ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 31

ACIM Text Reading for October 31

Manual for Teachers

28. What Is the Resurrection?

Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind about the meaning of the world. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world’s purpose; the acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. It is the end of dreams of misery, and the glad awareness of the Holy Spirit’s final dream. It is the recognition of the gifts of God. It is the dream in which the body functions perfectly, having no function except communication. It is the lesson in which learning ends, for it is consummated and surpassed with this. It is the invitation to God to take His final step. It is the relinquishment of all other purposes, all other interests, all other wishes and all other concerns. It is the single desire of the Son for the Father.

The resurrection is the denial of death, being the assertion of life. Thus is all the thinking of the world reversed entirely. Life is now recognized as salvation, and pain and misery of any kind perceived as hell. Love is no longer feared, but gladly welcomed. Idols have disappeared, and the remembrance of God shines unimpeded across the world. Christ’s face is seen in every living thing, and nothing is held in darkness, apart from the light of forgiveness. There is no sorrow still upon the earth. The joy of Heaven has come upon it.

Here the curriculum ends. From here on, no directions are needed. Vision is wholly corrected and all mistakes undone. Attack is meaningless and peace has come. The goal of the curriculum has been achieved. Thoughts turn to Heaven and away from hell. All longings are satisfied, for what remains unanswered or incomplete? The last illusion spreads across the world, forgiving all things and replacing all attack. The whole reversal is accomplished. Nothing is left to contradict the Word of God. There is no opposition to the truth. And now the truth can come at last. How quickly will it come as it is asked to enter and envelop such a world!

All living hearts are tranquil with a stir of deep anticipation, for the time of everlasting things is now at hand. There is no death. The Son of God is free. And in his freedom is the end of fear. No hidden places now remain on earth to shelter sick illusions, dreams of fear and misperceptions of the universe. All things are seen in light, and in the light their purpose is transformed and understood. And we, God’s children, rise up from the dust and look upon our perfect sinlessness. The song of Heaven sounds around the world, as it is lifted up and brought to truth.

Now there are no distinctions. Differences have disappeared and Love looks on Itself. What further sight is needed? What remains that vision could accomplish? We have seen the face of Christ, His sinlessness, His Love behind all forms, beyond all purposes. Holy are we because His Holiness has set us free indeed! And we accept His Holiness as ours; as it is. As God created us so will we be forever and forever, and we wish for nothing but His Will to be our own. Illusions of another will are lost, for unity of purpose has been found.

These things await us all, but we are not prepared as yet to welcome them with joy. As long as any mind remains possessed of evil dreams, the thought of hell is real. God’s teachers have the goal of wakening the minds of those asleep, and seeing there the vision of Christ’s face to take the place of what they dream. The thought of murder is replaced with blessing. Judgment is laid by, and given Him Whose function judgment is. And in His Final Judgment is restored the truth about the holy Son of God. He is redeemed, for he has heard God’s Word and understood its meaning. He is free because he let God’s Voice proclaim the truth. And all he sought before to crucify are resurrected with him, by his side, as he prepares with them to meet his God.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 31

Lesson 302

Where darkness was I look upon the light.

Father, our eyes are opening at last. Your holy world awaits us, as our sight is finally restored and we can see. We thought we suffered. But we had forgot the Son whom You created. Now we see that darkness is our own imagining, and light is there for us to look upon. Christ’s vision changes darkness into light, for fear must disappear when love has come. Let me forgive Your holy world today, that I may look upon its holiness and understand it but reflects my own.

Our Love awaits us as we go to Him, and walks beside us showing us the way. He fails in nothing. He the End we seek, and He the Means by which we go to Him.


 ACIM Q & A for Today

 Q #451: What is your understanding of, “And they will appear when and where it is helpful for them to do so?”

A: The “they” referred to in the above quote from the manual for teachers are what A Course in Miraclesrefers to as the Teachers of teachers, those who have transcended all worldly limitations and have remembered their Identity perfectly (M.26.2:1,2). From our ego-based perspective as figures in the dream, they would seem to be other figures in the dream who have awakened, such as Jesus. However, we must remember that we are the dreamer of the dream, not the figure in the dream, and so it would be more accurate to say that such Teachers are symbols within our dream of the Answer, pure manifestations of the Holy Spirit — egoless thoughts that remind us of the truth of ourselves. The thought behind each such symbol is abstract, but the form they may appear to take will be whatever form our own mind gives to them that allows us to hear the message of correction without increasing our fear. And so, while we still believe we are separate, they will also seem to us to be separate (T.25.I.5:1), because that is what will be least threatening and most helpful to us. The form could be an intuition, an inner voice, a book, music, a person, etc. The specific form is always irrelevant to the purpose. All that matters is the message of love, which will be a reminder to ourselves to forgive, regardless of the form it appears to take.

Q #452: Since everything is purpose and not form, is it possible that we can be guided to scream loudly at someone and it can be coming from the content of love?

A: Yes, we can be guided by love to yell at someone. If we are identified with love and our ego is not involved at all, then the love would be expressed in whatever form would be appropriate in the situation. The key, though, is to get our egos out of the way, which is not that easy to do. The ego is very shrewd and deceptive, and always wants nothing more than to perpetuate its own existence, but make it appear as though something else is going on. So, often it disguises itself in the form of love and concern, which in many cases is but a means used to justify attack. We all have had the experience of realizing much later that what we thought was a right-minded interaction was only a veiled attack. So we must exercise extreme caution with this kind of approach. With much practice, we can become familiar with our favorite means of self-deception, and then we can be more alert to the kinds of traps we are apt to fall into.

Surely, there are many people who can be reached only by being yelled at — adolescents and immature young adults being prime examples. But proceed with caution! The ego will seize any opportunity to unload guilt and hatred onto someone else and make it look as if it is a charitable act.




ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 31

ACIM Text Reading for October 31

Manual for Teachers

What Is Death?

Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path,–all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.

In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving. For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair, can but be feared. He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today. Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain. Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real. Death has become life’s symbol. His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war. Where there is death is peace impossible.

Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun. The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God. It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is “laid to rest” in devastation’s arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction. Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly. And so do all things live because of death. Devouring is nature’s “law of life.” God is insane, and fear alone is real.

The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible. There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God. He did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.

The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident. Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love. And now His Own creation must stand in fear of Him. He is not Father, but destroyer. He is not Creator, but avenger. Terrible His Thoughts and fearful His image. To look on His creations is to die.

“And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die? The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless. God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal. Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part. Do not believe in cruelty, nor let attack conceal the truth from you. What seems to die has but been misperceived and carried to illusion. Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried to the truth. Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the “reality” of any changing form. Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution. And what is the end of death? Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 31

Lesson 301

Section 9. What is the Second Coming?

Christ’s Second Coming, which is sure as God, is merely the correction of mistakes, and the return of sanity. It is a part of the condition that restores the never lost, and re-establishes what is forever and forever true. It is the invitation to God’s Word to take illusion’s place; the willingness to let forgiveness rest upon all things without exception and without reserve.

It is the all-inclusive nature of Christ’s Second Coming that permits it to embrace the world and hold you safe within its gentle advent, which encompasses all living things with you. There is no end to the release the Second Coming brings, as God’s creation must be limitless. Forgiveness lights the Second Coming’s way, because it shines on everything as one. And thus is oneness recognized at last.

The Second Coming ends the lessons that the Holy Spirit teaches, making way for the Last Judgment, in which learning ends in one last summary that will extend beyond itself, and reaches up to God. The Second Coming is the time in which all minds are given to the hands of Christ, to be returned to spirit in the name of true creation and the Will of God.

The Second Coming is the one event in time which time itself can not affect. For every one who ever came to die, or yet will come or who is present now, is equally released from what he made. In this equality is Christ restored as one Identity, in which the Sons of God acknowledge that they all are one. And God the Father smiles upon His Son, His one creation and His only joy.

Pray that the Second Coming will be soon, but do not rest with that. It needs your eyes and ears and hands and feet. It needs your voice. And most of all it needs your willingness. Let us rejoice that we can do God’s Will, and join together in its holy light. Behold, the Son of God is one in us, and we can reach our Father’s Love through Him.

Lesson 301

And God Himself shall wipe away all tears.

