ACIM Text Reading for April 18
Chapter 13 ~ The Guiltless World
V. The Two Emotions
I have said you have but two emotions, love and fear. One is changeless but continually exchanged, being offered by the eternal to the eternal. In this exchange it is extended, for it increases as it is given. The other has many forms, for the content of individual illusions differs greatly. Yet they have one thing in common; they are all insane. They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. For they are meaningful only to their maker, and so they have no meaning at all. In this world their maker moves alone, for only he perceives them.
Each one peoples his world with figures from his individual past, and it is because of this that private worlds do differ. Yet the figures that he sees were never real, for they are made up only of his reactions to his brothers, and do not include their reactions to him. Therefore, he does not see he made them, and that they are not whole. For these figures have no witnesses, being perceived in one separate mind only.
It is through these strange and shadowy figures that the insane relate to their insane world. For they see only those who remind them of these images, and it is to them that they relate. Thus do they communicate with those who are not there, and it is they who answer them. And no one hears their answer save him who called upon them, and he alone believes they answered him. Projection makes perception, and you cannot see beyond it. Again and again have you attacked your brother, because you saw in him a shadow figure in your private world. And thus it is you must attack yourself first, for what you attack is not in others. Its only reality is in your own mind, and by attacking others you are literally attacking what is not there.
The delusional can be very destructive, for they do not recognise they have condemned themselves. They do not wish to die, yet they will not let condemnation go. And so they separate into their private worlds, where everything is disordered, and where what is within appears to be without. Yet what is within they do not see, for the reality of their brothers they cannot recognise.
You have but two emotions, yet in your private world you react to each of them as though it were the other. For love cannot abide in a world apart, where when it comes it is not recognised. If you see your own hatred as your brother, you are not seeing him. Everyone draws nigh unto what he loves, and recoils from what he fears. And you react with fear to love, and draw away from it. Yet fear attracts you, and believing it is love, you call it to yourself. Your private world is filled with figures of fear you have invited into it, and all the love your brothers offer you, you do not see.
As you look with open eyes upon your world, it must occur to you that you have withdrawn into insanity. You see what is not there, and you hear what makes no sound. Your manifestations of emotions are the opposite of what the emotions are. You communicate with no one, and you are as isolated from reality as if you were alone in all the universe. In your madness you overlook reality completely, and you see only your own split mind everywhere you look. God calls you and you do not hear, for you are preoccupied with your own voice. And the vision of Christ is not in your sight, for you look upon yourself alone.
Little child, would you offer this to your Father? For if you offer it to yourself, you are offering it to Him. And He will not return it, for it is unworthy of you because it is unworthy of Him. Yet He would release you from it and set you free. His sane Answer tells you what you have offered yourself is not true, but His offering to you has never changed. You who know not what you do can learn what insanity is, and look beyond it. It is given you to learn how to deny insanity, and come forth from your private world in peace. You will see all that you denied in your brothers because you denied it in yourself. For you will love them, and by drawing nigh unto them you will draw them to yourself, perceiving them as witnesses to the reality you share with God. I am with them as I am with you, and we will draw them from their private worlds, for as we are united so would we unite with them. The Father welcomes all of us in gladness, and gladness is what we should offer Him. For every Son of God is given you to whom God gave Himself. And it is God Whom you must offer them, to recognise His gift to you.
Vision depends on light. You cannot see in darkness. Yet in darkness, in the private world of sleep, you see in dreams although your eyes are closed. And it is here that what you see you made. But let the darkness go and all you made you will no longer see, for sight of it depends upon denying vision. Yet from denying vision it does not follow you cannot see. But this is what denial does, for by it you accept insanity, believing you can make a private world and rule your own perception. Yet for this, light must be excluded. Dreams disappear when light has come and you can see.
Do not seek vision through your eyes, for you made your way of seeing that you might see in darkness, and in this you are deceived. Beyond this darkness, and yet still within you, is the vision of Christ, Who looks on all in light. Your ‘vision’ comes from fear, as His from love. And He sees for you, as your witness to the real world. He is the Holy Spirit’s manifestation, looking always on the real world, and calling forth its witnesses and drawing them to you. He loves what He sees within you, and He would extend it. And He will not return unto the Father until He has extended your perception even unto Him. And there perception is no more, for He has returned you to the Father with Him.
