ACIM Text Reading for June 5
Chapter 18 ~ The Passing of the Dream
III. Light in the Dream
You who have spent your life in bringing truth to illusion, reality to fantasy, have walked the way of dreams. For you have gone from waking to sleeping, and on and on to a yet deeper sleep. Each dream has led to other dreams, and every fantasy that seemed to bring a light into the darkness but made the darkness deeper. Your goal was darkness, in which no ray of light could enter. And you sought a blackness so complete that you could hide from truth forever, in complete insanity. What you forgot was simply that God cannot destroy Himself. The light is in you. Darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out.
As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. The goal you accepted is the goal of knowledge, for which you signified your willingness. Fear seems to live in darkness, and when you are afraid you have stepped back. Let us then join quickly in an instant of light, and it will be enough to remind you that your goal is light.
Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it. If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible. You do not know because the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised. You go toward love still hating it, and terribly afraid of its judgment upon you. And you do not realize that you are not afraid of love, but only of what you have made of it. You are advancing to love’s meaning, and away from all illusions in which you have surrounded it. When you retreat to the illusion your fear increases, for there is little doubt that what you think it means is fearful. Yet what is that to us who travel surely and very swiftly away from fear?
You who hold your brother’s hand also hold mine, for when you joined each other you were not alone. Do you believe that I would leave you in the darkness that you agreed to leave with me? In your relationship is this world’s light. And fear must disappear before you now. Be tempted not to snatch away the gift of faith you offered to your brother. You will succeed only in frightening yourself. The gift is given forever, for God Himself received it. You cannot take it back. You have accepted God. The holiness of your relationship is established in Heaven. You do not understand what you accepted, but remember that your understanding is not necessary. All that was necessary was merely the wish to understand. That wish was the desire to be holy. The Will of God is granted you. For you desire the only thing you ever had, or ever were.
Each instant that we spend together will teach you that this goal is possible, and will strengthen your desire to reach it. And in your desire lies its accomplishment. Your desire is now in complete accord with all the power of the Holy Spirit’s Will. No little, faltering footsteps that you may take can separate your desire from His Will and from His strength. I hold your hand as surely as you agreed to take your brother’s. You will not separate, for I stand with you and walk with you in your advance to truth. And where we go we carry God with us.
In your relationship you have joined with me in bringing Heaven to the Son of God, who hid in darkness. You have been willing to bring the darkness to light, and this willingness has given strength to everyone who would remain in darkness. Those who would see will see. And they will join with me in carrying their light into the darkness, when the darkness in them is offered to the light, and is removed forever. My need for you, joined with me in the holy light of your relationship, is your need for salvation. Would I not give you what you gave to me? For when you joined your brother, you answered me.
You who are now the bringer of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness. The darkness in you has been brought to light. Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it. We are made whole in our desire to make whole. Let not time worry you, for all the fear that you and your brother experience is really past. Time has been readjusted to help us do, together, what your separate pasts would hinder. You have gone past fear, for no two minds can join in the desire for love without love’s joining them.
Not one light in Heaven but goes with you. Not one ray that shines forever in the Mind of God but shines on you. Heaven is joined with you in your advance to Heaven. When such great lights have joined with you to give the little spark of your desire the power of God Himself, can you remain in darkness? You are coming home together, after a long and meaningless journey that you undertook apart, and that led nowhere. You have found your brother, and you will light each other’s way. And from this light will the Great Rays extend back into darkness and forward unto God, to shine away the past and so make room for His eternal Presence, in which everything is radiant in the light.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 5
I will step back and let Him lead the way.
There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also, and believe that you are like them, as you were before.
The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality. Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way. What other choice is really theirs to make? To let illusions walk ahead of truth is madness. But to let illusion sink behind the truth and let the truth stand forth as what it is, is merely sanity.
This is the simple choice we make today. The mad illusion will remain awhile in evidence, for those to look upon who chose to come, and have not yet rejoiced to find they were mistaken in their choice. They cannot learn directly from the truth, because they have denied that it is so. And so they need a Teacher Who perceives their madness, but Who still can look beyond illusion to the simple truth in them.
If truth demanded they give up the world, it would appear to them as if it asked the sacrifice of something that is real. Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.
Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. You walk this path as others walk, nor do you seem to be distinct from them, although you are indeed. Thus can you serve them while you serve yourself, and set their footsteps on the way that God has opened up to you, and them through you.
Illusion still appears to cling to you, that you may reach them. Yet it has stepped back. And it is not illusion that they hear you speak of, nor illusion that you bring their eyes to look on and their minds to grasp. Nor can the truth, which walks ahead of you, speak to them through illusions, for the road leads past illusion now, while on the way you call to them, that they may follow you.
All roads will lead to this one in the end. For sacrifice and deprivation are paths that lead nowhere, choices for defeat, and aims that will remain impossible. All this steps back as truth comes forth in you, to lead your brothers from the ways of death, and set them on the way to happiness. Their suffering is but illusion. Yet they need a guide to lead them out of it, for they mistake illusion for the truth.
Such is salvation’s call, and nothing more. It asks that you accept the truth, and let it go before you, lighting up the path of ransom from illusion. It is not a ransom with a price. There is no cost, but only gain. Illusion can but seem to hold in chains the holy Son of God. It is but from illusions he is saved. As they step back, he finds himself again.