Father, unless I judge I cannot weep. Nor can I suffer pain, or feel I am abandoned or unneeded in the world. This is my home because I judge it not, and therefore is it only what You will. Let me today behold it uncondemned, through happy eyes forgiveness has released from all distortion. Let me see Your world instead of mine. And all the tears I shed will be forgotten, for their source is gone. Father, I will not judge Your world today.

God’s world is happy. Those who look on it can only add their joy to it, and bless it as a cause of further joy in them. We wept because we did not understand. But we have learned the world we saw was false, and we will look upon God’s world today.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #236: One of the things I find hardest to accept about A Course in Miracles is its apparent dismissal of humanity’s “higher strivings,” as embodied, especially, in art and science. Clearly what the Course understands by our “creations” is something entirely different from “creativity” in the artistic or scientific sense. The latter, it would seem, generates nothing more than illusion within illusion (shades of Plato?), rather than pointing Man to a higher and more beautiful reality. Does this mean that artists and scientists should pack it in, and the rest of us dismiss their efforts as part of the big ego-distraction?

A: You raise an important question, one that has troubled many students and observers of  A Course in Miracles. On the one hand, it is indeed possible to concentrate on learning and practicing forgiveness while setting aside for a while this dimension of the Course’s theory. On the other hand, this issue cannot be ignored if one is to attain a comprehensive understanding of what the Course is saying about our world and ourselves.

Examining this issue in the light of the two levels on which this Course is written, along with the distinction between form and content might help with your concern.

Although it is true that artistic and scientific “creativity” “generates nothing more than illusion within illusion,” this does not mean that “artists and scientists should pack it in, and the rest of us dismiss their efforts as part of the big ego-distraction” — any more than the fact that the body is part of the ego’s plan to attack God means that surgeons, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, etc., should “pack it in.” The Course would indeed not be the practical, gentle, and kind course that it is if this were what it advocated.

First, throughout the Course, Jesus is trying to help us see things from his point of view, to step outside the entire world to view its origin in the thought system we maintain in our minds, and to see what we have given up in exchange for our individual, separate existence, so that we may have a better basis for understanding and evaluating what we have. He appeals to us in many ways to recognize that even the best of what we have in this world is unimaginably miniscule when compared to the glory that we rejected in our choice to prefer separation over oneness.

Jesus consistently teaches us that nothing in this world, or of this world, is of God, and therefore it has no reality. On this level of absolute truth, which we call Level One, all human activity is futile and meaningless. The only genuine creativity is in Heaven, in the extension of infinite Love: “True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already. . . by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, thus securing it forever for itself” (W.pI.105.4:2,3,4,5).

Moving from Level One of the Course to Level Two — which is the level of teaching in which Jesus communicates in a framework that is meaningful to us, and which he can use to start us back up the ladder our choice to be separate led us down (T.28.III.1:2) — he tells us that we have a split mind, and that when we left Heaven (an impossibility of course), we took with us the memory of all we left behind, but buried it far beyond awareness. Since it is still there in our split minds, however, it can be evoked. Practicing A Course in Miracles is one way of bringing this memory back into awareness. In fact, anything at all may be utilized toward this end, including the work of artists and scientists. But it is not the form that is decisive, although the form may be the starting point. It is what the form reminds us of that is relevant, its content, in other words. The perfection of Michelangelo’s statue of David, for example, can transport one from the physical realm to the non-physical, abstract perfection of God’s creation in Heaven. The same inspiration can come from viewing a distorted body, however. It is entirely conditional on the viewer first choosing to shift from the wrong mind to the right mind, from identifying with the ego to identifying with the Atonement principle, that the separation never happened in reality.

From another angle: since our minds are split, we are not totally insane; and therefore we are sometimes motivated by selflessness, defenselessness, and a willingness to see our interests as shared with everyone else’s. Thus, the efforts of a scientist or doctor to relieve pain and reduce human misery can serve as a reminder of our ego-free state in our right minds, the reflection of our pure innocence and oneness as Christ. Jesus would never simply dismiss our efforts as meaningless in and of themselves — whether they be the “higher strivings” of humanity, or the humble efforts of a street cleaner to keep the neighborhood looking nice. Jesus looks only at the purpose, which can transcend self-centeredness, self-aggrandizement, or be limited solely to them. The value of our activities is associated only with their purpose, which is always the result of a decision made in our minds to see either shared or separate interests. We therefore can serve each other best by being reminders of the truth and flawless beauty of our immaculate Identity as Christ, which is reflected in our right minds, and which we witness to by our willingness to see all people as the same. Again, this may come through the work of scientists, artists, poets, or welders in a factory. It is always a matter of content, not form.

kingdom of god

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 30

ACIM Text Reading for October 30

Manual for Teachers

Can God Be Reached Directly?

God indeed can be reached directly, for there is no distance between Him and His Son. His awareness is in everyone’s memory, and His Word is written on everyone’s heart. Yet this awareness and this memory can arise across the threshold of recognition only where all barriers to truth have been removed. In how many is this the case? Here, then, is the role of God’s teachers. They, too, have not attained the necessary understanding as yet, but they have joined with others. This is what sets them apart from the world. And it is this that enables others to leave the world with them. Alone they are nothing. But in their joining is the power of God.

There are those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly. These might be called the Teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon. And they will appear when and where it is helpful for them to do so. To those to whom such appearances would be frightening, they give their ideas. No one can call on them in vain. Nor is there anyone of whom they are unaware. All needs are known to them, and all mistakes are recognized and overlooked by them. The time will come when this is understood. And meanwhile, they give all their gifts to the teachers of God who look to them for help, asking all things in their name and in no other.

Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then be maintained for much of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained. Those who have laid the body down merely to extend their helpfulness to those remaining behind are few indeed. And they need helpers who are still in bondage and still asleep, so that by their awakening can God’s Voice be heard.

Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them. If you would be heard by those who suffer, you must speak their language. If you would be a savior, you must understand what needs to be escaped. Salvation is not theoretical. Behold the problem, ask for the answer, and then accept it when it comes. Nor will its coming be long delayed. All the help you can accept will be provided, and not one need you have will not be met. Let us not, then, be too concerned with goals for which you are not ready. God takes you where you are and welcomes you. What more could you desire, when this is all you need?


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 30

Lesson 300

Only an instant does this world endure.

This is a thought which can be used to say that death and sorrow are the certain lot of all who come here, for their joys are gone before they are possessed, or even grasped. Yet this is also the idea that lets no false perception keep us in its hold, nor represent more than a passing cloud upon a sky eternally serene. And it is this serenity we seek, unclouded, obvious and sure, today.

We seek Your holy world today. For we, Your loving Sons, have lost our way a while. But we have listened to Your Voice, and learned exactly what to do to be restored to Heaven and our true Identity. And we give thanks today the world endures but for an instant. We would go beyond that tiny instant to eternity.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1291: A Course in Miracles says: “As you teach so you shall learn” (T.5.IV.6:4; T.6.I.6:1), but do others learn what you teach or do they only learn what they teach?

A: This seems like a fairly simple question calling for a simple answer. It isn’t, though, because the Course’s approach to teaching and learning differs significantly from the world’s, which rests on the premise that everyone’s interests are separate from everyone else’s. This is the mistake that Jesus attempts to correct throughout the Course. In this context, the idea “as you teach so shall you learn” flows from the general Course principle that giving and receiving are the same , the correction of the ego’s deception that what you give to another you lose, and that you can affect another without affecting yourself (see W.pI.108.1,2,3,4,5,6,7; W.pI.126, W.pI.187. ) The world’s emphasis on form at the expense of content is what sustains this ego approach.

The most concentrated discussion of this issue is found in the Introduction to the manual for teachers. We quote only in part, but the entire Introduction is relevant.

“The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.

To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. . . . You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. . . . Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. . . . the self you think is real is what you teach.” (; 2:1,2,3; 3:7,10)

We generally equate teaching with form. Thus, for example, I may say that by profession I am a teacher and that I teach subjects in which I have expertise, which might include A Course in Miracles . This implies that I have what my students lack and I am going to supply them with it. While this analysis is correct on the level of form, we need to remember that this is a course in content : “This is a course in cause and not effect” (T.21.VII.7:8) is how the text expresses it. Effect is the form or behavior, having to do only with bodies and the world, whereas cause is in the mind and reflects either the ego’s content — guilt, separation, fear, and hate — or the Holy Spirit ‘s — forgiveness, peace, and healing. The Course, therefore, emphasizes only content, and so teaching, according to the manual, has nothing to do with behavior or form.

