ACIM Text Reading for March 9
Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back
III. The Holy Encounter
Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you, because it has already been given. Ask for light and learn that you are light. If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light, and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind. There is no limit on his teaching because He was created to teach. Understanding His function perfectly He fulfills it perfectly, because that is His joy and yours.
To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience. Yet the wish for other experience will block its accomplishment, because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not. That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you. Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours. You share them as God shares them, because this is the natural outcome of their being.
The Will of the Father and of the Son are one, by their extension. Their extension is the result of Their Oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will. This is perfect creation by the perfectly created, in union with the Perfect Creator. The Father must give fatherhood to His Son, because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you can know what it means only of God Himself.
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.
The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is “Know thyself.” There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you. Never forget your responsibility to him, because it is your responsibility to yourself. Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.
The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you. This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that, when you met someone else, you thought he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so.
You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them. The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone. The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you. God wills no one suffer. He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you. That is why He has given you the means for undoing it. Through His power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely, releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds. Wrong decisions have no power, because they are not true. The imprisonment they seem to produce is no more true than they are.
Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you. God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him. Giving of yourself is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him, and by this you will remember also what you are in Him. You cannot be powerless to do this, because this is your power. Glory is God’s gift to you, because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 9
Love holds no grievances.
You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.
Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes! For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?
It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.
Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.
Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.
Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:
I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you
are part of me and come to know myself.
Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:
Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances
go I will know I am perfectly safe.
The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:
Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.
In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:
Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by
laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #711: Recently I had lunch with a friend and found that after we had talked about issues that were bothering us (which led to talking about other people we knew) I began to feel very sick. I knew we had begun gossiping and I just felt ill. If I have harmed someone by gossiping how do I make up for it? When I was growing up I had a cousin I adored, but she apparently didn’t adore me or so the gossip in the family went. In recent years I have tried very hard to heal with her, and a couple of months ago I went to visit her for 10 days but before I went to her home I said some things to another relative. I now have the feeling that she has been told what I said (or a modified version of it) and I can tell you she might be very hurt by it. Could you address the issue of gossiping and would stopping gossiping be my way of forgiving myself, or what do I have to do to make up for this. I am very serious about seeing this differently.
A: A Course in Miracles teaches that the only thing that can have any seeming effect on anyone is a choice made in the mind to identify with the ego/body. That is the only “harmful” thing that anyone can do to themselves. In the light of this teaching, it is impossible for anyone to do harm to someone else. Although it may seem that someone’s hurtful behavior is the cause of another person’s upset, the Course tells us the true source of any feeling is a choice in the mind. Finding yourself feeling sick after gossiping about others is the result of a choice in the mind to identify with the ego, which is a choice for separation. It is this that elicits profound feelings of guilt, which are then experienced in the world in a situation such as the one you describe. There seems to be an association related to the behavior of gossiping, but in fact the sickness is an expression in form of the guilt in the mind. It is the content of the mind that is the focus of the Course. What we are asked to see differently is this distinction between the seeming cause of feelings in a situation in form, and the real cause which is the content of the mind. This is a very important distinction to keep in mind as we train our minds to become aware of the judgments and attack thoughts that we experience in our relationships. This applies equally to your experience as a child, as to the recent incident of gossiping with your friend.
The Course does not teach anything about changing behavior or the need to make amends. We are asked only to look at our judgments, recognizing in them the choice to be separate from others, which reflects the choice to be separate from God. When you find yourself gossiping, you may stop to remember it is coming from a mistaken choice in your mind to identify with the ego by choosing separation. This places the origin of the situation in the right place (your mind), rather than on your behavior (the effect) or the behavior of those you are judging, and this is the beginning of the forgiveness process. We “forgive the Son of God [anyone] for what he did not do” (T.17.III.1:5) by recognizing that the true cause of sickness/gossiping is the mind’s choice for separation, without blaming past events or others. This would be the Course’s version of “making up.” It is also the only way to heal the real sickness that resides in the split mind that has chosen separation. All that is required is willingness to release our judgments. Even being willing to see how we want to hold on to them is a step in the right direction, because at least we won’t be blaming others for our sickness, distress, or misery. The important thing is to be vigilant in looking for the thoughts and judgments that reveal the mind’s choice for separation. When the cause is returned to the mind, judgment can be given to the Holy Spirit to be transformed. Under His guidance, any behavior will then change accordingly, without any effort or control on our part. In this regard Jesus tells us in the text: “When you are willing to accept sole responsibility for the ego’s existence you will have laid aside all anger and all attack, because they come from an attempt to project responsibility for your own errors. But having accepted the errors as yours, do not keep them. Give them over quickly to the Holy Spirit to be undone completely, so that all their effects will vanish from your mind and from the Sonship as a whole” (T.7.VIII.5:4,5,6). Thus, projection is replaced with the recognition that the mind is the true cause of all feelings, behavior, and judgment and ultimately the need to gossip “will vanish from your mind.”