ACIM Text Reading for May 2
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
VII. Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit
What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together, not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.
The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are, being within you. Yet it can be recognised or unrecognised, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.
It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints on what the ‘unknowing’ are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all, but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have, and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.
Our emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realise that salvation must come to you this way, if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they are brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them. You cannot have them both, for each denies the other. Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go, because the other is seen in the same place.
Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness, and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defence is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit uses defences on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to His purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them. Defences, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self- destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfil what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that, if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.
The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgement must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.
Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognise what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one Purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honour to you through Him, and through Him unto God.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 2
Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
Here is the answer to your search for peace. Here is the key to meaning in a world that seems to make no sense. Here is the way to safety in apparent dangers that appear to threaten you at every turn, and bring uncertainty to all your hopes of ever finding quietness and peace. Here are all questions answered; here the end of all uncertainty ensured at last.
The unforgiving mind is full of fear, and offers love no room to be itself; no place where it can spread its wings in peace and soar above the turmoil of the world. The unforgiving mind is sad, without the hope of respite and release from pain. It suffers and abides in misery, peering about in darkness, seeing not, yet certain of the danger lurking there.
The unforgiving mind is torn with doubt, confused about itself and all it sees; afraid and angry, weak and blustering, afraid to go ahead, afraid to stay, afraid to waken or to go to sleep, afraid of every sound, yet more afraid of stillness; terrified of darkness, yet more terrified at the approach of light. What can the unforgiving mind perceive but its damnation? What can it behold except the proof that all its sins are real?
The unforgiving mind sees no mistakes, but only sins. It looks upon the world with sightless eyes, and shrieks as it beholds its own projections rising to attack its miserable parody of life. It wants to live, yet wishes it were dead. It wants forgiveness, yet it sees no hope. It wants escape, yet can conceive of none because it sees the sinful everywhere.
The unforgiving mind is in despair, without the prospect of a future which can offer anything but more despair. Yet it regards its judgment of the world as irreversible, and does not see it has condemned itself to this despair. It thinks it cannot change, for what it sees bears witness that its judgment is correct. It does not ask, because it thinks it knows. It does not question, certain it is right.
Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.
Each unforgiving mind presents you with an opportunity to teach your own how to forgive itself. Each one awaits release from hell through you, and turns to you imploringly for Heaven here and now. It has no hope, but you become its hope. And as its hope, do you become your own. The unforgiving mind must learn through your forgiveness that it has been saved from hell. And as you teach salvation, you will learn. Yet all your teaching and your learning will be not of you, but of the Teacher Who was given you to show the way to you.
Today we practice learning to forgive. If you are willing, you can learn today to take the key to happiness, and use it on your own behalf. We will devote ten minutes in the morning, and at night another ten, to learning how to give forgiveness and receive forgiveness, too.
The unforgiving mind does not believe that giving and receiving are the same. Yet we will try to learn today that they are one through practicing forgiveness toward one whom you think of as an enemy, and one whom you consider as a friend. And as you learn to see them both as one, we will extend the lesson to yourself, and see that their escape included yours.
Begin the longer practice periods by thinking of someone you do not like, who seems to irritate you, or to cause regret in you if you should meet him; one you actively despise, or merely try to overlook. It does not matter what the form your anger takes. You probably have chosen him already. He will do.
Now close your eyes and see him in your mind, and look at him a while. Try to perceive some light in him somewhere; a little gleam which you had never noticed. Try to find some little spark of brightness shining through the ugly picture that you hold of him. Look at this picture till you see a light somewhere within it, and then try to let this light extend until it covers him, and makes the picture beautiful and good.
Look at this changed perception for a while, and turn your mind to one you call a friend. Try to transfer the light you learned to see around your former “enemy” to him. Perceive him now as more than friend to you, for in that light his holiness shows you your savior, saved and saving, healed and whole.