On the level of form, my true interest as a teacher is the same as your interest as a student, and that is to learn that the Holy Spirit’s thought system is true and the ego’s is false. Therefore we are the same in content — what I teach, I learn; what you learn, you teach. Teachers and learners alike share the thought systems of the ego and the Holy Spirit, and the power to choose between them. Again, it is not my demonstration of expertise in a particular subject matter that is important, but the demonstration that either the ego’s or Holy Spirit’s thought system is true. I teach the ego’s separation by my special relationship with you, while I teach the Holy Spirit’s Atonement by transcending specialness, choosing to see our interests as shared.

Your “learning” reinforces the decision you made for the thought system of separation or Atonement. For example, your special relationship with me — regardless of its form — reflects that you believe that separation is real and that your needs have to be fulfilled at my expense. If I am coming from that same point of view, my interaction will tell you that you made the right choice. Since egos are attack and I have identified with my ego, I will attack you. Thus do I give the ego’s gift by reinforcing its message that you are an innocent victim; and you, of course, reciprocate. And so we continue our dance of death: my decision for the ego reinforces your own, which strengthens my decision that in turn strengthens yours — and both of us lose.

However, when I am in my right mind and not defensive, and I perceive our shared interests, my right-mindedness calls you to choose peace as I have. The peace you experience coming through me is now yours, if you so choose. Yet, if you are in your right mind and I am not, and I attack you as the object of my specialness, your defenseless non-judgment teaches me, even though I may be in the role of teacher. Your not becoming upset demonstrates that my attack had no effect, and thus you remind me that I have another choice.

here to represent

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 28

ACIM Text Reading for October 28

Manual for Teachers

23. Are “Psychic” Powers Desirable?

The answer to this question is much like the preceding one. There are, of course, no “unnatural” powers, and it is obviously merely an appeal to magic to make up a power that does not exist. It is equally obvious, however, that each individual has many abilities of which he is unaware. As his awareness increases, he may well develop abilities that seem quite startling to him. Yet nothing he can do can compare even in the slightest with the glorious surprise of remembering Who he is. Let all his learning and all his efforts be directed toward this one great final surprise, and he will not be content to be delayed by the little ones that may come to him on the way.

Certainly there are many “psychic” powers that are clearly in line with this course. Communication is not limited to the small range of channels the world recognizes. If it were, there would be little point in trying to teach salvation. It would be impossible to do so. The limits the world places on communication are the chief barriers to direct experience of the Holy Spirit, Whose Presence is always there and Whose Voice is available but for the hearing. These limits are placed out of fear, for without them the walls that surround all the separate places of the world would fall at the holy sound of His Voice. Who transcends these limits in any way is merely becoming more natural. He is doing nothing special, and there is no magic in his accomplishments.

The seemingly new abilities that may be gathered on the way can be very helpful. Given to the Holy Spirit, and used under His direction, they are valuable teaching aids. To this, the question of how they arise is irrelevant. The only important consideration is how they are used. Taking them as ends in themselves, no matter how this is done, will delay progress. Nor does their value lie in proving anything; achievements from the past, unusual attunement with the “unseen,” or “special” favors from God. God gives no special favors, and no one has any powers that are not available to everyone. Only by tricks of magic are special powers “demonstrated.”

Nothing that is genuine is used to deceive. The Holy Spirit is incapable of deception, and He can use only genuine abilities. What is used for magic is useless to Him. But what He uses cannot be used for magic. There is, however, a particular appeal in unusual abilities that can be curiously tempting. Here are strengths which the Holy Spirit wants and needs. Yet the ego sees in these same strengths an opportunity to glorify itself. Strengths turned to weakness are tragedy indeed. Yet what is not given to the Holy Spirit must be given to weakness, for what is withheld from love is given to fear, and will be fearful in consequence.

Even those who no longer value the material things of the world may still be deceived by “psychic” powers. As investment has been withdrawn from the world’s material gifts, the ego has been seriously threatened. It may still be strong enough to rally under this new temptation to win back strength by guile. Many have not seen through the ego’s defenses here, although they are not particularly subtle. Yet, given a remaining wish to be deceived, deception is made easy. Now the “power” is no longer a genuine ability, and cannot be used dependably. It is almost inevitable that, unless the individual changes his mind about its purpose, he will bolster his “power’s” uncertainties with increasing deception.

Any ability that anyone develops has the potentiality for good. To this there is no exception. And the more unusual and unexpected the power, the greater its potential usefulness. Salvation has need of all abilities, for what the world would destroy the Holy Spirit would restore. “Psychic” abilities have been used to call upon the devil, which merely means to strengthen the ego. Yet here is also a great channel of hope and healing in the Holy Spirit’s service. Those who have developed “psychic” powers have simply let some of the limitations they laid upon their minds be lifted. It can be but further limitations they lay upon themselves if they utilize their increased freedom for greater imprisonment. The Holy Spirit needs these gifts, and those who offer them to Him and Him alone go with Christ’s gratitude upon their hearts, and His holy sight not far behind.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 28

Lesson 299

Eternal holiness abides in me.

My holiness is far beyond my own ability to understand or know. Yet God, my Father, Who created it, acknowledges my holiness as His. Our Will, together, understands it. And Our Will, together, knows that it is so.

Father, my holiness is not of me. It is not mine to be destroyed by sin. It is not mine to suffer from attack. Illusions can obscure it, but can not put out its radiance, nor dim its light. It stands forever perfect and untouched. In it are all things healed, for they remain as You created them. And I can know my holiness. For Holiness Itself created me, and I can know my Source because it is Your Will that You be known.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #449: Recently I had a realization that love and fear are based on the same “energy” (or the same “vibration”). And what ego perceives as fear the right mind perceives as love. It is like two sides of one medal. Is my realization right? If so, would the state of anxiety be more valuable than the state of indifference from a spiritual perspective? Would this state of anxiety be the eve of awakening?

A: While your realization has been helpful to you in stepping back from your ego’s fear and recognizing there is another way of looking at things, your description would not, strictly speaking, be consistent with the Course’s approach. Within the framework of A Course in Miracles, only love is real and fear does not exist (, and so they can not share a common origin or basis. A slight modification in one of your statements, however, would be consistent with Course principles: What the ego perceives with fear, the right mind perceives with love. But whenever we speak of anything as being perceived, we are discussing the illusory realm of duality from which love has, by its very nature, been excluded.

So what would be the basis for your insight, from the Course’s perspective? It may be a reflection of the recognition that always, beneath the fear, is the memory of love. As a result, whatever the ego has made to maintain the reality of guilt and fear in our mind, when seen through the Holy Spirit’s gentle perception, becomes a reminder of the love that it was made to conceal (T.12.I.9,10). And so the purpose of everything can always be transformed from the ego’s to the Holy Spirit’s.

With respect to your closing questions, no ego state in itself is more valuable than another. The key to practicing forgiveness, the Course tells us, is to be able to identify our ego in whatever form it appears, whether it be anxiety or indifference or any of its other myriad manifestations (T.15.X.4:2,3,4,5; 5:1,2,3; T.23.III.1,2). Only then can we ask for help in acknowledging the underlying guilt that is fueling these projections, so that it can be released. For to be in denial of our ego reactions is to deny ourselves the opportunity for healing. Any recognition that the ego is controlling our thinking opens the door to the possibility of awakening from our nightmare dream.

Q #450: Given the title of the book, I’m surprised to see so little discussion in this Q&A of the exact meaning and nature of the usage of “miracle” in A Course in Miracles. What is the relationship between a holy instant and a miracle? It seems to me that the holy instant is a more mature understanding of the real meaning of “miracle,” as that term is used in the Course.

