ACIM Text Reading for January 17
Chapter 2 ~ Separation and the Atonement
VI. Special Principles of Miracle Workers
1. The miracle abolishes the need for lower-order concerns. Since it is an out-of-pattern time interval, the ordinary considerations of time and space do not apply. When you perform a miracle, I will arrange both time and space to adjust to it.
2. A clear distinction between what is created and what is made is essential. All forms of healing rest on this fundamental correction in level perception.
3. Never confuse right- and wrong-mindedness. Responding to any form of error with anything except a desire to heal is an expression of this confusion.
4. The miracle is always a denial of this error and an affirmation of the truth. Only right-mindedness can correct in a way that has any real effect. Pragmatically, what has no real effect has no existence. Its effect, then, is emptiness. Being without substantial content, it lends itself to projection.
5. The level-adjustment power of the miracle induces the right perception for healing. Until this has occurred healing cannot be understood. Forgiveness is an empty gesture unless it entails correction. Without this it is essentially judgmental, rather than healing.
6. Miracle-minded forgiveness is only correction. It has no element of judgment at all. The statement “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” in no way evaluates what they do. It is an appeal to God to heal their minds. There is no reference to the outcome of the error. That does not matter.
7. The injunction “Be of one mind” is the statement for revelation-readiness. My request “Do this in remembrance of me” is the appeal for cooperation from miracle workers. The two statements are not in the same order of reality. Only the latter involves an awareness of time, since to remember is to recall the past in the present. Time is under my direction, but timelessness belongs to God. In time we exist for and with each other. In timelessness we coexist with God.
8. You can do much on behalf of your own healing and that of others if, in a situation calling for help, you think of it this way:
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 17
I see no neutral things.
This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think. If it were not so, perception would have no cause, and would itself be the cause of reality. In view of its highly variable nature, this is hardly likely.
In applying today’s idea, say to yourself, with eyes open:
I see no neutral things because I have no neutral thoughts.
Then look about you, resting your glance on each thing you note long enough to say:
I do not see a neutral ___, because my thoughts about ___ are not neutral.
For example, you might say:
I do not see a neutral wall, because my thoughts about walls are not neutral.
I do not see a neutral body, because my thoughts about bodies are not neutral.
As usual, it is essential to make no distinctions between what you believe to be animate or inanimate; pleasant or unpleasant. Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.
Three or four specific practice periods are recommended, and no less than three are required for maximum benefit, even if you experience resistance. However, if you do, the length of the practice period may be reduced to less than the minute or so that is otherwise recommended.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1258: I am continually confronted by my lack of faith in Jesus, God/Higher Power to actually create change in my mind. I want desperately to believe that I can have joy and peace while living in this world, in this lifetime, but it continually eludes me. And then I fear that my lack of faith is what is creating my lack of well-being (e.g., physical, financial) in many areas of my life. The lack of “evidence” of well-being in my experience makes sustained faith impossible for me. It appears that the small willingness necessary for a change in perception is not really enough to create the miracle for me. I spend so much time in observation of my thoughts and in recognition of my misperceptions. I give those mistakes to Jesus, and nothing changes in my experience or in my mind. Could it be that the Course was not meant to be applicable to everyone?
A: There are very few students who have not held out some hope that their diligent work with A Course in Miracles would somehow lead to the betterment of their situation in the world. It is hard not to want physical, financial, and other levels of well being, and the Course never asks us to give that up or feel that it is wrong to pursue it. It is just telling us that we will never rid ourselves of the true cause of our unhappiness and frustration that way, because the real problem lies in our mind’s choice to project guilt instead of looking at it without judgment. We know all too well that however secure we may feel in terms of external conditions, that security is always precarious — our world today makes that abundantly clear. Therefore, Jesus cautions us, “Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped” (T.31.IV.2:5,6).
Part of us believes that, and part of us doesn’t. Thus our conflicted state of mind. Our investment in believing the body is our reality amounts to an addiction, and our fear of bodily impoverishment and inadequacy is that of an addict’s fear of being without his fix. Jesus explains to us that the source of this investment is the body’s role in protecting us from the devastation we believe is in our minds because we accuse ourselves of having thrown away our wholeness, in our selfish demand for individual existence. “The ego believes that mind is dangerous, and that to make mindless is to heal” (T.8.IX.6:3). As long as we identify with the ego, we will desperately need the body; and even more important, we will need to be successful in the body so that we will never have to go back to the disturbing chaos in our minds. That is the reason we panic when things are not going well.
In view of this, we cannot long sustain the thought that we are as God created us, for that means we are not bodies. But the body, once again, with all its needs and problems, is what protects us from what we fear to face in our minds; so we are caught — wanting to believe what the Course says, yet fearing to go there. Therefore, we find a way to compromise between our devotion to the Course and our devotion to achieving security and stability in the world. This ego strategy then leaves us desolate and despairing when things don’t work out the way we think they should, and then we conclude that our faith is wanting; or the Holy Spirit has turned a deaf ear to our pleas; or our sinfulness is just too great, or we haven’t sacrificed enough, etc. That is exactly where the ego wants us to end up — no longer in touch with the truth about ourselves, the world, Jesus, this course, the Holy Spirit, and God, blaming something or someone for our miserable state.
Fear is the problem, not a lack of faith or belief. Therefore, just try to be gentle and patient, as you would with anyone you encounter who is frightened. Accept where you are in your process, and ask Jesus to help you look at the real source of your crisis. It is only our fear that makes the Course seem beyond our capability, because as we well know, fear can distort perception and cause us to grasp for anything that promises immediate relief. This course is simply asking us to accept the truth and deny what is false. Again, our fear causes us to complicate this, because fear impels us to erect defenses against it, and then we get lost in the defenses. In the face of the temptation to believe the Course is beyond you, remember Jesus’ many assurances, one comforting example being: “I would not ask you to do things you cannot do, and it is impossible that I could do things you cannot do. Given this, and given this quite literally, nothing can prevent you from doing exactly what I ask, and everything argues for your doing it. I give you no limits because God lays none upon you” (T.8.IX.8:2,3,4).
Q #1376: Is the ego trainable?
A: Question #796 discusses the nature of the ego, emphasizing that it is not an entity but simply the name given to the thought of separation taken seriously. In this context, the answer to your question is No, because the ego is not a thing that has capabilities. There is a part of our mind, however, that is always choosing whether to continue in a state of separation or to accept the Atonement and return to its natural state of Oneness with God. And therefore A Course in Miracles can be described as a mind-training program aimed at helping us recognize that we, as minds, are always making a choice between these two alternatives, and that there are steps we can take that will help us make the sane choice more and more consistently. See, for example, T.1.VII.4:1; W.in.1,4; W.pI.8.3; C.1.7.
This training, importantly, really consists of undoing the training program we followed once we took the tiny, mad idea of separation seriously and then moved full-speed ahead in our determination never to allow anything to interfere with our pursuit of individuality and specialness. Thus, Jesus speaks of the learning that teachers of God bring to this world as “unlearning” (M.4.X.3:7).
Finally, there are rare times in the Course where Jesus uses the term ego, when it is clear from the context that he is referring to the decision-making aspect of the mind — for example, T.4.I.2:13.