yourself. And here you must return to claim them as your own.
Think of your “enemies” a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God’s gifts to you, and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today. Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy that God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself. Now you can say, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” for you have given what you would receive.
You must succeed today, if you prepare your mind as we suggest. For you have let all bars to peace and joy be lifted up, and what is yours can come to you at last. So tell yourself, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice assure you that the words you speak are true.
Spend your five minutes thus with Him each time you can today, but do not think that less is worthless when you cannot give Him more. At least remember hourly to say the words which call to Him to give you what He wills to give, and wills you to receive. Determine not to interfere today with what He wills. And if a brother seems to tempt you to deny God’s gift to him, see it as but another chance to let yourself receive the gifts of God as yours. Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1025: I have been working with A Course in Miracles for 10 years now. Why is it that I find myself more hateful towards more people that I was ever aware of being before? I totally understand that all my brothers and I are one and that it is not on the level of the body. The more I understand this concept the more I find fault and people generally seem so pitiful in a disgusting way to me. It was a lot easier when I thought I was so kind and loving towards others. I give it to the Holy Spirit for transformation and ask to see this as Jesus does, but some days I have to do that many times and it doesn’t seem to be improving as time goes by.
A: It sounds like you have achieved two of the workbook’s most important goals: paying attention to the mind, and awareness of the attack thoughts that are covered over with layers of “niceness.” This is no small accomplishment, however disconcerting it may be. Your study of the Course is paying off since you are no longer deceived by the “loveliness” of the ego’s disguise. The Holy Spirit’s thought system, as put forth in the Course, has the ego turned inside out. It is not easy to become aware of the hateful feelings that hide behind the socially acceptable and politically correct behavior the world requires. What appeared to be kind and loving in the past has been exposed as an attack. Such it is, simply because it is based on the perception of difference that emanates from belief that the separation is real, which is an attack on the Sonship by obliterating from awareness the oneness God created. Becoming aware of this attack is a very important step on the journey back to the mind that can choose against separation, just as it chose in favor of it. This is how we will find our way out of the ego’s insanity to return to our home with God.
So, you are heading in the right direction. Looking at your predicament in this light and without judgment will lessen the guilt that elicits the negative judgments towards others. Thus, what appears to be the descent into the darkness of negative feelings is actually an ascent out of the ego’s mire. The important thing is not to judge yourself, but to acknowledge that what the Course reveals about the ego is true. By the same token, what it tells us about the memory of love in the right mind is also true. Therein lies our hope.
Although it may seem to be quite powerful, the ego’s hatefulness is not real. It is made up as a defense against the love that lies buried beneath it. Thus, it is fear of love that has brought forth awareness of the hateful feelings toward others. This can only mean that on some level you have acknowledged the love, otherwise you would not defend against it. Jesus reveals the ego’s true fear when he tells us: “You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what [love] it covers (T.13.III.1:6,7,8). If the viciousness of the ego’s defense strategy is kept hidden behind the “niceness” of its deceptive ploys, it will never be brought to the healing light of forgiveness. Allowing yourself to see the hateful judgments brings the truth that much closer. In fact, looking at them without judgment is how to give them to the Holy Spirit, Who sees them as the projection of guilt for mistakenly chosing to take the thought of separation seriously. The ego, on the other hand, sees them as sinful, and relishes both the guilt and the hatred as proof that God’s Son is no longer one with Him and the world is real. This is the Course’s explanation for the feelings you describe. The next step is willingness to accept that this is what is going on, and that the feelings of disgust have nothing to do with the “pitiful” people out there.
Thus, whenever you become aware of the judgments against others, all that is required is the simple acknowledgment that you chose the guilt of hostile feelings because you are afraid of love. If you do not judge yourself, the intensity of the feelings subsides. Little by little, the air is let out of the ego’s inflated guilt balloon and it eventually goes flat. It can then be seen as “a frightened mouse that would attack the universe” (T.22.V.4:3), not a roaring lion to be feared. Therefore you are not more hateful since you have been studying the Course, you have simply tuned in to the roaring mouse. If you learn not to take it seriously it will grow weary and cease to roar. This will lessen guilt, which in turn will diminish the hateful feelings because they come from guilt. One of the most loving things we can do for one another is to acknowledge our mind as the true source of our judgments, and not the perceived “pitifulness” of others. Since this includes everyone, no one will be excluded from the true kindness of the non-judgment that follows. This, more than any of the false sweetness of the ego, is what we all truly need and long for.