ACIM Text Reading for July 18
Chapter 23 ~ The War Against Yourself
II. The Irreconcilable Beliefs
The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness. The means of war are not the means of peace, and what the warlike would remember is not love. War is impossible unless belief in victory is cherished. Conflict within you must imply that you believe the ego has the power to be victorious. Why else would you identify with it? Surely you realize the ego is at war with God. Certain it is it has no enemy. Yet just as certain is its fixed belief it has an enemy that it must overcome and will succeed.
Do you not realize a war against yourself would be a war on God? Is victory conceivable? And if it were, is this a victory that you would want? The death of God, if it were possible, would be your death. Is this a victory? The ego always marches to defeat, because it thinks that triumph over you is possible. And God thinks otherwise. This is no war; only the mad belief the Will of God can be attacked and overthrown. You may identify with this belief, but never will it be more than madness. And fear will reign in madness, and will seem to have replaced love there. This is the conflict’s purpose. And to those who think that it is possible, the means seem real.
Be certain that it is impossible God and the ego, or yourself and it, will ever meet. You seem to meet, and make your strange alliances on grounds that have no meaning. For your beliefs converge upon the body, the ego’s chosen home, which you believe is yours. You meet at a mistake; an error in your self-appraisal. The ego joins with an illusion of yourself you share with it. And yet illusions cannot join. They are the same, and they are nothing. Their joining lies in nothingness; two are as meaningless as one or as a thousand. The ego joins with nothing, being nothing. The victory it seeks is meaningless as is itself.
Brother, the war against yourself is almost over. The journey’s end is at the place of peace. Would you not now accept the peace offered you here? This “enemy” you fought as an intruder on your peace is here transformed, before your sight, into the giver of your peace. Your “enemy” was God Himself, to Whom all conflict, triumph and attack of any kind are all unknown. He loves you perfectly, completely and eternally. The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger, proclaiming it is part of itself no more. Could nature possibly establish this, and make it true? Nor is it up to you to say what shall be part of you and what is kept apart.
The war against yourself was undertaken to teach the Son of God that he is not himself, and not his Father’s Son. For this, the memory of his Father must be forgotten. It is forgotten in the body’s life, and if you think you are a body, you will believe you have forgotten it. Yet truth can never be forgotten by itself, and you have not forgotten what you are. Only a strange illusion of yourself, a wish to triumph over what you are, remembers not.
The war against yourself is but the battle of two illusions, struggling to make them different from each other, in the belief the one that conquers will be true. There is no conflict between them and the truth. Nor are they different from each other. Both are not true. And so it matters not what form they take. What made them is insane, and they remain part of what made them. Madness holds out no menace to reality, and has no influence upon it. Illusions cannot triumph over truth, nor can they threaten it in any way. And the reality that they deny is not a part of them.
What you remember is a part of you. For you must be as God created you. Truth does not fight against illusions, nor do illusions fight against the truth. Illusions battle only with themselves. Being fragmented, they fragment. But truth is indivisible, and far beyond their little reach. You will remember what you know when you have learned you cannot be in conflict. One illusion about yourself can battle with another, yet the war of two illusions is a state where nothing happens. There is no victor and there is no victory. And truth stands radiant, apart from conflict, untouched and quiet in the peace of God.
Conflict must be between two forces. It cannot exist between one power and nothingness. There is nothing you could attack that is not part of you. And by attacking it you make two illusions of yourself, in conflict with each other. And this occurs whenever you look on anything that God created with anything but love. Conflict is fearful, for it is the birth of fear. Yet what is born of nothing cannot win reality through battle. Why would you fill your world with conflicts with yourself? Let all this madness be undone for you, and turn in peace to the remembrance of God, still shining in your quiet mind.
See how the conflict of illusions disappears when it is brought to truth! For it seems real only as long as it is seen as war between conflicting truths; the conqueror to be the truer, the more real, and the vanquisher of the illusion that was less real, made an illusion by defeat. Thus, conflict is the choice between illusions, one to be crowned as real, the other vanquished and despised. Here will the Father never be remembered. Yet no illusion can invade His home and drive Him out of what He loves forever. And what He loves must be forever quiet and at peace because it is His home.
You who are beloved of Him are no illusion, being as true and holy as Himself. The stillness of your certainty of Him and of yourself is home to both of You, Who dwell as One and not apart. Open the door of His most holy home, and let forgiveness sweep away all trace of the belief in sin that keeps God homeless and His Son with Him. You are not a stranger in the house of God. Welcome your brother to the home where God has set him in serenity and peace, and dwells with him. Illusions have no place where love abides, protecting you from everything that is not true. You dwell in peace as limitless as its Creator, and everything is given those who would remember Him. Over His home the Holy Spirit watches, sure that its peace can never be disturbed.
How can the resting place of God turn on itself, and seek to overcome the One Who dwells there? And think what happens when the house of God perceives itself divided. The altar disappears, the light grows dim, the temple of the Holy One becomes a house of sin. And nothing is remembered except illusions. Illusions can conflict, because their forms are different. And they do battle only to establish which form is true.
