ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 31

ACIM Text Reading for July 31

Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God

I. Introduction
The Christ in you inhabits not a body. Yet He is in you. And thus it must be that you are not within a body. What is within you cannot be outside. And it is certain that you cannot be apart from what is at the very center of your life. What gives you life cannot be housed in death. No more can you. Christ is within a frame of Holiness whose only purpose is that He may be made manifest to those who know Him not, that He may call to them to come to Him and see Him where they thought their bodies were. Then will their bodies melt away, that they may frame His Holiness in them.

No one who carries Christ in him can fail to recognize Him everywhere. Except in bodies. And as long as he believes he is in a body, where he thinks he is He cannot be. And so he carries Him unknowingly, and does not make Him manifest. And thus he does not recognize Him where He is. The son of man is not the risen Christ. Yet does the Son of God abide exactly where he is, and walks with him within his holiness, as plain to see as is his specialness set forth within his body. The body needs no healing. But the mind that thinks it is a body is sick indeed! And it is here that Christ sets forth the remedy. His purpose folds the body in His light, and fills it with the Holiness that shines from Him. And nothing that the body says or does but makes Him manifest. To those who know Him not it carries Him in gentleness and love, to heal their minds. Such is the mission that your brother has for you. And such it must be that your mission is for him.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 31

Lesson 212
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(192) I have a function God would have me fill.

I seek the function that would set me free from all the vain
illusions of the world. Only the function God has given me
can offer freedom. Only this I seek, and only this will I
accept as mine.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #955: So many of the new writings from the world’s spiritual teachers talk about the importance of the heart, love and compassion in the path to ascension. There is much talk of the “wisdom of the heart”. A Course in Miracles really only mentions the mind. When it speaks of the mind, how does that relate to the concept of heart used by other authors?

A: The love and compassion that are considered attributes of the heart reflect the mind’s choice to identify with the Holy Spirit. They flow naturally, unimpeded by the ego’s judgment when the mind is no longer blocked by the guilt and fear of choosing separation.

As you mention, the Course tells us that only the mind exists and there is nothing outside of it, including wisdom of the heart. The Course is very clear in this, indeed the foundation of its teaching rests on this principle: “It [the mind] 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” (T.18.VI.8:7,8,10,11) .

Heart is used symbolically in the Course as a term we are familiar with and relate to more easily than the term mind. However, it can only be understood as referring to the mind. In the many passages where the term heart is used, it means the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love. In a very beautiful passage Jesus uses the symbol of the heart and the body to describe the peace filled state of the right mind: “I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose. My judgment is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being”(T.5IV.8:10,11,12,13).

In these terms we find not only the true condition of the mind when it chooses against the ego, but the all-inclusive extension of this truth that is true compassion. The compassion the Course teaches is to see everyone in the light of the memory of our oneness with the Father. Everyone is thus included is this compassionate perspective, and seen as remembering or forgetting, choosing oneness or separation, whatever the form may be. In this wisdom of the right mind all other interpretations, judgments and perceptions cease. This is accomplished through the practice of forgiveness, which is both the wisdom of the heart and compassion as taught in the Course. Wisdom is generally understood as good judgment, but as with everything understood generally, Jesus takes it a step further in the Course. He tells us in the manual: “Wisdom is not judgment; it is the relinquishment of judgment”(M.10.4:5). Thus, we find wisdom of the heart in the Course through the process of forgiveness. Indeed, the heart of the Course is learning the compassion of forgiveness, whereby we relinquish judgment and become truly wise.

*

Q #956: I understand that I really do not want the peace of God, and that I need to ask Jesus to help me look at this fact without guilt or judgment. Yet my life still seems to be one conflict after another. I am aware that I do not want to let my specialness go and I ask for help with this. But I just seem to be stuck in the victim mode. What should I do?

A: One of the things studying and applying A Course in Miracles does for us is to reveal just how deeply split our mind is. On one hand, the Course helps us see that despite our vastly differing scripts, basically everyone’s life (with very few exceptions, such as Jesus’) can be boiled down to three rather miserable acts: we are born, we struggle, and we die — hardly a storyline any sane mind would choose for itself, and certainly one in which we are a perpetual victim. On the other hand, the Course tells us that we have the power to change this experience — that by changing internal teachers, we could see peace instead of this (W.pI.34) . If we believe that we have this power — and part of us must, or we would not be drawn to the Course — then it is natural to wonder why we do not just make this internal shift, feel better, and get on with it.

But the Course answers that question when it tells us that “No one who sees himself as guilty can avoid the fear of God” (T.30.VI.4:4) . In other words, we will be afraid of God (and of the internal shift that would bring us closer to Him), as long as we have any guilt left in our mind. And as long as we retain any belief in the reality of our physical existence and of this world, our mind will contain guilt — the unconscious conviction that we stole our existence from God and deserve to be punished for it. This is why our journey as Course students can seem so slow, difficult, and filled with setbacks.

While we have found clever ways to disguise this fact, our entire lives up to this point have been elaborate schemes to keep us in the victim mode, precisely so that we will never return to the peace and Love of God, which we perceive as our greatest threat. As we begin to do what Jesus asks of us and question every value that we hold (T.24.in.2:1) , we start to feel how desperately we do want to return to God’s Love, and how much we have suffered in our seemingly separated state. Yet it takes time to undo an entire thought system and we cannot expect the ego to just give up without a fight.

So your experience of being stuck in the victim mode, while undoubtedly painful, is certainly not unique, nor is it really the problem. Rather, it is simply a reflection of the fact that you still fear God’s Love and your mind’s ability to choose it. Thus, you do not need to do anything about it. Rather, you could just view it as helpful information. In fact, whenever we find ourselves feeling like victims, we can simply notice it and say, “Aha, I am still scared and that is all right.” In this way, we will be practicing the forgiveness with ourselves that will ultimately loosen the ego’s chokehold. One of the keys to progressing on our journey home is the discovery that, despite its slippery cleverness, there is one thing the ego cannot pervert to serve its own means: our failure to make a big deal about something .

HelenandBillat1W.81stStreetNYC

Advertisements

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 30

ACIM Text Reading for July 30

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VIII. The Meeting Place
How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! His wish is law to him, and he obeys. Nothing his specialness demands does he withhold. Nothing it needs does he deny to what he loves. And while it calls to him he hears no other Voice. No effort is too great, no cost too much, no price too dear to save his specialness from the least slight, the tiniest attack, the whispered doubt, the hint of threat, or anything but deepest reverence. This is your son, beloved of you as you are to your Father. Yet it stands in place of your creations, who are son to you, that you might share the Fatherhood of God, not snatch it from Him. What is this son that you have made to be your strength? What is this child of earth on whom such love is lavished? What is this parody of God’s creation that takes the place of yours? And where are they, now that the host of God has found another son whom he prefers to them?

The memory of God shines not alone. What is within your brother still contains all of creation, everything created and creating, born and unborn as yet, still in the future or apparently gone by. What is in him is changeless, and your changelessness is recognized in its acknowledgment. The holiness in you belongs to him. And by your seeing it in him, returns to you. All of the tribute you have given specialness belongs to him, and thus returns to you. All of the love and care, the strong protection, the thought by day and night, the deep concern, the powerful conviction this is you, belong to him. Nothing you gave to specialness but is his due. And nothing due him is not due to you.

How can you know your worth while specialness claims you instead? How can you fail to know it in his holiness? Seek not to make your specialness the truth, for if it were you would be lost indeed. Be thankful, rather, it is given you to see his holiness because it is the truth. And what is true in him must be as true in you.

