ACIM Text Reading for February 19
Chapter 6 ~ The Lessons of Love
VI. The Lessons of the Holy Spirit
Like any good teacher, the Holy Spirit knows more than you do now, but He teaches only to make you equal with Him. You had already taught yourself wrongly, having believed what was not true. You did not believe in your own perfection. Would God teach you that you had made a split mind, when He knows your mind only as whole? What God does know is that His communication channels are not open to Him, so that He cannot impart His joy and know that His children are wholly joyous. Giving His joy is an ongoing process, not in time but in eternity. God’s extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one. So He thought, “My children sleep and must be awakened.”
How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now. Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.
A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasize what you must avoid to escape from harm, but what you need to learn to have joy. Consider the fear and confusion a child would experience if he were told, “Do not do this because it will hurt you and make you unsafe; but if you do that instead, you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid.” It is surely better to use only three words: “Do only that!” This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood and very easily remembered.
The Holy Spirit never itemizes errors because He does not frighten children, and those who lack wisdom are children. Yet He always answers their call, and His dependability makes them more certain. Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not recognize the difference. The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among dreams. He merely shines them away. His light is always the call to awaken, whatever you have been dreaming. Nothing lasting lies in dreams, and the Holy Spirit, shining with the Light from God Himself, speaks only for what lasts forever.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 19
I am sustained by the Love of God.
Here is the answer to every problem that will confront you, today and tomorrow and throughout time. In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God. Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, “protective” clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the “right” people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.
All these things are your replacements for the Love of God. All these things are cherished to ensure a body identification. They are songs of praise to the ego. Do not put your faith in the worthless. It will not sustain you.
Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all the perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety. It will transport you into a state of mind that nothing can threaten, nothing can disturb, and where nothing can intrude upon the eternal calm of the Son of God.
Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and forever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you today. Through the Love of God within you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort and in sure confidence. Tell yourself this often today. It is a declaration of release from the belief in idols. It is your acknowledgment of the truth about yourself.
For ten minutes, twice today, morning and evening, let the idea for today sink deep into your consciousness. Repeat it, think about it, let related thoughts come to help you recognize its truth, and allow peace to flow over you like a blanket of protection and surety. Let no idle and foolish thoughts enter to disturb the holy mind of the Son of God. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven . Such is the resting place where your Father has placed you forever.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #774: I understand that the basic goal of A Course in Miracles is to reorient perception, and from there, experience. However, while I can get a handle on this intellectually, I feel like I’m emotionally handicapped on this one. There are a number of things from my past which are still present in my mind, causing me severe bouts of depression at times, and I have a great deal of trouble releasing them. How can I let go of them? Do I simply “not think about them” anymore? Do I ignore them as “non-existent”? Every so often, these issues seem to pop back up, and I seem unable to recondition my own responses. They are making me extremely tired, and they have unpleasant effects in my relationships. Help!!!
A: Bringing purpose into the picture is important for understanding what is happening. Jesus tells us, “The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness” (T.23.I.1:1,2) . Part of us wants to remember our true Identity in God, and part of is terrified of letting go of our false identity so that we would remember the truth. That fear causes us to do things that would prevent our minds from being quiet, as Jesus indicates in the quote. These are our defenses, and we all have a grab bag full of them that we pull out the instant this fear arises to threaten us. One very effective defense is to recall painful events from the past — this is a “favorite” of many students. (How curious that we would resort to something painful to cope with fear!) Recalling the past thus is purposeful, for we then begin to obsess about what happened years ago, as if it were happening right now, and that leaves us with no doubt that we are bodies, the innocent victims of what has been done to us — or we could remember how we cruelly victimized others. We don’t realize that this is a defense that is consciously chosen, as are all defenses — an important dynamic that Jesus describes at the beginning of Lesson 136 (W.pI.136) . He also points out in a thought-provoking section in the text, “The Present Memory,” that “remembering is as selective as perception, being its past tense” (T.28.I.2:5) . Why are only certain events of the past brought into awareness, when so many other things happened as well?
The section in the text called “Shadows of the Past” (T.17.III) is likewise enlightening with respect to how the ego uses the past to reinforce in our minds our belief that we are separate. Elsewhere in the text Jesus teaches us about the ego’s use of time in contrast to the Holy Spirit’s. For the ego, time “is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all- encompassing, demanding vengeance forever. The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now . Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist” (T.15.I.7:7; 8:1,2). The context of the discussion is the ego’s ferocious need to keep alive its doctrine of sin, guilt, damnation, and hell. Linear time was devised by the ego for this purpose. The Holy Spirit, however, uses time to teach us how to learn only from Him so that we would have “no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time” (T.15.I.1:1) .
Once you realize the purpose of recalling the past, you can simply look at that and then dwell more on the purpose of these recollections, than on the past hurts. When you no longer want the purpose served by your remembrance of these hurts in the present, they will be easier to let go. But you never want to try to convince yourself that something is non-existent when it is still causing you pain. That will only worsen the situation. “ Do not fight yourself ,” Jesus emphasizes (T.30.I.1:7) . It is fine to have defenses. They are not the problem; the problem is our thinking that we need them. But that takes years of practice to undo, along with patience and gentleness with yourself: “ Defenses, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self-destruction to means of preservation and release” (T.14.VII.5:8) .
Finally, it is sometimes a good idea to seek help from a therapist when events from the past are so painful and compelling that you are unable to function well. This would be no different from getting medical help for an ankle injury that prevents you from walking.