ACIM Text Reading for June 8
Chapter 18 ~ The Passing of the Dream
VI. Beyond the Body
There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. For God created only this, and He did not depart from it nor leave it separate from Himself. The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of the Son of God, who left not His Father and dwells not apart from Him. Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this oneness, and nothing else within.
What could God give but knowledge of Himself? What else is there to give? The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and of your Identity. And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize. You have displaced your guilt to your body from your mind. Yet a body cannot be guilty, for it can do nothing of itself. You who think you hate your body deceive yourself. You hate your mind, for guilt has entered into it, and it would remain separate from your brother’s, which it cannot do.
Minds are joined; bodies are not. Only by assigning to the mind the properties of the body does separation seem to be possible. And it is mind that seems to be fragmented and private and alone. Its guilt, which keeps it separate, is projected to the body, which suffers and dies because it is attacked to hold the separation in the mind, and let it not know its Identity. Mind cannot attack, but it can make fantasies and direct the body to act them out. Yet it is never what the body does that seems to satisfy. Unless the mind believes the body is actually acting out its fantasies, it will attack the body by increasing the projection of its guilt upon it.
In this, the mind is clearly delusional. It cannot attack, but it maintains it can, and uses what it does to hurt the body to prove it can. The mind cannot attack, but it can deceive itself. And this is all it does when it believes it has attacked the body. It can project its guilt, but it will not lose it through projection. And though it clearly can misperceive the function of the body, it cannot change its function from what the Holy Spirit establishes it to be. The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions.
Would you not have the instruments of separation reinterpreted as means for salvation, and used for purposes of love? Would you not welcome and support the shift from fantasies of vengeance to release from them? Your perception of the body can clearly be sick, but project not this upon the body. For your wish to make destructive what cannot destroy can have no real effect at all. What God created is only what He would have it be, being His Will. You cannot make His Will destructive. You can make fantasies in which your will conflicts with His, but that is all.
It is insane to use the body as the scapegoat for guilt, directing its attack and blaming it for what you wished it to do. It is impossible to act out fantasies. For it is still the fantasies you want, and they have nothing to do with what the body does. It does not dream of them, and they but make it a liability where it could be an asset. For fantasies have made your body your “enemy”; weak, vulnerable and treacherous, worthy of the hate that you invest in it. How has this served you? You have identified with this thing you hate, the instrument of vengeance and the perceived source of your guilt. You have done this to a thing that has no meaning, proclaiming it to be the dwelling place of God’s Son, and turning it against him.
This is the host of God that you have made. And neither God nor His most holy Son can enter an abode that harbors hate, and where you have sown the seeds of vengeance, violence and death. This thing you made to serve your guilt stands between you and other minds. The minds are joined, but you do not identify with them. You see yourself locked in a separate prison, removed and unreachable, incapable of reaching out as being reached. You hate this prison you have made, and would destroy it. But you would not escape from it, leaving it unharmed, without your guilt upon it.
Yet only thus can you escape. The home of vengeance is not yours; the place you set aside to house your hate is not a prison, but an illusion of yourself. The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication that is an eternal property of mind. But the communication is internal. Mind reaches to itself. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.
The body is outside you, and but seems to surround you, shutting you off from others and keeping you apart from them. It is not there. There is no barrier between God and His Son, nor can His Son be separated from himself except in illusions. This is not his reality, though he believes it is. Yet this could only be if God were wrong. God would have had to create differently, and to have separated Himself from His Son to make this possible. He would have had to create different things, and to establish different orders of reality, only some of which were love. Yet love must be forever like itself, changeless forever, and forever without alternative. And so it is. You cannot put a barrier around yourself, because God placed none between Himself and you.
You can stretch out your hand and reach to Heaven. You whose hands are joined have begun to reach beyond the body, but not outside yourself, to reach your shared Identity together. Could this be outside you? Where God is not? Is He a body, and did He create you as He is not, and where He cannot be? You are surrounded only by Him. What limits can there be on you whom He encompasses?
Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. This feeling of liberation far exceeds the dream of freedom sometimes hoped for in special relationships. It is a sense of actual escape from limitations. If you will consider what this “transportation” really entails, you will realize that it is a sudden unawareness of the body, and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you, as you unite with it. And both become whole, as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union. The love that instantly replaces it extends to what has freed you, and unites with it. And while this lasts you are not uncertain of your Identity, and would not limit It. You have escaped from fear to peace, asking no questions of reality, but merely accepting it. You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting your mind be limited by it.
