ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 31

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 31

ACIM Special Text Reading for New Years Eve

XI. Christmas as the End of Sacrifice

Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making. And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships, in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are, the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening, and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.

The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host Who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects, and Whose power protects Him.

This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be.

You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back, realizing that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you exclude from yourself seems fearful, for you endow it with fear and try to cast it out, though it is part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome, and live within himself in peace? And who can try to resolve the “conflict” of Heaven and hell in him by casting Heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell, without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?

As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who could suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourself, when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? Deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation and sacrifice becomes love.

So is it that, in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it. Yet you find not love. It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it. The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning apart from you. It is what you prefer to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe, and holds the universe together in its meaning. Unless the universe were joined in you it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning.

In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace. The Prince of Peace was born to re-establish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then, is sacrifice? The lesson I was born to teach, and still would teach to all my brothers, is that sacrifice is nowhere and love is everywhere. For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself.

Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy. Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you. What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing? Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me. For in the time of Christ communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son’s creation.

God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him, and lets Him enter and abide where He would be. And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him. And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves. Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them. And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had, and ever want to have.

This is the time in which a new year will soon be born from the time of Christ. I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish. Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy. Say, then, to your brother:

“I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.
I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.
In the name of my freedom I choose your release, because I recognize that we will be released together.”

So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Singing Reed

My eyes would look upon the Son of God. For this I came; to overlook the world, And seeing it forgiven, understand
Its holiness is but the truth in me.

The Christ walks forth in every step I take. God shines within me, lighting up the world In radiant joy. The Holy Spirit comes
With me, lest I should turn and lose the way.

for God has given me a goal to reach, And has made certain that I cannot fail. And so He gave me eyes to see beyond Appearances and shadows. I will see the Son of God exactly as he is.

And in that sight is all the world transformed, And blessed forever with the Love of God. How holy are my footsteps, which but go
To do the Will of God, Whose Son I am.

And how forever perfect is my will,
Which is in no way separate from His Own.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 31

Lesson 361
FINAL LESSONS

Introduction

Our final lessons will be left as free of words as possible. We use them but at the beginning of our practicing, and only to remind us that we seek to go beyond them. Let us turn to Him Who leads the way and makes our footsteps sure. To Him we leave these lessons, as to Him we give our lives henceforth. For we would not return again to the belief in sin that made the world seem ugly and unsafe, attacking and destroying, dangerous in all its ways, and treacherous beyond the hope of trust and the escape from pain.

His is the only way to find the peace that God has given us. It is His way that everyone must travel in the end, because it is this ending God Himself appointed. In the dream of time it seems to be far off. And yet, in truth, it is already here; already serving us as gracious guidance in the way to go. Let us together follow in the way that truth points out to us. And let us be the leaders of our many brothers who are seeking for the way, but find it not.

And to this purpose let us dedicate our minds, directing all our thoughts to serve the function of salvation. Unto us the aim is given to forgive the world. It is the goal that God has given us. It is His ending to the dream we seek, and not our own. For all that we forgive we will not fail to recognize as part of God Himself. And thus His memory is given back, completely and complete.

It is our function to remember Him on earth, as it is given us to be His Own completion in reality. So let us not forget our goal is shared, for it is that remembrance which contains the memory of God, and points the way to Him and to the Heaven of His peace. And shall we not forgive our brother, who can offer this to us? He is the way, the truth and life that shows the way to us. In him resides salvation, offered us through our forgiveness, given unto him.

We will not end this year without the gift our Father promised to His holy Son. We are forgiven now. And we are saved from all the wrath we thought belonged to God, and found it was a dream. We are restored to sanity, in which we understand that anger is insane, attack is mad, and vengeance merely foolish fantasy. We have been saved from wrath because we learned we were mistaken. Nothing more than that. And is a father angry at his son because he failed to understand the truth?

We come in honesty to God and say we did not understand, and ask Him to help us to learn His lessons, through the Voice of His Own Teacher. Would He hurt His Son? Or would He rush to answer him, and say, “This is My Son, and all I have is his”? Be certain He will answer thus, for these are His Own words to you. And more than that can no one ever have, for in these words is all there is, and all that there will be throughout all time and in eternity.

Lessons 361 to 365

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1036: I have only been studying A Course in Miracles for six months but previously have read David Hawkins, Ken Wilbur, and studied some things on quantum physics. Before I came to A Course in Miracles , I was having strong feelings of love for everything from bugs to trees to people. I saw their forms as cute, implying childlike innocence. It wasn’t as if I was denying their propensity for attack, but I found people responding to me with kindness and friendliness so I didn’t see this side to them. You stated in a tape that, in the ego world, we created children to appear innocent so that the blame can be projected outward. (I hope I’m interpreting you correctly here). Now, I’m confused on how to feel love toward people and animals. Am I loving their form? Am I able to see spirit in form even if form doesn’t exist and is just a projection? Where do I direct the intense feelings of love that sometimes wash over me?

