ACIM Text Reading for September 3
Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of Fear
V. The Alternate to Dreams of Fear
What is a sense of sickness but a sense of limitation? Of a splitting off and separating from? A gap that is perceived between you and your brother, and what is now seen as health? And so the good is seen to be outside; the evil, in. And thus is sickness separating off the self from good, and keeping evil in. God is the Alternate to dreams of fear. Who shares in them can never share in Him. But who withdraws his mind from sharing them is sharing Him. There is no other choice. Except you share it, nothing can exist. And you exist because God shared His Will with you, that His creation might create.
It is the sharing of the evil dreams of hate and malice, bitterness and death, of sin and suffering and pain and loss, that makes them real. Unshared, they are perceived as meaningless. The fear is gone from them because you did not give them your support. Where fear has gone there love must come, because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one that you accept, because it is the only one you wish to have.
You share no evil dreams if you forgive the dreamer, and perceive that he is not the dream he made. And so he cannot be a part of yours, from which you both are free. Forgiveness separates the dreamer from the evil dream, and thus releases him. Remember if you share an evil dream, you will believe you are the dream you share. And fearing it, you will not want to know your own Identity, because you think that It is fearful. And you will deny your Self, and walk upon an alien ground which your Creator did not make, and where you seem to be a something you are not. You will make war upon your Self, which seems to be your enemy; and will attack your brother, as a part of what you hate. There is no compromise. You are your Self or an illusion. What can be between illusion and the truth? A middle ground, where you can be a thing that is not you, must be a dream and cannot be the truth.
You have conceived a little gap between illusions and the truth to be the place where all your safety lies, and where your Self is safely hidden by what you have made. Here is a world established that is sick, and this the world the body’s eyes perceive. Here are the sounds it hears; the voices that its ears were made to hear. Yet sights and sounds the body can perceive are meaningless. It cannot see nor hear. It does not know what seeing is; what listening is for. It is as little able to perceive as it can judge or understand or know. Its eyes are blind; its ears are deaf. It can not think, and so it cannot have effects.
What is there God created to be sick? And what that He created not can be? Let not your eyes behold a dream; your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that can make no sound. Yet are there other sounds and other sights that can be seen and heard and understood. For eyes and ears are senses without sense, and what they see and hear they but report. It is not they that hear and see, but you, who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make a witness to the world you want. Let not the body’s ears and eyes perceive these countless fragments seen within the gap that you imagined, and let them persuade their maker his imaginings are real.
Creation proves reality because it shares the function all creation shares. It is not made of little bits of glass, a piece of wood, a thread or two, perhaps, all put together to attest its truth. Reality does not depend on this. There is no gap that separates the truth from dreams and from illusions. Truth has left no room for them in any place or time. For it fills every place and every time, and makes them wholly indivisible.
You who believe there is a little gap between you and your brother, do not see that it is here you are as prisoners in a world perceived to be existing here. The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real. The gap is carefully concealed in fog, and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever unsubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is nothing. And there are no awesome secrets and no darkened tombs where terror rises from the bones of death. Look at the little gap, and you behold the innocence and emptiness of sin that you will see within yourself, when you have lost the fear of recognizing love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 3
To love my Father is to love His Son.
Let me not think that I can find the way to God, if I have hatred in my heart. Let me not try to hurt God’s Son, and think that I can know his Father or my Self. Let me not fail to recognize myself, and still believe that my awareness can contain my Father, or my mind conceive of all the love my Father has for me, and all the love which I return to Him.
I will accept the way You choose for me to come to You, my Father. For in that will I succeed, because it is Your Will. And I would recognize that what You will is what I will as well, and only that. And so I choose to love Your Son. Amen.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1299: The sections of A Course in Miracles titled The Agreement to Join (T.28.III.2:5) and The Greater Joining (T.28.IV.4) seem very important with respect to practically dealing with ‘others’ and our perceptions of them, and therefore our perceptions of ourselves. However, I am unclear as to the practical application of their meaning. Take, for example, the statement, “Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects” (T.28.III.2:5). If I see a brother who is sick (in whatever form that may take), I know that I have joined him in that illusion. But what is it that I am to see, look for, become aware of, etc. in order to prove him and myself wrong in this perception?