You have but two emotions, and one you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing, and different worlds arise from their different sights. See through the vision that is given you, for through Christ’s vision He beholds Himself. And seeing what He is, He knows His Father. Beyond your darkest dreams He sees God’s guiltless Son within you, shining in perfect radiance that is undimmed by your dreams. And this you will see as you look with Him, for His vision is His gift of love to you, given Him of the Father for you.
The Holy Spirit is the Light in which Christ stands revealed. And all who would behold Him can see Him, for they have asked for light. Nor will they see Him alone, for He is no more alone than they are. Because they saw the Son, they have risen in Him to the Father. And all this will they understand, because they looked within and saw beyond the darkness the Christ in them, and recognised Him. In the sanity of His vision they looked upon themselves with love, seeing themselves as the Holy Spirit sees them. And with this vision of the truth in them came all the beauty of the world to shine upon them.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 18
Truth will correct all errors in my mind.
What can correct illusions but the truth? And what are errors but illusions that remain unrecognized for what they are? Where truth has entered errors disappear. They merely vanish, leaving not a trace by which to be remembered. They are gone because, without belief, they have no life. And so they disappear to nothingness, returning whence they came. From dust to dust they come and go, for only truth remains.
Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is? How it would feel? Try to remember when there was a time,–perhaps a minute, maybe even less–when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.
And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come. Without illusions there could be no fear, no doubt and no attack. When truth has come all pain is over, for there is no room for transitory thoughts and dead ideas to linger in your mind. Truth occupies your mind completely, liberating you from all beliefs in the ephemeral. They have no place because the truth has come, and they are nowhere. They can not be found, for truth is everywhere forever, now.
When truth has come it does not stay a while, to disappear or change to something else. It does not shift and alter in its form, nor come and go and go and come again. It stays exactly as it always was, to be depended on in every need, and trusted with a perfect trust in all the seeming difficulties and the doubts that the appearances the world presents engender. They will merely blow away, when truth corrects the errors in your mind.
When truth has come it harbors in its wings the gift of perfect constancy, and love which does not falter in the face of pain, but looks beyond it, steadily and sure. Here is the gift of healing, for the truth needs no defense, and therefore no attack is possible. Illusions can be brought to truth to be corrected. But the truth stands far beyond illusions, and can not be brought to them to turn them into truth.
Truth does not come and go nor shift nor change, in this appearance now and then in that, evading capture and escaping grasp. It does not hide. It stands in open light, in obvious accessibility. It is impossible that anyone could seek it truly, and would not succeed. Today belongs to truth. Give truth its due, and it will give you yours. You were not meant to suffer and to die. Your Father wills these dreams be gone. Let truth correct them all.
We do not ask for what we do not have. We merely ask for what belongs to us, that we may recognize it as our own. Today we practice on the happy note of certainty that has been born of truth. The shaky and unsteady footsteps of illusion are not our approach today. We are as certain of success as we are sure we live and hope and breathe and think. We do not doubt we walk with truth today, and count on it to enter into all the exercises that we do this day.
Begin by asking Him Who goes with you upon this undertaking that He be in your awareness as you go with Him. You are not made of flesh and blood and bone, but were created by the selfsame Thought which gave the gift of life to Him as well. He is your Brother, and so like to you your Father knows that You are both the same. It is your Self you ask to go with you, and how could He be absent where you are?
Truth will correct all errors in your mind which tell you you could be apart from Him. You speak to Him today, and make your pledge to let His function be fulfilled through you. To share His function is to share His joy. His confidence is with you, as you say:
Truth will correct all errors in my mind,
And I will rest in Him Who is my Self.
Then let Him lead you gently to the truth, which will envelop you and give you peace so deep and tranquil that you will return to the familiar world reluctantly.