Then let him offer you the light you see in him, and let your “enemy” and friend unite in blessing you with what you gave. Now are you one with them, and they with you. Now have you been forgiven by yourself. Do not forget, throughout the day, the role forgiveness plays in bringing happiness to every unforgiving mind, with yours among them. Every hour tell yourself:
Forgiveness is the key to happiness. I will awaken from the
dream that I am mortal, fallible and full of sin, and know
I am the perfect Son of God.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1258: I am continually confronted by my lack of faith in Jesus, God/Higher Power to actually create change in my mind. I want desperately to believe that I can have joy and peace while living in this world, in this lifetime, but it continually eludes me. And then I fear that my lack of faith is what is creating my lack of well-being (e.g., physical, financial) in many areas of my life. The lack of “evidence” of well-being in my experience makes sustained faith impossible for me. It appears that the small willingness necessary for a change in perception is not really enough to create the miracle for me. I spend so much time in observation of my thoughts and in recognition of my misperceptions. I give those mistakes to Jesus, and nothing changes in my experience or in my mind. Could it be that the Course was not meant to be applicable to everyone?
A: There are very few students who have not held out some hope that their diligent work with A Course in Miracles would somehow lead to the betterment of their situation in the world. It is hard not to want physical, financial, and other levels of well being, and the Course never asks us to give that up or feel that it is wrong to pursue it. It is just telling us that we will never rid ourselves of the true cause of our unhappiness and frustration that way, because the real problem lies in our mind’s choice to project guilt instead of looking at it without judgment. We know all too well that however secure we may feel in terms of external conditions, that security is always precarious — our world today makes that abundantly clear. Therefore, Jesus cautions us, “Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped” (T.31.IV.2:5,6).
Part of us believes that, and part of us doesn’t. Thus our conflicted state of mind. Our investment in believing the body is our reality amounts to an addiction, and our fear of bodily impoverishment and inadequacy is that of an addict’s fear of being without his fix. Jesus explains to us that the source of this investment is the body’s role in protecting us from the devastation we believe is in our minds because we accuse ourselves of having thrown away our wholeness, in our selfish demand for individual existence. “The ego believes that mind is dangerous, and that to make mindless is to heal” (T.8.IX.6:3). As long as we identify with the ego, we will desperately need the body; and even more important, we will need to be successful in the body so that we will never have to go back to the disturbing chaos in our minds. That is the reason we panic when things are not going well.
In view of this, we cannot long sustain the thought that we are as God created us, for that means we are not bodies. But the body, once again, with all its needs and problems, is what protects us from what we fear to face in our minds; so we are caught — wanting to believe what the Course says, yet fearing to go there. Therefore, we find a way to compromise between our devotion to the Course and our devotion to achieving security and stability in the world. This ego strategy then leaves us desolate and despairing when things don’t work out the way we think they should, and then we conclude that our faith is wanting; or the Holy Spirit has turned a deaf ear to our pleas; or our sinfulness is just too great, or we haven’t sacrificed enough, etc. That is exactly where the ego wants us to end up — no longer in touch with the truth about ourselves, the world, Jesus, this course, the Holy Spirit, and God, blaming something or someone for our miserable state.
Fear is the problem, not a lack of faith or belief. Therefore, just try to be gentle and patient, as you would with anyone you encounter who is frightened. Accept where you are in your process, and ask Jesus to help you look at the real source of your crisis. It is only our fear that makes the Course seem beyond our capability, because as we well know, fear can distort perception and cause us to grasp for anything that promises immediate relief. This course is simply asking us to accept the truth and deny what is false. Again, our fear causes us to complicate this, because fear impels us to erect defenses against it, and then we get lost in the defenses. In the face of the temptation to believe the Course is beyond you, remember Jesus’ many assurances, one comforting example being: “I would not ask you to do things you cannot do, and it is impossible that I could do things you cannot do. Given this, and given this quite literally, nothing can prevent you from doing exactly what I ask, and everything argues for your doing it. I give you no limits because God lays none upon you” (T.8.IX.8:2,3,4).