ACIM Text Reading for June 28
Chapter 20 ~ The Vision of Holiness
V. Heralds of Eternity
In this world, God’s Son comes closest to himself in a holy relationship. There he begins to find the certainty his Father has in him. And there he finds his function of restoring his Father’s laws to what was held outside them, and finding what was lost. Only in time can anything be lost, and never lost forever. So do the parts of God’s Son gradually join in time, and with each joining is the end of time brought nearer. Each miracle of joining is a mighty herald of eternity. No one who has a single purpose, unified and sure, can be afraid. No one who shares his purpose with him can not be one with him.
Each herald of eternity sings of the end of sin and fear. Each speaks in time of what is far beyond it. Two voices raised together call to the hearts of everyone, to let them beat as one. And in that single heartbeat is the unity of love proclaimed and given welcome. Peace to your holy relationship, which has the power to hold the unity of the Son of God together. You give to one another for everyone, and in your gift is everyone made glad. Forget not Who has given you the gifts you give, and through your not forgetting this, will you remember Who gave the gifts to Him to give to you.
It is impossible to overestimate your brother’s value. Only the ego does this, but all it means is that it wants the other for itself, and therefore values him too little. What is inestimable clearly cannot be evaluated. Do you recognize the fear that rises from the meaningless attempt to judge what lies so far beyond your judgment you cannot even see it? Judge not what is invisible to you or you will never see it, but wait in patience for its coming. It will be given you to see your brother’s worth when all you want for him is peace. And what you want for him you will receive.
How can you estimate the worth of him who offers peace to you? What would you want except his offering? His worth has been established by his Father, and you will recognize it as you receive his Father’s gift through him. What is in him will shine so brightly in your grateful vision that you will merely love him and be glad. You will not think to judge him, for who would see the face of Christ and yet insist that judgment still has meaning? For this insistence is of those who do not see. Vision or judgment is your choice, but never both of these.
Your brother’s body is as little use to you as it is to him. When it is used only as the Holy Spirit teaches, it has no function. For minds need not the body to communicate. The sight that sees the body has no use which serves the purpose of a holy relationship. And while you look upon your brother thus, the means and end have not been brought in line. Why should it take so many holy instants to let this be accomplished, when one would do? There is but one. The little breath of eternity that runs through time like golden light is all the same; nothing before it, nothing afterwards.
You look upon each holy instant as a different point in time. It never changes. All that it ever held or will ever hold is here right now. The past takes nothing from it, and the future will add no more. Here, then, is everything. Here is the loveliness of your relationship, with means and end in perfect harmony already. Here is the perfect faith that you will one day offer to your brother already offered you; and here the limitless forgiveness you will give each other already given, the face of Christ you yet will look upon already seen.
Can you evaluate the giver of a gift like this? Would you exchange this gift for any other? This gift returns the laws of God to your remembrance. And merely by remembering them, the laws that held you prisoner to pain and death must be forgotten. This is no gift your brother’s body offers you. The veil that hides the gift hides him as well. He is the gift, and yet he knows it not. No more do you. And yet, have faith that He Who sees the gift in both of you will offer and receive it for you both. And through His vision will you see it, and through his understanding recognize it and love it as your own.
Be comforted, and feel the Holy Spirit watching over you in love and perfect confidence in what he sees. He knows the Son of God, and shares his Father’s certainty the universe rests in his gentle hands in safety and in peace. Let us consider now what he must learn, to share his Father’s confidence in him. What is he, that the Creator of the universe should offer it to him and know it rests in safety? He looks upon himself not as his Father knows him. And yet it is impossible the confidence of God should be misplaced.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 28
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(165) Let not my mind deny the Thought of God.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(166) I am entrusted with the gifts of God.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1006: I have read your answer to Question #15, yet somehow I need a little more help. I have a healthy son I am thrilled with, whom I had through in vitro fertilization. I desired more children, but since have lost two to miscarriages. I believe I have a great deal of guilt in that my age — past 40 — would be a gamble and here seemed the proof: death of both embryos due to chromosome damage. I really feel like I murdered them both by seeking magic — the in vitro fertilization. So here is my issue: Almost daily, when I am with my son, someone asks if he is my “only child.” My mind instantly swings into guilt mode. I know the question is just a conversation opener, but it feels like an attack. I have issues around the miscarriages, older stepchildren, and adopting, and all my feelings bubble up. The last time I could only nod my head in shame and guilt. With my five year old son there and unaware of all the details, I could not attack back as my ego wants, “No, he is not my only, the other two are dead!” And I realize an attack would alienate everyone. But my internal buttons and feelings of sin, guilt, and fear are being pushed. I am still stumped as to how to cope with all this.
I do acknowledge what is happening in the moment and how enraged I become. I do see how their bringing up this deep pain (which is just scratching the surface of the original pain of killing off God) makes me want to “kill,” through words or fantasy, the person I perceive as my attacker, even though they only have unintentionally handed me the mirror so I can look at my guilt. I also know intellectually that I did not murder my unborn children, but part of me must not believe it. I ask for help from Jesus and show him my negative thoughts, but I would like more healing than this. I find it difficult to accept the statement, “Loss is not loss when properly perceived.” I understand intellectually that this is all an illusion, that I am not a body. But when this stuff comes up they are just concepts to my ego.
