ACIM Text Reading for September 15
Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning
The new beginning now becomes the focus of the curriculum. The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone; your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgment to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear. They are not new to you, but they are more ideas than rules of thought to you as yet. So now we need to practice them awhile, until they are the rules by which you live. We seek to make them habits now, so you will have them ready for whatever need.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 15
Let me remember that my goal is God.
All that is needful is to train our minds to overlook all little senseless aims, and to remember that our goal is God. His memory is hidden in our minds, obscured but by our pointless little goals which offer nothing, and do not exist. Shall we continue to allow God’s grace to shine in unawareness, while the toys and trinkets of the world are sought instead? God is our only goal, our only Love. We have no aim but to remember Him.
Our goal is but to follow in the way that leads to You. We have no goal but this. What could we want but to remember You? What could we seek but our Identity?
Q #44: How do I act in the world of form before I have been able to forgive a situation? If I act lovingly without really feeling it I will feel resentment. If I act according to my true feelings I will feel guilty. Either way I lose!!!
A: The key is always to be aware of your motivation in a conflict with someone else — the underlying purpose it serves, as you seem to struggle over how to act. “What you do comes from what you think”(T.2.VI.2:7), as Jesus points out. “It is only at this level that you can exercise choice…It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing….You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness….Change does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work” (2:6; 3:1,4,7).
We are stubborn creatures, not prone to forgiveness, although it is the most natural thing we can do in this world. But the world is an unnatural place. And so we resist what really would be kindest and most helpful to ourselves. So long as I think that acting lovingly towards others is a charitable whim I bestow on an undeserving someone outside of myself (W.pI.126.4:1), I will resent not getting in my “justified” licks against you if I feel you have treated me unfairly. But if I can honestly look at how a retaliatory attack on you will really make me feel, I may be more open to a right-minded solution. If I can begin to recognize that my reaction to you has nothing to do with what you have done and everything to do with the guilt in my own mind, which is the cause of all my pain and for which I am always seeking a target on which to project it, I may think twice about reinforcing that guilt in my own mind by a further overt attack on you. Forgiveness is not a gift bestowed on someone else, unmerited and unjustified. It is a gift I offer first and foremost to myself. When I accept that gift for myself, then I will automatically know how to respond to you who had seemed to offend me, offering you the same gift I have just accepted for myself, in the form in which you will most likely be able to accept it. And I will have no sense of resentment or loss associated with it.
Okay, but what if I’m still too stubborn to believe and accept what is truly in my own best interest for a particular situation — I am not ready to forgive because I still want to hold on to my grievance against you so that I can believe the guilt is in you and not in me? Then I would want at least to be able to acknowledge that I am still identified with my ego, where my “choices” seem to be limited to either overtly attacking you in retaliation or sacrificing my right to retaliation in a feigned “loving” show of “forgiveness” (still an attack). Either option will reinforce my guilt if I act without awareness of my underlying motivation. And so these are not really different choices at all, at the level of content. So now it will be important that I at least be honest with myself, and recognize that it is neither kindness nor righteousness nor any evil within me that is guiding me to act in whatever way I finally choose with my ego, since I have already decided against choosing at the only level that can really help. It is my own fear of love and of the quiet, gentle peace that accompanies the release of grievances that is behind my resistance to asking for help from a different Teacher. If I can recognize that and not judge myself for it, then I have at least minimized the guilt that I am reinforcing in my own mind for continuing to identify with my ego. And that is always a goal of the Course.