ACIM Text Reading for May 26
Chapter 17 ~ Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship
II. The Forgiven World
Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely. Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness. And nothing will you value like unto this, nor hold so dear. Nothing that you remember that made your heart sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you. For you will see the Son of God. You will behold the beauty the Holy Spirit loves to look upon, and which He thanks the Father for. He was created to see this for you, until you learned to see it for yourself. And all His teaching leads to seeing it and giving thanks with Him.
This loveliness is not a fantasy. It is the real world, bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun. Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven and there are no fantasies to hide the truth. The bridge between that world and this is so little and so easy to cross, that you could not believe it is the meeting place of worlds so different. Yet this little bridge is the strongest thing that touches on this world at all. This little step, so small it has escaped your notice, is a stride through time into eternity, beyond all ugliness into beauty that will enchant you, and will never cease to cause you wonderment at its perfection.
This step, the smallest ever taken, is still the greatest accomplishment of all in God’s plan of Atonement. All else is learned, but this is given, complete and wholly perfect. No one but Him Who planned salvation could complete it thus. The real world, in its loveliness, you learn to reach. Fantasies are all undone, and no one and nothing remain still bound by them, and by your own forgiveness you are free to see. Yet what you see is only what you made, with the blessing of your forgiveness on it. And with this final blessing of God’s Son upon himself, the real perception, born of the new perspective he has learned, has served its purpose.
The stars will disappear in light, and the sun that opened up the world to beauty will vanish. Perception will be meaningless when it has been perfected, for everything that has been used for learning will have no function. Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations that made perception possible will still occur. The perception of the real world will be so short that you will barely have time to thank God for it. For God will take the last step swiftly, when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him.
The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness. The great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world, and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it. In the light of the real reason that He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all. Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty that gentleness could release.
All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally transforms vision, and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos, removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection. From the forgiven world the Son of God is lifted easily into his home. And there he knows that he has always rested there in peace. Even salvation will become a dream, and vanish from his mind. For salvation is the end of dreams, and with the closing of the dream will have no meaning. Who, awake in Heaven, could dream that there could ever be need of salvation?
How much do you want salvation? It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you. The eagerness of the Holy Spirit to give you this is so intense He would not wait, although He waits in patience. Meet His patience with your impatience at delay in meeting Him. Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer, and walk with Him in trust out of this world, and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 26
Now we review again, this time aware we are preparing for the second part of learning how the truth can be applied. Today we will begin to concentrate on readiness for what will follow next. Such is our aim for this review, and for the lessons following. Thus, we review the recent lessons and their central thoughts in such a way as will facilitate the readiness that we would now achieve.
There is a central theme that unifies each step in the review we undertake, which can be simply stated in these words:
My mind holds only what I think with God.
That is a fact, and represents the truth of What you are and What your Father is. It is this thought by which the Father gave creation to the Son, establishing the Son as co-creator with Himself. It is this thought that fully guarantees salvation to the Son. For in his mind no thoughts can dwell but those his Father shares. Lack of forgiveness blocks this thought from his awareness. Yet it is forever true.
Let us begin our preparation with some understanding of the many forms in which the lack of true forgiveness may be carefully concealed. Because they are illusions, they are not perceived to be but what they are; defenses that protect your unforgiving thoughts from being seen and recognized. Their purpose is to show you something else, and hold correction off through self-deceptions made to take its place.
And yet, your mind holds only what you think with God. Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth. No more than can a child who throws a stick into the ocean change the coming and the going of the tides, the warming of the water by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night. So do we start each practice period in this review with readying our minds to understand the lessons that we read, and see the meaning that they offer us.
Begin each day with time devoted to the preparation of your mind to learn what each idea you will review that day can offer you in freedom and in peace. Open your mind, and clear it of all thoughts that would deceive, and let this thought alone engage it fully, and remove the rest:
My mind holds only what I think with God.
Five minutes with this thought will be enough to set the day along the lines which God appointed, and to place His Mind in charge of all the thoughts you will receive that day.
They will not come from you alone, for they will all be shared with Him. And so each one will bring the message of His Love to you, returning messages of yours to Him. So will communion with the Lord of Hosts be yours, as He Himself has willed it be. And as His Own completion joins with Him, so will He join with you who are complete as you unite with Him, and He with you.
