ACIM Text Reading for June 6
Chapter 18 ~ The Passing of the Dream
IV. The Little Willingness
The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He Who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.
Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this, and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.
Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness that comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.
The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God’s Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness, and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you must make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself, and then expect one to be made for you?
You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer, but merely to receive the answer as it is given. In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God’s. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:
“I who am host to God am worthy of Him.
He who established His dwelling place in me created it as He would have it be.
It is not needful that I make it ready for Him,
But only that I do not interfere with His plan to restore to me my own awareness of my readiness, which is eternal.
I need add nothing to His plan.
But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute my own in place of it.”
And that is all. Add more, and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt, and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement to it, and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add, if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourself to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part, and how great is His.
It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do, and it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing you cannot give right now.
Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible, and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible, but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 6
I walk with God in perfect holiness.
Today’s idea but states the simple truth that makes the thought of sin impossible. It promises there is no cause for guilt, and being causeless it does not exist. It follows surely from the basic thought so often mentioned in the text; ideas leave not their source. If this be true, how can you be apart from God? How could you walk the world alone and separate from your Source?
We are not inconsistent in the thoughts that we present in our curriculum. Truth must be true throughout, if it be true. It cannot contradict itself, nor be in parts uncertain and in others sure. You cannot walk the world apart from God, because you could not be without Him. He is what your life is. Where you are He is. There is one life. That life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live.
Yet where He is, there must be holiness as well as life. No attribute of His remains unshared by everything that lives. What lives is holy as Himself, because what shares His life is part of Holiness, and could no more be sinful than the sun could choose to be of ice; the sea elect to be apart from water, or the grass to grow with roots suspended in the air.
There is a light in you which cannot die; whose presence is so holy that the world is sanctified because of you. All things that live bring gifts to you, and offer them in gratitude and gladness at your feet. The scent of flowers is their gift to you. The waves bow down before you, and the trees extend their arms to shield you from the heat, and lay their leaves before you on the ground that you may walk in softness, while the wind sinks to a whisper round your holy head.
The light in you is what the universe longs to behold. All living things are still before you, for they recognize Who walks with you. The light you carry is their own. And thus they see in you their holiness, saluting you as savior and as God. Accept their reverence, for it is due to Holiness Itself, which walks with you, transforming in Its gentle light all things unto Its likeness and Its purity.
This is the way salvation works. As you step back, the light in you steps forward and encompasses the world. It heralds not the end of sin in punishment and death. In lightness and in laughter is sin gone, because its quaint absurdity is seen. It is a foolish thought, a silly dream, not frightening, ridiculous perhaps, but who would waste an instant in approach to God Himself for such a senseless whim?
Yet you have wasted many, many years on just this foolish thought. The past is gone, with all its fantasies. They keep you bound no longer. The approach to God is near. And in the little interval of doubt that still remains, you may perhaps lose sight of your Companion, and mistake Him for the senseless, ancient dream that now is past.
“Who walks with me?” This question should be asked a thousand times a day, till certainty has ended doubting and established peace. Today let doubting cease. God speaks for you in answering your question with these words:
I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world,
I light my mind and all the minds which God created
one with me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #62: I have been A Course in Miracles Student for many years, and I am now passing (or so I feel) from the “beginner stage.” My question is: Can it be helpful to a student to reflect on positive thoughts rather than entertain the negative thoughts of the ego mind? I realize situations that trouble us should be looked at with Jesus or the Holy Spirit or even God, but it seems to me that the time our minds aren’t in the holy instant have to be spent somewhere. I am not talking about affirmations here, but thoughts that have deeply moved us. I will appreciate guidance in this regard.
A: Our minds are either in the holy instant or with the ego. There are no other options; there is no in between. Our thoughts reflect the choice we have made either to think as the ego thinks, or as the Holy Spirit thinks. The Course would not define these thoughts as positive or negative, it tells us rather that the ego’s thoughts reinforce illusion, while the Holy Spirit’s thoughts reflect the truth. When we have experiences that deeply move us, they reflect a choice made on the level of the mind to turn away from the ego toward the Holy Spirit, Who is the symbol of God’s love in the dream. A beautiful musical work or a sunset can be symbols of the love and peace in our mind when we have chosen the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. What is truly helpful, however, is to be vigilant for the thoughts we think with the ego, to become aware of them, and to recognize their purpose. Since many of the ego’s thoughts appear to be “positive,” we can easily be fooled. Seemingly positive feelings can be insidious forms of spiritual specialness. The ego also comes up with many ingenious excuses for indulging its thought system and holding on to grievances. This may be what you refer to as “[entertaining] the negative thoughts of the ego mind.” It takes a great deal of honesty and patience with ourselves to practice looking carefully at our thoughts without indulging them and without judging them. We do well to stay close to the guidelines the Course offers; “Your task is not to seek for love, (what we may call “positive” thoughts) but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2). If we are honest in our search we will recognize the thoughts we are holding that interfere with our ability to be in the holy instant. It is then our choice to either hold on to these thoughts or let them go in exchange for the Holy Spirit’s perception. When we try to be the judge of our thoughts — deciding which ones are positive or which ones are negative — attempting to fill our minds with what we have determined to be “positive” thoughts, we will be putting ourselves in charge of the Atonement, leaving little or no room for the Holy Spirit. It is His thoughts we seek, His perception, His judgment. Doing our part faithfully will allow Him to take us to the holy instant. The Course is clear in this regard and very specific; “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 judgment must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His” (T.14.VII.6). In another passage the Course gives us a very encouraging follow up: “And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son” (W.pII.361.5:1,2,3,4,5). Our hope lies in our dedication to searching our minds carefully, inviting the Holy Spirit to be our guide, our “judge” and our teacher. His perception will then lead us to the holy instant.