A: If these intense feelings of love embrace everything and everyone and exclude nothing and no one, then they are coming from the part of your mind that remembers the oneness of God’s Son, which transcends form. Spirit is never in form, as form is inherently illusory. Form issued from the separated Son’s mind as a means of obliterating any awareness of oneness, thereby validating his existence as separate from God. Jesus describes this mistake as “the substitution of illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still is what it was” (T.18.I.4:2,3) . Bodies, with their senses, were made to perceive only form, and so we cannot rely on them to put us in touch with the truth. We can turn inward to our minds, however, where we can choose to regard everything of form as symbols that can either reinforce our belief in the reality of separation or help us undo that belief. In other words, our focus shifts from the forms themselves to the purpose they serve — the purpose of the ego or the purpose of the Holy Spirit. This is the shift from form to the content in our minds, which is the function of the miracle. Even though, on one level, all form represents an attack on the perfect formlessness of reality — “the body is a limit on love . . . it was made to limit the unlimited” (T.18.VIII.2:2,3) — on another level, “love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusion” (T.18.VI.4:8) . This is the gentle way of the Course and of Jesus, the teacher in our minds to whom we can turn for help in making this shift.

Lesson 151 in the workbook is especially helpful in contrasting these two ways of perceiving. It helps us see how we have gotten ourselves stuck by using our senses as the chief means of judging what is real and true and lovable, and why we did that. Then Jesus teaches us to turn to the Holy Spirit within, Who will help us perceive truly, a process that will gradually “bridge the gap between illusions and the truth” (W.pI.151.9:7) . Near the end of this journey, as we advance spiritually, our perception will be one with the Holy Spirit’s, Who sees everyone as either expressing love or calling for it. In the earlier stages of our spiritual growth, Jesus tells us that we “cannot safely make this division, for . . . [we] are much too bound to form, and not to content” (T.14.X.7:2,3) . Learning to thus distinguish between form and content is an essential step in the process of restoring to our awareness our true Identity as God’s one Son. So your intense feelings of love can be directed inward to the content in your right mind, where you go beyond form and differences to the love that reflects the perfect Oneness of God’s Love.

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ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 29

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 29

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Place of Resurrection

There is an altar that I seek. For there
And only there can certain peace be found.
The light of holiness shines white upon
Its cooling stillness wreathed with lilies round.
Here is the place where those who thought that death Was lord of life must come, to learn of One
Who seemed to die, that life is lord of death.

Beside the lilies sickly dreams are gone,
And stillness spreads a blanket over all
Who seemed to know no rest and find no peace, To bring the quiet and the dreamless sleep
In which their dreaming will forever cease.

Here we awake, my brothers and myself, For all of us come here to find the way
To waken from the dream of sin the world Was made to represent. We come to lay Our guilt beside the altar and step back, Putting illusions and mistakes aside,

And learn before an empty tomb to see, He is not dead Who here was crucified.

 

By Helen Schucman, March 18, 1974

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 29

Lesson 358
No call to God can be unheard nor left
Unanswered. And of this I can be sure;
His answer is the one I really want.

You Who remember what I really am alone remember what I really want. You speak for God, and so You speak for me. And what You give me comes from God Himself. Your Voice, my Father, then is mine as well, and all I want is what You offer me, in just the form You choose that it be mine. Let me remember all I do not know, and let my voice be still, remembering. But let me not forget Your Love and care, keeping Your promise to Your Son in my awareness always. Let me not forget myself is nothing, but my Self is all.

*

Lesson 359
God’s answer is some form of peace. All pain
Is healed; all misery replaced with joy.
All prison doors are opened. And all sin
Is understood as merely a mistake.

Father, today we will forgive Your world, and let creation be Your Own. We have misunderstood all things. But we have not made sinners of the holy Sons of God. What You created sinless so abides forever and forever. Such are we. And we rejoice to learn that we have made mistakes which have no real effects on us. Sin is impossible, and on this fact forgiveness rests upon a certain base more solid than the shadow world we see. Help us forgive, for we would be redeemed. Help us forgive, for we would be at peace.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #747: I am still having a little doubt as to the nature of the ego. Is it such an evil entity always attempting to separate us from God? Isn’t it better just to think of a corpus of wrong ideas we have created of ourselves that serves the simple purpose of giving wrong answers when facing a situation? Isn’t it just a point of reference with which to compare the divine peace of Heaven? Why do we have to see it as such an entity? In my case this idea contributed to building a new kind of fear I had to deal with.

A: In A Course in Miracles , Jesus tells us exactly what the ego is : “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?” (C.2.1:4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, italics ours ) The ego cannot then be an entity; it has no substance. It is the thought of separation, which is given power only by a choice in the mind to believe that it is true. The ego/thought exists in our experience because we want it to. We choose it over the Holy Spirit because we prefer our specialness as separate bodies to our truth as God’s innocent Son. We fear it because we fear the power of our minds that would recognize the nothingness of the ego. If the ego is nothing, so is the world and so is the body. That recognition is terrifying to those who cling to specialness in a body.

The world and the body arise in our experience as the result of choosing to identify with the thought of separation (ego) in the mind. Thus, the ego is not a thing outside of ourselves that exists on its own, acting as an agent that can tempt us to anything. We alone are responsible for bringing it into existence by believing in it and allowing it to thrive on the guilt that inevitably follows the choice to be other than the Son that God created. We would prefer to believe that the ego has a life of its own so we could dissociate from it. That would allow us to have our cake and eat it too; i.e., have an ego-free life as bodies outside of Heaven. However, Jesus tells us in the Course that neither the ego nor the body exists, because nothing exists outside of Heaven: “ Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19:6). To ears that cling to “life” in a body this is not good news, and does indeed seem to instill fear. The fear, however, comes only from unwillingness to accept that truth be true. Yet in this same statement lies our hope for escape from the nightmare of separation. It tells us the ego has no life, and therefore no power and no effects. In another passage we are told: “ It [the ego] has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified” (T.7.VI.11:6,7,8,9). That is good news. We are free to fix our attention on the path of forgiveness that is our only function here, and let the thought of separation be gradually undone. The ego, like the world, will then “fade into the nothingness from which it came.…” (M.13.1:2)

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ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 28

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 28

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

They wait

I did not know Your Voice. And what I heard I did not understand. There was a Word
In which was everything. Yet all I found
In its immensity was but the sound

Of meaningless contention. I passed by A thousand waiting angels, And as I Rushed along vain detours I did not see The hosts of holiness surrounding me.