Illusion meets illusion; truth, itself. The meeting of illusions leads to war. Peace, looking on itself, extends itself. War is the condition in which fear is born, and grows and seeks to dominate. Peace is the state where love abides, and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears. So is the memory of God obscured in minds that have become illusions’ battleground. Yet far beyond this senseless war it shines, ready to be remembered when you side with peace.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 18
There is no peace except the peace of God.
Seek you no further. You will not find peace except the peace of God. Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt. Seek you no further. There is nothing else for you to find except the peace of God, unless you seek for misery and pain.
This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of chaos, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. Attempt no more to win through losing, nor to die to live. You cannot but be asking for defeat.
Yet you can ask as easily for love, for happiness, and for eternal life in peace that has no ending. Ask for this, and you can only win. To ask for what you have already must succeed. To ask that what is false be true can only fail. Forgive yourself for vain imaginings, and seek no longer what you cannot find. For what could be more foolish than to seek and seek and seek again for hell, when you have but to look with open eyes to find that Heaven lies before you, through a door that opens easily to welcome you?
Come home. You have not found your happiness in foreign places and in alien forms that have no meaning to you, though you sought to make them meaningful. This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone.
Freedom is given you where you beheld but chains and iron doors. But you must change your mind about the purpose of the world, if you would find escape. You will be bound till all the world is seen by you as blessed, and everyone made free of your mistakes and honored as he is. You made him not; no more yourself. And as you free the one, the other is accepted as he is.
What does forgiveness do? In truth it has no function, and does nothing. For it is unknown in Heaven. It is only hell where it is needed, and where it must serve a mighty function. Is not the escape of God’s beloved Son from evil dreams that he imagines, yet believes are true, a worthy purpose? Who could hope for more, while there appears to be a choice to make between success and failure; love and fear?
There is no peace except the peace of God, because He has one Son who cannot make a world in opposition to God’s Will and to his own, which is the same as His. What could he hope to find in such a world? It cannot have reality, because it never was created. Is it here that he would seek for peace? Or must he see that, as he looks on it, the world can but deceive? Yet can he learn to look on it another way, and find the peace of God.
Peace is the bridge that everyone will cross, to leave this world behind. But peace begins within the world perceived as different, and leading from this fresh perception to the gate of Heaven and the way beyond. Peace is the answer to conflicting goals, to senseless journeys, frantic, vain pursuits, and meaningless endeavors. Now the way is easy, sloping gently toward the bridge where freedom lies within the peace of God.
Let us not lose our way again today. We go to Heaven, and the path is straight. Only if we attempt to wander can there be delay, and needless wasted time on thorny byways. God alone is sure, and He will guide our footsteps. He will not desert His Son in need, nor let him stray forever from his home. The Father calls; the Son will hear. And that is all there is to what appears to be a world apart from God, where bodies have reality.
Now is there silence. Seek no further. You have come to where the road is carpeted with leaves of false desires, fallen from the trees of hopelessness you sought before. Now are they underfoot. And you look up and on toward Heaven, with the body’s eyes but serving for an instant longer now. Peace is already recognized at last, and you can feel its soft embrace surround your heart and mind with comfort and with love.
Today we seek no idols. Peace can not be found in them. The peace of God is ours, and only this will we accept and want. Peace be to us today. For we have found a simple, happy way to leave the world of ambiguity, and to replace our shifting goals and solitary dreams with single purpose and companionship. For peace is union, if it be of God. We seek no further. We are close to home, and draw still nearer every time we say:
There is no peace except the peace of God,
And I am glad and thankful it is so.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #351: Regarding the phrase, “The memory of God comes to a quiet mind,” which “mind” is this referencing? If it’s the “brain mind” we use in the daily dream, does this mean that it is helpful to find and use ways to try to quiet the brain, for example, meditation? If the phrase refers to the one Mind, how is it possible to “quiet” that Mind through the interference of our “Brahmanic”?
A: The mind A Course in Miracles refers to here is the right mind, not the brain. This mind is quiet. It is only when the mind chooses to identify with the thought of separation that awareness of the memory of God is blocked and the quiet is replaced by the ego’s “raucous shrieking.” The Course tells us that the purpose of the ego’s shrieks is to keep us anchored in its thought system, unaware that we have a mind at all, much less a quiet one.
Meditation may be helpful to keep us focused on our goal, and there are several meditative exercises in the workbook to help us. However, neither meditation in itself nor quieting the brain is the means the Course uses to bring about the mind’s healing of the thought of separation. It is asking us to look at the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that flood into our awareness from the mind through our brains, not to try to silence them: “Our task is but to continue, as fast as possible, the necessary process of looking straight at all the interference and seeing it exactly as it is” (T.15.IX.2:1).
The beliefs we hold about ourselves as separate, sinful and guilty, and our attack thoughts that are projections of our guilt onto others keep the awareness of God’s Love blocked. They have been purposefully chosen in defense of the decision to be separate, and must be recognized as the cause of all the devastating effects we experience in the ego’s nightmare. Looking in this way leads us to question the value we place on our beliefs: “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” (T.24.in.2:1,2,3,4). We will eventually learn that our beliefs have no value; only then will we be free to let them go so they can be replaced by the thoughts of the Holy Spirit Who brings healing to our minds. This healed mind is the quiet mind where the memory of God returns to awareness.