ACIM Text Reading for February 7
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
II. The Invitation to the Holy Spirit
Healing is a thought by which two minds perceive their oneness and become glad. This gladness calls to every part of the Sonship to rejoice with them, and lets God go out into them and through them. Only the healed mind can experience revelation with lasting effect, because revelation is an experience of pure joy. If you do not choose to be wholly joyous, your mind cannot have what it does not choose to be. Remember that spirit knows no difference between having and being. The higher mind thinks according to the laws spirit obeys, and therefore honors only the laws of God. To spirit getting is meaningless and giving is all. Having everything, spirit holds everything by giving it, and thus creates as the Father created. While this kind of thinking is totally alien to having things, even to the lower mind it is quite comprehensible in connection with ideas. If you share a physical possession, you do divide its ownership. If you share an idea, however, you do not lessen it. All of it is still yours although all of it has been given away. Further, if the one to whom you give it accepts it as his, he reinforces it in your mind and thus increases it. If you can accept the concept that the world is one of ideas, the whole belief in the false association the ego makes between giving and losing is gone.
Let us start our process of reawakening with just a few simple concepts:
- Thoughts increase by being given away.
- The more who believe in them the stronger they become.
- Everything is an idea.
- How, then, can giving and losing be associated?
This is the invitation to the Holy Spirit. I have said already that I can reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your own invitation. The Holy Spirit is in your right mind, as He was in mine. The Bible says, “May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus,” and uses this as a blessing. It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness. It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ-thinking.
The Holy Spirit is the only part of the Holy Trinity that has a symbolic function. He is referred to as the Healer, the Comforter and the Guide. He is also described as something “separate,” apart from the Father and from the Son. I myself said, “If I go I will send you another comforter and He will abide with you.” His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations. As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. I could not have It myself without knowing this. The word “know” is proper in this context, because the Holy Spirit is so close to knowledge that He calls it forth; or better, allows it to come. I have spoken before of the higher or “true” perception, which is so near to truth that God Himself can flow across the little gap. Knowledge is always ready to flow everywhere, but it cannot oppose. Therefore you can obstruct it, although you can never lose it.
The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy.
God honored even the miscreations of His children because they had made them. But He also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. Perception is not knowledge, but it can be transferred to knowledge, or cross over into it. It might even be more helpful here to use the literal meaning of transferred or “carried over,” since the last step is taken by God.
The Holy Spirit, the shared Inspiration of all the Sonship, induces a kind of perception in which many elements are like those in the Kingdom of Heaven itself:
- First, its universality is perfectly clear, and no one who attains it could believe for one instant that sharing it involves anything but gain.
- Second, it is incapable of attack and is therefore truly open. This means that although it does not engender knowledge, it does not obstruct it in any way.
- Finally, it points the way beyond the healing that it brings, and leads the mind beyond its own integration toward the paths of creation. It is at this point that sufficient quantitative change occurs to produce a real qualitative shift.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 7
There is nothing my holiness cannot do.
Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance and limits of any kind. Your holiness is totally unlimited in its power because it establishes you as a Son of God, at one with the Mind of his Creator.
Through your holiness the power of God is made manifest. Through your holiness the power of God is made available. And there is nothing the power of God cannot do. Your holiness, then, can remove all pain, can end all sorrow, and can solve all problems. It can do so in connection with yourself and with anyone else. It is equal in its power to help anyone because it is equal in its power to save anyone.
If you are holy, so is everything God created. You are holy because all things He created are holy. And all things He created are holy because you are. In today’s exercises, we will apply the power of your holiness to all problems, difficulties or suffering in any form that you happen to think of, in yourself or in someone else. We will make no distinctions because there are no distinctions.
In the four longer practice periods, each preferably to last a full five minutes, repeat the idea for today, close your eyes, and then search your mind for any sense of loss or unhappiness of any kind as you see it. Try to make as little distinction as possible between a situation that is difficult for you, and one that is difficult for someone else. Identify the situation specifically, and also the name of the person concerned. Use this form in applying the idea for today:
In the situation involving _____ in which I see myself, there is nothing that my holiness cannot do.
In the situation involving _____ in which _____ sees himself, there is nothing my holiness cannot do.
From time to time you may want to vary this procedure, and add some relevant thoughts of your own. You might like, for example, to include thoughts such as:
There is nothing my holiness cannot do because the power of God lies in it.
Introduce whatever variations appeal to you, but keep the exercises focused on the theme, “There is nothing my holiness cannot do.” The purpose of today’s exercises is to begin to instill in you a sense that you have dominion over all things because of what you are.
In the frequent shorter applications, apply the idea in its original form unless a specific problem concerning you or someone else arises, or comes to mind. In that event, use the more specific form in applying the idea to it.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1046: Is it possible to transcend the body and not be aware of it for sustained periods of time? I just want to have an experience where I know I am not a body. I feel like if I can’t have that experience then all this stuff that I have been learning is false — just a way of thinking to make me feel comfortable. I understand that minds can communicate, but that doesn’t prove our immortality. To me, that is like saying that radios are alive; they are just vibrations. Only when I know that I am not a body will I believe that we live forever.
A: This idea of transcending the body is the subject of “Beyond the Body” in Chapter 18 of the text (T.18.VI) . There Jesus speaks about it as the experience of “escape from limitations . . . a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. . . . What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union. . . . You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting yourself be limited by it” (T.18.VI.11:3,4,7,11).