Yet I will certainly return. For You
Have promised that whatever I may do, Angels arid holy hosts will wait; the Word Will hover over me till it is heard.

 

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 28

Lesson 356
Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.

*

Lesson 357
Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself.

Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1251: I am having difficulty understanding how my interactions with other people who are going through the same process of learning that their thoughts are creating reality are able to coexist and not interfere with one another. If I believe and understand that reality is a manifestation of thought, does this not have an effect on other people? What if I have thoughts about another person? — how can my reality possibly make our two realities come together? If the situation has been decided by all involved beforehand, then I feel as though I am in a grand illusion that is no longer a good space to be in. It would be nice to get some validation that I’m not a puppet on someone’s string. I am giving 100% to learning how to relearn that the world, and this email for that matter, is only a thought and nothing more. I got the concept that we are all the same energy, but I don’t understand it when it relates to individuality.

A: No, you are not a “puppet on someone’s string”; and A Course in Miracles’ theory of time does not entail predestination. In fact, one of the major objectives of Jesus’ teaching is to have us realize that our decision to choose the ego or him as our teacher determines what our experience will be at every instant. But it would not be entirely accurate to say that we therefore “create our reality.”

If I choose the ego as my teacher, then my thoughts will emanate from the thought system of separation, and whatever is going on externally will be interpreted by me (my decision maker) accordingly. The ego thought system will be a kind of template, in terms of which my internal experience of the external will be “created.” When I interact with you, for instance, my ego needs will determine how I experience you. I do not create your reality; I “create” my perception of you based on my prior choice to listen to the ego rather than Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And my perception of you may not even square with the objective reality, because my ego needs could result in distorted perception — which is frequently the case.

It is next to impossible for us to jump from our experience of ourselves as physical/psychological individuals to an experience of ourselves as minds not bound by time or space. Even the intellectual understanding of mind is not easy for us, as you have found. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that we are far more invested in the ego thought system than we realize, and since the core of the ego’s strategy is to keep us mindless, attempting to perceive a realm beyond the body and specifics (the realm of mindlessness) would seem quite unnatural and frustrating to us, and almost impossible to attain. We would be fighting against ourselves to perceive everything as mind when, at the same time, we are upholding a decision to deny our identity as mind.

Therefore, what might help ease the pressure and confusion you are experiencing is to approach this issue from a different direction: shifting your focus to the purpose or the way you are using the world, your body, and your relationships, rather than trying so hard to relate to the world and everyone as thought. It is true that there is only mind and thoughts in the mind; but your experience of that will come more naturally if you focus first on becoming comfortable with recognizing the purpose in your mind that is motivating the way you relate and interact in the world. The practice of this would lead you eventually to see beyond the appearances of individuality to the decision-making mind that is “in charge.” Then you would see that no one is under anyone else’s control, unless that kind of experience is wanted; but then that choice could be changed at any instant.

For example, as long as we identify with the ego’s thought system of separation, it is a given that we will relate to each other in the context of specialness, which means we will judge some people as not deserving of our love, compassion, and forgiveness — even ourselves at times. Specialness and exclusion go hand in hand. We can thus learn to recognize how we use people to keep ourselves in the particular state of specialness we desire — to get what we want. Even further, the roots of specialness are hidden in the mind’s compulsion to see and judge differences; and so we can learn to recognize that dimension in our relationships as well.

As we continue this process of looking and observing, we will be shifting our attention more and more away from form to the content in our minds. And eventually we will relate to ourselves and everyone else primarily on that level, while at the same time we will be functioning normally in our day-to-day activities (form). Thus, when we realize how we make differences important, and then seek to correct that (we change teachers in our mind), our perception will shift to the interests we all share — that we all are suffering tremendous anguish and guilt over believing we selfishly separated from our Source, and that we all are longing to go back home to Heaven. As that becomes our abiding perception, then our investment in individuality will begin to weaken, without our even working on that directly.

The transition to the experience of everything as mind, thus, would be more natural, and certainly more gentle than trying to pressure ourselves to get beyond the body and form entirely. This is why Jesus reminds us often that we are involved in a process of undoing what we have made in error. We start where we are — with what we are most familiar with. Near the end of the text, Jesus tells us, “Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice” (T.31.VI.3:1). Thus, our willingness to change from the ego’s purpose to the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the world and the body is what will facilitate the gentle transition to true perception, and to the vision we share with Jesus.

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ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 27

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 27

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

Christ’s Vision

Let not the past obscure the now to you. For thus you waken happily, with joy Upon your heart and eyes, to see a world Awaiting to be seen aright at last.

How beautiful the newly-born! For they Reflect their Father’s Love, their brother’s care, The happiness of Heaven, and peace
that is their true inheritance. It is
On them you look. They have no past today.

All darkness vanishes, and Heaven’s smile Presents a world from which the past is gone, And present happiness ends all despair
In shining silence and simplicity.

