ACIM Text Reading for January 12
Chapter 2 ~ The Separation and the Atonement
I. The Origins of Separation
To extend is a fundamental aspect of God which he gave to His Son. In the creation, God extended Himself to His creations and imbued them with the same loving will to create. You have not only been fully created, but have also been created perfect. There is no emptiness in you. Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative. No child of God can lose this ability because it is inherent in what he is, but he can use it inappropriately by projecting. The inappropriate use of extension, or projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth. This process involves the following steps:
First, you believe that what God created can be changed by your own mind.
Second, you believe that what is perfect can be rendered imperfect or lacking.
Third, you believe that you can distort the creations of God, including yourself.
Fourth, you believe that you can create yourself, and that the direction of your own creation is up to you.
These related distortions represent a picture of what actually occurred in the separation, or the “detour into fear.” None of this existed before the separation, nor does it actually exist now. Everything God created is like Him. Extension, as undertaken by God, is similar to the inner radiance that the children of the Father inherit from Him. Its real source is internal. This is as true of the Son as of the Father. In this sense the creation includes both the creation of the Son by God, and the Son’s creations when his mind is healed. This requires God’s endowment of the Son with free will, because all loving creation is freely given in one continuous line, in which all aspects are of the same order.
The Garden of Eden, or the pre-separation condition, was a state of mind in which nothing was needed. When Adam listened to the “lies of the serpent,” all he heard was untruth. You do not have to continue to believe what is not true unless you choose to do so. All that can literally disappear in the twinkling of an eye because it is merely a misperception. What is seen in dreams seems to be very real. Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up. The world has not yet experienced any comprehensive reawakening or rebirth. Such a rebirth is impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate. It still remains within you, however, to extend as God extended His Spirit to you. In reality this is your only choice, because your free will was given you for your joy in creating the perfect.
All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God. Of course, you neither can nor have been able to do this. Here is the real basis for your escape from fear. The escape is brought about by your acceptance of the Atonement, which enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred. Only after the deep sleep fell upon Adam could he experience nightmares. If a light is suddenly turned on while someone is dreaming a fearful dream, he may initially interpret the light itself as part of his dream and be afraid of it. However, when he awakens, the light is correctly perceived as the release from the dream, which is then no longer accorded reality. This release does not depend on illusions. The knowledge that illuminates not only sets you free, but also shows you clearly that you are free.
Whatever lies you may believe are of no concern to the miracle, which can heal any of them with equal ease. It makes no distinctions among misperceptions. Its sole concern is to distinguish between truth on the one hand, and error on the other. Some miracles may seem to be of greater magnitude than others. But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles. In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you. Peace is an attribute in you. You cannot find it outside. Illness is some form of external searching. Health is inner peace. It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 12
I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion. You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world. All these attributes are given it by you. The world is meaningless in itself.
These exercises are done with eyes open. Look around you, this time quite slowly. Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval. Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measured, even tempo throughout. What you see does not matter. You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time. This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.
As you look about you, say to yourself:
I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world,
a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,
and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you. If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them. For example, you might think of “a good world,” or “a satisfying world.” If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest. You may not yet understand why these “nice” adjectives belong in these exercises but remember that a “good world” implies a “bad” one, and a “satisfying world” implies an “unsatisfying” one. All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises. Their seeming quality does not matter.
Be sure that you do not alter the time intervals between applying today’s idea to what you think is pleasant and what you think is unpleasant. For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them. At the end of the practice period, add:
But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you? If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth. Beneath your words is written the Word of God. The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His. That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.
Three or four times is enough for practicing the idea for today. Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute. You may find even this too long. Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #573: In regard to Question #356, I am curious about what Biblical terms in A Course in Miracles have different meanings from the traditional ones? I am Christian and love the messages of the gospel. I also love the messages in the Course. I don’t see the differences or a conflict as I believe they are both from God. I do believe some traditions have corrupted the original message of Christ. Is that what you are referring to? If that is the case, how do YOU discern between the traditions?
A: The short answer to your question is that most the terms in the Course have different meaning from the Bible. That is because they are based on a thought system that is different from the belief system of the Bible.
The foundation of both the Old and New Testaments is the belief that sin is real and requires some form of retribution or atonement through sacrifice to earn salvation (Heaven) and thus avoid punishment (hell). The crucifixion of Jesus is the highest expression of this thought system. Jesus’ death on the cross atoned for the original sin of Adam and Eve and reopened the gates of Heaven for all Christian believers.
In the dualistic belief system of the Bible, God, as Creator, is a being distinct from His creation, which is understood to be the physical universe, including human beings endowed with a spirit or soul. These basic beliefs hold true whatever other interpretations or distortions are introduced by the many sects and churches professing Christianity. A Course in Miracles, on the other hand, is a non-dualistic thought system that teaches “There is no separation of God and His creation” (T.8.V.2:8), “There is no sin”(T.26.VII.10:5), and “There is no world!” (W.pI.132.6:2). These fundamental principles of the Course are what give different meaning to the biblical terms that Jesus uses. In the Course, salvation/Atonement is a process of accepting the truth of these statements, recognizing that it is only the choice to believe in separation that makes it real in our experience and is the cause of the guilt that makes the body and the world seem real. Because there is no sin, there is no need for atonement through sacrifice, but only correction.
The Course teaches that, rather than a means of redemption, the crucifixion is an extreme example of Jesus’ teaching that we are minds not bodies, and cannot be harmed in any way by anything external to the mind. This is what is meant by the section in the text where Jesus speaks of the crucifixion: “The real meaning of the crucifixion lies in the apparent intensity of the assault of some of the Sons of God upon another. This, of course, is impossible, and must be fully understood as impossible” (T.6.I.3:4,5).
Thus, the terms used in the Bible and the Course are not in conflict. They simply represent fundamentally distinct thought systems. That is not to say, however, that the Bible does not have passages that reflect the loving content of the right mind, just as followers of the Bible could recognize right minded passages in the Course. Like everyone else, scripture writers had access to the Holy Spirit, Who is the part of the mind that holds the memory of God. An example of this is the beautiful Gospel story of the Prodigal Son, which Jesus uses in the Course (See:T.8.VI.4). For our learning process, the important thing is to choose a thought system that helps us get in touch with the loving content of the Holy Spirit in our minds. In A Course in Miracles that would be through the process of forgiveness (See: Question #206). The form (words, terms) is not important.
More information regarding the Bible and A Course in Miracles can be found in “A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue” and “The Message of A Course in Miracles” by Kenneth Wapnick.