ACIM Text Reading for November 2
Clarification of Terms
This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of “individual consciousness” is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the “original error” or the “original sin.” To study the error itself does not lead to correction, if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims.
All terms are potentially controversial, and those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must, however, be willing to overlook controversy, recognizing that it is a defense against truth in the form of a delaying maneuver. Theological considerations as such are necessarily controversial, since they depend on belief and can therefore be accepted or rejected. A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends.
This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed. It is not concerned with what is beyond all error because it is planned only to set the direction towards it. Therefore it uses words, which are symbolic, and cannot express what lies beyond symbols. It is merely the ego that questions because it is only the ego that doubts. The course merely gives another answer, once a question has been raised. However, this answer does not attempt to resort to inventiveness or ingenuity. These are attributes of the ego. The course is simple. It has one function and one goal. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can beconsistent.
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.
You will notice that the emphasis on structural issues in the course is brief and early. Afterwards and soon, it drops away to make way for the central teaching. Since you have asked for clarification, however, these are some of the terms that are used.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 2
Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ.
I can obscure my holy sight, if I intrude my world upon it. Nor can I behold the holy sights Christ looks upon, unless it is His vision that I use. Perception is a mirror, not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward. I would bless the world by looking on it through the eyes of Christ. And I will look upon the certain signs that all my sins have been forgiven me.
You lead me from the darkness to the light; from sin to holiness. Let me forgive, and thus receive salvation for the world. It is Your gift, my Father, given me to offer to Your holy Son, that he may find again the memory of You, and of Your Son as You created him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #973: I have been reading A Course in Miracles for over twenty years and have never directly experienced the Holy Spirit or Jesus. I never had any visions or heard any voices. The only time I have any experience of Jesus or the Holy Spirit is when I read the words in ACIM . The Introduction to the clarification of terms at the end of the manual says “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary” (C.in.2:5). I feel my focus is on what I am not experiencing like not being angry, fearful, or guilty. I recognize not to use the ego thought system to judge or value anything in this world. Can you explain what is meant by a universal experience?
A: The universal experience Jesus refers to is that all people would experience in some way that God loves them and has never condemned them. Earlier in the manual, he expressed it this way: “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” (M.1.3:5) . Because of all the cultural, linguistic, and other differences among the people and nations in the world, it is unlikely that there could ever be a theological expression of this that would be accepted by everyone; but that does not matter in the end, Jesus is saying. All that matters is that we experience in whatever way we can, our innocence in God’s sight, and that this innocence extends to everyone, without exception. This does not have to be experienced as a vision or a voice; it could simply be an awareness or a feeling. But Jesus teaches us that we should not try to force ourselves to have this experience. He teaches us, rather, to recognize our commitment to the exact opposite — our concealed investment in seeing ourselves and/or others as sinful, which is the basis of our guilt, fear, and anger. This investment — coming from our identification with the ego — is the interference to our awareness of our eternal innocence; and therefore the focus of the Course’s teachings and exercises is on forgiveness. For students who have accepted A Course in Miracles as their path, the practice of forgiveness is what will bring about the universal experience of love. Everyone will eventually arrive at the same place, but the means and paths may all differ.