ACIM Text Reading for November 4
Clarification of Terms
2. The Ego – The Miracle
Illusions will not last. Their death is sure and this alone is certain in their world. It is the ego’s world because of this. What is the ego? But a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all. A name for namelessness is all it is. A symbol of impossibility; a choice for options that do not exist. We name it but to help us understand that it is nothing but an ancient thought that what is made has immortality. But what could come of this except a dream which, like all dreams, can only end in death?
What is the ego? Nothingness, but in a form that seems like something. In a world of form the ego cannot be denied for it alone seems real. Yet could God’s Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form? 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. Nor can there be a truth that lies conceal effectively. The ego’s unreality is not denied by words nor is its meaning clear because its nature seems to have a form. Who can define the undefinable? And yet there is an answer even here.
We cannot really make a definition for what the ego is, but we can say what it is not. And this is shown to us with perfect clarity. It is from this that we deduce all that the ego is. Look at its opposite and you can see the only answer that is meaningful.
The ego’s opposite in every way,–in origin, effect and consequence–we call a miracle. And here we find all that is not the ego in this world. Here is the ego’s opposite and here alone we look on what the ego was, for here we see all that it seemed to do, and cause and its effects must still be one.
Where there was darkness now we see the light. What is the ego? What the darkness was. Where is the ego? Where the darkness was. What is it now and where can it be found? Nothing and nowhere. Now the light has come: Its opposite has gone without a trace. Where evil was there now is holiness. What is the ego? What the evil was. Where is the ego? In an evil dream that but seemed real while you were dreaming it. Where there was crucifixion stands God’s Son. What is the ego? Who has need to ask? Where is the ego? Who has need to seek for an illusion now that dreams are gone?
What is a miracle? A dream as well. But look at all the aspects of this dream and you will never question any more. Look at the kindly world you see extend before you as you walk in gentleness. Look at the helpers all along the way you travel, happy in the certainty of Heaven and the surety of peace. And look an instant, too, on what you left behind at last and finally passed by.
This was the ego–all the cruel hate, the need for vengeance and the cries of pain, the fear of dying and the urge to kill, the brotherless illusion and the self that seemed alone in all the universe. This terrible mistake about yourself the miracle corrects as gently as a loving mother sings her child to rest. Is not a song like this what you would hear? Would it not answer all you thought to ask, and even make the question meaningless?
Your questions have no answer, being made to still God’s Voice, which asks of everyone one question only: “Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?” Ask this instead of what the ego is, and you will see a sudden brightness cover up the world the ego made. No miracle is now withheld from anyone. The world is saved from what you thought it was. And what it is, is wholly uncondemned and wholly pure.
The miracle forgives; the ego damns. Neither need be defined except by this. Yet could a definition be more sure, or more in line with what salvation is? Problem and answer lie together here, and having met at last the choice is clear. Who chooses hell when it is recognized? And who would not go on a little while when it is given him to understand the way is short and Heaven is his goal?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 4
There is a peace that Christ bestows on us.
Who uses but Christ’s vision finds a peace so deep and quiet, undisturbable and wholly changeless, that the world contains no counterpart. Comparisons are still before this peace. And all the world departs in silence as this peace envelops it, and gently carries it to truth, no more to be the home of fear. For love has come, and healed the world by giving it Christ’s peace.
Father, the peace of Christ is given us, because it is Your Will that we be saved. Help us today but to accept Your gift, and judge it not. For it has come to us to save us from our judgment on ourselves.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #876: I recently began reading A Course in Miracles . I am trying to stay sober from alcohol and fall off the wagon often. Although I am having difficulties, I have continued to seek for a God of my own understanding. Although I do not understand all that ACIM teaches, I do feel that God led me to this book. I frequently practice being an angel, but sometimes my short temper flares up and I don’t act very angel-like. I want to be like an angel all the time so that others will see that God is really a miracle worker. Will your book help me to learn to be this kind of person? What can I do for myself that would help me to achieve this point. If miracles are possible, can God perform this kind of miracle for me?
A: Fortunately, what the Course would consider “angelic” is precisely the honesty about temper flare ups such as you describe. If you were an angel all the time, you would not need ACIM. Its teachings are for all who are aware that tempers (egos) are alive and well. A temper flare up reveals the mind’s hidden choice for separation, and its need for healing. In this lies the foundation for the Course’s teaching: the problem is the mind’s choice for separation, not unangelic behavior and the solution is healing the mind of the thought of separation through forgiveness, not angelic behavior. The Course takes the focus off behavior and returns it to the mind. Thus, watching yourself have a temper flare up is useful only in that it shows you what the mind is up to.
The miracle Jesus teaches in the Course is recognizing that the true source of a temper flare up is guilt in the mind for having chosen to be separate from God, and from everyone else. The guilt is then projected out, and another person or one’s own bad temper is mistakenly blamed for the outburst. Seeing the mind, rather than a bad temper, other people, events, or situations, as the true source of any upset is the first step in the forgiveness process, which is the miracle the Course teaches. It involves a decision made in the mind, and therefore can only be the responsibility of the one who decides. As used in the Course, the term “miracle worker” or “teacher of God” is anyone who is willing to take responsibility for the mind’s power and choose the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. Agreeing to see everything as the reflection of a choice in the mind is the way to accept the Holy Spirit. This is the only true “angelic behavior.”
God cannot make a new choice for us because He does not know that His Son has chosen the insane thought of separation. The Psychotherapy pamphlet tells us: “God does not know of separation. What He knows is only that He has one Son” (P.2.VII.1:11,12). This means that God does not know about the world and does not perform miracles. When the Course speaks of God helping, it is referring to the Holy Spirit, Whom we perceive as helping us because we think we need help. What actually occurs is the mind that chose separation decides to choose against it. In the clarification of terms, Jesus tells us: “God does not help because He knows no need. But He creates all Helpers of His Son while he believes his fantasies are true. Thank God for them for they will lead you home” (C.5.1:7,8,9). When you find yourself behaving in a way that you consider unangelic, the important thing to do is to see this as a window to your mind where you have mistakenly chosen to identify with the ego. You then have the opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit’s help to make another choice. With attention focused on your mind rather than your behavior, or the behavior of the person who ticked you off, you will have gone to the source of the problem. It will become increasingly clear that others are not the cause of your irritation. If you are not blaming them, your temper flare ups will gradually diminish and peacefulness will increase. Each time you are willing to remember the power of your mind in this way you are strengthening belief in it, and weakening belief in the ego for yourself and for everyone. That is how the miracle is shared, whether others are consciously aware of it or not. You will have chosen the miracle for everyone.