ACIM Text Reading for September 20
Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning
V. The Truth behind Illusions
You will attack what does not satisfy, and thus you will not see you made it up. You always fight illusions. For the truth behind them is so lovely and so still in loving gentleness, were you aware of it you would forget defensiveness entirely, and rush to its embrace. The truth could never be attacked. And this you knew when you made idols. They were made that this might be forgotten. You attack but false ideas, and never truthful ones. All idols are the false ideas you made to fill the gap you think arose between yourself and what is true. And you attack them for the things you think they represent. What lies beyond them cannot be attacked.
The wearying, dissatisfying gods you made are blown-up children’s toys. A child is frightened when a wooden head springs up as a closed box is opened suddenly, or when a soft and silent woolly bear begins to squeak as he takes hold of it. The rules he made for boxes and for bears have failed him, and have broken his “control” of what surrounds him. And he is afraid, because he thought the rules protected him. Now must he learn the boxes and the bears did not deceive him, broke no rules, nor mean his world is made chaotic and unsafe. He was mistaken. He misunderstood what made him safe, and thought that it had left.
The gap that is not there is filled with toys in countless forms. And each one seems to break the rules you set for it. It never was the thing you thought. It must appear to break your rules for safety, since the rules were wrong. But you are not endangered. You can laugh at popping heads and squeaking toys, as does the child who learns they are no threat to him. Yet while he likes to play with them, he still perceives them as obeying rules he made for his enjoyment. So there still are rules that they can seem to break and frighten him. Yet is he at the mercy of his toys? And can they represent a threat to him?
Reality observes the laws of God, and not the rules you set. It is His laws that guarantee your safety. All illusions that you believe about yourself obey no laws. They seem to dance a little while, according to the rules you set for them. But then they fall and cannot rise again. They are but toys, my child, so do not grieve for them. Their dancing never brought you joy. But neither were they things to frighten you, nor make you safe if they obeyed your rules. They must be neither cherished nor attacked, but merely looked upon as children’s toys without a single meaning of their own. See one in them and you will see them all. See none in them and they will touch you not.
Appearances deceive because they are appearances and not reality. Dwell not on them in any form. They but obscure reality, and they bring fear because they hide the truth. Do not attack what you have made to let you be deceived, for thus you prove that you have been deceived. Attack has power to make illusions real. Yet what it makes is nothing. Who could be made fearful by a power that can have no real effects at all? What could it be but an illusion, making things appear like to itself?
Look calmly at its toys, and understand that they are idols which but dance to vain desires. Give them not your worship, for they are not there. Yet this is equally forgotten in attack. God’s Son needs no defense against his dreams. His idols do not threaten him at all. His one mistake is that he thinks them real. What can the power of illusions do?
Appearances can but deceive the mind that wants to be deceived. And you can make a simple choice that will forever place you far beyond deception. You need not concern yourself with how this will be done, for this you cannot understand. But you will understand that mighty changes have been quickly brought about, when you decide one very simple thing; you do not want whatever you believe an idol gives. For thus the Son of God declares that he is free of idols. And thus is he free.
Salvation is a paradox indeed! What could it be except a happy dream? It asks you but that you forgive all things that no one ever did; to overlook what is not there, and not to look upon the unreal as reality. You are but asked to let your will be done, and seek no longer for the things you do not want. And you are asked to let yourself be free of all the dreams of what you never were, and seek no more to substitute the strength of idle wishes for the Will of God.
Here does the dream of separation start to fade and disappear. For here the gap that is not there begins to be perceived without the toys of terror that you made. No more than this is asked. Be glad indeed salvation asks so little, not so much. It asks for nothing in reality. And even in illusions it but asks forgiveness be the substitute for fear. Such is the only rule for happy dreams. The gap is emptied of the toys of fear, and then its unreality is plain. Dreams are for nothing. And the Son of God can have no need of them. They offer him no single thing that he could ever want. He is delivered from illusions by his will, and but restored to what he is. What could God’s plan for his salvation be, except a means to give him to Himself?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 20
Let me perceive no differences today.
Father, You have one Son. And it is he that I would look upon today. He is Your one creation. Why should I perceive a thousand forms in what remains as one? Why should I give this one a thousand names, when only one suffices? For Your Son must bear Your Name, for You created him. Let me not see him as a stranger to his Father, nor as stranger to myself. For he is part of me and I of him, and we are part of You Who are our Source, eternally united in Your Love; eternally the holy Son of God.
We who are one would recognize this day the truth about ourselves. We would come home, and rest in unity. For there is peace, and nowhere else can peace be sought and found.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #983: Is there any way we can learn knowledge without reading it from a book or from any other “normal” means? If there is, how can we get in touch with it? The information I want to learn is about the body and diet. The darkness in my mind has almost gone, and I feel that my body needs to be completely refreshed for me to feel the full benefits of it. I know that this isn’t in line with the teachings of A Course in Miracles ; however, I am convinced that it should be. So before I embark on a journey of reading a lot of books about nutrition and many other things; is there a shortcut to this knowledge already stored in the mind?
A: Within this world, there are certainly many ways to learn about such things as how to take optimal care of our bodies. However, the Course gives us a shortcut to knowledge that does not come from within this world. Its purpose is to teach us that we made up this world and to return us to the part of our mind that contains the guilt that compelled us to do so in the first place. Jesus seeks to help us remove the fear that we have foolishly attempted to obscure by inventing bodies and sickness. This is why he tells us that “Sickness is a defense against the truth” ( W.pI.136 ). The same could be said of anything else that reinforces our experience of being separate bodies living a physical existence. Jesus also lets us know that “Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly . Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself” ( T.8.VII.9:8,9,10 ). In other words, from Jesus’ healed perspective, neither sickness nor health is about bodies. The state of our body simply reflects what we have chosen to do with our mind.
It is important to remember that this is a choice we make on a level of the mind of which we are not aware — as decision makers outside of time and space. Thus, making a different choice requires us to get in touch with a new internal Teacher — the Holy Spirit. He will gently awaken us to the power of our mind in a way that allows us to access it without becoming afraid. Of course, this is a process, and it is only at the very end of our spiritual journey that we will truly understand that our bodies are nothing more than puppets carrying out the dictates of our mind.
Until then, while we believe that we are here, we should certainly do whatever we think will keep our bodies healthy and safe. Not doing so usually only serves to reinforce guilt and to allow the body to become even more of a distraction than it already is. At the same time, it is helpful to recognize that in a sense, we are fighting a losing battle. We made bodies to break down, feel pain, and die. We may be able to delay these things, but eventually they will happen. So if in fact we needed a “completely refreshed” body in order to feel the full benefits of a healed mind, it would mean that the benefits of a healed mind were fleeting.
Fortunately, this is not the case. The state of our mind is in no way dependent upon the state of our body. Indeed, once our mind is fully healed, the state of our body becomes irrelevant. We could be nailed to a cross, or lying in bed, our bodies riddled with cancer, and still be completely at peace. After all, what could be more peaceful than knowing that that which is being threatened is unreal and has nothing to do with us? Simply trusting that such a state is possible and approaching life as a classroom to help us get there is the shortcut Jesus has given us to achieving true knowledge.