ACIM Text Reading for November 1
Manual for Teachers
29. As for the Rest…
This manual is not intended to answer all questions that both teacher and pupil may raise. In fact, it covers only a few of the more obvious ones, in terms of a brief summary of some of the major concepts in the text and workbook. It is not a substitute for either, but merely a supplement. While it is called a manual for teachers, it must be remembered that only time divides teacher and pupil, so that the difference is temporary by definition. In some cases, it may be helpful for the pupil to read the manual first. Others might do better to begin with the workbook. Still others may need to start at the more abstract level of the text.
Which is for which? Who would profit more from prayers alone? Who needs but a smile, being as yet unready for more? No one should attempt to answer these questions alone. Surely no teacher of God has come this far without realizing that. The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit’s particular care and guidance. Ask and He will answer. The responsibility is His, and He alone is fit to assume it. To do so is His function. To refer the questions to Him is yours. Would you want to be responsible for decisions about which you understand so little? Be glad you have a Teacher Who cannot make a mistake. His answers are always right. Would you say that of yours?
There is another advantage,–and a very important one,–in referring decisions to the Holy Spirit with increasing frequency. Perhaps you have not thought of this aspect, but its centrality is obvious. To follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. It is the essence of the Atonement. It is the core of the curriculum. The imagined usurping of functions not your own is the basis of fear. The whole world you see reflects the illusion that you have done so, making fear inevitable. To return the function to the One to Whom it belongs is thus the escape from fear. And it is this that lets the memory of love return to you. Do not, then, think that following the Holy Spirit’s guidance is necessary merely because of your own inadequacies. It is the way out of hell for you.
Here again is the paradox often referred to in the course. To say, “Of myself I can do nothing” is to gain all power. And yet it is but a seeming paradox. As God created you, you have all power. The image you made of yourself has none. The Holy Spirit knows the truth about you. The image you made does not. Yet, despite its obvious and complete ignorance, this image assumes it knows all things because you have given that belief to it. Such is your teaching, and the teaching of the world that was made to uphold it. But the Teacher Who knows the truth has not forgotten it. His decisions bring benefit to all, being wholly devoid of attack. And therefore incapable of arousing guilt.
Who assumes a power that he does not possess is deceiving himself. Yet to accept the power given him by God is but to acknowledge his Creator and accept His gifts. And His gifts have no limit. To ask the Holy Spirit to decide for you is simply to accept your true inheritance. Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him? No, indeed! That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course is most concerned. If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it. Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit’s help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night. And your confidence will be well founded indeed.
Never forget that the Holy Spirit does not depend on your words. He understands the requests of your heart, and answers them. Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil? Hardly! For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language. He understands that an attack is a call for help. And He responds with help accordingly. God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own. A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction. He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still. And how much more than this does your Father love His Son?
Remember you are His completion and His Love. Remember your weakness is His strength. But do not read this hastily or wrongly. If His strength is in you, what you perceive as your weakness is but illusion. And He has given you the means to prove it so. Ask all things of His Teacher, and all things are given you. Not in the future but immediately; now. God does not wait, for waiting implies time and He is timeless. Forget your foolish images, your sense of frailty and your fear of harm, your dreams of danger and selected “wrongs.” God knows but His Son, and as he was created so he is. In confidence I place you in His Hands, and I give thanks for you that this is so.
- And now in all your doings be you blessed.
- God turns to you for help to save the world.
- Teacher of God, His thanks He offers you,
- And all the world stands silent in the grace
- You bring from Him. You are the Son He loves,
- And it is given you to be the means
- Through which His Voice is heard around the world,
- To close all things of time; to end the sight
- Of all things visible; and to undo
- All things that change. Through you is ushered in
- A world unseen, unheard, yet truly there.
- Holy are you, and in your light the world
- Reflects your holiness, for you are not
- Alone and friendless. I give thanks for you,
- And join your efforts on behalf of God,
- Knowing they are on my behalf as well,
- And for all those who walk to God with me.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 1
The holy Christ is born in me today.
