ACIM Text Reading for October 19
Manual for Teachers
16. How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?
To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless. There is no program, for the lessons change each day. Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random. Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content. He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. And those who share that role with him will find him, so they can learn the lessons for the day together. Not one is absent whom he needs; not one is sent without a learning goal already set, and one which can be learned that very day. For the advanced teacher of God, then, this question is superfluous. It has been asked and answered, and he keeps in constant contact with the Answer. He is set, and sees the road on which he walks stretch surely and smoothly before him.
But what about those who have not reached his certainty? They are not yet ready for such lack of structuring on their own part. What must they do to learn to give the day to God? There are some general rules which do apply, although each one must use them as best he can in his own way. Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up. Broadly speaking, then, it can be said that it is well to start the day right. It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error. Yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time.
At the beginning, it is wise to think in terms of time. This is by no means the ultimate criterion, but at the outset it is probably the simplest to observe. The saving of time is an essential early emphasis which, although it remains important throughout the learning process, becomes less and less emphasized. At the outset, we can safely say that time devoted to starting the day right does indeed save time. How much time should be so spent? This must depend on the teacher of God himself. He cannot claim that title until he has gone through the workbook, since we are learning within the framework of our course. After completion of the more structured practice periods, which the workbook contains, individual need becomes the chief consideration.
This course is always practical. It may be that the teacher of God is not in a situation that fosters quiet thought as he awakes. If this is so, let him but remember that he chooses to spend time with God as soon as possible, and let him do so. Duration is not the major concern. One can easily sit still an hour with closed eyes and accomplish nothing. One can as easily give God only an instant, and in that instant join with Him completely. Perhaps the one generalization that can be made is this; as soon as possible after waking take your quiet time, continuing a minute or two after you begin to find it difficult. You may find that the difficulty will diminish and drop away. If not, that is the time to stop.
The same procedures should be followed at night. Perhaps your quiet time should be fairly early in the evening, if it is not feasible for you to take it just before going to sleep. It is not wise to lie down for it. It is better to sit up, in whatever position you prefer. Having gone through the workbook, you must have come to some conclusions in this respect. If possible, however, just before going to sleep is a desirable time to devote to God. It sets your mind into a pattern of rest, and orients you away from fear. If it is expedient to spend this time earlier, at least be sure that you do not forget a brief period,–not more than a moment will do,–in which you close your eyes and think of God.
There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it. You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defenses will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection.
How simply and how easily does time slip by for the teacher of God who has accepted His protection! All that he did before in the name of safety no longer interests him. For he is safe, and knows it to be so. He has a Guide Who will not fail. He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives, for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them. He is as safe in the present as he was before illusions were accepted into his mind, and as he will be when he has let them go. There is no difference in his state at different times and different places, because they are all one to God. This is his safety. And he has no need for more than this.
Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection. How can he do this, particularly during the time when his mind is occupied with external things? He can but try, and his success depends on his conviction that he will succeed. He must be sure success is not of him, but will be given him at any time, in any place and circumstance he calls for it. There are times his certainty will waver, and the instant this occurs he will return to earlier attempts to place reliance on himself alone. Forget not this is magic, and magic is a sorry substitute for true assistance. It is not good enough for God’s teacher, because it is not enough for God’s Son.
The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation. For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s. These attempts may indeed seem frightening, but they are merely pathetic. They can have no effects; neither good nor bad, neither rewarding nor demanding sacrifice, healing nor destructive, quieting nor fearful. When all magic is recognized as merely nothing, the teacher of God has reached the most advanced state. All intermediate lessons will but lead to this, and bring this goal nearer to recognition. For magic of any kind, in all its forms, simply does nothing. Its powerlessness is the reason it can be so easily escaped. What has no effects can hardly terrify.
There is no substitute for the Will of God. In simple statement, it is to this fact that the teacher of God devotes his day. Each substitute he may accept as real can but deceive him. But he is safe from all deception if he so decides. Perhaps he needs to remember, “God is with me. I cannot be deceived.” Perhaps he prefers other words, or only one, or none at all. Yet each temptation to accept magic as true must be abandoned through his recognition, not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless. Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had. And for this “sacrifice” is Heaven restored to his awareness.
Is not this an exchange that you would want? The world would gladly make it, if it knew it could be made. It is God’s teachers who must teach it that it can. And so it is their function to make sure that they have learned it. No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain. “There is no will but God’s.” His teachers know that this is so, and have learned that everything but this is magic. All belief in magic is maintained by just one simple-minded illusion;–that it works. All through their training, every day and every hour, and even every minute and second, must God’s teachers learn to recognize the forms of magic and perceive their meaninglessness. Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go. And thus the gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 19
My present happiness is all I see.
Unless I look upon what is not there, my present happiness is all I see. Eyes that begin to open see at last. And I would have Christ’s vision come to me this very day. What I perceive without God’s Own Correction for the sight I made is frightening and painful to behold. Yet I would not allow my mind to be deceived by the belief the dream I made is real an instant longer. This the day I seek my present happiness, and look on nothing else except the thing I seek.
