ACIM Text Reading for March 10
Chapter 8 ~ The Journey Back
IV. The Gift of Freedom
If God’s Will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only this you must be refusing to acknowledge His Will. His Will does not vacillate, being changeless forever. When you are not at peace it can only be because you do not believe you are in Him. Yet He is All in all. His peace is complete, and you must be included in it. His laws govern you because they govern everything. You cannot exempt yourself from His laws, although you can disobey them. Yet if you do, and only if you do, you will feel lonely and helpless, because you are denying yourself everything.
I am come as a light into a world that does deny itself everything. It does this simply by dissociating itself from everything. It is therefore an illusion of isolation, maintained by fear of the same loneliness that is its illusion. I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. That is why I am the light of the world. If I am with you in the loneliness of the world, the loneliness is gone. You cannot maintain the illusion of loneliness if you are not alone. My purpose, then, is still to overcome the world. I do not attack it, but my light must dispel it because of what it is. Light does not attack darkness, but it does shine it away. If my light goes with you everywhere, you shine it away with me. The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go. The remembrance of me is the remembrance of yourself, and of Him Who sent me to you.
You were in darkness until God’s Will was done completely by any part of the Sonship. When this was done, it was perfectly accomplished by all. How else could it be perfectly accomplished? My mission was simply to unite the will of the Sonship with the Will of the Father by being aware of the Father’s Will myself. This is the awareness I came to give you, and your problem in accepting it is the problem of this world. The world must therefore despise and reject me, because the world is the belief that love is impossible. If you will accept the fact that I am with you, you are denying the world and accepting God. My will is His, and your decision to hear me is the decision to hear His Voice and abide in His Will. As God sent me to you so will I send you to others. And I will go to them with you, so we can teach them peace and union.
Do you not think the world needs peace as much as you do? Do you not want to give it to the world as much as you want to receive it? For unless you do, you will not receive it. If you want to have it of me, you must give it. Healing does not come from anyone else. You must accept guidance from within. The guidance must be what you want, or it will be meaningless to you. That is why healing is a collaborative venture. I can tell you what to do, but you must collaborate by believing that I know what you should do. Only then will your mind choose to follow me. Without this choice you could not be healed because you would have decided against healing, and this rejection of my decision for you makes healing impossible.
Healing reflects our joint will. This is obvious when you consider what healing is for. Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome. Separation is overcome by union. It cannot be overcome by separating. The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. My decision cannot overcome yours, because yours is as powerful as mine. If it were not so the Sons of God would be unequal. All things are possible through our joint decision, but mine alone cannot help you. Your will is as free as mine, and God Himself would not go against it. I cannot will what God does not will. I can offer my strength to make yours invincible, but I cannot oppose your decision without competing with it and thereby violating God’s Will for you.
Nothing God created can oppose your decision, as nothing God created can oppose His Will. God gave your will its power, which I can only acknowledge in honor of His. If you want to be like me I will help you, knowing that we are alike. If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching. How else can it be, if God’s Kingdom is freedom? Freedom cannot be learned by tyranny of any kind, and the perfect equality of all God’s Sons cannot be recognized through the dominion of one mind over another. God’s Sons are equal in will, all being the Will of their Father. This is the only lesson I came to teach.
If your will were not mine it would not be our Father’s. This would mean you have imprisoned yours, and have not let it be free. Of yourself you can do nothing, because of yourself you are nothing. I am nothing without the Father and you are nothing without me, because by denying the Father you deny yourself. I will always remember you, and in my remembrance of you lies your remembrance of yourself. In our remembrance of each other lies our remembrance of God. And in this remembrance lies your freedom because your freedom is in Him. Join, then, with me in praise of Him and you whom He created. This is our gift of gratitude to Him, which He will share with all His creations, to whom He gives equally whatever is acceptable to Him. Because it is acceptable to Him it is the gift of freedom, which is His Will for all His Sons. By offering freedom you will be free.
Freedom is the only gift you can offer to God’s Sons, being an acknowledgment of what they are and what He is. Freedom is creation, because it is love. Whom you seek to imprison you do not love. Therefore, when you seek to imprison anyone, including yourself, you do not love him and you cannot identify with him. When you imprison yourself you are losing sight of your true identification with me and with the Father. Your identification is with the Father and with the Son. It cannot be with one and not the other. If you are part of one you must be part of the other, because they are one. The Holy Trinity is holy because It is One. If you exclude yourself from this union, you are perceiving the Holy Trinity as separated. You must be included in It, because It is everything. Unless you take your place in It and fulfill your function as part of It, the Holy Trinity is as bereft as you are. No part of It can be imprisoned if Its truth is to be known.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 10
My grievances hide the light of the world in me.
No one can look upon what your grievances conceal. Because your grievances are hiding the light of the world in you, everyone stands in darkness, and you beside him. But as the veil of your grievances is lifted, you are released with him. Share your salvation now with him who stood beside you when you were in hell. He is your brother in the light of the world that saves you both.
Today let us make another real attempt to reach the light in you. Before we undertake this in our more extended practice period, let us devote several minutes to thinking about what we are trying to do. We are literally attempting to get in touch with the salvation of the world. We are trying to see past the veil of darkness that keeps it concealed. We are trying to let the veil be lifted, and to see the tears of God’s Son disappear in the sunlight.
Let us begin our longer practice period today with the full realization that this is so, and with real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else. Salvation is our only need. There is no other purpose here, and no other function to fulfill. Learning salvation is our only goal. Let us end the ancient search today by finding the light in us, and holding it up for everyone who searches with us to look upon and rejoice.