Let not the past obscure the now to you. For thus you waken happily, with joy Upon your heart and eyes, to see a world Awaiting to be seen aright at last.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 27

Lesson 354
We stand together, Christ and I, in peace
And certainty of purpose. And in Him
Is His Creator, as He is in me.

My oneness with the Christ establishes me as Your Son, beyond the reach of time, and wholly free of every law but Yours. I have no self except the Christ in me. I have no purpose but His Own. And He is like His Father. Thus must I be one with You as well as Him. For who is Christ except Your Son as You created Him? And what am I except the Christ in me?

*

Lesson 355
There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word. Why not today?

Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1117: You mentioned in an earlier answer that recalling the past was a defense against the truth. I know from reading A Course in Miracles that sickness is also one of these defenses. Can you give a list of other common defenses?

A: Since the guilt that arises as the result of the mind’s choice for separation is projected on to the body, everything pertaining to the body is a defense against the truth because it was made as a substitute for the oneness that was abandoned when separation was chosen. A list of defenses contains everything we choose to use to defend and protect belief in separation. It is a long list indeed. Anything that proves the world “real” in our experience defends the mind’s belief in it, thereby denying the truth of oneness. This is the mind’s way of dissociating from itself in its attempt to remain separate from its Source. The truth, however, is that there is no defense against the truth; it can be denied, forgotten, blocked from awareness, but it cannot be changed or extinguished. We read on the first page of the text: “Nothing real (truth) can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists” (T.in.2.3) . It follows that the illusory existence of what is not real (ego/ world) requires constant defense in order for the mind to sustain belief in it by its choice. Thus, the entire made-up physical universe is a defense. Obviously we cannot undo the belief in separation by crossing defenses off our list.

However, we learn in the Course that everything made as a defense against the truth can be used by the Holy Spirit to lead to the truth. Through the process of forgiveness, the entire defense strategy of the ego is transformed into a classroom for learning to accept the truth. The body and the world lose their power to defend against the truth when they are seen as projections of the mind. Willingness to apply this important principle in any situation strengthens belief in the power of the mind and weakens the ego’s defense arsenal. There is no need to fight against the defenses. They need only be recognized as a smokescreen used by the ego to keep truth from awareness. They reflect the mind’s choice to identify with the ego and to forget that it ever made a choice. One of the important goals of the Course is to uncover the ego’s deceptive scheme and expose its defenses so the mind can choose to correct the error of believing in separation and accept its true identity as mind. Anything outside of the mind that is perceived as having any positive or negative effect on the mind’s perfect peace is a defense against it and therefore against the truth. It constitutes a denial of the part of the mind that holds the memory of God’s Love and abides in perfect peace. Being willing to see the ego’s defense strategy at work in every relationship is the beginning of its undoing by the mere fact that it has been exposed. Not justifying the mind’s projections lessens their effectiveness as defenses; not defending the defenses weakens them. Through this gentle practice, the ego’s grip is loosened and eventually undone. The defense list fades and is erased.

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 26

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 26

A Jesus Prayer

A Child, a Man and then a Spirit, come
In all Your loveliness. Unless You shine
Upon my life, it is a loss to You,
And what is loss to You is also mine.

I cannot calculate why I am here
Except for this: I know that I have come
To seek You here and find You. In Your life
You show the way to my eternal home.

A child, a man and then a spirit. So
I follow in the way You show to me
That I may come at last to be like You.
What but Your likeness would I want to be?

There is a silence where You speak to me
And give me words of love to say for You
To those You send to me. And I am blessed
Because in them I see You shining through.

There is no gratitude that I can give
For such a gift. The light around Your head
Must speak for me, for I am dumb beside
Your gentle hand with which my soul is led.

I take Your gift in holy hands, for You
Have blessed them with Your own. Come, brothers, see
How like to Christ am I, and I to you
Whom He has blessed and holds as one with me.

A perfect picture of what I can be
You show to me, that I might help renew
Your brothers’ failing sight. As they look up
Let them not look on me, but only You.

By Helen Schucman
February 16, 1976
From The Gifts of God©, pp. 82-3,
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 26

Lesson 352
Judgment and love are opposites. From one
Come all the sorrows of the world. But from
The other comes the peace of God Himself.

Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone, and judges not. Through this I come to You. Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind. Yet love, reflected in forgiveness here, reminds me You have given me a way to find Your peace again. I am redeemed when I elect to follow in this way. You have not left me comfortless. I have within me both the memory of You, and One Who leads me to it. Father, I would hear Your Voice and find Your peace today. For I would love my own Identity, and find in It the memory of You.

*

Lesson 353
My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet today
Have but one purpose; to be given Christ
To use to bless the world with miracles.

Father, I give all that is mine today to Christ, to use in any way that best will serve the purpose that I share with Him. Nothing is mine alone, for He and I have joined in purpose. Thus has learning come almost to its appointed end. A while I work with Him to serve His purpose. Then I lose myself in my Identity, and recognize that Christ is but my Self.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #120: Did Jesus ever discuss giving up meat during any of his talks with Helen? In the Essene Gospels, he talks quite a bit about not eating meat. What’s your view on this?

A: In scribing A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman did not receive any instruction regarding eating meat — the topic was not discussed. The Course is not the same teaching as the Essene Gospels. It is a Course on content, not form, and so there are no directives for behavior, as in the Essene Gospels.

