ACIM Text Reading for September 4
Chapter 28 ~ The Undoing of fear
VI. The Secret Vows
Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap is seen, and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized, but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told, without attack.
It is indeed a senseless point of view to hold responsible for sight a thing that cannot see, and blame it for the sounds you do not like, although it cannot hear. It suffers not the punishment you give because it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set. And if that path is changed, it walks as easily another way. It takes no sides and judges not the road it travels. It perceives no gap, because it does not hate. It can be used for hate, but it cannot be hateful made thereby.
The thing you hate and fear and loathe and want, the body does not know. You send it forth to seek for separation and be separate. And then you hate it, not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it. You shrink from what it sees and what it hears, and hate its frailty and littleness. And you despise its acts, but not your own. It sees and acts for you. It hears your voice. And it is frail and little by your wish. It seems to punish you, and thus deserve your hatred for the limitations that it brings to you. Yet you have made of it a symbol for the limitations that you want your mind to have and see and keep.
The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self, and that, without it, would your self be lost. This is the secret vow that you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked, and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return.
Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another’s secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, “There is no gap between my mind and yours” has kept God’s promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.
Let this be your agreement with each one; that you be one with him and not apart. And he will keep the promise that you make with him, because it is the one that he has made to God, as God has made to him. God keeps His promises; His Son keeps his. In his creation did his Father say, “You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.” His Son remembers not that he replied “I will,” though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified. His secret vows are powerless before the Will of God, Whose promises he shares. And what he substitutes is not his will, who has made promise of himself to God.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 4
Without forgiveness I will still be blind.
Sin is the symbol of attack. Behold it anywhere, and I will suffer. For forgiveness is the only means whereby Christ’s vision comes to me. Let me accept what His sight shows me as the simple truth, and I am healed completely. Brother, come and let me look on you. Your loveliness reflects my own. Your sinlessness is mine. You stand forgiven, and I stand with you.
So would I look on everyone today. My brothers are Your Sons. Your Fatherhood created them, and gave them all to me as part of You, and my own Self as well. Today I honor You through them, and thus I hope this day to recognize my Self.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #404: My question has to do with my understanding about my choice for the separation. I have known all my life since I was very little that I actually chose to come here, and further, that I chose to come to my mother. Now that I am reading A Course in Miracles, I wonder about it. It has always felt as though I left “Heaven” consciously to come here and that everyone does. I never saw it as a choice against God. I have always felt very connected to God. I am struggling with this. I understand from the Course that I do not need to understand things, just be willing to follow the path the Holy Spirit shows me. That seems very right. But I keep coming back to my question of how I could choose to separate from God. Was I supposed to? Is that part of salvation? I am learning that my mission here now is forgiveness — that seems right. But why did I come here in the first place? Is there temptation even in Heaven? I know I was in Heaven before I came. I know I will be there again after this life — why did I leave there in the first place? Jesus chose to come, but he did not choose against God, did he?
A: Your confusion is understandable. It arises at least in part from superimposing the world’s conception of Heaven and earth on the Course’s language. For the memory of the choice that you recall making to “come here” into this lifetime is a memory, from the Course’s perspective, that would still be from within the ego thought system of separation and duality. In other words, the Heaven you think you remember leaving to have the experience of this lifetime is not what the Course means by Heaven. It is the mind, not the body, that seems to exist outside Heaven in its choice for separation, and our bodily existence is simply a symbolic representation of that choice for separation, and not the choice itself.
There is a conscious, seemingly separate or split mind that makes choices about bodily experiences and lifetimes. It is to the ego’s advantage to convince us that the contrast between these two seemingly different levels of existence — separate mind outside of time and space, and body in time and space — is real. And to persuade us that once this life in this body is over — as if life in this body is the separation and the problem — that we will be back in Heaven. But until we make the decision to release all judgments based on the belief in individuality and specialness, which are thoughts in the mind independent of bodies, we as split mind will continue to choose experiences that seem to provide us evidence that the separation is in fact real. And we will continue to find ourselves believing we are outside of Heaven.
With respect to Jesus, you are falling into a similar kind of confusion, based on the world’s commonly held beliefs about the nature of Jesus. There is no Jesus in Heaven, for he is simply a symbol in our split mind that we have given form, who represents the true memory of our home in Heaven, where all is one and individuality has no meaning. Now, while we still believe we are separate from the oneness of Heaven, there is nothing wrong in using these symbols, such as Jesus, to help us learn our lessons of forgiveness. In fact, we need to if we are going to benefit from the Course as our spiritual path back home (T.27.III.5). But it would be a mistake to take the symbols for reality, for the reality of Heaven is beyond anything we can comprehend with our split minds.