A: These two terms are defined in Kenneth’s Glossary-Index as follows (in part): A miracle is an occurrence in the mind, nothing external. The term refers to the change of mind that shifts our perception from the ego’s world of sin, guilt, and fear, to the Holy Spirit’s world of forgiveness. It reverses projection by restoring to the mind its causative function, allowing us to choose again. The holy instant is that instant outside time in which we choose the miracle instead of a grievance, the Holy Spirit instead of the ego, forgiveness instead of guilt. The holy instant is the expression of our willingness to live in the present, which opens into eternity, rather than holding on to the past and fearing the future, which keeps us in hell. (See Question #26 for an expanded description of the holy instant.)

The two terms are distinct, as Jesus uses them to address two distinct misperceptions in our minds that resulted from our decision to believe that the separation from God actually happened. Jesus is thus emphasizing different aspects of the correction needed in our thinking to get us back to our natural state of oneness. His teachings about the miracle, in general, are meant to correct our tendency to think that our fundamental problems and their solutions are outside us — in the world and the body. And in speaking about the holy instant, in general, Jesus is correcting our habitual focus on the past and the future to justify our unforgiveness and our fear.

In one sense, the meanings of all terms coalesce, as they refer to a single mistaken thought and the correction of that thought, and so while Jesus would be emphatic about the meaning of his message, he would give his students some latitude with the terms he has chosen. The content — his message and our acceptance of it — is far more important to him than the form — the terms in which he expresses his message.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 27

ACIM Text Reading for October 27

Manual for Teachers

22. Is Reincarnation So?

In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Our only question should be, “Is the concept helpful?” And that depends, of course, on what it is used for. If it is used to strengthen the recognition of the eternal nature of life, it is helpful indeed. Is any other question about it really useful in lighting up the way? Like many other beliefs, it can be bitterly misused. At least, such misuse offers preoccupation and perhaps pride in the past. At worst, it induces inertia in the present. In between, many kinds of folly are possible.

Reincarnation would not, under any circumstances, be the problem to be dealt with now. If it were responsible for some of the difficulties the individual faces now, his task would still be only to escape from them now. If he is laying the groundwork for a future life, he can still work out his salvation only now. To some, there may be comfort in the concept, and if it heartens them its value is self-evident. It is certain, however, that the way to salvation can be found by those who believe in reincarnation and by those who do not. The idea cannot, therefore, be regarded as essential to the curriculum. There is always some risk in seeing the present in terms of the past. There is always some good in any thought which strengthens the idea that life and the body are not the same.

For our purposes, it would not be helpful to take any definite stand on reincarnation. A teacher of God should be as helpful to those who believe in it as to those who do not. If a definite stand were required of him, it would merely limit his usefulness, as well as his own decision making. Our course is not concerned with any concept that is not acceptable to anyone, regardless of his formal beliefs. His ego will be enough for him to cope with, and it is not the part of wisdom to add sectarian controversies to his burdens. Nor would there be an advantage in his premature acceptance of the course merely because it advocates a long-held belief of his own.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this course aims at a complete reversal of thought. When this is finally accomplished, issues such as the validity of reincarnation become meaningless. Until then, they are likely to be merely controversial. The teacher of God is, therefore, wise to step away from all such questions, for he has much to teach and learn apart from them. He should both learn and teach that theoretical issues but waste time, draining it away from its appointed purpose. If there are aspects to any concept or belief that will be helpful, he will be told about it. He will also be told how to use it. What more need he know?

Does this mean that the teacher of God should not believe in reincarnation himself, or discuss it with others who do? The answer is, certainly not! If he does believe in reincarnation, it would be a mistake for him to renounce the belief unless his internal Teacher so advised. And this is most unlikely. He might be advised that he is misusing the belief in some way that is detrimental to his pupil’s advance or his own. Reinterpretation would then be recommended, because it is necessary. All that must be recognized, however, is that birth was not the beginning, and death is not the end. Yet even this much is not required of the beginner. He need merely accept the idea that what he knows is not necessarily all there is to learn. His journey has begun.

The emphasis of this course always remains the same;–it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it. This is still your one responsibility. Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time. No teaching that does not lead to this is of concern to God’s teachers. All beliefs will point to this if properly interpreted. In this sense, it can be said that their truth lies in their usefulness. All beliefs that lead to progress should be honored. This is the sole criterion this course requires. No more than this is necessary.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 27

Lesson 298

I love You, Father, and I love Your Son.

My gratitude permits my love to be accepted without fear. And thus am I restored to my reality at last. All that intruded on my holy sight forgiveness takes away. And I draw near the end of senseless journeys, mad careers and artificial values. I accept instead what God establishes as mine, sure that in that alone I will be saved; sure that I go through fear to meet my Love.

Father, I come to You today, because I would not follow any way but Yours. You are beside me. Certain is Your way. And I am grateful for Your holy gifts of certain sanctuary, and escape from everything that would obscure my love for God my Father and His holy Son.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #565: As a student of A Course in Miracles, my goal is to accept the Atonement for myself and live above the battleground in the real world until my body fails and then exist in oneness with God. Will I be aware of, or be able to influence those loved ones left behind who still consider themselves separated individuals living lives, or is this beyond what we can know now. Also, when people die who have never heard of the Course and/or are completely invested in their bodies, lives, individuality and separation, can they still choose to reject oneness after “death” and long to return to bodies and “life”? Is this an explanation of reincarnation? OR– Whether or not they study the Course and whether or not they believe that they are separated individuals, do they still become one with God automatically after death? Once you are one with God, why would you long for a body again and choose to reincarnate!

A: The way the Course views death is quite different from the way we ordinarily view it and the way religions have traditionally viewed it. Unlike practically all traditions east and west, the Course teaches that we do not have to wait for the body to die to become one with God — death of the body has nothing to do with whether or not we are one with God. That is solely a matter of the decision our minds make — to continue to believe that we are not one with God, or to deny that denial of the truth. The purpose of the miracle is to reverse the ego perception that the body is a real, independent entity that houses the soul that is released upon the death of the body. The miracle helps us realize that the body is a thought that never leaves its source in the mind and does nothing other than represent the mind’s decision (“the outside picture of inward condition” []). The critical factor therefore is the decision we make in our minds to be or not to be as God created us.

When we accept the truth of our oneness, and reject the illusion of separation from God, our minds, now free of guilt are guided solely by love, and that may or may not result in the laying aside of the body. Death in this state of mind is simply a decision; there is no waiting for the body to die so that one can return home. (SeeThe Song of Prayer [S.3.II] for a discussion of death as a right-minded choice.) Love may need the body as a suitable form of expression for other minds still frightened of abstract love. But if you are in the real world, you would already know that the body is not your identity — you are fully present to love, and love is fully present to you. The body has nothing to do with that. Moreover, in the real world there would be no you (a separate identity) that would decide whether to help others “left behind.” There is only the perception of the Holy Spirit: love is either being expressed or called for. And those calling for love await but their own decision to accept what is already within.

Finally, to ask why, if you are one with God, would you long for a body again and choose to reincarnate is to fall into one of the ego’s favorite traps, for to ask the question is to assume that it happened once before; and the Atonement principle is a statement of the impossibility of that ever happening at all. Moreover, it makes the body into the enemy . . . and therefore real.

Q #566: I understand that A Course in Miracles teaches that God does not know about the world, and as far as He is concerned we are one with Him dreaming of exile and separation. I am not clear how the decision was made to send us Jesus and the Holy Spirit; Jesus in charge of the Atonement and the Holy Spirit as our Voice, Comfort, and Guide. How did our Teacher even know we had and are continuing to make such a mess of things?

A: A reasonable question, asked by almost every student in one form or another. The statements in the Course pertaining to the Holy Spirit as being sent by God as the Answer to the separation are among those meant metaphorically. Other statements are meant literally; and if this distinction is not recognized, the Course can seem to be saying contradictory things, leaving a reader feeling rather baffled. The account of the separation and its undoing are presented as mythology, specifically within a framework that is meaningful to people in Western philosophical and religious traditions. The language used in the Course to present its teachings reflect these heritages; and further, a considerable part of its teachings are clearly corrections of what it views as the mistakes of biblically based religions. Its basic metaphysics is a strict non-dualism, which means therefore that it is not quite accurate to say that as far as God is concerned, “we are one with Him dreaming of exile and separation” — that is dualism. If that were true, then a state other than that of perfect Oneness is possible, which would be contrary to what is maintained throughout the Course. We return to these points frequently in our answers to students questions, because of their critical importance in students’ work with the Course.

