ACIM Text Reading for March 26
Chapter 10 ~ The Idols of Sickness
V. The End of Sickness
All magic is an attempt at reconciling the irreconcilable. All religion is the recognition that the irreconcilable cannot be reconciled. Sickness and perfection are irreconcilable. If God created you perfect, you are perfect. If you believe you can be sick, you have placed other gods before Him. God is not at war with the god of sickness you made, but you are. He is the symbol of deciding against God, and you are afraid of him because he cannot be reconciled with God’s Will. If you attack him, you will make him real to you. But if you refuse to worship him in whatever form he may appear to you, and wherever you think you see him, he will disappear into the nothingness out of which he was made.
Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it. To know reality must involve the willingness to judge unreality for what it is. To overlook nothingness is merely to judge it correctly, and because of your ability to evaluate it truly, to let it go. Knowledge cannot dawn on a mind full of illusions, because truth and illusions are irreconcilable. Truth is whole, and cannot be known by part of a mind.
The Sonship cannot be perceived as partly sick, because to perceive it that way is not to perceive it at all. If the Sonship is one, it is one in all respects. Oneness cannot be divided. If you perceive other gods your mind is split, and you will not be able to limit the split, because it is the sign that you have removed part of your mind from God’s Will. This means it is out of control. To be out of control is to be out of reason, and then the mind does become unreasonable. By defining the mind wrongly, you perceive it as functioning wrongly.
God’s laws will keep your mind at peace because peace is His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws cannot be understood together. The laws of God work only for your good, and there are no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawless and therefore chaotic. Yet God Himself has protected everything He created by His laws. Everything that is not under them does not exist. “Laws of chaos” is a meaningless term. Creation is perfectly lawful, and the chaotic is without meaning because it is without God. You have “given” your peace to the gods you made, but they are not there to take it from you, and you cannot give it to them.
You are not free to give up freedom, but only to deny it. You cannot do what God did not intend, because what He did not intend does not happen. Your gods do not bring chaos; you are endowing them with chaos, and accepting it of them. All this has never been. Nothing but the laws of God has ever been, and nothing but His Will will ever be. You were created through His laws and by His Will, and the manner of your creation established you a creator. What you have made is so unworthy of you that you could hardly want it, if you were willing to see it as it is. You will see nothing at all. And your vision will automatically look beyond it, to what is in you and all around you. Reality cannot break through the obstructions you interpose, but it will envelop you completely when you let them go.
When you have experienced the protection of God, the making of idols becomes inconceivable. There are no strange images in the Mind of God, and what is not in His Mind cannot be in yours, because you are of one mind and that mind belongs to Him. It is yours because it belongs to Him, for to Him ownership is sharing. And if it is so for Him, it is so for you. His definitions are His laws, for by them He established the universe as what it is. No false gods you attempt to interpose between yourself and your reality affect truth at all. Peace is yours because God created you, and He created nothing else.
The miracle is the act of a Son of God who has laid aside all false gods, and calls on his brothers to do likewise. It is an act of faith, because it is the recognition that his brother can do it. It is a call to the Holy Spirit in his mind, a call that is strengthened by joining. Because the miracle worker has heard God’s Voice, he strengthens It in a sick brother by weakening his belief in sickness, which he does not share. The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal.
In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the Great Light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 26
Today’s review will cover these ideas:
(69) My grievances hide the light of the world in me.
My grievances show me what is not there, and hide from me what I would see. Recognizing this, what do I want my grievances for? They keep me in darkness and hide the light. Grievances and light cannot go together, but light and vision must be joined for me to see. To see, I must lay grievances aside. I want to see, and this will be the means by which I will succeed.
Specific applications for this idea might be made in these forms:
Let me not use this as a block to sight.
The light of the world will shine all this away.
I have no need for this. I want to see.
(70) My salvation comes from me.
Today I will recognize where my salvation is. It is in me because its Source is there. It has not left its Source, and so it cannot have left my mind. I will not look for it outside myself. It is not found outside and then brought in. But from within me it will reach beyond, and everything I see will but reflect the light that shines in me and in itself.
These forms of the idea are suitable for more specific applications:
Let this not tempt me to look away from me for my salvation.
I will not let this interfere with my awareness of the Source of my salvation.
This has no power to remove salvation from me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #929: A Course in Miracles states the ego “sees no difference between miracle impulses and ego-alien beliefs of its own… [and] …makes no distinctions between these two very different kinds of threat” (T.9.VIII.3:1,2). I know this is comparing grandeur and grandiosity and the fact that the ego is aware of something else, greater than it “out-there” (or actually, in-there). But we are confused about what may indeed be the ego’s own alien (not of or outside of itself?) beliefs. Is it accurate to say that the ego is constantly aware of this “other” presence? We know that it is not aware of the Holy Spirit (Voice for God) per se so would it be us as the decision maker? Exactly what are the two very different threats?
