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
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 (T.in), 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.