ACIM Text Reading for February 9
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
IV. The Guide to Salvation
The way to recognize your brother is by recognizing the Holy Spirit in him. I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are. This relationship must be in His Mind because, unless it were, the separation between the two ways of thinking would not be open to healing. He is part of the Holy Trinity, because His Mind is partly yours and also partly God’s. This needs clarification, not in statement but in experience.
The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. Being the Call for God, it is also the idea of God. Since you are part of God it is also the idea of yourself, as well as of all His creations. The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the universe of which it is a part. It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur. He may have dissociated the Call for God, just as you have. This dissociation is healed in both of you as you become aware of the Call for God in him, and thus acknowledge its being.
There are two diametrically opposed ways of seeing your brother. They must both be in your mind, because you are the perceiver. They must also be in his, because you are perceiving him. See him through the Holy Spirit in his mind, and you will recognize Him in yours. What you acknowledge in your brother you are acknowledging in yourself, and what you share you strengthen.
The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share It. It must be increased in strength before you can hear It. It is impossible to hear It in yourself while It is so weak in your mind. It is not weak in Itself, but It is limited by your unwillingness to hear It. If you make the mistake of looking for the Holy Spirit in yourself alone your thoughts will frighten you because, by adopting the ego’s viewpoint, you are undertaking an ego-alien journey with the ego as guide. This is bound to produce fear.
Delay is of the ego, because time is its concept. Both time and delay are meaningless in eternity. I have said before that the Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the ego. Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego’s notions, because true and false perceptions are themselves opposed. The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made. He undoes it at the same level on which the ego operates, or the mind would be unable to understand the change.
I have repeatedly emphasized that one level of the mind is not understandable to another. So it is with the ego and the Holy Spirit; with time and eternity. Eternity is an idea of God, so the Holy Spirit understands it perfectly. Time is a belief of the ego, so the lower mind, which is the ego’s domain, accepts it without question. The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.
The Holy Spirit is the mediator between the interpretations of the ego and the knowledge of the spirit. His ability to deal with symbols enables Him to work with the ego’s beliefs in its own language. His ability to look beyond symbols into eternity enables Him to understand the laws of God, for which He speaks. He can therefore perform the function of reinterpreting what the ego makes, not by destruction but by understanding. Understanding is light, but you yourself do not know this. It is therefore the task of the Holy Spirit to reinterpret you on behalf of God.
You cannot understand yourself alone. This is because you have no meaning apart from your rightful place in the Sonship, and the rightful place of the Sonship is God. This is your life, your eternity and your Self. It is of this that the Holy Spirit reminds you. It is this that the Holy Spirit sees. This vision frightens the ego because it is so calm. Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival. The ego becomes strong in strife. If you believe there is strife you will react viciously, because the idea of danger has entered your mind. The idea itself is an appeal to the ego. The Holy Spirit is as vigilant as the ego to the call of danger, opposing it with His strength just as the ego welcomes it. The Holy Spirit counters this welcome by welcoming peace. Eternity and peace are as closely related as are time and war.
Perception derives meaning from relationships. Those you accept are the foundations of your beliefs. The separation is merely another term for a split mind. The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions.
The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher. He uses only what your mind already understands to teach you that you do not understand it. The Holy Spirit can deal with a reluctant learner without going counter to his mind, because part of it is still for God. Despite the ego’s attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego, although the ego does not recognize it. The Holy Spirit recognizes it perfectly because it is His Own dwelling place; the place in the mind where He is at home. You are at home there, too, because it is a place of peace, and peace is of God. You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity.
The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the reinterpreter of what the ego made, sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home. The Holy Spirit must perceive time, and reinterpret it into the timeless. He must work through opposites, because He must work with and for a mind that is in opposition. Correct and learn, and be open to learning. You have not made truth, but truth can still set you free. Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands. His understanding looks back to God in remembrance of me. He is in communion with God always, and He is part of you. He is your guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come, and brings them to the present. He holds this gladness gently in your mind, asking only that you increase it in His Name by sharing it to increase His joy in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 9
I am blessed as a Son of God.
Today we will begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled, being what you are. No long practice periods are required today, but very frequent short ones are necessary. Once every ten minutes would be highly desirable, and you are urged to attempt this schedule and to adhere to it whenever possible. If you forget, try again. If there are long interruptions, try again. Whenever you remember, try again.