A: Miracle impulses of course emanate from the right-mind, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and their purpose is to undo our belief in the ego. It is apparent why the ego would perceive such impulses as a threat, even though it cannot really understand them. Ego-alien beliefs, on the other hand, have their origins in the ego thought system, but represent the split off thoughts of the ego that it is attempting to deny responsibility for, including thoughts of attack and guilt and weakness and limitation, which, while inventions of the ego, need to be seen as outside itself to work as defenses. And so thoughts of revenge and destruction attributed to forces outside itself ironically trigger as much a sense of threat to the ego, even though paradoxically they are part of the ego’s scheme for self-preservation. And it is these threats, as much as the fear of the unknown represented by miracle impulses, which incite the ego to self-inflating delusions of grandiosity.
There is a very simple explanation for the single, common ego perception and response to both sources of threat. The ego is very simply a thought of attack, and so its only reaction to anything perceived to be outside itself — real or imaginary — must be to attack, either now or later (T.9.VIII.3:4,5,6) . The attack may be either direct (special hate) or indirect (special love), but attack is all that the ego is capable of. With special love, or where the balance of power seems overwhelmingly against it, the attack may be disguised, but the content is nevertheless nothing other than attack. And so the ego does not and cannot distinguish between the content of any thought that it attacks. Much as the Holy Spirit’s judgment, seeing everything as either an extension of love or a call for love, responds only with love (T.12.I.3) , so the ego, regardless of the nature of the content it encounters, sees everything only as a threat to its continued existence and responds only with hate and attack.
So, to the ego, the enemy is both any right-minded thought that reflects the truth of who we are in our unlimitedness — the grandeur of our true Self — as well as any ego-based thought, including the body, which challenges or undermines the ego’s imaginary “autonomy” and “supremacy.” Ironically, as already noted, the other ego thoughts it attacks are merely split off parts of itself, but the ego is capable of perceiving only threat from anything seen as outside itself (T.4.V.2,3) .
A third source of perceived threat, as you have observed, is the power of our mind to choose between those right-minded and wrong-minded thoughts for, as much as the ego may hate us, it is dependent on the power of our mind to choose it for its continued existence (T.6.IV.4:1,2; T.7.VI.3) .
And so, we can say unequivocally that “the ego is quite literally a fearful thought” (T.5.V.3:7) . So long as we remain identified with the ego, we can only vacillate between various forms of fear and attack, or suspiciousness and viciousness (T.9.VII.3:4,5,6,7,8,9,10) . If we could look very honestly at all of our reactions to everything around us when we are in our wrong-mind, we would recognize that this is really the only content we are capable of experiencing as an ego.
The insanity of the ego’s defenses is most clearly seen in the self-inflation of its own grandiosity, which is always an attack on a made-up other as a defense against the ego’s intrinsic sense of littleness and vulnerability. The other must be held responsible for the feelings of inadequacy, rather than seeing them simply as a result of our choice for the ego itself in the first place.
Q #930: Some people are giving psychotherapy training based on A Course in Miracles . Is that really necessary or should I just stay with the Course itself?
A: People are free to do whatever they choose with the Course, either treating it as a total and complete thought system within itself — which it is — or attempting to combine it with whatever other teachings they are already familiar, whether they be alternative spiritual paths, self-help techniques, or various therapeutic models. Almost without exception, however, any attempt at integrating the Course with these other practices will involve some compromise of the Course’s radical principle of nonduality, as people, often without consciously realizing what they are doing, end up bringing its profound teaching down to their own level of understanding and comfort. There certainly is nothing bad or “sinful” about these kinds of integrative efforts, but they will almost certainly dilute the Course’s message and mix levels of teaching in an unhelpful way, confusing the student and reducing the value of both the Course and what it is being combined with.
Confusion arises because the Course is never saying anything about behavior, and almost every other teaching at some level addresses the issue of how we are acting in the world and relating interpersonally with others. And the Course is simply not concerned with inter personal issues, except as they are a mirror of what is happening at an intra personal level, that is, with decisions being made at the level of mind, where the illusory experience of being a separate, individual person originates. Changes may in turn be reflected at an interpersonal level, but that would never be the Course’s focus or concern.
And so you will do well simply to direct your efforts at understanding and applying the forgiveness principles of the Course as it stands on its own, recognizing that its only purpose is to bring about a change in how you see, or interpret, the world, and not to change the world that you see. Other approaches, such as psychotherapy, may certainly also have value and serve a very useful purpose in your life. The only mistake would be to attempt to combine them with the Course’s principles, rather than simply accepting their helpfulness at their own level.