ACIM Text Reading for March 16
Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement
I. The Acceptance of Reality
Fear of the Will of God is one of the strangest beliefs the human mind has ever made. It could not possibly have occurred unless the mind were already profoundly split, making it possible for it to be afraid of what it really is. Reality cannot “threaten” anything except illusions, since reality can only uphold truth. The very fact that the Will of God, which is what you are, is perceived as fearful, demonstrates that you are afraid of what you are. It is not, then, the Will of God of which you are afraid, but yours.
Your will is not the ego’s, and that is why the ego is against you. What seems to be the fear of God is really the fear of your own reality. It is impossible to learn anything consistently in a state of panic. If the purpose of this course is to help you remember what you are, and if you believe that what you are is fearful, then it must follow that you will not learn this course. Yet the reason for the course is that you do not know what you are.
If you do not know what your reality is, why would you be so sure that it is fearful? The association of truth and fear, which would be highly artificial at most, is particularly inappropriate in the minds of those who do not know what truth is. All this could mean is that you are arbitrarily associating something beyond your awareness with something you do not want. It is evident, then, that you are judging something of which you are totally unaware. You have set up this strange situation so that it is impossible to escape from it without a Guide Who does know what your reality is. The purpose of this Guide is merely to remind you of what you want. He is not attempting to force an alien will upon you. He is merely making every possible effort, within the limits you impose on Him, to re-establish your own will in your awareness.
You have imprisoned your will beyond your own awareness, where it remains, but cannot help you. When I said that the Holy Spirit’s function is to sort out the true from the false in your mind, I meant that He has the power to look into what you have hidden and recognize the Will of God there. His recognition of this Will can make it real to you because He is in your mind, and therefore He is your reality. If, then, His perception of your mind brings its reality to you, He is helping you to remember what you are. The only source of fear in this process is what you think you will lose. Yet it is only what the Holy Spirit sees that you can possibly have.
I have emphasized many times that the Holy Spirit will never call upon you to sacrifice anything. But if you ask the sacrifice of reality of yourself, the Holy Spirit must remind you that this is not God’s Will because it is not yours. There is no difference between your will and God’s. If you did not have a split mind, you would recognize that willing is salvation because it is communication.
It is impossible to communicate in alien tongues. You and your Creator can communicate through creation, because that, and only that is your joint Will. A divided mind cannot communicate, because it speaks for different things to the same mind. This loses the ability to communicate simply because confused communication does not mean anything. A message cannot be communicated unless it makes sense. How sensible can your messages be, when you ask for what you do not want? Yet as long as you are afraid of your will, that is precisely what you are asking for.
You may insist that the Holy Spirit does not answer you, but it might be wiser to consider the kind of questioner you are. You do not ask only for what you want. This is because you are afraid you might receive it, and you would. That is why you persist in asking the teacher who could not possibly give you what you want. Of him you can never learn what it is, and this gives you the illusion of safety. Yet you cannot be safe from truth, but only in truth. Reality is the only safety. Your will is your salvation because it is the same as God’s. The separation is nothing more than the belief that it is different.
No right mind can believe that its will is stronger than God’s. If, then, a mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that God’s Will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr, who believes that God demands sacrifices. Either of these insane decisions will induce panic, because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. Yet no one really wants either abandonment or retaliation, even though many may seek both. Can you ask the Holy Spirit for “gifts” such as these, and actually expect to receive them? He cannot give you something you do not want. When you ask the Universal Giver for what you do not want, you are asking for what cannot be given because it was never created. It was never created, because it was never your will for you.
Ultimately everyone must remember the Will of God, because ultimately everyone must recognize himself. This recognition is the recognition that his will and God’s are one. In the presence of truth, there are no unbelievers and no sacrifices. In the security of reality, fear is totally meaningless. To deny what is can only seem to be fearful. Fear cannot be real without a cause, and God is the only Cause. God is Love and you do want him. This is your will. Ask for this and you will be answered, because you will be asking only for what belongs to you.
When you ask the Holy Spirit for what would hurt you He cannot answer because nothing can hurt you, and so you are asking for nothing. Any wish that stems from the ego is a wish for nothing, and to ask for it is not a request. It is merely a denial in the form of a request. The Holy Spirit is not concerned with form, being aware only of meaning. The ego cannot ask the Holy Spirit for anything, because there is complete communication failure between them. Yet you can ask for everything of the Holy Spirit, because your requests to Him are real, being of your right mind. Would the Holy Spirit deny the Will of God? And could He fail to recognize it in His Son?
You do not recognize the enormous waste of energy you expend in denying truth. What would you say of someone who persists in attempting the impossible, believing that to achieve it is to succeed? The belief that you must have the impossible in order to be happy is totally at variance with the principle of creation. God could not will that happiness depended on what you could never have. The fact that God is Love does not require belief, but it does require acceptance. It is indeed possible for you to deny facts, although it is impossible for you to change them. If you hold your hands over your eyes, you will not see because you are interfering with the laws of seeing. If you deny love, you will not know it because your cooperation is the law of its being. You cannot change laws you did not make, and the laws of happiness were created for you, not by you.