Ask yourself this: Can you protect the mind? The body, yes, a little; not from time, but temporarily. And much you think you save, you hurt. What would you save it for? For in that choice lie both its health and harm. Save it for show, as bait to catch another fish, to house your specialness in better style, or weave a frame of loveliness around your hate, and you condemn it to decay and death. And if you see this purpose in your brother’s, such is your condemnation of your own. Weave, rather, then, a frame of holiness around him, that the truth may shine on him, and give you safety from decay.

The Father keeps what He created safe. You cannot touch it with the false ideas you made, because it was created not by you. Let not your foolish fancies frighten you. What is immortal cannot be attacked; what is but temporal has no effect. Only the purpose that you see in it has meaning, and if that is true, its safety rests secure. If not, it has no purpose, and is means for nothing. Whatever is perceived as means for truth shares in its holiness, and rests in light as safely as itself. Nor will that light go out when it is gone. Its holy purpose gave it immortality, setting another light in Heaven, where your creations recognize a gift from you, a sign that you have not forgotten them.

The test of everything on earth is simply this; “What is it for?” The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it, according to the purpose that you serve. Here you are but means, along with it. God is a Means as well as End. In Heaven, means and end are one, and one with Him. This is the state of true creation, found not within time, but in eternity. To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given; not till you make again a holy home for your creations is it understood.

A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. A perfect being, all-encompassing and all-encompassed, nothing to add and nothing taken from; not born of size nor place nor time, nor held to limits or uncertainties of any kind. Here do the means and end unite as one, nor does this one have any end at all. All this is true, and yet it has no meaning to anyone who still retains one unlearned lesson in his memory, one thought with purpose still uncertain, or one wish with a divided aim.

This course makes no attempt to teach what cannot easily be learned. Its scope does not exceed your own, except to say that what is yours will come to you when you are ready. Here are the means and the purpose separate because they were so made and so perceived. And therefore do we deal with them as if they were. It is essential it be kept in mind that all perception still is upside down until its purpose has been understood. Perception does not seem to be a means. And it is this that makes it hard to grasp the whole extent to which it must depend on what you see it for. Perception seems to teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish; an image that you wanted to be true.

Look at yourself, and you will see a body. Look at this body in a different light and it looks different. And without a light it seems that it is gone. Yet you are reassured that it is there because you still can feel it with your hands and hear it move. Here is an image that you want to be yourself. It is the means to make your wish come true. It gives the eyes with which you look on it, the hands that feel it, and the ears with which you listen to the sounds it makes. It proves its own reality to you.

Thus is the body made a theory of yourself, with no provisions made for evidence beyond itself, and no escape within its sight. Its course is sure, when seen through its own eyes. It grows and withers, flourishes and dies. And you cannot conceive of you apart from it. You brand it sinful and you hate its acts, judging it evil. Yet your specialness whispers, “Here is my own beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Thus does the “son” become the means to serve his “father’s” purpose. Not identical, not even like, but still a means to offer to the “father” what he wants. Such is the travesty on God’s creation. For as His Son’s creation gave Him joy and witness to His Love and shared His purpose, so does the body testify to the idea that made it, and speak for its reality and truth.

And thus are two sons made, and both appear to walk this earth without a meeting place and no encounter. One do you perceive outside yourself, your own beloved son. The other rests within, his Father’s Son, within your brother as he is in you. Their difference does not lie in how they look, nor where they go, nor even what they do. They have a different purpose. It is this that joins them to their like, and separates each from all aspects with a different purpose. The Son of God retains his Father’s Will. The son of man perceives an alien will and wishes it were so. And thus does his perception serve his wish by giving it appearances of truth. Yet can perception serve another goal. It is not bound to specialness but by your choice. And it is given you to make a different choice, and use perception for a different purpose. And what you see will serve that purpose well, and prove its own reality to you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 30

Lesson 211
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(191) I am the holy Son of God Himself.

In silence and in true humility I seek God’s glory, to behold
it in the Son whom He created as my Self.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #279: I know that, as A Course in Miracles says, all illness is a defense against truth. Are you aware of any case of someone who, after many years of continuous study and practice of the Course, started to feel an abstract fear of this apparent reality, like losing his mind — agoraphobic-like symptoms?

A: It is not surprising that fear may appear to become more intense as we work with the Course over time. We are after all in the process of removing all the many defenses we have constructed to minimize fear in our awareness and to disguise it as other seemingly more manageable feelings, such as anger or excitement.

Jesus is well aware that our fear will seem to increase over time as we study and apply his Course: “You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful. As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death. There is no death, but there is a belief in death” (T.3.VII.5:9,10,11). And later in the text: “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” (T.18.III.2:1).

The form that our increased fear may take will in most cases keep our focus on the external world and on threat to the body’s life and well-being, since that is the identity as egos we are trying to maintain. Agoraphobia is certainly a specific form in which the fear could be expressed, as the experience of oneness that the Course is leading us towards is one of no limits or boundaries — the ultimate spaciousness, if you will.

No matter what form the fear takes, the answer is always the same. All fear ultimately comes from the belief that we have attacked and destroyed love and that we will be attacked and destroyed in return. If we can quiet our minds just enough to ask for help, joining with the presence of love that has remained always there despite our beliefs, we will know that love cannot be destroyed, and so neither the guilt of attack nor the punishment we have believed it calls for are true. In the words that conclude the introduction to the text, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God” (T.in.2:2,3,4).

You do not say whether this is simply a theoretical question you are asking or whether you are describing your own or someone else’s actual experience. If the latter is the case, should the symptoms persist and continue to be unsettling and problematic, it is always a wise course of action to see a professional therapist for help in alleviating the symptoms.

Q #280: Is there a positive form of denial? Would denying the countless, tiny, fearful, negative thoughts that bombard me throughout the day be one way of applying, in practical terms, what Jesus calls, “Denial of Error”?

A: It depends on what you mean by denying. If you mean that you are aware that they are there and that you (as the decision maker) are responsible for them, but then you deny their power to take away your peace or change your reality as God’s Son, then you are using denial in a helpful, positive way. Then you would be denying the error, or denying the denial of truth (T.12.II.1:5). The mistake we all made was to take the “tiny, mad idea” of separation seriously, instead of smiling at the silliness and insanity of believing that we could exist as separate individuals apart from God (T.27.VIII.6). We repeat this mistake every time we judge our ego thoughts to be so awful and so bothersome that we need to repress them or escape from them. We correct that mistake every time we look squarely at our ego thoughts, and remember that the only power they have is the power we give to them by our belief that they define us and that they can truly affect us. So that we don’t skip steps, then, we first must deny their seeming power. And we can do that most effectively by looking at them with the love of Jesus next to us. As that love becomes more and more real to us, our ego thoughts will become less and less real to us. And then one day we will simply regard them as meaningless, as we will have finally accepted the love of Jesus as the only reality in our minds.

total commitment

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 29

ACIM Text Reading for July 29

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VII. Salvation from Fear
Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your savior from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now. While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His Own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God’s creation. For in him his Father waits for your acknowledgment that He created you as part of Him.

Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a Son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole, and part of Him because His Will is One. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother’s holiness shows you that God is One with him and you; that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.

Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. Your brother is as He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.

Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there, and all belief God’s Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.

Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours, for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgment made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.

It is His sinlessness that eyes that see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere, and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother’s holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world’s, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives, and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother’s body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.

Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself, set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?

Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgment you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.

See him as what he is, that your deliverance may not be long. A senseless wandering, without a purpose and without accomplishment of any kind, is all the other choice can offer you. Futility of function not fulfilled will haunt you while your brother lies asleep, till what has been assigned to you is done and he is risen from the past. He who condemned himself, and you as well, is given you to save from condemnation, along with you. And both shall see God’s glory in His Son, whom you mistook as flesh, and bound to laws that have no power over him at all.

