ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 20

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

Lesson 262
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.

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ACIM Text Reading for September 19

ACIM Text Reading for September 19

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

IV. Beyond All Idols
Idols are quite specific. But your will is universal, being limitless. And so it has no form, nor is content for its expression in the terms of form. Idols are limits. They are the belief that there are forms that will bring happiness, and that, by limiting, is all attained. It is as if you said, “I have no need of everything. This little thing I want, and it will be as everything to me.” And this must fail to satisfy, because it is your will that everything be yours. Decide for idols and you ask for loss. Decide for truth and everything is yours.

It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Father’s Love? What form can take the place of all the love in the Divinity of God the Son? What idol can make two of what is one? And can the limitless be limited? You do not want an idol. It is not your will to have one. It will not bestow on you the gift you seek. When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose. So you see your will within the idol, thus reducing it to a specific form. Yet this could never be your will, because what shares in all creation cannot be content with small ideas and little things.

Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete, can only mean that you believe some form is missing. And by finding this, you will achieve completion in a form you like. This is the purpose of an idol; that you will not look beyond it, to the source of the belief that you are incomplete. Only if you had sinned could this be so. For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.

It never is the idol that you want. But what you think it offers you, you want indeed and have the right to ask for. Nor could it be possible it be denied. Your will to be complete is but God’s Will, and this is given you by being His. God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms that have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms, made but to fill a gap that is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God. What idol can be called upon to give the Son of God what he already has?

Completion is the function of God’s Son. He has no need to seek for it at all. Beyond all idols stands his holy will to be but what he is. For more than whole is meaningless. If there were change in him, if he could be reduced to any form and limited to what is not in him, he would not be as God created him. What idol can he need to be himself? For can he give a part of him away? What is not whole cannot make whole. But what is really asked for cannot be denied. Your will is granted. Not in any form that would content you not, but in the whole completely lovely Thought God holds of you.

Nothing that God knows not exists. And what He knows exists forever, changelessly. For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them. And in the Mind of God there is no ending, nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change. Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind Which thought of you. And so there are no separate parts in what exists within God’s Mind. It is forever One, eternally united and at peace.

Thoughts seem to come and go. Yet all this means is that you are sometimes aware of them, and sometimes not. An unremembered thought is born again to you when it returns to your awareness. Yet it did not die when you forgot it. It was always there, but you were unaware of it. The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot, and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot.

The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change, and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its light grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.

Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky that holds it safe, forever lifted up and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time that keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know the star is there.

Beyond all idols is the Thought God holds of you. Completely unaffected by the turmoil and the terror of the world, the dreams of birth and death that here are dreamed, the myriad of forms that fear can take; quite undisturbed, the Thought God holds of you remains exactly as it always was. Surrounded by a stillness so complete no sound of battle comes remotely near, it rests in certainty and perfect peace. Here is your one reality kept safe, completely unaware of all the world that worships idols, and that knows not God. In perfect sureness of its changelessness and of its rest in its eternal home, the Thought God holds of you has never left the Mind of its Creator Whom it knows, as its Creator knows that it is there.

Where could the Thought God holds of you exist but where you are? Is your reality a thing apart from you, and in a world which your reality knows nothing of? Outside you there is no eternal sky, no changeless star and no reality. The mind of Heaven’s Son in Heaven is, for there the Mind of Father and of Son joined in creation which can have no end. You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one. An idol or the Thought God holds of you is your reality. Forget not, then, that idols must keep hidden what you are, not from the Mind of God, but from your own. The star shines still; the sky has never changed. But you, the holy Son of God Himself, are unaware of your reality.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 19

Lesson 261
Section 5. What is the Body?

The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love. Identifying with his safety, he regards himself as what his safety is. How else could he be certain he remains within the body, keeping love outside?

The body will not stay. Yet this he sees as double safety. For the Son of God’s impermanence is “proof” his fences work, and do the task his mind assigns to them. For if his oneness still remained untouched, who could attack and who could be attacked? Who could be victor? Who could be his prey? Who could be victim? Who the murderer? And if he did not die, what “proof” is there that God’s eternal Son can be destroyed?

The body is a dream. Like other dreams it sometimes seems to picture happiness, but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born. For only love creates in truth, and truth can never fear. Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it. But we can change the purpose that the body will obey by changing what we think that it is for.

The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother, and to help him walk along the road with him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill.

You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth, and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love, and find your Self.

Lesson 261

God is my refuge and security.

I will identify with what I think is refuge and security. I will behold myself where I perceive my strength, and think I live within the citadel where I am safe and cannot be attacked. Let me today seek not security in danger, nor attempt to find my peace in murderous attack. I live in God. In Him I find my refuge and my strength. In Him is my Identity. In Him is everlasting peace. And only there will I remember Who I really am.

Let me not seek for idols. I would come, my Father, home to You today. I choose to be as You created me, and find the Son whom You created as my Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #126: Did Jesus heal by simply seeing the “Christ” in another?

A: Since you use the past tense “did” in your question, we should first clarify that the teachings of A Course in Miracles on healing are not based on, nor related to, the Gospel accounts of healing by the historical Jesus. This is an important clarification, because the Course interpretation of “healing,” “Christ,” and “Jesus” differs from the traditional Christian interpretation. With that in mind, we begin by recalling that the Course tells us healing is always of the mind: “Since only the mind can be sick, only the mind can be healed. Only the mind is in need of healing” (P.in.1:2,3). Therefore, no one, including Jesus, actually heals another: “Healing does not come from anyone else. You must accept guidance from within”(T.8.IV.4:5,6). By the same token, anyone whose mind is healed, including Jesus, serves as a reminder to someone who perceives himself as unhealed; that he too can make the choice for healing by accepting the truth about himself. A “healed healer,” one of whom is Jesus, thus serves as a reflection of the truth for anyone who is truly willing to be healed. This may be what you refer to as “seeing the Christ in another.” It means looking without judgment, without difference, and seeing the other as sinless. This is what heals the mind.

