ACIM Text Reading for September 13
Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening
VIII. The Anti-Christ
What is an idol? Do you think you know? For idols are unrecognized as such, and never seen for what they really are. That is the only power that they have. Their purpose is obscure, and they are feared and worshipped, both, because you do not know what they are for, and why they have been made. An idol is an image of your brother that you would value more than what he is. Idols are made that he may be replaced, no matter what their form. And it is this that never is perceived and recognized. Be it a body or a thing, a place, a situation or a circumstance, an object owned or wanted, or a right demanded or achieved, it is the same.
Let not their form deceive you. Idols are but substitutes for your reality. In some way, you believe they will complete your little self, for safety in a world perceived as dangerous, with forces massed against your confidence and peace of mind. They have the power to supply your lacks, and add the value that you do not have. No one believes in idols who has not enslaved himself to littleness and loss. And thus must seek beyond his little self for strength to raise his head, and stand apart from all the misery the world reflects. This is the penalty for looking not within for certainty and quiet calm that liberates you from the world, and lets you stand apart, in quiet and in peace.
An idol is a false impression, or a false belief; some form of anti-Christ, that constitutes a gap between the Christ and what you see. An idol is a wish, made tangible and given form, and thus perceived as real and seen outside the mind. Yet it is still a thought, and cannot leave the mind that is its source. Nor is its form apart from the idea it represents. All forms of anti-Christ oppose the Christ. And fall before His face like a dark veil that seems to shut you off from Him, alone in darkness. Yet the light is there. A cloud does not put out the sun. No more a veil can banish what it seems to separate, nor darken by one whit the light itself.
This world of idols is a veil across the face of Christ, because its purpose is to separate your brother from yourself. A dark and fearful purpose, yet a thought without the power to change one blade of grass from something living to a sign of death. Its form is nowhere, for its source abides within your mind where God abideth not. Where is this place where what is everywhere has been excluded and been kept apart? What hand could be held up to block God’s way? Whose voice could make demand He enter not? The “more-than-everything” is not a thing to make you tremble and to quail in fear. Christ’s enemy is nowhere. He can take no form in which he ever will be real.
What is an idol? Nothing! It must be believed before it seems to come to life, and given power that it may be feared. Its life and power are its believer’s gift, and this is what the miracle restores to what has life and power worthy of the gift of Heaven and eternal peace. The miracle does not restore the truth, the light the veil between has not put out. It merely lifts the veil, and lets the truth shine unencumbered, being what it is. It does not need belief to be itself, for it has been created; so it is.
An idol is established by belief, and when it is withdrawn the idol “dies.” This is the anti-Christ; the strange idea there is a power past omnipotence, a place beyond the infinite, a time transcending the eternal. Here the world of idols has been set by the idea this power and place and time are given form, and shape the world where the impossible has happened. Here the deathless come to die, the all-encompassing to suffer loss, the timeless to be made the slaves of time. Here does the changeless change; the peace of God, forever given to all living things, give way to chaos. And the Son of God, as perfect, sinless and as loving as his Father, come to hate a little while; to suffer pain and finally to die.
Where is an idol? Nowhere! Can there be a gap in what is infinite, a place where time can interrupt eternity? A place of darkness set where all is light, a dismal alcove separated off from what is endless, has no place to be. An idol is beyond where God has set all things forever, and has left no room for anything to be except His Will. Nothing and nowhere must an idol be, while God is everything and everywhere.
What purpose has an idol, then? What is it for? This is the only question that has many answers, each depending on the one of whom the question has been asked. The world believes in idols. No one comes unless he worshipped them, and still attempts to seek for one that yet might offer him a gift reality does not contain. Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess. It must be more. It does not really matter more of what; more beauty, more intelligence, more wealth, or even more affliction and more pain. But more of something is an idol for. And when one fails another takes its place, with hope of finding more of something else. Be not deceived by forms the “something” takes. An idol is a means for getting more. And it is this that is against God’s Will.
God has not many Sons, but only One. Who can have more, and who be given less? It is for him the Holy Spirit speaks, and tells you idols have no purpose here. For more than Heaven can you never have. If Heaven is within, why would you seek for idols that would make of Heaven less, to give you more than God bestowed upon your brother and on you, as one with Him? God gave you all there is. And to be sure you could not lose it, did He also give the same to every living thing as well. And thus is every living thing a part of you, as of Himself. No idol can establish you as more than God. But you will never be content with being less.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 13
God is the only goal I have today.
The way to God is through forgiveness here. There is no other way. If sin had not been cherished by the mind, what need would there have been to find the way to where you are? Who would still be uncertain? Who could be unsure of who he is? And who would yet remain asleep, in heavy clouds of doubt about the holiness of him whom God created sinless? Here we can but dream. But we can dream we have forgiven him in whom all sin remains impossible, and it is this we choose to dream today. God is our goal; forgiveness is the means by which our minds return to Him at last.
And so, our Father, would we come to You in Your appointed way. We have no goal except to hear Your Voice, and find the way Your sacred Word has pointed out to us.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1077: I have been watching my thoughts recently and now it seems like they are almost thinking themselves — almost like they have nothing to do with me. They just run on, and when I remember I try to watch them: i.e., I am not thinking them at all; they are just happening inside me. They just appear, though on the whole they are quite negative and I still often identify with them and get sucked back into them. And I still see myself as a body having these separate thoughts which I witness rather than a mind witnessing them. Though it is obvious that many of these thoughts relate to the body and influence the way the body feels and what it/I want to do. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said that all the personality is, is a stream of memory. That’s what it seems to me from watching the thoughts arising in me, but I still see them as me.
A: Our work with A Course in Miracles is aimed at getting us back to full awareness of ourselves as decision-making minds so that we can see clearly that we are always choosing between one of two thoughts: that of the ego or that of the Holy Spirit. The seeming endless stream of thoughts we experience are really variations of these two fundamental thoughts. That is why Jesus places such emphasis on the content of our thinking, and asks us to learn to place less stress on the forms in our lives. As you watch your thoughts, thus, you can also acknowledge — being careful not to judge yourself — that you are choosing to identify with a separate bodily self, a special bodily self, a body that lives in time and space, a fearful bodily self, etc. The you that is making this choice cannot be the body.
Then what should come up very quickly is why you, as a mind, would choose to identify with the body. Your thinking, thus, would shift to purpose : there must be a purpose the body is serving that keeps you so rooted in it. But because we are so heavily defended against seeing ourselves as minds, this process of moving from body to mind can take quite some time. It does not happen overnight. And in his characteristic gentleness, Jesus tells us that we do not have to let go of this identification for more than an instant: “You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens. Afterwards you will see the body again, but never quite the same” (T.18.VII.2:3,4) .
Concentrating on the purpose the body serves thus will help you move along in the process of disidentifying with it. It was made by our self-serving ego to convince us that we are indeed separate, but are not responsible for that, as evidenced by the “innocent victim” experiences that pervade our lives. As you practice seeing that dynamic in operation in your daily life, you can recall that the body can serve a different purpose by your choosing Jesus instead of the ego as your teacher. You then will use the body to learn more about the interests we all share in common. In your practice of this, you will gradually be shifting your identification from your body to your mind.