Would you not gladly realize these laws are not for you? Then see him not as prisoner to them. It cannot be what governs part of God holds not for all the rest. You place yourself under the laws you see as ruling him. Think, then, how great the Love of God for you must be, that He has given you a part of Him to save from pain and give you happiness. And never doubt but that your specialness will disappear before the Will of God, Who loves each part of Him with equal love and care. The Christ in you can see your brother truly. Would you decide against the holiness He sees?

Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth.

Now you are merely asked that you pursue another goal with far less vigilance; with little effort and with little time, and with the power of God maintaining it, and promising success. Yet of the two, it is this one you find more difficult. The “sacrifice” of self you understand, nor do you deem this cost too heavy. But a tiny willingness, a nod to God, a greeting to the Christ in you, you find a burden wearisome and tedious, too heavy to be borne. Yet to the dedication to the truth as God established it no sacrifice is asked, no strain called forth, and all the power of Heaven and the might of truth itself is given to provide the means, and guarantee the goal’s accomplishment.

You who believe it easier to see your brother’s body than his holiness, be sure you understand what made this judgment. Here is the voice of specialness heard clearly, judging against the Christ and setting forth for you the purpose that you can attain, and what you cannot do. Forget not that this judgment must apply to what you do with it as your ally. For what you do through Christ it does not know. To Him this judgment makes no sense at all, for only what His Father wills is possible, and there is no alternative for Him to see. Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 29

Lesson 210
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(190) I choose the joy of God instead of pain.

Pain is my own idea. It is not a Thought of God, but one I
thought apart from Him and from His Will. His Will is joy,
and only joy for His beloved Son. And that I choose, instead
of what I made.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #782(i): Lesson 190 “I choose the joy of God instead of pain” states: “For pain proclaims God cruel. How could it be real in any form?” (W.pI.190.1:5,6) (1) If pain is caused by other human beings, could that be real? Jesus, in his Passion, tortured by other human beings, was in great pain before he died. Was his pain real or was that an illusion?

A: Sometimes in A Course in Miracles Jesus is speaking only about absolute truth, where he is contrasting truth and illusion. On that level (Level One), only God and the realm of Heaven is real; all else is illusory. That is the level Jesus is speaking on in the statements you refer to. Another example of Level One occurs in paragraph 3: “If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God” (W.pI.190.3:3,4) . So Jesus is saying that in no sense could pain be real. If it were real, then God could not be God.

Jesus also talks to us on another level (Level Two), because we think there is reality outside Heaven. We think we are real and that we exist in a real physical universe. Even though Jesus knows that existence outside Heaven is not real, he talks to us as though it were real, because that is all that we can understand. The lesson he wants to help us learn is that we could never experience pain unless we made a decision in our minds to feel victimized, and that would be only because we would be trying to project our guilt out of our minds onto something external. Thus, nothing in the world or the body is the way it appears to be. Everything is the effect of a cause, which is always a decision made in the mind.

With regard to the Passion, Jesus explains in the text that the biblical accounts of his crucifixion are not accurate: “Atonement without Sacrifice” in Chapter 3 (T.3.I); “The Message of the Crucifixion” in Chapter 6 (T.6.I) . He did not perceive himself as a sacrificial lamb or as persecuted. What is so radical about the Course is that it teaches us that everything happens in our minds. There was no guilt in his mind; therefore he could not experience pain, despite what appeared to be happening to his body. Likewise, he teaches us that the resurrection had nothing to do with his body. Resurrection refers to our awakening from the dream that we are separate from God and that we are guilty sinners deserving of punishment. In that sense, the resurrection took place before the crucifixion.

You may wish to read our book A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue , co-authored by Kenneth Wapnick and a Catholic priest philosopher/theologian. This dialogue between two friends shows the important differences between traditional biblical Christianity and what the Course teaches. From beginning to end, the two systems are shown to be mutually exclusive thought systems. It is not as if you cannot practice both, but it would help to be aware of how the two systems differ.

complete forgiveness

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 28

ACIM Text Reading for July 28

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

VI. The Christ in You
The Christ in you is very still. He looks on what He loves, and knows it as Himself. And thus does He rejoice at what He sees, because He knows that it is one with Him and with His Father. Specialness, too, takes joy in what it sees, although it is not true. Yet what you seek for is a source of joy as you conceive it. What you wish is true for you. Nor is it possible that you can wish for something and lack faith that it is so. Wishing makes real, as surely as does will create. The power of a wish upholds illusions as strongly as does love extend itself. Except that one deludes; the other heals.

There is no dream of specialness, however hidden or disguised the form, however lovely it may seem to be, however much it delicately offers the hope of peace and the escape from pain, in which you suffer not your condemnation. In dreams effect and cause are interchanged, for here the maker of the dream believes that what he made is happening to him. He does not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove a picture out of nothing. For the parts do not belong together, and the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.

Where could your peace arise but from forgiveness? The Christ in you looks only on the truth, and sees no condemnation that could need forgiveness. He is at peace because He sees no sin. Identify with Him, and what has He that you have not? He is your eyes, your ears, your hands, your feet. How gentle are the sights He sees, the sounds He hears. How beautiful His hand that holds His brother’s, and how lovingly He walks beside him, showing him what can be seen and heard, and where he will see nothing and there is no sound to hear.

Yet let your specialness direct his way, and you will follow. And both will walk in danger, each intent, in the dark forest of the sightless, unlit but by the shifting tiny gleams that spark an instant from the fireflies of sin and then go out, to lead the other to a nameless precipice and hurl him over it. For what can specialness delight in but to kill? What does it seek for but the sight of death? Where does it lead but to destruction? Yet think not that it looked upon your brother first, nor hated him before it hated you. The sin its eyes behold in him and love to look upon it saw in you, and looks on still with joy. Yet is it joy to look upon decay and madness, and believe this crumbling thing, with flesh already loosened from the bone and sightless holes for eyes, is like yourself?

Rejoice you have no eyes with which to see; no ears to listen, and no hands to hold nor feet to guide. Be glad that only Christ can lend you His, while you have need of them. They are illusions, too, as much as yours. And yet because they serve a different purpose, the strength their purpose holds is given them. And what they see and hear and hold and lead is given light, that you may lead as you were led.

The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and He leads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. His Holiness shows you Himself in him whose hand you hold, and whom you lead to Him. And what you see is like yourself. For what but Christ is there to see and hear and love and follow home? He looked upon you first, but recognized that you were not complete. And so He sought for your completion in each living thing that He beholds and loves. And seeks it still, that each might offer you the Love of God.

Yet is He quiet, for He knows that love is in you now, and safely held in you by that same hand that holds your brother’s in your own. Christ’s hand holds all His brothers in Himself. He gives them vision for their sightless eyes, and sings to them of Heaven, that their ears may hear no more the sound of battle and of death. He reaches through them, holding out His hand, that everyone may bless all living things, and see their holiness. And He rejoices that these sights are yours, to look upon with Him and share His joy. His perfect lack of specialness He offers you, that you may save all living things from death, receiving from each one the gift of life that your forgiveness offers to your Self. The sight of Christ is all there is to see. The song of Christ is all there is to hear. The hand of Christ is all there is to hold. There is no journey but to walk with Him.

You who would be content with specialness, and seek salvation in a war with love, consider this: The holy Lord of Heaven has Himself come down to you, to offer you your own completion. What is His is yours because in your completion is His Own. He Who willed not to be without His Son could never will that you be brotherless. And would He give a brother unto you except he be as perfect as yourself, and just as like to Him in holiness as you must be?