With this resolve I come to You, and ask Your strength to hold me up today, while I but seek to do Your Will. You cannot fail to hear me, Father. What I ask have You already given me. And I am sure that I will see my happiness today.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1017: In the manual we are told: “It is better to sit up, in whatever position you prefer. Having gone through the workbook, you must have come to some conclusions in this respect” (M.16.5:4,5). I have gone through the workbook, and I missed it. Could you please elaborate on the importance/significance of sitting up.
A: In this passage in the manual, Jesus is giving us specific instructions as guidelines for our practice. Quite simply, it is likely that lying down at the end of the day or just before going to bed will induce sleep, which then prevents one from spending the quiet time he is recommending. It is also probably more comfortable than standing up. This is a very clear example of how Jesus takes into consideration our resistance, the nature of the ego, and the body’s needs. He is helping us to find ways to make our best effort at complying with the structure set up in the workbook and reinforced here in the manual.
Jesus knows that we are not always eager to learn what he is teaching us in A Course in Miracles . One of the ways our resistance is expressed is by falling asleep while reading it. He assumes that we must have noticed that we come up with all kinds of excuses and distractions for not doing the workbook lessons. Sleep is just one of them. He also assumes we are serious about our commitment to the practice of forgiveness, and so he gives us these helpful tips. That is all that is meant in this passage.
Q #1018: I have a question regarding Gloria’s “myth” in Awaken from the Dream . I’d like to understand a bit more about a point where she as a representative of the “middle group” is looking at physical reality and pledging that she’ll endure any amount of suffering to get back into the dream and help others awaken. This, to me, seems to be a really important moment. Is judging the pain and suffering we are seeing, and feeling that it must be fixed, and that we are the ones to fix it — is that a wholly fallacious judgment? Is viewing the scene in that way purely the result of guilt (which is always of the ego)? Is guilt the key to the continual recreation of the dream for people like us? Could return to the dream be motivated by love? Ever? I feel like this is a really crucial question and want to be sure I understand it correctly. Would a bodhisattva or a reincarnated lama who has pledged to return endlessly until everyone is freed fall under that category? Or is it something else with them?
A: Returning to the dream could definitely be motivated by love. We need to distinguish between the healed and the unhealed mind to get the proper perspective on this; and we need also remember that this cannot be understood from our very limited human perspective. Our human experience is the effect of the mind’s choice to conceal its life as mind outside time and space, and so it can never be a reliable link to the truth. We must start there, for that is all we have to draw on; but Jesus cautions us regularly about using our experience as individuals as a criterion of what is real. He leads us beyond that to the dimension of mind we have sought to deny.
The healed mind is totally free of guilt — it is no longer split into a right and wrong mind with a decision-making power. The healed mind is identified only with love and knows that anything else is illusory. That unrestricted love could then appear in the dream in a form recognizable by other figures in the dream seeking salvation. But this extension of love — this healed mind, this Teacher of teachers (M.26.2)— would not be experienced as a “coming into the dream.” It would simply be the form love takes. There would be no sense of having been sent on a holy mission to redeem or rescue souls, etc., and there would be no sense of sacrifice — of reluctantly returning to an unholy place of sin, for example. That mind would be joyous and at peace, knowing it is not in the dream at all, and recognizing as well that that is everyone’s true reality. It would not respond to anything as though it were real and in need of “fixing,” although in form it would appear to be just like everyone else. It is important to recognize that this way of being does not correspond to any motivation known to us who experience ourselves as limited individuals competing for survival in a world with an overwhelming number and variety of problems.
An unhealed mind would continue to take form in the dream in order to carry out its ego-driven objective of proving the separation real, projecting responsibility for it in an attempt to flee the punishment it thinks it deserves. An unhealed mind could also take form in order to continue to learn to awaken from the dream (a right-minded motivation). Again, we need to be wary of trying to conceptualize this in terms of our experience as humans. We can use analogies, as Jesus does, but all of this takes place only within the mind. There is not some non-physical entity somewhere that enters time and space as a body. This is always about the dynamics in a mind that never ceases being a mind. We need to remember as well that we are attempting to diagram something that is inherently illusory.
For the unhealed mind — still guilt-ridden — the world of separation would be perceived as a battleground of opposition between those protecting the separation and those seemingly imprisoned and trying to free themselves. If one perceives oneself as here to free those still imprisoned, or to use switch metaphors, to awaken those still asleep, then one is sharing the perception of the ego. If something needs “fixing,” then the separation has been judged real — the fallacious judgment you referred to. Jesus is helping us realize that our only responsibility is to accept the Atonement for ourselves, which means to realize that nothing happened — “Not one note in Heaven’s song was missed” (T.26.V.5:4) — the separation from God never happened: Yet, as we make progress in this, we will begin to perceive everyone else in the same way — as here solely to learn this same lesson. If we are truly undoing the separation in our minds, it could hardly be otherwise.