Accepting the truth about ourselves, which is healing, inherently means accepting ourselves as joined with the entire Sonship. Thus when we accept healing for ourselves, we accept it for the entire Sonship. This is what the Course means when it tells us we are not healed alone — the truth of who we are is the same truth for everyone, and includes everyone. “That is why it makes no difference to what part or by what part of the Sonship the healing is offered. Every part benefits, and benefits equally” (T.5.in.2:6,7). We are not separate individuals seeking individual healing. There is no “individual” to be healed. Therefore, when Jesus accepted the Atonement for himself we were all with him, and were healed along with him. Only our acceptance is required for us to bring this healing to our awareness. Since all sickness is separation, all healing is joining: “Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate” (T.28.III.2:6). We are healed when we choose to join with Jesus in accepting our healing. This is how the Course tells us healing is accomplished.

Q #127: Can you help me reconcile the fact that there is only One Self or One Mind and that I perceive myself as a unique consciousness? Is my perception of having a unique consciousness an illusion?

A: As real as it seems to us, our unique individual consciousness is in fact part of the ego’s bag of illusions. In fact, consciousness is the first trick the ego pulled out of that illusory bag. A Course in Miracles tells us early in the text that “consciousness, the level of perception” is in fact within the illusory ego realm, and that it is “the first split introduced into the mind after the separation.” If you think of the fact that perception necessarily involves a self that is perceiving and an other that is perceived, you may be able to understand why the Course says that consciousness necessarily involves a separated mind and so can’t be real. In Heaven, the realm of knowledge or One-mindedness, on the other hand, there is no separation and so there can be no perception, that is, no self to perceive an other (T.3.IV.1,2,3).

Near the end of the book, the Course refers to the illusory nature of individual consciousness, observing that “in this world, because the mind is split, the Sons of God appear to be separate. Nor do their minds seem to be joined. In this illusory state, the concept of an ‘individual mind’ seems to be meaningful” (C.1.2:1,2,3). And in case we have still not gotten the point, it adds that “consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest it becomes aware of the real world [totally healed perception], and can be trained to do so increasingly. Yet the very fact that it has levels and can be trained demonstrates that it cannot reach knowledge” (C.1.7:4,5,6).

So consciousness will be left behind, or transcended, when our mind is completely healed of the mistaken thought of separation and returns to the realm of knowledge or One-mindedness. It is this seeming loss of individual, unique consciousness that is at the root of all the fear we ultimately associate with the practice of forgiveness. Yet we will never be called upon to relinquish this false self and will let it go only when it no longer has any value or meaning for us. So the ego’s fear of annihilation is just one further trick it pulls from its illusory bag to keep us rooted in its thought system.

For further discussions of mind and consciousness, you may wish to review Questions #27, 32, and 65.

jesus there is no death

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 17

ACIM Text Reading for September 17

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

III. Freedom of Will
Do you not understand that to oppose the Holy Spirit is to fight yourself? He tells you but your will; He speaks for you. In His Divinity is but your own. And all He knows is but your knowledge, saved for you that you may do your will through Him. God asks you do your will. He joins with you. He did not set His Kingdom up alone. And Heaven itself but represents your will, where everything created is for you. No spark of life but was created with your glad consent, as you would have it be. And not one Thought that God has ever had but waited for your blessing to be born. God is no enemy to you. He asks no more than that He hear you call Him “Friend.”

How wonderful it is to do your will! For that is freedom. There is nothing else that ever should be called by freedom’s name. Unless you do your will you are not free. And would God leave His Son without what he has chosen for himself? God but ensured that you would never lose your will when He gave you His perfect Answer. Hear It now, that you may be reminded of His Love and learn your will. God would not have His Son made prisoner to what he does not want. He joins with you in willing you be free. And to oppose Him is to make a choice against yourself, and choose that you be bound.

Look once again upon your enemy, the one you chose to hate instead of love. For thus was hatred born into the world, and thus the rule of fear established there. Now hear God speak to you, through Him Who is His Voice and yours as well, reminding you that it is not your will to hate and be a prisoner to fear, a slave to death, a little creature with a little life. Your will is boundless; it is not your will that it be bound. What lies in you has joined with God Himself in all creation’s birth. Remember Him Who has created you, and through your will created everything. Not one created thing but gives you thanks, for it is by your will that it was born. No light of Heaven shines except for you, for it was set in Heaven by your will.

What cause have you for anger in a world that merely waits your blessing to be free? If you be prisoner, then God Himself could not be free. For what is done to him whom God so loves is done to God Himself. Think not He wills to bind you, Who has made you co-creator of the universe along with Him. He would but keep your will forever and forever limitless. This world awaits the freedom you will give when you have recognized that you are free. But you will not forgive the world until you have forgiven Him Who gave your will to you. For it is by your will the world is given freedom. Nor can you be free apart from Him Whose holy Will you share.

God turns to you to ask the world be saved, for by your own salvation is it healed. And no one walks upon the earth but must depend on your decision, that he learn death has no power over him, because he shares your freedom as he shares your will. It is your will to heal him, and because you have decided with him, he is healed. And now is God forgiven, for you chose to look upon your brother as a friend.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 17

Lesson 260
Let me remember God created me.

Father, I did not make myself, although in my insanity I thought I did. Yet, as Your Thought, I have not left my Source, remaining part of Who created me. Your Son, my Father, calls on You today. Let me remember You created me. Let me remember my Identity. And let my sinlessness arise again before Christ’s vision, through which I would look upon my brothers and myself today.