A: Discussing practical applications of Course principles is always tricky. On one hand, the Course is very practical because it tells us exactly how to follow its teachings. On the other hand, when most of us think of practical applications, we envision something we can do behaviorally. But the Course is never about behavior. Thus, to answer your question, there is nothing you are supposed to see, look for, or become aware of externally . How could there be when the Course’s overarching message is that there is nothing external to your own mind? And the Course certainly does not ask you to prove your perceptions or those of your brother wrong.
What, then, is it telling us to do? We can begin to answer this by carefully reading the very sentence you referred to. “Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects” (T.28.III.2:5 italics ours ). In other words, we are asked to join on the level of mind. Jesus says nothing about joining as bodies or doing anything on the level of form. Obviously, a body cannot join with a mind. Clearly, this has to mean that the place in which we join our brother is in our thoughts. This prevents the cause of sickness. It does this because the cause of sickness is our belief in guilt and separation. Therefore, by recognizing in our own mind that guilt and separation are illusory and that we are united with our brother — both in our sense of guilt within this dream and as God’s beloved Son in reality — we disarm the guilt and fear that caused the need for sickness as a potent defense against the truth within this dream.
This does not mean that our internal shift will heal either our brother’s body or our own. However, it does mean that if we fully made this shift, we could have a body filled with cancer and still be at peace. Likewise, we could be with a brother who is dying of cancer and know that the disease has no effect on the reality of who he is. From that place, we would see that while his body appears to be sick, he is not a body and therefore he is not sick. Behaviorally, we would probably still do all the loving things one normally does for another who is experiencing pain. We would not try to make the sickness go away or tell the person that it was illusory. If the person were ready to accept that, he would not be sick. For this reason, we would instead comfort the person in whatever way would be most helpful to him in the moment.
Another key to grasping what the Course is getting at in the sections you mentioned is the realization that when Jesus talks about sickness, he does not mean a physical ailment in the body. To Jesus, simply thinking that we are here is sick. Believing that we need to breathe, eat, sleep, and so forth is an illness — not because these things are bad, but because they represent our clearly insane choice to believe that we could be limited by this “wall of flesh around the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time, beholden unto death, and given but an instant in which to sigh and grieve and die” (T.20.IV.11:2). From Jesus’ healed perspective then, your need to breathe is no more or less a sickness than your brother’s cancer. This is why “Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone’s dream of sickness and of death” (T.28.IV.1:1). Accepting the Atonement means recognizing that the entirety of our experience is but a bad dream of sickness and of death, and this is true whether the body currently appears to be what the world would label as healthy or ill.
Fortunately, Jesus does not ask us to make this dramatic shift in our thinking on our own. He lets us know that the Holy Spirit is already in our mind, ready to help us change our thoughts whenever we ask Him to. Again, you do not have to try to look for or prove anything. “Your willingness to let illusions go is all the Healer of God’s Son requires” (T.28.IV.10:9) .
Q: #1061: What is the significance of the giant strides ? Why are they such a large learning device?
A: This is a very encouraging term that Jesus uses to let us know that we are saving a great deal of time on our journey by taking what seem to us to be small, insignificant steps: “Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved” (W.pI.97.3:2) . Every time we make an effort to do what a lesson prescribes, we are taking a “giant stride” toward release from our ego (W.pI.94.5:9) — “another step toward quick salvation” (W.pI.194.1:1) . It is Jesus’ way of telling us that by continuing to choose him as our teacher and doing what he says, we are getting much closer to letting go of our pain, and accepting lasting peace in our lives .