There must be doubt before there can be conflict. And every doubt must be about yourself. Christ has no doubt, and from His certainty His quiet comes. He will exchange His certainty for all your doubts, if you agree that He is One with you, and that this Oneness is endless, timeless, and within your grasp because your hands are His. He is within you, yet He walks beside you and before, leading the way that He must go to find Himself complete. His quietness becomes your certainty. And where is doubt when certainty has come?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 28

Lesson 209
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(189) I feel the Love of God within me now.

The Love of God is what created me. The Love of God is
everything I am. The Love of God proclaimed me as His
Son. The Love of God within me sets me free.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #102: I am really into self-help books. I have read that psychotherapy and counseling can be helpful for the student of A Course In Miracles because it can help reveal the ego’s blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. Is this the case for self-help as well? Or do self-help materials hold more potential than formalized counseling to enmesh readers in their own problems?

A: An advantage of psychotherapy and counseling over self-help books is that there is someone else to observe your ego, hopefully in a non-judgmental way, and point out its dynamics in areas you may be very effectively keeping hidden from yourself. It is usually easier to recognize someone else’s defenses rather than our own. But self-help books still can be of value in helping you identify your own maladaptive patterns of behavior and underlying thoughts, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself.

For any self-improvement tool that you’re considering, including therapy, you may want to ask yourself the following questions in evaluating its usefulness:

Is this helping me to take more responsibility for my thoughts and feelings and actions or is it reinforcing the ego dynamic of seeing and holding others responsible for my dysfunction and unhappiness (although uncovering a dynamic of blaming others can be an important first step in the healing process if we have not allowed ourselves to be in touch with that before)?

Is this likely to help me uncover my hidden motivations or is it more likely to help me keep them buried in an emphasis on changing form, such as behavior and appearance, rather than underlying content, such as thought and purpose (although sometimes an important early step that indicates a willingness to change at a deeper level is to modify maladaptive and destructive behavior, such as addictions)?

One of the limitations of nearly every therapeutic approach in the world, regardless of whether it involves a therapist or work on your own, is that its purpose is to make the dream better, rather than to lead you along the path of awakening, which is the Course’s goal. And self-help is really about helping make a better ego self. Not that there is anything bad about that, but it won’t take you where the Course is leading you and it could end up leading you in the opposite direction. The only truly healing practice is forgiveness, and we may find clever ways to avoid it for as long as we can stand the pain. But in the end, we will find that releasing our judgments to the Help of the only real Therapist is the only way to find the Self we are really looking for.

jesus there is no death

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 27

ACIM Text Reading for July 27

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

V. Specialness versus Sinlessness
Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy; feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt’s attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself.

What could the purpose of the body be but specialness? And it is this that makes it frail and helpless in its own defense. It was conceived to make you frail and helpless. The goal of separation is its curse. Yet bodies have no goal. Purpose is of the mind. And minds can change as they desire. What they are, and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself the body can do nothing. See it as means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as means to heal, and it is healed.

You can but hurt yourself. This has been oft repeated, but is difficult to grasp as yet. To minds intent on specialness it is impossible. Yet to those who wish to heal and not attack, it is quite obvious. The purpose of attack is in the mind, and its effects are felt but where it is. Nor is the mind limited; so must it be that harmful purpose hurts the mind as one. Nothing could make less sense to specialness. Nothing could make more sense to miracles. For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing. This shift in purpose does “endanger” specialness, but only in the sense that all illusions are “threatened” by the truth. They will not stand before it. Yet what comfort has ever been in them, that you would keep the gift your Father asks from Him, and give it there instead? Given to Him, the universe is yours. Offered to them, no gifts can be returned. What you have given specialness has left you bankrupt and your treasure house barren and empty, with an open door inviting everything that would disturb your peace to enter and destroy.

Earlier I said consider not the means by which salvation is attained, nor how to reach it. But do consider, and consider well, whether it is your wish that you might see your brother sinless. To specialness the answer must be “no.” A sinless brother is its enemy, while sin, if it were possible, would be its friend. Your brother’s sin would justify itself, and give it meaning that the truth denies. All that is real proclaims his sinlessness. All that is false proclaims his sins as real. If he is sinful, then is your reality not real, but just a dream of specialness that lasts an instant, crumbling into dust.

Do not defend this senseless dream, in which God is bereft of what He loves, and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world that has no meaning in reality: When peace is not with you entirely, and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother, and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it. And thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior, and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his “enemy,” and yours as well.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 27

Lesson 208
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(188) The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And
in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within
my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #145: In answering Question #74, the statement was made that “either we have chosen to reinforce our belief in separation or to undo this belief, and there is never an instant when we are not making this choice.” It is really difficult to deal with a decision you have made when you don’t even know what it is you have done. What is a simple way of knowing that we are making the choice to undo separation?

A: If you are perceiving another’s interests as the same as yours, you are undoing the separation. If you respect another person’s choice for the ego, do not take his attacks personally, and see only a call for help mirroring your own, you are undoing the separation. If you would rather be happy than right, you are undoing the separation. In most cases, though, it is easier to recognize when we are upholding the separation, because that is what we do most of the time. For example, it is almost second nature to us to perceive other people’s interests and goals as clashing with ours, as it is almost second nature to us to get upset over what other people are doing, and then oppose them and try to get them to “see the error of their ways.” We are right and they are wrong! So when we don’t see another’s interests as separate from our own, when we don’t take sides, when we don’t oppose, we are undoing the separation. We are speaking here, though, only about what takes place in one’s mind. We are not talking about behavior. Perceiving others’ interests as the same as ours means recognizing that we all share the same insanity (the wrong mind) and the same sanity (the right mind). The forms become irrelevant. We all share the same hell of the ego, and we all share the same longing to go home and be met with love not punishment.

We think we truly want to get beyond all thoughts of separation and return to our home in Heaven; but our fear of totally undoing our belief in separation is far more intense than we normally realize, because on a deep level we know that to undo the separation is to undo the individual identity we work so hard to sustain. Most students experience strong resistance to letting go, as witnessed to by the recurrence of grievances and conflict. By not judging ourselves for these thoughts, and being more and more consistent in bringing them to the love of Jesus in our right minds, we gradually undo the guilt that is the source of our perceptions of ourselves and others.

Q #146: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for a little over a year. I thought I had only loving feelings towards Jesus, and therefore I have been perplexed about another part of me that seems to be fearful of Jesus’ love and closeness — especially since my goal of being a student of the Course is to join with him and practice forgiveness. Also, I was thinking that since the decision making part of my mind had already decided there must be another way (i.e., choose Jesus as my teacher instead of the ego), why would part of my mind now tell Jesus to stay away from me and not to hurt me? Can you help me understand this?

A: This is a good example of the split mind spoken of in the Course. One part is sane, reflecting Heaven’s love; the other part is insane, filled with the hatred of the ego. We all — as part of the one Son of God — have both parts, and our decision maker is always choosing one or the other. Jesus reminds us time and time again in the Course that there are only these two choices open to us. We can usually tell by our experience whether we have chosen the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher, but we are generally not consciously aware of making the choice. Jesus teaches us, however, that even though our decisions seem to take place out of our awareness, that really is not what happens. See for example, Lesson 136, paragraphs 3,4,5.

