ACIM Text Reading for October 3
Manual for Teachers
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 the 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. The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn by teaching. Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. It is a method of conversion. This is not done by words alone. Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less.
The curriculum you set up is therefore determined exclusively by what you think you are, and what you believe the relationship of others is to you. In the formal teaching situation, these questions may be totally unrelated to what you think you are teaching. Yet it is impossible not to use the content of any situation on behalf of what you really teach, and therefore really learn. To this the verbal content of your teaching is quite irrelevant. It may coincide with it, or it may not. It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.
This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. How could it be otherwise? Everyone who follows the world’s curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein lies the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.
Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever. Who are they? How are they chosen? What do they do? How can they work out their own salvation and the salvation of the world? This manual attempts to answer these questions.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 3
God’s healing Voice protects all things today.
Let us today attend the Voice for God, which speaks an ancient lesson, no more true today than any other day. Yet has this day been chosen as the time when we will seek and hear and learn and understand. Join me in hearing. For the Voice for God tells us of things we cannot understand alone, nor learn apart. It is in this that all things are protected. And in this the healing of the Voice for God is found.
Your healing Voice protects all things today, and so I leave all things to You. I need be anxious over nothing. For Your Voice will tell me what to do and where to go; to whom to speak and what to say to him, what thoughts to think, what words to give the world. The safety that I bring is given me. Father, Your Voice protects all things through me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #520: My sister has been treated for cancer for the last two years. It has a hold over the whole family. This is her illusion of herself, but we have all joined in with her. I am very judgmental about how the rest of the family reacts: some don’t ever want to hear anything bad. I am dealing with my feelings of going to Jesus constantly and trying to understand that he is my teacher, and this is the classroom I have chosen. I don’t get any relief from my anxiety about her condition. I just say to myself that I need do nothing, for really there is nothing I can do. It is difficult to go on with my daily life, many miles away from the situation, without thinking of this situation constantly, even waking up in the earliest morning hours thinking about it. I feel that it is the ego saying to me, “So you think you are going to be peaceful now and relax and let others live their lives and not be bothered by it. How about this new situation!” How can it be that the ego seems more real than Jesus. Though I know it is not.
A: The process of having the ego become less real and Jesus more real usually extends over many, many years. A great deal of patience is required, a process he describes in the manual of A Course in Miracles in the section called “Development of Trust” (M.4.I). When we first start asking for help, we are not all that aware of what is involved, especially the depth of our fear of letting go of the ego totally, and having the love of Jesus be the only reality in our minds. It seems as if we truly want that more than anything, but there must be something in the way, otherwise the ego would just vanish. So as we go along, we begin to get in touch with the obstacles, and how we probably are secretly asking for a compromise: we want the love of Jesus, but wealso want a happy, problem-free life here in the world, where things like cancer don’t happen or are cured quickly. That is why Jesus so often in the early workbook lessons directs us to search our minds for thoughts we have covered over or locked away beyond reach. We all say we want to develop a relationship with Jesus, but we have secretly set up our own terms for the relationship instead of coming to him with empty hands and altars cleared of all expectations and demands.
Jesus would want you to bring to him your judgments about your family and all of your anxiety and sense of helplessness about your sister, so that together you can look at it all quietly and calmly from a perspective above the world’s complexity and despair. You shift from the seeming reality of the ego to the love of Jesus simply by learning to look at the ego without judging it, being afraid of it, or trying to drown it out with right-minded thoughts. The ego becomes less real as you practice more and more being at peace within yourself (without denying your feelings) whatever the outcome of your sister’s situation. This is a very difficult lesson to learn, and no one finds it easy. But Jesus assures us that we cannot fail to learn it, and that his love is totally unaffected by whatever the ego throws up at us — its seeming power cannot even stop the fall of a button, he tells us (T.18.IX.6:4). Hear him say to you and your sister: “Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you” (T.13.XI.7:1,2,3). What is so extraordinarily helpful about this passage, besides its comforting reassurance, is that Jesus is telling us that he knows about our thoughts, our discouragement, our craziness, and our resistance, but none of that matters to him. The lesson is that we learn to trust that all of our mad ego attacks are nothing but attempts to hide the love underneath that is our permanent identity. The more we approach the ego this way, the more we are telling Jesus that we know his love is more real than the ego.