ACIM Text Reading for February 17
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
IV. The Relinquishment of Attack
As we have already emphasized, every idea begins in the mind of the thinker. Therefore, what extends from the mind is still in it, and from what it extends it knows itself. The word “knows” is correct here, because the Holy Spirit still holds knowledge safe in your mind through His impartial perception. By attacking nothing, He presents no barrier to the communication of God. Therefore, being is never threatened. Your Godlike mind can never be defiled. The ego never was and never will be part of it, but through the ego you can hear and teach and learn what is not true. You have taught yourself to believe that you are not what you are. You cannot teach what you have not learned, and what you teach you strengthen in yourself because you are sharing it. Every lesson you teach you are learning.
That is why you must teach only one lesson. If you are to be conflict-free yourself, you must learn only from the Holy Spirit and teach only by Him. You are only love, but when you deny this, you make what you are something you must learn to remember. I said before that the message of the crucifixion was, “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” This is the one lesson that is perfectly unified, because it is the only lesson that is one. Only by teaching it can you learn it. “As you teach so will you learn.” If that is true, and it is true indeed, do not forget that what you teach is teaching you. And what you project or extend you believe.
The only safety lies in extending the Holy Spirit, because as you see His gentleness in others your own mind perceives itself as totally harmless. Once it can accept this fully, it sees no need to protect itself. The protection of God then dawns upon it, assuring it that it is perfectly safe forever. The perfectly safe are wholly benign. They bless because they know that they are blessed. Without anxiety the mind is wholly kind, and because it extends beneficence it is beneficent. Safety is the complete relinquishment of attack. No compromise is possible in this. Teach attack in any form and you have learned it, and it will hurt you. Yet this learning is not immortal, and you can unlearn it by not teaching it.
Since you cannot not teach, your salvation lies in teaching the exact opposite of everything the ego believes. This is how you will learn the truth that will set you free, and will keep you free as others learn it of you. The only way to have peace is to teach peace. By teaching peace you must learn it yourself, because you cannot teach what you still dissociate. Only thus can you win back the knowledge that you threw away. An idea that you share you must have. It awakens in your mind through the conviction of teaching it. Everything you teach you are learning. Teach only love, and learn that love is yours and you are love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 17
There is nothing to fear.
The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize it for those who want illusions to be true.
Today’s practice periods will be very short, very simple and very frequent. Merely repeat the idea as often as possible. You can use it with your eyes open at any time and in any situation. It is strongly recommended, however, that you take a minute or so whenever possible to close your eyes and repeat the idea slowly to yourself several times. It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately, should anything disturb your peace of mind.
The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: A lifetime is but a classroom with a set of lessons on of the Son of God’s return to his true home. There will be lifetimes as long as the mind believes the thought of separation is real and that there is a choice to be made between truth and illusion. Each time the mind chooses the illusion of separation it projects its guilt for making that choice in the form of judgments. The single thought that the separation did in fact occur, and therefore the world of illusion is real, stands behind the myriad of seemingly different judgments and lifetimes. From this single thought, all judgment and every lifetime is brought forth. The goal of A Course in Miracles is to teach us to distinguish between what is true and what is false, and to train our minds to recognize the effects of the mind’s choice. This process may take lifetimes because of the unwillingness to choose to believe that only truth is true, and what is false will never bring happiness. Every judgment brings misery; every lifetime ends in death. Indeed, every lifetime begins with a death blow to God’s Son.
What seems to be learning is actually a process of remembering the truth by unlearning the ego’s thought system. The mind that has forgotten uses the body, the world, and many lifetimes to remember its true Identity and to forget everything else. Of itself the body does nothing; in fact, “ At no single instant does the body exist at all” (T.17.VII.31). Clearly, then, the remembering process goes on with or without the body; it precedes birth and outlives death. And since unlearning/remembering occurs only in the mind, it is not happening in any “lifetime”; a term we associate with the lifespan of the body measured by linear time. Ironically, this is now called “real time.” The Course would call it “illusory time” and tells us it takes no time at all to choose against the ego.
Fortunately, we do not need to reverse every judgment that we hold stockpiled in our arsenal of attack thoughts. The only “judgment” that needs to be reversed is the decision to side with the ego in its interpretation of the separation. If every judgment is the projection of guilt for having made that decision, judgments end when the mind decides in favor of the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. When that decision is made unequivocally, all judgment ends, as does all belief in the illusion of the world and the lifetimes spent in it. At that point: “Your foot has reached the lawns that welcome you to Heaven’s gate; the quiet place of peace, where you await with certainty the final step of God” (W.pI.194.1:3) . Meanwhile, it is important to continue patiently uncovering the judgments that reveal the mind’s mistaken belief that separation is possible and God’s Son has been put to death. Each one is an opportunity to consider the insanity of this belief as well as its painful effects, in order to move closer to the final decision against the ego’s madness.
Q #1075: What does A Course in Miracles say about angels? Also, what about people who seem to see an evil presence? I was raised in Christian Science and I have not come across anything they do not have in common with the Course. Christian Science believes that evil spirits do not exist, and that there is nothing other than God’s power. It says we create in our minds, and anything that is not absolute is not real. Although Christian Science does not use the same terminology as the Course does, it, too, says this is a illusion.
A: As we discussed in Question #413, angels in A Course in Miracles are regarded as extensions of God’s Thought. In this sense, they are symbols of the light and protection of God that always surrounds us, since in truth we never left Him (T.18.VI.10:6; W.pII.264.h) . If we are too afraid of that level of our Identity, our minds would translate the experience of formless Love into form, and one form might be angelic beings or entities. But the form is not the reality. The idea would be to relate to what they symbolize, and then go beyond that to the Source, which is always the Love that transcends anything of form.
This same kind of thinking would apply to the perception of an evil presence. We are so heavily bound to form that we immediately translate thoughts into form: “Everything you recognize you identify with externals, something outside itself. You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:6,7) . The core of the ego is hatred and murder, and sometimes that can be experienced as an evil presence; but the Course helps us by teaching us not to be afraid of it, for it has no reality other than what we give to it — coming from our guilt and fear over believing we destroyed God in order to have our own existence.
About Christian Science . . . As we discussed in Questions #372 and #512, there are parallels on the metaphysical level of teachings between Christian Science and A Course in Miracles ; but there are significant differences as well. And of course that does not make one system superior to the other — just different. One difference is that according to the Course’s theory, God knows nothing of the world because it does not exist as something real. As an illusion, it will disappear from our awareness when we let go of our belief in separation. At the level of purpose and practice there are differences as well. A major purpose of Christian Science is the healing of illnesses, with these healings then demonstrating the validity of its principles. The primary focus of the Course’s process is the healing of our minds of the guilt that is hidden there. Healing the body is never the goal, although that may be an effect of the mind’s healing.
The Course’s view of forgiveness also distinguishes it from other paths. We are asked to have the willingness to forgive our brothers for what they did not do (T.17.III.1:5) ; and so a central aspect of one’s work with the Course is developing a relationship with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, so that we may turn to Them regularly for help in choosing right-minded perceptions of everything in our lives. The questions cited at the beginning fill in the details of this brief answer. Of most importance, again, is that differences not be turned into judgments of one or the other thought system.