We refer you to Love Does Not Condemn (pp. 419,420,421) for a full discussion of the Holy Spirit in the context of the metaphysical basis of A Course in Miracles. Briefly, the Course teaches that the Holy Spirit is really the memory of God’s perfect love that remained in the Son’s mind when he fell asleep; and therefore the Holy Spirit is not a person, but rather a Presence within each seemingly fragmented mind — a Call or a Voice, not of a separate being, but simply a part of the mind that retains the memory of its true Identity. The language used is biblical; thus, terms like Comforter. In keeping with the strict non-dualism of the Course, we would therefore have to say that God’s “Answer” is really, to quote from Love Does Not Condemn: “His own unchanging and eternal love that forever shines in our split minds, as does a beacon of light shine out into the darkness. God’s love does not do anything; it simply is: an ongoing state of love’s presence which we call the Holy Spirit” (pp. 420,421).

Jesus, then, is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit — a symbol in our minds that have become so identified with specifics that we can relate most comfortably and meaningfully only to specifics. Thus, in his loving gentleness as our teacher, he ultimately reflects to us the love that we have split off from our awareness. We relate to him as a separate person at first, but as we grow to trust him more and experience his love more and more, the differences between ourselves and Jesus fade until we, like him, are totally identified with love. Our individuality lessens in significance and meaning as this process takes place, which begins with our feeling that he has been sent and ends with our complete transcendence of that and all other concepts of separation.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 26

ACIM Text Reading for October 26

Manual for Teachers

23. Does Jesus Have a Special Role in Healing?

God’s gifts can rarely be received directly. Even the most advanced of God’s teachers will give way to temptation in this world. Would it be fair if their pupils were denied healing because of this? The Bible says, “Ask in the name of Jesus Christ.” Is this merely an appeal to magic? A name does not heal, nor does an invocation call forth any special power. What does it mean to call on Jesus Christ? What does calling on his name confer? Why is the appeal to him part of healing?

We have repeatedly said that one who has perfectly accepted the Atonement for himself can heal the world. Indeed, he has already done so. Temptation may recur to others, but never to this One. He has become the risen Son of God. He has overcome death because he has accepted life. He has recognized himself as God created him, and in so doing he has recognized all living things as part of him. There is now no limit on his power, because it is the power of God. So has his name become the Name of God, for he no longer sees himself as separate from Him.

What does this mean for you? It means that in remembering Jesus you are remembering God. The whole relationship of the Son to the Father lies in him. His part in the Sonship is also yours, and his completed learning guarantees your own success. Is he still available for help? What did he say about this? Remember his promises, and ask yourself honestly whether it is likely that he will fail to keep them. Can God fail His Son? And can one who is one with God be unlike Him? Who transcends the body has transcended limitation. Would the greatest teacher be unavailable to those who follow him?

The name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for love that is not of this world. It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray. It becomes the shining symbol for the Word of God, so close to what it stands for that the little space between the two is lost, the moment that the name is called to mind. Remembering the name of Jesus Christ is to give thanks for all the gifts that God has given you. And gratitude to God becomes the way in which He is remembered, for love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind. God enters easily, for these are the true conditions for your homecoming.

Jesus has led the way. Why would you not be grateful to him? He has asked for love, but only that he might give it to you. You do not love yourself. But in his eyes your loveliness is so complete and flawless that he sees in it an image of his Father. You become the symbol of his Father here on earth. To you he looks for hope, because in you he sees no limit and no stain to mar your beautiful perfection. In his eyes Christ’s vision shines in perfect constancy. He has remained with you. Would you not learn the lesson of salvation through his learning? Why would you choose to start again, when he has made the journey for you?

No one on earth can grasp what Heaven is, or what its one Creator really means. Yet we have witnesses. It is to them that wisdom should appeal. There have been those whose learning far exceeds what we can learn. Nor would we teach the limitations we have laid on us. No one who has become a true and dedicated teacher of God forgets his brothers. Yet what he can offer them is limited by what he learns himself. Then turn to one who laid all limits by, and went beyond the farthest reach of learning. He will take you with him, for he did not go alone. And you were with him then, as you are now.

This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? Certainly there are. Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need. Jesus has come to answer yours. In him you find God’s Answer. Do you, then, teach with him, for he is with you; he is always here.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 26

Lesson 297

Forgiveness is the only gift I give.

Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give I give myself. This is salvation’s simple formula. And I, who would be saved, would make it mine, to be the way I live within a world that needs salvation, and that will be saved as I accept Atonement for myself.

Father, how certain are Your ways; how sure their final outcome, and how faithfully is every step in my salvation set already, and accomplished by Your grace. Thanks be to You for Your eternal gifts, and thanks to You for my Identity.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #626: In the manual for teachers of A Course in Miracles we are told, “the name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol” (M.23.4:1). Why isn’t it revealed earlier in the text that Jesus is purely symbolic in the curriculum? The Course truly takes on a different meaning when one realizes that Jesus’ role in the Course is purely symbolic.

A: The simple answer to your question is that the statement indicates the name is a symbol, reflecting the earlier statement in the manual that “words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality” (M.21.1:9,10). The statement can also be understood on a deeper level, where Jesus is seen as a symbol of love, just as we are symbols of the ego’s thought system of separation. On that level, everything is a symbol, since everything is taking place in a mind that believes it exists outside the perfect Oneness of God, the only reality, for which there is no symbol and which is “ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen” (T.27.III.5:2).

There are not real, separate entities existing in a physical cosmos, even though that is what our senses tell us. Lesson 184 begins by saying, “You live by symbols. You have made up names for everything you see. Each one becomes a separate entity, identified by its own name. By this you carve it out of unity” (W.pI.184.1:1,2,3,4). Jesus is addressing the decision-making mind outside time and space, as he always does in the Course. Yet, in that same lesson he makes it clear that he is not expecting us to go beyond all symbols; but he also cautions us not to be deceived by the symbols of the world: “They do not stand for anything at all, and in your practicing it is this thought that will release you from them. They become but means by which you can communicate in ways the world can understand, but which you recognize is not the unity where true communication can be found” (W.pI.184.9:4,5).

“Jesus,” then, is a symbol, not of the world of separation, but of the real world of love and unity. As we identify more and more with the mind and less and less with the body, we will be better able to relate to this. In the meantime, we should go right on relating to him and ourselves as individuals as long as that is our experience, keeping in mind, however, what he is teaching in this lesson in particular. He is teaching us how to use the names of things in the world to get beyond them to the “one Name, one meaning, and a single Source which unifies all things within Itself” (11:3). Our starting point, which will take us a long way, is to ask help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit to see beyond the separate, competing interests that divide us to the common purpose we all share of restoring to our awareness our unity as God’s one Son. This process of forgiveness is wonderfully described in the section in the text called “Beyond All Symbols” (T.27.III). Also, Chapter 17 in Kenneth’s book, Absence from Felicity, explains Helen Schucman’s experience of Jesus on these two levels. It helps to resolve the confusion that practically all students run into when they begin to deal with this aspect of the Course.

Q #627: If last year, I read all of the book except for the last one hundred pages and now have completed the book, is it a problem to then begin the lessons, or do I need to reread the book?

A: Aside from the specifications in the Introduction to the workbook, there are no instructions for studying A Course in Miracles. It is not necessary to reread the text to begin practicing the workbook lessons, although it usually takes more than one reading to understand the fundamental principles of the thought system the Course teaches. The only requirement for the workbook is clearly stated in the Introduction: “Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required” ( It is important to focus on the content, rather than the form. What matters is making a sincere effort to follow the instructions as carefully as you can, without judging yourself when you fail. Since Jesus knows our resistance to the Course’s message is quite strong, he leads us gently. What he tells us in the text aptly applies to our workbook practice:“And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready. Do not fight yourself” (T.30.I.1:6,7). We are asked for a little willingness, nothing more.



ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 25

ACIM Text Reading for October 25

Manual for Teachers

22. How Are Healing and Atonement Related?

Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because there are no degrees of Atonement. It is the one complete concept possible in this world, because it is the source of a wholly unified perception. Partial Atonement is a meaningless idea, just as special areas of hell in Heaven are inconceivable. Accept Atonement and you are healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible? Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished. To forgive is to heal. The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. What is there, then, he cannot heal? What miracle can be withheld from him?

The progress of the teacher of God may be slow or rapid, depending on whether he recognizes the Atonement’s inclusiveness, or for a time excludes some problem areas from it. In some cases, there is a sudden and complete awareness of the perfect applicability of the lesson of the Atonement to all situations, but this is comparatively rare. The teacher of God may have accepted the function God has given him long before he has learned all that his acceptance holds out to him. It is only the end that is certain. Anywhere along the way, the necessary realization of inclusiveness may reach him. If the way seems long, let him be content. He has decided on the direction he wants to take. What more was asked of him? And having done what was required, would God withhold the rest?

That forgiveness is healing needs to be understood, if the teacher of God is to make progress. The idea that a body can be sick is a central concept in the ego’s thought system. This thought gives the body autonomy, separates it from the mind, and keeps the idea of attack inviolate. If the body could be sick Atonement would be impossible. A body that can order a mind to do as it sees fit could merely take the place of God and prove salvation is impossible. What, then, is left to heal? The body has become lord of the mind. How could the mind be returned to the Holy Spirit unless the body is killed? And who would want salvation at such a price?

Certainly sickness does not appear to be a decision. Nor would anyone actually believe he wants to be sick. Perhaps he can accept the idea in theory, but it is rarely if ever consistently applied to all specific forms of sickness, both in the individual’s perception of himself and of all others as well. Nor is it at this level that the teacher of God calls forth the miracle of healing. He overlooks the mind and body, seeing only the face of Christ shining in front of him, correcting all mistakes and healing all perception. Healing is the result of the recognition, by God’s teacher, of who it is that is in need of healing. This recognition has no special reference. It is true of all things that God created. In it are all illusions healed.

When a teacher of God fails to heal, it is because he has forgotten Who he is. Another’s sickness thus becomes his own. In allowing this to happen, he has identified with another’s ego, and has thus confused him with a body. In so doing, he has refused to accept the Atonement for himself, and can hardly offer it to his brother in Christ’s Name. He will, in fact, be unable to recognize his brother at all, for his Father did not create bodies, and so he is seeing in his brother only the unreal. Mistakes do not correct mistakes, and distorted perception does not heal. Step back now, teacher of God. You have been wrong. Lead not the way, for you have lost it. Turn quickly to your Teacher, and let yourself be healed.

The offer of Atonement is universal. It is equally applicable to all individuals in all circumstances. And in it is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness. Not to believe this is to be unfair to God, and thus unfaithful to Him. A sick person perceives himself as separate from God. Would you see him as separate from you? It is your task to heal the sense of separation that has made him sick. It is your function to recognize for him that what he believes about himself is not the truth. It is your forgiveness that must show him this. Healing is very simple. Atonement is received and offered. Having been received, it must be accepted. It is in the receiving, then, that healing lies. All else must follow from this single purpose.

Who can limit the power of God Himself? Who, then, can say which one can be healed of what, and what must remain beyond God’s power to forgive? This is insanity indeed. It is not up to God’s teachers to set limits upon Him, because it is not up to them to judge His Son. And to judge His Son is to limit his Father. Both are equally meaningless. Yet this will not be understood until God’s teacher recognizes that they are the same mistake. Herein does he receive Atonement, for he withdraws his judgment from the Son of God, accepting him as God created him. No longer does he stand apart from God, determining where healing should be given and where it should be withheld. Now can he say with God, “This is my beloved Son, created perfect and forever so.”


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 25

Lesson 296
The Holy Spirit speaks through me today.

The Holy Spirit needs my voice today, that all the world may listen to Your Voice, and hear Your Word through me. I am resolved to let You speak through me, for I would use no words but Yours, and have no thoughts which are apart from Yours, for only Yours are true. I would be savior to the world I made. For having damned it I would set it free, that I may find escape, and hear the Word Your holy Voice will speak to me today.

We teach today what we would learn, and that alone. And so our learning goal becomes an unconflicted one, and possible of easy reach and quick accomplishment. How gladly does the Holy Spirit come to rescue us from hell, when we allow His teaching to persuade the world, through us, to seek and find the easy path to God.


Q #574: I understand Jesus’ remarks in his section from A Course in Miracles, “What is the role of words in healing?” (M.21); he says that over time we learn to let our words be chosen for us and that a major hindrance to this aspect of learning is our “fear about the validity” of what we hear. I am training now to be a teacher and I let Jesus speak through me and am learning how to discern more and more and sometimes what I hear is indeed startling and “has nothing to do with the situation” as I perceive it. Sometimes I am embarrassed but I usually calm down. I guess implicit in this question is me “second-guessing” God and thinking that I know better than He does but sometimes I am just startled at what I said and the other person is too. Can you help offer some insight here?

A: To the Holy Spirit (and Jesus as His manifestation), everything is either an expression of love or a call for love. He sees the larger picture of everyone’s Atonement path and is not limited by what we normally see as the boundaries of our lives in the world. Form is completely irrelevant to the Holy Spirit. And therefore His response to calls for love would be in terms of where people are on their Atonement paths, which is not something we ordinarily are in touch with. That is why what we hear may be startlingly different from what we think we should say. In the section you refer to, Jesus explains that our doubts and discomfort when this happens come from a “shabby self-perception,” which we would do well to “leave behind” (M.21.5.4,5). So that is what Jesus advises us to do in this aspect of our training. It means that we need to develop our ability to recognize our underlying self-images — specifically the ones that include a sense of inadequacy, neediness, specialness, and being unfairly treated. The more we hold onto self-images such as these, the less likely we would be to accurately discern the Holy Spirit’s Voice from the ego’s voice, because our holding onto them implies that we know better than Jesus who we really are, even after hearing him say again and again, “you are as God created you.” Thus, the trouble we have in humbly accepting Jesus at his word leads to the difficulties in our ability to hear accurately.

See also our answers to Questions #11, #43, and #77.

Q #575: With respect to Question #365 re the child’s role in child abuse, what is the adult role in such a relationship? Clearly, the adult is not telling God “look at how I suffer.”

A: As is well known, many abusing adults were once themselves abused, and probably would be sustaining an unspoken accusation against their own abusers: “I can’t help doing what I’m doing; it’s not my fault. After all, look what happened to me!” This is another way of keeping separation real, yet having someone else be responsible for it. Moreover, anyone who attacks another person (whether child or adult) is harboring a self-accusation of unforgiveable sinfulness that is so tormenting that it must be projected from the mind and seen in a body and attacked there.

The ego’s ultimate strategy is to keep us focused on the body — one of its favorite means being the perception of victimization — so that we would rarely, if ever, suspect that the mind is the source of both sin and salvation from sin. This ego strategy, thus, is at the root of the need to find fault with what other bodies do and then punish them through habitual abuse, whether physical or psychological. Jesus has described this strategy in the section of A Course in Miracles called “The Self-Accused” (T.31.III). So in some way, the abusing adult is pleading with God, saying, “I know I’m mean, vicious, and cruel, but it’s not my fault!” The ego has achieved one of its major goals in this process insofar as the process validates the reality of the victim/victimizer cycle. The foundation supporting the entire thought system of the ego is sin: that there is a guilty victimizer and an innocent victim. This is the cycle the ego seeks to perpetuate in our relationships in the world, lest we hear another Voice within our minds calling us to remember the truth of our innocence with respect to our relationship with God our Source. If there were no accusation of sin on that ultimate level, the concept of victimization would never have arisen, and obviously there would be no need to project it onto bodies. So an abusing adult is one of the outcomes of the need to do something about the excruciating pain of self-hatred (sinfulness) thought to be the core of our identity (W.pI.93.1). This, in effect, defines the ego’s purpose for life in the body — it is the chosen route of escape from the pain and fear in the mind. The source of victimization thus is always in bodies (psychological or physical), never in the mind’s acceptance of the ego’s made-up story of ontological sin, guilt, and fear.


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 24

ACIM Text Reading for October 24

Manual for Teachers

21. What Is the Role of Words in Healing?

Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. Sometimes the words and the prayer are contradictory; sometimes they agree. It does not matter. God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality.