While other factors may be responsible for the fear in individual cases, in general we can say that the ego part of our minds would have to be intensely afraid of Jesus and also hate him because of what he represents. What sustains the ego is guilt, and therefore someone such as Jesus who represents the end of guilt would be hated and feared. Thus, “to the ego, the guiltless are guilty” (T.13.II.4:2). Jesus represents the end of our identity as an ego, so to the extent to which we identify with our egos, we will fear and hate him. Of course that is not our total identity, but that is what we must learn, and what Jesus goes to great lengths to teach us. So until we can let go of our identification with the thought system of the ego, we will want to keep Jesus at a safe distance, at the very least, and at other times we will experience outright hatred of him. The idea is not to feel guilty about this fear and hatred, but to understand where it is coming from, so that we can give ourselves a chance to make a different choice. Jesus already knows about it, which is why he asks us in the Course to forgive him (T.19.IV.B.6) and why he talks about the “bitter idols [that] have been made of him who would be only brother to the world” (C.5.5:7,8). We project our own guilt on to him and give him our own ego-based traits. This is largely the image of Jesus portrayed in biblical Christianity. But in essence, the true Jesus, the Jesus of A Course in Miracles, stands for the opposite of everything we are — as egos. That engenders tremendous conflict in our relationship with him. We both love him and are drawn to him, but we also fear him and would rather he be more like us so that we do not have to change.

The only mistake we can make is to deny these “blasphemous” (to the ego) thoughts and hide them, and then attempt to replace them with lovely, beautiful thoughts of our dear sweet Jesus. This defense will never work; it will lead only to further guilt, which will lead to an endless cycle of projection and attack. The most helpful approach is to look calmly at these thoughts, not be horrified by them or ashamed of them, and bring them to the true Jesus in our right minds. He will lovingly and gently teach us where they came from, and help us distinguish clearly between the gifts the ego offers us and the gifts he offers us.

you have no idea

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 26

ACIM Text Reading for July 26

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

IV. The Forgiveness of Specialness
Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusions, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still. And so he calls it “unforgivable,” and makes it sin. How can he then give his forgiveness wholly, when he would not receive it for himself? For it is sure he would receive it wholly the instant that he gave it so. And thus his secret guilt would disappear, forgiven by himself.

Whatever form of specialness you cherish, you have made sin. Inviolate it stands, strongly defended with all your puny might against the Will of God. And thus it stands against yourself; your enemy, not God’s. So does it seem to split you off from God, and make you separate from Him as its defender. You would protect what God created not. And yet, this idol that seems to give you power has taken it away. For you have given your brother’s birthright to it, leaving him alone and unforgiven, and yourself in sin beside him, both in misery, before the idol that can save you not.

It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you. It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze.

Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son is safe, resting on Him. It is your specialness that is attacked by everything that walks and breathes, or creeps or crawls, or even lives at all. Nothing is safe from its attack, and it is safe from nothing. It will forevermore be unforgiving, for that is what it is; a secret vow that what God wants for you will never be, and that you will oppose His Will forever. Nor is it possible the two can ever be the same, while specialness stands like a flaming sword of death between them, and makes them enemies.

God asks for your forgiveness. He would have no separation, like an alien will, rise between what He wills for you and what you will. They are the same, for neither One wills specialness. How could They will the death of love itself? Yet They are powerless to make attack upon illusions. They are not bodies; as one Mind They wait for all illusions to be brought to Them, and left behind. Salvation challenges not even death. And God Himself, Who knows that death is not your will, must say, “Thy will be done” because you think it is.

Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life, of love and holiness, the perfect Father of a perfect Son, for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this. The way is barred to love and to salvation. Yet if you would release your brother from the depths of hell, you have forgiven Him Whose Will it is you rest forever in the arms of peace, in perfect safety, and without the heat and malice of one thought of specialness to mar your rest. Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead.

The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream. Open your eyes a little; see the savior God gave to you that you might look on him, and give him back his birthright. It is yours.

The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your savior? God calls to you from him to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 26

Lesson 207
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(187) I bless the world because I bless myself.

God’s blessing shines upon me from within my heart,
where He abides. I need but turn to Him, and every sorrow
melts away, as I accept His boundless Love for me.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #364: If I am spirit and my body is not real is it wrong to feed it well, exercise it, have it massaged, dress it with care, make it up, etc., or is all this seen as being gentle with myself as long as I perceive myself as being a body? Will these activities not reinforce this false idea?

A: The activities of feeding and exercising your body, having it massaged, dressing it with care, and using cosmetics are neither holy nor unholy in themselves. It would not advance you spiritually simply to stop doing things just because they make you feel good. These kinds of bodily activities contradict your desire to awaken from the dream of separation only if your motivation is connected to specialness in some way or to keep the body at the center of your attention. The idea is to discern whether you are using your body to make yourself different and special (the ego’s purpose) or to learn that we are all the same as fragments of the one Son of God, sharing both the same wrong-minded thoughts of the ego and the same right-minded thoughts of the Holy Spirit. Our attitude towards our bodies, thus, should be centered on using them so as to uncover the hidden agenda of separation that we are constantly upholding in our minds. It is because of that hidden agenda that Jesus at one point refers to the body as “the engine of destruction” (T.20.VIII.4:7). That is the original purpose of the body.

On the metaphysical level, the level of absolute truth, A Course in Miracles teaches us that the body was made to attack and replace our true Identity, and to limit love (T.18.VIII.1). (An impossibility, and therefore totally illusory of course.) So on that level, anything we do to our bodies supports that purpose. But since we are not yet ready to identify completely with that truth, Jesus prepares us to move in that direction by having us first regard the body as neutral (W.pII.294). In this sense, our bodily lives are classrooms in which we gradually learn to recognize which teacher we have chosen to guide our activities — the ego or the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we don’t change our bodies or how we fix them up, etc., but rather we change the purpose we have given them.

kingdom of god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 25

ACIM Text Reading for July 25

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

III. The Treachery of Specialness
Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another, and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive. This does it seek, and this it looks upon. And always whom it thus diminishes would be your savior, had you not chosen to make of him a tiny measure of your specialness instead. Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see. Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus.

Pursuit of specialness is always at the cost of peace. Who can attack his savior and cut him down, yet recognize his strong support? Who can detract from his omnipotence, yet share his power? And who can use him as the gauge of littleness, and be released from limits? You have a function in salvation. Its pursuit will bring you joy. But the pursuit of specialness must bring you pain. Here is a goal that would defeat salvation, and thus run counter to the Will of God. To value specialness is to esteem an alien will to which illusions of yourself are dearer than the truth.

Specialness is the idea of sin made real. Sin is impossible even to imagine without this base. For sin arose from it, out of nothingness; an evil flower with no roots at all. Here is the self-made “savior,” the “creator” who creates unlike the Father, and which made His Son like to itself and not like unto Him. His “special” sons are many, never one, each one in exile from himself, and Him of Whom they are a part. Nor do they love the Oneness Which created them as one with Him. They chose their specialness instead of Heaven and instead of peace, and wrapped it carefully in sin, to keep it “safe” from truth.

You are not special. If you think you are, and would defend your specialness against the truth of what you really are, how can you know the truth? What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers? Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its “mightiness.” You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you.

You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears. To every special one a different message, and one with different meaning, is the truth. Yet how can truth be different to each one? The special messages the special hear convince them they are different and apart; each in his special sins and “safe” from love, which does not see his specialness at all. Christ’s vision is their “enemy,” for it sees not what they would look upon, and it would show them that the specialness they think they see is an illusion.

What would they see instead? The shining radiance of the Son of God, so like his Father that the memory of Him springs instantly to mind. And with this memory, the Son remembers his own creations, as like to him as he is to his Father. And all the world he made, and all his specialness, and all the sins he held in its defense against himself, will vanish as his mind accepts the truth about himself, as it returns to take their place. This is the only “cost” of truth: You will no longer see what never was, nor hear what makes no sound. Is it a sacrifice to give up nothing, and to receive the Love of God forever?

You who have chained your savior to your specialness, and given it his place, remember this: He has not lost the power to forgive you all the sins you think you placed between him and the function of salvation given him for you. Nor will you change his function, any more than you can change the truth in him and in yourself. But be you certain that the truth is just the same in both. It gives no different messages, and has one meaning. And it is one you and your brother both can understand, and one that brings release to both of you. Here stands your brother with the key to Heaven in his hand, held out to you. Let not the dream of specialness remain between you. What is one is joined in truth.