Now is our Source remembered, and Therein we find our true Identity at last. Holy indeed are we, because our Source can know no sin. And we who are His Sons are like each other, and alike to Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #38: What is the Course referring to when it says: “There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made” (T.31.II.8.5)?

A: The “call that never has been made” refers to the “call” to be separate from God, heard constantly in our wrong minds. It is impossible to separate from totality, from everything; therefore, the call “never was made.” That is another way of stating the Atonement principle that the separation never happened in reality. And we will not be punished for wishing to hear the call that tells us that our individual, separate identity is real. In a different context, Jesus says basically the same thing: “Here is your promise never to allow union to call you out of separation” (T.19.IV.D.3). But he never tires of reminding us that it is not a sin deserving of retribution to prefer to exist as an individual being and make up a God in our own image rather than answer the call of the Holy Spirit to return to our true Identity as spirit, as Christ. This is what is meant by: “There will be no assault…” It corrects the traditional biblical views that an offended, vengeful God demands atonement through sacrifice for the sins of His children.

Q #39: I have heard you say numerous times that when we awaken, we don’t go poof, that we don’t disappear, etc. And yet, every time I seriously consider going home with Jesus, I think of the unfinished job I still have “here” and it stops me. I then remember you say that whatever needs to be done here would be done because my body would then be directed in the most helpful way, but that it wouldn’t be my concern any more. In fact, if it were my concern, it would be my ego doing it. Is that right? How do I reconcile that with the example of bodhisattvas who choose to maintain an attachment to something in this world–be it a loved one or chocolate, in order to maintain the body and do the work of helping that they came here to do? That is an investment in what we do from the point of view of the Course, isn’t it?

A: If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you believe you are here and would like to go home, but you haven’t made that choice yet because you feel you are not finished here. That state of mind is distinctly different from the state of a mind that is healed, knows that it is not really here, but has become solely the instrument of the Holy Spirit’s Love. The starting points, in other words, are very different. The healed mind has already “left,” you might say, and is “here” in a totally different way from the mind that is still on the journey and considering the choice to go home with Jesus. A healed mind is beyond any bodily identity and thoroughly identified with non- dualistic love. To be present in an illusory state, therefore, requires a focus on something to help ground it. It could be anything at all — from a love of chocolate to following a certain baseball team. But there would never be a reluctance or resistance to returning home, because the healed mind knows it is already there; there is nothing to attain, no journey.

I believe you are expressing something entirely different in content from this state of mind. In form, both might experience that they are not yet finished with what they are here to do. But for those still on the journey and learning how to lessen their investment in their bodily identity, there would be tremendous fear to let go totally of the only identity with which they are familiar. It is a gradual process over many, many years requiring the commitment to look fearlessly with Jesus at the contents of their wrong minds, which rest almost immutably on the defiant choice to leave Home and never return. As Jesus poignantly reassures us: “I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny” (T.11.VI.3.6). It is a process, and the final choice will be made effortlessly. In fact, the attraction to Love will be so strong, that it will not even be regarded as a choice. There no longer is a concern about going “poof”!

health is inner peace

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 16

ACIM Text Reading for September 16

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

II. Rules for Decision
Decisions are continuous. You do not always know when you are making them. But with a little practice with the ones you recognize, a set begins to form which sees you through the rest. It is not wise to let yourself become preoccupied with every step you take. The proper set, adopted consciously each time you wake, will put you well ahead. And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready. Do not fight yourself. But think about the kind of day you want, and tell yourself there is a way in which this very day can happen just like that. Then try again to have the day you want.

1. The outlook starts with this:

“Today I will make no decisions by myself.”
This means that you are choosing not to be the judge of what to do. But it must also mean you will not judge the situations where you will be called upon to make response. For if you judge them, you have set the rules for how you should react to them. And then another answer cannot but produce confusion and uncertainty and fear.

This is your major problem now. You still make up your mind, and then decide to ask what you should do. And what you hear may not resolve the problem as you saw it first. This leads to fear, because it contradicts what you perceive and so you feel attacked. And therefore angry. There are rules by which this will not happen. But it does occur at first, while you are learning how to hear.

2. Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience, and say:

“If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me.”
These two procedures, practiced well, will serve to let you be directed without fear, for opposition will not first arise and then become a problem in itself.

But there will still be times when you have judged already. Now the answer will provoke attack, unless you quickly straighten out your mind to want an answer that will work. Be certain this has happened if you feel yourself unwilling to sit by and ask to have the answer given you. This means you have decided by yourself, and can not see the question. Now you need a quick restorative before you ask again.

3. Remember once again the day you want, and recognize that something has occurred that is not part of it. Then realize that you have asked a question by yourself, and must have set an answer in your terms. Then say:

“I have no question. I forgot what to decide.”
This cancels out the terms that you have set, and lets the answer show you what the question must have really been.

Try to observe this rule without delay, despite your opposition. For you have already gotten angry. And your fear of being answered in a different way from what your version of the question asks will gain momentum, until you believe the day you want is one in which you get your answer to your question. And you will not get it, for it would destroy the day by robbing you of what you really want. This can be very hard to realize, when once you have decided by yourself the rules that promise you a happy day. Yet this decision still can be undone, by simple methods that you can accept.

4. If you are so unwilling to receive you cannot even let your question go, you can begin to change your mind with this:

“At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now.”
This much is obvious, and paves the way for the next easy step.