As symbols, words have quite specific references. Even when they seem most abstract, the picture that comes to mind is apt to be very concrete. Unless a specific referent does occur to the mind in conjunction with the word, the word has little or no practical meaning, and thus cannot help the healing process. The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. The words, then, are symbols for the things asked for, but the things themselves but stand for the experiences that are hoped for.

The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world. If the prayer of the heart asks for this, this will be given because this will be received. It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him. It is enough. His words do not matter. Only the Word of God has any meaning, because it symbolizes that which has no human symbols at all. The Holy Spirit alone understands what this Word stands for. And this, too, is enough.

Is the teacher of God, then, to avoid the use of words in his teaching? No, indeed! There are many who must be reached through words, being as yet unable to hear in silence. The teacher of God must, however, learn to use words in a new way. Gradually, he learns how to let his words be chosen for him by ceasing to decide for himself what he will say. This process is merely a special case of the lesson in the workbook that says, “I will step back and let Him lead the way.” The teacher of God accepts the words which are offered him, and gives as he receives. He does not control the direction of his speaking. He listens and hears and speaks.

A major hindrance in this aspect of his learning is the teacher of God’s fear about the validity of what he hears. And what he hears may indeed be quite startling. It may also seem to be quite irrelevant to the presented problem as he perceives it, and may, in fact, confront the teacher with a situation that appears to be very embarrassing to him. All these are judgments that have no value. They are his own, coming from a shabby self-perception which he would leave behind. Judge not the words that come to you, but offer them in confidence. They are far wiser than your own. God’s teachers have God’s Word behind their symbols. And He Himself gives to the words they use the power of His Spirit, raising them from meaningless symbols to the Call of Heaven itself.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 24

Lesson 295

The Holy Spirit looks through me today.

Christ asks that He may use my eyes today, and thus redeem the world. He asks this gift that He may offer peace of mind to me, and take away all terror and all pain. And as they are removed from me, the dreams that seemed to settle on the world are gone. Redemption must be one. As I am saved, the world is saved with me. For all of us must be redeemed together. Fear appears in many different forms, but love is one.

My Father, Christ has asked a gift of me, and one I give that it be given me. Help me to use the eyes of Christ today, and thus allow the Holy Spirit’s Love to bless all things which I may look upon, that His forgiving Love may rest on me.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #911: In the Manual for teachers, in the section, What Is the Role of Words in Healing, the Course says “…words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality. (M.21.1,9,10)” Could you please explain what this means?

A: In A Course in Miracles, Jesus makes the case that everything we experience in our entire life (waking and sleeping) is a dream. Like a psychotherapist telling a patient that everything in his nighttime dream is a symbol, Jesus tells us that everything in this world of form is a symbol. If we perceive or experience something, it is because we put it there (not as the individual we think we are, but rather as the one mind of God’s Son that dreamed it could separate and exist in a world outside of Heaven).

Now, obviously every word represents something within this world (be it a physical object, an emotion, or an idea). Thus, every word symbolizes a thing that is itself a symbol. To elaborate on this a bit, the wrong mind (the voice of the ego) begins with a concept of separation. From there, it projects a world of form filled with objects. So to the ego, everything in the physical world is a symbol of that initial concept of separation. Finally, listening to the wrong mind, we use words to symbolize those symbols of separation.

The same principle holds true for the right mind (the Voice of the Holy Spirit). Starting with our memory of God, it creates a concept of what God and love are. Then we use words to symbolize those concepts.

Jesus says words are twice removed from reality because reality is beyond all symbols. Reality is the oneness of Heaven, the totality of God. It is our real home at one with God, Whom we never left. The Course tells us that “As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. (T.27.III.5:1,2)” It states that forgiveness (our path to awakening to reality) causes ” symbols to fade , and leaves nothing that “the eyes have ever seen or ears have heard …to be perceived. (T.27.III.7:1,2)” So, at the very end of the journey, we are left with no symbols to perceive and no need of further symbols to communicate our perceptions.


Q #399: My question has to do with the question in the teacher’s manual of A Course in Miracles titled “What is the role of words in healing?” (M.21). As I have been going along in my forgiveness path, I am learning to let the Holy Spirit speak through me to others. My answer to my brother is often something that I realized I needed to hear as well, or something that I needed to have reinforced that I already learned. Sometimes I feel guided to say something that truly has nothing to do with the situation at hand. Why would Jesus want me to say it? Sometimes I say something and I feel like everyone looks at me like I am crazy! Please, advice would be so greatly appreciated!

A: There really is no way of knowing why you are prompted to say certain things. In our present state we cannot see into our minds where all the choices and dynamics take place. It might help you, though, to shift your attention away from what the voice says, to doing what it tells you to do so that you can hear it better. As we have come to realize, the emphasis in A Course in Miracles is always on undoing the interferences to our hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit. This is something that Jesus stressed with Helen, the scribe of the Course: “Remember you need nothing, but you have an endless store of loving gifts to give. But teach this lesson only to yourself. Your brother will not learn it from your words or from the judgments you have laid on him. You need not even speak a word to him. You cannot ask, ‘What shall I say to him?’ and hear God’s answer. Rather ask instead, ‘Help me to see this brother through the eyes of truth and not of judgment,’ and the help of God and all His angels will respond” (Absence from Felicity, p. 381).

So as Jesus helped Helen to learn, our goal ought always to be to perceive ourselves and others through the non-judgmental eyes of forgiveness, which we approach by first looking at our readiness to judge and find fault. We all are eager to have our egos out of the way so that the love of Jesus or the Holy Spirit would speak through us to others, and then we would be truly helpful. But that is usually a long, long process because we have so many defenses in place and we are not aware of our tenacious need to maintain these defenses (the many forms of judgment, specialness, and bodily concerns). When the ego is gone, there is only one Voice, and there is no other self to wonder about its meaning. But that is the end of the process. Jesus just asks that we take the little steps right now that lead in that direction (W.pI.193.13:7), not so that we will always say the right things to others, but so that we would no longer want to be other than as God created us.

An article called “Learning to Listen” appeared in the September 2003 edition of “The Lighthouse”; we have also published an audio tape album called “Healing: Hearing the Melody.” Both are helpful sources in working with this important topic of listening.

guiltless mind


ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for October 23

ACIM Text Reading for October 23

Manual for Teachers

20. What Is the Peace of God?

It has been said that there is a kind of peace that is not of this world. How is it recognized? How is it found? And being found, how can it be retained? Let us consider each of these questions separately, for each reflects a different step along the way.

First, how can the peace of God be recognized? God’s peace is recognized at first by just one thing; in every way it is totally unlike all previous experiences. It calls to mind nothing that went before. It brings with it no past associations. It is a new thing entirely. There is a contrast, yes, between this thing and all the past. But strangely, it is not a contrast of true differences. The past just slips away, and in its place is everlasting quiet. Only that. The contrast first perceived has merely gone. Quiet has reached to cover everything.

How is this quiet found? No one can fail to find it who but seeks out its conditions. God’s peace can never come where anger is, for anger must deny that peace exists. Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist. In this condition, peace cannot be found. Therefore, forgiveness is the necessary condition for finding the peace of God. More than this, given forgiveness there must be peace. For what except attack will lead to war? And what but peace is opposite to war? Here the initial contrast stands out clear and apparent. Yet when peace is found, the war is meaningless. And it is conflict now that is perceived as nonexistent and unreal.

How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. War is again accepted as the one reality. Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you do not recognize that you have picked it up again. But you will learn, as you remember even faintly now what happiness was yours without it, that you must have taken it again as your defense. Stop for a moment now and think of this: Is conflict what you want, or is God’s peace the better choice? Which gives you more? A tranquil mind is not a little gift. Would you not rather live than choose to die?

Living is joy, but death can only weep. You see in death escape from what you made. But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape, because it is not life in which the problem lies. Life has no opposite, for it is God. Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided death ends life. Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is.