Think of the loveliness that you will see within yourself, when you have looked on him as on a friend. He is the enemy of specialness, but only friend to what is real in you. Not one attack you thought you made on him has taken from him the gift that God would have him give to you. His need to give it is as great as yours to have it. Let him forgive you all your specialness, and make you whole in mind and one with him. He waits for your forgiveness only that he may return it unto you. It is not God Who has condemned His Son, but you, to save his specialness and kill his Self.

You have come far along the way of truth; too far to falter now. Just one step more, and every vestige of the fear of God will melt away in love. Your brother’s specialness and yours are enemies, and bound in hate to kill each other and deny they are the same. Yet it is not illusions that have reached this final obstacle which seems to make God and His Heaven so remote that They cannot be reached. Here in this holy place does truth stand waiting to receive you and your brother in silent blessing, and in peace so real and so encompassing that nothing stands outside. Leave all illusions of yourself outside this place, to which you come in hope and honesty.

Here is your savior from your specialness. He is in need of your acceptance of himself as part of you, as you for his. You are alike to God as God is to Himself. He is not special, for He would not keep one part of what He is unto Himself, not given to His Son but kept for Him alone. And it is this you fear, for if He is not special, then He willed His Son to be like Him, and your brother is like you. Not special, but possessed of everything, including you. Give him but what he has, remembering God gave Himself to you and your brother in equal love, that both might share the universe with Him Who chose that love could never be divided, and kept separate from what it is and must forever be.

You are your brother’s; part of love was not denied to him. But can it be that you have lost because he is complete? What has been given him makes you complete, as it does him. God’s Love gave you to him and him to you because He gave Himself. What is the same as God is one with Him. And only specialness could make the truth of God and you as one seem anything but Heaven, with the hope of peace at last in sight.

Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love. Whatever serves its purpose must be given to kill. No gift that bears its seal but offers treachery to giver and receiver. Not one glance from eyes it veils but looks on sight of death. Not one believer in its potency but seeks for bargains and for compromise that would establish sin love’s substitute, and serve it faithfully. And no relationship that holds its purpose dear but clings to murder as safety’s weapon, and the great defender of all illusions from the “threat” of love.

The hope of specialness makes it seem possible God made the body as the prison house that keeps His Son from Him. For it demands a special place God cannot enter, and a hiding place where none is welcome but your tiny self. Nothing is sacred here but unto you, and you alone, apart and separate from all your brothers; safe from all intrusions of sanity upon illusions; safe from God and safe for conflict everlasting. Here are the gates of hell you closed upon yourself, to rule in madness and in loneliness your special kingdom, apart from God, away from truth and from salvation.

The key you threw away God gave your brother, whose holy hands would offer it to you when you were ready to accept His plan for your salvation in the place of yours. How could this readiness be reached save through the sight of all your misery, and the awareness that your plan has failed, and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind? Through this despair you travel now, yet it is but illusion of despair. The death of specialness is not your death, but your awaking into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 25

Lesson 206
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(186) Salvation of the world depends on me.

I am entrusted with the gifts of God, because I am His Son.
And I would give His gifts where He intended them to be.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #60: I seem to remember a passage that states the use of “white lies” may at times be appropriate in dealing with some relationships. What is Jesus saying here? I can only seem to relate it to the 12-step saying where we should always try to make amends except when to do so would cause more harm.

A: We have all experienced occasions when it is obvious that telling someone the truth on the level of form is simply not the loving thing to do. While there are no passages in the Course that specifically mention “white lies,” there are two passages that address this issue, and that relate to the 12-step saying you mention: “The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver.This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear” (T.2.IV.5).

In another passage Jesus says, “Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter” (T.12.III.4:1). Importantly, he qualifies this later by saying, “I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other” (T.16.I.6:4,5).

The key element in the Course’s approach is honesty, which is the second of the ten characteristics of a teacher of God, discussed in the manual for teachers (M.4). Jesus states there that honesty means consistency: “There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought…” (M.4.II.1). In other words, there is a consistency between your words (form) and your thoughts (content). If we set aside any ego investment in the situation, then only love will flow though us, and it will be expressed in a form that would be appropriate in that specific situation. The emphasis is on the content in our minds. If we are kind within, we will be kind on the outside. Our attention, thus, should be on searching for any unkindness lurking in our thoughts, and asking for help to let that go. Once we have gotten past the unkindness, whatever we say or do will be kind, in a form that is appropriate to the circumstances.

forgiveness takes everything

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson to July 24

ACIM Text Reading for July 24

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

II. Specialness as a Substitute for Love
Love is extension. To withhold the smallest gift is not to know love’s purpose. Love offers everything forever. Hold back but one belief, one offering, and love is gone, because you asked a substitute to take its place. And now must war, the substitute for peace, come with the one alternative that you can choose for love. Your choosing it has given it all the reality it seems to have.

Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognized belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not. And many senseless outcomes have been reached, and meaningless decisions have been made and kept hidden, to become beliefs now given power to direct all subsequent decisions. Mistake you not the power of these hidden warriors to disrupt your peace. For it is at their mercy while you decide to leave it there. The secret enemies of peace, your least decision to choose attack instead of love, unrecognized and swift to challenge you to combat and to violence far more inclusive than you think, are there by your election. Do not deny their presence nor their terrible results. All that can be denied is their reality, but not their outcome.

All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognized, is faith in specialness. This takes many forms, but always clashes with the reality of God’s creation and with the grandeur that He gave His Son. What else could justify attack? For who could hate someone whose Self is his, and Whom he knows? Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.

What God created cannot be attacked, for there is nothing in the universe unlike itself. But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone “better,” someone incapable of being like what he condemns, “above” it, sinless by comparison with it. And thus does specialness become a means and end at once. For specialness not only sets apart, but serves as grounds from which attack on those who seem “beneath” the special one is “natural” and “just.” The special ones feel weak and frail because of differences, for what would make them special is their enemy. Yet they protect its enmity and call it “friend.” On its behalf they fight against the universe, for nothing in the world they value more.

Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended. Illusions can attack it, and they do. For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you?

Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? Could you attack him if you realized you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? You are his enemy in specialness; his friend in a shared purpose. Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardized. Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?

Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. There is no difference. You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. What you keep is lost to you. God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. And so it is the only one you have. Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome, or would let you think that you are better off apart. Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? And is not this the “enemy” that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?

The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance. Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. You would oppose this course because it teaches you you and your brother are alike. You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you. For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancied judgment on itself? Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. This is what he attacks, and you protect. Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him. Here must he be your enemy and not your friend. Never can there be peace among the different. He is your friend because you are the same.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 24

Lesson 205
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(185) I want the peace of God.

The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is
my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek,
my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide
where I am not at home.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1173: Recently I visited several Internet forums on different subjects. People seemed to “hit out” at each other and argue so much, it reminded me very much of the Course’s statement that this world is already an attack on the Son of God, made by himself. Since we regard the world we are living in as our “lives,” does it mean, in the Course’s perception of the world, that the very fact that we are “living” in this world is already an attack on ourselves? In other words, by “incarnating” into flesh and body are we being “auto aggressive”?