There are two very important principles of the Course that may be helpful to consider in response to your question, both are stated in the same passage: “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion” (T.23.II.19:1,2,3). If no life exists outside of Heaven, and any other state is an illusion, it would be very inconsistent with the Course’s teaching that any kind of behavior in the dream be awarded significance. The Course is teaching us to become aware of the interpretation we give to everything, thereby becoming aware of the thoughts, beliefs, and judgments that make up our ego thought system. In this way we will be able to learn to see the true connection between cause and effect, and understand that the source of all our pain is in the mind. Therefore the only thing the Course asks us to do is pay attention to our thoughts, see them as the cause of any condition we may find ourselves in, and bring them to the Holy Spirit so they can be transformed. Beyond this the Course does not give any specific behavioral directives for choices made in an hallucination: “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination?” (T.20.VIII.7:3) Based on these important principles of the Course it is not in keeping with its thought system to abstain from meat because it means killing a “living” creature, or because it is a “spiritually superior” thing to do. With regard to this, as to any specific situation or problem we may have, the Course instructs us to ask but one question: “This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically” (T.4.V.6:8,9,10). Everything serves the purpose of the ego or that of the Holy Spirit. Whether we eat meat or refrain from eating meat, the important thing to remember is that we do not make decisions by ourselves: “You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God” (T.30.I.14:7,8). Our choice will reinforce the ego’s thought system, that the world is real, and what we eat makes a difference, or the Holy Spirit’s thought system, that the world is an illusion, and the only thing that matters in the dream is healing our mind of the thought that we believe we separated from God. Regarding specific behavior, Krishnamurti offered very helpful advice to one of his followers in reference to having sex, which we can paraphrase to apply to your question: “Eat meat, or don’t eat meat, but get on with it.”

jesus there is no deathjesus there is no death

 

 

 

 

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 24

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 24

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

The Hope of Christmas
Christ is not born but neither does He die,
And yet He is reborn in everyone.
The rising and the birth are one in Him,
For it is in the advent of God’s Son
The light of resurrection is begun.

Heaven needs no nativity. And yet
The Son of Heaven needs the world to be
His birthplace, for the world is overcome
Because a Child is born. And it is He
Who brings God’s promise of eternity.

It is His birth that ends the dream of death,
For in Him death is brought to life. Behold
The earth made new and shining in the hope
Of love and pardon. Now God’s Arms enfold
The hearts that shivered in the winter’s cold.

*

Nativity
There was an instant long ago when God
Proclaimed His Word, and all the world was still
To hear and answer. Yet it could not hear
Nor answer. When the holy Christ was born

He came alone, with but His Father’s Word
To hear and answer Him. And yet His Voice
Remains to bless the world along with me
Who would remember that His Word is mine.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 24

Lesson 351
Section 14. What Am I?

I am God’s Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy Sinlessness Itself, for in my purity abides His Own.

Our use for words is almost over now. Yet in the final days of this one year we gave to God together, you and I, we found a single purpose that we shared. And thus you joined with me, so what I am are you as well. The truth of what we are is not for words to speak of nor describe. Yet we can realize our function here, and words can speak of this and teach it, too, if we exemplify the words in us.

We are the bringers of salvation. We accept our part as saviors of the world, which through our joint forgiveness is redeemed. And this, our gift, is therefore given us. We look on everyone as brother, and perceive all things as kindly and as good. We do not seek a function that is past the gate of Heaven. Knowledge will return when we have done our part. We are concerned only with giving welcome to the truth.

Ours are the eyes through which Christ’s vision sees a world redeemed from every thought of sin. Ours are the ears that hear the Voice for God proclaim the world as sinless. Ours the minds that join together as we bless the world. And from the oneness that we have attained we call to all our brothers, asking them to share our peace and consummate our joy.

We are the holy messengers of God who speak for Him, and carrying His Word to everyone whom He has sent to us, we learn that it is written on our hearts. And thus our minds are changed about the aim for which we came, and which we seek to serve. We bring glad tidings to the Son of God, who thought he suffered. Now is he redeemed. And as he sees the gate of Heaven stand open before him, he will enter in and disappear into the Heart of God.

Lesson 351

My sinless brother is my guide to peace.
My sinful brother is my guide to pain.
And which I choose to see I will behold.

Who is my brother but Your holy Son? And if I see him sinful I proclaim myself a sinner, not a Son of God; alone and friendless in a fearful world. Yet this perception is a choice I make, and can relinquish. I can also see my brother sinless, as Your holy Son. And with this choice I see my sinlessness, my everlasting Comforter and Friend beside me, and my way secure and clear. Choose, then, for me, my Father, through Your Voice. For He alone gives judgment in Your Name.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #347: As a student of A Course in Miracles, I am finding the Christmas holiday season more and more difficult and depressing with each passing year. How do I reconcile the desire to want to take part in and be joyous and of good cheer during this time of the year which to me only seems to validate the special message and the meaning my ego has given to this season? It’s like a tug of war: on the one hand wanting to make Jesus special for his “holy birth,” and on the other hand wanting to make me special for not wanting to take part in the holiday. I am trying not to judge the holiday but rather feel apathetic towards it. Can you help me see this differently?

