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
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.