A: Yes. The attack on the Son of God is the mind’s decision to be separate, and to identify with a body living in the world. The mind defends its choice by projecting out its guilt in countless scenarios for wars of opposition, not least among them, the many battles among students of the Course. Nothing misses the point more blatantly than the compulsion to defend a distinctive position regarding the teachings of A Course in Miracles . It proves that there is nothing the ego cannot use to defend separation. But then, there is nothing the Holy Spirit cannot use to heal the mind of belief in separation. And so, the world that the ego made as an attack (W.p.II.3.2:1) can become a classroom for the Holy Spirit’s lessons of forgiveness. The goal of the classroom is to learn that neither the attack, nor the ensuing battles between opposing forces of any kind have any real effect on the mind’s ability to choose peace. What takes the punch out of the attack is not judging it as sinful, because it has no effect; an illusory attack has brought forth an illusory world.

The lessons of forgiveness begin with willingness to look at the many forms of attack and judgment that present themselves in the course of living in this world, and seeing in them the reflection of the mind’s choice to defend separation. In the case of “warring students,” one might find judgments founded on the perception of these students as sinful wrong-doers. Missing the point is not cause for condemnation and exclusion, however eager the ego may be to make its case. It is a call for love expressed in discord among students and is no different from the call for love of one who judges them. The important thing is to hear the call in oneself along with that of someone else, judging neither. This brings the mind in alignment with the Holy Spirit, transforms the battlefield into a classroom, and the attack into an opportunity. Practicing in this way with every situation that presents itself is how the mind is healed of the mistaken belief in the seemingly devastating effects of the Son of God’s attack upon himself .

Q #1174: In Ken and Gloria’s book “The Most Commonly Asked Questions About A Course In Miracles, ” they discuss the possibility that someone can be threatened by our “peace.” They were clarifying the line in the Course that says we know we are truly at peace when all or meet or even think of us “share in our perfect peace” with the anger directed toward Jesus. Ken and Gloria said that in order to become threatened by our peace someone else would have to have first “experienced it as real and then become threatened by it.” Does this mean that the person who becomes threatened senses that we do not want to compete with them but only want to be friends with them? Do they detect a sense of peace with ourselves? I just do not get why someone would be threatened by someone wanting to be peaceful with them.

A: To understand the dynamics of the ego thought system at work it is essential to look beneath the surface. For this purpose, a phrase used in the training of investigative teams applies aptly to the mind training taught in the Course: “nothing is as it seems.” It is insane to think that peace would be a threat in any way, yet that is the ego’s interpretation of anything related to the right mind of the Sonship. The ego is insane. The part of the mind that chooses to identify with the ego thought system is threatened by the part of the mind that knows peace. Its foundation is threatened by the possibility that the decision-making part of the mind may make a definitive choice against it in favor of peace, in which case it will cease to exist.

When peacefulness is perceived in someone else it is a reminder that the same peace is possible for oneself. All is well if the mind decides to choose peace and identify with the peace it perceives in another. However, if it chooses to identify with the insanity of the ego, it will perceive anything sane as a threat; fear then replaces peace. Guilt for choosing fear instead of peace is projected out in the form of a judgment against someone who seems peaceful. The judgment may come in the guise of envy, admiration, or a desire to bask in the comfort of the peacefulness the other possesses. Strange as it may seem, the ego always interprets this to mean: “if you have it and I don’t, you stole it form me.” This is the projected version of the mind’s judgment against itself for thinking it stole God’s power by deciding to reject the Identity given it by God and make up its own delusional separate identity. This hidden insane thought system is not visible on the surface. It is a disguised attack on oneself and the other person, masquerading as admiration or any number of “acceptable” sentiments. The Course teaches that any perception of difference is an attack, and attack engenders fear of counter-attack. Thus begins the ego’s endless cycle of perceived threats to be defended against, including someone else’s peace. That explains the gnawing, pervasive sense of vulnerability that gives reason to elaborate plans for security. The ego is under constant threat, and therefore in permanent defense mode because it is aware that at any moment the mind that chose for it can abolish it by choosing against it. That is why peace is perceived as a threat. It has nothing to do with the way another person behaves or what they say. It is the mind that chooses the ego that is threatened by the true peace abiding in the right mind, where the memory of God’s Love is held. And again, the only reason one would fear God’s Love is because the separate self cannot exist in the Oneness of His Love.

To follow the path of the Course’s teachings, it is enough to be willing to notice how important it is to perceive difference. One of the goals of the Course is to teach us to see all these differences for what they are: weapons of the ego’s defense strategy, and not to be deceived by the “beauty” of the world’s kaleidoscope. Hidden behind the glitz is the fear of peace, and behind that fear is the fear of the Oneness of God’s Love that we share. The hope of finding the true peace we seek (not to be confused with the bodily feeling of calm relaxation) begins with realizing we are afraid of it, and have buried the fear beneath layers of denial. This realization opens the door to releasing the fear that blocks the peace. The beginning of healing is to cease denying the sickness. That is why much of the Course is devoted to exposing the ego’s use of fear as defense against the peace of God. When we are no longer afraid of it, it will no longer be perceived as a threat: “When we have overcome fear–not by hiding it, not by minimizing it, and not by denying its full import in any way–this [peace] is what you will really see” (T.12.II.9:5).

10380454_10204446556664769_7181123961313419099_o

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 23

ACIM Text Reading for July 23

Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness

I. Introduction
Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained. It is not necessary to tell Him what to do. He will not fail. Where He can enter, there He is already. And can it be He cannot enter where He wills to be? Peace will be yours because it is His Will. Can you believe a shadow can hold back the Will that holds the universe secure? God does not wait upon illusions to let Him be Himself. No more His Son. They are. And what illusion that idly seems to drift between Them has the power to defeat what is Their Will?

To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything that you believe. It is the outcome of belief, and follows it as surely as does suffering follow guilt and freedom sinlessness. There is no substitute for peace. What God creates has no alternative. The truth arises from what He knows. And your decisions come from your beliefs as certainly as all creation rose in His Mind because of what He knows.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 23

Lesson 204
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(184) The Name of God is my inheritance.

God’s Name reminds me that I am His Son, not slave to
time, unbound by laws which rule the world of sick illusions,
free in God, forever and forever one with Him.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

 

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1322: There appears to be a contradiction in A Course in Miracles , or perhaps in my understanding of it. It is saying that the suffering in our dream is a reflection of the suffering caused by guilt in our minds, and the benefits of a healed mind is a happy dream. On the other hand, it says that our bad times in the dream are reflecting and bringing into our awareness our unconscious guilt and making it conscious so that we can forgive it and release. When we are able to do that, our innocent mind brings the benefits of reflecting that outward while we still believe we are here. Then why should we question these good times as just a cover over unconscious guilt? In other words, how do we determine if the blessings in our dream are covering up the guilt, or they are just the benefits of right thinking and a healed mind? And do most people believe that their suffering is bringing them closer to God, rather than a dream of health, abundance, and joy?

A: Good question! Many students have experienced confusion over this. What helps is to sort out form and content. A happy dream in A Course in Miracles is a state of mind (content) in which the Holy Spirit has been chosen as your Teacher, and only His purpose for everything is valued. Though still within the illusion, it is called a happy dream because instead of being the ego’s dream of condemnation, judgment, and self-centeredness, it is the right-minded dream of forgiveness, compassion, and shared purpose. This is all within the mind — its content.

Once this state has been reached, you are always at peace: all sense of lack is gone; there is no guilt or self-hatred; and no need for projection or other defenses. And most important for the context of your question, there is no concern over anything external, no investment in having things go a certain way in the world, or in having what the world defines as good fortune or blessings. Your peace and happiness are not dependent on anything external. Further, nothing is taken personally — either so-called good times or bad times, because nothing is perceived in those terms. Jesus says this in many ways in the Course, one coming in the section “Above the Battleground”: “Think what is given those who share their Father’s purpose, and who know it is theirs. They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. . . . They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. . . . No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body’s offerings” (T.23.IV.8:1,2,3,6; 9:4).