A: As our understanding of the Course deepens, we begin to see the meaninglessness of the world’s values and beliefs, including those most “sacred,” such as Christmas. To the ego this is depressing, for the ego wants nothing more than to have “divine” validation. What greater proof that the world is real and we are in it, than to have God send His Son into the world to redeem it? Challenging this belief, therefore, is extremely threatening to the ego. The conflict you describe is very common, and is inevitable as long as meaning is sought in the meaningless. If the Christmas holiday celebration were not endowed with any “holy” significance (it has none), nor seen as any different from other simple pleasures one may enjoy in the world, there would be no need to respond to it any differently than an enjoyable day at the beach. Engaging in the activities of the season is not the problem, and being apathetic to them is not the solution. It is the desire that the ego’s insanity be true, and that salvation be found in the multitude of substitutes made up specifically to exclude God and deny truth, that reinforces guilt and causes the conflict you describe. Learning this is a process, and Christmas is a perfect classroom in which to recognize the deep investment we have in defending our identity as bodies and proving we are right. Thinking we are bodies in the world, and that Christmas, among many other things, will make us happy, is what actually makes us deeply miserable. Our true hope lies in accepting that we do not know who we are, nor what will make us happy. We may then be willing to accept the Holy Spirit’s definition of Who we are as God’s one Son, and find happiness in knowing our true Identity.

In themselves, the gifts, lights, and symbols of Christmas made by the ego to glorify specialness are nothing. In fact, Jesus uses many of these same symbols in the Course to teach us the opposite of the ego’s message of separation and specialness. The mistake is believing they themselves have the power to make us truly happy or give us the peace we seek. It is this belief that causes the distress you describe. Hope for a peaceful holiday lies in the willingness to look at these illusory beliefs, without judging them as anything but illusory.

We give ourselves a true gift when we do what Jesus tells us: “This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you” (T.15.XI.3:1). What hurts us is identifying with the ego thought system. “It’s the thought that counts” is a common refrain in reference to holiday gift giving. It applies aptly here since it is indeed our mistaken thoughts that are transformed when given to the Holy Spirit, thereby bringing us immense relief from the madness of the ego’s lies. It is thus possible to take part in the holiday celebration, seeing it as yet another classroom to learn the Holy Spirit’s lessons of forgiveness rather than to reinforce the ego’s specialness. In this spirit we can find peace this Christmas season, while participating in the celebrations in whatever way seems fitting.

teach not that i died in vain

cdbaby-cover-heart-n-hands-01

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 24

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 24

The Gifts of Christmas“, by Helen Schucman

Christ passes no one by. By this you know
He is God’s Son. You recognize His touch
In universal gentleness. His Love
Extends to everyone. His eyes behold
The Love of God in everything He sees.
No words but those His Father’s Voice dictates
Can reach His ears. His hands forever hold
His brothers’, and His arms remain outstretched
In holy welcome. Would you look on Him,
And hear Him calling you this Christmas day?
Behold, He offers you His eyes to see,
His ears to listen to His Father’s Voice,
His hands to hold His brothers’, and His arms
To reach to Him as He would reach to you.
You are as like to Him as He to God,
And you to God because you are like Him.
All that He offers you is but your own.
Accept His gifts to you this Christmas day,
That you who are as God created you,
May come to recognize the Christ in you.

By Helen Schucman,
December 25, 1969
From “The Gifts of God”©, pp. 95
*The inspired poetry of Dr. Helen Schucman, scribe of . One hundred and fourteen poems written over a ten-year period that share the spiritual content of the Course.*
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace
http://www.facim.org/bookstore/p-17-the-gifts-of-god.aspx

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 24

Lesson 350
Miracles mirror God’s eternal Love.
To offer them is to remember Him,
And through His memory to save the world.

What we forgive becomes a part of us, as we perceive ourselves. The Son of God incorporates all things within himself as You created him. Your memory depends on his forgiveness. What he is, is unaffected by his thoughts. But what he looks upon is their direct result. Therefore, my Father, I would turn to You. Only Your memory will set me free. And only my forgiveness teaches me to let Your memory return to me, and give it to the world in thankfulness.

And as we gather miracles from Him, we will indeed be grateful. For as we remember Him, His Son will be restored to us in the reality of Love.

***

ACIM Q &A for Today

Q #192: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly” (T.4.VI.6:3). This line has always had a strong emotional impact on me (it made me cry, boosted my confidence, etc.), but sometimes I think this line perhaps was meant only personally for Helen?

A: It must always be remembered that A Course in Miracles came for Helen and Bill in response to their joining together to find a better way of relating. Therefore, many of the comments — especially in the early chapters — were meant for them; but clearly they can be seen as applying to all of us who struggle with the same issues with which they struggled. The statement you refer to, therefore, in no way implies that they were special, a meaning our egos would immediately see in it, as the ego knows only of separation. Helen did not see herself as specially blessed in any way, and very quickly corrected anyone who regarded her as special.

Connecting this statement with two other key statements further clarifies the meaning: “All my brothers are special” and “All are called” (T.1.V.3; T.3.IV.7). While using the language of the Bible, Jesus clearly corrects the traditional view that singles out certain special people: “many are called, but few are chosen,” or groups of people: “the chosen people.” He is basically telling us that we are not mistaken in thinking that we are dear to him.

At the beginning of Lesson 93, he describes the horribly negative self-concept we harbor deep within our minds — sometimes not very far beneath the surface. And then he tells us that we are so convinced that this is the truth about us that it is difficult for him to help us see that it is all based on nothing (W.pI.93.1,2). That explains why we would tend to think that Jesus was referring only to Helen and Bill, not us, a trend of thought he later calls arrogant. When we think that way, we ought to stop and reflect on where those thoughts are coming from, and how in feeling unworthy we are really telling Jesus he is wrong about us.

Then, too, we must remember that although our experience at first may be that of being chosen, that is not the reality. As we get further up the ladder, our experience will be that we are really allowing ourselves to experience love more and more, and resisting it less and less.