5. Having decided that you do not like the way you feel, what could be easier than to continue with:

“And so I hope I have been wrong.”
This works against the sense of opposition, and reminds you that help is not being thrust upon you but is something that you want and that you need, because you do not like the way you feel. This tiny opening will be enough to let you go ahead with just a few more steps you need to let yourself be helped.

Now you have reached the turning point, because it has occurred to you that you will gain if what you have decided is not so. Until this point is reached, you will believe your happiness depends on being right. But this much reason have you now attained; you would be better off if you were wrong.

6. This tiny grain of wisdom will suffice to take you further. You are not coerced, but merely hope to get a thing you want. And you can say in perfect honesty:

“I want another way to look at this.”
Now you have changed your mind about the day, and have remembered what you really want. Its purpose has no longer been obscured by the insane belief you want it for the goal of being right when you are wrong. Thus is the readiness for asking brought to your awareness, for you cannot be in conflict when you ask for what you want, and see that it is this for which you ask.

7. This final step is but acknowledgment of lack of opposition to be helped. It is a statement of an open mind, not certain yet, but willing to be shown:

“Perhaps there is another way to look at this.
What can I lose by asking?”
Thus you now can ask a question that makes sense, and so the answer will make sense as well. Nor will you fight against it, for you see that it is you who will be helped by it.

It must be clear that it is easier to have a happy day if you prevent unhappiness from entering at all. But this takes practice in the rules that will protect you from the ravages of fear. When this has been achieved, the sorry dream of judgment has forever been undone. But meanwhile, you have need for practicing the rules for its undoing. Let us, then, consider once again the very first of the decisions which are offered here.

We said you can begin a happy day with the determination not to make decisions by yourself. This seems to be a real decision in itself. And yet, you cannot make decisions by yourself. The only question really is with what you choose to make them. That is really all. The first rule, then, is not coercion, but a simple statement of a simple fact. You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God. And you ask help of anti-Christ or Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do.

Your day is not at random. It is set by what you choose to live it with, and how the friend whose counsel you have sought perceives your happiness. You always ask advice before you can decide on anything. Let this be understood, and you can see there cannot be coercion here, nor grounds for opposition that you may be free. There is no freedom from what must occur. And if you think there is, you must be wrong.

The second rule as well is but a fact. For you and your adviser must agree on what you want before it can occur. It is but this agreement that permits all things to happen. Nothing can be caused without some form of union, be it with a dream of judgment or the Voice for God. Decisions cause results because they are not made in isolation. They are made by you and your adviser, for yourself and for the world as well. The day you want you offer to the world, for it will be what you have asked for, and will reinforce the rule of your adviser in the world. Whose kingdom is the world for you today? What kind of day will you decide to have?

It needs but two who would have happiness this day to promise it to all the world. It needs but two to understand that they cannot decide alone, to guarantee the joy they asked for will be wholly shared. For they have understood the basic law that makes decision powerful, and gives it all effects that it will ever have. It needs but two. These two are joined before there can be a decision. Let this be the one reminder that you keep in mind, and you will have the day you want, and give it to the world by having it yourself. Your judgment has been lifted from the world by your decision for a happy day. And as you have received, so must you give.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 16

Lesson 259
Let me remember that there is no sin.

Sin is the only thought that makes the goal of God seem unattainable. What else could blind us to the obvious, and make the strange and the distorted seem more clear? What else but sin engenders our attacks? What else but sin could be the source of guilt, demanding punishment and suffering? And what but sin could be the source of fear, obscuring God’s creation; giving love the attributes of fear and of attack?

Father, I would not be insane today. I would not be afraid of love, nor seek for refuge in its opposite. For love can have no opposite. You are the Source of everything there is. And everything that is remains with You, and You with it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #163: In the section “Rules for Decision” of A Course in Miracles, it says, “It needs but two who would have happiness this day to promise it to all the world.” (T.30.I.17:1). Does this refer to the reader (me) and the Holy Spirit? And if so why would “two” not be capitalized if referring to the Holy Spirit? Could it also mean the “two” is reader (me) and the ego who thinks it’s a happy day?

A: Earlier in this section Jesus speaks of the nature of the happiness — counterfeit or real — you experience as depending on “the friend whose counsel you have sought” (T.30.I.15:2) — the ego or the Holy Spirit. But here in the concluding paragraph, Jesus is referring to the real happiness that comes from our joining with a brother through Jesus or the Holy Spirit in the recognition that our interests are not separate but shared and that our minds are not split but joined. If this recognition is truly shared in our mind with any brother, it must then be extended to all the world, for it is all one.

And this joining has nothing to do with bodies, neither mine (as the reader) nor my brother’s. So my brother’s body need not be present for this joining to be experienced and no words need to be exchanged. Jesus explains earlier in the text, “Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your Identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, “hero” of the dream, your brother. It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him. Your mind and his are joined in brother­hood” (T.28.IV.3:1,2,3,4,5,6).

*

Q #164: My view with A Course in Miracles has shifted considerably after listening to Ken’s tape “The Meaning of Judgment.” The thrust of this tape is looking at your ego with no need to change it. In other words looking at our thoughts without judgment and realizing ultimately that what we believe has no effects on reality. Our powerful thoughts seem to be defused as we realize reality is not impressed nor shaken by them. However, Ken keeps reminding us not to judge someone else. It seems if that were the case then we would need a defense against those thoughts. For by saying we should not judge another have we not made judgment real? We are supposed to look at our egos without judgment. Wouldn’t that include looking at our judgment of others without giving reality to it? Some of our judgments may be quite intense, but if we can look at these with the realization that nothing is happening, haven’t we made progress?