Walk safely now, yet carefully, because this path is new to you. And you may find that you are tempted still to walk ahead of truth, and let illusions be your guide. Your holy brothers have been given you, to follow in your footsteps as you walk with certainty of purpose to the truth. It goes before you now, that they may see something with which they can identify; something they understand to lead the way.
Yet at the journey’s ending there will be no gap, no distance between truth and you. And all illusions walking in the way you travelled will be gone from you as well, with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God’s completion, holy as Himself. Step back in faith and let truth lead the way. You know not where you go. But One Who knows goes with you. Let Him lead you with the rest.
When dreams are over, time has closed the door on all the things that pass and miracles are purposeless, the holy Son of God will make no journeys. There will be no wish to be illusion rather than the truth. And we step forth toward this, as we progress along the way that truth points out to us. This is our final journey, which we make for everyone. We must not lose our way. For as truth goes before us, so it goes before our brothers who will follow us.
We walk to God. Pause and reflect on this. Could any way be holier, or more deserving of your effort, of your love and of your full intent? What way could give you more than everything, or offer less and still content the holy Son of God? We walk to God. The truth that walks before us now is one with Him, and leads us to where He has always been. What way but this could be a path that you would choose instead?
Your feet are safely set upon the road that leads the world to God. Look not to ways that seem to lead you elsewhere. Dreams are not a worthy guide for you who are God’s Son. Forget not He has placed His Hand in yours, and given you your brothers in His trust that you are worthy of His trust in you. He cannot be deceived. His trust has made your pathway certain and your goal secure. You will not fail your brothers nor your Self.
And now He asks but that you think of Him a while each day, that He may speak to you and tell you of His Love, reminding you how great His trust; how limitless His Love. In your Name and His Own, which are the same, we practice gladly with this thought today:
I will step back and let Him lead the way,
For I would walk along the road to Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #95: I have become more and more confused about life and how to function. Although I have gone through periods like this before, this one has lasted a long time and is quite unsettling. It goes along with knowing that no fantasy or things I hoped for in the world will work to bring happiness. I don’t know what I want anymore and have found it hard to know how to be in relationships, my job, making decisions, practicing A Course in Miracles, etc. There is fear involved in this state. I know this is part of the process and perhaps part of letting go of images of myself and what I think is true and an ego ploy to keep me in conflict. Could you please comment on working through this unsettled state and still trying to be normal in the world? Thank you.
A. Yes, more often than not, the state you describe is a normal part of the process of undoing our mistaken beliefs about ourselves and the world, and in that sense it is positive. In a way, it is not unlike the pain and disorientation of going through withdrawal from an addiction. We have indeed been addicted to our special identities as individuals, and so we can expect considerable discomfort when we make progress in “dislodging [y]our mind from its fixed position here, as Jesus says. But he assures us that “this will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation, which precedes the actual transition, is far shorter than the time it took to fix your mind so firmly on illusions” (T.16.VI.8:3,4,5). This takes a lot of faith and trust. In the manual for teachers, as you probably know, Jesus talks about the stages in the development of trust, describing the fifth stage in particular as a “period of unsettling” (M.4.I.A), which may go on for a while.
What can be helpful when going through this is to shift the frame of reference for your day-to-day living. Instead of the usual way of thinking about what you want in life and what the world has to offer you, you can approach the circumstances of your daily life as a classroom in which you are going to learn more about undoing what separates you from love. You then can become motivated by a desire to see shared interests instead of separate, competing interests, for example. In other words, what you want is what would shift, as Lesson 129 tells us, “Beyond this world there is a world I want” (W.pI.129). You can become a happy learner (T.14.II) eager to learn more about forgiveness and what you are doing and thinking that keeps you feeling separate from the people in your life, because you know that all of that is just a cover for the love that unites you with Jesus and with everyone in your life. Each day then can be seen as an opportunity to recognize more of the ways in which you keep love hidden: you must become aware of what you are choosing before you can choose against it. The focus of your day, in other words, would be the learning that takes place in your mind, and your joy would come more from your experiencing yourself and everyone else as sharing a common journey, rather than from an ego focus and the ego’s version of joy, which is always getting our needs met at someone else’s expense.
This can be done while at the same time focusing on your job and whatever other responsibilities you have in your life. It is like a split consciousness: part of you carries out your responsibilities with care and conscientiousness, and part of you views all of these interactions as a classroom, in which Jesus or the Holy Spirit teaches you how to undo the separation that you have made real and continue to make real. Rather than being discouraged and listless, therefore, you can use this time as an opportunity to shift the whole focus of your life in a way that you have not yet done. All of your practice with the Course has led you to this point, where a new level of functioning and relating is opening up.
Many times, this shift of focus can actually make functioning on an everyday level easier, because you no longer are thinking along the line of “what’s in it for me?” which inevitably results in a great deal of tension and conflict. There is tremendous fear of making this shift, as you say, because the only self you recognize and identify with is fading in importance, and the self that is replacing it is not yet fully apparent to you. Trust in the process is extremely important at this stage, as is gentleness, and giving yourself permission to set the whole thing aside for a while if that would give you a sense of relief. At the very least, you can be assured that you are not going through this alone. At least intellectually you know that within your mind is the reflection of Heaven’s Love, supporting you each step along the way.
Finally, it should not be overlooked that sometimes psychotherapy or some other form of professional intervention can be helpful in getting through a difficult period. It is never wrong, as we go along in our process, to avail ourselves of the help of a kind and compassionate therapist, and in many cases it can speed things along. It might also serve the purpose of helping us avoid the mistake of skipping steps in our process.