 

cdbaby-cover-heart-n-hands-01

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 23

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

THE HOLINESS OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas is holy only if you come
In silence to the manger, to behold
Your holiness made visible to you.
Your gifts are but your open hands, made clean
Of grasping. Nothing else you lay before
The newly-born except your doubts and fears,
Your pale illusions and your sickly pride,
Your hidden venom and your little love,
Your meager treasures and unfaithfulness
To all the gifts that God has given you.
Here at the altar lay all this aside
To let the door to Heaven open wide
And hear the angels sing of peace on earth,
For Christmas is the time of your rebirth.(The Gifts of God, p. 97)

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

Lesson 349
Today I let Christ’s vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.

So would I liberate all things I see, and give to them the freedom that I seek. For thus do I obey the law of love, and give what I would find and make my own. It will be given me, because I have chosen it as the gift I want to give. Father, Your gifts are mine. Each one that I accept gives me a miracle to give. And giving as I would receive, I learn Your healing miracles belong to me.

Our Father knows our needs. He gives us grace to meet them all. And so we trust in Him to send us miracles to bless the world, and heal our minds as we return to Him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1044: My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, “He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear.” I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone’s peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.

A: It is important to know the context of Helen’s comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict — between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus’ will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her — meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love — and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course’s teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite — she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).

Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.

you have no idea

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 22

A JESUS PRAYER

A Child, a Man and then a Spirit, come
In all Your loveliness. Unless You shine
Upon my life, it is a loss to You,
And what is loss to You is also mine.
I cannot calculate why I am here
Except for this: I know that I have come
To seek You here and find You. In Your life
You show the way to my eternal home.

A child, a man and then a spirit. So
I follow in the way You show to me
That I may come at last to be like You.
What but Your likeness would I want to be?

There is a silence where You speak to me
And give me words of love to say for You
To those You send to me. And I am blessed
Because in them I see You shining through.

There is no gratitude that I can give
For such a gift. The light around Your head
Must speak for me, for I am dumb beside
Your gentle hand with which my soul is led.

I take Your gift in holy hands, for You
Have blessed them with Your own. Come, brothers, see
How like to Christ am I, and I to you
Whom He has blessed and holds as one with me.

A perfect picture of what I can be
You show to me, that I might help renew
Your brothers’ failing sight. As they look up
Let them not look on me, but only You.

By Helen Schucman
February 16, 1976
From The Gifts of God©, pp. 82-3,
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

Lesson 348
I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

Father, let me remember You are here, and I am not alone. Surrounding me is everlasting Love. I have no cause for anything except the perfect peace and joy I share with You. What need have I for anger or for fear? Surrounding me is perfect safety. Can I be afraid, when Your eternal promise goes with me? Surrounding me is perfect sinlessness. What can I fear, when You created me in holiness as perfect as Your Own?

God’s grace suffices us in everything that He would have us do. And only that we choose to be our will as well as His.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #156: I am very new to A Course in Miracles, and have read the introduction several times in hopes of having this question answered: Who is authoring the book? Is it the Voice, the Holy Spirit, Christ? Helen states that it is the “Voice” who dictates the text. How is the Voice different from God if it’s God’s Voice? I’m just having problems when the text switches to first person. Mentally, whom do I address? As I’m reading and feeling inspired, my comprehension or absorption of what is being read gets detoured by my mind asking, very loudly, “Who is this?”

A: Helen Schucman identified the “voice” she heard as that of Jesus. There was no doubt in her mind about this as she scribed the Course. (See Question #110) Therefore, the first person statements in the Course do refer to Jesus. The voice is not the voice of God, however. Neither does Jesus state that he is speaking for God. According to the Course, God does not speak words to us in the dream, nor does He “hear our prayers.” The “voice” is different from God because it is part of the dream. It is a reflection of truth, but it is not truth. As so clearly stated in the in the workbook “God is” (W.169.5:4), and in His Being knows only our truth, which is that we are His one Son, who never left Heaven.

The answer to your question lies in understanding the Course’s use of symbols. These symbols include “persons” such as Jesus, the Holy Spirit, as well as images, words, and the Course itself. All are symbols for that part of the mind of the Sonship that remembers God. They reflect the truth of who we are, and in somewhat different ways, they are the reminders of our truth, and the guides who will help us return to God. Specifically, the Course refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Voice for God,” meaning — the Voice that speaks for God, and as “God’s Voice.” Clearly this is a metaphor, since God does not have a voice and, as noted earlier, does not speak to us in the dream. When the Course invites us to “ask” — whether Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or God — it is actually inviting us to turn to our own right mind for guidance. It uses symbols and metaphors, because we are so out of touch with the fact that we have a mind. In its wisdom, the Course has used all its symbols carefully and purposefully. It meets us on our level, using dualistic language for a teaching that reflects nondualism. It seems to imply that God is a person Who hears our prayers, answers us, even “weeps,” yearning for our return. These are all metaphors used to help us understand that we are loved, not condemned for our seeming sin, as the ego would tell us. You may use whichever is most helpful for you.

It is helpful for us to use these images and symbols until we learn that we do indeed have a right mind, and can access it directly. By then we probably will have no need for any symbol and no need to “ask.” We will have accepted the truth about ourselves as spirits, not bodies; innocent, not guilty. The right-minded loving response to any situation will flow through us. It is important, however, to be aware of any resistance, as apparently you have been in your study so far. Our goal in studying and practicing the Course is to learn that we do have a mind, that we do have a choice, that there is another way of looking at any situation in the dream, that our way is based on the belief that separation is real, and that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are here to teach us that there is no separation. Again, it does not matter to whom we address our asking, or what mental image we use. The important thing is that we ask, and not rely on our usual ego interpretation.