A: You may have misunderstood. The tape you refer to makes the point that the goal, contrary to what many students believe the Course to be saying, is not to stop making judgments of ourselves and others, but rather to learn not to judge ourselves for making those judgments. By resisting them and trying to change them, we are making them real in our mind, and that continues to give them and the ego power, as you observe. So the goal is to look upon our ego’s judgments without taking them seriously, that is, without guilt, and without attempting to justify or rationalize them in any way.

A very important part of the looking process is to recognize that our judgments have a cost to us. Judgment keeps the thought of separation real in our mind, banishing peace and inviting pain and guilt to remain. As we recognize the cost of our judgments over time, our motivation increases to join with Jesus or the Holy Spirit and release our investment in judging. So the point is not that we should not judge, but rather why would we want to if we really understood what accompanies it?

By the way, reality is not simply unimpressed or unshaken by our judgments — it can not even see or recognize them! For our judgments have no reality. And so that is why, near the end of the Course, Jesus points out, “It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up.…Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it” (M.10.2:1,2,3,5).

total commitment

ACIM Text Reading for September 15

ACIM Text Reading for September 15

Chapter 30 ~ The New Beginning

I. Introduction
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

Lesson 258
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.

jesus there is no death

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 14

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

Lesson 257
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.

complete forgiveness

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 13

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

Lesson 256
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.

certain as god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 12

ACIM Text Reading for September 12

Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening

VII. Seek Not Outside Yourself
Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute, and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides, and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth, and not to seek for it outside yourself.

No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself, and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not. This is the purpose he bestows upon the body; that it seek for what he lacks, and give him what would make himself complete. And thus he wanders aimlessly about, in search of something that he cannot find, believing that he is what he is not.

The lingering illusion will impel him to seek out a thousand idols, and to seek beyond them for a thousand more. And each will fail him, all excepting one; for he will die, and does not understand the idol that he seeks is but his death. Its form appears to be outside himself. Yet does he seek to kill God’s Son within, and prove that he is victor over him. This is the purpose every idol has, for this the role that is assigned to it, and this the role that cannot be fulfilled.

Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body’s betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack, and lack is death. To sacrifice is to give up, and thus to be without and to have suffered loss. And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation, but prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.

Idols must fall because they have no life, and what is lifeless is a sign of death. You came to die, and what would you expect but to perceive the signs of death you seek? No sadness and no suffering proclaim a message other than an idol found that represents a parody of life which, in its lifelessness, is really death, conceived as real and given living form. Yet each must fail and crumble and decay, because a form of death cannot be life, and what is sacrificed cannot be whole.

All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself.

Let us forget the purpose of the world the past has given it. For otherwise, the future will be like the past, and but a series of depressing dreams, in which all idols fail you, one by one, and you see death and disappointment everywhere.

To change all this, and open up a road of hope and of release in what appeared to be an endless circle of despair, you need but to decide you do not know the purpose of the world. You give it goals it does not have, and thus do you decide what it is for. You try to see in it a place of idols found outside yourself, with power to make complete what is within by splitting what you are between the two. You choose your dreams, for they are what you wish, perceived as if it had been given you. Your idols do what you would have them do, and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream, because you want their power as your own.

Yet where are dreams but in a mind asleep? And can a dream succeed in making real the picture it projects outside itself? Save time, my brother; learn what time is for. And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy mind is altar unto God, and where He is no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol, which you must protect against the light of truth. And all the world becomes the means by which this idol can be saved. Salvation thus appears to threaten life and offer death.

It is not so. Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists. The sacrifice of death is nothing lost. An idol cannot take the place of God. Let Him remind you of His Love for you, and do not seek to drown His Voice in chants of deep despair to idols of yourself. Seek not outside your Father for your hope. For hope of happiness is not despair.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 12

Lesson 255
This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.

It does not seem to me that I can choose to have but peace today. And yet, my God assures me that His Son is like Himself. Let me this day have faith in Him Who says I am God’s Son. And let the peace I choose be mine today bear witness to the truth of what He says. God’s Son can have no cares, and must remain forever in the peace of Heaven. In His Name, I give today to finding what my Father wills for me, accepting it as mine, and giving it to all my Father’s Sons, along with me.

And so, my Father, would I pass this day with You. Your Son has not forgotten You. The peace You gave him still is in his mind, and it is there I choose to spend today.

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ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #87: “Swear not to die, you holy Son of God!” Just in case, I did that. But I need do nothing to make truth true. So, this phrase is meant more poetically? Like asking me to make a commitment to truth, going for it?

A. In this passage (T.29.VI.2:1), Jesus is talking about a promise that we have already made, by virtue of our having identified with the ego thought system. His “command” is therefore meant literally. He is telling us that we need to look at and reconsider our attraction to the “holy” waxen image of death…you swore in blood not to desert, as he so movingly describes it at the end of the fourth obstacle to peace (T.19.IV.D.6:3). In other words, we have already pledged our loyalty to the ego thought system, in which death — including ours — is the central reality. We have already taken this oath to believe that God’s Son is not as He created Him, invulnerable and eternally present within the Being of His Father. It is part of the bargain we made with the ego, so that our individual, separate identity would be preserved. Here Jesus is asking us to undo that bargain.

This passage is often mistakenly understood to mean that Jesus is saying that we can be immortal as human beings — as if the comma were placed after “Swear,” thus meaning that we are going to swear that we will never die. But such an interpretation would contradict Jesus’ overriding emphasis in the Course about the nature of the body. Why would we want to remain in what is not our home? It would be insane to want to stay in the body, which was not made by love (T.18.VI.4:7), and in fact was made as “a limit on love”…”to limit the unlimited” (T.18.VIII.1:2), and to embody the ego’s wish to replace God (W.pI.72.2).