The Course’s process of getting us back to our natural state as spirit beyond the body (W.pI.72.9:3) involves reversing the steps we took to “become” bodies. As the above passages indicate, Jesus is telling us that because we have a such a fear of union (oneness), we cling to our perception of limitations in ourselves and others; and it is the body that serves this purpose of limiting our awareness. We can never know love as it truly is or ourselves as we truly are as long as we are convinced of the reality of the body: “The body is a limit on love. The belief in limited love was its origin, and it was made to limit the unlimited. . . . it was made to limit you ” (T.18.VIII.1:2,3,4) . But the way to reverse this, Jesus is teaching us, is to focus on the purpose of what we do with our bodies, rather than to try to talk ourselves into believing we are not bodies. Your insistence on experiencing yourself without a body could well be an ego setup — a way of making the error real . In other words, you would not be making this into a condition of accepting the Course as true unless you were not already convinced that you are a body.
So if we use the body to keep ourselves separate from others — through specialness, comparisons, competition, judgment, etc. — then we will always be limited by it and bound to it, for that is the secret wish behind our perception of separate interests. On the other hand, we can change that purpose by asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help us see that our interests are the same as everyone else’s. That would be to affirm our underlying will to regain awareness of our true state of oneness: God’s Son is one.
The Course’s means of having us get beyond the body is first to train us to think in terms of the purpose for which we use the body, and then, having chosen Jesus or the Holy Spirit as our Teacher instead of the ego, use the body for the purpose of dissolving the separation we thought existed between ourselves and everyone else — this is always a matter of our mind’s perception, not behavior. Again, this is accomplished through the recognition that our interests are the same, regardless of the different forms our lives take.
As our perceptions of separation gradually change to true perception of our oneness, then the importance of the body starts to fade. Our awareness of the body as our real identity, thus, is entirely dependent on the choice we make in our minds to see separation as real or unreal. If we choose to minimize in importance the differences among us, the body’s importance to us will likewise diminish, for our awareness will be flooded more and more with what joins us. The body’s reality in our awareness disappears to the extent to which our “fear of union” disappears. That is why the process of A Course in Miracles focuses so intently on undoing our perception that we are separate from one another. This process — forgiveness — does not focus on having us transcend the body through meditation or some other means, as do other spiritual paths; it has us focus on the cause of our thinking we are bodies in the first place, which is to maintain our existence as separate, special individuals. Again, that is not our natural state (W.pI.72.9:3) .
The “proof” of immortality that you are seeking will occur in these experiences of the holy instant and in true perception, where you realize that the boundaries that seem to separate you from others are totally false. This experience can be sustained for long periods of time, and indeed is the natural outcome of the practice of forgiveness. The sense of invulnerability that is our natural state as God’s Son will be restored in this way. But to have no awareness of the body at all is not the goal of our practice; it would be impossible to stay here without some awareness of the body. The difference would be that as your mind is healed, you would know for certain that you are not your body, and therefore that nothing in this world can affect the inner peace that is the permanent content of your mind.
Q #1047: Did the Jewish People have a “collective consciousness” experience of God at Mount Sinai when they received the Torah? Or were they tapping into some illusory transmission of a set of rules to guide societal living, perhaps even a “close encounter,” so it could have been a very real feeling experience but not one of God if “He” has nothing to do with our dream of separation? And if any group relates to the idea of separation/good/evil it is certainly the Jewish People! It just bothers me, as a 10 year convert to Judaism and as a new student to A Course in Miracles , that as long as one insists on the existence of “good” in the world, it continually recreates its opposite of “bad,” so one can be “right” about others being “wrong.” And yet God IS good, light, and love, correct?
A: It can be fun to speculate on what the source may be for ideas and teachings that seem to allow mankind, or parts of mankind, to take steps forward in its thinking and understanding of where it has come from and where it is heading. But at this level of explanation, we can not go much beyond speculation. However, from the perspective of mind, as the Course describes it, there can be only two possible sources for all ideas that appear within the world’s dream — either the right mind or the wrong mind. And regardless of the source, there are also only two choices for how those ideas can then be used and justified in the world — either to reinforce or to undo the belief in separation and guilt.
The Torah, like nearly all of the world’s spiritual teachings, no doubt drew some of its inspiration from the right-mind, translated into symbols that were especially meaningful to the specific time and place into which it was received, at a level at which it could be understood. Read symbolically, despite a theology very different from the Course’s, the Torah can lead the individual to look beyond himself to Something that transcends his limited existence. But as its teachings over time became the foundation for codifications and rituals, it fell into the same spirit- denying strictures that have bedeviled nearly all of the world’s formal religions, elevating form above content to justify a belief in differences, specialness, and separation. There is no reason, by the way, to believe that the Course should be immune to such a fate, and it is not difficult to see how this is already happening with its teachings. Never underestimate the power of the ego to use all duality-based symbols for its own duplicitous purposes — self-preservation after all is its only motivation. And that, as you point out, is the problem for any spiritual teaching that keeps its focus on the world and getting things right here. Once that is the premise and the purpose, there is no way to avoid the trap of opposites, and the ego’s continued existence has been assured. That is why the Course, in contrast to nearly every other spiritual teaching, insists so uncompromisingly that God has nothing to do with the world ( e.g., T.8.VI.2,3; T.11.III.3; T.11.VII.1,2; T.12.III.9; T.16.V.3:6) , for the Love that He is has no opposite ( e.g., T.in.1:8; W.pI.127.3 ; W.pII.259.2) , and this is most definitely a world of opposites and opposition.