What is the peace of God? No more than this; the simple understanding that His Will is wholly without opposite. There is no thought that contradicts His Will, yet can be true. The contrast between His Will and yours but seemed to be reality. In truth there was no conflict, for His Will is yours. Now is the mighty Will of God Himself His gift to you. He does not seek to keep it for Himself. Why would you seek to keep your tiny frail imaginings apart from Him? The Will of God is One and all there is. This is your heritage. The universe beyond the sun and stars, and all the thoughts of which you can conceive, belong to you. God’s peace is the condition for His Will. Attain His peace, and you remember Him.


ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 23

Lesson 294

My body is a wholly neutral thing.

I am a Son of God. And can I be another thing as well? Did God create the mortal and corruptible? What use has God’s beloved Son for what must die? And yet a neutral thing does not see death, for thoughts of fear are not invested there, nor is a mockery of love bestowed upon it. Its neutrality protects it while it has a use. And afterwards, without a purpose, it is laid aside. It is not sick nor old nor hurt. It is but functionless, unneeded and cast off. Let me not see it more than this today; of service for a while and fit to serve, to keep its usefulness while it can serve, and then to be replaced for greater good.

My body, Father, cannot be Your Son. And what is not created cannot be sinful nor sinless; neither good nor bad. Let me, then, use this dream to help Your plan that we awaken from all dreams we made.


ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1136: My father has always had a fear of death or nonexisting. He believes this world and the body are all that exist because he has no proof otherwise; and therefore he gets very depressed when he has health issues My views are totally different. If he dies with the beliefs he has and I die with mine (both with the Holy Spirit), but at the time of physical death he still believes only in himself (ego), would we experience death differently? Also, does the Holy Spirit have any influence on us in terms of controlling how long we remain in the body/ world once we invite His memory back to guide our life?

A: From the point of view of A Course in Miracles , death is always a decision we make in our minds (W.pI.152.1:4; M.12.5:6,7) , and that decision can be made with the ego or with the Holy Spirit. If it is made with the Holy Spirit, there will be no sense of regret, fear, bitterness, loss, or blame in one’s mind. The mind would simply continue on as before; nothing happens to the mind because the body is no longer classified as “living” according to the world’s standards (W.pI.167.3,4) . Everything takes place in the mind and not in the body. That is what Jesus is always trying to help us realize. We, as minds, are always and only choosing to uphold the ego’s thought system of separation and judgment or the Holy Spirit’s thought system of oneness and forgiveness. Our experience reflects only that choice, never what goes on in our bodies. That is very difficult for us to accept, because we want so much to have Jesus validate our belief that we are real as bodies. He cannot do that, though, because it is a false belief. “There is no death. The Son of God is free” (W.pI.163) .

In answer to your second question: No, the Holy Spirit does not control the length of time we remain in our bodies once we accept Him as our Teacher. The Holy Spirit represents in our minds the truth that we split off when we chose to believe we had our own individual lives in a world apart from the world of Heaven and God. To be guided by the Holy Spirit means to think in accordance with what is true about ourselves and reality, rather than what is false. To share His perception means to consciously practice seeing everyone as having the same interests, and excluding no one from our love and compassion. Eventually, we will let go of all investment in having separation be the truth, and then there will be no difference between the Holy Spirit’s perception and our own (T.14.VII.7) . But all this means is that we have at last accepted back into our awareness our true Identity and the oneness of the Sonship. The Holy Spirit has not done anything. We retain our bodily identification only to the extent that we choose to keep ourselves split off from the truth. When the pain of that rejection is no longer worth it, we change our minds, and then all interferences to love and truth fall away, and we regain what we never lost. “And what am I except the Christ in me?” (W.pII.354.1:7).

Q #1137: I was recently reading a Christian book and it said that if you lie or cheat you should turn yourself in. Several examples were given that left me feeling very upset, because of the implications for my life. Is God really the originator of all the moral codes that we believe in and should I follow them to the letter? I think everyone lies and steals to a certain degree. Would a person who has accepted the Atonement not do these things in any degree? It might be easier for me to follow a moral code going forward, but the thought of the sacrifice of paying for my past actions now is overwhelming — like quitting my job, giving back to people what I accuse myself of taking from them, fixing things I think I have done wrong, and believing I have to “redo” something the right way fills me with fear, and I know I will never actually follow what my fears demand of me. So will I ever be saved?

A: “All morality is of the ego, since it is based upon certain prescribed standards of behavior or conduct, all geared around what the body does or does not do…. Just as ‘a universal theology is impossible’ ( , so too is a universal morality, as values differ from one culture to the next, and change over time within individual cultures themselves. This relative nature of morality is proof that no ethical system can be of God, in Whom only the changeless and universal reality of non-dualistic truth can exist” (p. 336). This quote is from Kenneth’s All Are Called , Volume 1 of The Message of “A Course in Miracles,” where you will find a comprehensive presentation of ethics and morality in the context of the Course’s teaching contrasted with other systems. Another discussion of this topic appears in chapter 17 of Kenneth’s Love Does Not Condemn . Also, our answer to Question #637, part 2, discusses several important passages from the Course pertaining to morality and behavior. A study of them will help avert serious misunderstanding and misapplication of the Course’s principles.

A Course in Miracles teaches that the body has no independent existence; it is simply a projection of the mind, as part of the ego’s strategy to make the separation real. The body expresses the thought system the mind has chosen to uphold: either the ego’s or the Holy Spirit’s. Therefore, there is nothing in the Course about guidelines for behavior. Its exclusive focus is on the mind’s power to choose, and the consequences of the choice the mind makes. It is thus a course in mind- training, not in how to behave in the world. Our behavior flows directly from the thought system with which we identify, and so that is where our attention needs to be directed. Our sense of sin and guilt, according to A Course in Miracles , comes from our decision to reject the truth about reality and ourselves and make a substitute for it. All of this is denied and then gets projected onto our bodies and the world, which ends with our thinking that our problems and their solutions are in the body (behavior) and the world.

Since the ego was born of selfishness, murder, deception, and theft — it knows nothing else — then when we choose to identify with the ego, the content in our minds will be the same as the ego’s. We cannot but act that out in the world as long as we have elected to have the ego as our teacher. We don’t realize, however, that this is what runs our lives, which is why we need help from a source outside our thought system entirely: Jesus or the Holy Spirit. This is the core of the Course’s teaching and exercises. Understanding the form-content distinction is central to the practice of A Course in Miracles as it was meant to be practiced.

Salvation in A Course in Miracles has to with changing our teacher from the ego to Jesus or the Holy Spirit — or any other ego-less presence we are comfortable with. If we do this, which we would when our pain and despair causes us to cry out for “another way,” then we would begin the process of thought-reversal ( e.g., M.24.4:1) — of going back into our minds, with this loving presence guiding us, and looking without judgment at all manifestations of our mistaken choice: judgment, specialness, selfishness, authority issues, one-or-the-other and kill-or-be-killed type thinking, etc. As students of this course, we learn that choosing this insane thought system was simply a mistake in need of correction, not a sin deserving of punishment. We realize, too, that it has not brought us the peace and happiness we were led to believe it would. Now, happily and thankfully, we allow our new teacher to guide our thinking.

When, once and for all, we let go of the ego, the only content in our minds will be love; we will have restored to our awareness what we had split off and concealed — the memory of our true Identity as Christ. This is the acceptance of the Atonement, for which no sacrifice is necessary (W.pI.192.6:1). Guided only by love, everything we then do would be loving. It would be impossible to do anything that would hurt ourselves or anyone else. What that looks like specifically (form) cannot be formulated. The same behavior can originate in one’s wrong or right mind (content). In your case, therefore, whether or not you should return what you claim you stole is between you and the Holy Spirit. When in a holy instant you are free of ego interference, you will just know. And if there is no clarity, then just be as ego-free as you can for a moment, and then do what seems most loving for yourself and the others involved. We will never run out of opportunities to learn our lessons of forgiveness! (T.31.VIII.3)

Finally, God has nothing to do with any of this, as the separation, the ego and its dynamics, and the undoing of all that is inherently unreal. That is why Jesus uses various metaphors and images to talk about it: a nightmare dream of separation, a journey, a ladder. Correcting various religious traditions, he also makes it unmistakably clear that God, as Love, can only love and extend that love for eternity — condemnation and love are mutually exclusive: “God does not forgive because He has never condemned” (W.pI.60.1:2; see alsoW.pI.198) .

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