Q #88: I keep thinking of the error, the original thought, whatever it was that happened. This is a struggle for me. What could it have been for us to want to escape in fear? How could this happen? If we were created in the likeness of God than why did this error happen? How could we do this? I would think that we couldn’t foul up. Everything about this course seems right to me. It is the only thought system that makes any sense, except I keep wondering about this error. I feel as though I failed, and that makes me harbor self hatred, today. Tomorrow I will feel differently as this happens so often, and I usually forget the whole thing in a matter of seconds.

A: The “error” to which you refer is the separation. The simple answer to your question is that the “error” did not in fact occur. In the Clarification of Terms the Course tells us: “Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so” (C.2.2:5). The question, therefore, is actually a statement that implies a belief in the separation. The question cannot truly be answered: “The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you” (C.in.4). Separation from God is impossible: “You cannot walk the world apart from God, because you could not be without Him. He is what your life is. Where you are He is. There is one life. That life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live” (W.pI.156.2:4,5,6,7,8,9). The Course’s explanation of how we seem to be in bodies, walking around in a world of physical form, is that we are asleep “dreaming of exile” (T.10.I.2:1). This is the only “explanation” for a situation that does not really exist, a separation that did not and cannot occur.

However, we do seem to be very real in our experience in this dream, just as in our so called sleeping dreams all the characters seem to be real, until we wake up and realize we were only dreaming. The reason we seem to be so real in this dream is that we want the dream to be real. We are actively choosing to identify with the character we call ourselves in the dream, and by doing this we are choosing the seeming separation. Recognizing this choice is very important, and is basic to the Course’s teaching, that we have a mind with the power to choose. The only possible explanation for making the choice for separation is our attraction to the initial “rush” that goes with the feeling of being independent individuals. But then we become instantly aware of a profound loneliness, which impels us to seek for completion to fill the void caused by the separation. In our insanity we seek outside ourselves: “No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him” (T.29.VII.2:1).

This does not make us failures. It does make us badly mistaken. The guilt we feel for making this mistake, is overwhelming, and so we call the mistake a “sin,” make it practically unforgivable, and hate ourselves for it. We then project this hatred out on to everyone and everything in the world. To compound our error, we make up a false god, so we can blame him for making such a painful world, and accuse him of trying to punish us for this terrible “sin.” We go on and on in this endless cycle; choosing separation, feeling guilty, projecting, blaming, hiding, denying. This keeps the world in operation, makes the error real in our experience, and seems to be happening without any responsibility on our part. It is only when as we become acutely aware of the pain it causes us, and learn, through the Course’s teaching, to make the undeniable association between the pain and its source, which is the separation, will we begin to “choose differently.” But first we must accept responsibility for the choice. In our insanity, we repeatedly choose the separation, hoping that we can make it work without the pain. The Course is teaching us how wrong we are. Learning to choose differently is our only hope, and the way out of the dream of separation. As we are told in the Text: “Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again’” (T.31.VIII.3:1,2).

here to represent

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 11

ACIM Text Reading for September 11

Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening

VI. Forgiveness and the End of Time
How willing are you to forgive your brother? How much do you desire peace instead of endless strife and misery and pain? These questions are the same, in different form. Forgiveness is your peace, for herein lies the end of separation and the dream of danger and destruction, sin and death; of madness and of murder, grief and loss. This is the “sacrifice” salvation asks, and gladly offers peace instead of this.

Swear not to die, you holy Son of God! You make a bargain that you cannot keep. The Son of Life cannot be killed. He is immortal as his Father. What he is cannot be changed. He is the only thing in all the universe that must be one. What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is. God’s Son can never change by what men made of him. He will be as he was and as he is, for time appointed not his destiny, nor set the hour of his birth and death. Forgiveness will not change him. Yet time waits upon forgiveness that the things of time may disappear because they have no use.

Nothing survives its purpose. If it be conceived to die, then die it must unless it does not take this purpose as its own. Change is the only thing that can be made a blessing here, where purpose is not fixed, however changeless it appears to be. Think not that you can set a goal unlike God’s purpose for you, and establish it as changeless and eternal. You can give yourself a purpose that you do not have. But you can not remove the power to change your mind, and see another purpose there.

Change is the greatest gift God gave to all that you would make eternal, to ensure that only Heaven would not pass away. You were not born to die. You cannot change, because your function has been fixed by God. All other goals are set in time and change that time might be preserved, excepting one. Forgiveness does not aim at keeping time, but at its ending, when it has no use. Its purpose ended, it is gone. And where it once held seeming sway is now restored the function God established for His Son in full awareness. Time can set no end to its fulfillment nor its changelessness. There is no death because the living share the function their Creator gave to them. Life’s function cannot be to die. It must be life’s extension, that it be as one forever and forever, without end.

This world will bind your feet and tie your hands and kill your body only if you think that it was made to crucify God’s Son. For even though it was a dream of death, you need not let it stand for this to you. Let this be changed, and nothing in the world but must be changed as well. For nothing here but is defined as what you see it for.

How lovely is the world whose purpose is forgiveness of God’s Son! How free from fear, how filled with blessing and with happiness! And what a joyous thing it is to dwell a little while in such a happy place! Nor can it be forgot, in such a world, it is a little while till timelessness comes quietly to take the place of time.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 11

Lesson 254
Let every voice but God’s be still in me.

Father, today I would but hear Your Voice. In deepest silence I would come to You, to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word. I have no prayer but this: I come to You to ask You for the truth. And truth is but Your Will, which I would share with You today.

Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. We do not want what they would bring with them. And so we do not choose to keep them. They are silent now. And in the stillness, hallowed by His Love, God speaks to us and tells us of our will, as we have chosen to remember Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #87: “Swear not to die, you holy Son of God!” Just in case, I did that. But I need do nothing to make truth true. So, this phrase is meant more poetically? Like asking me to make a commitment to truth, going for it?