And yet you will be glad to look again upon this world. For you will bring with you the promise of the changes which the truth that goes with you will carry to the world. They will increase with every gift you give of five small minutes, and the errors that surround the world will be corrected as you let them be corrected in your mind.
Do not forget your function for today. Each time you tell yourself with confidence, “Truth will correct all errors in my mind,” you speak for all the world and Him Who would release the world, as He would set you free.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1080: Can you forgive the ego?
A: No, you cannot forgive an illusion. To say you forgive the ego would give it a reality it does not have, and would mean that the separation did occur. Forgiveness is a change of mind, whereby belief in the illusion of separation (the ego) is replaced with the memory of God’s Love (the Holy Spirit). The separation did not happen (T.6.II.10) and therefore there is nothing to forgive, which is why Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles : “The miracle (forgiveness) does nothing. All it does is to undo. And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done” (T.28.I.1:1,2,3) . Forgiveness restores to awareness the power of the mind to choose. In another passage Jesus makes this point again in a slightly different way: “…forgive the Son of God for what he did not do ” (T.17.III.1:5) . Nothing anyone does has any effect on our peace. Peace is thrown away when the mind decides to side with the ego. The mind then “forgives” itself by choosing the Holy Spirit instead. Choosing the ego, which is a choice for nothing, is thus undone/ forgiven.
Q #1081: It is said that without God’s wish nothing can move. Everything is God’s wish. Thy will be done. Then why give a credit to God for goodness and blame the ego for evil? Is not God beyond that duality?
A: Yes, God is beyond the duality of good and evil. There are no words that truly define or describe God. Anything that we say about Him comes from the dualistic perspective of the split mind. As Jesus tells us: “Everything you recognize you identify with externals, something outside itself. You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:6,7). The ego thus uses its own descriptive terms for its version of God, but they have nothing to do with God. As a great philosopher once said, “God made man in his image, and man returned the favor.” This man-made image incorporates opposing concepts such as good and evil, which are inherent in the ego’s thought system. Since the ego’s very existence is sustained by opposition and differences, the God it claims as father has to share these characteristics. Most important to the ego’s God is the relationship He is imagined to have with His separated Sons. In this relationship we find the source of all the ideas about God’s supposed Will for His separated Sons. We learn in the Course that God cannot have a separate Will for separated Sons, since separation from God is impossible (T.6.II.10) . Thus, God does not move anything, nor could He possibly have any awareness of the world of form. This would be true even if the world were not made as an attack on Him, which is impossible since the world is made precisely to be perceived as outside the Mind of God. Oneness with His Son is all He knows. That is His Will.
A Course in Miracles uses the term “will” as a property of spirit, while “wish” is an activity of the ego. God’s Will, as defined in the “Glossary-Index” by Kenneth Wapnick, is “the expression of God’s being” (Glossary-Index, p. 222) . In other words, it is Who He is, and it is a Being/Will He shares with His Son. That Will is reflected in the dream in the part of the mind that remembers God (the Holy Spirit): “The Holy Spirit is the way in which God’s Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. Both Heaven and earth are in you, because the call of both is in your mind (T.5.II.8:4,5). In this passage Jesus gives new meaning to the phrase from the Lord’s Prayer: “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” He refers to the split mind that chooses between the ego (earth) and the Holy Spirit (the memory of Heaven). One could say that “evil” lies in choosing the ego and goodness in the choice for the Holy Spirit, but the Course would not make that kind of distinction because it tells us we are choosing between the truth and an illusion. Illusion cannot be given reality, or the power of “evil” to have effects. It simply is not real. What most distinguishes the Course’s teaching about God’s Will from traditional Christian belief is that God’s Will is not done on earth; He does not know about earth, bodies, separation, or duality. He does not even know goodness because the idea of goodness is made up in contrast to evil. The Course uses the dualistic language and concepts that we understand only to lead us to the oneness we have forgotten. Though it has been forgotten, it has not been extinguished nor changed in any way. No matter how much we believe the madness of the ego we remain one with God’s Will: “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” (T.13.XI.5:4). Therein lies our hope and comfort.