ACIM Text Reading for June 23
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
XII. The Lifting of the Veil
Forget not that you came this far together, you and your brother. And it was surely not the ego that led you here. No obstacle to peace can be surmounted through its help. It does not open up its secrets, and bid you look on them and go beyond them. It would not have you see its weakness, and learn it has no power to keep you from the truth. The Guide Who brought you here remains with you, and when you raise your eyes you will be ready to look on terror with no fear at all. But first, lift up your eyes and look on one another in innocence born of complete forgiveness of each other’s illusions, and through the eyes of faith that sees them not.
No one can look upon the fear of God unterrified, unless he has accepted the Atonement and learned illusions are not real. No one can stand before this obstacle alone, for he could not have reached this far unless his brother walked beside him. And no one would dare to look on it without complete forgiveness of his brother in his heart. Stand you here a while and tremble not. You will be ready. Let us join together in a holy instant, here in this place where the purpose, given in a holy instant, has led you. And let us join in faith that He Who brought us here together will offer you the innocence you need, and that you will accept it for my love and His.
Nor is it possible to look on this too soon. This is the place to which everyone must come when he is ready. Once he has found his brother he is ready. Yet merely to reach the place is not enough. A journey without a purpose is still meaningless, and even when it is over it seems to make no sense. How can you know that it is over unless you realize its purpose is accomplished? Here, with the journey’s end before you, you see its purpose. And it is here you choose whether to look upon it or wander on, only to return and make the choice again.
To look upon the fear of God does need some preparation. Only the sane can look on stark insanity and raving madness with pity and compassion, but not with fear. For only if they share in it does it seem fearful, and you do share in it until you look upon your brother with perfect faith and love and tenderness. Before complete forgiveness you still stand unforgiving. You are afraid of God because you fear your brother. Those you do not forgive you fear. And no one reaches love with fear beside him.
This brother who stands beside you still seems to be a stranger. You do not know him, and your interpretation of him is very fearful. And you attack him still, to keep what seems to be yourself unharmed. Yet in his hands is your salvation. You see his madness, which you hate because you share it. And all the pity and forgiveness that would heal it gives way to fear. Brother, you need forgiveness of each other, for you will share in madness or in Heaven together. And you will raise your eyes in faith together, or not at all.
Beside each of you is one who offers you the chalice of Atonement, for the Holy Spirit is in him. Would you hold his sins against him, or accept his gift to you? Is this giver of salvation your friend or enemy? Choose which he is, remembering that you will receive of him according to your choice. He has in him the power to forgive your sin, as you for him. Neither can give it to himself alone. And yet your savior stands beside each one. Let him be what he is, and seek not to make of love an enemy.
Behold your Friend, the Christ Who stands beside you. How holy and beautiful He is! You thought He sinned because you cast the veil of sin upon Him to hide His loveliness. Yet still He holds forgiveness out to you, to share His holiness. This “enemy,” this “stranger” still offers you salvation as His Friend. The “enemies” of Christ, the worshippers of sin, know not Whom they attack.
This is your brother, crucified by sin and waiting for release from pain. Would you not offer him forgiveness, when only he can offer it to you? For his redemption he will give you yours, as surely as God created every living thing and loves it. And he will give it truly, for it will be both offered and received. There is no grace of Heaven that you cannot offer to one another, and receive from your most holy Friend. Let him withhold it not, for by receiving it you offer it to him. Redemption has been given you to give each other, and thus receive it. Whom you forgive is free, and what you give you share. Forgive the sins your brother thinks he has committed, and all the guilt you think you see in him.
Here is the holy place of resurrection, to which we come again; to which we will return until redemption is accomplished and received. Think who your brother is, before you would condemn him. And offer thanks to God that he is holy, and has been given the gift of holiness for you. Join him in gladness, and remove all trace of guilt from his disturbed and tortured mind. Help him to lift the heavy burden of sin you laid upon him and he accepted as his own, and toss it lightly and with happy laughter away from him. Press it not like thorns against his brow, nor nail him to it, unredeemed and hopeless.
Give faith to one another, for faith and hope and mercy are yours to give. Into the hands that give, the gift is given. Look on your brother, and see in him the gift of God you would receive. It is almost Easter, the time of resurrection. Let us give redemption to each other and share in it, that we may rise as one in resurrection, not separate in death. Behold the gift of freedom that I gave the Holy Spirit for you. And be you free together, as you offer to the Holy Spirit this same gift. And giving it, receive it of Him in return for what you gave. He leadeth you and me together, that we might meet here in this holy place, and make the same decision.
Free your brother here, as I freed you. Give him the selfsame gift, nor look upon him with condemnation of any kind. See him as guiltless as I look on you, and overlook the sins he thinks he sees within himself. Offer your brother freedom and complete release from sin, here in the garden of seeming agony and death. So will we prepare together the way unto the resurrection of God’s Son, and let him rise again to glad remembrance of his Father, Who knows no sin, no death, but only life eternal.
Together we will disappear into the Presence beyond the veil, not to be lost but found; not to be seen but known. And knowing, nothing in the plan God has established for salvation will be left undone. This is the journey’s purpose, without which is the journey meaningless. Here is the peace of God, given to you eternally by Him. Here is the rest and quiet that you seek, the reason for the journey from its beginning. Heaven is the gift you owe your brother, the debt of gratitude you offer to the Son of God in thanks for what he is, and what his Father created him to be.