A. In this passage (T.29.VI.2:1), Jesus is talking about a promise that we have already made, by virtue of our having identified with the ego thought system. His “command” is therefore meant literally. He is telling us that we need to look at and reconsider our attraction to the “holy” waxen image of death…you swore in blood not to desert, as he so movingly describes it at the end of the fourth obstacle to peace (T.19.IV.D.6:3). In other words, we have already pledged our loyalty to the ego thought system, in which death — including ours — is the central reality. We have already taken this oath to believe that God’s Son is not as He created Him, invulnerable and eternally present within the Being of His Father. It is part of the bargain we made with the ego, so that our individual, separate identity would be preserved. Here Jesus is asking us to undo that bargain.

This passage is often mistakenly understood to mean that Jesus is saying that we can be immortal as human beings — as if the comma were placed after “Swear,” thus meaning that we are going to swear that we will never die. But such an interpretation would contradict Jesus’ overriding emphasis in the Course about the nature of the body. Why would we want to remain in what is not our home? It would be insane to want to stay in the body, which was not made by love (T.18.VI.4:7), and in fact was made as “a limit on love”…”to limit the unlimited” (T.18.VIII.1:2), and to embody the ego’s wish to replace God (W.pI.72.2).

*

Q #88: I keep thinking of the error, the original thought, whatever it was that happened. This is a struggle for me. What could it have been for us to want to escape in fear? How could this happen? If we were created in the likeness of God than why did this error happen? How could we do this? I would think that we couldn’t foul up. Everything about this course seems right to me. It is the only thought system that makes any sense, except I keep wondering about this error. I feel as though I failed, and that makes me harbor self hatred, today. Tomorrow I will feel differently as this happens so often, and I usually forget the whole thing in a matter of seconds.

A: The “error” to which you refer is the separation. The simple answer to your question is that the “error” did not in fact occur. In the Clarification of Terms the Course tells us: “Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so” (C.2.2:5). The question, therefore, is actually a statement that implies a belief in the separation. The question cannot truly be answered: “The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you” (C.in.4). Separation from God is impossible: “You cannot walk the world apart from God, because you could not be without Him. He is what your life is. Where you are He is. There is one life. That life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live” (W.pI.156.2:4,5,6,7,8,9). The Course’s explanation of how we seem to be in bodies, walking around in a world of physical form, is that we are asleep “dreaming of exile” (T.10.I.2:1). This is the only “explanation” for a situation that does not really exist, a separation that did not and cannot occur.

However, we do seem to be very real in our experience in this dream, just as in our so called sleeping dreams all the characters seem to be real, until we wake up and realize we were only dreaming. The reason we seem to be so real in this dream is that we want the dream to be real. We are actively choosing to identify with the character we call ourselves in the dream, and by doing this we are choosing the seeming separation. Recognizing this choice is very important, and is basic to the Course’s teaching, that we have a mind with the power to choose. The only possible explanation for making the choice for separation is our attraction to the initial “rush” that goes with the feeling of being independent individuals. But then we become instantly aware of a profound loneliness, which impels us to seek for completion to fill the void caused by the separation. In our insanity we seek outside ourselves: “No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him” (T.29.VII.2:1).

This does not make us failures. It does make us badly mistaken. The guilt we feel for making this mistake, is overwhelming, and so we call the mistake a “sin,” make it practically unforgivable, and hate ourselves for it. We then project this hatred out on to everyone and everything in the world. To compound our error, we make up a false god, so we can blame him for making such a painful world, and accuse him of trying to punish us for this terrible “sin.” We go on and on in this endless cycle; choosing separation, feeling guilty, projecting, blaming, hiding, denying. This keeps the world in operation, makes the error real in our experience, and seems to be happening without any responsibility on our part. It is only when as we become acutely aware of the pain it causes us, and learn, through the Course’s teaching, to make the undeniable association between the pain and its source, which is the separation, will we begin to “choose differently.” But first we must accept responsibility for the choice. In our insanity, we repeatedly choose the separation, hoping that we can make it work without the pain. The Course is teaching us how wrong we are. Learning to choose differently is our only hope, and the way out of the dream of separation. As we are told in the Text: “Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again’” (T.31.VIII.3:1,2).

jesus there is no death

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 10

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 10

Chapter 29 ~ The Awakening

V. The Changeless Dwelling Place
There is a place in you where this whole world has been forgotten; where no memory of sin and of illusion lingers still. There is a place in you which time has left, and echoes of eternity are heard. There is a resting place so still no sound except a hymn to Heaven rises up to gladden God the Father and the Son. Where Both abide are They remembered, Both. And where They are is Heaven and is peace.

Think not that you can change Their dwelling place. For your Identity abides in Them, and where They are, forever must you be. The changelessness of Heaven is in you, so deep within that nothing in this world but passes by, unnoticed and unseen. The still infinity of endless peace surrounds you gently in its soft embrace, so strong and quiet, tranquil in the might of its Creator, nothing can intrude upon the sacred Son of God within.

Here is the role the Holy Spirit gives to you who wait upon the Son of God, and would behold him waken and be glad. He is a part of you and you of him, because he is his Father’s Son, and not for any purpose you may see in him. Nothing is asked of you but to accept the changeless and eternal that abide in him, for your Identity is there. The peace in you can but be found in him. And every thought of love you offer him but brings you nearer to your wakening to peace eternal and to endless joy.

This sacred Son of God is like yourself; the mirror of his Father’s Love for you, the soft reminder of his Father’s Love by which he was created and which still abides in him as it abides in you. Be very still and hear God’s Voice in him, and let It tell you what his function is. He was created that you might be whole, for only the complete can be a part of God’s completion, which created you.