This can occur regardless of the physical distance that seems to be between you and what you join; of your respective positions in space; and of your differences in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present or anticipated. The “something” can be anything and anywhere; a sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you join it without reservation because you love it, and would be with it. And so you rush to meet it, letting your limits melt away, suspending all the “laws” your body obeys and gently setting them aside.
There is no violence at all in this escape. The body is not attacked, but simply properly perceived. It does not limit you, merely because you would not have it so. You are not really “lifted out” of it; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of Self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body, and of the questioning whether or not all this is possible.
It is possible because you want it. The sudden expansion of awareness that takes place with your desire for it is the irresistible appeal the holy instant holds. It calls to you to be yourself, within its safe embrace. There are the laws of limit lifted for you, to welcome you to openness of mind and freedom. Come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourself in peace. Not through destruction, not through a breaking out, but merely by a quiet melting in. For peace will join you there, simply because you have been willing to let go the limits you have placed upon love, and joined it where it is and where it led you, in answer to its gentle call to be at peace.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 8
Today I learn to give as I receive.
What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of love. Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created. This was given you as knowledge which you cannot lose. It was given as well to every living thing, for by that knowledge only does it live.
You have received all this. No one who walks the world but has received it. It is not this knowledge which you give, for that is what creation gave. All this cannot be learned. What, then, are you to learn to give today? Our lesson yesterday evoked a theme found early in the text. Experience cannot be shared directly, in the way that vision can. The revelation that the Father and the Son are one will come in time to every mind. Yet is that time determined by the mind itself, not taught.
The time is set already. It appears to be quite arbitrary. Yet there is no step along the road that anyone takes but by chance. It has already been taken by him, although he has not yet embarked on it. For time but seems to go in one direction. We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us.
Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic. Yet there is a plan behind appearances that does not change. The script is written. When experience will come to end your doubting has been set. For we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by.
A teacher does not give experience, because he did not learn it. It revealed itself to him at its appointed time. But vision is his gift. This he can give directly, for Christ’s knowledge is not lost, because He has a vision He can give to anyone who asks. The Father’s Will and His are joined in knowledge. Yet there is a vision which the Holy Spirit sees because the Mind of Christ beholds it too.
Here is the joining of the world of doubt and shadows made with the intangible. Here is a quiet place within the world made holy by forgiveness and by love. Here are all contradictions reconciled, for here the journey ends. Experience–unlearned, untaught, unseen–is merely there. This is beyond our goal, for it transcends what needs to be accomplished. Our concern is with Christ’s vision. This we can attain.
Christ’s vision has one law. It does not look upon a body, and mistake it for the Son whom God created. It beholds a light beyond the body; an idea beyond what can be touched, a purity undimmed by errors, pitiful mistakes, and fearful thoughts of guilt from dreams of sin. It sees no separation. And it looks on everyone, on every circumstance, all happenings and all events, without the slightest fading of the light it sees.
This can be taught; and must be taught by all who would achieve it. It requires but the recognition that the world can not give anything that faintly can compare with this in value; nor set up a goal that does not merely disappear when this has been perceived. And this you give today: See no one as a body. Greet him as the Son of God he is, acknowledging that he is one with you in holiness.
Thus are his sins forgiven him, for Christ has vision that has power to overlook them all. In His forgiveness are they gone. Unseen by One they merely disappear, because a vision of the holiness that lies beyond them comes to take their place. It matters not what form they took, nor how enormous they appeared to be, nor who seemed to be hurt by them. They are no more. And all effects they seemed to have are gone with them, undone and never to be done.
Thus do you learn to give as you receive. And thus Christ’s vision looks on you as well. This lesson is not difficult to learn, if you remember in your brother you but see yourself. If he be lost in sin, so must you be; if you see light in him, your sins have been forgiven by yourself. Each brother whom you meet today provides another chance to let Christ’s vision shine on you, and offer you the peace of God.
It matters not when revelation comes, for that is not of time. Yet time has still one gift to give, in which true knowledge is reflected in a way so accurate its image shares its unseen holiness; its likeness shines with its immortal love. We practice seeing with the eyes of Christ today. And by the holy gifts we give, Christ’s vision looks upon ourselves as well.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #162: What does A Course in Miracles mean when it says the “mind cannot attack” (T.18.VI.3,4)? I seem to have attack thoughts directed at others, in fact hateful thoughts. If this is not my mind attacking, what is it?