Very quietly now, with your eyes closed, try to let go of all the content that generally occupies your consciousness. Think of your mind as a vast circle, surrounded by a layer of heavy, dark clouds. You can see only the clouds because you seem to be standing outside the circle and quite apart from it.
From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe there is a brilliant light hidden by the clouds. The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see. Therefore, you do not attempt to go through them and past them, which is the only way in which you would be really convinced of their lack of substance. We will make this attempt today.
After you have thought about the importance of what you are trying to do for yourself and the world, try to settle down in perfect stillness, remembering only how much you want to reach the light in you today,–now! Determine to go past the clouds. Reach out and touch them in your mind. Brush them aside with your hand; feel them resting on your cheeks and forehead and eyelids as you go through them. Go on; clouds cannot stop you.
If you are doing the exercises properly, you will begin to feel a sense of being lifted up and carried ahead. Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light. You are in accord with His Will. You cannot fail because your will is His.
Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you. You may not recognize His answer yet, but you can indeed be sure that it is given you and you will yet receive it. Try, as you attempt to go through the clouds to the light, to hold this confidence in your mind. Try to remember that you are at last joining your will to God’s. Try to keep the thought clearly in mind that what you undertake with God must succeed. Then let the power of God work in you and through you, that His Will and yours be done.
In the shorter practice periods, which you will want to do as often as possible in view of the importance of today’s idea to you and your happiness, remind yourself that your grievances are hiding the light of the world from your awareness. Remind yourself also that you are not searching for it alone, and that you do know where to look for it. Say, then:
My grievances hide the light of the world in me. I cannot
see what I have hidden. Yet I want to let it be revealed to
me, for my salvation and the salvation of the world.
Also, be sure to tell yourself:
If I hold this grievance the light of the world will be hidden
if you are tempted to hold anything against anyone today.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1229: You stress that all of our work with A Course in Miracles is done exclusively at the level of mind. How does this fit in with Lesson 71, where we are told to ask God these specific questions: “What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?” (W.pI.71. 9:3,4,5). It seems that in this lesson, Jesus is focusing on behavior or form, not the mind.
A: Yes, this is one of very few places in A Course in Miracles where Jesus does this. Unfortunately, many students concluded that this is what A Course in Miracles is all about — a means of getting specific answers to specific questions and concerns about our lives in the world. They thus distorted the meaning of the Course very soon after it was first published. This trend actually led to the scribed pamphlet, The Song of Prayer , in which Jesus clarifies what he meant by prayer, forgiveness, and healing, addressing the misinterpretations that were spreading among students.
Once you gain a sense of the full message of this course, you would know that it is definitely not about enhancing our lives as bodies in the world or about our behavior. It is not wrong to ask for specific help with specific problems — it is a helpful starting point on one’s spiritual journey, for it encourages a perception of God as caring and loving, not punitive and judgmental. But, ultimately, our goal is to get back home to Heaven — to awaken from the dream that we are separate from Him and from each other. If we are always focused on specific concerns about our own and others’ bodies, and on getting what we want in the world, then we will remain spiritual children, still seeing God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus as separate from us. God is a loving Father Who takes care of me — I am separate from God; Jesus as an older, wiser brother who is guiding me — I am separate from him. Again, this is a good start in developing a relationship with God and with Jesus, but it is just the beginning. There is so much more.
Compare what you have quoted from Lesson 71 with what Jesus says later in Lesson 133: “You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness” (W.pI.133.2:1,2; italics added ). He then goes on to list the criteria for finding out if what we are asking for will truly help us on our spiritual journey. And in one of the sections in the text that discusses what it means to ask the Holy Spirit for help, Jesus tells us that we do not really know what we need: “For what you think you need [for example, ways to improve our lives in the world] will merely serve to tighten up your world against the light, and render you unwilling to question the value that this world can really hold for you” (T.13.VII.11:6). He wants us to see that the only value this world has is to be a classroom in which we use our experiences to get us back to our mind, where we can then undo our belief in separation. Thus, he asks us to remember what we really want: “The Holy Spirit leads me unto Christ, and where else would I go? What need have I but to awake in Him?” (T.13.VII.14:2,3). Another lovely statement of this occurs later: “For what but Christ is there to see and hear and love and follow home?” (T.24.V.6:6) — this comes in the context of Jesus urging us to look honestly at our quest for specialness, and the awful price we pay in the special relationships we value so much.
There are many other passages like these that could be cited, but the point is that we need to view them in the context of the overall message and aim of the Course. We also need to remember, as Jesus explains at the beginning of Chapter 25, that in order to communicate with us, he needs to use terms we are familiar with, but these are always from our framework of dualism, not the pure oneness of reality, which we would be unable to understand ( see T.25.I.5,6,7). So he must express his message in terms that are meaningful to us but that are not literally true. He thus has us say prayers to God to get us on the right footing with Him, but he also states that God does not understand words and does not hear prayers, and, even more devastating to us, He does not even know we are here — how could He know about what does not exist? ( See W.pI.183.7:3,4,5; 10)
Although we could go on with this for several more pages, we will stop here and refer you to other questions on the Service where we have discussed these issues and provided additional references. We refer you to them for further study: #85, #336, #538, #555, #643. All of these issues are discussed in depth in Chapter 2 of Few Choose to Listen (Vol. 2 of The Message of “A Course in Miracles” ); the discussion focuses on the crucial difference between the form of the Course and its unchanging, consistent content.