ACIM Text Reading for August 23
Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream
III. Beyond All Symbols
Power cannot oppose. For opposition would weaken it, and weakened power is a contradiction in ideas. Weak strength is meaningless, and power used to weaken is employed to limit. And therefore it must be limited and weak, because that is its purpose. Power is unopposed, to be itself. No weakness can intrude on it without changing it into something it is not. To weaken is to limit, and impose an opposite that contradicts the concept that it attacks. And by this does it join to the idea a something it is not, and make it unintelligible. Who can understand a double concept, such as “weakened power” or “hateful love?”
You have decided that your brother is a symbol for a “hateful love,” a “weakened power,” and above all, a “living death.” And so he has no meaning to you, for he stands for what is meaningless. He represents a double thought, where half is canceled out by the remaining half. Yet even this is quickly contradicted by the half it canceled out, and so they both are gone. And now he stands for nothing. Symbols which but represent ideas that cannot be must stand for empty space and nothingness. Yet nothingness and empty space can not be interference. What can interfere with the awareness of reality is the belief that there is something there.
The picture of your brother that you see means nothing. There is nothing to attack or to deny; to love or hate, or to endow with power or to see as weak. The picture has been wholly cancelled out, because it symbolized a contradiction that canceled out the thought it represents. And thus the picture has no cause at all. Who can perceive effect without a cause? What can the causeless be but nothingness? The picture of your brother that you see is wholly absent and has never been. Let, then, the empty space it occupies be recognized as vacant, and the time devoted to its seeing be perceived as idly spent, a time unoccupied.
An empty space that is not seen as filled, an unused interval of time not seen as spent and fully occupied, become a silent invitation to the truth to enter, and to make itself at home. No preparation can be made that would enhance the invitation’s real appeal. For what you leave as vacant God will fill, and where He is there must the truth abide. Unweakened power, with no opposite, is what creation is. For this there are no symbols. Nothing points beyond the truth, for what can stand for more than everything? Yet true undoing must be kind. And so the first replacement for your picture is another picture of another kind.
As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. Forgiveness is not yet a power known as wholly free of limits. Yet it sets no limits you have chosen to impose. Forgiveness is the means by which the truth is represented temporarily. It lets the Holy Spirit make exchange of pictures possible, until the time when aids are meaningless and learning done. No learning aid has use that can extend beyond the goal of learning. When its aim has been accomplished it is functionless. Yet in the learning interval it has a use that now you fear, but yet will love.
The picture of your brother given you to occupy the space so lately left unoccupied and vacant will not need defense of any kind. For you will give it overwhelming preference. Nor delay an instant in deciding that it is the only one you want. It does not stand for double concepts. Though it is but half the picture and is incomplete, within itself it is the same. The other half of what it represents remains unknown, but is not cancelled out. And thus is God left free to take the final step Himself. For this you need no pictures and no learning aids. And what will ultimately take the place of every learning aid will merely be.
Forgiveness vanishes and symbols fade, and nothing that the eyes have ever seen or ears have heard remains to be perceived. A power wholly limitless has come, not to destroy, but to receive its own. There is no choice of function anywhere. The choice you fear to lose you never had. Yet only this appears to interfere with power unlimited and single thoughts, complete and happy, without opposite. You do not know the peace of power that opposes nothing. Yet no other kind can be at all. Give welcome to the power beyond forgiveness, and beyond the world of symbols and of limitations. He would merely be, and so He merely is.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 23
God in His mercy wills that I be saved.
I need but look upon all things that seem to hurt me, and with perfect certainty assure myself, “God wills that I be saved from this,” and merely watch them disappear. I need but keep in mind my Father’s Will for me is only happiness, to find that only happiness has come to me. And I need but remember that God’s Love surrounds His Son and keeps his sinlessness forever perfect, to be sure that I am saved and safe forever in His Arms. I am the Son He loves. And I am saved because God in His mercy wills it so.
Father, Your Holiness is mine. Your Love created me, and made my sinlessness forever part of You. I have no guilt nor sin in me, for there is none in You.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1160: Where does the Course stand in regard to the ideas of twinflame, soul mate, and karmic relationships? Are those concepts true, or do they really just add to the belief of separation among brothers and special relationships?
A: A Course in Miracles does not say whether these concepts are true or not. On the level of absolute truth, of course, there are no relationships, because reality is non-dualistic, a state of perfect Oneness. In our separated state within the dream, though, we obviously have relationships; and the Course helps us realize that the only meaningful aspect of relationships is the purpose we have given them in our minds — either the ego’s or the Holy Spirit’s. As we explain in Question #320, the key aspects of a special relationship — which means the ego purpose of separation has been given it — are dependency, completion, and needs. Thus, the feeling that someone is your soul mate could reflect the ego’s purpose of reinforcing your belief that you are separate, incomplete, and have needs that must be met, or it could reflect your desire to undo these belief, and that this person will be your partner in the forgiveness process. It can be a right- minded or wrong-minded attraction.
With regard to karma, one of the major differences between that approach and the Course’s is that the Course sees time as holographic, not linear, which means there can be no causal connection between the past and our present experience — unless our minds deliberately put one there. Another point of difference is that since “projection makes perception” and the world is “the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:1,5) , we do nothing to the world and the world does nothing to us. A comprehensive view of this issue can be found in the following Questions: #332, #363, #514i, #516, and #577.
Q #1161: What does A Course in Miracles mean about relinquishing all other goals except salvation? Are we not meant to use our gifts? Are we not meant to cherish the goal of manifesting our gifts and using our talent?
A: Interestingly, in the passage you are referring to, Jesus describes these other goals as ones “you have invented for yourself” (W.pI.65.1:5; italics added ). That means they have nothing to do with our true Identity, and instead pertain to the self we made as replacement for the Self God created. As God created us, our true and only function is creating in Heaven (W.pI.192.1) . What we regard as our gifts and our talents are part of a substitute, ego-based identity. Once we understand and accept ourselves in that light, we can then ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help us use our so-called gifts and talents for the purpose of salvation, rather than for their original purpose of keeping us separate from our identity as spirit. Then, our only purpose will be forgiveness (W.pI.192.2,3) , “the only function meaningful in time. It is the means the Holy Spirit uses to translate specialness from sin into salvation” (T.25.VI.5:3,4).
Talents are very much an individual thing, setting people apart from one another — the ones who have them from the ones who do not; the specially gifted from the modestly gifted, and so on. This, despite the fact that many people use their talents in the service of others, or as members of teams and groups. The Course is not saying not to develop our talents, but to become aware of our purpose for doing so, as would be the case with anything of the body and the world. As students of A Course in Miracles , we can learn to regard them simply as part of the curriculum our teacher of forgiveness can use to help us learn that we are all the same in sharing the same purpose, and ultimately that we are all the same as God’s one Son.