ACIM Text Reading for February 9
Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness
V. Teaching and Healing
What fear has hidden still is part of you. Joining the Atonement is the way out of fear. The Holy Spirit will help you reinterpret everything that you perceive as fearful, and teach you that only what is loving is true. Truth is beyond your ability to destroy, but entirely within your ability to accept. It belongs to you because, as an extension of God, you created it with Him. It is yours because it is part of you, just as you are part of God because He created you. Nothing that is good can be lost because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the Voice for creation. Nothing that is not good was ever created, and therefore cannot be protected. The Atonement is the guarantee of the safety of the Kingdom, and the union of the Sonship is its protection. The ego cannot prevail against the Kingdom because the Sonship is united. In the presence of those who hear the Holy Spirit’s call to be as one, the ego fades away and is undone.
What the ego makes it keeps to itself, and so it is without strength. Its existence is unshared. It does not die; it was merely never born. Physical birth is not a beginning; it is a continuing. Everything that continues has already been born. It will increase as you are willing to return the unhealed part of your mind to the higher part, returning it undivided to creation. I have come to give you the foundation, so your own thoughts can make you really free. You have carried the burden of unshared ideas that are too weak to increase, but having made them you did not realize how to undo them. You cannot cancel out your past errors alone. They will not disappear from your mind without the Atonement, a remedy not of your making. The Atonement must be understood as a pure act of sharing. That is what I meant when I said it is possible even in this world to listen to one voice. If you are part of God and the Sonship is one, you cannot be limited to the self the ego sees.
Every loving thought held in any part of the Sonship belongs to every part. It is shared because it is loving. Sharing is God’s way of creating, and also yours. The ego can keep you in exile from the Kingdom, but in the Kingdom itself it has no power. Ideas of the spirit do not leave the mind that thinks them, nor can they conflict with each other. However, ideas of the ego can conflict because they occur at different levels and also include opposite thoughts at the same level. It is impossible to share opposing thoughts. You can share only the thoughts that are of God and that He keeps for you. And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. The rest remains with you until the Holy Spirit has reinterpreted them in the light of the Kingdom, making them, too, worthy of being shared. When they have been sufficiently purified He lets you give them away. The decision to share them is their purification.
I heard one Voice because I understood that I could not atone for myself alone. Listening to one Voice implies the decision to share It in order to hear It yourself. The Mind that was in me is still irresistibly drawn to every mind created by God, because God’s Wholeness is the wholeness of His Son. You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness. Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself. This is the meaning of “turning the other cheek.”
Teaching is done in many ways, above all by example. Teaching should be healing, because it is the sharing of ideas and the recognition that to share ideas is to strengthen them. I cannot forget my need to teach what I have learned, which arose in me because I learned it. I call upon you to teach what you have learned, because by so doing you can depend on it. Make it dependable in my name because my name is the Name of God’s Son. What I learned I give you freely, and the Mind that was in me rejoices as you choose to hear it.
The Holy Spirit atones in all of us by undoing, and thus lifts the burden you have placed in your mind. By following Him you are led back to God where you belong, and how can you find the way except by taking your brother with you? My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away. As you teach so shall you learn. I will never leave you or forsake you, because to forsake you would be to forsake myself and God Who created me. You forsake yourself and God if you forsake any of your brothers. You must learn to see them as they are, and understand they belong to God as you do. How could you treat your brother better than by rendering unto God the things that are God’s?
The Atonement gives you the power of a healed mind, but the power to create is of God. Therefore, those who have been forgiven must devote themselves first to healing because, having received the idea of healing, they must give it to hold it. The full power of creation cannot be expressed as long as any of God’s ideas is withheld from the Kingdom. The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father, because only the complete can think completely, and the thinking of God lacks nothing. Everything you think that is not through the Holy Spirit is lacking.
How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. 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. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. You can indeed depart in peace because I have loved you as I loved myself. You go with my blessing and for my blessing. Hold it and share it, that it may always be ours. I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose. My judgment is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being. His quiet children are His blessed Sons. The Thoughts of God are with you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 9
God goes with me wherever I go.
Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss.
The separated ones have invented many “cures” for what they believe to be “the ills of the world.” But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because the problem is not real. The idea for today has the power to end all this foolishness forever. And foolishness it is, despite the serious and tragic forms it may take.
Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to them.
You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go. You can never be alone because the Source of all life goes with you wherever you go. Nothing can destroy your peace of mind because God goes with you wherever you go.
We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see? Today we will make our first real attempt to get past this dark and heavy cloud, and to go through it to the light beyond.
