ACIM Text Reading for January 25
Chapter 3 ~ The Innocent Perception
V. Beyond Perception
I have said that the abilities you possess are only shadows of your real strength, and that perception, which is inherently judgmental, was introduced only after the separation. No one has been sure of anything since. I have also made it clear that the resurrection was the means for the return to knowledge, which was accomplished by the union of my will with the Father’s. We can now establish a distinction that will clarify some of our subsequent statements.
Since the separation, the words “create” and “make” have become confused. When you make something, you do so out of a specific sense of lack or need. Anything made for a specific purpose has no true generalizability. When you make something to fill a perceived lack, you are tacitly implying that you believe in separation. The ego has invented many ingenious thought systems for this purpose. None of them is creative. Inventiveness is wasted effort even in its most ingenious form. The highly specific nature of invention is not worthy of the abstract creativity of God’s creations.
Knowing, as we have already observed, does not lead to doing. The confusion between your real creation and what you have made of yourself is so profound that it has become literally impossible for you to know anything. Knowledge is always stable, and it is quite evident that you are not. Nevertheless, you are perfectly stable as God created you. In this sense, when your behavior is unstable, you are disagreeing with God’s Idea of your creation. You can do this if you choose, but you would hardly want to do it if you were in your right mind.
The fundamental question you continually ask yourself cannot properly be directed to yourself at all. You keep asking what it is you are. This implies that the answer is not only one you know, but is also one that is up to you to supply. Yet you cannot perceive yourself correctly. You have no image to be perceived. The word “image” is always perception-related, and not a part of knowledge. Images are symbolic and stand for something else. The idea of “changing your image” recognizes the power of perception, but also implies that there is nothing stable to know.
Knowing is not open to interpretation. You may try to “interpret” meaning, but this is always open to error because it refers to the perception of meaning. Such incongruities are the result of attempts to regard yourself as separated and unseparated at the same time. It is impossible to make so fundamental a confusion without increasing your overall confusion still further. Your mind may have become very ingenious, but as always happens when method and content are separated, it is utilized in a futile attempt to escape from an inescapable impasse. Ingenuity is totally divorced from knowledge, because knowledge does not require ingenuity. Ingenious thinking is not the truth that shall set you free, but you are free of the need to engage in it when you are willing to let it go.
Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless. The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have. In electing perception instead of knowledge, you placed yourself in a position where you could resemble your Father only by perceiving miraculously. You have lost the knowledge that you yourself are a miracle of God. Creation is your Source and your only real function.
The statement “God created man in His own image and likeness” needs reinterpretation. “Image” can be understood as “thought,” and “likeness” as “of a like quality.” God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There is nothing else. Perception, on the other hand, is impossible without a belief in “more” and “less.” At every level it involves selectivity. Perception is a continual process of accepting and rejecting, organizing and reorganizing, shifting and changing. Evaluation is an essential part of perception, because judgments are necessary in order to select.
What happens to perceptions if there are no judgments and nothing but perfect equality? Perception becomes impossible. Truth can only be known. All of it is equally true, and knowing any part of it is to know all of it. Only perception involves partial awareness. Knowledge transcends the laws governing perception, because partial knowledge is impossible. It is all one and has no separate parts. You who are really one with it need but know yourself and your knowledge is complete. To know God’s miracle is to know Him.
Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. Correct perception of your brother is necessary, because minds have chosen to see themselves as separate. Spirit knows God completely. That is its miraculous power. The fact that each one has this power completely is a condition entirely alien to the world’s thinking. The world believes that if anyone has everything, there is nothing left. But God’s miracles are as total as His Thoughts because they are His Thoughts.
As long as perception lasts prayer has a place. Since perception rests on lack, those who perceive have not totally accepted the Atonement and given themselves over to truth. Perception is based on a separated state, so that anyone who perceives at all needs healing. Communion, not prayer, is the natural state of those who know. God and His miracle are inseparable. How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His Light! Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt. Do not perceive yourself in different lights. Know yourself in the One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 25
I do not know what anything is for.
Purpose is meaning. Today’s idea explains why nothing you see means anything. You do not know what it is for. Therefore, it is meaningless to you. Everything is for your own best interests. That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means. It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified. It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.
You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for. As a result, you are bound to misuse it. When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.
Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests. Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing. In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all. And thus you do not know what anything is for.
Before you can make any sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary. At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose. Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels. For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity. What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for. And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.
It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this. The idea for today is a step in this direction.
Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required. Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, “important” or “unimportant,” “human” or “nonhuman.” With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:
I do not know what this chair is for.
I do not know what this pencil is for.
I do not know what this hand is for.
Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it. Then move on to the next subject, and apply today’s idea as before.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #194: You explain in many places that A Course in Miracles is uncompromising about the fact that this world does not exist. Could you list the passages from the text and/or the workbook that explain that this is so?
A: We are listing a number of references here, and we also refer you to Q #111. This is an important issue, which actually is the foundation of the whole thought system of A Course in Miracles. You might also find our Glossary-Index for A Course in Miracles helpful — under “world.” When the main principles are identified, then you can see how they are expressed in many different ways. For example, if only what God creates exists, and God creates only what is eternal and infinite, then anything not of God does not and could not exist, i.e., the changing, limited cosmos.
A sampling of statements:
1) “Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge.…In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist” (W.pI.43.1:1,2; 2:1,2).
2) “There is no world! This is the central concept the course attempts to teach” (W.pI.132.6:2,3). There are other statements within this lesson that state the unreality of the world; e.g., “How can a world of time and place exist, if you remain as God created you?” (9:4); “There is no world because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His Wholeness. Can a world which comes from this idea be real? Can it be anywhere?” (13:1,2,3).
3) “I am as God created me”; “What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of love. Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created” (W.pI.158.1:1,2,3).
4) “Sin is the home of all illusions, which but stand for things imagined, issuing from thoughts that are untrue. They are the ‘proof’ that what has no reality is real. Sin ‘proves’ God’s Son is evil; timelessness must have an end; eternal life must die. And God Himself has lost the Son He loves, with but corruption to complete Himself, His Will forever overcome by death, love slain by hate, and peace to be no more” (W.pII.4.3).
5) “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal?” (T.20.VIII.7:3,4,5,ff.)
6) “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion…Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere” (T.23.II.19.1,2,6).
7) “God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere [through the Holy Spirit]. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him…” (T.24.III.2).
8) “This world is causeless…” (T.28.II.6:1).
9) “They [your eyes and ears] were made to look upon a world that is not there; to hear the voices that make no sound” (T.28.V.5:4).
10) “What seems eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is” (T.29.VI.2:7,8,9,10).
11) “Can what has no beginning really end? The world will end in an illusion, as it began” (M.14.1:1,2).
12) “The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end” (C.4.1).
13) “What is false is false, and what is true has never changed” (W.pII.10.1:1).
14) “How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all” (T.31.I.1:1,2,3,4).