There is no gift the Father asks of you but that you see in all creation but the shining glory of His gift to you. Behold His Son, His perfect gift, in whom his Father shines forever, and to whom is all creation given as his own. Because he has it is it given you, and where it lies in him behold your peace. The quiet that surrounds you dwells in him, and from this quiet come the happy dreams in which your hands are joined in innocence. These are not hands that grasp in dreams of pain. They hold no sword, for they have left their hold on every vain illusion of the world. And being empty they receive, instead, a brother’s hand in which completion lies.

If you but knew the glorious goal that lies beyond forgiveness, you would not keep hold on any thought, however light the touch of evil on it may appear to be. For you would understand how great the cost of holding anything God did not give in minds that can direct the hand to bless, and lead God’s Son unto his Father’s house. Would you not want to be a friend to him, created by his Father as His home? If God esteems him worthy of Himself, would you attack him with the hands of hate? Who would lay bloody hands on Heaven itself, and hope to find its peace? Your brother thinks he holds the hand of death. Believe him not. But learn, instead, how blessed are you who can release him, just by offering him yours.

A dream is given you in which he is your savior, not your enemy in hate. A dream is given you in which you have forgiven him for all his dreams of death; a dream of hope you share with him, instead of dreaming evil separate dreams of hate. Why does it seem so hard to share this dream? Because unless the Holy Spirit gives the dream its function, it was made for hate, and will continue in death’s services. Each form it takes in some way calls for death. And those who serve the lord of death have come to worship in a separated world, each with his tiny spear and rusted sword, to keep his ancient promises to die.

Such is the core of fear in every dream that has been kept apart from use by Him Who sees a different function for a dream. When dreams are shared they lose the function of attack and separation, even though it was for this that every dream was made. Yet nothing in the world of dreams remains without the hope of change and betterment, for here is not where changelessness is found. Let us be glad indeed that this is so, and seek not the eternal in this world. Forgiving dreams are means to step aside from dreaming of a world outside yourself. And leading finally beyond all dreams, unto the peace of everlasting life.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 10
Lesson 253
My Self is ruler of the universe.

It is impossible that anything should come to me unbidden by myself. Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny. What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen. This must I accept. For thus am I led past this world to my creations, children of my will, in Heaven where my holy Self abides with them and Him Who has created me.

You are the Self Whom You created Son, creating like Yourself and One with You. My Self, which rules the universe, is but Your Will in perfect union with my own, which can but offer glad assent to Yours, that it may be extended to Itself.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #586: Growing up I had a minimal exposure to religion and wonder if you’d care to address the terms “witness” and “witnessing”? For example, it seems witnessing in religion is often related to preaching rather than witnessing one’s own thoughts. Also, although the primary use of witness is clear in A Course in Miracles (aka, the observer, “you,” or decision-maker) there is one paragraph (T.1.IV.4) that uses witness and witnessing in a manner that is not clear to me. Also, what “law” is Jesus referring to in this same paragraph?

A: Webster’s definition of witness applies to the term as used in the passage you refer to: “…to be or give evidence of.” This is also the usual meaning given to the term in the Course. In saying “I will witness,” Jesus tells us he is himself the evidence, or proof, that there is no death, no “hell- fire.” He does this by demonstrating that the crucifixion had no effect; though his body was killed, he did not die. To whatever extent we are willing to listen and learn from him, he will give us more evidence that what he teaches is true: “I will witness for anyone who lets me, and to whatever extent he permits it.” Witness in this sense is used in much the same way as teaching. We are told later in the text: “Remember always that what you believe you will teach” (T.6.I.6:10). If we believe the Holy Spirit, we will teach, or “witness to” His message. This is not accomplished through any special form of preaching or direct teaching. By the very fact that we believe it, it will be perceived by others (consciously or unconsciously). In like manner, if we believe the ego’s lies we will witness to the ego, thus reinforcing the separation thought in our minds and in our lives. Witnessing, in this sense, is the recognizable effect of a choice that is made in the mind to believe the ego or the Holy Spirit. Since we are always choosing either the Holy Spirit or the ego, we are always witnessing to one or the other. That is what Jesus means when he says we are always teaching: “…you cannot not teach” (T.6.III.4:1).

According to the Bible, the Messiah was to come in fulfillment of the law and the prophets. His coming was “law” in that it was a promise that a redeemer would come to atone for our sins. Jesus is referring to this scriptural phrase, saying he does indeed fulfill the law, or promise, but by reinterpreting it. He does so by teaching in A Course in Miracles that “there is no sin”(T.26.VII.10:5), and that redemption lies in accepting this truth.

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Q #587: I am having trouble understanding attack as a call for love. If an attack is meant to push love away because it was getting too close, how is it calling for it at the same time?

A: Attack ultimately is a reaction to guilt and the fear of destruction by a vengeful God. No one would ever attack if there were no underlying self-accusation of sin (we first attacked God). This sinfulness results in overwhelming guilt that is projected and then seen and attacked (judged) in others. But coupled with this dynamic is a desperate plea to be told that God is not out for blood in retaliation for sin, and further, that the perceived attack on God itself never took place. In that sense, the attack is a call for love, and a call to be told we are wrong. We are all looking for some convincing evidence to prove that we are not “the home of evil, darkness, and sin,” as we believe we all are (W.pI.93.1:1). That is why in A Course in Miracles we are being trained to ask for help to perceive “differently”: “There is but one interpretation of motivation that makes any sense. And because it is the Holy Spirit’s judgment it requires no effort at all on your part. Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes” (T.12.I.3:1,2,3,4). We rise to this level of perception through our practice of forgiveness.

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