You need not close your eyes for the exercise periods, although you will probably find it more helpful if you do. However, you may be in a number of situations during the day when closing your eyes would not be feasible. Do not miss a practice period because of this. You can practice quite well under any circumstances, if you really want to.
Today’s exercises take little time and no effort. Repeat the idea for today, and then add several of the attributes you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. One practice period might, for example, consist of the following:
I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am happy, peaceful, loving and contented.
Another might take this form:
I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am calm, quiet, assured and confident.
If only a brief period is available, merely telling yourself that you are blessed as a Son of God will do.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: This seems like a fairly simple question calling for a simple answer. It isn’t, though, because the Course’s approach to teaching and learning differs significantly from the world’s, which rests on the premise that everyone’s interests are separate from everyone else’s. This is the mistake that Jesus attempts to correct throughout the Course. In this context, the idea “as you teach so shall you learn” flows from the general Course principle that giving and receiving are the same , the correction of the ego’s deception that what you give to another you lose, and that you can affect another without affecting yourself (see W.pI.108.1,2,3,4,5,6,7; W.pI.126, W.pI.187. ) The world’s emphasis on form at the expense of content is what sustains this ego approach.
The most concentrated discussion of this issue is found in the Introduction to the manual for teachers. We quote only in part, but the entire Introduction is relevant.
“The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one’s time. The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.
To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. . . . You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. . . . Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. . . . the self you think is real is what you teach.” (M.in.1; 2:1,2,3; 3:7,10)
We generally equate teaching with form. Thus, for example, I may say that by profession I am a teacher and that I teach subjects in which I have expertise, which might include A Course in Miracles . This implies that I have what my students lack and I am going to supply them with it. While this analysis is correct on the level of form, we need to remember that this is a course in content : “This is a course in cause and not effect” (T.21.VII.7:8) is how the text expresses it. Effect is the form or behavior, having to do only with bodies and the world, whereas cause is in the mind and reflects either the ego’s content — guilt, separation, fear, and hate — or the Holy Spirit ‘s — forgiveness, peace, and healing. The Course, therefore, emphasizes only content, and so teaching, according to the manual, has nothing to do with behavior or form.
On the level of form, my true interest as a teacher is the same as your interest as a student, and that is to learn that the Holy Spirit’s thought system is true and the ego’s is false. Therefore we are the same in content — what I teach, I learn; what you learn, you teach. Teachers and learners alike share the thought systems of the ego and the Holy Spirit, and the power to choose between them. Again, it is not my demonstration of expertise in a particular subject matter that is important, but the demonstration that either the ego’s or Holy Spirit’s thought system is true. I teach the ego’s separation by my special relationship with you, while I teach the Holy Spirit’s Atonement by transcending specialness, choosing to see our interests as shared.
Your “learning” reinforces the decision you made for the thought system of separation or Atonement. For example, your special relationship with me — regardless of its form — reflects that you believe that separation is real and that your needs have to be fulfilled at my expense. If I am coming from that same point of view, my interaction will tell you that you made the right choice. Since egos are attack and I have identified with my ego, I will attack you. Thus do I give the ego’s gift by reinforcing its message that you are an innocent victim; and you, of course, reciprocate. And so we continue our dance of death: my decision for the ego reinforces your own, which strengthens my decision that in turn strengthens yours — and both of us lose.
However, when I am in my right mind and not defensive, and I perceive our shared interests, my right-mindedness calls you to choose peace as I have. The peace you experience coming through me is now yours, if you so choose. Yet, if you are in your right mind and I am not, and I attack you as the object of my specialness, your defenseless non-judgment teaches me, even though I may be in the role of teacher. Your not becoming upset demonstrates that my attack had no effect, and thus you remind me that I have another choice.
Q #1281: In Chapter 5 of the text, Jesus says, “I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance” (T.5.IV.8:3,4). Is he talking about our errors or the errors of the people that our kindnesses were directed toward, or both?
A: Jesus is referring to our own kindnesses and loving thoughts. He is saying that he does not take into consideration the ego aspects that may have crept in, and that we reflect Heaven’s changeless love when we choose him as our teacher instead of the ego.
This entire paragraph was originally meant for Helen, especially the opening line, “How can you who are so holy suffer?” (T.5.IV.8:1) . This is a unique passage in A Course in Miracles at this point (Chapter 5), for it is the first time this form appears. It is almost as if Jesus had been dictating the thought system to Helen from a script, which he dropped to sing this lovely little aria. Clearly, it is meant for all of us. It is Jesus’ gentle way of saying to us that we can choose again and feel differently — the choice is ours.