ACIM Text Reading for January 9
Chapter 1 ~ The Meaning of Miracles
V. Wholeness and Spirit
The miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary. When spirit’s original state of direct communication is reached, neither the body nor the miracle serves any purpose. While you believe you are in a body, however, you can choose between loveless and miraculous channels of expression. You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.
The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary. Time can waste as well as be wasted. The miracle worker, therefore, accepts the time-control factor gladly. He recognizes that every collapse of time brings everyone closer to the ultimate release from time, in which the Son and Father are one. Equality does not imply equality now. When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary.
When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All His children have His total Love, and all His gifts are freely given to everyone alike. “Except ye become as little children” means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special. If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. When this occurs the whole family of God, or the Sonship, is impaired in its relationships.
Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return. The miracle calls him to return because it blesses and honors him, even though he may be absent in spirit. “God is not mocked” is not a warning but a reassurance. God would be mocked if any of His creations lacked holiness. The creation is whole, and the mark of wholeness is holiness. Miracles are affirmations of Sonship, which is a state of completion and abundance.
Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve. The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters. If it elects to do so, the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation. If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control. As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants. To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.
The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow Him. All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable than an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside down be conducive to increased stability.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 9
I see nothing as it is now.
This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.
It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.
These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:
I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.
Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:
I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.
It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #369: What is the reverse of the Golden Rule (T.1.V.6:4)?
A: The reverse of the Golden Rule is the ego’s norm of separate interests: I get what I want regardless of the cost to others. One of the unfortunate consequences of this approach to life and behavior is that we become suspicious of others’ motivations. If that norm is embedded in our own thinking, then it must direct everyone else’s thinking as well. Instead of questioning the foundation of that type of thinking, we find ways of justifying it instead, thus sustaining the ego. It is only when we question the sanity of relationships based on separate interests that we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s healing principle of shared interests.
Q #125: I have been studying A Course in Miracles for about 3 years. I have two questions. First, where are you at, as far as the Course goes, in other words, is there a point at which it all comes together? Second, I feel as if I am and have always been in “a waiting mode” — I want to say a state of anticipation, but not really. I’m tired of “waiting” my life away. Can you give me some advice on this?
A: We are not quite sure of what you mean by “a point where it all comes together.” The Course works, if that is what you mean. It is an individualized curriculum (M.9.1:5), and therefore the specifics of the process vary from student to student. Our learning is always in the context of the relationships and circumstances in our lives, and the goal of the exercises in the workbook is generalization, so that as we go along, we would gradually learn to apply the principles every minute of every day, without getting stuck in specifics. That is when “it all comes together.” Our habitual response to all happenings in our daily lives would be to bring our ego thoughts to the love of Jesus in our minds; and then as our resistance is brought to light and relinquished, we would choose against the ego and allow our minds to be healed, thus restoring to them the awareness of love’s presence that we had banished. Our lives then would be directed from this quiet center of peace: “And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it” (T.18.VII.8:2,3,4,5).
It is difficult to respond to your second question without knowing more about you. So we will just speak in general about the pattern you describe, which is not all that uncommon. The Course speaks a great deal about fear — and even terror — that is the consequence of our having listened to the ego instead of the Holy Spirit. We are not consciously aware of the fear at this level of our minds, and the fear of which we are aware is always attributed to something in the world or in our physical/ psychological experience, both of which are outside the mind. But the fear that Jesus talks about accounts, in part, for the different patterns our lives take. The fear is related to our expectation of punishment by God for having separated from Him, and is also related to the promise we made to the ego to be faithful to it no matter what. Our very existence as individuals, therefore, is associated in our minds with fear and dread on a scale that nothing in the world can approximate.
Instead of bringing the fear to Jesus who would help us realize that it is totally unjustified, we listen to the ego who warns us that we had better do something about it. Then our lives are essentially constructed as a defense against this fear. This manifests in different ways; but one way would be to never get your life going — like waiting at a traffic light that never turns green. Unconsciously, the fear would be that no matter what you do, you are doomed. The maladaptive solution to that fear is to stay in neutral so that you never have to take responsibility for anything, because deep within your mind is the thought “I set out on my own once before, and look what I did. I killed love off so that I could exist. I’m a terrible person, so I’ll see to it that I never make anything of my life, so that I will not be caught and held to account for the awful thing I did.”
Nothing can change in such a situation until the internal state of terror is acknowledged and looked at. Sometimes this requires the assistance of a compassionate therapist, but not always. Jesus encourages us to take this step with him by our side: “We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth” (T.11.V.1:3,4). We need the help of someone outside this thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, who sees its unreality, but who sees as well the destructive effect is has had in the minds of those who have forgotten that it is all just a made-up fable.