There will be only one long practice period today. In the morning, as soon as you get up if possible, sit quietly for some three to five minutes, with your eyes closed. At the beginning of the practice period, repeat today’s idea very slowly. Then make no effort to think of anything. Try, instead, to get a sense of turning inward, past all the idle thoughts of the world. Try to enter very deeply into your own mind, keeping it clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention.
From time to time, you may repeat the idea if you find it helpful. But most of all, try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality.
It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open, if you believe that it is possible. This exercise can bring very startling results even the first time it is attempted, and sooner or later it is always successful. We will go into more detail about this kind of practice as we go along. But it will never fail completely, and instant success is possible.
Throughout the day use today’s idea often, repeating it very slowly, preferably with eyes closed. Think of what you are saying; what the words mean. Concentrate on the holiness that they imply about you; on the unfailing companionship that is yours; on the complete protection that surrounds you.
You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #854: I come from a completely non-religious background and was never “involved” with God in any way, form or fashion until I “met” A Course in Miracles (for which I am so grateful). I am “stuck” on Lesson 41 “God goes with me wherever I go.” I’ve been doing this lesson daily for about a week now because the concept fascinates me so, but despite the diligent practicing as set forth, I have not “reached” God in any sense, although the Course tells me that it is quite possible to do so. It also says: “The way will open, if you believe that it is possible.”(8:4) I want to believe, but how does one do that?
A: Another of way of stating the content of this lesson is: “the separation never happened, and we remain with God.” We cannot truly be anywhere else, and that is why God is with us. However, there is a very important message in the first line in the fifth paragraph: “We understand that you do not believe all this” (W.pI.41.5:1). With this single statement, Jesus explains the “stuckness” almost everyone experiences in the practice of the workbook. The first goal of the lesson, therefore, is to help us realize that we do not believe what it says. We learn by contrast just how much we do believe the ego and do not believe the Holy Spirit, which is one of the important goals of the workbook. A necessary part of the learning process is arriving at precisely the dilemma you describe: the message of the Course inspires us, yet despite diligent practice nothing seems to happen, but we are assured it can be accomplished. The usefulness of this situation is learning to appreciate the intensity of resistance and the full scope of attachment to the ego’s belief system. Without this clear recognition, real progress is impossible because the ego’s best game is denial. Its life depends on the belief that the body is our true identity, which in turn rests on the denial of the mind’s existence, not to mention its power to choose. Jesus tells us early in the text: “Few appreciate the real power of the mind, and no one remains fully aware of it all the time. However, if you hope to spare yourself from fear [guilt, separation] there are some things you must realize, and realize fully. The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force” (T.2.VI.9:3,4,5).
Finding it difficult to experience God with you is a way to get in touch with the choice in the mind to believe in the reality of the separation, and to identify with the ego thought system. This choice has made the world and the body real in our experience, thereby making God unreal. The mind cannot hold the thought of separation and the thought of God at the same time. Thus, identity with the ego/body and the guilt that accompanies this choice keep the memory of God from awareness. In fact, it is an attack on God: “ If the ego is the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt. Guilt is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of attack on God” (T.5.V.2:8,9,10). When guilt is gone, God is there.
Guilt is relinquished through the process of forgiveness, which begins with the willingness to look at the ego in our lives in light of the principle of projection of guilt. This important principle of the Course tells us that everything we experience in the world is the result of the mind’s projection of guilt for choosing to be separate, and to identify with the body. This means that nothing outside of our mind is responsible for how we feel. Learning to look at every relationship in this way takes patient practice, because it is not the way we have taught ourselves to interpret our relationships or our experiences in the world. Doing so teaches us that others are not to blame for our condition, they are guiltless. Seeing others as guiltless is how we learn that we, too, are guiltless, which opens the way for us to remember that we are God’s Son and He goes with us: “Unless you are guiltless you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him… He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him” (T.14.IV.7:1,4).
The instructions for practicing the workbook lessons do not ask that we believe the lessons, nor that we practice them perfectly. It asks only that we do them (W.in.8,9). It is important to honestly recognize that we do not believe them, and then forgive ourselves for being afraid of the Course’s truth. If we truly knew that God was with us, we would not need the workbook, nor the Course for that matter. The fact that you have become aware that this truth is not your experience means that you have achieved one of the important goals of the workbook lessons: to appreciate the contrast between what you have learned from the ego, and what the Holy Spirit is teaching you in the Course. You then realize how much you need the Holy Spirit’s help to unlearn the ego and learn His lessons instead. Practicing each day’s lesson as sincerely as you can is sufficient to make steady progress, for that is all you are asked to do. In this is the way made open, because it reflects and strengthens the part of the mind that does believe .