Watch with me, angels, watch with me today. Let all God’s holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven’s Son is born. Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear. Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home. And let Him hear the sounds He understands, and see but sights that show His Father’s Love. Let Him no longer be a stranger here, for He is born again in me today.
Your Son is welcome, Father. He has come to save me from the evil self I made. He is the Self that You have given me. He is but what I really am in truth. He is the Son You love above all things. He is my Self as You created me. It is not Christ that can be crucified. Safe in Your Arms let me receive Your Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #504: I understand that we have made the decision to forget. My question is, why did we reject a state in which we clearly enjoyed peace of mind, in order to enter into time and space? Who in their right mind would feel dissatisfied with the original peace of mind?
A: No one in his right mind would choose to forget who he is, which is why no one in his right mind does. Your question is asked very frequently. It is actually a statement framed in the form of a question, because the question implies that the separation did in fact occur, and that time and space do exist. A Course in Miracles provides the ultimate answer: “…the separation never occurred” (T.6.II.10:7). Jesus tells us we cannot forget our true Identity as God’s innocent Son, but can misuse the power of our minds by choosing separation and believing in the illusion of a separate identity. The very important principle at work here is the power of the mind to choose. The choice is always between truth and illusion, what is real and what is not. Since there is no substitute for God, and no alternative to reality, choosing not to believe in truth is really choosing nothing. However, the belief that it is something results in guilt for having obliterated God and His Son from awareness, replacing them with the made up ego self. The effects are all the devastating, painful experiences of “life” in the body and the world, which lead us to ask ourselves how we got here and why we came. Since Jesus knows we believe in our identity as bodies, he offers an explanation we can understand and work with: we believe we are bodies in the world because this is what we want to believe.
The “original” moment of separation, that seems to have occurred in the past, is actually an ongoing choice for separation that is evident in the daily experiences in our lives. The clues are there for us to see in our energetic pursuit of selfish interests, at the expense of others’ interests, not to mention our devotion and dedication to being right. To paraphrase an often quoted phrase from the text; we would rather be right than peaceful (T.29.VII.1:9). It is this which motivates us, here and now, to choose our little selves and little lives over God.
Thus, in its important goal of teaching us that we have minds with the power to choose, the Course itself is the answer to your question. Our hope lies in following Jesus’ clear and direct invitation: “My brother, choose again” (T.31.VIII.3:2).
For more on this topic please see Question #10.
If Heaven and the Love of God were completely satisfying, why would the Son choose to dream he left?
If God is perfect and unified, and has a perfect and unified Son, how could an imperfect thought of separation and division have possibly arisen within such a mind?
Once the Atonement is accepted, how do we know the ego won’t be chosen again?
How can one achieve “an experience” which the Course says will resolve the ego paradox?
A: i, ii, and iii above, posed as questions, are actually statements made by an ego mind enunciating the following: I know the ego is real, and now I want you to explain how it happened and how you know it won’t happen again.
The question “how did the ego happen,” and all its variations, is undoubtedly the most frequently asked question of students of A Course in Miracles. This is only natural to an ego wanting to know where it came from, just as a child would question its parents about its origin. The problem is that the ego itself is not natural. The Course teaches us that in reality the ego never happened. Consequently, how could we ever find an intellectually satisfying answer to the ego’s origin between the Course’s covers? Those asking how the impossible could ever have happened must identify themselves as separate and individual beings, while anyone answering the question must also agree that the separation did indeed happen. Furthermore, if it happened once, it could happen ad infinitum, and in some respects it does. Day in and day out we are offered the choice of believing in the reality of ourselves as an ego or as a Son of God. Therefore, to wonder about the separation recurring is to make the same mistake of believing it happened in the first place. As the Course says:
“Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so.
There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true” (C-2.2:5–3:1).
“The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, “How did the impossible occur?”, “To what did the impossible happen?”, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you” (C-in.4).
God’s Love is the experience the Course speaks of in the quote above. This experience is attained through the process of forgiveness, which removes the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence (T.In.1:7). Indeed, the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us attain this experience.