Think carefully how you would look upon the giver of this gift, for as you look on him so will the gift itself appear to be. As he is seen as either the giver of guilt or of salvation, so will his offering be seen and so received. The crucified give pain because they are in pain. But the redeemed give joy because they have been healed of pain. Everyone gives as he receives, but he must choose what it will be that he receives. And he will recognize his choice by what he gives, and what is given him. Nor is it given anything in hell or Heaven to interfere with his decision.
You came this far because the journey was your choice. And no one undertakes to do what he believes is meaningless. What you had faith in still is faithful, and watches over you in faith so gentle yet so strong that it would lift you far beyond the veil, and place the Son of God safely within the sure protection of his Father. Here is the only purpose that gives this world, and the long journey through this world, whatever meaning lies in them. Beyond this, they are meaningless. You and your brother stand together, still without conviction they have a purpose. Yet it is given you to see this purpose in your holy Friend, and recognize it as your own.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 23
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(155) I will step back and let Him lead the way.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(156) I walk with God in perfect holiness.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #284: I have been a police officer for over six years. Since joining the police force, I have become interested in various spiritual teachings, including hatha Yoga and A Course in Miracles. As a result, a few years ago, I decided to resign from my police job and try to find a job more in line with living a spiritual lifestyle. The police work seemed to become more difficult as I tried to come more and more from a place of love and non-judgment. I felt as if I was becoming too vulnerable for that type of intense work.
But then I returned to the police job after taking about a year off, having concluded that I could not run away from my projections because they followed me wherever I went. Only the form changed. I went back to the police force for about two years before again feeling a strong desire to leave. I am currently on a leave of absence from my job, studying to become a certified Yoga teacher. I have almost finished the program and must make a decision on what to do next. I have thought a lot about becoming a monk in the Vedanta order since this seems to me to be the closest to what I believe to be the Truth, but I think this might just be another escape mechanism. I have continued to study the Course along with Yoga, even though in many ways these two practices seem contradictory, since Yoga focuses on using the body as a means to cultivate stillness.
My main question is, from a Course perspective, is police work a more difficult path to walk while trying to wake up, since it involves dealing so often with very intense situations and seeing egos at their worst? Is this conducive to practicing forgiveness? What about monastic life? Since the Course’s focus is on forgiving relationships, it might not agree with monastic life, i.e., renouncing the world. If I could only be willing to hear the voice of Jesus or the Holy Spirit and stop confusing myself. It’s a bummer to have the awareness that I am doing this to myself, but not enough willingness to stop doing it.
A: Although you say you have one main question, it would appear that you really have two distinct, but nevertheless interrelated questions. And the prior question is to which spiritual path, Yoga or the Course, do you want to commit yourself? You recognize that they are not the same, but if you attempt to maintain a foot on each path, as they diverge more and more in your experience over time, you will feel increasingly split and confused. So this is the first question you may wish to answer, at which point an answer to the second question — what line of work or career should you choose — may be more readily apparent. Although the deeper metaphysical teachings of the Course and the Vedanta — both assert the non-dualistic nature of reality — are the same, the means to remembering that reality and awakening are different.
Jesus, addressing the student who has made a commitment to the Course, points out how the Course differs from other paths: “Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy. Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means. A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you.” (T.18.VII.4:9,10,11;5:1,2,3).
In other words, the Course’s process to awaken is forgiveness — not meditation — practiced in the context of all of our relationships in the world. Some relationships are more intense than others, but all provide opportunities to heal our projections of the guilt we have sought to place outside our minds, by withdrawing those projections and seeing them within, where they can then be released.
And so which path you wish to pursue is the first decision you may want to address. The Course makes no claim to being the only way — “There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome (M.1.4:2). The only basis for decision is listening to your own inner teacher and becoming clearer with which path you really resonate. Should you decide that Yoga is your path, the choice to become a monk and renounce the world may then be the next step.
Should you on the other hand decide that the Course is your path to awakening, you may look at your choice about work differently. Police work is no doubt very challenging and for this reason provides tremendous opportunities to practice forgiveness, as you increasingly recognize that any reactions or feelings of vulnerability you experience are only projections of your own thoughts. But the Course would never insist that only one line of work or only certain specific relationships will afford you those learning opportunities. As you said, your projections will follow you wherever you go. So relax. Perhaps you can find some comfort in the fact that the confusion you feel is not over which line of work to pursue. That is only ever a distraction from your real choice, since salvation does not depend on anything that happens in time, but only on what happens in your mind, outside of time and space. Choosing between the ego and the Holy Spirit, between reinforcing guilt or accepting healing and forgiveness, is the only choice that ever really matters. Even if it is simply resistance to your lessons of forgiveness that is impelling you to turn away from police work, the most important thing would be to get in touch with the resistance, not to force yourself to stay in the job.
Once you are clear what your goal is, the rest will follow (T.17.VI). For if your goal is forgiveness, everything can be seen to serve that end. And then you can simply sigh a huge sigh of relief, for you don’t really have to figure anything else out!.
For some relevant previous answers, you may wish to look at Questions #90 and #141.