ACIM Text Reading for September 14
Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening
IX. The Forgiving Dream
The slave of idols is a willing slave. For willing he must be to let himself bow down in worship to what has no life, and seek for power in the powerless. What happened to the holy Son of God that this could be his wish; to let himself fall lower than the stones upon the ground, and look to idols that they raise him up? Hear, then, your story in the dream you made, and ask yourself if it be not the truth that you believe that it is not a dream.
A dream of judgment came into the mind that God created perfect as Himself. And in that dream was Heaven changed to hell, and God made enemy unto His Son. How can God’s Son awaken from the dream? It is a dream of judgment. So must he judge not, and he will waken. For the dream will seem to last while he is part of it. Judge not, for he who judges will have need of idols, which will hold the judgment off from resting on himself. Nor can he know the Self he has condemned. Judge not, because you make yourself a part of evil dreams, where idols are your “true” identity, and your salvation from the judgment laid in terror and in guilt upon yourself.
All figures in the dream are idols, made to save you from the dream. Yet they are part of what they have been made to save you from. Thus does an idol keep the dream alive and terrible, for who could wish for one unless he were in terror and despair? And this the idol represents, and so its worship is the worship of despair and terror, and the dream from which they come. Judgment is an injustice to God’s Son, and it is justice that who judges him will not escape the penalty he laid upon himself within the dream he made. God knows of justice, not of penalty. But in the dream of judgment you attack and are condemned; and wish to be the slave of idols, which are interposed between your judgment and the penalty it brings.
There can be no salvation in the dream as you are dreaming it. For idols must be part of it, to save you from what you believe you have accomplished, and have done to make you sinful and put out the light within you. Little child, the light is there. You do but dream, and idols are the toys you dream you play with. Who has need of toys but children? They pretend they rule the world, and give their toys the power to move about, and talk and think and feel and speak for them. Yet everything their toys appear to do is in the minds of those who play with them. But they are eager to forget that they made up the dream in which their toys are real, nor recognize their wishes are their own.
Nightmares are childish dreams. The toys have turned against the child who thought he made them real. Yet can a dream attack? Or can a toy grow large and dangerous and fierce and wild? This does the child believe, because he fears his thoughts and gives them to the toys instead. And their reality becomes his own, because they seem to save him from his thoughts. Yet do they keep his thoughts alive and real, but seen outside himself, where they can turn against him for his treachery to them. He thinks he needs them that he may escape his thoughts, because he thinks the thoughts are real. And so he makes of anything a toy, to make his world remain outside himself, and play that he is but a part of it.
There is a time when childhood should be passed and gone forever. Seek not to retain the toys of children. Put them all away, for you have need of them no more. The dream of judgment is a children’s game, in which the child becomes the father, powerful, but with the little wisdom of a child. What hurts him is destroyed; what helps him, blessed. Except he judges this as does a child, who does not know what hurts and what will heal. And bad things seem to happen, and he is afraid of all the chaos in a world he thinks is governed by the laws he made. Yet is the real world unaffected by the world he thinks is real. Nor have its laws been changed because he does not understand.
The real world still is but a dream. Except the figures have been changed. They are not seen as idols which betray. It is a dream in which no one is used to substitute for something else, nor interposed between the thoughts the mind conceives and what it sees. No one is used for something he is not, for childish things have all been put away. And what was once a dream of judgment now has changed into a dream where all is joy, because that is the purpose that it has. Only forgiving dreams can enter here, for time is almost over. And the forms that enter in the dream are now perceived as brothers, not in judgment, but in love.
Forgiving dreams have little need to last. They are not made to separate the mind from what it thinks. They do not seek to prove the dream is being dreamed by someone else. And in these dreams a melody is heard that everyone remembers, though he has not heard it since before all time began. Forgiveness, once complete, brings timelessness so close the song of Heaven can be heard, not with the ears, but with the holiness that never left the altar that abides forever deep within the Son of God. And when he hears this song again, he knows he never heard it not. And where is time, when dreams of judgment have been put away?
Whenever you feel fear in any form,–and you are fearful if you do not feel a deep content, a certainty of help, a calm assurance Heaven goes with you,–be sure you made an idol, and believe it will betray you. For beneath your hope that it will save you lie the guilt and pain of self-betrayal and uncertainty, so deep and bitter that the dream cannot conceal completely all your sense of doom. Your self-betrayal must result in fear, for fear is judgment, leading surely to the frantic search for idols and for death.