HelenandBillat1W.81stStreetNYC

ACIM Supplemental Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 21

ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 21

The Poetry of Helen Schucman

AWAKE IN STILLNESS
Peace cover you, within without the same,
In shining silence and in peace so deep
No dream of sin and evil can come near
Your quiet mind. And then in stillness wake.
First there is silence; then awakening.
Now is the time appointed for the end
Of dreaming. Still the cradle where you come
To be reborn. The Christ is stirring in
The home that He has chosen as His Own.
His vision rests upon your eyes, and soon
You will behold His face, and will forget
The fantasies that seemed to be so real
Until the stillness came. The Son of God
Has come to join you now. His shining hand
Is on your shoulder. And God’s silent Voice
Speaks ceaselessly of Heaven. You will hear
His single message calling to His Own
From His abiding place, to wake in God.

By Helen Schucman,
January 15, 1974
From The Gifts of God©, p. 73
Published by the Foundation for Inner Peace

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 21

Lesson 347
Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from me.

Father, I want what goes against my will, and do not want what is my will to have. Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick. But You have offered freedom, and I choose to claim Your gift today. And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me. He sees what I behold, and yet He knows the truth. He looks on pain, and yet He understands it is not real, and in His understanding it is healed. He gives the miracles my dreams would hide from my awareness. Let Him judge today. I do not know my will, but He is sure it is Your Own. And He will speak for me, and call Your miracles to come to me.

Listen today. Be very still, and hear the gentle Voice for God assuring you that He has judged you as the Son He loves.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #184: I had a moment of clarity recently. I suddenly became aware that all my forms of specialness are based round the body and so they are all doomed to fail along with the body. Strangely this was not depressing — what I felt was mostly relief. The moment didn’t last though, as peaceful as it was, and the fear returned. What I feel I want from you is reassurance that there is nothing to fear so that I can go back to the peace.

In the “Rules for Decision” section of A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that I can have the day I want. I consistently refuse to follow the steps he lays out though because I don’t believe he will give me what I need. Can one take him at his word here? If the day I want contains my being happy and unafraid will he give me that? If the day I want contains being surrounded by people I love will he give me that? What if I feel I need other things, like food, sex, warmth and water? Will he give me them? I am frightened that Jesus, not being a body, will not because he doesn’t think I need them. These are not things I think will make me happy, but they are things I do not think I could be happy without.

I understand from the story about Helen and her eyelash that it is not Jesus who gives parking spaces to me — it is my own mind. But may I still think of Jesus as giving these things to me, for a little while longer anyway? It is easier for me to accept when presented like that. Certainly I wouldn’t want to have to provide my own happiness since it is so plain to me that I don’t know how.

A: You certainly have put yourself in a bind! You know you don’t know how to provide for your happiness but you don’t trust Jesus to either. There is nothing wrong with continuing to want to see him as providing for your needs, but since you doubt that he is willing to, you really are setting up both yourself and him for failure. Because then when you feel deprived of anything, you can blame him.

Jesus points out that “only you can deprive yourself of anything” (T.11.IV.4:1). It is we who believe we need to sacrifice and punish ourselves for the sin of separation and attack we accuse ourselves of. So long as this belief underlies our thinking, we will project evidence of scarcity and lack onto the various forms of our lives. But the goal of the Course is not to teach us how to provide for ourselves physically and emotionally, but rather how to uncover the love buried deep within our minds so that we know that real abundance — love — is ours.

When Jesus tells us in “Rules for Decision” (T.30.I) how to have the kind of day we want, he is speaking only about content and not form. And so that is why he is encouraging us to make all of our decisions joined with him, or the Holy Spirit, rather than with the ego, which is the source of our belief in scarcity, lack and deprivation. For then our own judgments of what we need and what will make us happy will not get in the way. But while we still think we are a body, it will be difficult not to believe we know what at least some of our needs must be.

Whenever you join with Jesus in your mind, even when it is in the form of asking him for help with specific needs, you have in the moment of joining set aside your belief in lack and limitation. Now Jesus in reality has nothing to do with form — it is always our minds that decide about that. Nevertheless, early in your experience with the Course, you may find that your mind translates that experience of his love into the forms of what you believe you need. And so you have the experience of Jesus helping you in the world. There is nothing wrong with that and it can be very helpful in allowing you to develop trust in him. But over time, you will begin to realize that your real need and desire is for peace, as you experienced with your insight about specialness. And so what is happening in the world of form and your body will become less of a concern and what is happening within your mind will increasingly become your focus.

This certainly does not mean that your body’s needs will no longer be met, for if you are releasing the need to punish yourself, your body will over time become simply a neutral instrument that functions without concern or fear on your part (W.pII.294.1). But if there are still lessons of forgiveness to be learned, your mind will continue to project the guilt out into the world as a physical problem or a bodily need. But you will now see the world, not as a prison in which you are deprived, but as a classroom in which you are being presented with opportunities to uncover the guilt buried in your mind that is being projected as scarcity and lack. And your goal will be to heal the guilt in your mind and not concern yourself with the form it takes in the world. And that is where Jesus can really be of help. For he knows that the guilt is not real and deprivation is impossible. And in that shared realization, peace is yours.

For a related discussion, see Question #172.

jesus there is no death

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