A: Where you are with all your feelings is okay. You don’t want to try to use the intellectual concepts of A Course in Miracles to change what seems to be happening for you. You will know at a deeper level that they are true at some point on your spiritual path, but for now you simply want to be as honest as you can about your thoughts and feelings about your life circumstances — they after all comprise your classroom. Mostly you speak of your guilt, but what also comes through very clearly is your anger. And although you acknowledge your rage at the strangers’ inquiries, there almost certainly are layers to that anger that you may be missing by jumping to the ontological explanation that you killed God. And all these unrecognized and unacknowledged layers of defenses continue to operate below your awareness, keeping your focus outside yourself, which of course is their purpose, despite your best intentions to look at the guilt within.
What might these other layers involve? Your anger at the strangers seems somehow out of proportion to the nature of their “attack,” as you acknowledge. It may feel safer to keep the focus of your anger on them than on other perhaps less conscious targets. For it seems likely from what you say that you are angry that you have not been able to have the children you want — perhaps angry at a spouse or ex-spouse, a lover, a parent, or God — someone else who is somehow responsible for depriving you of what you so desperately want, requiring you to rely on your own creative attempts to have the children on your own that will make your life feel more complete. And there must also be great sadness and grief at the recurring losses. It’s important that you uncover the anger and grief you are carrying, and all the hidden justifications for those feelings, not because they are true, but because you still believe at some level that they are true. And you cannot jump to the ontological explanation without looking at the ego’s layers of defenses as clearly as you can, or you will simply keep the defenses unexamined and intact (T.11.V.1;2:1,2) .
Once you can get in touch with the anger and the specific thoughts behind that anger, you can begin to take responsibility for the projection involved in those judgments against others. Now it is true that all the levels of anger are simply defenses against the underlying ontological guilt, but the thought that we believe we have killed God is mostly an intellectual concept for most of us, which is, as Jesus tells us, “an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering” (M.2.4:1). But we relive its content every instant that we choose the ego, putting our own needs and desires above everyone else’s. So we can at least begin to be honest about how much we want to have things our own way and how angry we can become at anyone else who seems to stand in the way of our getting what we want. There’s the projection that most of us can begin to identify with. Others may be putting their own needs first, but that could not anger us unless we were doing the same thing but did not want to acknowledge it in ourselves.
Ultimately, Jesus assures us, we will learn that “it is not necessary to follow fear [and guilt] through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that governs all of them” (T.15.X.5:1,2,3). And that principle that we all still retain, even cling to, is that the separation and the accompanying guilt — and the resulting individual self that each of us identifies with — are real and require a defense. But until we can genuinely experience the guilt at that level, we will need to begin with all the specific expressions of our guilt, usually accessed by first acknowledging our anger at others and the judgments we are holding against them. Over time, we will begin to recognize the common thread running through all of our projections, and the ontological guilt will become more of an experience than an empty intellectual concept. But in each case, by looking with Jesus at our projections and accepting the underlying guilt as ours, we will begin to release the need for that defense. And the need for anything or anyone — adult or child — to fill the emptiness we feel inside will lose its power over us. And peace and joy will then fill the space left empty by the disappearing guilt and anger.
Q #1007: In Lesson 108 of A Course in Miracles , it is stated that, “To forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds.” Yet Jesus wholly forgave the entire brotherhood and this did not bring salvation to all minds. He frequently insists that we are one with him, can do what he did, etc. Yet, apparently, one of “us,” not Jesus, must be the “one” who wholly forgives at least one brother. Am I looking at this correctly?
A: No, you are not quite looking at this correctly. The title of Lesson 108 is, “To give and to receive are one in truth.” This is a statement that makes no sense from the ego’s perspective, which is that we are separate beings (i.e. bodies) with separate interests. The ego tells us that our very survival depends on taking what we need at someone else’s expense. For example, if I am hungry and there is not enough food, I need to find a way to feed myself. If you are there and are hungry too, I have to make sure that it is my body and not yours that receives whatever limited nourishment is available. In other words, I have it only if I keep it. If I give it to you, I lose it.
As long as we believe that we are bodies and that this world is real, that dynamic appears to be true. But Jesus knows we are not bodies. We are not even separate minds. We are the one mind of God’s One Son, dreaming we could be separate from our Source and from each other. So, in reality (because we are mind and not a body), we cannot really give anything away. What we give, we keep. The reflection of this within this dream world is that when we think hateful, angry, or fearful thoughts about another, we are filled with hate, anger, or fear. When we think loving thoughts about another, we feel love.
This is the perspective Jesus is coming from when he states, “One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds” (W.pI.108.5:1,2) . What he means is that one thought of total forgiveness will forgive everyone in our mind . This is so because true forgiveness means forgiving a brother for what he has not done to us — recognizing that we merely imagined that another’s actions could take away our peace. And if we truly recognize this fact in relation to one person, we have to realize that it must be true for everyone — no one can hurt us because no one has the power to deprive us of the peace of God.
Thus, within our mind, we will have brought salvation to all minds. This is, in fact, all we need to worry about because, in truth, there is no one — and, indeed, no world — outside our mind. The Course is not saying that one of “us” needs to forgive a brother in order to change the world. It is telling you that by completely forgiving one brother, you can entirely change your experience of the world. And in this way, you can remember that salvation is already there for you, in your mind, should you choose it.
When, like Jesus, we have learned to let the Holy Spirit (the memory of God’s Love) become our only internal Voice, we will become a consistent reflection of love and forgiveness within this dream. This could serve as a reminder to others that none of their imagined sins have had any effect on reality and that salvation is already theirs if they choose to experience it. But when, if, and how they make that choice need not concern us.