A) The meaning of this statement, in the context of the entire section, “Beyond the Body,” is that attack is possible only in fantasy or in a delusional state. God cannot be attacked in reality. The separation would have to be a fact in order for the mind to be able to attack. That is why there is so much emphasis in the Course on bringing the illusion to the truth, and bringing the darkness to the light. We bring our attack thoughts to Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our minds, where we can learn that they come from an illusory thought system and have no effect outside this illusory thought system.
Q #1142: The Course’s metaphysics says we are reviewing experiences. What and who did the initial experiencing? If the answer is still us (or the observer), how do we know we are not doing that initial experiencing right now as that would line up with “traditional” ego perceptions of space and time. Is the answer that the initial creation was made outside space and time by the separated Christ, that in a flash, due to the incredible creative power of Christ, the ego emerged, got so immersed in the thought of separation, splintered itself into almost infinite (recursive) thoughts, that it eventually believed it truly was separate, developed guilt, and then began reviewing everything it had created in human experience terms; i.e., in terms of space and time as separate bodies? In other words the initial experience was not as humans, but just thought, but that the incredible creative ability, and unfortunately ensuing guilt of this creativity, transformed that experience into us as separate bodies.
A: A Course in Miracles states that “we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by” (W.pI.158.4:5) . Importantly, this statement comes after Jesus explains that time is not what we think it is; he corrects our ego-based understanding that time goes in one direction and contains a future unknown to us (W.pI.158.3:5,7) . He tells us that time is part of the ego’s plot to divert us from the truth; and as such, it is “a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion . . .” (W.pI.158.4:1) .This reflects the statement in the text that says, “Each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds, you but relive the single instant when the time of terror took the place of love. . . . Such is each life; a seeming interval from birth to death and on to life again, a repetition of an instant gone by long ago that cannot be relived. And all of time is but the mad belief that what is over is still here and now” (T.26.V.13:1,3,4).
Jesus is addressing us as decision-making minds outside time and space that are tangled up in the dynamics of denial, projection, and defenses. Ultimately, there is only one mind (lowercase), the Son of God who believes he has successfully split off from his reality in the perfect Oneness of God (a separation the Course defines as impossible, and therefore totally illusory). The Son of God in this context is not Christ, Who remains at one with God as His creation in Heaven. Creation , in the Course’s view, is completely different from the biblical notion, which has to do with God creating outside Himself. God creates only like Himself (T.8.II.7:6) ; and creation is the eternal, non-spatial extension of love that takes place only in Heaven — God creating Christ, and Christ continuing the extension of love in His creations.
The separated Son retains the memory of His true Identity as Christ, though it is concealed from his awareness by his own choice. The ego is simply that part of the Son’s mind that he now thinks he is, having split off his true Self (Christ); and as such, it represents the thought system of separation.
In the instant the separation from Totality and Wholeness was thought to have occurred, every conceivable form of separation spun out instantaneously. The dynamics of separation involve getting as far away from oneness as possible so that the original state of oneness is longer remembered, and even considered alien and unnatural: “Complete abstraction [formlessness] is the natural condition of the mind. But part of it is now unnatural. It does not look on everything as one. It sees instead but fragments of the whole . . .”(W.pI.161.2:1,2,3,4). “. . . he does not realize he has forgotten where he came from, where he goes, and even who he really is” (W.pI.166.4:4) .
Guilt is bound up with the belief in separation, but only because the choice to separate from God was branded as sinful by the ego. A massive system of defenses evolved to deal with the pain of that guilt in the mind, which characterizes a major aspect of our experience as humans, except that we are not aware of this underground dynamic. That is one of the purposes of the Course — to help us regain our awareness of ourselves as minds, so that we can deal with the source of all our problems and pain, and learn that sin and guilt are made-up concepts. Ultimately, we will realize that the only problem is that instead of smiling at the silliness of the idea of separating from Totality, we, as the one Son of God, took it seriously (T.27.VIII.6:2,3) , and then began the process of miscreation , as A Course in Miracles refers to the works of the ego. Our only responsibility, our only purpose, is to accept the Atonement for ourselves, which means remembering that we never truly separated from our Source.