Now, it is true that if there is no guilt in your mind, you would not seek to punish yourself in any way. But how that would appear in form is not knowable. It cannot be evaluated using the categories of the world. For instance, in the world’s judgment, some pretty awful things happened to Jesus’ body; yet, he did not suffer because he knew he was not his body, and he never perceived himself as persecuted or betrayed ( see T.6.I.5,9,11). We thus need to be cautious about drawing conclusions simply from the condition of one’s body or life circumstances (form). And we also need to keep in mind the Course’s central teaching that perception is always interpretation .

As another example: the projection of my guilt onto my body may be the source of my illness; but then I could let go of that guilt and choose to learn further lessons in that same bodily condition. In other words, my illness is now my classroom, and so I would perceive the illness in a completely different way. The illness may be ravaging my body, but if in the process I am learning that I am not my body and that no one else is theirs, I would not be experiencing the illness as anything negative, even as I continue with medical treatment. The content in my mind would have shifted. What brings me closer to God, thus, is not the suffering, but the purpose I have chosen to give it in my mind. However, I can choose that same purpose of undoing my belief in separation with a healthy body, too; and I can choose it whether I am financially secure or struggling financially. One more example: a healed mind could choose the appearance of a diseased or defective body as a means of teaching others they can be peaceful no matter what is going on externally. That mind would be totally at peace at all times (content), in the face of what the world might call misfortune (form).

That abiding state of peace is the “benefit” of having a healed mind. In that state, you would know that nothing else is real, and that nothing can affect that peace in any way. Moreover, aside from your smiling more frequently, your life would probably be indistinguishable from anyone else’s (W.pI.155:1). On the other hand, if your state of mind is linked to external conditions, then you should suspect some ego dynamics at work. If you are happy and content only under certain conditions, and your happiness and contentment are threatened or disappear when those conditions change, that should tell you that the happiness is not authentic. The joy and peace that God intended us to have as His creation are eternal; they are not conditional and they do not fluctuate or change — they are our very Identity unified with His. In Lesson 133, Jesus gives us some criteria to use in determining whether what we are choosing is of value or not (W.pI.133). The only true blessings are those that restore to our awareness the all-inclusiveness of love, the all-inclusiveness of the Sonship.

here to represent

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 22

ACIM Text Reading for July 22

Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself

V. Above the Battleground
Do not remain in conflict, for there is no war without attack. The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death. Yet He remains the only place of safety. In Him is no attack, and no illusion in any form stalks Heaven. Heaven is wholly true. No difference enters, and what is all the same cannot conflict. You are not asked to fight against your wish to murder. But you are asked to realize the form it takes conceals the same intent. And it is this you fear, and not the form. What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack. Every illusion is an assault on truth, and every one does violence to the idea of love because it seems to be of equal truth.

What can be equal to the truth, yet different? Murder and love are incompatible. Yet if they both are true, then must they be the same, and indistinguishable from one another. So will they be to those who see God’s Son a body. For it is not the body that is like the Son’s Creator. And what is lifeless cannot be the Son of Life. How can a body be extended to hold the universe? Can it create, and be what it creates? And can it offer its creations all that it is and never suffer loss?

God does not share His function with a body. He gave the function to create unto His Son because it is His Own. It is not sinful to believe the function of the Son is murder, but it is insanity. What is the same can have no different function. Creation is the means for God’s extension, and what is His must be His Son’s as well. Either the Father and the Son are murderers, or neither is. Life makes not death, creating like itself.

The lovely light of your relationship is like the Love of God. It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of your brother is not complete as yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation. Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognize for what it is, limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all. Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty. Also He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part; to realize that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.

Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realize it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognized if murder is your choice?

When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.

See no one from the battleground, for there you look on him from nowhere. You have no reference point from where to look, where meaning can be given what you see. For only bodies could attack and murder, and if this is your purpose, then you must be one with them. Only a purpose unifies, and those who share a purpose have a mind as one. The body has no purpose of itself, and must be solitary. From below, it cannot be surmounted. From above, the limits it exerts on those in battle still are gone, and not perceived. The body stands between the Father and the Heaven He created for His Son because it has no purpose.

Think what is given those who share their Father’s purpose, and who know that it is theirs. They want for nothing. Sorrow of any kind is inconceivable. Only the light they love is in awareness, and only love shines upon them forever. It is their past, their present and their future; always the same, eternally complete and wholly shared. They know it is impossible their happiness could ever suffer change of any kind. Perhaps you think the battleground can offer something you can win. Can it be anything that offers you a perfect calmness, and a sense of love so deep and quiet that no touch of doubt can ever mar your certainty? And that will last forever?

Those with the strength of God in their awareness could never think of battle. What could they gain but loss of their perfection? For everything fought for on the battleground is of the body; something it seems to offer or to own. No one who knows that he has everything could seek for limitation, nor could he value the body’s offerings. The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground. What can conflict with everything? And what is there that offers less, yet could be wanted more? Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 22

Lesson 203
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

(183) I call upon God’s Name and on my own.

The Name of God is my deliverance from every thought of
evil and of sin, because it is my own as well as His.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #679: I have always enjoyed the whole idea that the journey, A Course in Miracles, the return to God, is not an if but a when. The journey is sure because once the idea of separation entered our minds, time “rolled out” and then the journey to return began with time “rolling up” along a path that takes us nowhere but back to our Father (ultimately, though the path is wide and offers room to wander). However, in the Epilogue (C.ep) I see for the first time in the Course an element of uncertainty; namely, “Our new beginning has the certainty the journey lacked till now.” Further, the Epilogue hints strongly that we started this journey before and got lost…that it is an “ancient journey” leading to an “ancient door” that is held open by the “Holy of Holies.” But for some reason, our path was not sure. I’m confused about this; can you please shed some light on this?

A: Take heart! It is still when not if. Jesus is speaking (singing, really) from where he is outside time and space, his vision encompassing the entire Atonement path. Symbolically, metaphorically, and with the use of biblical imagery, Jesus is telling Helen (and all of us) that in truth, nothing happened and we never truly separated from God: “Not one note in Heaven’s song was missed” (T.26.V.5:4), and so we have no cause to fear God; hatred has not triumphed over love; we are not guilty of unforgiveable sin. We may have tried different paths in other lifetimes, but our decision finally to accept his love (in the form of A Course in Miracles) will resolve our ambivalence completely, meaning we have at last accepted that “what is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1). The references to reincarnation are unmistakable, but from Jesus’ perspective, what appears to us as a linear process, a journey with multiple roads, paths, and detours, is really not that: it is all one to him. How impossible it is to use words to convey what transcends words and physical existence entirely! To us, it is a process in which we switch back and forth between the ego and Jesus, between judgment and forgiveness, but with the confidence that we cannot fail to reach our goal of peace (W.pI.131).

Until we recognized his message (“God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” [M.1.3:5]), we had followed the ego’s compromise approach: truth and illusion; love and fear; sin and innocence; spirit and body. The “new beginning,” thus, is the commitment to awaken from the dream of separation and duality by resigning as our own teacher (T.12.V.8:3), gladly accepting that we have been wrong about everything, and gratefully allowing ourselves to be taught by our new teacher. That is what Jesus means by this journey, which may seem new, but is not, because we are simply denying our denial of the truth (T.12.II.1:5), and therefore accepting ourselves as God created us. We lost our way by substituting a false identity for our true Identity and wandering into a world of separation and individuality. Therefore, “the journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed” (T.8.VI.9:6,7). In this sense, there is neither when nor if, because there is no temporal journey. We are “at home in God, dreaming of exile” (T.10.2:1). With this clarity of purpose, uncertainty is nothing more than a defense that will weaken and then dissolve completely.