Any attempt to deny what is must be fearful, and if the attempt is strong it will induce panic. Willing against reality, though impossible, can be made into a very persistent goal even though you do not want it. But consider the result of this strange decision. You are devoting your mind to what you do not want. How real can this devotion be? If you do not want it, it was never created. If it were never created, it is nothing. Can you really devote yourself to nothing?
God in His devotion to you created you devoted to everything, and gave you what you are devoted to. Otherwise you would not have been created perfect. Reality is everything, and you have everything because you are real. You cannot make the unreal because the absence of reality is fearful, and fear cannot be created. As long as you believe that fear is possible, you will not create. Opposing orders of reality make reality meaningless, and reality is meaning.
Remember, then, that God’s Will is already possible, and nothing else will ever be. This is the simple acceptance of reality, because only that is real. You cannot distort reality and know what it is. And if you do distort reality you will experience anxiety, depression and ultimately panic, because you are trying to make yourself unreal. When you feel these things, do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you. Say, therefore:
- “Christ is in me, and where He is God must be, for Christ is part of Him.”
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 16
The light has come.
The light has come. You are healed and you can heal. The light has come. You are saved and you can save. You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go. Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.
Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.
Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.
Our longer practice periods will be devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.
We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:
The light has come. I have forgiven the world.
Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:
The light has come. I have forgiven the world.
Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Understand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.
Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.
The shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.
The light has come. I have forgiven the world.
Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:
The light has come. I have forgiven you.
We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #885: Why do I sometimes feel that the words spoken in A Course in Miracles are unkind? Is this a projection of the ego which is trying to steer me subtly away from the Course’s purpose? What is the Course’s purpose anyhow?
A: The goal of A Course in Miracles is to uncover what lies hidden within the ego thought system, so that it can be exposed to the light of truth to be healed. Exposure of the ugliness of the ego may seem unkind, just as patients cringe when the dentist probes to examine an aching tooth. The pain of the infected tooth is unbearable, but the helping hands of the dentist may be perceived as yet more painful. Careful examination of the Course’s graphic descriptions of the ego reveals Jesus’ kind and comforting diagnosis: we are not the gruesome ego in need of a root canal, we only think we are. He introduces descriptions of the ego’s insanity with phrases such as: “you think you are….” “you believe you are….,” “you see yourself…”. Never does he say these beliefs are true. In fact, the only purpose for exposing these thoughts is to teach us that they are not true, and that we believe them because we have chosen them to support belief in the reality of separation and sin. The sickness of separation must first be exposed in order for it to be healed. The goal of the Course is healing the mind of the thought of separation, which Jesus helps us do by teaching us that just as we chose the ego, we can choose against it by choosing the Holy Spirit.
Yes, focusing on the Course’s strong negative words in reference to the ego is a wonderful way for to halt progress in your study of the Course. The truth is, we have no problem believing that we are egos living and dying in bodies, with no hope of ever returning to our true state of oneness with God; the most unkind thing the Son of God could believe about himself. But we do have tremendous resistance to believing the message Jesus offers: we are God’s innocent Son (W.pI.95.12:2,3) , the separation never happened (T.6.II.10:7) , the world is an illusion (W.pI.155.2:1) , and “At no single instant does the body exist at all” (T.18.VII.3:1) . Jesus adds insult to injury by telling us that this world is hell (W.pI.182.3) , every attack is murder (T.23.III.1) , guilt is projected from the mind in the form of hate (T.18.VI.2) , and finally, “…a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury” (W.pI.21.2:5) . To the part of the mind that identifies with the ego/body these words are indeed unkind; certainly not things we want to hear. In fact, the ego works very hard at keeping these thoughts from awareness, thereby defending the mind’s continued choice for separation. The devastating consequences of choosing separation are hidden behind the world’s seeming loveliness. In the text, Jesus uses the example of a framed picture to show us the ego’s use of denial and deception. The ugly picture of the ego’s specialness is “…surrounded by a frame so heavy and so elaborate that the picture is almost obliterated by its imposing structure” (T.17.IV.8:2) . The ego uses both the positive and negative experiences of the world in fabricating its frame of deception. The positive experiences are diversions meant to convince us that the world is not such a bad place. The pain and misery of negative experiences prove the world is real. We have so overlearned the ego’s message and adjusted to the heavy layers of denial, that Jesus spells things out using striking contrast between the ego’s darkness and the loving message of the Holy Spirit’s truth. Jesus urges us to “look at the picture ” (T.17.IV.9:1) , not the frame. Unless we see that choosing the ego is the source of all the world’s anguish, we will not move beyond the veil of illusion to awaken to the light of truth. That is the ultimate goal of the Course.