Forgiving dreams remind you that you live in safety and have not attacked yourself. So do your childish terrors melt away, and dreams become a sign that you have made a new beginning, not another try to worship idols and to keep attack. Forgiving dreams are kind to everyone who figures in the dream. And so they bring the dreamer full release from dreams of fear. He does not fear his judgment for he has judged no one, nor has sought to be released through judgment from what judgment must impose. And all the while he is remembering what he forgot, when judgment seemed to be the way to save him from its penalty.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 14
Let me remember what my purpose is.
If I forget my goal I can be but confused, unsure of what I am, and thus conflicted in my actions. No one can serve contradicting goals and serve them well. Nor can he function without deep distress and great depression. Let us therefore be determined to remember what we want today, that we may unify our thoughts and actions meaningfully, and achieve only what God would have us do this day.
Father, forgiveness is Your chosen means for our salvation. Let us not forget today that we can have no will but Yours. And thus our purpose must be Yours as well, if we would reach the peace You will for us.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1080: Can you forgive the ego?
A: No, you cannot forgive an illusion. To say you forgive the ego would give it a reality it does not have, and would mean that the separation did occur. Forgiveness is a change of mind, whereby belief in the illusion of separation (the ego) is replaced with the memory of God’s Love (the Holy Spirit). The separation did not happen (T.6.II.10) and therefore there is nothing to forgive, which is why Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles : “The miracle (forgiveness) does nothing. All it does is to undo. And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done” (T.28.I.1:1,2,3) . Forgiveness restores to awareness the power of the mind to choose. In another passage Jesus makes this point again in a slightly different way: “…forgive the Son of God for what he did not do ” (T.17.III.1:5) . Nothing anyone does has any effect on our peace. Peace is thrown away when the mind decides to side with the ego. The mind then “forgives” itself by choosing the Holy Spirit instead. Choosing the ego, which is a choice for nothing, is thus undone/ forgiven.
Q #1081: It is said that without God’s wish nothing can move. Everything is God’s wish. Thy will be done. Then why give a credit to God for goodness and blame the ego for evil? Is not God beyond that duality?
A: Yes, God is beyond the duality of good and evil. There are no words that truly define or describe God. Anything that we say about Him comes from the dualistic perspective of the split mind. As Jesus tells us: “Everything you recognize you identify with externals, something outside itself. You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:6,7). The ego thus uses its own descriptive terms for its version of God, but they have nothing to do with God. As a great philosopher once said, “God made man in his image, and man returned the favor.” This man-made image incorporates opposing concepts such as good and evil, which are inherent in the ego’s thought system. Since the ego’s very existence is sustained by opposition and differences, the God it claims as father has to share these characteristics. Most important to the ego’s God is the relationship He is imagined to have with His separated Sons. In this relationship we find the source of all the ideas about God’s supposed Will for His separated Sons. We learn in the Course that God cannot have a separate Will for separated Sons, since separation from God is impossible (T.6.II.10) . Thus, God does not move anything, nor could He possibly have any awareness of the world of form. This would be true even if the world were not made as an attack on Him, which is impossible since the world is made precisely to be perceived as outside the Mind of God. Oneness with His Son is all He knows. That is His Will.
A Course in Miracles uses the term “will” as a property of spirit, while “wish” is an activity of the ego. God’s Will, as defined in the “Glossary-Index” by Kenneth Wapnick, is “the expression of God’s being” (Glossary-Index, p. 222) . In other words, it is Who He is, and it is a Being/Will He shares with His Son. That Will is reflected in the dream in the part of the mind that remembers God (the Holy Spirit): “The Holy Spirit is the way in which God’s Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. Both Heaven and earth are in you, because the call of both is in your mind (T.5.II.8:4,5). In this passage Jesus gives new meaning to the phrase from the Lord’s Prayer: “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” He refers to the split mind that chooses between the ego (earth) and the Holy Spirit (the memory of Heaven). One could say that “evil” lies in choosing the ego and goodness in the choice for the Holy Spirit, but the Course would not make that kind of distinction because it tells us we are choosing between the truth and an illusion. Illusion cannot be given reality, or the power of “evil” to have effects. It simply is not real. What most distinguishes the Course’s teaching about God’s Will from traditional Christian belief is that God’s Will is not done on earth; He does not know about earth, bodies, separation, or duality. He does not even know goodness because the idea of goodness is made up in contrast to evil. The Course uses the dualistic language and concepts that we understand only to lead us to the oneness we have forgotten. Though it has been forgotten, it has not been extinguished nor changed in any way. No matter how much we believe the madness of the ego we remain one with God’s Will: “Whatever your reactions to the Holy Spirit’s Voice may be, whatever voice you choose to listen to, whatever strange thoughts may occur to you, God’s Will is done” (T.13.XI.5:4). Therein lies our hope and comfort.