ACIM Text Reading for February 14
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.
You have been asked to take me as your model for learning, since an extreme example is a particularly helpful learning device. Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time. This is a responsibility you inevitably assume the moment you accept any premise at all, and no one can organize his life without some thought system. Once you have developed a thought system of any kind, you live by it and teach it. Your capacity for allegiance to a thought system may be misplaced, but it is still a form of faith and can be redirected.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 14
God is the Mind with which I think.
Today’s idea holds the key to what your real thoughts are. They are nothing that you think you think, just as nothing that you think you see is related to vision in any way. There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you.
You think with the Mind of God. Therefore you share your thoughts with Him, as He shares His with you. They are the same thoughts, because they are thought by the same Mind. To share is to make alike, or to make one. Nor do the thoughts you think with the Mind of God leave your mind, because thoughts do not leave their source. Therefore, your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is. As you are part of His Mind, so are your thoughts part of His Mind.
Where, then, are your real thoughts? Today we will attempt to reach them. We will have to look for them in your mind, because that is where they are. They must still be there, because they cannot have left their source. What is thought by the Mind of God is eternal, being part of creation.
Our three five-minute practice periods for today will take the same general form that we used in applying yesterday’s idea. We will attempt to leave the unreal and seek for the real. We will deny the world in favor of truth. We will not let the thoughts of the world hold us back. We will not let the beliefs of the world tell us that what God would have us do is impossible. Instead, we will try to recognize that only what God would have us do is possible.
We will also try to understand that only what God would have us do is what we want to do. And we will also try to remember that we cannot fail in doing what He would have us do. There is every reason to feel confident that we will succeed today. It is the Will of God.
Begin the exercises for today by repeating the idea to yourself, closing your eyes as you do so. Then spend a fairly short period in thinking a few relevant thoughts of your own, keeping the idea in mind. After you have added some four or five thoughts of your own to the idea, repeat it again and tell yourself gently:
My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them.
Then try to go past all the unreal thoughts that cover the truth in your mind, and reach to the eternal.
Under all the senseless thoughts and mad ideas with which you have cluttered up your mind are the thoughts that you thought with God in the beginning. They are there in your mind now, completely unchanged. They will always be in your mind, exactly as they always were. Everything you have thought since then will change, but the Foundation on which it rests is wholly changeless.
It is this Foundation toward which the exercises for today are directed. Here is your mind joined with the Mind of God. Here are your thoughts one with His. For this kind of practice only one thing is necessary; approach it as you would an altar dedicated in Heaven to God the Father and to God the Son. For such is the place you are trying to reach. You will probably be unable as yet to realize how high you are trying to go. Yet even with the little understanding you have already gained, you should be able to remind yourself that this is no idle game, but an exercise in holiness and an attempt to reach the Kingdom of Heaven .
In the shorter exercise periods for today, try to remember how important it is to you to understand the holiness of the mind that thinks with God. Take a minute or two, as you repeat the idea throughout the day, to appreciate your mind’s holiness. Stand aside, however briefly, from all thoughts that are unworthy of Him Whose host you are. And thank Him for the Thoughts He is thinking with you.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1167: I find it fairly easy to not defend myself from others, see they are looking for love, not take offense, not take things personally; when someone is, from the world’s standpoint, “attacking” me. Several have noticed and commented on what a “forgiving” person I am. However, when someone “attacks” my loved ones, my full defense mechanisms come on for their sake. Try as I might, I can’t look at them as looking for love when they are “hurting” my family or friends. Can you suggest any readings from A Course in Miracles that could help me in this aspect? I need to see my loved ones as safe as I see myself! Why can’t I?
A: Most students run into what you are experiencing. You seem to be heading in the right direction; you just need to continue the process of generalizing what you have learned. The key principles to keep in focus as you practice are that differences are not real, and that there is no hierarchy of illusions or attack. When you truly see another’s attack as a call for love, you are no longer you ; you have become the extension of love, not one person forgiving another person. And since love is all-inclusive, when you are identified with love, everyone else, without exception, would also be enclosed in that circle of invulnerability and innocence. If, therefore, you perceive your loved ones as vulnerable and victimized, it is because you have left your right mind and once again identified with the thought system of vulnerability and victimization — a thought system that has you project your guilt and see it in the form of guilty victimizers harming innocent victims. Then, in league with the ego, you will believe in a hierarchy of attack, and forgiveness will be harder in some situations than in others ( see T.12.VII.1) .
To the ego, relationships are between persons, while Jesus teaches that relationships are only in the mind, because there is no one outside the mind. That is tremendously difficult to grasp, but it is essential to keep in focus in order to avoid making differences important and then using them as means to maintain the reality of separation, often under the guise of being loving and protective. When you choose against the ego, you are choosing against separation in all its forms. As you learn to generalize, you will gradually perceive everyone the same way: as minds always choosing between illusion and truth (T.12.VI.6:4,5,6) — both victims and victimizers are calling out for love. You would then gradually focus less and less on bodies and specific identities (family, friend, stranger, etc.). This is not easy to do because of our obsession with form at the expense of content ( see T.14.X.7,8,9; T.22.III.6).
So try to get past the form to the content when thinking about your loved ones. They, too, are either calling out for love or expressing it. This in no way means that you must sit back and allow them to be attacked. We are talking only about your thinking, not your behavior. Seeing attack as a call for love does not mean that you should never try to stop someone from hurting you or your loved ones. In your right mind you may be guided to do or say something, or to do or say nothing, but it would not be you making the decision.
In addition to the readings noted above, the section in the text called “True Empathy” (T.16.I) is always a good one to read when faced with the kind of issue you have raised.