After your preparation, merely read each of the two ideas assigned to you to be reviewed that day. Then close your eyes, and say them slowly to yourself. There is no hurry now, for you are using time for its intended purpose. Let each word shine with the meaning God has given it, as it was given to you through His Voice. Let each idea which you review that day give you the gift that He has laid in it for you to have of Him. And we will use no format for our practicing but this:
Each hour of the day, bring to your mind the thought with which the day began, and spend a quiet moment with it. Then repeat the two ideas you practice for the day unhurriedly, with time enough to see the gifts that they contain for you, and let them be received where they were meant to be.
We add no other thoughts, but let these be the messages they are. We need no more than this to give us happiness and rest, and endless quiet, perfect certainty, and all our Father wills that we receive as the inheritance we have of Him. Each day of practicing, as we review, we close as we began, repeating first the thought that made the day a special time of blessing and of happiness for us; and through our faithfulness restored the world from darkness to the light, from grief to joy, from pain to peace, from sin to holiness.
God offers thanks to you who practice thus the keeping of His Word. And as you give your mind to the ideas for the day again before you sleep, His gratitude surrounds you in the peace wherein He wills you be forever, and are learning now to claim again as your inheritance.
My mind holds only what I think with God.
(129) Beyond this world there is a world I want.
(130) It is impossible to see two worlds.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #286: “There are no accidents in salvation.” I am puzzled by two apparently contradictory perspectives on this:
(1) Anything in the world of form can be used by the Holy Spirit as a means for salvation, i.e., I can use any circumstance or event to practice forgiveness. So, in the flow of events — which could be random and meaningless in themselves — I can use anything for the purpose of self-transformation.
(2) The Holy Spirit provides me with particular events so that I can learn specific lessons. This would suggest that the Holy Spirit makes at least certain aspects of the world: a view which appears to contradict the notion that the ego alone makes forms.
It is my impression that commentators on A Course in Miracles do not favor option number two. Yet this seems to be implied in the quote. Please comment.
A: In answering your question, it is helpful to realize that even in the illusory split mind, of which the world is only a shadowy projection, neither the ego nor the Holy Spirit does anything. And so neither is responsible for the forms that our lives may take and the events that seem to happen to us. Although the Course’s separation myth personifies them as if they were separate entities acting independently, the ego and the Holy Spirit only represent alternative interpretations or symbolic thoughts within our mind about the tiny mad idea of separation from God. It is the sleeping mind of the Son that gives form to the thoughts in his mind, using either the ego or the Holy Spirit as his guide for choosing and then interpreting those seemingly externalized forms.
A few passages from the Course itself may help make the passive nature of both the Holy Spirit and the ego clearer. Early in the text, Jesus says, “The Holy Spirit is one way of choosing….The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance. It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. It is compelling only because of what It reminds you of. It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make” (T.5.II.6:7;7:1,2,3,4,5; italics added). In the next section, Jesus observes that “the ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace” (T.5.III.9:4). The symbolic nature of the ego is described again later in the text when Jesus notes that “all that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things could happen to the Son of God without his will” (T.21.II.6:4; italics added).
That the ego has no power in and of itself to do anything is apparent from this early passage in the text: “Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you. I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed.…The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself” (T.4.VI.1:2,3,4,6).
So when the Course asserts that “there are no accidents in salvation” (M.3.1:6), it means that everything reflects a choice — our own! Our sleeping mind makes all the decisions about what to experience and how to interpret those experiences. The “flow of events” is never “random and meaningless” because all things are chosen by us to serve either the ego’s purpose of separation and guilt or the Holy Spirit’s purpose of forgiveness and peace. Among the many passages in the Course that speak of the power of our minds, consider just the following two:
“Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you. Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it” (T.10.in.2:6,7).
“It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. (T.21.II.3:1,2,3,4).
And so, while we may initially choose — almost always unconsciously, out of our awareness — an experience to reinforce our perception of ourselves as victims of a world over which we have no control, once the choice has been made we can make another choice and ask for the Help within to see our circumstances differently. And so we begin to learn that we are never the victim of the world we see (W.pI.31) and that no one or nothing else — neither the ego nor the Holy Spirit nor Jesus nor God Himself — intervenes within the dream we call our lives. For we alone are the rulers of our universe (W.pII.253).
For further discussion on the power of decision, you may also wish to review Question #281. As to whether God or the Holy Spirit intervene in the world and our lives, you may want to look at Question #235. And on the Course’s metaphoric or mythical use of language, see Question #72.